Saturday, May 20, 2017

Texadega Nights 30-mile run 2017/05/20

Duathlon at Joe Pool on 2017/05/21 was canceled last minute due to politics.  Raluca and I signed up for the night run as a replacement event.

Averaging 9:00 pace.

4 distances: 6, 9, 21, 30 miles.  Each has relay and individual version.
We ran laps on supposedly 1.4-mile track.  A human timer sat at timing mat calling out the runner’s name and lap count.

I started with Robert and Cody under 9:00 pace.  Cody settled into 8:30 pace.  I let him go.  I took a quick pee break.

Inside edge of the track was neither 1.4-mile nor flat.  The slanted surface made my strides uncomfortable.  Short distance runner departed the event.  The stadium felt lonely 10 mile into my run.

By 16th  of my 21 laps, the race track was sparse.  Trishop packed up the tent before I started lap 20.

Garmin 630
Distance: 28.84 mi
Time: 4:20:18
Pace: 9:02
HR: 144/168 bpm
Pee stop: 1

Official (and fishy)
Distance: 29.5 mi
Time: 4:20:52
Pace: 8:42
Place: 1st male master; 2nd over all

Race director Dan told me at 1:45am the award wouldn’t happen that night but texted his email address and promised to mail trophy.  It’s the 2nd event this year I might not receive my hardware.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hachie 50k; Waxahachie, TX 2017/05/06

_goal pace
9:30 ~ 10:00 pace first 10 miles. Maff HR.
9:00 ~ 9:30 2nd 10 miles.
9:00 3rd 10 miles.
8:00 final mile.

The timing mat was in the middle of loop for runners of both directions.  50-mile and relay were already on the course.  We had 1 minute to stage the start.  I ended up leading the race for a few minutes in the midst of confusion.  I kept looking back to make sure I’m not the only one going in that direction.

Pro runner Shaheen Sattar caught up to me.

We ran at similar cadence but somehow her strides were flowing.  She said a few nice things then took off.

I waited for the right person to follow.
[Frank McStay with headphone passed me.  His effort didn’t seem sustainable; I let him go.]

 I chatted w/ high-pitch and bearded Cary Collum for few minutes about shoes

3 women caught us.  I decided to run with women.  They seemed to have more fun.

_settling in
I kept Cary in sight every long straight.  Our lead on 4th place man grew at every turn.

There were 3 U-turns per lap.  I had 9 chances to see the distances between competitions around me.  The top 8 50k runners held our positions for 18 miles.  Then top male runner started to look erratic.

Cary didn’t seem so smooth toward end of the lap 2.  I planned to shadow him before blowing by him during final 5k but ended up passing him earlier.

My legs started to tighten up; heart rate rose with temperature.  No surprise.  I was losing ground to the women.  Shaheen was so far ahead, I could no longer quantify her lead.  I couldn’t see the lead man.  I was determined to protect my 2nd place.  I just needed 9:30 pace for final 6 miles.  I would attempt sub 8 final mile.

_hemorrhaging speed
Running felt harder during the modest ascend toward finish line.  Garmin showed 17:xx pace.  This felt like final miles of Boston.  I urged my tire legs.  The next split was 16:26.  Wow.

This was the scenic section of the course with lots of tree.  Everyone around was nice and encouraging.  The legs feel OK for mile-25.  I considered maybe Garmin wasn’t using GPS signal for speed.  But the first 2 laps was mostly in the 9’s.  I accepted the meltdown and focused on final 10k.  “I will hang on to the next passer.”

_surprise finish
The next passer never came.  I noticed the speed I overtook walkers--Garmin had to be wrong; I stopped looking at it.  I wish I had a pacer like Eliud Kipchoge.  I tried to relax and be grateful for the gift.  Mile 26 and 27 felt very long.

I heard the announcer at mile 28.  I never had this much leg left at end of 50k.  I was stoked to finish 2nd place male.  Top 4 women were already posing for photos at the finish line.  Someone told me I won men’s race.  I passed Frank miles ago.

Garmin 630 w/ missing GPS signal
Distance: 28.55 mi
Time: 4:38:20 (including pee stops)
4:37:17 (moving time)
Pace: 9:44 min/Mi
HR: 143/166 bpm
Cadence: 180/240 spm

Distance: 30k; 31.07 mi
Time: 4:38:10
Pace: 8:57 min/Mi

The left knee acted up during the short walk to car but recovered quickly.  I joined Raluca for her final 10k.  Her knee hurt and decided to end her day early.  She finished her first marathon distance race > 6 hours.  We celebrated at Sushi Rock.

Legs became less stiff after skate and bike the next day.  Left hamstring recovered the slowest.

I became more optimistic about qualifying for 2019 Boston.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Texas Big Star Half Marathon 2017/04/15

I won the free entry at Jones’ lecture.  Thank you, Trishop.

Stay with 1:40:00 pacers.

I ran behind Kevin and Rachel between 7:15 and 8:00 pace.  My legs kept up but felt uncomfortable for 4 miles.  The body found the rhythm half way into the race.  Runners around me started to drop.  It’s been 2 years since I ran at this intensity.

I wondered how much I had left at mile 10.  Rachel encouraged me to go.  My sub-7:00 attempt lasted for 1k but managed to stay in front of the 1:40 pacers.

Garmin 630
Distance: 13.14 mi
Time: 1:38:15
Pace: 7:29
HR: 157/185 bpm

Distance: 13.1 mi
Time: 1:37:50
Pace: 40th

The result appeared on the website Monday morning.  I was minutes behind the pacer.  My chip failed to trigger both timing mats at the start.  I messaged the Garmin data to organizer, who adjusted my time to 1:38:00.  This moved my placement from 74th to 40th.  I won an age group trophy.  My time was changed to 1:37:50 days later based on photo evidence.

Trophy arrived in mail 2 months later.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Texas Independence Relay 2017/03/25

The 200-mile 12-person relay involved a lot of sitting in van with some runs in between.  We decided to sign up for the TNSR team instead of running the Oklahoma A2A marathon.  Chances were Arbuckles and Ardmore would still be there in 2018.

Raluca and Captain Cindy handled the logistics.  Laura did most of the driving for van #2.

_behind schedule
The rental didn’t have the vehicle ready at promised time.  Fortunately my seat wasn’t too filthy with beach towel as seat cover.  We still went through everything on schedule, including Kolache Czech Stop in West.  Everyone had faith in our captain and stayed happy and relaxed.

The restaurant wasn’t ready for the rowdy crowd of this annual event—they ran out of margarita glasses.

[Dinner at Mr. Tacos in Gonzales]

Our dinner took over an hour to come out.  We missed the runners’ party, but everything worked out.  The motel was clean.  Continental breakfast had fresh coffee.  We arrived for Saturday 10:10am start.

After sending off leg 1 and leg 2 runners, van #2 decided to visit Shiner.

Each of 1000+ runners all started at Gonzales with his team.  Teams started 5 minutes apart for a short group run before leg one starts.  The van would stop on the side of the road to wait for the runner every mile or so for supply and support before next check point to hand off baton (slap bracelet).

The van transport runners for 5 or 6 legs before rotating vans.

_hilly run
As requested, Captain Cindy gave me the hilly leg.
4:20pm leg  9: 6.4 mi@7:52 159/178 bpm

Some teammates made a big deal of “superhot” 80F air despite Texas routinely experience 100F days.  During the afternoon, the van would stop for the runner frequently for ice sponge and cold water.

Steak wasn’t anyone’s first dinner choice but was what’s available.  I had pork chop and couple shrimps.  Food was unexpectedly good for the price.

_midnight run
Casey gave me an awesome torch that worked great for the run.  I held it between index and middle fingers, running at 8:00 pace.  Some tall guy caught me from behind; it was Jon Cotton from Trishop.  His endurance improved since I ran with him in 2014.  He completed Rocky Racoon 100 few weeks prior.  We chatted a bit before I let him go.  I held mid-aerobic effort and enjoyed the night.

11:51pm leg 19: 6.8 mi@8:06 149/162 bpm

_aim the torch at the eye ball
I gave Raluca the baton then ran with her.  She forgot to take off the jacket.  I volunteered to bring it to the van.  I ran back to the checkpoint and was unable to identify which of the 30 white vans was ours.  I gave up and accelerated to catch Raluca.  I uncapped the coconut juice; now I had 4 things in my hands while running 7:30 pace in darkness.  I raised my head to down the liquid, ending up pointing the mighty flashlight into my left eye ball.

Vision returned after a few seconds.
12:46am leg 20: 5.0 mi@9:52 129/152 bpm

_difficult hours; 4am Sunday
Van 2 shift ended.  We drove to high school for $5 shower.  The 5 girls weren’t impressed with the facility; I didn’t bother getting in the building—baby wipe was my best friend.  It was difficult to sleep in the van waiting at check point 28.  Pork chop dinner wasn’t sitting well.

_getting lost at Captain’s leg
I missed the first turn w/ another TIR runner despite the energy studying the map and turn sheet. I expected the orange cone; the turn was marked by painted yellow arrow.  Fortunately the leg was along Allen Parkway from Houston Inline Marathon.  I ran an alternative route from memory, which was half mile longer.
10:39am leg 32: 5.1 mi@8:12 157/174 bpm

_running through maze
I kept Raluca company for her leg through busy park and kite festival.  The bulk of it involved concrete trail along the river, including an unexpected construction detour.  She complained about “super hot”
12:05pm leg 34: 4.8 mi@10:49 130/143 bpm

_running toward the statue
I made Raluca run hard for her final mile with fatigue legs.  She shaved a minute off her struggling pace.  Very cool.
4:00pm leg 40: 4.1 mi@9:43 136/154 bpm

_leg assignment
Prolouge Everyone!
1 Cindy
2 David
3 Mike B.
4 Jennifer
5 Rob
6 Mike T.
7 Gaana
8 Liliana
9 Johnny
10 Hilary
11 Laura
12 Raluca
13 David
14 Rob
15 Jennifer
16 Mike B.
17 Cindy
18 Hilary
19 Johnny
20 Raluca
21 Gaana
22 Laura
23 Mike T.
24 David
25 Jennifer
26 Mike B.
27 Cindy
28 Rob B.
29 Liliana
30 Gaana
31 Laura
32 Johnny
33 Hilary
34 Raluca
35 Mike T.
36 Cindy
37 Mike B or Jennifer
38 Hilary
39 Liliana
40 Laura/Raluca/Johnny
Epilogue Everyone!

_“Come and Take My Beer” team roster with 10k pace
Cindy Hallo (captain) 8:15
David Recker 8:45
Hillary Owen 12:00
Liliana Torres 8:30
Laura Osentoski 9:30
Mike Beck 8:00
Rob Buwalda 7:00
Mike Thames 11:00
raluca moucha 8:45
Jennifer Ancheta 8:45
Johnny Chen 7:30
Gaana Nagaraj 9:30

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Met Michellie Jones 2017/03/18 at Trishop

I didn't know the subject of the seminar when I saw the ad but signed up immediately for the chance to meet the Ironman legend.

I didn't expect a hug upon entering the room.  I was over the moon.

She brought both Olympic medals.

The Paralympic medals make sound when shaking.

Remembering tongue-tied with Mark Allen at RBM, I prepared questions with this Ironman champion.  Michellie avoided answering specifics about weight control--figures.

It was a great day: Grasslands Half, Kula lunch, meeting an icon of our time.

Grasslands Trail Half Marathon 3/18/2017

Casey and I talked about this race for years.  It’s usually the same weekend as Rock n Roll half marathon that marked end of my run race season.  In a blink of eye Casey had become a trail runner, and I no longer tried to PR at Rock n Roll.  Casey invited me to his first Grasslands 50 miler.  My drop foot limited trail run distance.  I compromised and signed up for 13-mile.

Raluca consistently talked about wanting to run trail but couldn’t act on it.  It's draining.  I decided to nudge her.  The barriers were mundane: dog arrangement, early wake up time, long drive, need for coffee.

My performance goal: safe finish + negative split.  Mostly I didn’t want Raluca’s first trail race to end in tears.

_the run

We started with Voon, Raymond and Stef on the sandy tail.  I made sure Raluca didn’t overexert early.  The course wasn’t technical: few roots and rocks.  By mile 3 she seemed confident about the course.  I raised the heart rate and let her run her own race.

I kept HR 140~160 for next 7 miles before raising the pace for 4-hour finish.

passing a runner who started too fast.

Garmin 630:
Distance = 12.44 mi
Time = 1:57:21
Pace = 9:19

Distance = 13.1 mi
Time = 1:57:19

_mission accomplished
Raluca finished in 2:33:10.  She ran out of water but toughed it out.  She helped and received support from other runners.

She had a happy run and post-race sushi lunch.

[pace & HR]

I wondered if I could run the marathon in 4 hours.  This is a relatively simple trail course: perhaps I could try another 50-miler.

_live to fight another day
Casey and John’s bodies didn’t thrive on this hot March day and were pull off the course after 41 miles.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cowtown 50k 2017/02/26; Fort Worth, Texas

I signed up for the 6th time.  Every year I felt unready.  It’s a battle between experience accumulation and declining fitness.  My excuse last year was jetlag and fatigue from a Taipei 50k 6 days prior.  That was the last time I saw dad.  He was happy at Chinese New Year eve.

_goal—5 hours
I arbitrarily pick the whole number as a target.  It’s 30 minutes slower than my theoretical ability based on VO2max.  In 2014 I missed 5-hour goal by 25 seconds due to a pee break.

Strategy this year: stay in Maff heart rate for 3 hours then run by feel.  Don’t challenge the hills.  Minimize bathroom activities.  If body had a good day, 4:50:00 was realistic.  Focus on even split.

Official email Thursday night:
“The infamous Main Street Bridge (.344 mile [554 meters]) ….  The fastest non-elite female and male runners to ascend the hill in each of the three distances (Ultra, Full, Half) will win a free entry into next year's race!”
I calculated elite speed vs. my Windhaven data.  5:30 pace had a realistic chance to win.  Surely no other 50k’ers are dumb enough to sprint with 22 miles to go.

We started from back of corral 4.

[photo: last second advice on posing finishing photo]

I adjusted speed based on her breathing.  The sun came out.  We tossed the T shirts at mile 6.  Raluca got good at judging hills and running tangents.  We let tens of runner passing us then overtook them quickly after cresting.

_mile 7
I ran pass the rest stop but decided to walked back—this could be the final toilet before the climb.  I stood in line for mid-race toilet for the first time since Ironman 2007.  The bridge loomed.  5:30 pace didn’t feel realistic.

_mile 8
I stopped to lower my HR and consumed the final and 3rd gel, visualizing little ATP’s saturating quad cells.

_top of mediocrity
The bridge looked flatter up close.  I walked to the timing strip, watching some guy going hard half way ahead.  I took off, focusing on the struggling sprinting man.  I heard reactions from the crowd --mostly positive—all females.  I passed the fading dasher.  I accelerated.  I ran out of juice before the end--neurons fired like crazy, muscle fibers twitched halfheartedly.

I walked after 2 minutes of fun.  Lots of hands patted my backs as they passed me—all males.  I power-walked at 15:00 pace.  I started running.  22 miles to go.  I laughed.

 [GPS screenshot]

My 554-meter sprint averaged 5:20 pace.  30-year-old Manton Willoughby beat me by 5 seconds.  At end of the day he finished 50k 99 minutes behind me.  The only other non-elite runner climbed faster was from half-marathon.

[half marathon finisher]

_IRC runners
At mile 15, a runner stopped in distress.  I slowed to see if she was OK.
“I just need to work kinks out of my knees.”
It was Rachel.  It broke my heart knowing how hard she worked for this day.  She started with the 5-hour pacer.  I knew nothing about the pacer but was unhappy seeing his mile splits on Strava.

[pacer posted his split on Strava]

He contributed to Rachel’s failure.

Couple miles later I caught John and Valerie—slowing but having a good time.
“Casey is up there”
I looked up the road but found no familiar figure.  I went into another porta potty to piss more time away.  I didn’t to project finish time.  I abandoned 5-hour goal.  I squandered too many minutes for the hill.  I looked forward to beers.

_4 stops
I failed at minimizing stops.  GPS recorded 4:44 of non-moving time.  Over-hydration lead to 3 pee stops.

My legs stayed bouncy at 26.2-mile timing mat.  It was hard to contain my excitement.  I took care not to go sub-9 pace but started to fantasize sub-8 pace final 5k.

I saw Casey then the 5-hour pacers with the turnaround BBQ in sight.  I visualized overtaking them at the line.  I overtook runners like an arcade game character.  The legs were sore but firing.  This was the best day.

Bounciness left me at mile 29 against head wind.  I used an old guy as shelter.  The slowest quarter mile—11:08--happened at mile 29.25.  The 5-hour pacer was minutes ahead.  The day turned out 100 times easier than I anticipated when I decided to sprint up Main Street Bridge.  I felt blessed.

He finished strong 7 minutes in front of me after previous weekend’s trail marathon and Saturday 10k.  It’s gratifying to watch him develop as an endurance athlete.

I passed my windshield then willed the legs to overtake other runners.  I swung my arms and rotated my pelvis looking as dignified as Olympic speed walkers.

I didn’t change GPS view elapsed time to minimize chance of losing data.  I came to peace with 5+ hour finish, not knowing the pacer was 5 minutes ahead of schedule.

GPS Garmin Forerunner
Distance: 31.10 mi
Elapsed time: 4:59:59
Moving time: 4:55:15
Avg pace: 9:35/M
Best pace: 5:04/M

Distance: 50k
Time: 4:59:55
Pace: 9:47/M
Place: 82/345

Hill Challenge
Distance: 554 meters
Time: 1:50
Pace: 5:20/M (winning pace=5:05/M)
Place: 2

Winner Calum Neff: 3:09:35
TNSR’s Brent Woodle finished 2nd over all!
Josh Cox’s US record: 2:43:45

participant count
half: 5873
marathon: 1269
50k: 345