Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunny San Diego

Last week I was down in San Diego for work so I wasn't able to make it out for any weekday riding but I did get in some good running and even made it to the pool a couple times. I found a pool that was a little over a mile from my hotel and to make it even better, it was located outside. I haven't swam in an outdoor pool for about eight months and I forgot how nice it is. For some reason I have always enjoyed swimming in an outdoor pool even though there are many times (really cold or really hot days) when an indoor pool has its advantages.

The first day I walked over and paid only to find that I had left my goggles back in my hotel room. I didn't have time to walk back to the hotel and then back to the pool so I decided to do some kicking - it really sucked with no goggles. I checked with the desk to see if there was a pair in the lost and found but no such luck. After 50 more yards of no-goggle, no-fun swimming I decided to call it a day. As I climbed out of the pool I noticed a bin on the deck and some part of me thought there was a small chance that there might be a pair of lost or discarded goggles lying in wait. Sure enough, it was the latter, a pair of goggles with a broken strap. I quickly pulled a MacGyver (POW!!) and tied the strap in a knot thus over riding the faulty strap that had hindered the previous owner and I claimed them as my own. They lasted 1,250 yards before springing a substantial leak. I tried messing around with them for another 250 before calling it quits. At this point I was doing quite well for a guy that was just recently trying to eek out a kicking swim workout with no goggles, so the day was a success in my book.

My next swim was much better; I had my goggles.

Total yards swimming: 4,000 (1,500 and 2,500)

I managed to remember my shoes when I went running which worked out great so there isn't much to report there. It was nice that the marine layer didn't go away until around one it was never too sunny but it sure was warm and humid. I got out three times for a total of 17.5 miles while I was in town:

5 miles @ 7:21
7.5 miles @ 8:00
5 miles @ 7:57

Saturday Jen and I went out for a great ride; you can read all about it here. She is really rocking the bike this year, it's like night and day compared to last year - on our last ride she rode strong on the inclines and attacked the downhill sections. I think her max mph was 31.something - awesome.

Sunday I took off from our place for an 8.75 mile run (I was going for eight or nine depending on how I felt). My legs were a bit tired but I managed to keep an 8:00 min/mile avg. on the Springwater which is nice and flat.

Overall a great week.

Anyway, here are some pics from the trip:

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eugene Half Marathon

Saturday afternoon Jen and I headed down to Eugene to pick up our race packets for the half marathon. We arrived at the expo and headed in to pick up our numbers and chips. Somehow Jen's number was not in the box and they were unable to find it; so after a quick stop at the registration desk she got a new chip and number and we were on our way to the hotel. The place we were staying at was a couple blocks away from campus so we walked over to check out the start line and grab a bit to eat. We grabbed some pizza then headed back to our room to relax and watch some TV.

Sunday morning I woke up around 5:20 and looked outside to see sheets of rain falling on the parking lot. By about 6:00 the rain had started letting up and after some breakfast and a cup of coffee we headed out the door and ran over to the start. Since we were so close to the hotel we were able to hang out in our hotel room until 6:40 so we stayed out of the rain for as long as possible (and had our own bathroom). Once we arrived at the start I ran around a bit more, stretched out, found a spot to climb the fence and got in line with Jen. She stood with me for a couple minutes then headed back in the crowd a bit to find a good place to start. After a couple U of O folks sang the national anthem we were off.

Going into the race I knew I wanted to start off easy and pick up the pace as I went along. I lined up with the 3:10 marathon pace group and stayed with them for the first mile. A couple minutes into mile two I decided to pull away from the pace group and run on my own. I passed quite a few people in the next couple miles as the crowds started to thin and people started getting into their groove. I was going a bit fast on my second mile so I dialed it back a bit and tried to find a nice comfortable pace. Around mile 4.5 we hit the first hill and I slowed down a bit but at this point I wasn't too worried; I wanted to bank energy to use later, not time.

Mile 1: 7:48
Mile 2: 6:56
Mile 3: 7:10
Mile 4: 7:19
Mile 5: 7:28

After mile five the course turned to the right and we headed down one steep street before making another right and heading down a slight decline for the next mile or so at which point the road flattened out. The toughest climb came at mile 8.5; I could see it from about a tenth of a mile away and it was maybe eight blocks long. Being able to see the top of the hill was one of the toughest things about it because you could see just how much further there was to go during the entire climb. I made the decision to dial it back a bit on the climb and conserve my energy. At the top I made another decision that paid off; I was going to let myself slowly pick up the pace but I wasn't really going to get going again until my breathing was back to normal. By the time I hit the bottom of the hill my heart and lungs had calmed down and I fell back into a nice groove.

Mile 6: 7:00
Mile 7: 7:06
Mile 8: 7:06
Mile 9: 7:21
Mile 10: 7:09

At this point I knew I was on track to set a new PR but I kept telling myself that anything can happen in the last couple miles and not to get ahead of myself. I could feel myself getting tired and I felt like I was slowing down just a bit. At mile 11 I picked up the pace a bit but tried not to go too hard since there was still two miles to go. I felt pretty strong so I focused on picking up the couple people in front of me to kill time to mile 12. At 12.5 I started pushing myself and I was fairly confident in a PR at this point. I turned the corner and finished with a strong kick.

Mile 11: 7:19
Mile 12: 7:08
Mile 13: 6:54
Last .08: :30

Chip time: 1:34:12 -- 7:12 AP -- a new PR by 1:59!!

We headed back to the hotel to take a quick shower and change clothes before grabbing a quick bagel and heading over to the finish area to watch Aron finish the marathon. We saw her come in then met up with Alisa and Amy who had made the drive down from Portland to cheer us on. They made some great signs and screamed loud for us and all the other runners out on the course.

After that we made the drive back to Portland and spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying a couple cocktails. Tomorrow is an off day then it's back to tri training and getting ready for our first race which will be here in a few short weeks.

Jen had a fun time and although she didn't PR she ran a solid race and enjoyed her training more than I have seen her enjoy it in a long time.

No race pics posted yet but Jen posted a few good shots from the last couple days over on her blog.

Overall it was a great race and although I'm ready for tri training and tri season I am looking forward to my next chance to better my time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Running the half on Sunday - after all the recent Portland races it will be nice to be running a race with different scenery.