Race Report - Kansas City Half Marathon

Posted over 9 years ago

I decided to run the Kansas City Marathon for a few reasons:

  • It's for a good cause - leukemia and lymphoma research
  • I've been wanting to run a marathon for quite some time
  • The run would be in the fall hence a likelihood of good weather (meaning a bit cooler)
  • It would be near home so would have family support

Well, things being the way they are, I got busy over the summer and didn't get as much training in as I wanted. So, with a 12 mile training run three weeks before the race under my belt (note NOT a 20 mile run) I changed my registration to the half marathon.

I felt I was in good shape. I'd run the Dawg Dash 5k the week before with a good (for me) time. I'd run the Seafair Half Marathon earlier in the summer 14 minutes faster than my previous half (Seattle Half Marathon). So, I felt good about running a time competitive with the Seafair half - I was shooting for 1:45 or better.

The run started early - 7:00am - thus assuring that we'd be running under cooler conditions. Two weeks previous the Chicago Marathon had been stopped due to excessive heat so this was welcome.

The race started at Crown Center where the Hospital Hill run also starts. The marathon reportedly had a record number of entrants and it was apparent. For some reason the marathon runners and half runners started at the same time which bogged up the start of the run as well as the first six miles of the course.

For Kansas the course is quite hilly (in fairness the run is in Missouri) with the hardest hill coming in the first three miles. Being from Seattle the hills didn't seem to pose much threat and indeed I felt pretty good as I ran up to the War Memorial and down toward Westport.

The trouble began while running through the plaza. I'd been fighting the urge to hit the port-a-potties but nature took over. By that point I'd felt my legs fighting me and I could not figure out why. As I slowed down considerably it hit me - I'd spent Thursday walking around the University of Kansas campus for over five hours!

(Again, before you start laughing KU is quite hilly)

Morale of the story - don't walk around a hilly area two days before a big run. And certainly not for five hours. Wearing flip flops was probably a poor idea as well. Duh.

Let's just say the last six miles were brutal. I ran the first seven miles around one hour (at six miles I was still on a 1:50 pace) and the last six in 1:08. Fortunately there are no hills to speak of in these last miles but I counted every step. I forced myself to run (except through water stops where I felt the co-ordination needed to run and drink would be....well, would it would be challenging to pull this off in my condition) all the way in. And there was no mustering a show of strength as I came through the finishing chute.

The finishing area was crowded as hell - in fact it was not laid out very well and there was a shortage of volunteers at the finish to herd runners along. It was tough to get through lines and to find your supporters. But, there was a Boulevard Beer stand which made me happy.

All-in-all I learned a few things. Rest before a big run is critical. You can run when you're in dire pain. And a cold one after the run can take your pain away pretty quickly.

Race Report - UW Dawg Dash

Posted over 9 years ago

This was my 2nd Dawg Dash. This year I decided to run the 5k as I was running the Kansas City Half the next weekend. Two years ago I did the 10k as my first race in nearly a decade and finished in 1:03.

The start of this thing is always a madhouse. One thing I like is that it starts and ends in Husky Stadium which makes you feel like a track star. You also get to run around campus which is hilly as hell but the band hangs out near the fountain which is good fun.

You also get to run with every co-ed that has ever put on a pair of running shoes. And a bunch of people that like running with their dogs. So, with the spirit that this is a fun run I feel slightly bad for how I felt during the start of the run which was "if you're going to run 11 minute miles DON'T START AT THE FRONT OF THE RACE!!!!" For as many 5k's as I've done over the past couple of years I felt like I was just far enough back to run comfortable 7:30 miles. However, I literally ran right into the back of some girl who cut right in front of me due to some serious confusion at the front of the pack.

So, most of this was due to poor planning, and in fairness a lot of these "fun runners" had no idea they should not be standing at the front. And in fairness I should have recognized the shiny runners with their race-day T-Shirts on (you can pick these people out just like at a rock concert) and scooted further up to the starting line. BUT, the race organization was pretty poor. There were no instructions to have people move back if they were running slower or with dogs (some poor woman started at the front wearing what looked like a rain jacket and nearly got herself and her two terriers run over). The starting chute was also more narrow than the track itself so you had too many runners trying to fill a space not designed for them.

Once on the road you run around the stadium and up through campus. And I mean up. At least you get to run down. I ended up running ok and beat a guy to the line 1o years my junior (take that Gen Y!). 23:53 - not stellar but not bad for training for a half marathon v. a shorter run.

Will I run this race again? Only if I can run a sub-20 5k next year.

My First Good Run!

Posted over 11 years ago

Tonight I ventured back to Seward Park for the 2.4 mile loop. I also incorporated RunningStrides with is a concept from Chris Carmichael's TrainRight website (I have no idea if they came up with this or not). Essentially you warm up (I generally do three minutes of walking/jogging) and then do a number of repititions of 100m runs at 5k pace with a one minute rest in between.

The goal as I understand it is to get your system to start the lactic acid cleansing response (lactic acid is the byproduct of anaerobic exercise - it is what makes your musceles feel "full" as you increase exertion). Your body can transport away a certain amount of lactic acid as you exercise (if you are "more aerobic" you are working "with oxygen" and therefore producing less lactic - if you are "more anaerobic" you are working "without oxygen" and producing more lactate). There is a point where you are working anaerobically enough that you begin to produce more lactic acid than your body can transport - this is the anaerobic threshold.

This may or may not have done the trick (one would think 3-4 weeks of consistent training is finally paying off) but I did a great run and felt good for the first time this year running. Based on my time I did about a 10 minute pace which is still awfully slow (I used to be a seven minute miler).

The takeaway is that I'm starting to see good results. We'll see how things progress over the next couple of weeks.

Running Tour

Posted over 11 years ago

This weekend was good for getting outdoors. Friday was disappointing as the Yankees lost a heartbreaker of a game (they came back after being down 5-0 to be up 6-5 only to lose 11-7). After the game I did a little indoor running on the treadmill - still at a slow pace but I put a little incline into it.

A short aside - before running I discovered that the exercise room (extra bedroom on the upper floor - treadmill and bike training stand are here) DVD player was brokeen. Not recognizing discs. The good news is that I spent maybe $60 on this one so no big loss. The bad news is I need to replace it because Friday night comedy is just not where it's at. Take the show I struggled through - Hot Properties.

Three gals own a real estate business but sit around talking about their sex lives (Gail O'Grady is dating/engaged to someone 17 years younger and has lied about her age, Nicole Sullivan is the desperate "can't get a date" addition, and the Latin actress is divorced from a gay man and has no "gadar" - good stuff). This must have been the pilot - another woman shows up looking for a place for her and her fiance (oh, this happens in NYC) and confesses to these women she's never met that she's a virgin - they of course cannot keep a straight face (good for business I've learned). Hilarity ensues when we discover that two of the gals have slept with the previously believed virgin fiance. Ultimately the woman dumps the dude since he's been lying and looks like she's joining the firm (after one of the gals was found making out with him...). Great stuff!

OK, that was not so short but I need my DVD player if I'm going to run/ride indoors.

Anyway - I got in a bit more than 1/2 hour run at a nice brisk pace.

Saturday - the plan was to get on the road early on the Mountain Bike that I've been refitting as a commuter bike (see "soon to come" previous post). I got my fenders installed and got out on the road. Maybe 5 minutes in I realize a weird noise coming from the front tire. I stop. It blows.

Let me back up 10 minutes which is when I was looking for my portable pump in the garage. Normally I carry air canisters (CO2) in order to quickly inflate if I have a flat but that's on my road bike which is at the repair shop. So, no air. No pump. I'm walking back home. The good ol' walk of shame.

Back home I'm barely warmed up so I head down to Seward Park for a nice run. Seward is close enough that I've run there (four miles) and I ride through there all the time as Lake Washington Blvd is a bike-friendly road that takes up ultimately up to the Burke Gilman Trail on your way around Lake Washington. The path around Seward Park is about 2.5 miles.

Afterwards I drove out to Sammamish Valley Cycle to pick up my road bike which was in for the annual tune up. Good to know that I can fit the bike in the extended cab of my truck! Great folks out there - buy a bike and get free lifetime tuneups! Oh, I also bought some new tubes (wonder why). I did put road tires on the MTN bike and may have gotten too big tubes - we'll see how these work.

Saturday night I got on the bike at home (on the trainer) for a little active recovery. Active recovery is basically working out only hard enough to get your heart rate up - not enough to tax you but enough to get blood moving through your muscles to move the bad stuff away (this is the lay explanation).

Sunday was a quick run down through Dead Horse Canyon. I described this in an earlier post.

All in all a good weekend - a nice diversion through Seward versus my usual haunts. I think I need to continue to explore other parks in the Seattle area for running. Anyone have any ideas?

The Circle Loop Adventures Continue

Posted over 11 years ago

Chris and I continue to run after work around the Downtown Bellevue Park. Last night we came to the conclusion that the long road to fitness is paved with sore legs. Right now we're reconditioning our legs to take endurance running rather than stressing our cardio system. Then again, neither of us are doctors nor personal trainers so we might be blowing smoke.

Tonight I am going to tackle Green Lake. This will be good as I used to live in this area and it's a great outdoor area in Seattle. It's also a different path than I've been on recently. It's a nice rolling 3.2 mile loop.

That's all for now - bicycle adventures will be the next post.

More Running

Posted almost 12 years ago

Just a short entry to keep my spirits up. This week I was pretty good - ran twice during the week. Tuesday I ran for an hour on the treadmill (no stopping!). Really needed it that night as it's the night of the marathon phone calls with India - four hours worth that night.

Thursday Chris Holtz and I ran from work down to a local park in Bellevue (aptly named the Bellevue Downtown Park). It's a nice park - gravel and about 1/2 mile for the loop and lots of people out walking and running. It might work to drive next time - the run down and back is on concrete and a bit hilly. The run itself was a bit rough - I think I did a bit much with the hour run and so my calves were a bit sore. I feel pretty good today on rest so it should just be a matter of reconditioning the joints to run that type of distance and time.

The good news is Chris and I both agree that we should do this regularly - hopefully a coupe of times a week.

More progress later.

One interesting article is on how chocolate milk may be as good or better than sports recovery drinks. This is pretty interesting - current thinking is that a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein helps refuel and recovery. The good news is that milk is cheaper and tastes pretty darned good.