How Am I Doing This?
I have now completed 70% of my races
Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Tim, a member of the Ujena Fit Club posted this after I ran 20:58 5k Sept 9 for race 35. (photo of my son-in-law Justin and I warming up for that 5k - End of Summer in San Jose)
"How are you posting such impressive times on relatively low mileage?, are you doing tempo runs, intervals, is your natural ability "off the charts", or is it a combination of these reasons?, or maybe something else?," asked Tim McMenomey. It is a good question Tim and I am going to answer it the best I can.
Photo just after the start of the End of Summer 5k.
This is not an easy challenge but who would have thought it would have been? I know I could be running better times if I had enough time to train normally. I am missing my long run (15-18 miles) twice a month and interval work on the track. But if I tired to work this into my workouts, I think I would get injured. What I am doing seems to be working for this challenge. I have made one serious mistake and that cost me at least five minutes but it could have been worse. If I had walked in that half, I would have lost another eight minutes and I would have blown the whole year. However, right now I am a total of five seconds ahead of pace. After 244 miles of racing I am averaging just under 7 minutes/mile.
Photo: my final warm up before the start of the race.
I still have 15 races to go and I can start to see the finish line in Pleasanton December 23 at the Double. I am not making it easy for myself. My last two races is the Double Road Race where I am racing 10k at 8:20 and 5k at 10am. It might come down to that last race. I will race over 350 miles and be under 7 minutes/mile average at the end. But with the mistake I made in San Diego and included some tough races in the mix, it is going to be close. At age 64, if I run 69:69 for 10 miles it is like a 28-year-old male running 54:25 for ten or a 28-year-old female running 1:00:55 according to the age-graded tables. When I ran 1:26:27 in Fontana for the half on a certified course (but it does drop 2,000 feet the fist five miles and then it is flat BUT no up hills, perfect weather, my kind of course) in June, that would be like a 28-year-old running 1:06:33 on that course. Just saying...
Photo: talking with a running friend Michael King after the race Sunday.
Here is what I am doing:
1. I make sure my legs are as fresh as possible for each race. I try to get off my feet as much as possible the day before the race. I drink a lot of water the day before and try to get eight hours of sleep for at least three nights before the race.
2. I focus on each race. I don't think about what I have done or what I need to do. I get myself ready to race the race in front of me. The night before I eat early (12-13 hours before the start). I try to eat 8 oz of lean meet, mash potatoes and steam veggies. I drink one glass of red wine with lots of water. I wake up early and hit the bathroom. If I go to the bathroom at least four times before the start, I know I am going to run well that day. I eat half a banana and a glu pack. I eat one more glu packet right before the start and will carry one for the half. I will take one Aleve about 30 minutes before the start. I wear the same jersey and I race in light weight adidas shoes. I put on some icy Hot including on my feet.
3. I make sure I warm up before the start. I like to run at least a mile but that doesn't always happen. I for sure do some strides at race pace. At the start, I do not line up in the middle of the pack nor on the front line either. However, I am always in the front couple of rows. I just don't think of myself as a 64-year-old guy wanting to just finish the race. I want to race the race.
4. I start off fast. Not as fast as when I was in my 50's but faster than most 60 plus. I call it banking miles. (On Sunday I ran the first mile in 6:24. I should have been able to hold that but my legs were heavy because I did not prepare myself totally for this race. I ate too much the night before and too late. I was on my feet too much but this is life. I just wanted to run under 21 minutes and I did it. That is what counts. If I had not banked that first mile I would have finished in a slower time.)
5. In the race, I brake it down into parts. I run from mile marker to mile marker. Each one is like a finish line. I let the marker pull me there. Once there I focus on the next one. At times I think that there is only ten minutes left and I can finish with a good time or a bad time. But why not run the best time possible? The hurt is going to be the same but if I get a better time the hurt was more worth it. I am outside my comfort zone a lot and I would be able to handle it better with a long run in training or interval work but that is not possible.
Photo: keeping it fun. With Gerry Lindgren in Kauai after a little training run.
6. I am having a blast. The hurt I feel, at times in the races, is worth every second. I can't wait to run my final 15 races. I am meeting a lot of new people, training with a lot of people and traveling to some exciting places.
7. For training I am running and walking at least 30 miles per week. I have avg 34 miles for the year and about 5 miles of that is walking. Most of my training is at about 9 minutes/mile pace. I normally walk three miles the day after a half marathon. I listen to my body and put on tape or sit on a heating pad if I feel something is not feeling right. I get massages and see a chiro for a laser treatment if something really feels bad. I know I would be running faster times is I were just doing 25 races all year but that is not the challenge.
8. Positive thinking has been a big part of this too. I set goals and I go after them. The tough thing about a course like the half marathon in Kauai is that I normally like to go out fast and be under 7 minute pace for the first half of the race. There I averaged almost 8 minutes/mile for the first 6.5 and then ran under 7 minutes for the last half. But I spoke to a lot of people about the course in advance and had a plan. Lots of people were just talking about how beautiful the course was (and it is) but I was thinking about how I was going to run a good time.
That's how I am doing it...
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