On Saturday I went to the Stillwater Marathon expo. On Sunday I am running the Jon Francis Half Marathon. The expo had a number of speakers, and I was able to listen to Dane Rauschenberg who wrote "See Dane Run" about running 52 marathons in 52 weeks. He was a great speaker (and was a swimmer like me). I had to buy his book, and so far have enjoyed the first few chapters. I also got my personalized bib with "Thompson" on it and a very nice poly race shirt. The shirt was really soft, and since my other poly shirts are like sandpaper I decided to wear it on race day.
The Expo had a bunch of vendors that I assume are normal for this type of event. The one booth I did dwell at was for the book "Bringing Jon Home, the Wilderness Search for Jon Francis". The half marathon is named in honor of Jon, a very talented runner at Stillwater High School. From the book website:
On Saturday morning, July 15, 2006, Jon Francis, climbed to the summit of the Grand Mogul, in the Sawtooth Mountain Range of Central Idaho. He never returned. Law enforcement searched for only 29 hours. After the evening search team briefing, on July 17, 2006, the Incident Commander, approached me and said; "David, you need to give your son up to the mountain."
Of course no family is going to say OK and go home, and this book is about what happens next and the search they undertook. Now the family helps others via the "The Jon Francis Foundation, an Advocate for Wilderness Search and Safety." As a backpacker this especially hits home, and my brother logs thousands of trail miles every year. It is good to know organizations like this exist.
I am in taper mode for the Stillwater Half Marathon. This will be my first half, and only my third race ever (I did a 5k and 8k early this year). I feel pretty good about my chances of going under 2 hours (my goal). I've been feeling good about my running, doing the same routes over and over and seeing how my times are dropping. Also, my times have been fairly good the last few weeks, staying close or under 9 min a mile. My best is a 5 mile run on the Gateway trail that averaged 8:16 a mile! That is really fast for me, and I didn't feel like I was working to hard. It could have been the foam roller and yoga I did early in the day (this was different from my normal routine).
This morning I got up early to eat and run just to practice for the race. Since I usually run at night I thought a few morning runs would get me accustomed to running in the morning. It was great, I saw two turtles near a lake and a great sunrise. Thursday I will run early again and I'm looking forward to it.
I still can't believe I'm running, thanks ChiRunning (and to a lesser degree Pose Method) for helping my form. And also all the bloggers who post race reports, hearing the stories is a great way to prepare for the race.
This week I finished my 12 weeks on the Core Performance workout routine. I really liked it, the weights routine was fast and effective; combined with the stretching/recover/pre-hab workouts I felt like my body was getting an all around workout. I'm going to start the Core Performance Endurance workout after the Stillwater race. I also need to decide if I'm going to get back in the pool and when to do my trail running (and I need to find a place close to me with trails). I'd also like to start doing more barefoot walking. Whenever I get to the Gateway Trail I end my runs doing a cool down walk barefoot. My feet are incredible tender, but I think they are starting to toughen up. They sure feel refreshed after walking in gravel and the cool grass (but not so much when the asphalt is hot).
In order to run today I had to go early this morning (as in 6am). So I got up at 5:45, had a Gu, did my ChiRunning warm up and took off. It was raining lightly; enough to get me a little wet. I didn't mind the temperature, 47-ish, or wet shorts, but my forehead was itching like crazy (I think it was cold). I wore gloves to keep my hands warm, and a long sleeve short. The 5 miles felt very slow (47:33), but since I didn't eat a real breakfast and was powered on water and a Gu I think I did OK.
I checked the bottom of my shoes and they have nearly identical wear patterns. Usually my right shoe shows more wear in the toe area. I think a greater awareness of form and improvements from Core Performance have resulted in both feet contacting the ground in similar ways. I also noticed the tread is nearly non-existent. With trail running in the near future I'll need to get some shoes with some grip.
I had two runs of 5 miles recently. The first in 45:18, and the same route again in 40:13. Between the two I ran a 10+ mile run that fell apart at miles 9 and 10. But during miles 9 and 10 I was able to find really good running form (I just couldn't hold it for long). For my second 5 mile run I started with that good form, still fresh in my mind, and the result was a much faster run. So I guess it is true, the more you run the faster you get.
Sunday was a long run, and the longest run of my 1/2 marathon training plan, 12 miles. Unfortunately I felt really sick the day before and the morning of this long run. But I didn't want to miss it and so with reservations I made my way to the Gateway Trail. But not before drinking some green mango juice. I love the stuff, but drank way to much and when I got to the trail head I felt bloated (and it never went away). I took two gels with me but never eat them. My stomach felt ready to reject anything I eat, and at one point I was sure something was about to come up. But I pushed on and did 7 miles with no breaks and kept them under 10 min (ranging from 8:52 to 9:44 per mile). With 5 miles to go I had to stop (after nearly throwing up) and began to run 2 minutes and walk 25 seconds. It worked as I was able to finish without throwing up and as a bonus I could better focus on good running form. Total time was 2:06:05. With a better stomach I think I might break 2 hours at the Stillwater 1/2.
I did a 10.5 mile out and back run on the Gateway trail. It was the first double digit run for me. I was nervous, but after my 9 mile run (that was more like 9.8) I was confident I could do it. I didn't stop, but did have to slow to take a gel (I took two, one at 20 min and one at 50 min). They didn't upset my stomach and I had no problem taking them. It was good practice taking a gel on the run.
Miles 0-8 were solid, with times between 8:48 and 9:29. I was pleased with my form and overall solid running. I didn't push it, but didn't take it easy either. Miles 9 and 10 were a challenge (9:59 and 9:49). When I didn't focus on my form it got really sloppy and then I would adjust, and then back to sloppy, then adjust/sloppy/adjust etc. However, when I got back to good form it felt REALLY good. So I think it was a great learning experience about what it should feel like to run. If I can take that good form feeling into my next run I think it could be a real breakthrough. When I say good form, I'm talking aboutChiRunning.
The gateway has some spray painted mile markers that seem to be accurate:
26:54 From park to first mile maker (I missed some); 8:58 avg for 3
4:47 from mile marker to turnaround and back to next milemarker
47:47 on the way out
49:31 on the way back (1:44 slower)
My running is really coming along. I had a 9 mile run that went really well (in 1:24). It was my longest run ever and I had Gu during the run, also a first. My form (from the ChiRunning book) is getting easier to maintain and also feeling good. I haven’t had any injuries, but sore feet and knees after my longer runs. Total miles for the month, 72!!
This month I also maintained the Core Performance workout schedule. I definitely noticed an increase in range of motion and strength. Joe Friel’s Blog had a post on “Core Strength” and that lead me to the Core Performance book (available from the Washington County libraries). I noticed while running my hip on the right side wasn’t level, and I’ve been focused on it on my runs. I’m not sure if Core Performance has helped, but my bobbing is greatly reduced (but still to much movement in the right hip).
Early in the month I was a little sick or overtraining, so I cut back on swimming. It also gave me more time to sleep, which was great. So my temporary reduction in swim workouts turned into more of a permanent thing. I decided to focus instead on my form by doing more stroke drill (which is really time consuming). Going forward I plan to keep swimming when I have time and focus on stroke drills.