Sunday, March 28, 2010

Video Race Report: Los Angeles Marathon 2010

Earlier this week, I posted my full race report for last Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon. Thanks to the constructive feedback many of you provided, I figured out how to edit, connect and title the videos into one 8 minute review and embed it into this blog. I also added an epilogue, with the perspective one week's time allows following a marathon.

Hope you enjoy it. Keep Persevering.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Race Report: Los Angeles Marathon 2010

ORN: 26.2 miles, 5:44:31, R1/W1 (mostly), 13:08/mile

Quick Summary:

The Honda Los Angeles Marathon. It's perhaps hard to be upbeat about my slowest marathon ever, but, on reflection, I did "run the best race conditions allowed" and that's my goal. The combination of a bad head cold (which morphed into bronchitis a couple days post race), three weeks of virtually no running and a hot day conspired to a long day on the road.

The course was terrific. The logistics of 26,000 runners going point-to-point in a big city are daunting. Being with family for the weekend was awesome.

The Gory Details

Pre Race

We flew to San Diego on Friday afternoon and stayed with my sister. On Saturday, her son John and I headed to LA while Gretchen and my sister dug in the garden all day. First stop for us was the Expo at Dodger Stadium. For two guys who enjoy both baseball and running, this was a perfect spot.

The Expo was a crush of people but we got our bibs and escaped with our sanity. At the expo, we met up with Darrell and headed out for lunch together. It was terrific to connect again. Thanks for your hospitality, Darrell!

After taking Darrell home, we worked our way back towards the end of the course, actually driving its last six miles. We got out and walked along the view overlooking the Pacific. Wow, that was neat. Fighting LA traffic all this time meant it was late afternoon. We found our hotel a couple miles from the finish line and were pleased to get out of the car. John and I had some pancakes for supper, watched some basketball and tried to get to sleep around 9pm.

Race day came early. Up at 3:45am, drive to our assigned parking spot in Santa Monica and board a shuttle bus at 4:50am to the Dodger Stadium start line. It turned out to be a good thing we booked the 5am shuttle. We only took 14 minutes to get there. I read that folks on the 6am shuttles got stuck in traffic and barely made the start. In fact there was so much traffic, they delayed the start by a half hour.

The Race

Here's an experiment. I recently bought a new-to-me digital camera to try producing a video race report rather than writing it all out. It seemed approprate to try this in this race, given we ran through Hollywood. The effort is amateurish, I know. I'm no video editor, so this is just as I shot it during the race. But, it is real. If you've never run a marathon, it might make it more real for you. If you have, you can identify with the degrading conditions and mental ups and downs.

Starting Grid Report How will it go?

Mile 5 Report All systems are working.

Mile 10 Report Feeling better.

Mile 15 Report Realizing it'll be slow.

Mile 20 Report Slowing down.

Mile 24 Report Legs done.

Mile 25 Report Reflection during final half mile.

I welcome any feedback on this video report.

Post-Race Reflections

The race was a good one for John, only his second marathon. He pulled off a 4:20 race and finished ahead of 80% of the pack. He felt good at the end, which was one of his aims. I was thrilled for him. We will do this again on October 10, when we run the Chicago Marathon together. It will be a unique opportunity to compare two mega-races in the span of seven months.

We stayed an extra day in San Diego and flew home on Tuesday. Feeling badly on the trip home, I saw a doctor late Tuesday afernoon. He diagnosed my "cold" had moved deep in my lungs, forming an early stage bronchitis. He put me on an antibiotic but before it could kick in, the gunk got worse Tuesday night. I ended up missing work on Wednesday and Thursday, awake both nights coughing badly until 3am or so. Hardly the poster boy for invigorating marathon experiences. Nevertheless, if this was lurking in my lungs on race day, it explains a lot.

I also pulled up the graph of my daily runs for the past month, below.

Yeow! My 24 mile training run, three weeks pre-marathon, was essentially my last run until race day. The taper truly matters. Even if the mileage in a taper decreases, it should not go to zero. THAT picture speaks a thousand words to me.

So, taking all of this into consideration, I'm pleased with even finishing this marathon. My lungs ache but my legs do not. I had very little soreness in my legs after Monday Monday...even 6 hours in a cramped airplane seat on Tuesday did not add to stiffness. My feet, which have often ached following a marathon, feel fine. I'm actually antsy to get out and run again on Saturday, if the lungs allow. I'm much more pleased with the race today than I was on Sunday.

So, that's the report. Thanks for listening. Persevere.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Quickie Race Report: Los Angeles Marathon

ORN:   26.2 miles, R1/W1 (mostly), 5:44:30, 13:08/mile
Finished the LA Marathon yesterday.  It was my slowest marathon ever (by far).  There is much to think about following this. 
The course itself was very enjoyable.  What got me, I think, was a three-fold problem.  First, I had the left knee problem three weeks ago, which left me only running twice in the past three weeks.  Second, I came down with a head cold early in the week and was coughing and hacking extensively all week.  Third, it was a warm day in LA, temps in the mid 70s.  The transition from midwest cold to SoCal heat was a real shock. 
The good news is my left knee gave me no grief, at all.  I felt some twinges in the first half mile but made sure I was "gentle" in my form and it held up fine.
Bottom line?  Just plain slow.  And, at mile 23, the legs were done...I had to walk the last 2.5 miles, managing only the most meager "jog" the last 20 meters just for pride's sake. 
I have some surprises for my full report which I'll post later in the week. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Oddest Taper Ever

ORN:  zero

In 3.5 days, I'm going to start the Los Angeles Marathon.  What a hoot!  

It's a hoot because this is the oddest preparation I've ever done for what will by my 18th start of a marathon.  

Odd.  I have not run for 9 days.  I am optimistic that this is the right thing for my wonky left knee.  It feels a lot better and I'm more encouraged now than I was last week.  

Odd.  I'm also coming down with a cold.  Fun stuff...we'll see how much drainage continues.  

Odd.  The forecast for this Sunday in LA is looking at a start temp in the mid 50s, heading for a high of 77.  For this chilly, pasty-skinned Midwesterner who has been bundled up for the past four months, those temps will be quite a shock!  I'll have my water belt with me and will work drinking 20 oz per hour.

Odd.  I have no idea about my time or splits or much of anything.  I'm not carrying my usual laminated split chart.  My plan is simply to start at a 1/1 run/walk split and go as far and as long as I can.  The "A" goal would be to finish, having run the last 2 miles continuously.  The "B" goal is to finish feeling good.  The "C" goal is to finish.  All that said, I have no idea just how this one will go. 

Odd.  The race sold out last week.  25,000 runners lined up.  No corrals, no wave start, just the "honor system" to line up next to the correct sign.   There will be lots of bumping early and if my experience in the 30,000 Indy Mini Marathon is any indication, I'll be in heavy traffic for 10 miles. 

But, some real good too.

Good.  I get to see a new city.  The route sure looks interesting, rolling past many LA landmarks.  Super fun to start at Dodger Stadium, given my love of and life with baseball.  Good to get to walk into the Pacific Ocean at the end.  Good to get some idea of what it is like to run past the estimated 1 million spectators.  

Very good.  I get to hang out with my sister and family in San Diego for three days.  Her oldest son, John, (who is more like a brother to me than a nephew) and I will run together.  I can't wait to be with him on the drive to LA, staying the night before, the bus in the darkness to the start.  We won't stop talking.  This is his second marathon...and he's fast.  We'll meet up at the end. 

Very good.  On Saturday, John and I will have lunch with Darrell, who is also running (despite his promise to never run another California marathon).   This always fun.  

So, off I go.  If you'd like to follow me, Darrell, John or your favorite quasi-athletic celebrity,  you can sign up here  for emails and/or texts from each 10K split.  

I also have a surprise planned for the race report...I hope it all works.  

All the best to Michelle, Sarah, their hubbies and others who are running the PacRim 24 hour race Saturday and Sunday!  Enjoy it and all your pals!!

Persevere.  At PacRim, LA or wherever you are.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sometimes, you have to just make a decision

ORN:  0.2 miles, shut down early.  

Much of training is trial and error, trying something, seeing how it works.  But once in a while, you have to make a call and live with the consequences.  And that's where I am at the moment.

I awoke this morning, looking forward to a run.  Even better, the temperature was a balmy 50F at 5:15am.  After a long, cold winter, this was wonderful!  I donned shorts and a LS shirt and went out the door.  Though the knee hurt last Friday, it felt fine on a simple 4 miler on Monday.  So, I was optimistic for another good run today, Wednesday.  

On my walk to the corner, though, the left knee felt "odd".  Thinking it would wear off, I started to run, easily.  And the knee hurt.  Tried a few things...knee brace on, knee brace off.  Nothing shifted it and I could tell it was simply a no-go.  I turned around and walked the two blocks back home.  I can't recall the last time I had to shut down a run so early. 

The knee hurt much of the morning.  Going up and down stairs at work hurt.  As the day went on, though, the knee got a lot better.

Normally, I'd shrug this off and try running again in a couple of days.  But in exactly 11 days, I'm supposed to line up in Parking Lot G of Dodger Stadium, just a Kirk Gibson blast over the right field wall, and begin the Los Angeles Marathon.  No room for error here.  What do I do?  I have to decide.

So, here's the decision.  I won't run until race day.  Looking at my logs from the past, rest seems the best remedy.  I'll give this a shot to calm down, hold off on the calories in the next 11 days and hope for the best.  

Will it work?? I don't know.  But I had to make a call, so this is it.  We'll see how it goes.  



Tuesday, March 09, 2010

test post...regarding video

This is a test post.

Here I am trying to embed a video you've already seen of me.

<object width="640" height="505"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="505"></embed></object>

And I simply attach the same video here

Which is more efficient??

May use this for my LA Marathon report.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Video of Bum Knee Thoughts

Among other experiments today, I shot this brief video of my thoughts about my knee.  I'm experimenting with my new-to-me $25 Nikon Camera.   Let me know if this works OK on your machines.  

Keep persevering.


Galloway Run/Walk Pace Calculator, v 3.1

I just posted the latest version of the spreadsheet to calculate how fast you should run in a run/walk sequence to achieve a certain per mile pace.  If you have a geeky streak like me, you like to know such things in estimating what you need to do in a long race, using run walk.

I note this is updated as blog reader Tom B downloaded the earlier version and observed it would not work if you used a walk cycle other than 1 minute.  Thanks, Tom, for catching that and correcting the Excel formula!!  

I also updated the link on the side bar.  

It is amazing to me how efficient search engines are in helping folks find this odd little tool for a very specific purpose.  Truly amazed.  


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bright light, wonky knee

ORN:  2 miles, R1/W1
On a quick business trip to Florida, I got to run outside today in shorts and a T shirt in the sunshine.  That was sweet.  I also made sure I ran during daylight...the driver on the way to the hotel mentioned they saw a six foot gator coming out of the pond in front of the hotel on Monday.  Yikes.
Of more concern is a wonky left knee.  After my thoughtful run on Saturday morning, something tweaked in the knee Saturday evening.  It was very sore.  It responded to ibuprofen but was still a little tender.  Then cramming into an airplane on Tuesday and making long walks carrying luggage and briefcase down airport concourses in dress shoes made it sore again.  It felt better today (Wednesday) so I went out for an easy, short run in the "hole" between end of meetings and the obligatory business dinner.  I simply couldn't stand "wasting" a chance to run outside. 
I took it easy, with a simple 1/1 for a couple of easy miles.  The knee held up but I sure didn't push it.  With 2+ weeks to the LA Marathon, I remain a little concerned. 
And if this is the worst problem I have, I remain a very, very lucky guy.