It’s about finishing what you start

failure I started my 4th half-marathon promptly at 8 AM, Sunday, September 13, along with 640+ other Skagit Flats marathoners/half-marathoners. It felt great running outdoors soaking in the late-summer, early-autumn beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I ran with an excited bounce right from the start as TB and Owen saw all us runners off and cheered me on. The temperature had reached the upper 50s by the time the gun fired and the bright sun hung over the flat, treeless, farm-draped course painting the asphalt in bright yellow and warming the air with a damp, earthy thickness.

I planned to run mile one at a 9’30” pace then gradually increase my pace the rest of the way to about 8’45” by mile 10. I hoped my training prepared me to finish between 1:55 and 2:00 based on how I ran the other races. Where I ultimately landed in that range would be determined by how I felt at the midpoint and again at mile 10.

Expecting a fairly cool temperature throughout the first half of the race, I ran with less fluid for the first 4 miles than previous races. While my FuelBelt holds 6 bottles, I wanted to minimize the additional weight I carried along each segment (1-4, 5-9, 10-13). I started with a single 8 oz bottle filled with Gatorade Endurance. I swapped the empty bottle with TB for two more 8 oz bottles at mile 4. At that point I was already hotter and thirstier than I expected. My plan called for me to run miles 5-9 with that 16 oz of Gatorade supplemented by water at the water station I would pass just after mile 6. Before reaching mile 6, I had consumed one of the bottles of Gatorade. At the water station at mile 6 I tossed back a 2 oz cup of water. At the 6 1/2-mile turnaround I ate a GU gel and drank half the second bottle of Gatorade. I felt strong and energetic but sensed I was overheating.

Continue reading “It’s about finishing what you start”

Rockin’ in Seattle

Update (6/30/2009): The official results are in. I finished 3,584th out of 15,610 half-marathoners (1,751 out of 4,221 males). My chip time was officially 2:01:51. My pride remains somewhat intact since I finished before the fastest full-marathoner who ran twice as far in 2:18:17. :eyeroll:

2009 Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half-Marathon - Keith and Owen at finish Today I ran my third half-marathon, completing the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle in 2:01:52. I secretly desired to finish in under 2 hours but after my horrid experience running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona back in January, avoiding injury, finishing and not walking the latter stages were my main objectives.

My unofficial results are shown in the image below. The final results won’t be posted until after the event.

Keith's Rock 'n' Roll Seattle 2009 half-marathon results

Here are my Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona results for comparison.

Keith's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona 2009 half-marathon results

Judging by the 5K and 10K splits, you can see I learned from my mistake by starting this race more slowly. Doing so left me with more in the tank later in the race and allowed me to run a faster pace overall—9:18 vs. 9:54 per mile. If you break the race into 3-mile quarters, you can see how similarly I ran the first and third vs. the second and fourth. Mentally, I break the race into halves and try to finish each half strong. It appears my little motivational trick worked this time around.

Here is the Nike+ data I collected during the race.

I stopped a few moments at mile 4 to talk to TB and play with Owen. I paused again just after mile 9 to say hey to TB and jettison my CamelBak hydration pack. Other than that, I attacked the hills, up and down, and kept a pretty even cadence.

Next up is an 8K in late July. I haven’t selected my next long-distance race yet but suspect it will be some time in the next 2-3 months.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona half-marathon this weekend

It has been almost an entire month with no new posts. Besides traveling to Chicago for the holidays, contracting a serious virus to end 2008, being laid out with a 102° fever to start 2009, caring for a pregnant wife I got sick with my germs and driving a few high-priority projects to completion since returning to work last Monday, I have spent this week convincing my body it is physically and mentally ready to run another half-marathon in 3 1/2 days.

Before heading to Chicago on Christmas Eve, my training was going great. I ran three times during the five days we were there celebrating Christmas with my in-laws, despite severe, 9° temperatures and icy road conditions. I was ready for the race and ready to begin gradually decreasing my mileage each week leading up to the race. Decrease mileage I did, but it wasn’t gradual. I got so sick the Sunday after Christmas and ended up on prescription meds and confined to the couch/bed. I went from running 28 miles per week to running 0 miles for two weeks. Not good.

Earlier this week, I went for my first run since falling ill. It wasn’t pretty. While I managed 4 miles in just under 39 minutes, at the end my legs felt like linguine and I nearly coughed up a lung. I took a break to let the shock wear off and my next run was 5.1 miles in 45 minutes. I felt much better during and after that run but didn’t feel like I could run another 8 miles, which is what I will need to do this Sunday. My plan is to work up to at least a 60 minute run this week and hope everything comes together in the desert. Thankfully the course is flat and the weather should be mild at 60-70°.

Just how big is this race? Over 35,000 registrants, about 100 bands performing live along the course and national television coverage on FSN (schedule TBD). I pinched the video below from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona site. They make running 26.2 and 13.1 miles look so fun.

One year, 500 miles and a new iPod

Nike+ 500 mile certificate

I started running with Nike+ on December 15, 2007, exactly a year ago tomorrow. Today, after a 12-mile run, I passed the 500th mile mark. In my quest to keep fit I fully expected to stick with running for at least a year; however, I certainly didn’t expect to be running as far or as often as I am today, a year later. My previous Nike+ certificate came at 100 miles. I received the “big dog” certificate to the right after uploading my run from today. (The date is off…probably a time zone issue.)

It seems like just yesterday when I set a goal to run 9 miles/week for 3 months. I’m now averaging about 25 miles/week whether running in the hot sand of Cabo or along the icy sidewalks of Seattle—it snowed last night and the roads were a mess today.

Apple iPod nano 4G in blue There was one casualty of all the long-distance, outdoor running: My refurbished iPod nano 2G. Apparently, iPods don’t like liquid and you may have heard it rains quite a bit here in Seattle. Further, those fancy, expensive Nike+ armbands are merely water-resistant, not waterproof. So, after running 11 miles in a downpour, my nano bit the dust. Not only did I lose the results of that run—which would have catapulted me to the 500-mile mark sooner—I lost my $99 running partner. It was a sad day.

TB, noticing the extent of my devastation, green-lighted an emergency trip to the Apple Store for a replacement…upgrade! I love my wife.

I am now running with a blue 8GB iPod nano 4G. Apple offered a $15 credit for the broken unit but I’m still not happy about paying $135 (before tax). I figure it’s still a pretty cheap running partner/trainer. The new 4th-generation nanos are much nicer than the two-year-old, 2nd-generation unit I ran with previously. The 4G has a bigger screen, twice the storage, better sound and snazzier navigation & graphics.

Also, if you buy (or already own) a nano 4G and are thinking of getting started with the Nike+ running program, I recommend the Apple Nike+ Sport Armband (TU017ZM/A). It is available through Amazon for about $30. The strap is much simpler to adjust and the full-body, protective film makes viewing and controlling the nano easier than the official 2G armbands. Lastly, it fits the 4G nano like a glove so the player won’t slide or slip during a run.

Where do the new iPod and I go from here? Well, four people have logged 10,000 ❗ miles with Nike+ leaving many milestones to reach.

450 Miles and Running

I realized I had not blogged the latest milestone in my unofficial “# Miles and Running” series (reference the “100” and “200” posts). Since reaching the 200 mile mark in early July, I reached the 450 mile mark this past Saturday translating to 250 miles in 5 months. Not bad considering it took 7 1/2 months for the first 200 miles.