Sunday, October 26, 2008

Week In Review

Time: 232:30
Distance: 34.5 mi.

My first "week off" before starting a new training cycle. The two runs in DC were great, but my hamstring is (not surprisingly) still on the fritz.

Marine Corps Marathon

Time: 113:00
Distance: 17 mi.

Finally the Marine Corps Marathon is upon us. Jordan and I came up woefully short in our preparations, but we didn't want to miss getting involved by helping out Team MJ. If Meagan and Jilane ran well maybe we could lul them into a false sense of security about a future OJ vs. MJ matchup. (Okay... kidding, kidding.) The plan for the day was to help pace Jilane and Meagan through the first 16 miles of the marathon just around 3:00 (6:52/mile) pace.

Jordan came over to Colin's to drag me out of bed and head down to the start of the marathon, near the Pentagon. We made it down to the start line in enough time to jog a little bit and get a decent spot near the start before a howitzer shot announced the commencement of the race. The race conditions were nearly perfect, but it did take a couple of miles to get warmed up and going (the race is hilly through about the first 10 miles).

The start of the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon

We enjoyed running together through the first 8 miles at which point Meagan (and Jordan) had to make a pit stop. I ran with Jilane through the next few miles from Georgetown out past the halfway mark over by East Patomac Park. We were a bit quick through the half (1:27:30) but Jilane seemed relaxed and I was even trying to pull in the reins a bit after a few miles under 6:30. I let her go at 16 miles with confidence that she was on the right track, but I wouldn't get any update until I saw her finish. She ran a great second half (about 1:30:50) and finished in 10th! Meagan had a rough stomach day, which I can definitely sympathize with, and had to stop around 20 miles.

Splits: 7:03, 7:04, 6:31, 6:25, 6:34, 6:44, 6:55, 6:31, 6:45, 6:23, 6:25, 6:47, 6:34 (1:27:30 half), 6:42, 6:42, 6:32 (1:46:35 at 16 miles)

I was very glad that despite not fulfilling my marathon goal, I could help Jilane out, and her hard work paid off. I felt fine and was having a lot of fun being in the race, despite a bit of hamstring tightness. Once Meagan reached 16 miles Jordan dropped out as well and we walked back to the Iwo Jima memorial for the finish.

For a lot more on the day, see Jilane, Meagan and Jordan's logs, as well as the full race results.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day Off

Planned day off... I think.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rock Creek Park

Time: 57:37
Distance: 7.5 mi.

After driving down to Washington, DC last night I ran with Jordan and Aja who I picked up at the airport this afternoon. We ran from Colin's over to Rock Creek Park and did a loop up the Western Ridge trail and back through the middle of the park. Hamstring was tight, but running slow kept it from getting sore.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day Off

Planned day off.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day Off

Planned day off.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day Off

Planned day off.

I'm going to try to do some exercises to get my hip, glute and hamstring strength and flexibility back. I want to do these every single day that I take off in the next two weeks, and if I can some of the days that I do run as well. Today I did hamstring curls on the ball, face-up and face-down bridge leg raises, hip flexor raises on my back with weights, and side and back bridge glute extensions (great names I just made up there, huh?).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rosen Loop

Time: 62:31
Distance: 10 mi.

Just for the hell of it, after taking yesterday off, I took a shot at running an up-tempo (6:00ish, probably close to today's target marathon pace--2:37) 10 miler to see how that would feel. Well, it felt nice to run that fast, but my hamstring was tight and sore by 5 miles. I might actually have to try to make this better in the next few weeks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Week In Review

Time: 349:30
Distance: 50.5 mi.

Race week, travel week, adjusting to the U.S. and life in Amherst week.

Reflecting on Monday's Ekiden race has left me with two major thoughts: first, that I really enjoy running and racing, and that I would like to continue doing both with some degree of seriousness; second, that the next time I set out for a serious race, I'd like to be in good shape. With these two things in mind, as well as the continuing nagging state of my right hamstring, I think that I am going to take a few weeks of whatever I need to get my hamstring right and take a break from the last block of training. That means no Marine Corps Marathon, which would've been fun, but Team OJ was screwed anyway and the odds of hurting myself badly were high. When I get focused again, I'll have a training plan to be in racing shape by late winter or early spring.

"Go read my training log you muppet!" - Tom

Also of note, my friend (and training advisor) Tom McArdle has apparently both decided to live the dream once again and join the world of washed-up runners blogging his "training." What is wrong with Tom McArdle? (No, seriously. Not just the name of the blog. Does anyone know what is wrong with him?) Keith Kelly is also onto the run-blogging with his aptly-named Fitter, Happier, More Productive log.

Day Off

Unplanned day off. I waited until the evening, and then decided to call it off. My hamstring is worrying me more and more as it nags. I may have to actually try to fix this, rather than just ignoring it (my plan for the last 4-5 weeks that I've been feeling it a little bit).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

JV 5000 Road Race

Time: 60:00
Distance: 9 mi.

Goal: Win, don't kill it.
Race: 16:32 (5:23, 5:09, 5:27) for first.

I headed over to West Springfield pretty early this morning to run a small 5k with a little bit of prize money. I've been unmotivated to run since I've gotten back, so I figured that this was a good enough way to get a decent effort in. It was a chilly morning and I was still a little cold after my warmup around the neighborhoods near the school where the race started. I really appreciate the heated seats in my car on mornings like this, though, and my hamstrings got a 30 minute warmup on the drive over.

It was apparent that I would be running with two other guys right away: Carlos Rivera, an icon of the Western Massachusetts road race scene, and Sean Callihan, a younger guy. We ran together through the first somewhat downhill mile in 5:23, which felt like a crawl (despite my side cramp from coffee this morning). The next mile was very downhill, and as we started to reach the second mile marker I made a move to separate from the other guys. Carlos stayed with me for a little bit, but as we started to climb up all of the elevation that we descended in the first two miles I opened up some room and finished comfortably in 5:27.

The whole race was a pleasant experience, and a nice fundraiser for a leukemia charity. The race is a memorial for a local boy who died of cancer a few years ago.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bike Path

Time: 60:00
Distance: 9 mi.

Easy evening run from the house out-and-back on the bike path. It was getting dark on the way out, and there was a great sunset over some of the South Amherst hills, but it was nearly pitch-black on the way back. Good thing I've run this bike path and the trail that leads to it many times.

I did finally bust out a new pair of shoes (more Nike Air Zoom Elite 3s), as my old ones were just over 500 miles... more than I've put on the Elites before, and probably more than they should be used.

Right hamstring tight throughout the run.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Echo Hill, Amethyst Brook

Time: 52:30
Distance: 7.5 mi.

The view from my bedroom window this morning

I return to New England to find it already deep in true autumn. Seriously jetlagged and having been awake for a good portion of the night, I got out relatively early with no particular intended distance. I wanted to be on the trails, so I headed into Echo Hill and did a short loop in Amethyst Brook. My legs feel like Jell-O and my right hamstring was tight and sore throughout the run.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shibuya, Tokyo

Time: 40:00
Distance: 5.5 mi.

Easy morning run from our hotel in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Rather than try to navigate the unbelievable maze of Tokyo's streets, I ran a few loops in a relatively large park less than a mile from the hotel. Hachiko Crossing, the intersection in front of the hotel (featured in Lost in Translation) is apparently the busiest pedestrian intersection in the world. I ran into Sage, who had apparently left just a few minutes before I did. My legs are fairly shot, particularly my right hamstring and left shin, but it was better to get out and sweat it out for a bit.

Daytime view from our hotel, featuring the park I ran in just below the high-rise skyline

Nighttime view of Hachiko Crossing from the hotel

After breakfast and a walk around the area near the hotel we got ready for another 20+ hours of travel.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Izumo Cycling Path

Time: 66:21
Distance: 9.5 mi.

Despite the race and late night festivities yesterday I was up early yet again. Mark and I headed back out on the bike path towards the Sea of Japan. We got out a little farther than last time and looped around on a few neighborhood roads. I felt better than I would've expected for the first half, but we were both pretty beat by the last few miles.

There are small canals throughout Izumo, including along most of the cycling path

Many of the houses in Izumo back up to fields

We saw a steady stream of kids, ranging from elementary to high school ages heading to school along the way. They all wear uniforms and most ride matching bikes with funny matching helmets. I called out "ohayo" (good morning) to a group of young boys who returned the greeting and shouted "gambate!" as well.

In the afternoon we traveled back to Tokyo where we have one night before leaving Japan.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Izumo Ekiden (出雲駅伝)

Time: 70:00
Distance: 10 mi.

Goal: as a team, finish in the range of last year's performance (12th); individually, try to run a smart race aiming for around 3:07 pace (around 26:30) for my 8.5k leg and if possible gaining position
Race: 17th overall; 27:09 (3:11 pace, 25:33 8k pace), but I gained one spot

IVY League Team
Leg 1 (8k): Sage Canaday - 24:47, 19th fastest split, 19th place
Leg 2 (5.8k): Emery Mort - 17:26, 15th fastest split, 18th place
Leg 3 (8.5k): Owen Washburn - 27:09, 17th fastest split, 17th place
Leg 4 (6.5k): Ari Zamir - 19:47, 16th fastest split, 17th place
Leg 5 (5k): Jon-Paul Mandelburg - 15:43,16th fastest split, 17th place
Leg 6 (10.2k): Mark Olivier - 32:29, 16th fastest split, 17th place
Total (44k): 2:17:21, 17th place

This race itself was unlike any other running experience I've had. First, it was immediately apparent how serious everyone involved in this race takes it. The atmosphere around the athletes reminded me of NCAA cross country and in addition the whole town (and many visitors) seemed to come out for it. Throughout my leg there were locals lining the streets cheering in encouragement, usually shouting "gambate!" (apparently meaning "go for it" or "do your best"). I was dropped off at my exchange point (You Me Town grocery) a few hours before I was slated to get the race sash so I waited in a tent with my fellow third leg runners. When the race began we were able to watch the country-wide broadcast on Fuji TV on an HD TV, though many of the runners were tuning into it on their cell phones.

Waiting in the pre-race tent

Sage at the start of the race

From a running perspective it was also quite different. The race is fairly spread out even by the end of the second leg, so a good portion (or all) of a runner's leg might be run alone. Sage ran a tough leg that went out blazing fast (2:41 at the front, 2:44? for him) and passed off the sash in 19th. Emery picked up one place and I took off about a minute back from the closest runner. For the first 5-6k I could only see one runner ahead on the long straightaways and had no idea if I was making any progress. I was not running particularly fast, as despite going out the first 1k in 3:05 I hit the half way mark, which included two hills over bridges, in 13:40 (3:13/k average). With about 2k remaining in my leg I realized that the runner I was chasing seemed to be coming back. Chasing him down I ran a bit faster in my second half (13:29, 3:10/k average). He put up a little bit of a fight as I caught him in the last quarter mile, but I was able to outkick him and pass off to Ari ahead. It was hotter than I was expecting and my stomach was in pretty bad shape by the end.

Short clips of the beginning and end of the race (video by Andy Pitts and Sage Canaday)

We agreed at the end that we were happy enough with our race. While falling back to 17th was not what we had wanted, given the hot weather and our fitness, it was a reasonable result. As Emery said, "not bad for a bunch of 15:00 5k guys." There were some very impressive performances by other athletes, including a number of Kenyans. The fastest time on my leg was 24:37 (2:53/k, or 23:10 8k pace) and the anchor for the winning Nihon University ran 28:28 for 10.2k (27:54 10k pace). See the full results (translated by Google) for more, or if you really want to know the details of the race, check out this blog.

I will also try to post another recap of the trip with more photos as I get them.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Week In Review

Time: 274:15
Distance: 41 mi.

A pre-race and long travel week. The day-long trip from San Francisco to Izumo took a lot out of me (and cost one day), and not sleeping particularly well throughout the last few weeks is catching up to me. That being said, touring the course and the other pre-race activities have made me very excited for the experience.

Izumo Stadium

Time: 31:00
Distance: 4.5 mi.

Drive along the coast up to the lighthouse

Sage and Emery at the Izumo Lighthouse

Ari, Mark and Jimmy with me at the top of the lighthouse

Beautiful rocky coast near the lighthouse

Emery and Jon-Paul climbing down to the water

After driving over the entire course of tomorrow's Ekiden race and checking out the Izumo Lighthouse along the coast, we went for an easy run from Izumo Stadium, a track-only facility where the alternates for the Ekiden (Jimmy Wyner, Jeff Gaudette, and Andy Pitts) will run a 5k tomorrow evening. We ran four miles through a nice small neighborhood that is closer to the mountains that surround Izumo. I did 3 x 200m strides and then jogged barefoot on the infield a bit. We also got a chance to check out the competition, as many runners from other teams were doing workouts at the track. Driving over the course definitely helped me start to get excited and focused for tomorrow's race.

The outside of Izumo Stadium

This evening we had an "opening ceremony" where each team was introduced. We also got to listen to a number of long speeches in Japanese and see a local student dance troupe.

Team with guides for tomorrow's race

Team at the opening ceremony

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sea of Japan

Time: 64:00
Distance: 9.5 mi.

We got out early in the morning again, with the same group of guys meeting for a run. We decided to run on the Izumo Cycling Road, which goes northwest through the city and towards the Japan Sea. The beginning of the run was similar to the mixed light industrial/small farms and residential areas that we saw on yesterday's run. It got nicer as we got farther out and it got more rural as the path veered away from the Takasegawa River. We unexpectedly ran up to the beach as we were getting close to 30 minutes and ran out to touch the water. Mark and I decided that there wouldn't be much of an opportunity to go in the Sea of Japan again, so we decided to jump in. On the way back Mark, Sage and I started running a little bit harder (maybe 6:20 pace?) which felt good. After a few very easy days my legs were feeling lethargic. My hamstring was tight throughout, but not too sore.

We had a busy and interesting day, beginning with a special tour of the Izumo Taisha Shrine, one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan. We then went to a very nice lunch reception with the mayor of Izumo and important local cultural and national sporting officials. Finally, we ended the day at a nearby onsen (hot springs), which was fun and hopefully also physically refreshing.

Our primary means of travel around Izumo is a tour bus

Walking up to the Izumo Taisha Shrine

Main area of Izumo Taisha Shrine

Team at the inner shrine

Lunch with the mayor of Izumo and other local officials

(Photos by Andy Pitts and Sage Canaday)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tour de Izumo

Time: 59:00
Distance: 8.5 mi.

Izumo is on Japan's west coast, not far from South Korea

It was good that we decided to head out for a 7 AM run, because I was up around 5 AM and wouldn't have wanted to wait much longer. Emery got out the door a bit earlier and Jeff didn't come with. Thus, Ari, Jimmy, Mark, Jon-Paul, Andrew, Sage and I hit the roads of the city somewhat aimlessly. We ran through commercial, somewhat industrial and residential areas in a bit of a loop from our hotel. This part of the city is not exactly beautiful, though there is some nice architecture and we ran over a very large red bridge.

We spent some of the rest of the day walking around the city and visiting the museum of the history of Izumo. The food so far, mostly at the hotel, has been very good. We each have our own very small room here that seems to be configured in just the right way as to not feel cramped. There are a few interesting quirks: you have to place the keychain in a port in the wall to activate the electricity for the room, so when you leave the lights, air conditioning, etc. all are automatically turned off. Also, all of the lights, a radio, and the AC are controlled by a very Wes Anderson control panel in the bedside table. And the bottled water has dragons on it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day Off

Arriving, finally, at the Izumo Airport

I basically lost this day, as traveling from the west coast I lost 16 hours and traveled 19 hours to get to Izumo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day Off

I took off from SFO on Wednesday at 11:30 AM and landed in Tokyo on Thursday at 2:00 PM. Well... that was a short day. I'll blame the International Date Line for no run today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Golden Gate Park Fartlek

Time: 57:14
Distance: 9 mi.

Target: 4 x 3:00 with 2:00 rest
Workout: ran the whole thing, focusing on trying to feel out "faster than 8k pace"

Golden Gate Park

Knowing that the running for the rest of the week will likely be very light, I decided that despite the soreness and tightness in my hamstring, it would be worth it to get in some sort of harder effort at "race pace" or faster. I ran 4 x 3:00 with 2:00 easy and felt okay throughout. In fact, my legs felt very good on the cooldown, and I think that getting things going a bit harder was a good call.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Embarcadero

Time: 63:00
Distance: 9.5 mi.

Morning run down Market Street to The Embarcadero and back. The whole run was a lot of tourist and shopper dodging, which I have avoided most of the trip, but it was fun to see this part of San Francisco and run down by the water. I got to a small beach, touched the water, and headed back. My hamstring was still tight throughout the run, as it has been the last few weeks when running in the morning. Funny to think I'll be on the other side of that ocean in just a few days...

Running keeps my head on right.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Week In Review

Time: 348:30
Distance: 51.5 mi.

Very nice to be in San Francisco, but definitely not ideal training conditions, especially dealing with my hamstring. The runs here are very pretty though. Golden Gate Park is great, and running in the city includes repeated "wow" views from the many hills. Somehow I hit the exact same milage as last week.

Tour de San Francisco

Time: 82:00
Distance: 12 mi.

Palace of Fine Arts, located between the Marina and Presidio

Ran up to Ian's, down to the Marina, across towards the Golden Gate Bridge, up through the Presidio (past some road race), back over a few other hills. Fun run, nice to catch up with Ian, but a bit of a pain in the ass... literally... with all the hills. By the afternoon my right hamstring and left IT band were sore.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day Off

Due to poor logtistics, I missed running with Hanley, Welsh, Chris Mah, and Noah Kaufman in Palo Alto on Saturday morning. And it wasn't really going to happen in the afternoon. And dammit my hamstring is still in bad shape.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Golden Gate Polo Field Tempo

Time: 74:00
Distance: 11.5 mi.

Target: 4.5 miles (6 laps of the polo fields) a bit over 5:00 pace
Workout: 3 miles (4 laps of the polo fields) in 15:49 (5:17 pace)

Ran in the evening, and it was not a great workout. I warmed up 4 miles to the polo fields in Golden Gate Park which have a dirt track around it that appears to be very close to 3/4 of a mile. I was going to try to run 6 laps (4.5 miles), but I only made it 4 (3 miles) before my hamstring and stomach acted up enough to make me call it. It was slow from the get-go, reflecting the conditions (ground was soft and it was very windy on the long stretch) and my condition, as well as a bit of a guess of the true distance.

On my way out I did help a guy on Fell St. heading out whose car ran out of gas about 100m from the gas station.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day Off

Right hamstring very sore again. Flying didn't help.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Golden Gate Park

Time: 69:00
Distance: 10 mi.

It was a beautiful morning in San Francisco: a sunny 65 degrees with a light breeze. I ran out to Golden Gate Park, which is a great place to run. It is more diverse than many urban parks, as there are a number of different garden areas, a polo field, other sports fields, museums, statues, and monuments. I ran once around the polo field to determine how big the loop around was (probably 3/4 mi.) and found some trails here and there connecting different areas of the park. It was fun to just wander and still not even see a large area of it.

My hamstring is very, very tight. I was hoping it would warm up throughout the run, but instead it seemed to get more sore. I was running very easily, but still was feeling like I was adjusting my stride to adjust for and compensate for its tightness. The focus of the next few weeks will undoubtedly have to be to stay healthy more than to gain fitness.