Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fools who leave too soon

It's true what they say about fools who leave too soon, they don't ever really move on.
-Mike Kinsella (Owen) in the song "Gazebo"

Four Weeks Until CIM

The California International Marathon is four weeks from today. I'm really hoping to set a significant personal record there. However, to be honest, I'm beginning to doubt my training. I could write endlessly about what I'm struggling with, so to be more concise I'll try to sum up my struggles in a few bullet points.

  • I have no one left in Mammoth to run with. It would really help to have people to push me through difficult intervals, long runs, and even easy 45 minute jogs.
  • I'm doing my runs as early as 5am, several days a week, because that is the only time available to me away from work.
  • Its VERY cold at 7,800 ft at 5am during this time of the year.
  • I have no social life at the moment, and laying in bed on a Saturday night at 7:45pm watching COPS has to be the lowest of the low. I don't mind such sacrifices when it means I'm meeting several friends the next morning for a run and breakfast, but when it means I'm rising at 4:30 to eat a bagel and drink coffee before running 20 miles in 16 degree pre-dawn weather, its not fun.
  • My workouts are inconsistent, and I haven't put together a decent long run in months.
  • My plantar fascia has been very painful. I stretch and ice like crazy trying to keep it manageable.
I'll stop complaining now. The positives are that I've put in more mileage this year than ever before, and in some ways I think I may be similar to a freshman in college who is adjusting to different training from high school, since I got a late start. Its possible that good results will come, but just later than I'd like. Also, big changes are on the way in my life that will improve my career and social lives dramatically. Hopefully, the same can be said for my training as well. More on that in the near future once it has solidified itself.

That's where the title to this post comes from. I think I left Chicago, and my job there, before I should have. Its hard to know for sure, and I hate to carry regret, but time will tell. And I won't lie, a good performance at CIM will probably make me feel differently. I hope I can get there in one piece, and deliver when it counts.

Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon Recap

This race took place two weeks ago in Folsom, CA. I wound up 4th out of 1400 some runners, with a time of 1:17:59.6. A disappointing result, considering I was aiming for a low 1:15. I didn't account for a very difficult 300 ft climb in the last mile, and I made the mistake of trying to stay in the lead (first two miles at 5:20 as a result). I should have definitely run my own race, as opposed to trying to psych two other runners by surging repeatedly, as I think I could have pulled off third, so it was a lesson learned. That being said, if this had been Chicago, and I saw two runners starting the race that I knew were out of my league, I wouldn't have chased them. Little did I know the guy I was leading through the first mile and a half was a participant in the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials. This is a hazard of racing against unknown competitors.

So in summary, I took two things away from the race. Just because its slightly possible for me win local races of this size, its no excuse for poor tactics, and more importantly, my conditioning isn't as strong as I'd hoped it would be.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tioga Pass Run

I raced in the Tioga Pass Run this past Sunday. It marked my second race in six days. Once again, I finished 2nd to Dan Yarbourough. The local news sports anchor seemed to relish talking about how much I had been beaten by Dan once again. People aroudn here know him, but they don't know me. I'm a little frustrated by this, but its up to me to get faster and to give Dan Y a race, something I've been unable to do thus far.

The picture above is from around mile 9. The race is extremely difficult in the sense that it is a constant elevation gain over 12.4 miles (gaining some 3200 ft, almost reaching 10,000). Some years the start can be sunny and warm while the finish is cold and snowy. Luckily, this year was nice the entire way, excpet for a daunting headwind that added to the challenge.

It wasn't my best race, but certainly one of the most beautiful, and one I'll remember for a long time.


Here's a nice video of some of the elites doing repeat 800's in Shady Rest Park. Almost all of my runs pass through this park at some point. The club that I workout with and sometimes coach, also does its workouts there during the summer. This workout was done right after ours finished.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mammoth Rock Race

I finished second in the Mammoth Rock Race 10k trail run this past Monday morning. The course was brutal, and I was hoping to get the win, but I didn't nearly have what I needed to stay with defending champion Dan Yarborough. Check out the results here, and you can see video of the race from local channel 72 here.

Here are a few photos from some runs I did while my parents were in town. Also a picture of me in my room looking at the mountain on my computer.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An interview with Ken Fandell

Just a brief update to mention this cool little interview with my friend and running mate Ken Fandell. I admire his ability to have a pretty extensive life outside of running as you can see from this interview.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I have ambitions to do some lengthy writing about the time I've spent in Mammoth, but I haven't made the time lately. But, I really want to have a few things recorded here since I do treat it as a diary (of my running). So without further ado here are some bullets and pictures of things since I last wrote.

* The Chart House 5k and 10k took place two weeks ago today in Mammoth Lakes (follow the link for results). Its California's highest road race. Ashley won first overall in the women's 5k. I ran 36 minutes and change in the 10k (not great, but not too bad for 8,000 ft) and finished in 13th. Most of the runners who beat me run for Princeton University's XC team. I did manage to beat a few of them and enjoyed visiting with them during my cooldown. Here's a picture of us relaxing after the cooldown.

* Ashley came to visit and we house sat for a few friends of mine. We had a blast. Lots hikes and hanging out.

* This marked the end of my first week of my California International Marathon training phase. I hit 94 miles running mostly easy runs. Hoping to have my best training phase ever, we'll see.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Story with Claudia and The Bay Bay

The Story

I've written occasioanlly over the last year about my friend Claudia (the only girl in the P-team photo) and her running success. Today, on NPR and American Public Media's The Story she is featured in a nice interview about the recession and its effect on her running. You can listen to the interview here.

The Bay

I've been meaning to write for quite some time about my last race. I visited the Bay Area to see a friend and hang out, and while I was there I took advantage of being at sea level for a few runs.

I ran a 10kish (I don't think the course was accurate) in 35 minutes and change. I won first place overall, making me 2 for 2 in my 10k races this year. I was hoping to be in the low 34 minute range, but it was extremely hot, I was running alone, and the course was crazy and there is no way it was accurate. I could give a lot more detail, but those close to me have heard me complain enough already. On the plus side, I did meet a few really cool runners. One runs track and XC for Boston College and the other was in the Olympic Marathon Trials with Claudia last year.

The day after the race I worked in a beautiful long run (map of route is pictured) in northwest San Francisco. I ran across the Golden Gate, through Golden Gate park, along the Pacific Ocean and alongside the bay. The hills were plentiful and steep, but still felt like nothing since I was at sea level. Would have been nice to have a friend along for the run, but still a very nice experience. I love the bay area and I want to visit as often as I can.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Footloose Freedom Mile

On July 4th, the High Sierra Striders held their annual one mile road race. Results can be found here.

I was very nervous going into the race as I had very little experience racing a mile distance, especially not on the road. Several friends of mine, as well as professional runners participated. Highlights included:

Racing with my friend Ben (pictured with me after the race) who ran a 4:43 in the midst of training for a olympic triathlon that occurred a few days ago.

Several elite runners and olympians made up the field. This included Josh Cox, Mike McKeeman, Dan Browne and Ryan Hall who edged Ben and I while dragging his miniature siberian husky along the course (pictured above).

Josh Cox for the win.

Here I am crossing the line in 4:50 in 7th.

I was bummed to run a 4:50 as I was hoping to be closer to :40, especially considering that Ryan Hall was just ahead of me, but I'm excited to have a road mile under my belt and I think I'll be able to relax a little and have a better result next time. On the plus side, I did edge out my rival from the Bishop racing series this summer, Dan Yarborough.

1. Josh Cox 4:21 (course record)
2. Mike McKeeman 4:22
3. Jameson Mora 4:27
4. Patrick Craven 4:38
5. Ryan Hall 4:41
6. Ben Perez 4:43
7. Dan McDowell 4:50
8. Dan Yarborough 4:55

Thursday, June 25, 2009

MC200, Wilma Rudolph 10k

Electric Boogaloo Wins Again!

You can read about our exciting race on Robert's blog here. For the record here are the mile splits for my 3 legs.

Leg 1 (7:37 PM) - 3.55 miles in 19:23 (5:31 pace)
2:42 (5:15 pace)

Leg 2 (2:29 AM) - 7.53 miles in 43:26 (5:46 pace)
2:57 (5:32 pace)

Leg 3 (9:08 AM) - 8.52 miles in 49:39 (5:49 pace)
2:57 (5:37 pace)

Here is Woods handing off to me for my first leg.

A Victory at the Wilma Rudolph 10k

I claimed my first 10k road win last Saturday morning in Clarksville, TN. The race started at 7am with a temperature of 93 degrees and extremely high humidity (as you can see form the sweat in the following photos). My finishing time (36 and change) was not a PR, but I think it was my best performance to date in a 10k considering the conditions.

I didn't know what to expect in terms of competition. Only 120 people toed the starting line. As the gun went off about 6 people went out ahead of me. I tried to run my own race, but I wondered about those in front of me. They didn't look legit, but its not about looks. By the time I hit the first mile (5:25) it was a two man race. One runner (this guy)stayed right on my hip, speeding up and slowing down just as I did things to try and shake him. I was pretty convinced that he would stick with me for a while and then kick me in the last mile.

But, as I settled into my third mile I heard his breathing change (during our first long stretch in the sun that had no shade) and I tried to pick it up. The course was up and down so my mile splits don't reflect my effort, but as I felt him struggling I surged to make a gap. Once I got some space I never looked back. I could not hear him and after a half mile or so the course had a 90 degree turn and I was able to peek back. I had 150m at least.

I cruised for the last mile and finished with a 50 second gap on 2nd place. I can't find an online link for results at the moment. I'll add that once they are posted again (they were taken down for some reason).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Electric Boogaloo Returns

MC200 '09 This Friday and Saturday

Its been a while since I've had time to write on here. A lot is going on, and I haven't felt as though I've had much related to running to write about. I'm busy focusing on short, fast speed workouts three times a week and putting in about 65 miles a week. I'll be returning to longer distances in a month or so.

However, I do have some excitement to write about. I'm flying to Chicago tomorrow for the MC200. I'll be running the 8th, 20th, and 32nd legs (total of just under 20 miles) of the 200 mile relay for defending champions, Electric Boogaloo. I'll be sure to write a full report and include a lot of photos when I get back. We're feeling confident that we'll be even faster than last year.

You can follow us with live reporting from our Twitter page. No need to be a twitter member, as I'm not, but you can still follow our progress. We will begin on Friday afternoon in Madison, WI and finish in Chicago on Saturday morning.

Electric Boogaloo Calendar available Now!

Its that time of year when everyone is sick of the calendar they got for the New Year. Don't fret, you can buy our team calendar for only $20 (free shipping) and it starts with the month of June. It features the team members posing in exotic locations all over the world. Let me know if you are interested, as quantities are limited. A portion of the proceeds are going to support Special Olympics.

I'm Mr. January and you can see a small version of my month in the picture taken at right during our publicity tour in New York City. Photo with Emily Sekine outside of Hotel Chelsea.

Running at 3am in Central Park

I had a special run the other morning. My title is a little misleading, as it was 3am Mammoth time, 6 local. I ran from my hotel down in Chelsea through Times Square and up and around Central Park with Andrew and Jon, a coach at Columbia. This isn't so special, but it really stood out as a strange run. I was operating on only a few hours of sleep, as Ashley and I had been had a wedding (Ashley and I pictured at wedding) the night before. Its strange to run with friends from home when both are so far away.

So, I have no great story about it, other than it was one of those odd runs that really added a lot of variety to my life. A sick part of me loves getting up super early for some punishment.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I just finished reading Rome 1960 The Olympics that Changed the World by David Maraniss. I found it really enjoyable. I'm looking forward to visiting Tennessee State University when I next visit my parents as it played an incredible role in the training of a lot of the US track and field athletes in those games.

I'm posting two videos from the games that I find really fun to watch. The first is Wilma Rudolph winning the 200m final. The second is a great old clip of the marathon. It was won by Abebe Bikila, running barefoot under the light of thousands of torches and surrounding ruins from classic Roman architecture. The old film, music, and narration make me imagine that I'm watching this on a reel to reel machine in elementary school.

Here is the author talking about the book.


I went to Yosemite yesterday and had a blast. I'll write more about that when I get pictures back. I'm still running, a lot. But not much to share at the moment.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Latest Ride, Brother Jay, And oh yeah, Running

The Latest Ride

The weather has been stupendous in Mammoth lately. I've spent my days running, reading, and riding my bike. Here are a few photos from my ride up to Twin Lakes and Lake Mary (frozen).

Brother Jay

This section really doesn't require any explanation. That's my brother circa 1994.

Going Out Too Fast

I'm in the thick of speed training right now. I am doing 3 workouts a week and keeping my easier runs a little shorter than normal. A few days ago I did a 2 mile followed by 4 800s. I battled with Andrew for the first 1 mile and then he left me in the dust shaming me fore going out too fast. On a side note, finishing shortly after me during the workout was Nancy Fiddler, a former olympian, and an incredible athlete. Anyway, as a result I've been watching some great races where runners were smart and didn't go out too fast. This has to be my favorite that I've found so far. Can you send me some more?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Neglected Items, Cross Training

Odds and Ends

I've neglected a few things in this blog over the last week or two. So Let me get a few things out of the way.

1. My friend Will Tarantino ran a 2:30 and finished 57th in the London Marathon. The time and place was a bit of a disappointment, as a lot of energy was lost weaving through slower runners (charity runners have to start at the back). But, when 2:30 is disappointing that's a good thing in itself. Be sure to read Will's story at this website. We ran together (on his easier runs) in Mammoth when he was working for the ski patrol at MMSA and I'm looking forward to his return this winter.

2. I was given notice that I would be laid off at work a week from tomorrow. So, if you know of any jobs I can do long distance, let me know. I need work!

3. Mammoth Track Club unveiled a new website. It's pretty nice and has a nice video of my coach winning a fun race.

4. Coach and I are also now featured on the Sage to Summit "Eastern Athletes" website.

5. I got a mountain bike! I bartered for a used Cannondale Jekyll 2000. While I'm still in the midst of speed training I've been able to put it to good use.

Back in the Saddle Again

When I moved from Chicago I had to say goodbye to my bicycle. It was a Trek road bike that was almost exactly my age given to me by my father. I also had my Trek 5200 stolen while in Chicago (also a gift from parents). While I never excelled on the bike, I've never stopped loving to ride. Even, if by the time I left Chicago I only used the bike to get to and from work. The thrill of negotiating rush hour traffic pumped me up quite a bit.

I never had an interest in mountain biking until recently. But, I suppose that was mainly due to the fact that the only mountain bikers I knew were 13 year old kids who used their bikes on flat sub-divisions in Indiana. Mammoth Lakes is a mountain biker's heaven.

I went on a 33 mile ride today that took 4 hours (because I'm slow, the ground is soft, I took a lot of pictures, and I did a lot of difficult climbs). It was absolutely spectacular. I rode from my house to the top of Lookout Mountain. Along the way I saw a lot of neat animals, trees, etc which you see in the pictures accompanying the post.

Bring on summer!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More on Boston

Detailed Recap

The mood was light as Chris, Robert, Jason, Erik, and I stood in the corral shortly before the start of the race. We all took turns peeing in bottles, on the ground, on ourselves, etc in the moments before the race. You have to do what you have to do. We watched as the elite men moved in front of us and saw Ryan Hall come out full of energy. He gave me a nod as he came by and looked ready to have some fun.

The gun went off and we were on our way. Jason was pacing Robert and I through the first 10 miles (at least that was the plan). Robert and I would be hitting 6:20 or so on the first few miles and then drop it down to 6:05-6:15 pace. We managed to do this pretty well. Chris and Erik were with us for the first few miles and then took a more conservative approach.

There was a strong headwind going against us the entire way, but it wasn't unbearable. It surely slowed us down, but we've all run into worse. I was reminded of New York as Robert repeatedly urged me to slow down a little as we were slightly faster than we should have been. He's superb at that. We'd made it through the sharp downhills without pushing too hard or putting too much strain on our muscles. This is key to be able to race up the Newton Hills.

Around mile 8 or 9 we came upon a photo opportunity and we moved side to side (Robert is cut out of this photo, but you can see Jason and I). It was right at this moment that things went wrong for me. My heart began to race very quickly. Not from the effort, but from something else. I'm not sure what it was. Adrenaline, an irregular beat, or most likely, caffeine. Almost immediately I couldn't keep up with Jason and Robert. I was short of breath and slowing quickly.

You might think this was a penalty for going out too fast (doesn't Robert look fast int eh photo on the left?), but the truth is that I was going at an easy pace. If I was going to pay a price, it would have been later in the run. Not to sound cocky, but running 6:10 pace for 9 miles at sea level is very easy for me. I knew something strange was going on.

I continued on trying to hold my pace but miles were beginning to tick by at 6:50 and 7:10. I wasn't even halfway done yet. I averaged 6:32 miles at the NYC marathon, so I knew something was wrong. It was at this time that I lost it mentally. Runners were streaming by me on both sides. Chris and Erik came by with concerned looks as they could tell I was struggling. Chris offered me assistance but I told him to keep going (They both went on to 2:44 and 2:48 finishing times, btw). If I'd been calmer I think I may have been able to hop on with Chris and follow his very steady and strong pace.

Finally at mile 15 as I was falling farther off pace I decided to quit. I walked to the side and felt completely awful. I looked back for Ashley or other friends who I might join. I began walking slowly forward for a few minutes that seemed like an eternity. I was so distraught with my thoughts. I couldn't imagine having to tell people how badly the race went. I didn't want to face co-workers and try to explain what happened. Imagining the next few days in Boston with friends seemed awful. I couldn't be a downer, but I knew I wouldn't feel good about. When I could see the next mile marker I looked at my watch and decided I had been walking for 4 minutes.

I don't really remember why, but I began running again. I quickly felt good and began to pass a lot of the people who had driven by me. Physically I was back to normal, but mentally I was wasted. I couldn't believe things had fallen apart and I didn't know why. With my goals ow out of reach it was difficult to push myself through the hard parts. Still, with the break from walking and being slower than my usual pace I was blowing past people in the Newton Hills and especially Heartbreak Hill.

I crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 53 minutes. I felt awful, and anxious to put the day behind me. I don't like to pout about it, but it was frustrating to feel so fit, yet run so much slower than I had hoped. On the bright side, I had run 2 minutes faster than the '08 Boston in harder conditions and while taking a large walking break. This proved to me that I was indeed fit, but I just hadn't executed well. I suppose I have to accept that this happens once in a while as I've had a good string of PR breaking marathons and you can't expect that every time. It is hard to accept though, when you know you've put in way more work towards training than ever before.

Looking back on it a week later, I'm most disappointed with the way I handled the setbacks mentally. I think if I could have paused earlier and walked briskly to recover and set my sights on 2:50 instead of 2:44:59 it would have been possible. When I saw that goal slipping away I let it make me too distraught to refocus on a goal that was still attainable. But, I'll live with myself, and the good news is that a lot of people close to me had great days.

Robert cruised away with a great finish in 2:44. I think he could have done even better had I stayed on pace to help break the wind with him. But, it was a great day for him to be proud of. Ashley broke her PR with a 3:18. (Ashley and Robert are to my left in the yellow shirt photo taken by Zach Bouzan-Kaloustian) She did this on a much tougher course and in harder conditions than she ran in Chicago. Her hard work paid off and it was great to spend time with her after her accomplishment.


My trip home was not easy. After a flight delay my car broke down on the 405 during LA's rush hour. After a night in LA (crashing at JG's near USC, THANKS!) my car was fixed and I made it home after missing two days of work.

I felt the desire to jump back into a marathon right away. I still wanted a good time to show off as a reward for my training. But, I met with Andrew and after discussing things I realized this wouldn't be best for my training for the long term. We're focusing on 12 weeks of high speed work and low mileage to train for a 5k. After that phase I'll work on extending that speed to the marathon distance and I'll push towards a December marathon. CIM, Vegas, Fresno perhaps... I haven't picked on yet.

Great marathoners almost always start at shorter distances improving their speed and then slowly extending the length they can carry that. Not having run in high school or college I came at it the exact opposite way. I jumped immediately into the marathon focusing on endurance but giving speed very little attention. I'm hoping for big gains in the next two months.

One thing I know for sure, is that the runs here will be absolutely beautiful. Many of the mountainous dirt paths have finally thawed and are now clear to run. There is so much joy in following these trails that I can't really describe.

Thanks again for all of the support leading up to Boston and all of the encouragement and congratulations. Here's to continued training and enjoyment of running for all of my readers. I'll be writing soon about Electirc Boogaloo and our upcoming race at the MC200. And... a very special calendar. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boston Marathon '09 in short

I will be writing a full recap of my trip to Boston in the next few days. I need a few more days to decompress and talk things over before I do.

I had a great time seeing so many friends, but my race left a lot to be desired. I ran a 2:53. Robert(pictured with me comparing chest hair), on the other hand, killed it, running a 2:44. More to come soon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Last Workout - Video of Round Valley

The Last Workout

Four runs remain before I race in the '09 Boston Marathon. This morning marked the last "speed" workout in preparation for the race. It was a bit of a challenge to get in as I had to work from 7:45 am until 5:15 pm.

Luckily for me, my roommate agreed to get up early with me to give some company. James and I headed out the door at 5:30 to go to Antelope Valley (7200 ft)where we did a 9 mile run with 4X1mile repeat right at 6 minute pace (2:30 recovery, so pretty easy per taper). We were greeted with a nasty wind and hail, but as the sun came up the weather calmed, and by 7am it was a beautiful day.

I fly to Boston early Friday morning adn can't wait to feel the enjoyment of sea level running. If you have any interest in receiving updates via e-mail or text message during the race, let me know and I can set you up.

Ryan Hall at Round Valley

I've posted more videos about Boston in the last few days than I intended, but I can't resist showing this one because of the great views of Round Valley and Mt. Tom. It is such a great place to run in the winter as the video shows.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

8 Days

Great Video from Flotrack!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carlsbad 5000 Recap, Fam, 11 Days to Boston

A New 5k PR

My experience at the Carlsbad 5000 turned out to be very positive, but it didn't get off to a great start. I made the 7 hour drive from Mammoth to North San Diego County early Saturday morning and checked into my Motel 6. The weather was beautiful and I made my way to the course to do an easy shakeout run and course preview.

When I stepped out of my car I noticed an intense pain in my right knee. Something had developed while making the drive. I was able to do my run and check out the beach, but after I wrapped things up the pain increased greatly. When I got back to my hotel I couldn't climb the stairs and I experienced the pain all night while sleeping. I knew it couldn't be too serious since nothing had happened to cause it (so I hoped) but when I got up the next morning I could barely walk.

Carlsbad is different than a lot of 5ks in the fact that it splits its age groups into separate heats. The elites even have their own race at the end of the event. This makes for a festive atmosphere as there are races all morning. The energy seems to build as the morning moves on. My race did not start until 11:30 AM which is much later than normal. This worked to my advantage as it gave me plenty of time to try and get rid of the pain.

I began my warm up much earlier than normal, but I couldn't run for 15 seconds without experiencing too much pain. I took some medicine and hoped the pain would go away. After an hour it was still bad, but I noticed a difference so I doubled the dosage. I was able to warm up just in time. I moved into the corral at 11:28 and moved near to the start line. I didn't want to stand still long and have my knee tighten up again.

However, this didn't work out for me. Just before the gun went off it was announced that my race was being delayed for 8 minutes because an Amtrak train would be crossing the course. I did my best to dance around and stay loose. My mind was a nervous wreck as I had to wait. I knew I was about race on a fast course, and in a 5k there's hardly any time to work into a groove.

Finally the race did get underway and I immediately felt badly. The start is downhill for 400m and then works its way back up before taking a 90 degree left hand turn. Several people passes me including young boys who had to be 13 or younger. I couldn't seem to find a rhythm and felt slow. I finally approached the first mile marker and had some idea of how I was doing. To my surprise it was still in the 4 minute range when I could make out the time that it showed. I passed the first mile in 5:12 pace. I had been aiming for 5:20.

At this point I totally relaxed and found a rhythm. This pace felt very easy, and I knew I could hold it and push a bit at the end. Shortly after the 1 mile mark the course does a 180 hairpin turn and runs along the Pacific Ocean. At this point a lot of people who had started too fast were moving backwards and I began picking them off one by one. I passed the 2nd mile marker in 5:26 and knew I had a lot left for the final 1.1 miles.

During an uphill chunk of the third mile I picked off an entire pack of runners (maybe 7) and was grateful for all of the hill work I'd done in Mammoth. While the hill was certainly small, it did slow many people at that point in the race. Coming around the last corner to see the finish line I had two tenths of a mile remaining. A few people sprinted to get by my side. In the final 100 meters I turned on what I had left and kept them behind while managing to get two more runners (one at the very last step, you can see me just ahead of him in the pictures, and the other a few meters out, pictured looking to his left as I come by).

I finished in 16:42 and 40th place. While this is certainly nothing to write home about in the grand scheme of elite running, its a really good time compared to what I ran last year at this time. This was a PR by 31 seconds. If nothing else, this was a great confidence booster going into Boston to know that I'm in good shape and to know that I can run at a pace much faster than my marathon goal pace and feel comfortable. I know I shouldn't feel comfortable while racing a 5k, but my training hasn't been geared towards that short of a distance. I wrapped up the day by laying on the beach for a few hours before driving home. Its a lot easier to relax after a PR.

An Elite Perspective

Watching the men's and women's elite race was a lot of fun. Anthony Famiglietti came within four seconds of the American record and looked really strong. He wrote an interesting recap on falling short of his goal to break the record here.

I also shot some video of the race and set it to Richard Buckner. However, the audio was taken off by YouTube because of copywrite laws. The video quality is pretty comprimised as well.

The last hard workouts before Boston, and I got laid off!

Yesterday I got to work at 7:45 am and then took a break at 2:30pm. Mammoth has been graced with a nasty winter storm the last few days. High winds... snow... etc. I headed out in the conditions to repeat the brutal hill run I posted about a few weeks ago. I managed to run it a few minutes faster this time around and then headed back to work until 8pm. This was the final intense workout before I begin to pull back and rest for the race. I do still have a some mile repeats and tempo runs to complete, but the total mileage is beginning to drop.

The challenge has been getting the workouts in around my work schedule. I'm working 8 10 hour days in a row. I won't complain though. I need the work and the money as I was informed today that I will be laid off at the end of April. Does anyone know of a job openning?

In one final note about Boston, there was a GREAT interview with Ryan Hall on today. He mentions several runs in the Mammoth area that I'm familiar with. He also had this quote about the winter we've had in Mammoth this year.

All of my preparation has been done at Mammoth Lakes. We were totally blessed, although the snowboard crowd might have a different word for it, to have a super mellow winter this year. It was really tame compared to years past. Last year, I was only up here for a couple weeks and I felt like I was constantly thinking to myself "we can train anywhere in the world this winter, why are we training in this winter tundra?." Don't get me wrong, Mammoth is the most beautiful place in the world, but the winter is not usually so kind. This winter was beautiful though. I only had to run on a treadmill a couple of times and I didn't miss any workouts. In years past, we would have to drive down to 5,000 ft for most of our workouts and some of our easy days which made training seem really long. This year we stayed high for almost everything. I just kept waiting for the winter to show its wrath but it really never did. If there is any winter that I should be able to run fast off of, it is the winter of '09. Big Bear is usually much more mellow in the winter compared to Mammoth but there are also only a couple of spots to run on the dirt and even less then that that are flat compared to Mammoth, where we have more dirt roads with flat options if we want it. We haven't been able to get as high as 9,000 feet up here in Mammoth because to do so you have to be cross country skiing but we do most of our long runs and tempos above 7,000 feet. I can't wait to get into Boston. The first week at sea level after being at altitude for an extended amount of time is euphoric.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Carlsbad 5000

I'm heading to San Diego this weekend for what some call the "World's Fastest 5k". I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm stoked to be at the ocean once again. I hope to have good news on my return. The field is very competitive, and luckily I'll be able to watch the elite race as the event is actually staged in several heats, with the elites in their very own races.

Boston Training

My mind is still focused on Boston and I found this video of American hopeful Kara Goucher to be quite exciting. Ashley will be excited to see Alberto Salazar making an appearance. She loved him as an assistant coach in high school.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Day Off

I took today off from training. Its the first day that I've not done any running or cross training in a very long time. Here's a video of how I spent my day with my 5 house-mates.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

3 weeks from Tomorrow

I ran in the middle of a sand storm today. The wind was incredibly strong. I was doing a few laps around a large square at about 4700 ft and the wind seemed to be working against me in three of the four directions. At some points my face and neck stung from being struck by sand. I did manage to get a little over 21 miles covered in the heat and wind.

This wrapped up a strong week of training. I hit 94 miles for the week and also managed a couple of 1 hour cross training sessions on the bike. The week included 2 speed workouts (mile repeats, 200's) and a 2 hour+ hill run. I'm hoping to keep up this momentum over the next 3 weeks!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Last winter in preparation for the '08 Boston Marathon my training partners and I made frequent trips to Barrington, IL a suburb of Chicago. In an area that is mostly pancake flat, Barrington was one of the closest places Chicago runners can go to get in good hill training. On Saturday and Sunday mornings you could find the country roads there full of transplants from the Chi' that had made the hour drive, just for their run.

This year, has been remarkably different. There is almost no place to run from my house that is flat, unless I drive 25 minutes away. That means that even my 4 to 5 mile easy runs that I do in the late afternoon (when doubling) are done on hills longer and steeper than Barrington. I certainly don't know that this will make me faster, but I'm hoping that my legs are significantly stronger than they were last year.

Yesterday, I did a very difficult hill run. Starting at 8900 ft I ran a hard downhill for nearly 4 miles before turning and going up a steep, yet shorter incline. I then turned down again reaching my lowest point about 6.5 miles into the run. This was about 1050 ft below where I started. I climbed another hill to go back up 350 ft. At this point I hit the 8 mile mark and returned to trace my exact steps. By the time I reached the final 4 mile ascent, my legs were spent.

Running up long, steep hills at elevation is never fun, but its much harder after doing so much downhill. Usually I prefer to run uphill first and then hit the downhill. But, this is a luxury the Boston course does not afford. It's my hope that runs like yesterdays will allow me to cover the downhill first half of Boston with out any muscle fatigue. This will be key when hitting the the major climbs near the end of the course. I don't want to experience what I did last year, when Lance Armstrong flew by me on Heartbreak Hill. (Last year's winner, Robert Cheryiout pictured ascending the last of the Newton Hills)

I did the 16 mile hill run on an extended lunch hour at work. This meant I worked from 7:45am until 8:15pm (I work 10 hour shifts). It makes for a long day, but I was lucky to run in the middle of a crisp, beautiful afternoon, and earn a day's paycheck. I finished the night off with a 4 mile run at 9pm. Glad to see the temperature being somewhat reasonable at that hour.

I'm starting to get my swagger back. I realize I'm still slower than so many runners, but I'm back at the point where I can do 20 miles of running one day and still feel fresh the next morning. I can't imagine how I will feel at sea level!

Bring on Summer!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Week in Training - Anna Willard - MTC

The Boston Marathon is 26 days away and the bib numbers were released today. Chris, Verdo, Robert and I are all in the very first corral meaning we'll line up immediately behind the elites.

It's crunch time in terms of my training. I finally had a decent week. I think my body is finally near full strength. I did just over 80 miles, managing a 20+ long run at 4,500 ft and 2-mile/800m repeats at over 7,000 ft. The week also included two 90-120 minute hill runs that included uphill and downhills that changed over 1300 ft in 5 miles.

This week is off to a good start, so I hope to have a good update next week as well.

Here's a nice interview with Anna Willard (pictured at right with bib ending in 55) that was done at the gym where I do core workouts. She's training with the Mammoth Training Club (Team Running USA changed their name, read why here, great quotes from my coach) after her olympic experience in '08. Anna and her fiance Jon, have been really supportive to my training. Mammoth Lakes is a small town and I seem to see them everywhere. It's nice to be part of a sport with athletes that are so down to earth.