November 20, 2016

Successful Half in 1:33:52, 6th Place

Week of Nov. 14 ~ 15

Not a training week, a tapering week for the Half on Sunday.

Monday & Tuesday — rest after the 17k of hills on Sunday. Quads sore!

Wednesday - 12k with 1000 x 5 and 500 x 2 easy - 5:00/k pace. Quads still sore.

Thursday — 40 minutes easy. Quads seem ok but legs still tired.

Friday & Saturday — rest

Toda Half Marathon in Saitama prefecture, just a little north of Tokyo.
My favorite race, nice course twice around a lake, flat except for two small hills (x2).
Weather was good, about 18C/64F, sunny. One of those days where it's warm in the sun and cool/chilly in the shade - perfect for running. There was a slight wind, against or behind depending on where you were on the course, but not much of a factor.
My plan (hope) was to run under 1:35. That required kilometers of 4:30, which would be 1:34:56. So I wanted to pick up the last 6k, if possible, to be sure of getting under it. In previous years I have done that on this course, so I was hoping that I would be mentally prepared and physically capable of doing it again.

All went according to plan, as my 5k splits were:
22:31 (4:25/29/36/28/32)
22:31 (4:31/26/25/32/38)
22:22 (4:23/30/34/24/29)
21:50 (4:20/20/17/20/32) (seemed like the 10k and 20k mats were a bit wrong)
Last km 4:15, last 0.1km 0:25

I had guys to run with most of the way, and when I didn't there were people ahead to chase (about 2,500 in the race - there was also a 10K with 1,500 and a 5K with 1,000).

By the way, another goal was to finish in the top 6 in the 60s age group - top 6 get prizes.
So an added incentive the last 6k was that I could see (there are several switchbacks that made this possible) two guys 50m and 100m ahead who looked like being in the 60s age group, so I wanted to pass them...which I did, between 16 and 17k.
Then with 2k to go, I noticed another guy ahead so pushed the aching legs to try to catch him. Halved the distance, but couldn't get him. Fortunately, he finished 5th and I was 6th.

So the last 2k was a bit tough, but all in all I felt good and ran a good race.
The prize was a towel...but a nice towel.
I'm pretty sure I can go faster with more training aimed at the Half distance, so I'll try to run another one next April (no winter races for me). I ran 1:28:27 just 3 years ago....
And by the way, I have the second fastest time at this race for the 60s age group - a 1:23:15 when I was 60.
Did I say 60? Wait, I just turned 40....

November 13, 2016

Another Good Week-Ending run

Week of Nov. 7 ~ 13

68.7km / 42.7 mi.    7:09 running time

Two days rest after the Half effort on Sunday.

Club workout - 2000m x 3. Total 12.2k
Started ok, but legs felt very tired, so slowed. 2nd and 3rd quads were sore, so took it very easy.

70 minutes very easy.

80 minutes, at a decent pace coming back.
Also a gym workout.
11C, slight rain

90 minutes very easy.

17.4k trail run (123 minutes) with 10 other people on my favorite Ome trail.
A bear has been sighted out there recently, so the hikers (of which there are not many) all had bells, but he/she didn't show.
This is the trail with constant up/down and a large number of very steep places, where you step up rocks and roots - very good for the leg muscles. We went out at a very easy pace, and picked up a bit coming back. About I guess 2.7k from the end is a spot where I always used to go hard, so muscle memory kicked in and I kicked in to the end. It's rolling up/downs, with a long downhill to the finish. I used to run that stretch (5 years and more ago) in around 11:00 on my fast days, and today did 12:19, which was pretty good on tired legs.
So a good workout, which together with last Sunday's tempo-paced Half, should hold me in good stead for the Half next Sunday. Serious tapering this week!

November 6, 2016

Nice Half Marathon Tempo Run

Week of Oct. 31 ~ Nov. 6

79.3km / 49.3 mi.  7:38 running time

109 mins. (17k), split up into three parts, middle part easy with HS girls team.

Rest day; gym workout

Club workout 1000m x 6 in Yoyogi Park.
Felt pretty good, had another guy to run with on each one.
Planned to kick the last 500m and did.
11C/52F, 75%, chilly

Same as Monday, with 10 mins. pickup in the middle 6k with the girls.

Gym workout and then 80mins easy run. Legs feeling tired.

Rest for Half tempo run tomorrow.

Namban Rengo 10K/Half and BBQ. We had almost 100 people (inc. kids) come out to the Tama riverside for some serious racing (?) and some serious eating and drinking (!).
I had planned on doing 10K, but realized that a Half at tempo pace would be good training, and a good test, two weeks before my Half race. Was thinking of doing about a 4:45/k pace, and clubmate Yuichi planned the same as a training run for his marathon in two weeks, so we stuck together for 15K at 4:50 pace, which we settled into naturally. The course was 5k out and back (extra 1.1k after 10k) and the wind was with us going out, which you don't notice, and against us coming back, which we did notice, as it was damn strong. Time was 1:43:17, with about 40 seconds water breaks. 5k splits were 24:00/24:18/24:03/24:26 (plus the 1.1k extra), so it was a good effort. Legs were getting a bit tired and tight the last few k, but had no problems.
Now to see if I can get under 1:35 for the Half on Nov. 20. I don't consider that a great time, but I also don't think I'm really in half marathon shape.