Saturday, February 25, 2012

Race Report: 30th Annual Almond Blossom Run

Today's plan called for an (8K) run in Ripon, CA. 

Almond Blossom Run: Dist: (8k), or (4.99)mi. Pace-avg: (14:44). Speed-avg: (4.1)mph. Speed-max: (5.6)mph. Burned: (557) Calories.

I was able to register the same day this morning. I printed out my waiver form and signed it ahead of time, and even had the foresight to write out a check before I left the house. :-) I found the location, Mavis Stouffer Park, without any trouble and was even able to find a spot on the street to park. I knew the weather was going to be crappy: heavy winds and low temperatures, but sunny and clear, otherwise.

Sunny and clear, but very windy and cold.

The (8K) run was good. The (1) Mile run was held before the (8K) so we all stood around shivering after we registered and got our race numbers.

Shivering to keep warm before the race.

The bibs had a disposable timing element attached on the back. I was very happy that electronic timing was featured in this event. [My last "race," in Riverbank did not use timing chips and so my run time was inaccurate, even after I requested a correction and supplied photographic evidence of me crossing the finish line with the timing clock right above my head.]

Knowing the weather conditions ahead of time I made sure to dress appropriately:

Nike L/S shirt as base-layer, Gore-Tex Windstopper jacket, Saucony running vest (for visibility), Nike compression shorts under Nike running pants; Mizuno Thermo beanie to keep my head warm, and an UnderArmour balaclava to keep some of the windchill off my neck and cheeks (I put that on just before the race start). 

In any event, the race started just after 0900 hrs. and off we went! I didn't take any photos during the race, partly because I stuffed the camera back in a vest pocket (which requires two hands to open on the run) and partly because I was wearing my Specialized winter cycling gloves to keep my hands warm, and that just makes a fumble-on-the-run that much easier.

The race was primarily on well-paved suburban streets, then it took a turn out into the country on paved country roads, and then back into the starting neighborhood. I started out fast, which was unfortunate, but I had discovered during my prep that my iPod shuffle was stone dead, so I had no music to help me set a decent pace: It was just me and my Garmin. *sigh*

I made the best of it and kept moving forward. I did have to stop and walk at least twice during the race: once during Mile (1) to Mile (2) for about (0.10) miles, and again on the inbound leg on the country road for about (0.19) miles. At some point during the first two miles my right outer knee started feeling tight and I made an effort to keep running through the discomfort. During my second walking phase I tried to stretch my legs a little, and see if that knot in my knee would work out a bit, with some lunges on the move; it didn't really help.

Weaving back in through the residential 'burbs was a fairly isolated experience, much like the race in Riverbank: I was the only runner I could see for a couple of blocks. The nearest runners appeared to be maybe a quarter mile behind me. Once I was back on the road where we started out I saw quite a few runners already heading out to their cars to leave. And once back onto the entry lane into Mavis Stouffer Park, I picked up the pace to sprint as quickly as I could into the finishing chute! Yes! I was finished, and once again I was not drop-dead last across the finishing line. Woo-hoo! B-)

Looking at the timer over the finishing chute I saw a time of (1:13:xx)hrs. I just checked the ShadowChase site and found my official finishing time was (1:08:29.0)hrs. My AG finish was (35) out of (37), and my overall finish was (272) out of (281).

Once I caught my breath and handed over my timing tag to the timing staff I headed over to the picnic tables to grab some OJ and a couple pieces of chocolate chip muffin and plain bagel. During the awards ceremony I made sure to stretch out so my legs wouldn't be too stiff later in the day. I finished my cool-down stretching just about the time the awards ceremony concluded. What timing. On my way out of the park I grabbed some more water and headed to my car.

This run could definitely have been much better: I could have charged up my iPod ahead of time, I could have gotten more sleep, and I could have made sure I was better hydrated beforehand in an effort to make sure I used the restroom before starting the race. Considering these "handicaps" I did alright.

Splits: Mile (1): (12:15); Mile (2): (14:12); Mile (3): (15:12); Mile (4): (16:51); Mile (5): (15:13).

Notice the top graph, Speed, which shows me starting out way too fast, but also picking up the pace at the end.

Thanks to all the race support staff, including the Ripon Police Department and the Ripon Fire Department, looking out for the runners and keeping us safe.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Easy Run Tuesday

Today's plan calls for an Easy Run. 

DC Bike Path: 1/2 Marathon Training, Easy Run. Dist: (7.00)mi. Pace-avg: (15:39). Speed-avg: (3.8)mph. Speed-max: (5.0)mph. Burned: (721) Calories. Headlight. 

Plan: Run (5.0)mi. @ a (17:46) pace for a total time of (1:28:53)hrs.
Actual: Run/walk (5.0)mi., bracketed by a (1.0)mi. warm-up walk, and a (1.0)mi. cool-down walk.
Fuel: Pre-run: Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews (Orange Blossom); Mid-run: (water); Post-run: Dinner! Chicken and pasta.

Terrific run tonight! I ran (4.0) continuous miles, then walked the rest. This is a recovery week with Easy Runs only on the schedule, though I intend to run in an 10K 8k this weekend. I just need to find the details again, then register.

Other News: My new Hi-Tec hiking boots have arrived! I am looking forward to breaking them in. They are a size (13), which is a full size larger than I wear, but my size (12) Hi-Tecs from last year were at least a half-size too small which I discovered during the Yosemite hike, and not before. I wore them around the house and around town, but that was not enough to point out the trouble spots ahead of time.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Gym Rat Monday

I skipped out on my Sunday Long Run. I just didn't feel the energy. I ended up dozing off and on most of the day. To make up for this slack, I went to the gym today to use the treadmill and do some weight-training with my legs. It went pretty well:

MCR: LifeFitnessTreadmill: Dist: (2.17)mi. Speed-max: (5.5)mph. Duration: (32:58.97). Burned: (320) Calories.
LifeFitness "Stairmaster": Dist: (0.70)mi. Burned: (90) Calories. Program: (Pike's Peak, Level (1), Duration: (15)min.
LifeFitness Elliptical X-Trainer: Dist: (1.17)mi. Burned: (90) Calories. Duration: (18)min.
Seated Leg Extensions: 3x (30) reps. @ (50) lbs.;
Seated Leg Curls: 1x (30) reps @ (50) lbs.; 1x (30) reps. @ (70) lbs.; 1x (20) reps @ (90) lbs.;
Seated Leg Press: 2x (30) reps. @ (130) lbs., 1x (20) reps @ (130) lbs.;
Calf Raises: 3x (15) reps @ (60) lbs. Toes straight, Toes pointed in, Toes pointed out.

Today's bonus: No faintness during the use of the StairMaster. Yay.