Winter/Spring 2013 – Headlands 30k, Redding 10 Mile, Across the Bay 12k, Johnny Mathis

Friday, February 08, 2013

A slightly smaller gap from last time, but once I start racing a bit more regularly, I’ll need to keep improving. Anyways, as I mentioned last time, I ran a 30k in the Marin Headlands on December 30th. It went really, really well. I intended to treat it as a glorified long run, which helped calm my nerves a bit, as it was the 3rd longest run I’ve ever done (behind the 2 SF marathons). It was a gloriously clear day at Rodeo Beach and I decided to start out conservatively with the 50k guys. That lasted about a half mile and I was off on my own. The course was very well marked until I got up out of Tennessee Valley. I ran for about 3-4 minutes without seeing any markings (which they assured would not happen unless I was off course). I was pretty sure I was going the right direction. But then I came to a fork and saw no markings, so I turned around and retraced my steps, ending up back where I made the last turn. By that point, the 50k leader had shown up (there were no 30k guys between us), and I ran with him until we hit the fork and I finally saw a marking about 100m up. I think it added on maybe 5-6 minutes total, so not a big deal. I dropped down into Pirates Cove, back into Tennessee Valley and made my way around the Headlands Valley, feeling really strong on the descent and only starting to fatigue in the last couple miles. I finished in 1st, quite relieved that I didn’t have to run another half marathon for the 50k, but it did pique my curiosity about running one. More on that in a bit…

                About a week after the 30k, I moved into SF. I’m living with a friend from high school and a Bull City teammate who is working at a law firm in SF. It’s awesome. Our apartment has a great view of the Bay Bridge, financial district and Coit tower, and we have a rooftop deck with even better views. The best part of it is I can walk to work in less than 10 minutes. Awesome. I’ve reclaimed about an hour and a half of my life that I don’t spend commuting to San Rafael. I also started running workouts about a month ago and they’re going really well. Better than I had anticipated in fact, which makes me really excited for the season.

                One of the major issues I dealt with in the fall was burning out. So I am trying to cut back on my racing this spring to prevent that happening again. As a result, I didn’t race again until this past weekend, when I drove up Humboldt to run the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run. Gus was supposed to come with me but he couldn’t due to a rock show in Tucson, so I went up solo. The race is really cool because it runs right along the coast until you drop down, cross a river, and then finish with 2 miles on the beach. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and it completely took my mind off of running. I went out comfortably (11 mins for the first 2 miles) and was able to pick it up and win fairly handily, finishing in just under 45 minutes for 8.75 miles (around 5:08 pace according to the results). The next day I went out and did what might have been the final Super Bowl Run from Roger’s house in MV. I’ve only done it twice, but it’s a fantastic event with individual handicapping. I got the shaft again this year and finished 12th despite setting the course record. Apparently I didn’t sandbag hard enough. But the run is followed by a huge pot luck with amazing food and awesome people, so I had a great time. The Niners lost the super bowl, but life goes on I suppose. A world series and a super bowl are probably too much to wish for in one city.


Nearing the finish at Trinidad to Clam Beach (thanks Jweb for the bed!)


                Next up is the Redding 10 Miler in early March. I’m going to get some solid work in between now and then, both on the track and in the hills. I’ve been getting up to Marin regularly on the weekends to run and am basically just throwing myself against Mt. Tam because my runs during the week tend to be rather flat around the city. I’ve also stopped taking Sundays off because it’s one of my few chances to get up to Marin, but once the daylight changes, I’m hoping to get up at least once during the week as well. I need those trails.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hey! Just over a month. Getting better. Since the last post, I’ve raced the Redding 10 Miler (3/2) and Across the Bay 12k (3/17). Redding went great. I ran 50:28 for about a minute PR in the 10 mile, which I ran here last year before injuring my foot. Malcolm and I worked together the whole time until I gapped him a little at the end. I felt strong basically the whole way – wavered a bit in miles 8-9 as I did last year – but was able to pull it together again to finish strong. Finishing 2nd place overall was icing on the cake.

                In the weeks following Redding, I got in a couple of really strong workouts and a 20 miler up on Mt. Tam, which I think will really help me heading into Boston. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach ATB 12k because of a 5k the following Saturday at SF State, and I’ve been hoping to take a run at my 5k PR on fresh legs. Still, I went out pretty hard in ATB 12k and was able to bring it home well. I reeled in a couple of guys in miles 6-7 and was close to getting onto the podium (finished 4th overall in 37:07, another big PR). If we’d had another 200m of uphill, I think I would have caught the guy in front of me. Oh well…

                Basically, I’m running really well right now. I’ve been running consistent 80 mile weeks (except for the week of Redding when I dropped a bit to 60-65), and haven’t really been taking any days off. I haven’t noticed any adverse effects, as I’m recovering pretty well on a daily basis, so I’m not too worried about not taking my Sundays off anymore. Plus, it’s another day I can get up to Marin to run, so it’s really not hard to convince myself to get out the door. My workouts have been going quite well too. I’ve been hitting the times I set for myself, and often end up going faster than I expected. Last week, we ran 2 x 1600 @ 12k pace (4:54, 4:51), 1200 and 1000 @ 5k pace (3:29, 2:55), 800 and 600 @ faster than 3k pace (2:11, 1:36). I was really happy to be able to hit those times, as I’m not sure I was there even a year ago. And I know I’m fitter than I was in cross country season, so I’m really excited to get on the track this week and next (10k on 3/29) and see what I can. I plan on significantly lowering my 10k PR in just over a week, and we’ll see how close I can get to my 5k PR on Saturday. I think I’ve got a great shot at lowering it. I’ll hopefully be able to get another entry in before Boston, probably after the track races. So until next time…


Friday, April 12, 2013

                A lot has happened since last time. I ran the 5k at SF State’s Johnny Mathis meet on March 23 and ran 14:34. Malcolm and I worked together really well and some Cal kid sat on us for 9 laps, did no work, and then kicked with 3 to go. He was also responsible for the pedestrian start of the race, which resulted in us negative splitting each mile. 4:42, 4:40, 4:37. Still, it was a good effort and I was pleased with it. I followed it up the next Friday (March 29th) with a minute PR in the 10k, 29:53. Granted, I haven’t run a 10k on the track since college, and Marin 10k is on the roads, it was still a really fantastic feeling to go under 30:00 for the first time. There was a big group of 7-8 guys to work with, and I spent most of my time at the back of the pack, where I was content to get pulled along. We came through the 5k in 14:53 and then I fell off a bit in mile 5 where I got a side stitch. I managed to work through that, thankfully, and put myself in a position to go under 30, coming through 2 laps to go with 2:20 to spare. I ran a 70 and then closed in a 63. Ecstatic. The workout the following Tuesday did not go well, but I was too concerned, as the hay was in the barn at that point and I was beginning my taper for Boston. I hit 65 miles last week and will hit closer to 50 than I’d hoped this week, but running lower mileage really isn’t easy for me to do. Saturday and Sunday will be really low, so I’m anticipating feeling rather fresh come Monday morning. Cheyne and I are planning on running together, starting out around 5:30s and rolling from there, hoping to hit low 2:20’s or even sub-2:20 if I’m feeling really good. Either way, I’m excited to get out there and conquer this course.


                I fly out tomorrow morning and will be staying with Andy and Allison tomorrow night before moving to an AirBNB place with Liz, which is really close to the expo center and finish line. We got really lucky with this one and I’m choosing to see it as a sign of good things to come. Then it’s off to Durham/Chapel Hill for the rest of the week where I’ll be running the Medoc Spring Races the following Saturday. They’re trying to recreate the Dipsea by the course length and handicapping system which I think is really cool so I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store. Anyways, that’s about it. See you after Boston!

About afvarner

Runner. Donuts. Sneakerhead. Not necessarily in that order. Nike Trail Elite. Picky Bars. Gu. Vicory Sportdesign.
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