Running Race Journal 2016
I started running in 2009, May to be exact. I was walking around a popular lake in Seattle Washington called Green Lake and noticed many people running. For the most part they looked fit and happy, with the occasional person looking like they were serving some sort of penance. But the happy runners outnumbered the sloggers by quite a margin. I thought to myself I could do that!
Deciding to see what it was like for myself I went back the next day and started running around the lake. I made it about 20 seconds in before I felt like I was dying. That's when I caught the bug and told myself I am going to be able to run like these other people come hell or high water.
One of the main problems I was having as a novice runner is that I smoked, a lot, a pack a day. If you didn't know, smoking does not make running easier.
I started running every day even while I continued to smoke. And although I was slow my endurance kept growing. A month into my new running habit, I ran my first 5K, a hilly endeavor that I ended up finishing in 31 minutes and change.
Six months into my running career I tackled my first marathon, a 5 hour and 22 minute slog fest through the Seattle Marathon in 2009. That's the experience that finally helped me put down the cigarettes for good and after that running became much easier. 10 minute miles all of a sudden turned into 9 minute miles without the black lungs of a smoker.
I went on to run two more marathons with my best being 4 hours and 27 minutes. And countless half marathons, most run under 2 hours.
But the 5K remains my true test of fitness. The short, quick race really tests your fitness level in 3 miles of masochistic pain. My best time ever was 21:59 but I was younger and skinnier then.
Which brings me to my current goal of attempting to break 23 minutes this year in a 5K race.
Where I Am At Now
I'm 44 years old, weigh in between 170 and 172 pounds depending on how much ice cream I've eaten lately.
I run anywhere between 10 and 20 miles per week and work out most days, if not running then doing the elliptical and/or bike.
On 5/7/16 I ran the Haggen to Haggen race in Bellingham, WA in a time of 23:27. Although this is a good time for me and not that far off from my goal of getting under 23 minutes, the Haggen to Haggen is a very fast course, with the last two miles being slightly down hill. Basically I have some work to do if I want to break 23 minutes anytime soon unless I can find a race that is all down hill with a constant wind to my back.
My short term plan is to start running more now that we are heading into good weather. Also I plan on running a few 10K's and a half marathon to get fitter. Maybe even ease up on the Chip's Ahoy a bit at midnight while watching the Syfi channel would be a good idea too!
Arlington Walk and Roll 10K
Date: May 14, 2016 10AM
This is a small race on a fast course that takes place on a interurban bike trail. There were not many people running the 10K so for a brief minute I thought I might have a shot at winning my first 10K!
However, there was a 15 year old who ran with me the whole time and was barely breathing hard. It was clear he was going to be the winner. I did take second though! It was a small race but I'll take what I can get.
I felt good most of the way but was running out of gas the last two miles. Likely due to a lack of long runs.
I did do more running this week. Mostly due to getting a fitbit for my birthday. I have been doing step challenges with friends and in my attempt to win said challenges I have been motivated to run more than usual. For example, last night I ran a 5 miler at 7PM to get some serious steps in and take down the challenge. Odd how something like a challenge among friends can get the competitive juices going and motivate you to do more than you would on your own. I would say the fitbit is quite the invention and boon to people's health. Getting you steps in each day becomes oddly addicting.
The plan for tomorrow is a quasi long run, between 5-9 miles depending on the weather and how I feel.
Arlington Runners Club, Ludlow my dog finishing
Arlington Runner's Scholarship 5K
Finish Time: 23.35
Rainy wet day but fairly warm at 55 degrees. This race was at the Arlington Airport, some trail and some pavement. Two problems with this race, first I was cold due to the rain so ran in a sweatshirt and overheated a bit in the latter part of the race, secondly I started out too slow and in too far back in the pack. I expended a lot of time and energy working my way around slow runners until I finally worked my way through and hit my stride.
That said, it my help me being forced to start slower as I felt pretty good at the end. I still don't feel like I am in good enough shape to push myself below 23 minutes yet. It will likely take to the summer to reach that goal.
Next week I will be running a 15K, the focus will be to see if I can run my sub 2 hour half marathon pace of 9 minute miles, so I will aiming for a time of 1 hour 25 minutes. The hope is running some longer races will increase my endurance and fitness to run a faster 5K later in the season.
I ran the 15K at the Magnuson Race series in Seattle. This is a monthly race at Magnuson Park in Seattle. They offer distances of 5K through 15K and occasionally even the half marathon distance.
The cost was $29 with no shirt. The course is three loops around the 5K course. It's a fun course with one minor hill. The races are held on Saturdays so there are many soccer games and ultimate Frisbee games going on throughout the park; something to watch while running by to keep the mind occupied.
My goal was to run the course at my half marathon pace, 9 minute miles. I ended up running the 15K in 1 hour and 19 minutes which was better than expected and a 8 minute 28 second pace per mile. I was happy with the result and feel like I could go out and run a sub 2 hour half. I assume running long distances increases my endurance and should help me improve in the 5K distance. It feels like I have an easier time in the 5K distance when I have a couple of half's under my belt. I did not do many, if any long runs during the winter months and definitely noticed I was fading at the end of my last couple of 5K's so the long runs do seem to have an impact on my performance.
On a side note, I went to Road Runner Sports to use a gift card I had on a new pair of shoes. Holy hell, it was like buying a car, they threw me on this machine to test my stride and arches etc. and of course determined I needed a $70 pair of inserts. This they said would take care of any aches and pains I get from running. The problem is, knock on wood, I don't get aches and pains from running and have always bought running shoes with no rhyme or reason, typically off the internet without even trying them on. And no problems. And no inserts. Sorry, I am venting, just seems like a scam. I can't imaging anyone jogs on one of their machines for a minute and is told, oh you're fine, you don't need any expensive inserts. I am pretty sure they tell every single customer they need inserts or they will injure themselves running. Needless to say, I bought some shoes and let them keep their overpriced and in my opinion completely unnecessary inserts. Ok, end of rant.
Other than the hard sell approach at the shoe store I had a great race experience. My girlfriend and I drove down Friday night, ate at our favorite sushi restaurant in West Seattle, Mishiko's and stayed in a 4 star hotel in the shopping district I got for $100 bucks on Priceline. By staying in Seattle we were only about 15 minutes from the start in the morning. The race went off without a hitch and I felt good while running. It feels like, slowly but surely I am starting to get in better running shape as we head into summer.
Dog Island 10K June 4, 2016
This is the third time I have run this 10K. The races takes place on small island called Guemes off of Anacortes, Washington. There is a small ferry from Anacortes that costs $4 which covers over and back trips.
The race is to raise money for the Guemes Island library and there are about 100 participants. The course is scenic but quite hilly. I ran it in 52:43 which I was happy with as it was a warm day and there are three signifigant hills to overcome.
The first mile I a fellow runner started chatting with me. It was his first 10K and he is primarily a biker not a runner, however he ran cross country and high school and was in good shape so didn't really slow me down. I walked the second hill a bit as he had to duck into the woods for a quick pee. I ran with him until mile 5 where I ended up pulling away a bit at the end. It was nice having someone to chat with during the race and it made the time go by rather quickly.
I knew going in, given it was a tough course that I would not be too concerned with the time and simply consider it a training run. Next up is the Camano Island Crab Dash 10K on my home turf. Like the race I ran today it's a hilly one. My hope is that pushing myself a bit in these hilly 10Ks will help me run a strong 5K on a flatter course to break 23.
Camano Island Crab Dash June 11th 2016
This is my home course 10K only a 10 minute drive from my house. I ran in it in 51:28 which I am please with as it's hiiillllly. There are a couple of huge hills, I ran some, walked others. Given I walked a bit I am happy with my time. I feel like I am in shape enough to break 50 minutes in a flatter 10K.
Next week is the Berry Days Half Marathon. I will be trying to break 2 hours in this race. My endurance has been good so I am hopeful I can accomplish this.
Last week I twisted my ankle bad, it got very swollen but it better now. Still a little swollen and achy when I first get up in the morning but should be at 100% by next weekend when I run the half.
Sticking with the plan of running longer races and then shooting for a fast 5K once my stamina is up.
Berry Days Half Marathon June 18th 1:55:03
A rainy day. Felt slightly nauseous most of the race but made it through. I used the map my run app which kept me on pace well with the goal of breaking 2 hours.
In the past there has been a stretch along the river that was an ankle buster with large rocks all over the trail. This has been greatly improved this year, it looks like the city smoothed and laid down some gravel to make the path more user friendly. The improved trail made this race much better than in the past and likely improved my time by at least a few minutes.
The race ends on the parade route of the Berry Day's festival, with rain coming down in torrents the crowd was thin but still a fun way to end a race.
Yankee Doodle Dash July 4th 48:45
Good race, always run this well, likely as it's a favorable course with some nice downhills and minimal uphills.
I have run this race several times and this is the first year the weather has been overcast.
The race again ends on the parade route and makes for a fun finish with the parade goers cheering on the finishers as they await the start of the parade.
Missoula Marathon Half Marathon July 9th
We took a road trip to Montana which is a state I had not visited yet.
This race was listed as a top 10 half marathon in Runner's World. It did not disappoint, it was very well organized with a great route ending across a bridge in downtown Missoula.
We stopped on the way over in Spokane which made for an easy road trip. It's about a 8 hour straight shot which we did on the way home. Pretty drive with some great scenery.
The race itself starts at 6AM with fireworks! We did a method of shooting for 11 minute miles, so we walked at each mile marker until the time hit 11 minutes. By doing this we banked some serious time, often being able to walk for 4 minutes at a time. It made the race very pleasant to run. At mile 10 we pushed on to the finish with minimal walk breaks and came in under 2:20.
We got lucky with the weather being overcast. The one drawback of the race could be heat in a normal year with a warmer day.
We will definitely be back to run this one again. Even got to see Jeff Galloway of the run walk method fame. His book is what made me convinced even I could finish a marathon leading me to complete my first one in Seattle in 2009. He is way skinnier than I expected, maybe from all that run walking he does!
The only thing I would change next time, is to come prepared to run the free 5K on Friday that goes through the University of Montana campus and to also sign up for the 5K on Saturday.
Great trip, can't wait to go back!
Magnuson 10K 48:33 7/17/16
Went out too fast completing the first loop in 23 and change which made the second loop a slog. The goal was to break 50 but it felt much harder than it should have been I feel. All in all a good race thought.
Afterwards Becca and I biked to the Bite of Seattle, at the Space Needle. About a 7 mile bike ride mostly on the Burke Gilman trail. Was pleasantly surprised how bike friendly the entire route was. Even the parts of the ride off the trail onto Dexter Ave and Mercer street have very generous bike lanes. I was amazed how easy it is to get around the city on a bike. Odd that a large city is more accommodating to biking than the small island community I live in.
The Bite of Seattle was a great time with hundreds of food vendors and live bands on a stage near the Seattle Fountain. We shared some Afghan food, a traditional Bratwurst and finished it off with some Ben & Jerry's, all guilt free given out 10K run and 14 mile round trip bike ride.
It ended up being a very active day with us getting over 27K steps in our weekend fitbit challenge. No races on the docket next weekend.
Stay tuned for upcoming race and training reports regarding my progress or lack thereof regarding running a 5K in less than 23 minutes.
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