Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review

Time: 255:15:13 (h:m:s)
Distance: 3,374 km

Another year has come to a close and while this was lackluster in terms of training and racing, it was a big one in terms of my career. The totals above are close to being 100% accurate, but there were certainly runs that I didn't wear Mr. Garmin and runs on the track when I turned off the GPS feature. I shouldn't compare the totals to last year as 2011 was filled with injury and 2010 was nearly perfect. In looking at the positives, I have been able to run healthy the last few months of the year and focus on Meagan's training leading up to the Trials.

I want 2012 to see some personal best times on the road from 10k to the marathon. Since there are many competitive road races in New England, I'll have plenty of times to toe the line and run fast times. I want the training to put me back in a place where given a few weeks, I should be able to specify the training to jump in any race distance that I hear is going to be competitive.

Here's to a year of fast racing...

Giving Green Lightning Some Love

I'm not only Meagan's boyfriend, coach, training partner and co-worker, but now I'm public relations consultant:

Palm Springs Long Run

Time: 133:09
Distance: 31.01 km
Pace: 4:18/km

Meagan and I headed out the door a little later than planned for a long run around Palm Springs. We didn't have a particular route in mind and I knew the run would involve some piecing together neighborhoods in the north part of town. We ended up finding ourselves near Ruth Hardy Park and getting a drink of water as we are unaccustomed to running in 70+ degree weather right now. I'm not complaining as it will most likely be snowy when we return to the east coast.

After taking a trip through Little Tuscany and the Historic Tennis Club neighborhoods, we ran back to a local running shop looking for water. No dice. How can a running store in the middle of the desert not have a drinking fountain? Luckily we scored some water at the bike store at the other end of the shopping center.

Feeling a bit refreshed we started heading back in the direction of home. We parted ways around the 25 km mark and I started to drop the pace. There was only one split that I would consider aggressive at the 29 km mark, I took off seeing what I could put down. Feeling relaxed and strong in my stride I was able to run a 3:09 km. Not setting the world on fire, but it was nice knowing I was controlled in running that type of effort that late in a run.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Recovery Double in PS

Time: 33:34
Distance: 7.17 km
Pace: 4:41/km

Meagan and I got out the door for a double run in the dark night of Palm Springs. It was still pretty warm out as we ran through some neighborhoods on the south end of town. My hip flexors were feeling a bit sore from the strides this morning or the core work I completed.

Flat Palm Springs Recovery

Time: 61:59
Distance: 13.93 km
Pace: 4:27/km

Meagan and I finally got to Palm Springs yesterday evening to spend the rest of the year in warm weather. The run this morning would be relatively short, flat and slow. It was a  perfect way to start the morning here in the desert. The only thing that would make it better is if Chris Solinsky would respond to my tweet. I saw that he was in Palm Springs for 5 days and I shot him a reply saying it would be great to meet up for a run. I have yet to get a response and slowly Galen Rupp is becoming my favorite American 10 km runner. I haven't gone as far as to tell him that as I still have hope we'll be able to run together.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

MRN's Last Big Trials Workout

Time: 98:31
Distance: 23.65 km

W/u: 16:09 for 3.40 km
W/o: 3 x 1 km @ 3:45/km (1 min rest), 10 km tempo @ 3:50/km (3 min rest), 3 x 1 km @ 3:40/km (90 sec rest)
C/d: 11:48 for 2.46 km

On the drive from San Francisco to the SFO airport I got a call from United saying our flight had been canceled. With no other flights arriving in or near Palm Springs before midnight, we opted to travel to San Jose to stay with my aunt Emily. In the morning we would use the bike path that runs between San Jose and Los Gatos as the site of Meagan's last big workout before traveling to Houston.

On tap was a workout consisting of 3 opening kilometers at marathon pace to get the body into a rhythm. Next would be a 10 km tempo just above marathon pace to to add some distance and get used to running fast without exerting or pushing too hard. We would end with 3 kilometer repeats at just below marathon pace to practice running somewhat fast while being somewhat tired.

Here's how it went...

3 x 1 km - 3:43.63 (62), 3:41.02 (61), 3:50.81 (2:01);
10 km tempo - 3:51.2, 3:54.1, 3:52.5, 3:48.4, 3:51.5, 3:49.7, 3:46.7, 3:48.1, 3:47.1, 3:46.0 (3:02);
3 x 1 km - 3:36.47 (91), 3:41.18 (91), 3:36.05
Total - 70:34 for 17.79 km and 3:58/km average

...pretty well. Like really well. The splits aren't overly impressive from a speed standpoint, but the comfort level at which Meagan hit those times was amazing. She was sharp right off the line on the opening 3 kilometers, the third of which included a slight detour due to a missed bridge crossing. No real worry on it showing up a little slow. The 10k tempo is what impressed me the most as at multiple times she verbally announced that, "I'm bored." I think the total time of the 10 km was around 38:15 which would have been her PR in 2008. The final 3 kilometers really showed her fitness as the pace was quicker than prescribed and yet she didn't sound any more exhausted. She was recovering within 30 seconds and hitting mid-3:30s with ease.

For the last real workout before the Trials, I think she's more than ready to have a great race.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Rosa Bike Path

Time 75:03
Distance: 16.93k
Pace: 4:26/k

Since Meagan would not be running in Annadel again this trip, we opted to stay close to my mom's and run along a creek bike path. I haven't run along the creek in many years, but it provides a paved, flat and uninterrupted route for an out and back run. Most importantly it's free of rocks.

It felt good to run flat and easy today as my legs are a little beat up from the downhills in Annadel. The weather has been more than ideal since we've been in California. The morning temps have definitely been chilly but after 15 minutes of running it's perfect weather for shorts, a t-shirt and gloves. Sometimes I wonder why I don't move back to California and then I remember gas is $3.75 per gallon, homes cost $400k, the state budget is non-existent and there are Mexicans everywhere.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Never Again

Time: 90:50
Distance: 19.29k
Pace: 4:42/k

After running in Annadel on Saturday, Meagan told me that she would never again run up there. Well, this morning we were meeting up with Steve for another run in the park. I picked out a loop that I felt wouldn't be too rocky as Meagan's foot is still a little sore. We aren't sure if it's the bone (really bad) or a tendon on the lateral side (bad, but icing will help). Being so close to the Trials there can't be any big set backs that would compromise toeing the line. Considering all the factors, I still felt she could manage one last run up in Annadel if we chose the right trails.

My loop had us running up Canyon to Lake Ilsanjo around to the right, up Warren Richardson and down the backside to Channel Drive. The only rocky section would be Canyon and since we were running uphill I didn't think it would be all that bad. Again, Steve and I found the safe path and rocks while Meagan gingerly ran up the hill. She was none too pleased when we hit the lake and then we had to run up the hill where three years ago she told me, "please don't talk to me right now." Three years ago she was huffing and puffing while this year she was able to hold a conversation with Steve and me.

At the top, all the rocks were behind us and it was smooth sailing to the finish. Meagan even hit the front and pressed the pace the final 15 minutes back to our cars. We had to do a little adding on to hit the daily distance goal, but overall I think it was a great loop despite what Ms. Nedlo has to say.

After the run we dropped in Heart & Sole to visit with my old high school coach and see what was shaking at the running store. It was a good visit and always great to catch up with Danny.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Running with Nelson Mwangi

Time: 72:50
Distance: 16.10k
Pace: 4:31

After posting about our run on Facebook yesterday, Nelson Mwangi who Meagan and I know from Queens in Charlotte, commented about running along the American River. He was interested in meeting up for a run and that's exactly what we did. Instead of turning left and heading in the direction of the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, we turned right and ran along the river toward downtown. It was great catching up with the little Kenyan who is now the assistant coach at American River Junior College which he attended prior to Queens. The team is definitely doing well as they recently won the JuCo State Meet, the biggest race of the year and it's the first time a team from Nor Cal had took home top honors. I'm sure Nelson played a role in the team's success this year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Week in Review

Time: 760:53
Distance: 168.43 km

The distance put in this week was great as much of it was completed on the west coast. It's been nice being home wearing shorts and t-shirts. Getting out the door in the morning while on vacation is always easier knowing the sun will be up to greet you. The legs are feeling good, though a little sore after running in Annadel. I haven't done a specific workout to my training, but Meagan's are going well. The year is quickly coming to an end and I'm happy to be running healthy after missing so many weeks earlier this year with niggles.

Christmas Morning Along the American River

Time: 126:14
Distance: 30.03k
Pace: 4:12/k

My mom, Meagan and I arrived at my cousin's house in Sacramento late last night after a Christmas Eve church service that I was dragged to attend. The highlight was not lighting a candle, listening to Christmas carols or seeing a junior high classmate, though those were all fine. The best part was seeing Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives (Triple D) hanging out with his family just like a normal guy. It brought back memories of the summer in Oklahoma where I got to meet him just up the street from my shitty apartment on Main St.

Being Christmas morning we got to watch the kiddos open their presents before heading out for a run. The goal this morning was to have Meagan run 30k on tired legs at a good clip. The hills of Annadel has both us feeling like hobby joggers. Our route would take us from the house, run 2 kilometers to the bike path along the American River, out to the 15k mark and then back. Hopefully, the pace would gradually pick up and we would be running between 3:55 and 4:10 per kilometer. That's not crazy fast, but certainly an honest effort given where Meagan is at with her training.


Avg Pace

As you can see, the pace dropped gradually and was pretty much locked in at 5k. The splits from 6k until 27k ranged from 3:58 to 4:10 with most being about 4:05. The terrain dictated the pace as some sections had brief inclines. Meagan was working at about 20 kilometers, but I think it was more due to a hot spot developing in her right foot.

It was good to accomplish this workout in the morning as we were able to enjoy a great Christmas with family the rest of the afternoon. Let's just say I won't have to curtail my Starbucks' coffee habit anytime soon.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Greatest Training Ground

Time: 110:03
Distance: 22.58k
Pace: 4:52/k

Through the wonders of Facebook, I was able to chat with my old high school teammate and meet up for a run at Howarth Park. It's a familiar meeting location for runners in Santa Rosa and one that I would visit multiple times during the week when I lived in Nor Cal. Meagan was also game to run with us under our promise that we wouldn't drop her too much... too often. The excitement of being back in the park might just get the pace moving between Steve and me!

We came up with a loop that would be roughly the distance Meagan was looking to hit and we were off. There are lots of climbs, trees, pretty views, a couple lakes, dozens of other runners, bikers, kilometers of dirt trails and wildlife. There were also lots of rocks. I don't remember the trails being so rocky or maybe I was just tougher back in high school. Steve and I were able to find relatively clean routes on the trail to avoid the rocks and we've learned which rocks are safe to step on and which need to be avoided. On the contrary, Meagan's little stubby legs and already sore foot weren't suited to the terrain.

On a number of occasions she was dropped when the trail became overly rocky and she decided to walk. Yes, a Olympic Trials qualifier stopping to walk on runs! I could tell she was getting frustrated, but there was little we could do other than be overly careful.

It was great catching up with Steve and getting a run in back up in Annadel. We are both convinced it's the best place to train in the country. Meagan thinks we are nuts. On the run we also saw Kim Conley and Sarah Hallas who are both talented runners from the area. There were no Sara (Bei) Hall or Julia (Stamps) Mallon sightings today.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Going Back to Cali

Time: 87:57
Distance: 19.63k
Pace: 4:29

I got out the door a little ahead of Meagan this morning to run my own pace. Sometimes I have to run solo to stretch the legs out. The roads were filled with puddles from the overnight, but it wasn't bad while I was out. I was rocking a Gore-Tex shell which is a must for cold wet runs and I wish I had one while in college.

My loop brought me around the neck with the little "lollipop" add on on the first circuit. As I was about halfway done with the second circuit and getting ready to run back to the house, I spotted Meagan finishing up her first loop. I slowed to run with her and opted to run a third loop around the neck. It added another 3.6k to the run, but I'll take it as we can only run once today.

This evening we are flying to the west coast to spend Christmas with my family. It will be good to run back in Annadel and see friends and family in California. With only 3 weeks left until the Trials it will provide Meagan with some ideal training grounds too.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Night Run through Town

Time: 55:10
Distance: 11.41k
Pace: 4:50

I suckered Meagan into running a full loop around the neck with me tonight after work. Nothing too crazy out there to report. The body is feeling good and in the routine of running 45+ minutes twice a day. It's all about time on the feet these days.

Rainy Night, Dry Morning

Time: 61:17
Distance: 13.29k
Pace: 4:37

It was drizzly and rainy most of yesterday when me and the CEO were in Boston for work. We met up with a couple of guys who are working on the Karhu Originals side of things. We also dropped in a few stores including The Tannery and Marathon Sports. The former is a place that you just want to hang out and drop mad cash on quality merchandise. The product selection is unique and of the best quality of the brands they carry like Woolrich, Canada Goose and Rag & Bone. The brands' authenticity is undeniable especially when displayed collectively on classically sophisticated fixtures. If you're ever in Boston, perhaps when you're near the marathon finish on Boylston St, definitely drop in The Tannery or Marathon Sports.

Over the night the weather only got worse and I may have even hear thunderstorms. I didn't know what to expect in the morning, but found the dry conditions and low 50s to be a treat. It was t-shirt and light jacket type of weather as it was still a bit breezy for this loop around the neck. We started out on the trail, but did a U-turn when a huge puddle obstructed the path. Meagan gets bored always running around the neck, but I find it nice to not have to think about what road to take next. I know if I loop the neck and run back to the house it's been an appropriately distanced run.