Stay Active, Be Responsible

Things really have gotten bad over the last week with this whole Covid-19 situation. Running has become such a social activity but with the social distancing we’re all supposed to be practicing, it has pretty much put a stop to big group runs.

That doesn’t mean you can’t stop running and training. Your race was canceled but your training hasn’t been wasted. There is no such thing as wasted miles. Keep the ball rolling and build a better base for future races once things “get back to normal.” Make the best of this situation, find a new hobby, read that book you’ve been meaning to get to. We’re all in this together!

California International Marathon 2019

The California International Marathon from the Sacramento Running Association is known as a fast course with a net downhill elevation profile as well as the typically great weather conditions since Decembers in Sacramento are usually very cool which makes for great running weather. The downhill isn’t anything crazy where it would destroy your quads/glutes since the max elevation is 350ft and finishes at around sea level. I registered for this race planning to race it with my brother Cong but he had told me that he wanted me to run it for a goal because of the favorable course and weather.

The drive up was nice. We accidentally missed the exit for the 5 North and ended up on the 99 which was a pleasant surprise because it actually took us through the city of McFarland which is home of the high school cross country team that the movie McFarland, USA was about.

We arrived in Sacramento around 4:30pm, checked into the hotel and headed straight for the Expo for bib pickup at the Sleep Train Arena. This was a fairly small expo which is fine because I don’t really spend much time at them anyway. I prefer to just get in, get my bib and head back to minimize time on my feet.

The weather for most of the weekend had rain on and off for most of Saturday. That a few of us went on a shakeout run and towards the end of the run it started raining. Michelle had a 5K later in the morning but the weather turned out pretty nice for that. Also for the first time ever she negative split a 5K race so big congrats to her, she’s got some big things coming up in the next year!

Later that night some of us from LBRC met for an early dinner with Brenda since she now lives in Norcal and it’s always great to see her when the opportunity arrives. We also used this chance to plan out cheer and aid stations for those of us running the marathon the next day.

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Race Day. Goal is sub 3:25. My marathon PR at the time was 3:33:59. I have tried for 3:25 twice prior with unsuccessful results. With this cycle I wanted to try something a little different than in previous training cycles. All my cycles before were 18 week cycles and this time around I trained for 10 weeks. My long runs were a little slower, my easy runs were a lot slower. I wanted to go into CIM with fresher legs and for the first time I went through a training cycle with no aches, pain or soreness. I felt great going into race day but was it because I didn’t have the fatigue of a long training cycle or because I didn’t train hard enough? my marathon training paces were closer to a 3:20 goal but I did that in anticipation that I would slow down in the later miles.

3:25:05. I missed my goal by 6 seconds. my race plan was executed for the most part but I missed my goal by 6 seconds. I didn’t go out too fast, I stayed consistent, nutrition and hydration went exactly as I wanted. Legs felt tired after 20 miles and I could not hold a sub 8 minute pace after that. With everybody saying it’s a downhill course with some “gentle” rolling hills I didn’t expect the hills to just come one after another. At no point in the race did I ever feel like I was going downhill but more so like the course was just flattening out. The finish was bittersweet because although I missed my goal by seconds, I got a an 8:54 PR and most importantly, I ran the whole marathon, no walking, to bathroom stops and this is what I’m most proud of myself for. Would I have done something different? I honestly don’t know and I don’t want to think about it too much. The result is the result and I should be happy with it.

This was the most well organized event I’ve raced and I’m sure I’ll be back in the future. 4 marathons in 14 months is enough for me.

Berlin Marathon 2019

The Berlin Marathon! One of six Abbott World Marathon Majors! I was lucky enough to get drawn from the lottery to race this event and boy what an experience this was! Being my first time to Europe and hearing about how great Berlin was, I went into this with no goal except to enjoy it and have fun. Because this falls at the end of September I was not able to take much time off work because it’s the end of our fiscal year and once month out from the SEMA show.  I arrived Friday evening and went straight to the Expo for bib pick up. Because of the time constraint I was on to meet up with Jeannine for dinner, I was in and out, picking up my bib and apparel. No pictures on the name wall, just one out front before I went in. And dinner was at Burgermeister, which was good and reminded me of Five Guys for anyone wondering.

The next morning was the big Breakfast Shakeout run. The run started at the Charlottenburg Palace and ended at the Olympic Stadium. This was a fun experience and I believe there was about 11,000 participants. I also met some new friends here. One being someone i knew form Instagram that lived in LA but have never ran with and the other two were mutual friends with Jeannine. I love meeting new people in the running community, it’s just funny that these people live in LA but it was in Berlin that we met.

The rest of Saturday was spent walking around the shopping district then resting/stretching for the next day’s race. We had Pho for dinner and FYI, they do not use hoisin sauce or Sriracha in their Pho! It wasn’t bad, just different from what I’m used to.

Race Day! 45 minutes of sleep had me wondering how I’d feeling during the run. I wasn’t too tired since I had a good night’s sleep the previous night. The plan was to run with Jeannine but through a series of unfortunate events we ran solo. I started at the end of the of starting block to try and find here but never was able to. The funny thing is that based on our start and finish times, we must have been pretty close to each other most of the way and I saw here cross the start line on the big screen as I made my way to the start line.

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This was fun! I high fived as many people as I could, just ran this without worry even though rain started about an hour into my race. It got bad enough to the point where by bib actually got soggy and ripped, causing me to have to have to hold my bib up for pictures. In my 21 my legs started getting tired and so from there I jogged and walked to the finish. One thing that I was unprepared for was the lack of food on course. I had my gels on my but every other marathon I’ve done there was pretzels, chips, etc on course and with Berlin, there was none. I think this may have had to do with my getting light headed and dizzy on the train afterwards. Getting some gummi bears in me had me back to normal later.

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Official time of 3:42:50. my fourth marathon and 3rd slowest time but I’m not even worried about that since this was just for fun. I’m really proud of Jeannine because this girl ran a PR by herself! The one thing I’m a little sad about is that I didn’t spend as much time in Berlin as I’d have liked to, I will definitely be back to sight-see in the near future.

Summer Update

Summer of Speed! After the LA Marathon I decided to change things up a bit and focus this summer of increasing my speed and keeping the weekly mileage down. Racing the shorter distance events has been fun and I’m glad to say I’ve hit some PRs that I’m very happy about! Now that the summer is pretty much over (doesn’t feel like it with this heat!) I’ll be marathon training again soon for CIM in December. Also this month I’ll be running the Berlin Marathon but I won’t be trying for PR as I will do my best to take in all the scenery that the route has to offer.

Below are some of the PRs and Course PRs that I’ve hit this summer

5K: 5/18 – Armed Forces 18:38 (2 Second PR) -> 7/13 – Meals on Wheels 18:23 (15 Second PR)

10K: 6/1 – Wrigley River Run 39: 04 (2:02 PR)

6/2 Griffith Park Trail Marathon Relay 38:36 (4:32 Course PR)

9/2 Conquer the Bridge 34:58 (10 Second Course PR)

IF you’d like to see these in more detail, please check the link here.

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Respect Recovery

It’s been a few weeks since the LA Marathon and I’m only now feeling back to “normal.” Took 5 days off after the race, ran short distances here and there and took the last five days off, only running 45 miles since then

Doing lots of stretching, bandwork and body weight strength training has really helped in dealing with this IT band issue that caused the terrible knee pain. Today’s Signal Hill run felt good, didn’t push it and just went at a pace where I was able to have a conversation with my buddy Ben. Glad to be back!