March 29, 2010

Time To Get Serious

But first....
I discovered that a lot of people wrote a lot more, and a lot better, than me about the LA Marathon. In fact, if you really want to know about the races I run in, don't read my blog, read other people's. Two specifically about LA are those of The Running Fat Guy and Chicrunner. It seems that there was a really fun race out there that due to my focus on time I missed a great deal of. Well, I kind of saw it, but didn't really take it all in.
Those folks even have cool videos (love the dancers, runningfatguy), and photos. Did I forget to mention the drag queen cheerleaders? Sorry about that, one of the high points of the race. I did completely miss the Kodak Theater, Whisky A Go Go and several other famous spots, although I did notice Graumann's Chinese Theater. There were lots of cool bands too, and taiko drummers. Oh well, I can drive the course the next time I'm in LA....

Photo from LA Runner's blog...thanks....

Thanks to Glenn Jones (the fat guy) I also found a good blog - discombobulatedrunning - and that led me to Captain Nuts -the smithendorffiles - check those out. (See Captain Nuts' Gasparilla report - great.) Obviously, any runner named Captain Nuts has to have a good blog.

So...about getting serious. I was watching The Killers DVD, Live from the Royal Albert Hall, which I HIGHLY recommend. In fact, if you have any kind of a large TV and an audio system, and you like rock music, this is an absolute must. And as this great music surged over me, inspiring and empowering me, I thought, Tokyoracer, it's time to stop frigging around and get serious. You have still not put in a really good marathon effort. You are still falling apart at the end of these things. More hard work is called for. A lot more hard work.

So when I get back into marathon training, which will be June 1 (running a 5k in an ekiden on May 23rd, which I would like to run fast), I plan to up the mileage to about 140k (87mi.) a week, with either 3 hill intervals or one long marathon pace run plus one very long run. The hill interval stuff comes from world record holder Hosaka-san, who does 5 x 1000m (up/down) twice a day. Of course I am not going to do that, but 6 x 500m, one day up, the next time down, in the middle of a 24k run, sounds like it would be good for the quads.
Basically, I want to work very hard and become a man of steel. Well, a man with quads of steel.

Are we human? Or are we dancer? ... Or are we going to be a pure, lean, mean racing machine? I'm ready to turn it up to 11.

March 25, 2010

They Don't Get Any Easier

Week of March 16 ~ 21. LA Marathon.

I keep waiting for them to get easier...I keep expecting them to get easier. But they don't. This marathon was just as painful as the previous ones...which is pretty damn painful!
The short story:
3:08:17. Age grade: 83%. 1st in the M60-64 age group, out of 421. 226th overall out of 22,484. 204th male out of 13,311.

Travel to US.

AM- 6.6k easy in 38:19.
PM: On track with Pasedena club. 7.2k with 2k @MP, jog 400, 1k @MP.

5.3k easy in 30:17


4.8k easy along course down Sunset Blvd in 28:30.
Jet lag not improving at all, but feeling ok.

The day did not start out too well. Eric, my daughter Jennifer's fiance, was my driver for the trip to the start at Dodger Stadium. This should take no more than 30 mins. from the apartment. We left at 6:00, marathon start to be 7:25. Got on to the 101 freeway, which after about 5 minutes, in the two lanes for the 110 to the stadium, came to a complete halt. Lots of people going to the marathon! Inching along. Not good. Gave up, decided to go further down, get on the 5 coming back up. Looked over at the 5, also not moving at all. Now both of us getting a bit worried, Eric frantically checking his iPhone for traffic and route information. Drove around in no man's land for a while looking for other freeway possibilities, finally Eric figured a route to get me close to Sunset (which was of course closed to traffic) as close as possible to the stadium. Got out of the car a bit after 7:00, about 2 miles from the start. Jogged there at a decent pace, with lots of other people. In general, a nightmare for thousands of people. Got to the start area, climbed over a fence, and was in the 3:00 to 4:00 corral...with one minute to spare. However, they delayed the start 22 minutes (knowing that lots of people were late). So I had some time to relax.

I thought I was fairly near the front, but after the race started, realized that there were A LOT of people ahead of me, including a lot of slow people. It took 1:15 to the start. The start and first 1.4 mile was on a road/parking lot around the stadium, not so wide. Also included a hill. On the downhill the crowd finally started moving, but the first mile was slow.

I felt ok and was running very relaxed, but due to hills (not steep but rather long) and general difficulty in finding the right pace at the start, my first 8 miles were very up and down.
To describe the race in terms of splits, for 5ks (target 21:48 or 4:21.6/k) they were: 22:09, 22:13, 21:51, 21:53, 22:04, 22:17, 23:09, 22:44, 9:56.
Even though they were fairly even, within each 5k the pace was up and down, and I did not hit the target pace at all.

Per mile (target pace 7:01), the splits were:
1 7:53 Disappointed to lose 50 seconds already
2 6:43 Trying to compensate
3 6:49 Downhill
4 7:20 Uphill
5 7:44 Uphill
6 6:25 Down/uphill. Drank the Weider gel I was carrying.
7 6:56 Downhill. Finally passed the 3:10 pace group (should have started ahead of them).
8 7:10 Got 2 more gels from Jennifer
9 7:01 Hollywood Blvd. Very small kid passed me, looking great. Later found he was 10 years old, ran 3:03:40.
10 6:55 Started taking the 2nd gel, a little at a time.
11 7:04 Graumman's Chinese Theater
12 6:59
13 7:22 Uphill. Halfway about 1:33
14 7:06
15 7:04 Chateau Marmont.
16 7:03 54-yr-old guy named Frank Tai caught me and we ran together for 2 miles at a nice pace. He told me there was one 60-year-old ahead of me (he knows Cal. runners). Until I saw the results later online I assumed I was 2nd. The guy had been ahead of me, I passed him between 35 and 40k (without realizing it), as he ran 25:02 for that 5k.
17 7:08 Rodeo Drive! Bottom of left foot started to hurt. I think the shoe was laced too tight.
18 7:12 Frank picked up and I slowed, so he went ahead.
19 7:17 Approx. - missed mile mark. Foot hurting. Started drinking second gel.
20 7:17 Approx. Caught Frank. Ribcage area (muscles) hurting quite a bit. Why? I don't know. Strange.... Quads are now also sore.
21 7:47 Uphill. Lost Frank again.
22 7:11 Quads very sore. Ribs still sore. This is where I always wish I could stop and today is no exception.
23 7:39 Uphill
24 7:10 Gradual downhill. Decided to stretch out my stride and just go for it. Foot and ribs didn't bother me, maybe because my quads were so painful.
25 7:08 Gradual downhill
26 7:16 A long, long, long 1.1 miles.

So...I was very happy to win my age group and happy to run the last 5k faster than the previous 5k.
Other positives were: Fun course, running through various LA neighborhoods is great. Perfect temperature abt. 14-17C/57-63F. Great spectator support (especially nice: your bib has your name, mine said BOB, so people was always yelling, Go, Bob!, You can do it, Bob!. In the last 6 miles when runners are spread out, most everyone yells this, it is great.)
Negative was that I did not run, or really come close to, my target time of 3:04. Running 35k (at the end of a 120k week) at 5:00 pace is no problem (even feel fine the next day), but running 42k at 4:21 pace is a big problem. Today is Thursday and my quads are still a bit sore. I guess I have to do more long marathon pace runs, and maybe I will take a page from Hosaka's book and run fast up and down hills 2 or 3 times a week. Anyway, the next marathon may not be until LA next year. Not sure about the fall, I may just run a few halfs. We shall see....

Thanks for your readership and support (especially Michael B, who was there at the finish!). It is great knowing that you people are pulling for me.

March 15, 2010

Gradual Taper

Week of March 8 ~ 15
Cut back the distance to 15k runs. Rested Sunday, ran Monday.


15k @4:52 1:13:06
25:31/24:27/23:08 @5:06/4:54/4:37
Light snow, but wet, and some wind against going out. Felt ok, but not easy to run (2 long-slv shirts and windbreaker).
This is not training for 20° LA Marathon!
AM - weights and core at gym.
Time: 1:00
Temp: 3C/37F
Weight: 59.8kg

7k 1600/1200/1000/800/600/400
per k: 4:06/3:52/3:55/3:48/3:55/3:42
No warmup. Felt ok, not trying to push (trying not to push).

15k @5:15 1:18:56
Just taking it easy.
Time: 12:00
Temp: 10C/50F
Weight: 59.3kg

15k @ 5:06 1:16:30
Legs felt ok, comfortable pace.
AM - weights and core
Time: 5:00
Temp: 12C/54F
Weight: 60.3kg

15k @5:04 1:16:07
At father-in-law's near Makuhari. Ran to and through Makuhari. Strong wind! Going over a bridge it nearly blew me onto the road. Distance approximate but last 5k is pretty close. Planned to pick it up and ran 23:19. Legs were stiff, especially quads.

Decided to rest legs. Also, it is supposed to be 19° tomorrow, so want to do a run in warm weather.

12k 6k@5:18 3k @4:32/49/42 3k @4:28/17/15
Basically as planned: Less distance but a good pace for 6k, w/ 3k at MP.
Legs felt ok. Against wind coming back.
Time: 4:00
Temp: 15C/59F (not 19! LA is presently very hot! Well, the race starts at 7:20am, so should be ok).

Total for week (inc. Monday): 79k/49mi. 6:40
LA Marathon is next Sunday, leaving tomorrow. Next post will be a post-marathon post.
I should be ready. Even bought a new watch, in case my old watch quits the day before the race (does anyone except Susan Griffin and I worry about this?).
By the way, the LA Marathon sold out: 25,000. My number is 732!

March 7, 2010

Tapering...a Bit

Week of Mar. 1 ~ 7
Slight taper the last 3 days, although the mileage was higher than last week! (114.4km)
LA Marathon is on the 21st. Basically decided that two weeks is enough of a taper.

Had a light dinner and drank too much beer at the party last night after the Tokyo Marathon, so did not eat much breakfast and lunch, so lost 1kg. Good!

20k @4:46 1:35:31
25:54/24:32/23:22/22:41 @4:59/54/40/33
Felt good after 2k warmup. Legs felt fine. Planned to come back faster than out.
Time: 3:00
Temp: 7C/45F, humidity 70% (sunny, dry weather is mostly gone, lots of cloudy, rainy weather)
Weight: 60kg
Shoes: 240g
AM - weights and core at gym

11:00 - 12k @5:38
7:30 - 8.4k 6 x 1000m in 4:19/3:57/4:01/00/02/00 (200m jog after each, total time 6:30)
Legs felt ok, 4:00 pace felt fine.

20k @5:00 1:40:10
Felt ok after 3k warmup. Had to hold back on 3rd 5k to avoid running @4:40.

15k. 5k warmup @5:21 10k MP in 42:48
Felt so-so on warmup, stretched, felt good on 10k. Trying to run faster than MP (Pete McGill: train faster than goal pace), but pace did not feel hard.
Time: 4:00
Temp: 17C/63F (suddenly one nice day)
Weight: 59.6kg
Shoes: 220g
11:00 - weights and core at gym

15k @5:17

24k @4:54 1:56:41
25:33/25:06/23:48/23:48/18:23 @5:06/01/4:45/45/36 Last k 4:24
Felt good, but legs tiring last 6k. Also due to cold, rain and wind. Legs got cold and hands were freezing. Coldest I've been on a run in a long time.
Time: 3:00
Temp: 6C/43F Rain and wind made it much colder. Two pairs of gloves had no effect.
Weight: 60.7kg (?) No dessert!

Total for week: 114.4km (71mi.)
Fri, Sat, Sun ran 15/15/24 instead of 20/20/30 (or thereabouts) so that is the start of a taper. Sunday was the last really hard run until the marathon. Next week 80-85k.

March 1, 2010

Good 5k and MP Run

Less mileage than I wanted, but had two good runs.


20k @5:24
Thought I might not be 100% recovered from the hard 35k on Sunday, and I was right. Knees and quads got progressively sore the last 5k.
11:00 - weights and abs in the gym

12:00 - 12k @5:33 Legs stiff, took it easy.
7:30 - 8k with 5,000m time trial on the track.
18:38 3:53/41/43/43/38 (15 seconds faster than last month)
After I took the first k out too slow, Fabrizio and I got into a good pace. Felt better the last 3k then the first 2. Strong to the end, last 400 in 83. A good run.
A bit chilly, not cold. Wore shorts and no-sleeve top.
Weight: 60kg
Shoes: 220g Nike Cage

20k @5:27
Quads a bit sore.

10k @5:42
Legs heavy, could not move. Had time for 15k, but cut it short.
Legs tired, very windy, quite warm (long-slv shirt was too hot) and too soon after breakfast!

24k. 5k @5:24, 4k @5:01 15k @4:20
Ran in the morning to beat the rain. Felt so-so. Legs ok but definitely not fresh. Not cruising, had to focus on the pace. But a good marathon pace run.
Time: 11:30
Temp: 14C/57F
Weight: 61kg
Shoes: 220g

15k @5:17
3x around Imperial Palace after cheering for Nambanners at the Tokyo Marathon, which was cold (3C) and hard rain. Miserable! But the sun came out in the afternoon.

Total for week: 109km (68 mi.) 9:26