February 25, 2019

Missed It

My calendar had me racing a 10K this weekend.  Jen was pacing a half marathon at a local race, so I figured I'd register for the associated 10K on Saturday and run the race on Sunday.

I woke at 6:50 am on Saturday and decided to get up rather than go back to sleep to prime myself for the Sunday race time.  So, I enjoyed my coffee and mucked around the Internet, including splurging on a huge order from Rancho Gordo.

At 8:20 or so I checked my phone and saw a text from Jen, asking if she'd see me at the race.  Oh... the race was SATURDAY.  So, that wasn't happening.  I was bummed to miss Jen, but I headed out for a short track workout instead.  Then we went to brunch with some friends.

Risotto with mirepoix, made with artichoke & mushroom broth

I spent the rest of the weekend being lazy.  E did tons of work related to our car situation, but I was a complete sloth other than an easy 3 miler on Sunday. And it was awesome.

Chicken sausage minestrone with alphabet pasta!
For the week, I put in several decent workouts and we ate plenty of delicious vegetarian meals.

Poached egg over cheesy millett with cabbage salad.
Mileage for the week was 25+ despite a fairly heavy workload, so even though I missed the race, I'm pleased.

February 19, 2019

Austin 5K, Revisited

In what is becoming an annual tradition, we headed to Austin to visit friends and run the 5K.  On Saturday, we picked up our packets at the same time as the Manzano Mile.

No filter sunset arrival at AUS
What a cool event.  I sincerely enjoyed watching the elites race the mile.  They stage the non-elite milers by age group before the main event of the speedsters, and I think I may try to run it next year.  Improving my mile time is one of my fitness goalsand having a goal race to perform at to see how those efforts have paid off could be fun.

Look at all those fit ladies -- it was fun to watch them take off fast, 
run by on their way back on the outside of the finish,
and return to close the loop to finish the mile
Sunday AM, we woke up in time, and enjoyed the gorgeous sunrise on the drive to the start.  From there, it was a very pleasant 20 minutes to take advantage of the blocked off streets, empty port-a-potties and time between the close of the half/full marathon start line (their start is open from 7 - 7:15), and the 5K start (7:30).

Sunrise in Austin on race day -- gorgeous
Unfortunately, we lined up too far back in the 5K crowd and I spent the first minute or two weaving and jogging in place behind some slower folks -- this was doubly frustrating because this portion of the course is downhill.  Eventually, after much effort, I found some space to run without obstacles and hit mile 1 at 9:59.  Given the congestion and that the first mile contains 75 ft of climb, I couldn't complain.

Texas is Texas and Beef loving is everywhere!
Mile 2 is 2/3 climb (another 75 ft) to the turn around, when, thankfully, you start to drop the altitude you've gained with 20ish ft of lost elevation before the mile marker.  The constant climb in miles 1 and 2 had started to take a toll on my speed, and even with the downhill at the end, I finished mile 2 @ 10:31.

I was glad to see the long downhill in front of me, because I was going to need to push to beat my performance from last year (31:46).  I tried to take advantage of 127 ft drop in this mile, hitting the 3 mile marker and lowest point of the race @ 9:49.  And then, because this course is brutal, I pumped my arms and tried to go as fast as I could, struggling against the 43 feet climb in the last 0.1 mile from the river to the finish line.

The finish photo game was a bit off - this photographer was 
ANGRY!  Yelling at all the finishers to keep moving...
Understood that he had photos to take, but um... 
people just finished a race
if they want to slow down that's kind of okay...

I crossed the line with a time of 31:29 (10:06/mile pace).  A 17 second improvement over last year, and definite confirmation that this course is difficult (only 2 seconds per mile faster than the 10K two weeks ago?  Oh, right, because it had 2.5 times the elevation gain in half the distance and was net neutral instead of net downhill).

Forever Sunset on our trip home.
Overall, I really like this race.  Not a PR course, but it's got a good vibe, and it's a great excuse to combine racing with visiting friends.  Plus,a 5K with the hills really makes it a harder effort than most of the stuff I run these days, so that feels good.

February 3, 2019

Kaiser SF 10K

Waiting for the Start in Golden Gate Park
The Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon is a great local bay area race.  I'd loved running it in 2014, 20152016, and then DNF'd last year but still enjoyed the post-race brunch.  This year, I hadn't registered, but they'd added a 10K, which, realistically speaking, given my 2019 running goals and my current fitness, was exactly the length of race I should be considering for February.

The weather forecast called for rain and wind (both of which can be brutal on the out-and-back on the Great Highway for the half).  I wasn't remotely interested, but then I realized two of my favorite bay area running friends (Angela and Jen) were participating, *and* that Angela was down to host a post-race brunch, *and* that the 10K's last 2 miles were downhill to the finish, but avoided the exposed Great Highway section.  Whelp, that was enough for me.  I registered on Thursday, even though it still looked like rain, and then, the weather gods smiled upon me (thanks fam!) and updated the forecast to foggy/cloudy for the 4 hour window of the race.

Last year's shuttles from the parking to the start were fancy tech buses, 
but this year they were back to the yellow school buses, 
which always remind me of my long-lost friend Cat.

In the two weeks since my decade 5K PR, I hadn't done much that was impressive, workout wise.  But, I had stayed healthy and pain free, so there was that.

Last week was 16.08 miles on my feet, 6 miles of biking, and a couple of nights of strap leg mobility & shoulder/core work.  Those 16.08 miles included 2 miles walking in a Suburban sprawl with friends and their children to lunch as what passed for a "workout" after a very late and celebratory birthday party (the Lyft driver who took us back was incredulous... "You *WALKED* Here?").  Despite the low mileage, the week did include 3 actual, if super short, workouts with warmup and cooldown around 5X200/200, 1 mile @ target 5K pace, and a *long* run of 6 miles).

Beyond Meat Crumble stuffed bell pepper (prepared as if it was ground beef):
mirepoix, brown rice, canned garden tomato sauce, crumbles, spices & mozzarella
A very easy on the digestive system pre-race meal.
This week, including the 10K, the mileage totaled 23.75.  Woo hoo! First 20+ mile week of 2019!  Key workouts?  4 sub-tempo @ 11:11; 3.5 miles total at medium average pace including 1 mile w/E at sub 10K pace (9:47) and 6 X 1 min 10K pace/ 1 min jog; the 10K race.

Obviously, my mileage is low.  But I'm making more time for mobility and ART/massage and core/shoulders than normal.  Also, I'm opting for shorter workouts of quality over longer workouts of "meh".  Right now, this feels like the right trade off for me.  My short quality seems to be improving, whereas, I haven't seen great improvements in the longer distances in the limited amount of time I've had to invest over the last 1.5years+.

Going in to today's 10K, I felt that shooting for sub 1h05 for the 10K was reasonable, but would still be a challenge.

Map and Elevation profile of the 10K.  The scale on the elevation profile is deceiving.

I went out easy and was thrilled to hit mile 1 at 10:02.  I tried to keep myself reined in and did so, which I was very happy about when I hit mile 4.  Mile 4 (always the toughest mile in a 10K for me) felt like it had (and visually appeared to have) a significant climb.  But then, when it was done, because I'd kept it comfortable, I could lean forward and speed up through the drops over miles 5 and 6.  It was so much fun!

Hey, hey!  First negative split in a *long* time.  
It is *so* much more pleasant to be speeding up on the backend instead of slowing down.

Also, I was very happy to realize I closed the last 0.26 of this race *faster* than I closed the 5K at Crissy Field.

Overall, I'm obviously improving in my running fitness versus the last few years of my life, and I'm very much enjoying it.

Here's to a new 10K decade PR (faster than any 10K I've run since 2014).