Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another busy running weekend

2 posts in one this weekend...

1. One month to build the speed back

After 4 work-outs this week (9, 9, 6 and 6 miles respectively on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) including one track work-out with Bob at Mountain View High School (6 x 800m in 2:42-2:52 with 1-minute rests), I wanted to put some fast miles in as the last tune-up before next week's Jed Smith 50K.

Like last week, I went back to the Mountain View High School track after dropping Greg at the Y's swim team practice. My goal was to do at least a long tempo run at 6 minute/mile pace, either 10, 13 or maybe even 15 miles. The sky was cloudy but the sun not too far so it was a prefect morning for running. The field was occupied by the busy soccer practice (9 to 11 am), but the track had only a handful of joggers on it.

I started slightly more conservatively than last Saturday's 52 laps, with a few 1:27 laps. This time, I had set the lap-detection mode on my Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS, and the feature worked really well, not only providing the lap count but also each lap time. My slowest lap was 1:36 when I stopped for 3 seconds to grab my bottles. Otherwise, the first 40 laps were quite consistently under 1:30. I was 38 seconds ahead of plan at mile 5 and 36 seconds at mile 10. I kept going on and felt good enough to set my goal on 15 miles (60 laps) which I reached in 1:29:48. Since I had never done such a long and fast tempo run I decided to add one more mile and completed the 16 miles or 64 laps in 1:36:01, or right on the 6 min/mile pace. The last time I ran that fast for that long was when I PR'ed at Chicago in October 2003! And I feel that, with more work and in a good race, I could sustain that again for more than 16 miles. Encouraging, just one month into the new season.

The following illustration shows the 64 lap labels near the start line (bottom left of the oval). And, no, I didn't cut corners or run on the field!
This Sunday, I took it more easily and trained another part of my mental, braving the pouring rain which hit the Bay Area this weekend. I stayed in the neighborhood and ran 5 3.1-mile laps at an average of 6:52 min/mile, so a total of 50 flat and fast kilometers over the weekend, a good rehearsal before next Saturday's race in Sacramento. I feel prepared from a fitness and mental standpoint, need to get some good sleep this week, work on the logistics to get to the event, taper, the usual to do list... Oh, and also lose a couple pounds which are still there from the December break and Holidays...

2. Pacific Association USA Track and Field Long Distance Running awards banquet

Phew, that's a long title, which the insiders would compact by using the PAUSATF and LDR acronyms. This is the yearly event where we celebrate the champions of the season, and there are quite a few with 4 Grand Prix (Long Distance "Short", Long Distance "Long", Cross-Country and Mountain and Ultra Trail) times 5 to 7 age groups (Open, Open Masters, Masters, Seniors, Super-Seniors, Veterans, Super Veterans) and 2 genders, not to forgot the team competitions (Men, Women, Mixed) and several other individual awards. Many, many nice plaques!
I joined the PAUSATF association at the end of my first year in ultra, in 2006. Since then, I won my age group in the MUT Grand Prix four years in a row, so you can call that addiction I believe. In 2010 I competed in 11 of the 17 events (only the best 7 scores count and you have to have a certain mix of shorter and longer ultras). Although I realize our National elite isn't all competing on our regional circuit, I'm particularly satisfied of having improved two age group course records this year (Quicksilver 50K and Ruth Anderson 50-mile). As the URL of my blog says, I'm on a mission to keep improving and deny the aging process! At 46, I am getting on the older side of the group though and it's getting harder to keep the lead especially when young and talented Masters such as Dave Mackey, Gary Gellin and Karl Hoagland have just joined the club (not to mention Victor Ballesteros who, thankfully, decided to compete --and win!-- in the M30-39 division in 2010 despite turning 40 last year). How will it play in 2011? It all depends who is going to focus on the Grand Prix this year as there are many other talented runners in this group which is also the largest in our association (55 participants have scored in 2010). See all the 2010 results on the PAUSATF MUT website. And below a picture with all the 2010 Men MUT Grand Prix Champions, from left to right: Bill Dodson (M70-79, West Valley Joggers and Striders), Jim Magill (M60-69, Quicksilver), Sean Lang (Open, Quicksilver), Victor Ballesteros (M30-39, Tamalpa), Jean Pommier (M40-49, Quicksilver) and Joe Swenson (M50-59, Bay Area Ultra Runners):
With 3 of our RhoQuick racing team winning their age group (Jim in the Super-Seniors, Sean in the Open division and I in the Masters), our team took first in the Men Team competition again in 2010 (2 on 2 since we created the team) and 3rd in the Mixed division. As our Team Captain and sponsor, Adam, puts it: "We really need more gals on the team this year!" The word is out... ladies, you know who to contact!
I want to take the opportunity of Hollis Lenderking appearing at the mic on this picture to thank him and Gary Wang for the amazing job they are doing to manage and direct our MUT Grand Prix. Hollis is the Chair and Gary the Scorer. According to them, it was Grand Prix number XIX which, in roman, makes it almost like the Super Bowl... Or the Super "Ball Bearing" for the insiders...

After the dinner, the keynote speaker was Andy Chan, a local running coach who used the hour to recount his role in the career of 2008 Olympian Shannon Rowburry. I must admit that I was very impressed with his demonstration of the power of coaching to develop athletic talents. I tend to think that I'm tough enough on myself not to need a coach, but this talk as well as my Saturday morning work out made me believe that I could improve even further with the help of a professional coach. Maybe for my fifties...? ;-) See Andy's blog, a great perspective from the other side of running performance, the empowerment of athletes through coaching. Here is Andy Chan and his wife, Malinda Walker:
And a picture of Shannon Rowburry, the gem he "worked on" when she was at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco (picture from, from the 2008 Olympic Team Trials):
The banquet was hosted by the US Coast Guard Running Club in a very nice facility on their base and island in Oakland. A big thank you to them for a perfect organization. The family-style dinner was catered by the East Bay Spouses Association: great food and an efficient buffet format which contributed to the friendly atmosphere, and a great opportunity to raise money for charities. A perfect recipe to close the 2010 season!

Oh, speaking about food and recipe, there was a great drawing and I almost won my weight in cheese, albeit not French cheese but cheddar from CABOT Vermont. Thanks to them for supporting our sport this way!
After the distribution of so many awards and prizes, George Rehmet had a very nice and touching word to introduce the addition of an LDR Grand Prix for physically challenged and wheelchair athletic divisions. He asked all of us (and you, readers), to publicize this Grand Prix which expands the reach of our sport to a broader community and is supported by prize money. You can contact George for more information at coastalcalifornia at rrca dot org. I know this should be a hit for a few folks involved in San Jose Fit for instance.
See all of you on the trails in 2011 and looking forward to running in the Grand Prix again with my fellow RhoQuick teammates (whom you can see in action and with our team singlets in my 2010 retrospection album on Picasa)!


Megan Evans said...

Boy, reading your blog makes us want to hit the pavement! If it wasn't for all this pesky snow. :-) Glad you like our cheddar. We're happy to support runners everywhere. Just don't eat it all at once!


Anonymous said... j'ai bien compris, tu dis que tu veux perdre deux livres et tu enchaines avec un banquet et presque ton poids en fromage!!! Il faudrait savoir!!!

Anonymous said...

Je suis bien d'accord avec ta Maman et espère que tu me garderas un peu de ce fromage pour mon retour. Très belle photo !

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed the talk at the PA Banquet about Shannon. I don't run ultras but maybe we'll cross paths again at some road races.


Erwan Japon said...

Congratulations for winning (again) in your age group...

Gosh, what are you going to do with all that cheese ?

Huawei Papers said...

The post was good, but i personally think it should have been written in a more precise manner.