Sunday, January 26, 2014

LLS Big D Climb

Saturday was my first stair race of the year, the 52-story Big D Climb benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This event had over 1100 participants (much more than my last Dallas climb), including quite a few uniformed police and fire fighters. There were about a dozen climbers in the "elite" wave (notably Norbert Lechner from Austria), plus some really fast folks among the rest of the field. I may not have had my best race ever, but I was able to finish in the top 10 with a time of 7:51.

Monday, January 20, 2014

3M Half Marathon

Sunday was my fourth straight 3M Half Marathon. While I didn't go as fast as last year, I really had no intention to do so. While my run didn't go exactly according to plan, I did hit my goal time of 1:45. My plan had been to run an even 8-minute mile pace, but I wound up going quicker for the first half than the second, contrary to what I (or certainly my coach) would have liked.

The weather was just about perfect, about 40 degrees, low wind from the north (for a tail wind most of the way). I waited as long as I could to take off my sweatpants and jacket and drop them off. I was a little cold before the start (not nearly as cold as the 30K two weeks prior), but warmed up quickly; I took my cap off about a mile in, my gloves another couple miles after that. At the end my long-sleeve t-shirt was soaked in sweat.

I started pretty close to the 1:45 pacers, but didn't really intend to stick with them. People generally seemed to have seeded themselves appropriately- there weren't too many slower runners to dodge. The adrenaline of a race, especially one with a field this large (5000+), often causes me to start too fast; passing people compounds that effect. I tried hard to rein myself in mentally, and a 7:47 for the first mile seemed reasonable. I'm not sure what caused me to go 7:33 for the second mile, but when I realized it was too fast I tried to throttle back. The next four miles were around 7:50, closer to my target. Mile four actually probably would have been slower except that a fast friend of mine caught me as she was essentially cheering folks on from "the inside." She wasn't going super fast, just a touch quicker than I was looking for; after a brief chat I fell back and she zipped on ahead. Miles 7 through 9 are where I started struggling with the pace. I was feeling my Achilles and was caught between maintaining pace and slowing way down. I never intended for this to be a real race, the main thing was to not hurt myself. A big enough part of my brain wanted to keep a good pace that I kept on. The last four miles was a fight against The Blerch; my pace was 8:10-8:20 but I always felt ready to throw in the towel and walk the rest of the way.

This race may be so large as to be nearly unwieldy, with its long port-o-pottie lines and huge continuous line of runners, but it is an iconic race and I saw numerous friends before, during (running and cheering), and after, notably the announcer calling names at the finish. It is also well-run, which is critical for a point-to-point race, with bag drops and buses back to the start. I just wish I had thought to put a dry t-shirt in my bag; since mine was soaked I took it off and just put on my jacket, but it was a touch warm for the jacket by the time I finished. I was still sweating a little, but at least I wasn't freezing.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rogue 30K

Sunday I raced in my second 30K, part of the Rogue Distance Festival, which expanded this year to include a half marathon in addition to the 10K and 30K. It was quite a change from last year- the course was quite different, it was earlier in the year, and the weather was about the opposite (cold and windy this time). I went in planning to treat it more as a training run than a race; to that end, even though my time was slower than last year, it felt like a better run. I didn't walk at any point (even though I really wanted to toward the end), and every mile was under 10 minutes. My overall time was 2:45:19, with a split for the first 10K of 55:40. In the "for what it's worth" department, I was 21st in my age group and 154th overall.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Year in Review

I summed up most my highlights of 2013 in a previous post, my annual Holiday Note. I did take a trip to Portland after that, during which I climbed Mt. Hood and visited Crater Lake National Park.

To review how I did against my goals for the year:
  • Improve my full Ironman time. Done 5/18, now 14:48:49 (I also set a half PR)
  • Run a marathon. So/so, 3/9, I set a new PR of 4:35:32, but I wound up walking quite a bit of the second half
  • Climb Denali. Summited 7/5 (still haven't finished a blog post). I also added the Montana, Illinois, and Oregon highpoints, and removed the asterisk from Washington for a grand total of 40 state highpoints.
  • Run a 5k in 18:30. Not even close, but I did lower my PR to 20:30
  • Run a sub-6-minute mile. The closest I came to a real attempt was to run 1500 meters at an all-comers track meet in August; it wasn't too pretty at 5:59. I did knock a couple seconds off my mile PR (as reported by my watch) to 6:08
  • Hit a peak power over 1000 Watts. Done 12/21, peak of 1052 and 1000+ for 5 seconds.
I'm hesitant to set any specific goals for 2014. Of course I want to set new marks for every record I have, but to me that's self-evident. My main goal, really, is to stay healthy, stay energized, stay positive. My schedule is already so full, I don't have much time for anything else. My current 2014 commitments are: Rogue 30k 1/5; 3M half marathon 1/19; Big D stair race 1/25; New Orleans marathon 2/2; Mexico mountain climb 2/15-23; Scale the Strat, the US stair racing championship, 3/2; Enchanted Rock Duathlon 3/30; Galveston 70.3 4/6; Fight for Air Austin stair race 4/26; The Rookie Tri 5/4; Ironman Coeur d'Alene 6/29; Ironman Wisconsin 9/7. I would like to get a few more state highpoints. I really want to try ice climbing. I have a crazy idea for something to do after Ironman Wisconsin. There's a remote chance of bagging another of the 7 summits. Somehow I hadn't realized my parents now live next door to a National Park I've never visited, that's something I definitely want to do.

2013 End-of-Year odometer readings/mileage totals:
  • Fat Boy: 115,486 (980)
  • Night Train: 8,331 (72)
  • Volt: 22,751 (8165)
  • Secteur: 3074 (302)
  • Cervélo P3: 2838 (1333 miles)
  • Cervélo R5 (new addition to the fleet): 85
  • Run: 799.8/29.0 outdoors/treadmill miles.
  • Swim: 12.6/115.0 outdoors/pool miles.
Other random facts from 2013: The longest period between races was 5 weeks. I spent a total of 20+ days at or above 10,000 feet elevation. My swim and bike total mileage were lower than 2012, while my run total was about the same; I attribute that to traveling so much, and that it's a lot easier to run while away from home than it is to bike or run. I lost a big toenail three times; I lost count of how many times I lost one of the others.