San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 9

Image result for 2018 san diego rock and roll marathon

 

Sunday May 13, 2018

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there! I’m a lucky to have a mom who has been so great to me and our family! It’s your day to rest or do whatever you like mom!

This was the last of the toughest weeks with a very hard track workout on Tuesday as well as a 13 miler on Saturday. The fact that I am hitting on all cylinders and running extremely well is so motivating and I hope to keep this up right up to race day!

Here’s our the week panned out….

 

Tuesday Track workout 3 x 1 mile @ Half Marathon pace +10 seconds and 1 mile @ 10K pace.

This mornings workout couldn’t have gone any better. Coming into this track workout, I had just raced a 10K two days ago on a tough hilly course. My body felt recovered and I was very much looking forward to hitting my targets.

The plan was to do switch directions on the track every 2 miles or each set. I started out running the usual counter-clockwise direction and in my mind, I was targeting 8:40, not 8:50 which I just realized was my intended goal since I had to add 10 seconds. So I was much quicker. Then I went directly into a 1 mile 10K pace which I was targeting at 8:10 give or take a few seconds. I hit 8:11 so I was right on pace. Then I switched directions and this is where not only I have been experiencing quicker times, but also Meredith and Carrie as well whenever we run clockwise. We can’t explain it and we all have different Garmin watches.

The splits came in much quicker on the Half +10 and 10K splits… in fact, I was 20 seconds faster for them both and I was running either the same effort or just a tick slower. I was trying to keep the effort the same as in the previous set.

On the final set I was getting a little tired with 1.5 miles to go and I as wrapped up my Half segment, I clocked an 8:38! I knew the 10K split would need to be close to 8:10. I dug in and kept working as my breathing became labored. When the watch beeped, I finished with an 8:05! Wow!!! this was a great day and I nailed my workout even if the Garmin pegged me a little quicker.

I have put together 9 straight weeks of track workouts and have hit my goal on each of them. This has been the toughest and longest track workouts to date. I left the track around 6:15 so just over an hour as Carrie and I did our cooldown run home.

Meredith nailed her routine as well and looked strong, Carrie crushed her workout as well and we all walked away from the track with a HUGE feeling of accomplishment. I am feeling so strong and confident about my training. I really wasn’t sure how my body would feel after the 10K race just 48 hours. I figured I would have some residual soreness but I didn’t really feel any of it!

I have one more tough track workout and long run in the next 7 days then I can start the taper. I’m hoping I’m peaking at the right moment. I’ve worked hard and never missed a workout and kept focused throughout my training.

 

Wednesday– Recovery run

Business as usual, good leg turnover and flushed out the crap in the legs from yesterday’s tough track workout. I’m feeling good and positive about where I am at in my training.

 

Thursday– Easy run

I wanted to get out a little early today for my 6 miler and was out the door just after 4:15am. Temps were in the upper 70’s closing in on 80 but didn’t feel that bad. I ran a route that was a hodge podge of in and outs of streets. I was looking to avoid the same old out and back but in the end the 6 miler felt more like a 10 or 12! I felt pretty good and made it home just as the sun was rising which is always a nice time of day. Now I have a little extra time to dip into the pool after work and relax before Saturday’s long 13 mile run… the longest run before tapering.

 

Saturday– Long run

This was my last long run of training and I wanted to go out in style and do it right and do it good. I got up around 3:20am, a little earlier than what I set on my clock of 3:30am. I ate half of a bagel and banana, my morning pre long run meal as of late and a glass of water around 3:45am.

I got all of my hydration bottles out of the freezer that I prepared the night before. Carrie was also getting ready for her 23 miler as she headed out at 4:30am. I soon followed at 4:33am under the dark of night which was cool and a little breezy. My route was set so that I would run at least 7 miles with an option of adding more if I felt like it. Then I could get a refill of hydration fluids and finish my run.

The first 2-3 miles did not feel that great, my legs were a little sore and almost as if lactic acid was setting in much earlier. I didn’t panic and kept a good pace while focusing on effort. My goal for the long run was to keep it around 9:15 and even a 9:20 would be fine.

As the horizon was starting to light up, I was also beginning to run better and kept a good pace even on some of the slight uphill grades. When I got to mile 6.5 I didn’t take the left that would take me home to 7 miles. Instead, I went the long way home and before I got home it was 10 miles. I just felt good enough to go the extra few miles which would be a HUGE mental relief knowing I only had 3 miles.

At home, I refilled my handheld bottle with some electrolytes and made my way towards the track where I would eventually run another 1 1/2 miles on flat and softer grounds. This feels so good on the feet after pounding the pavement for 11 miles.

Before you know it, I completed the goal of 13 miles in exactly 1:59:59! 1 second away from 2 hours. I sat on the track for a minute to catch my breath and take in some fluids. 13 miles and I felt pretty good overall… I wasn’t sure in those first few miles but recovered and stay focused and poised.

At the 6.5 mile mark I took notice of my time which said I was at 1:00:37. If I ran it even on the 2nd half, I would run a 2:01:14. I did stop at the 10 mile mark to get fluids and again for 1 minute at mile 11.5 but other than that, I did not stop. I ran a 59:22 on the 2nd half which I was extremely happy with.

This was a very good run for me and its validation that my training has been paying off. I have not trained this hard in the past nor have I taken the approach of running slower on the easy and long runs by 20-30 seconds in the past. I think my body has responded quite well and I was so happy when I finished.

Carrie came home enthusiastic and feeling great as well. I drove out to see her down the street where she was finishing up the last of her 3 miles or so and I wanted to make sure she doing good and had enough fluids. She crushed her run and also having one of her best training sessions to date!

It was a great day for both of us on our long runs. Combined, we did 36 miles… WOW!!!

Today was also a good day for Meredith who did a 5K and the goal was to take it out quick and push being that it would be her last tune-up race before her Half Marathon. The target was to try and run a sub 9 minute pace and she took it out at a good clip and at the end of the race, held on for a good race a few seconds over but a strong race. She’s been training very well along with her long days with work. She’s injury free and been crushing her speedworkouts! Nicely done Meredith!!!

Sunday– Recovery run

This was very slooooow. Not that I was trying to run fast but yesterday’s 13 miler could be felt on this recovery run. I mixed in some roads and finished with 1.5 miles on the track for some softer footing and flat grounds. The temperature was great with lows in the mid 60’s which is very cool for this time of year. The hips, quads, and calves were definitely sore from the long run but a good day of just flushing out the junk and getting in some turnover.

9 weeks is now in the rearview mirror with the toughest workouts in the books. This also means that the taper weeks are well within view. One more double-digit long run of 10 miles next weekend before really dropping the miles.

I feel really good about this training session and the new workouts at track have been a real game changer along with the slower paces of my easy, recovery, and long runs… something I feel very good about.

Until then!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 8

Image result for 2018 san diego rock and roll marathon

 

Sunday May 6, 2018

 

This was race week… well a 10K at least down in my old stomping grounds in Tucson! It was 14 years ago since I last raced at the Cinco De Mayo 10K… back then Carrie and I did it and weren’t even married, so this is our first Tucson Cinco De Mayo 10K as a married couple!

 

Tuesday– Track workout.. speed Intervals- 8 x 800 @ 10K pace w/ 200M recovery at Marathon pace

This one was expected to be a little bit of a challenge and it lived up to it. Target was 10K pace which I was looking at 8:10. I knew on my 400’s I was going to have to stay close to 2:05 which doesn’t sound that bad, and it wasn’t until.. the 4th and 5th one. What made this a tougher workout was the fact that I had 200M to recover at Marathon pace which I calculated to be closer to 9:10. It was a struggle to run faster on the recovery and kept it closer to 9:30 but I was very  pleased with my 800 speed workouts which averaged 3:58 far under 4:10 or even 4:05 which was my top end.

It was good as always to see others out there including Carrie who was doing 1K’s as well as Meredith who was also working on 8 x 800’s. We all crushed it even though it was a tough hour of speed. This has been the most speed workout I have probably ever done or if not recently, a long time that I can remember! Plus the weather was very nice with lows in the low 60’s and its expected to get lower the next few days :).

I made sure to take some walk breaks at work and was a little sore with the legs and lower back. Will need to do some more rolling and stretching at home as well as some leg workouts.

Wednesday– Recovery run

Carrie and I ran our usual Wednesday route for my 6 and her 8. I felt better than expected coming off of yesterday’s 8 x 800 track session. Good run this morning with lows in the upper 50’s which made my hands feel “chilly”. I’ll take it as we have a few days of a nice cooldown before a very hot weekend.

 

Thursday– Easy run

I won’t lie… this morning was a tough run. Not because it was an easy run, but my body is feeling tired from the training. I know this is normal as I am pushing my body and getting fitter as the days and weeks go by. My left foot and ankle feels stiff and sore. The calf is really tight with knots and I’ve been rolling and stretching.

Fortunately, I’ll be visiting my Chiro Dr. soon and getting a little work done. I’m also approaching a massage with my masseuse which will expose some areas that I know will be painful as she digs in and works out the knots.

Training is never easy otherwise everyone would do it right? My mind is now focusing on our upcoming 10K race in Tucson this weekend. It’s a hilly SOB! That’s putting it mildly but this is an important training race for me to see how far I’ve come in the past 8 weeks.

 

Saturday– Easy run… shakeout run

Got out for an easy 4 miler before we head out to Tucson today for Cinco De Mayo 10K on Sunday!!

 

Sunday– 10K race Cinco De Mayo Tucson

What a way to close out 8 weeks of training with a very tough 10K race in my old stomping grounds of Tucson, Arizona! Wildcat country! This morning with temps in the low 70’s under a clear sky and bright hot sun, it was time to tackle the hills of west Tucson. Let me state that its been 14 years (2004) since I last did this race and was not a married man. Carrie ran back then as well under her maiden name and today we both raced after a 14 year absence as a married couple!

For anyone who has not done the Cinco De Mayo 10K race at Cholla High School that takes you past the world-famous Starr Pass golf course, it is a Bitch! I mean that in the most honest and meaningful way. It tests everyone ounce of your body from start to finish. The course immediately starts with a slight downhill then climbs for about 2 miles with some rolling hills. At the turnaround at mile 3.1, you make your way uphill for another grueling mile before you reach mile 4 and embark on 2 miles of downhill running which does include a few rolling hills.

Personally, I like rolling hills in that it allows your body to gain some momentum and isn’t too severe on the up or downhill portions. Flashback.. in the mid and late 90’s when I was much younger and quicker, I would run the 10K between 44-46 minutes on this course. In 2004, I ran it in 55:13 which is just under 9 mins a mile, nothing spectacular right? Well, my goal this year was to not only beat that time but I’d be really happy with an 8:30 pace.

I have been training very well and working harder especially on the speed workouts on the track but would it be enough to run well. But I will be the first to tell you that 10K’s for me aren’t my favorite and that’s probably why in all my years, I haven’t done too many. I did a few in my 20’s when 10K’s were more popular but tapered away from them. So coming into today’s race, my goal was to treat this as a race but as a strong training run with the hills coming into play.

I felt good this morning as we toed the line, the mexican dinner last night at Tucson’s award-winning mexican restaurant El Charro with its delicious food and chips wasn’t a factor as my body handles it well.. even all the salsa and chips and yes, a modelo negro beer!

 

 

Well… it was a very good race and I feel like I ran the uphills fairly well, I wish my downhills were quicker. The slowest pace was one 9:00 pace on a mile that had a climb of 120 feet with a drop of 16 ft giving an overall net gain of 104 feet in a mile, so I am happy with it. None of my downhills were faster than an 8:01, which I thought I might be able to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 7:50? I’ve looked at the numbers by each mile and the climbs and descents as well and how I responded and how much fatigue there was as well as how much reserve I had.

In the end, I crossed the line in 51:59 which was good enough for an 8:22 pace which is faster than what I was hoping for! I felt good about today’s race and the effort I put forth. I put my hands on my knees and tried to catch my breath… an indication that I worked my ass out there and I know I did.

I saw Carrie with about 100-150M left and I kicked it in for the last .22 with a 6:36 finish which showed I had something left.

Carrie had a very good race and placed first in her age with a strong 42:44 race, which she was happy with. She would have liked to have raced a little quicker but that is faster by 4 mins and 01 seconds! A hell of a race and claiming the top 4 overall female.

I don’t have any pictures of Carrie racing since she came in before me, but took one of her during her warmup run from the hotel to the school before the start of the race. I also got a picture of her on the podium for 1st place in her age and collecting her margarita glass which she says she will fill up with her homemade Kombucha!!!

 

 

Afterwards, it was time for some post race freebie foods! El Saguarito Mexican which is a healthier burro with all types of burros which I tasted, as well as Eegees and donuts and fruit! A huge THANK YOU to the Southern Arizona Roadrunners for putting on an outstanding race and to all the law enforcement officers who were on the course directing traffic and ensuring our safety with vehicles on the road.

This was a great race to re-visit after so many years. I’m glad I did it and I can see myself coming back in the future!

 

I’d also like to share that Meredith completed her 13 mile run this weekend under some hot conditions and also for putting in some long days at the office working for the Education sector.. thanks for your service as and educator! She’s almost done with her tough workouts and soon the taper will come into play!

That’s it for 8 weeks, we are not 2/3’s of the way done with training and one more tough week coming up which I call hell week. A tough 6 mile speed with no real recovery and 13 mile long run next weekend under some warm conditions. Here goes another week!!!!

San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 7

Image result for 2018 san diego rock and roll marathon

 

Sunday April 29, 2018

 

Monday – Rest day…. Although today was a rest day, the big news was the announcement of the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials (OTM). It was announced that Atlanta will host the trials on February 29, 2020! It also happens to fall on leap day! I have been watching closely for the past 2 weeks for the announcement and Carrie got the news shortly after i got home from work.

We are both excited and planning to take the trip to Atlanta run in the Marathon/Half Marathon which will be held the day after the trials. We have only been to one OTM back in 2012 when it was held in Houston, Texas. What a trip and how inspiring it was to see all of the men and women who qualified to get to the trials as they ran proudly in front of a raucous crowd. We saw a few friends and followers of ours in the race and the noise was deafening as the runners came running by. If you have never been to an OTM, I strongly encourage you to do so and you will be inspired!

 

Tuesday– Speedwork.. Tempo at goal Half Marathon pace

This started out as a day where I thought I would not have the energy to muster the full 5 mile effort. I ran to the track for my usual warmup then hit the track and every mile I would switch directions. I managed to put up good splits and hit my target under 8:40 w/ 8:33 average. It wasn’t easy on the final 2 miles but having Carrie and Michelle who were doing their own workouts helped keep me going.

After my workout, Carrie was finishing up with 2 x 400 to burn it out. I decided to hop in on her last one as she was looking to run sub 1:30. I took off quickly and at the 200 mark I was at 40 sec! I started to die around 150 and didn’t have a strong kick but finished in 1:28… 2 secs faster than Carrie. That was a tough run. A good day!

Wednesday– Recovery run

I headed out after a good nights sleep and put in 6 miles as Carrie was looking to get in 8 miles. It was a nice morning with lows in the upper 60’s low 70’s. I was sweating a little a few miles in but not bad. The weather is still good in the mornings but we know what’s ahead. Afterwards, I did my usual rolling and stretching which is now a regular part.

Thursday – Easy run

This was a very good 6 mile run. I got out a little earlier so I could get to work earlier and also make it home to catch some good track and field streaming online. Normally, I do like to look at the watch regularly but kept it only on the mile splits when it beeped. I was running purely on effort which is what I should be doing. I had a very good run and kept a good pace right where I wanted and afterwards felt pretty good.

I didn’t have any pain in the left food and my breathing was good and relaxed. The only issue I had a coughing attack the first half of the run, perhaps the crap in the air. I was in the zone and enjoyed this run as I finished just after dawn as the sky was beginning to light up. A good stretch and rolling session after my run then I hit the shower and off to work!

Saturday– Long run at South Mountain

 

 

Our morning started out at 5am, well at least for Carrie it did. She was running 21 miles while I had 12 of my own. She was running from Ahwatukee to South Mountain then adding an additional 7 miles on San Juan road to get her 21. I was driving to South Mountain and also running San Juan.

For those who are not familiar with South Mountain, it our very own park with tons of trails and paved roads for outdoor enthusiasts including us runners! The road most traveled for runners is San Juan which from the bottom of the park to the very end is about 6 1/2 miles or 13 miles roundtrip. It consists of hilly roads and at one stretch it goes for a few miles both downhill and uphill.

My run started out with a good 2 mile climb of about 250 feet. This was a good gauge of how our upcoming 10K race in Tucson would look and feel. It also starts out with an immediate climb of 200 feet with several good hills. I ran the first two miles in a relatively good pace of 9:30 then had a few good miles of rolling and downhills.

Then the turnaround and the climb… I shortened my stride and kept my legs moving as I ran the uphills. I made one stop then carried on never relinquishing a pace slower than 9:58 which was pretty good for me. I was getting tired near mile 9 and could feel my left foot getting sore and the legs a little achy.

The hills beat you up both up and down but it does so much for your mental fortitude in building such strength as we move closer to our races. After 12.3 miles, I finally finished in 1:52 with a couple of stops and water intake.

I saw Susan and Wendy and a few others on the route as well as Carrie who finished just ahead of me as I drove the car down to the main parking lot. Carrie had a great run and hit her target and was very thirsty.

Afterwards, we rolled and stretched as we brough our R8 and Roller as we normally do to get a good roll and stretch in. There’s nothing worse for your body than to do a tough run and go directly in the car for the ride home.

We both reflected on our run as we drove home happy about what we accomplished today. Carrie hit her target pace and I was 4-5 seconds off but considering the pounding the body takes with all the hills, this was a very good run for me.

After breakfast, we hit the pool which always feels so good on the legs and the rest of the body. I also hit the jacuzzi for a little and let the jets work on the feet and tired muscles.

We spent most of the day watching some shows and relaxing. Overall, a very good run for us both and only 1 really long run left in training.

Sunday– Recovery run

Ended the week in normal fashion with a recovery run and could I feel the long run effecting my legs today. I was sore like I did something hard yesterday but nothing serious. It was good to get the legs turning over. We went on a new route that took us to a trail we have always seen on our runs or driving by. I went out on the trail with Carrie for a little before turning around since I only had 4 miles and ended up running 4.5.

Weekly cap…

This was another week of at lest 35 miles that included a good track workout and hill workouts on South Mountain. 7 weeks of good honest training is now officially closed and looking back its been one of my best training sessions in a long time.

The weather is definitely heating up but the nice thing about our training is that we really only have a few more weeks of hard training and long runs before the mileage starts to taper. Little aches and pains are still present but I’m doing my exercises and getting chiro and massage work periodically. 5 more weeks to be exact before we toe the line in San Diego… but before then, we have a good race in Tucson next weekend that will be a very challenging course. The race is the Cinco de Mayo 10K which I used to do in the 90’s and the last one being 14 years ago.

The course has some tough climbs but also what goes up, must come down. Carrie and I will be using this as a training run but racing it with the mindset of putting into practice the skills we know and applying it on race day. The key is not to try to go out too quickly which shouldn’t be tough considering the first 2 miles is practically an uphill climb. We’ve run South Mountain a few times as well as running in our own backyard in Ahwatukee which is hilly in any direction we run. I’m looking forward to getting away for a weekend in Wildcat country and a little cooler weather which makes a difference on race day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 6

Image result for 2018 san diego rock and roll marathon

 

Sunday April 22, 2018

 

This was the halfway point of my training… 6 weeks behind me and 6 more in front.

 

Monday– Easy run

We wore our Boston Strong shirts as we have done the past several years and did our morning run before watching the Boston Marathon. A good run this morning, but a little soreness on my left hammy and glute. I got some work done with my Chiro Dr. Rudd this afternoon. My left glute and hamstrings have been tight and sore. I also got some adjustments and loosened up the ankle. I need to do more of my exercises.

Tuesday– Track.. Intervals- 16 x 400 @ 10K pace

This was a good workout, long but good. It was the end of a 4 day stretch of running where I accumulated nearly 29 miles in that period. I did feel it in my glutes and hammies. My target was keeping it close to a 10K split and ended up going out faster and closer to my 5K pace. Overall, I’m happy I could do that for 16 of them but the splits are too far apart which tells me I need to hone in my effort and keep it tighter. The recovery period was close to 1:27 for the 200M so I was well rested. Here are my splits.

2:01
2:00
1:51
2:02
1:57
1:52
2:03
2:01
1:58
1:52
1:57
2:03
1:58
2:00
1:57
1:55

 

Thursday– Alternating Tempo- 2 x 1 mile @ Half race pace 8:40, 1 mile 10K pace 8:05-10

This was my 2nd speed workout since Tuesday. I had a rest day Wednesday since my schedule shifted this week with me running on Monday. I can’t recall the last time I’ve done 2 speed workouts in a week. But then again, this training period has been more than I’ve done in a very long time. I got to the track just after 5am and nobody was there from start to finish. I set out for my workout and switched directions after the first 2 miles then again after the 3rd mile and again on the 4th and finally the last 2 miles to complete the 6 mile speed workout. I do this to not overwork one side of the hips and legs on the turns since the track has a slight bank.

The workout went well but on the 3rd repeat, the 10K pace was a little tougher and I had to fight a little to stay at the pace I wanted. Since there are no rests between the repeats (the Marathon pace is the rest) I had to stay focus for 6 miles of speed. Overall, I felt good and hit my target. About an hour at the track then I ran home for the cooldown.. just another (2) days at the Oval Office!

Saturday– Long run

Another gorgeous morning in the valley with lows hovering just above 60 degrees near 6am when Carrie and I set off for our long run. I had 11 on the slate and the course I designed took us on a nice slight downhill grades for the first 5 miles before a slight climb then a few miles onto the track which I wanted to do for softer ground and flat terrain. My left foot was a little sore as it usually is but this time it came on a little early near mile 3.

But the pain was never overbearing and I kept a good pace which was a 9:10.. my target was 9:10-15. I even ran it up the hills on the Ray section around Chandler Blvd which has the highest climb that really wasn’t that bad.

I didn’t stop until I did a few laps on the track to grab a quick drink of water before we finished up with about 1/2 mile outside of the track on our way home. The legs were a little sore and tired but I felt pretty good, especially on the breathing side.

I will have pain during the race, especially with my left foot and I’m already prepared for that. This training session has gone incredibly well for the first half and I’m hoping for an even split on the second half of training.

Tomorrow is a very easy 4 miler which I will do at a nearby race in Ahwatukee put on my one of our friends and former Masters Elite Susan Loken. Carrie is doing the race and running there while I meet her on my run, should be a great morning as our sister-in-law Michelle and some of our friends will also be participating in it.

 

Sunday– Recovery run

The main focus for todays run was to run on tired legs and get some turnover. I got close to 40 miles for the week after a few 8 mile days of speed. I got up super early (not by choice) and put in a short run then went to the start of the 5K race that Carrie was doing which was down the street, our first Ahwatukee race and finished up with Carrie on her warmup run.

Carrie had a good race this morning. She wasn’t trying to go out fast and just wanted to use this as a training run and did well. Her former Coach at Gateway Community College Cross Country (see in red tank) said nice abs if nothing else :).

 

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She finished in 19:47 which she felt good about, seeing how she is coming off a 80-85 mile week and not training for a 5K. This was good enough to put her 2nd overall female and on the podium!

 

 

I also got to see Michelle race as she took first in her age! as well as Dan who was pushing baby Andrew in the stroller.. Great job all around to you and all those who race in the 1st Annual Park to Park race in Ahwatukee and to Susan Loken for putting on a great race and support staff… we hope the race continues next year which would be fun to do.

 

 

 

Also, a good week for Meredith who is also training for the San Diego RNR Half Marathon as she put in a strong week and closed out with a good long run. Her ankle is 100% healed and she’s getting her endurance and strength back! Nice work Meredith… keep it going strong!

The halfway point of training is over and its been a successful 6 weeks. I’m feeling good overall, some soreness and tightness in some areas but getting work done with my Chiro and Masseuse as well putting in my own exercises.

Next week is the final week before a cutback week which will end with a  Cinco de Mayo 10K in Tucson to judge my fitness level up to this point. I haven’t done many 10K’s but with a Half Marathon in sight, the 10K is a good litmus test of how training is going.. It’s a hilly course in which I’ve run 3 times to my best recollection. In fact, my PR is 44:21 a 7:08 pace back in 1995. My latest race there has been 14 years ago back in 2004.. Carrie and I weren’t even married so this will be our first official race as a married couple. Back in 2004 Carrie also did the race. I’m excited to race there again in Wildcat country!

Until then!

Boston Marathon… Fairytale ending

Image result for boston marathon 2018

 

Boston Marathon!!!!!!!

Monday April 16, 2018

 

This is one of my favorite days of the year. Yes, it’s The Boston Marathon which takes place on the 3rd Monday in April. This year it just so happened to also fall on our 13 year Anniversary. 13 to some may be an unlucky number but to Carrie and I, it was a great day!

As we have done for so many years, Carrie and I woke up early to get in our run before the big race and donned our Boston Strong shirts in honor of the best Marathon race!!! I had 6 on the slate while Carrie was putting in 11. The dvr was set to record so that we would not miss a second.

 

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Anyone who is not just a runner, but a runner who loves to watch 2-3 hours of a marathon nonstop is a certified running geek! Oh yes, I fully admit I am a running geek. I’m a Coach and runner but someone who loves to watch the sport as well. We have a subscription to watch track and field and road racing online and stream on TV.. while others watch Netflix, we’re watching running!

I’ve been taking the day off of work for the past 15-16 years just to watch the Boston Marathon. If it wasn’t on TV and it was streaming online it didn’t matter… I just wanted to watch it. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is a race I have never qualified although came within a distant 29 minutes when I ran a 3:39:11 at the Tucson Marathon some 18 years ago.

I love the rich tradition of Boston and how it is the ONLY Marathon whereby runners must qualify in order to race or run as part of a charity. The only other Marathon that requires a qualification standard is the U.S. Olympic Marathon and we know how hard that is!

So, let’s get to the race….

This morning was an incredible day of racing for the runners in the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon. You couldn’t have scripted a better ending and a whose who in the top 10 finishers for both the men and women. Here are your top 10 finishers!

Professional Men

1. Kawauchi, Yuki (JPN)
02:15:58

2. Kirui, Geoffrey (KEN)
02:18:23

3. Biwott, Shadrack (USA)
02:18:35

 

Professional Women

1. Linden, Desiree
02:39:54

2. Sellers, Sarah (USA)
02:44:04

3. Duchene, Krista (CAN)
02:44:20

 

Coming into the race, the women’s field was being touted as one of the if not THE best fields in Boston Marathon history! The top names were taking center stage like Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle. My heart was rooting for Shalane who was more than likely running her final Boston Marathon and grew up in Marbelhead, Mass some 15-20 miles from Boston. Molly Huddle, who was making only her 2nd attempt at the Marathon distance has been an accomplished runner in the shorter distances as well as the Half Marathon.

Also making headlines was the weather. All week and even 2 weeks out, the outlook for Boston on race day was plenty of rain and a headwind of 20-40 mph!!! Ouch, that is not a recipe for ideal conditions.

One runner who is tough in all conditions is Desi Linden… a gritty and steady runner who always seems even keeled on her races. Nobody seemed to be giving her a chance at winning the race. I must admit, I had her finishing 3rd. But with the weather being extremely windy 20-40 mph with a headwind and raining with some torrential downpours, this would favor Desi.

Carrie and I had talked about who we liked and when we found out the weather was going to be horrible, Carrie immediately thought of Desi and how she is so methodical in her approach regardless of the weather or pace of the race. She picked Desi to win it all and was she ever correct! Desi just runs her race while others fall off of theirs.

After the race, Desi recalls what happened early on.. here is a quote from taken from the CBS affiliate in Boston…

“Early on in the race, I was feeling horrible and I just kind of nudged [Shalane] and said ‘hey, I might drop out. There’s a good chance I’m going to drop out today. If you need something–block the wind, whatever, let me know.’ And so she nudged me and she’s like ‘I’m going to hit the bathroom. And I was like ‘well, if it slows up, great, if not I’ll try to tuck in and bring you back to the group.’ That was that. When I got back to the group and kind of connected, Molly was at the front and Daska and I was like well, I should probably help Molly reconnect to that. Then I turned back and I was in third or and fourth and I thought, I probably shouldn’t drop out. So I kept going.” 

Well, today was Desi’s day and we all witnessed a great comeback that would ultimately be Desi’s first Marathon win! It was so gratifying to watch a woman who works her ass off and although you hear her name from time to time, you don’t hear it nearly enough… well guess what? You will now.. 2018 Boston Marathon winner!!!!

 

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Desi became the first U.S. Woman to win Boston since 1985. Ironically, it was also the last year that Boston would have a race without prize money. In 1986, Boston started to award prize money and for 32 straight years, the International field has took home 1st place. But 2018 will forever go down in history as the year Desi Linden who runs for the Hansons-Brooks Project out of Michigan became your winner!

There were some disappointments as Shalane Flanagan finished a disappointing 7th place and at one point had to make a port o pot stop. But who was there to slow down and wait for Shalane to help her get back to the lead pack? Yep, Desi!!!! Such great sportsmanship and class act!!!!

Molly also struggled and finished in 16th place. Some had put her in the top 3 women’s finishers. I had picked her to win as a potential wildcard. I know she will rebound and reach the podium, she is a tenacious runner and with only 2 marathons under her belt, she has room to improve and will!

 

Then there’s Galen Rupp… many including myself thought this was the year he takes the top spot on the podium after a great buildup to Boston with an almost record-breaking American record at the Rome Half Marathon a month ago. Rupp would not see the finish line as he DNF (did not finish), a very disappointing day indeed.
Here’s a look at the Elite’s who did not finish today due to weather and/or other health issues.
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All in all, it was a spectacular day filled with plenty of emotions both high and low. There were finishers that made us scratch our heads and ask who is she? Like the 2nd and 3rd place finishers…..
  • Sarah Sellers (USA) (2:44:05)
  • Krista Duchene (CAN) (2:44:20)
What a day of excitement! We also had a few friends of ours run Boston and want to send a HUGE shout out to all of them who completed the race in what was being hailed as one of the toughest race conditions Remember, it was in the mid 30’s at the start in Hopkinton with rain and it only got stronger as did the wind which was in the 20’s with gusts up to 40 mph!! We are all so proud of you and wish you a safe return to Phoenix!!!!
This is why I love running and the story that it tells. Running can help shape you as a person and give you the courage to step outside of your comfort zone and accomplish so much that you didn’t think was possible.
I will remember today on my next run that is windy and or raining and think to myself, there is no greater joy to step foot on a cold wet and windy day when my body is able to take the punishment for those who don’t have the ability to do so.

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San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 5

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Sunday April 15, 2018

Week 5 kicked off in great fashion, it was nice having a cutback week in mileage a bit last week, but back on track for some tough workouts! I got in 10 miles for my long run and I will also highlight the Boston Marathon which will be run on Monday April 16th. I’ll include my picks to place in the top 3 for both the men and women’s field which is loaded!

Tuesday– Threshold Intervals- 2 x 2 mile @ Half race pace

This was a great workout and I nailed my target of 8:40 by averaging 8:35. Something about the track with the flat oval course and absolutely no traffic with cars.. just Carrie who was zipping by every so often.

I felt great about my run and really didn’t feel tired. Perhaps I should be closer to an 8:30 or slightly faster? I’m feeling good about my fitness and seeing the work pay off. So far my workouts at the track have been right at or better than my target. A great start to week 5!
Wednesday– Recovery run

This morning I felt pretty good on my recovery run. I’ve been feeling sluggish the day after a track workout. But yesterdays workout didn’t seem that hard which may have given me a little more energy. Carrie and I ran together for 6 miles before she took off for 2 more. My cadence was higher and my breathing felt relaxed. The temperature this morning felt great which was in the 60’s.
Thursday– Easy run with 4 x 20 sec strides post run

Nothing exciting on this run, did what I had to do and got a little time on my feet and followed it up with a few strides to remind the legs they can work on tired legs.

Saturday– Long run w/ speed mix

The morning temps were in the low 60’s with a decent wind out of the NE. I wore sleeves with a short sleeve and felt just fine. I forgot my sunglasses which would have been nice when I was run east but I got by with no issues. My plan on this 10 miler was to incorporate a little quicker pace on miles 4, 6, and 8.

I had no issues on the 4th mile, but on the 6th mile, I was struggling on the final stretch of the 6th mile which was going uphill. My left foot which gives me some issues on the longer and faster miles was starting to ache. I had to stop at the top of a hill and again on the last speed segment.

When all was said and done, I got in 10 miles and closed out strong on the last mile with an 8:44. My goal for the long run pace was 9:10 and on the speed portion close to 8:30. I made good on the long run pace, on the speed my average with a couple of stops came in at 8:31.

It was definitely a tougher workout as I was trying to teach my body to run on tired legs. At one point when I was running into a headwind, I was telling myself that the Boston Marathoners in a few days will have a headwind with rain so keep moving.

Sunday– Recovery run

The recovery run

Before I close out this week, I must mention what is in store for Monday….

Monday is better known as Marathon Monday to runners as it will be the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon! It’s also our Anniversary! We will spend the day watching the race on TV.. which makes us diehard runners a.ka. running nerds 🙂

This year will be very windy and wet, not ideal conditions but an equalizer in many ways.. Especially exciting as the women’s field is loaded! It’s been 33 years since 1985 that a U.S. woman has won Boston. For an in-depth look at the field of men and women click HERE. On the women’s side, I personally like Shalane Flanagan to win it all… she’s also more than likely running in her last Boston Marathon and potentially last Marathon of her illustrious career. But don’t count out Molly Huddle who is new to Marathons. A few others like Jordan Hasay and Desi Linden will also give chase. There are a few international women who also have a good chance to win, but my money is on the Americans this year!

On the men’s side Galen Rupp who was last year’s runner-up in Boston might be able to exact revenge after a heartbreak loss to Geoffrey Kirui at Boston. Rupp says he’s in the best shape ever and has had a great buildup to Boston with an impressive 59:47 Half Marathon win in Rome which was just 4 seconds from Ryan Halls U.S. record! I also liked the quote Rupp used at The Elite press conference on Friday… “You never want to start a race knowing you haven’t done the work and you don’t want to go into it on talent alone” Basically, bust your ass and do the work! There is no shortcut no matter if you’re professional runner or everyday runner.

Each year I like to guess the winners…

So here are my picks which includes a U.S. woman winning for the first time in 33 years!!!

Mens

1st- Galen Rupp 2:12:41

2nd- Geoffrey Kirui

3rd- Evans Chebet

Womens

1st- Molly Huddle 2:29:38

2nd- Shalane Flanagan

3rd- Desi Linden

San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 4

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Sunday April 8, 2018

I’m now 25% of the way completed with my training. 4 weeks gone in a blink of an eye.. how quickly the days are flying by. I made a small change to my schedule with Thursday going to Friday since I was at home that day. This was a cutback week (lower mileage) which I like to incorporate every 4 weeks of my training. I also had a 5K race which I was eager to see how I would fare from the previous 2 5K’s I’ve raced.  Without further adieu…

 

Tuesday– Track…VO2 Max- 12 x 400 @ 3K race pace

This was by far my greatest number of 400’s… I had my target set at a 3K pace which was around a 7:40 give or take. I knew my splits would have to be close to a 1:52-3 and I started out with a 1:53 which felt fine. I would follow-up with 11 more with an average of 1:51. I had 2 full mins of rest and felt fully recovered on each session, although my legs were getting a little tired after the 8th and 9th one.

This mornings workout at the Oval office went very well and I’ve been very fortunate to have success on my speed days this training session. When I tallied up the splits and looked at it from a 3K pace perspective, I was running 7:30 pace. This is great for me and such a confidence booster! I am having a blast and enjoy my training for SD and I feel my body is responding nicely. I had such a feeling of euphoria afterwards as Carrie and I did our cooldown home. Carrie also nailed her workouts and looked strong out there. Michelle also came out for a little workout of her own and we all did what we came to do while the rest of the world slept! :).

 

Wednesday– Recovery run

Getting up and heading out the door the day after a speed day can be slow and arduous.. the legs are tired and it’s still dark but you know in your heart this is so vital to a healthy training program. So, as usual Carrie and I headed out for our recovery run. She picked the route this time and before you know it, 6 miles were completed!

The run felt sluggish as if I had done a hard workout the day before :). It was good and my first 6 miler of the training season in the 4th week of training. I kept a good easy pace as I should and the heart rate was low and where I needed it.  I look forward to a rest day before I run on a rare Friday since I’m off of work :). I’m also looking ahead to Saturday’s 5K race which should be a lot of fun!

Friday– Easy run

Nothing out of the ordinary. I was off from work so I slept in a little and was out the door just after 6am and had a good run… a little quicker but a great run!

Saturday–  Race.. 5K Laura’s Run

This was a good race in warmer than normal temperatures for early April. The temperature at the start of the race at 8:10 was in the low 70’s. The course was set at Kiwanis Park which had some good turns and short hills to work through and I’m familiar with this course.

 

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I almost missed an unmarked turn if wasn’t for one of the water aid station volunteers behind me shouting out directions. And along the way I was high fiving a runner I just met when my wedding ring came off. Luckily I heard and saw the ring about 5 feet away and quickly picked it up and continued on. With those 2 little mishaps, I probably lost about 5-6 seconds at most.

I ended up with a 24:10 pace which was a little faster than my 5K race last month of 24:19.

 

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Carrie and her parents were at the race which was nice to see them as well as Meredith and her friends Jamie and Neil. It was a great race. Meredith and I each took 2nd in our age which was AWESOME! Meredith looked strong and no issues on her ankle!

 

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Sunday– Easy run

Coming off of a 5K race, I did some of my short run at the track for an easy flat run to keep the legs moving. I felt tired and sluggish from yesterday’s race.

 

This was a great week of training and to run faster on a course that presents some challenges with hill vs. prior races on a flat course is a good sign that I’m heading in the right direction.

The workout at the track went very well and I’m feeling more fit. This is the most I’ve done in terms of speedworkouts at the track.

Now comes another 4 week segment which will see my mileage increase a little as the long runs go up and the speed work get a little tougher. I’m looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead!

 

San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 2

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Sunday March 25, 2018

Another week of training began as Spring kicked into gear this week. I guess it was fitting that my track workout was on the first day of Spring… right? It was a week that saw mornings go from chilly to downright comfortable. We also spent Saturday morning at our old training grounds of South Mountain… it has been over 2 years since I’ve been on those roads and definitely missed that place.

Here’s how week #2 unfolded…

Tuesday– Speedwork at the Oval office (Track)  Threshold Intervals- 3 x 1 mile
What a way to begin the first day of spring. Nothing beats getting up while it’s still dark and chilly mind you for this time of year. Put in an honest effort at the track this morning and hit my targets and then some on my Intervals. Carrie also nailed her workout as we were the only two people at track for the hour we were there.

My track workouts have been going well, I was really surprised how well I felt on my run this morning as I was targeting a 10K effort based workout and was about 10-15 seconds faster than my intended target. Best of all, I was not gassed any time during the entire 3 x 1 mile workout. This is telling me that I am working within my range and a positive sign that my fitness is heading in the right direction. I think part of it may be that my easy/long runs are slower by design and allowing me to work more efficiently and really push it on the speed days. An awesome day and great to see Carrie and I are doing so well on our training runs.

Wednesday– Recovery run 5 miles

The day after a hard workout like track calls for a recovery run. This training one of the areas of strong focus was to make sure I take it easy on the easy/recovery runs. Other Coaches and top athletes around also share the same tendencies. It makes sense, why run faster than you need to on these days when we are trying to simply get some miles on our feet and recover without making it more of an anaerobic workouts. Save the hard stuff for speed days!

Wit the being said, this morning’s run went well and I was in full control as Carrie and I ran together. We both were taking it easy and just getting some turnover time. It’s been great running with Carrie on a lot of my runs. We typically run together for most of my runs. Only after 3-4 miles will she start to get ahead by 10-20 seconds since she’s also working on her easy pacing.

Thursday– Easy run 5 miles

For some reason, I woke up this morning and felt so lethargic. I felt like I slept for days and was groggy.  But time waits for nobody and I was out the door in a matter of minutes. I started out with Carrie who was meeting with her friend Kara at our local Fry’s. I ran with them for about a 1/2 mile until they pulled away.

So under a dark sky, I was in cruise control and completed my 5 miles without any issues. I wore my HR (heart rate) strap as I’m trying to get a good read on my effort vs. what my pace is and making sure I stay where I need to on the effort. I was just over 70% for effort which is where I want to be if not a tick lower. A good past 3 days of running and now a rest day awaits me along with my Chiro appointment for some adjustments.

 

Saturday– Long run 9 miles @ South Mountain

 

 

It was a perfect morning with lows in the upper 50’s and slightly cloudy. I was excited to do 9 miles ,while Carrie had 17 on the slate. I dropped Carrie off at the bottom of South Mountain Park then I drove 2.4 miles to where I was starting my 9 miler.

I had looked at our projected pace and the feeling was Carrie might catch me by my 8th mile. My run started out on the downs as the first half of the course is easy on the legs and lungs. I was making a mental note of where the big climbs were so I would be aware of them on the way back.

The first half went pretty easy with quick times as I had a lot of downhill running. As I got to the top of San Juan road which was 4 miles. I took a 10-12 sec breather then made my way back. I was hoping I would see Carrie closer to my 5 mile mark , so I would have a good 1 mile gap. But as I was coming down the hill, I saw her! By the time she passed me going up the hill, I had a 3/4 of a mile lead and I knew this would be close.

 

 

The 2nd half of the run was good but extremely tough, this is where the bulk of the climb happens. Particularly on the last 3 miles or so its a good climb up. I was definitely breathing hard on the climbs and had 2 stops before Carrie caught up to me just before the top of one of the few last hills.

She continued on and looked strong.. I was definitely working on effort and by the time I got to the car, I grabbed a quick drink of water before turning around and doing 1/2 mile out and back to finish my mile.

By the end of the run, I felt tired but extremely good for the tough hilly run. South Mountain is one of the best places to train and with virtually little to no cars on the road. This was my first real test for a long run and the longest so far in training in only my 2nd week of training, so I felt very good about where I am now.

We plan to do one more run here next month which will be a great prep for the Tucson Cinco De Mayo 10K which is very challenging with hills. This is why we put in the hard work and challenge ourselves, to be better on race day and prepared!

 

 

Sunday– Easy run 3 miles

I slept in, well… I got in about 8 hours of sleep but was still up early since I’m in bed early. My easy run which is my recovery run after a long day felt a little achy which I expected coming off of the long hill day yesterday. I kept a good easy pace and ran down to the track for some good flat running. It’s nice the track is open on the weekends for those who like to get out for a walk or run in a nice safe environment free from cars.

This week was an extremely positive and productive week. I achieved what I wanted and felt in control. I believe the one key area that has enabled me to have more productive runs, is going slower on the easy days. It sounds easy right? run easy? You’d be surprised how many people run harder than they need to on the days that are supposed to be easy days.

As a Coach, I’ve also seen runners who are breathing harder than they need to and it’s their easy day! Take it from the Elite runners and the Coaches who stress to really take it easy on the easy/recovery days and to go hard on the speed days. I’ve noticed my body has responded quite well to this method and I am perfectly happy with going slower when needed :).

That wraps up week 2!

San Diego RNR Half Marathon Training- Week 1

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Sunday March 18, 2018

 

Over the next 12 weeks, I will be getting myself in shape to hopefully run a solid Half Marathon. The past few months have been good in terms of running and getting myself prepared for the training. I love everything about training and I consider myself to be a self-motivator and extremely positive and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

This first week can feel like scraping the rust or shaking the cobwebs off, but I’ve been able to get myself ready in advance so that the first week of training doesn’t feel like that. I’ve changed up my schedule a bit which is ideal in recovery time but still allows me to run 5 days a week.

I’ve also been wearing full compression socks that cover the foot and calf. This is hopefully to help prevent some of the foot issues I’ve had for several years and to promote more blood flow and circulation in the legs. If nothing, I’m more fashionable in my Wildcat colors!

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The workouts this week went very well. Since the track may have been closed for spring break, I decided to run at Lakewood while Carrie, Meredith, and Michelle also ran. It’s a good substitute when the track is not available also it was tempo day so a good fit in terms of course. I hit my target and just a tad quicker vs. target which I am very happy about. A good start to training for speedwork!

The easy and recovery runs went well and I’m trying to make sure I run them slower than I used to do. The focus is on recovery and easy turnover rather than going above the effort. The intent is to run the speed days hard and the easy/recovery days just that with really no hard pace to follow. So far I’m feeling good :).

Since I was off from work Friday, I decided to push my long run day up and get out for an 8 miler. Carrie was putting in 10 miles of her own and I decided to get up at 5am to head out together. We have a new route, well fairly new for me as Carrie has been running this route for a while now. I love it in the fact that the start is fairly down to flat while you have a little uphill towards the end which helps me fight through it when I have a few miles left.

I was very pleased with my long run effort and ran this one with relative ease. My pace was about 15-20 seconds faster than my easy pace has been so I’m within the ballpark of my target. Later in the day I had an appointment with my Chiropractor for some adjustments and work since I’ve been feeling a little tight in the glutes and back.

In addition, I have been doing some glute exercises to help strengthen the glutes and also staying up with the rolling, stretching, and pre-post exercises.

I ended the week with a very easy 4 miler on Sunday although it felt tougher with the strong breeze and relatively cool temperatures to greet us as Carrie and I headed out.

That concludes week 1 of training and it was a great week! I’m looking forward to another good week which may also involve heading out to South Mountain our old stomping grounds for a hilly long run workout! Until then…. good running and health to all!

 

March Madness!

Sunday March 11, 2018

Oh yes, it’s that time of the year when NCAA Basketball is winding down and the best postseason in all sports is about to take center stage. But for now, I’m referring to March Madness in terms of running.

What a great weekend of racing it was. Carrie and I had signed up for the GCU (Grand Canyon University) Run to Fight Cancer 10K and 5K on the campus of GCU. It was both our first time on the campus and it is very nice for being in a part of town that is a little older.

Carrie was doing the 10K and I was set to race the 5K. It was a perfect morning with lows near 60 and under overcast skies. Meredith and Lane were also racing in the 10K and were both excited as were we :).

The first race of the morning was the 10K then I would follow with the 5K 45 minutes later. Carrie took off and looked very strong from the start, at the 3.1 mile mark she was clocking in near 19:30. Before long, she had finished the race in 40:04 and the 1st overall Female and 4th overall runner beating most of the guys! I was excited for her as she looked very strong throughout the race. Even though her goal was a sub 40, she ran a tremendous race and put in a gutsy effort!

I was able to see Lane and Meredith as well who looked good on their race. Lane crushed it with a new PR clocking a 51:46 10K!!! Meredith held strong and fought for every mile and stay consistent from her last race and was actually a little faster this race. Great showing for everyone!

 

I was then set to take to my 5K race and after seeing Carrie cross the line, I had about 5 minutes before I took off and handed my phone off to her where she was on photographer duty :). My goal was to run a 24:30 race which would be about 25 seconds faster from last months 5K race. I started out great and knew I needed to remain near 7:55 and hit the first mile in 7:46, I had 9 seconds to spare and was happy with the mile.

 

 

Mile 2 is usually where I run slower before closing ground on the last mile, this time I wanted to hit my target pace and I did.. a 7:55 2nd mile which was great even with a slight headwind. I knew I had a little room left in terms of pace but wanted to finish strong. On the final mile I fought and kept running strong and focused. I closed out with a 7:51 3rd mile then the last 200M (according to my Garmin), I ran it in 0:45.

I saw Carrie with .10 to go and she was pushing me to kick it in. I had my signature kick back, which was lacking a bit last race. I rounded the last right turn and crossed the line in 24:19, taking 4th in my age and feeling incredibly accomplished and grateful to have a strong and consistent race.

I have believe the last 4 weeks of speedwork at the track has been a HUGE difference maker as I was prepping for this race! I’m feeling better than ever and running well.

Sunday morning was a little wet in the morning as an overnight light drizzle continued. It was more of a mist than anything else but just enough to get the entire hat and rest of me wet. I was keeping the run at an easy pace coming off of my 5K race. It was an easy 3 and then I went to the gym to do a little weight training which I hate to say has been lacking.

Overall, a nice weekend of running and now I await the Selection Sunday this afternoon to see where my beloved Arizona Wildcats will be seeded in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.. better know as March Madness!!!

And congrats to the University of Arizona as they took down USC in last nights Pac 12 Basketball Tournament for a back 2 back title.

 

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