Feb 28, 2013

State of the legs

It's been a while since I've updated here but after moving to San Francisco and losing my grad student status I've really started running fewer races. Mostly local stuff for fun. My latest run was the Kaiser half with 1:32:37 finish which according to Jack Daniel's pace tables suggest I can now do a 3:20 marathon. Thank you very much. I found that out the hard way in Chicago 2010.

I'm out of shape right now. If not physically but physiologically and psychologically. My weekly mileage is very low -- around 25 on the best weeks; less than 1/3 my best weekly mileage. My goals for this year is to get back to at least 40 miles per week and do a BQ either at Santa Rosa (for 2014) or at Chicago (for 2015).

Nov 22, 2010

Knickerbocker 60K

9+ loops in Central Park, rolling hills, awesome weather, 37.2 miles
Time: 5h 6m 14s (official), 20/209 Overall, 5/50 Age group
26.2 time: 3h 20m 6s (unofficial)

This was the most efficient race I ran; not the running per se but the time spent in doing a non-local race. I reached NYC Friday evening, ran the race Saturday morning with just enough time to eat, shower, and shop a bit in SoHo before heading back home Saturday evening. Overall, I loved this race. Food was simple, I ate at Sbarro's before and after the race.

This was the first time I've done a loop course for an ultra or any other race. Unlike point-to-point races, it is easy to get bored in these but I loved every bit of it. After a couple of laps it becomes clear who is ahead of you and I had a great time playing tag with some of the runners. As with other races, I made new friends and caught up with old ones. As usual, Garmin sucks in ultras; the battery died after 35miles or so.

I love spectators with funny posters like the girl with "I want your legs", the dude with "Congrats, you ran farther than Geb", and the photographer from "BiteMeRoom Photography".

I'm back on the streets now with today's 3mile recovery jog that turned into a 5mile run.

Nov 19, 2010

What are you thankful for?

In a world riddled with change, we all seek constants in our lives. For some, it is the unconditional love by their spouse, parents, or even their dogs. For others, it is the security offered by a nice bank balance or even being able to enjoy a bowl of mac 'n' cheese any time of the day they wish. We love constants and we seek for them all our lives. Despite of your ups and downs this year, if you look back, you can always rely on the comforts of the constants you hold dear. It's the time of the year when we celebrate those constants and be thankful for them. 

The one constant I have had in my life in recent years is running. Even if everything in my life is going crazy, I know that in just a few moments I can lace up and run, and forget all about it for an hour or two or more. I'm thankful for that. Ever since I started blogging my runs, early this year, I put a meter to track the miles I've been running with a goal of running at least 2010 miles this year. Today my meter reads "1965 miles" and I think I'm pretty close to my goal. Call me crazy but if my running were to anthropomorphize into a person, I would marry it. Running, I'm thankful to you. I'm also thankful to all the friends I've ran with, all the non-running friends who had to bear with my running talk, thankful to all my shoes which accompanied me through some pretty rough times, thankful to life in general for not stopping me from running.

It's never too early to say thanks. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Oct 25, 2010

Running for Running Sake

With all the marathons for this year behind me -- cancelled Tucson due to a conference travel conflict -- I'm now back to running for running sake. No planned workout, no speed drills, no intervals, no nothing. Just lace up and run. That's what I've been doing all of last week. Although the effects of Chicago still linger, I've put that behind me and started enjoying running like I did before becoming competitive.

I still use a GPS watch to track my time and distance for every run because I'm a nerd and I like numbers. I did a 20 mile run yesterday and realized how much more enjoyable it was when I did not look at my watch every few minutes to check my splits like I did while training for the spring and fall seasons.

The rest of the year will continue these mellow enjoyable runs. The only race now on my list is the Knickerbocker 60K. This is a low-key ultra organized by the New York Road Runners annually before Thanksgiving. The course itself is 9 loops around Central Park adding up to 37.2 miles with a fair bit of rolling hills. I will be running this as a end-of-the-year celebratory run as opposed to racing it.

Oct 18, 2010

Looking Forward

So yes, I'm one year closer to my grave today and Boston registration opened at 9am and closed at 5pm like a government clerk. It's time to move on with new goals, new expectations and new thrills in running. I spent last week evaluating my running goals and what it meant to me after the  dismal  encouraging performance at Chicago. I think I'm now closer to BQ than ever but BQ is merely a milestone (an important one) than a goal. So if you run, spend sometime thinking what your running "goal" is/should be?

I did and finally it stuck with me as "achieve a lifetime of running". I want to keep running till I look like this and probably even worse.

I'm grateful that I've been able to run as much as I have this year and hope godess Nike will continue to bless me. Have a safe and injury free running experience everyone!

Oct 12, 2010

Chasing the elusive 3:10

A few days before the Chicago marathon I woke up dreaming that I was wearing the famed blue singlet with "Boston Athletic Association" on it. I was on Heartbreak Hill pounding my way to the finish line. Last Sunday, I was at the start line of another great marathon in downtown Chicago feeling a bit nervous but confident of all those grueling training sessions I had put in. The long runs in freezing cold winter and the tempo runs and track workouts even in 100+ degree Baltimore heat should pay off, right? Nada. Doesn't matter. All that matters is what you do after the starter gun goes off. Dreams don't count, passion is only for the movies, and certainly no extra points for sucking up the IT band pain in Chinatown (mile 21) and continuing to run. You either make it or end up 10 minutes late -- 3:20:54.

*Wisconsin was a training run
As a runner the best you can hope for is continuous improvement. Goals change but training never ends. Looking back on all the marathons I've done in a year, all I have is to look forward to the next marathon knowing that my qualifying time might just be a marathon away. Or two.

Why do I want to qualify? 3:10 seems like an arbitrary goal. Why not 3:00 or even 2:50? Preparing and running for a BQ to me has been much more than that. It is knowing what I'm made of. It was the same thing that made me run a 50 miler in June.

Sep 26, 2010

Watch and learn

Sometimes you can just learn by watching something over and over.