Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ARR Thanksgiving Classic 5k

Race Report: ARR Thanksgiving Classic 5k by Chad Sayban.

At 5am, long before the break of dawn, I awoke to the sound of heavy rain and lightning. Oooff. Not exactly the conditions I was hoping for. But after 12 years of living in the desert, I have learned that storms have a way of ending abruptly here. Besides, I was going to run the race in anything short of the aforementioned lightning and I figured it wouldn't last long. It were still three hours until the start.

After a quick shower, I dressed in several layers of gear. I wasn't sure what the conditions would be so I wanted to be prepared for whatever nature would throw at me. I ate a Clif Bar and a bottle of Gatorade and headed out into the wet morning.

It rained some on the way to the Peoria Sports Complex, but by the time I got there it had stopped. In fact, as I got out of the car, there were broken clouds overhead and clearing skies to the west. The weather looked promising.

The race includes a 10-mile, a 5k and a 1-mile walk and has been around for more than 30 years, so it draws a big crowd. One of the great parts about having it at one of the spring training stadiums is that there is plenty of parking and full use of the stadium bathrooms. No porta potties needed at this race. I collected my race number, chip and t-shirt and headed back to my car. I had my race singlet, shorts, gloves and arm warmers as I began my warmup. I ran a mile and stretched. By the time I finished, I realized that I wasn't going to need anything other than the singlet and shorts. It was in the mid-50s and plenty warm enough. In fact, it was just about perfect with very little breeze. The 10-milers were sent off at 8 sharp and I did some strides during the 15-minutes before our start.

The race

The gap across the starting mat was pretty narrow with such a large crowd of runners (632 finishers), but it opened up onto a wide road. I staged myself near the front to get through it quickly and then went wide and found my pace. The first half mile is on one of the roads leading into the main complex and then out briefly to 75th Avenue. New this year, the 5k route didn't follow the 10-mile along the paved path. Instead, it turned and run along the packed dirt next to the canal. Fortunately, the rain hadn't made it too soft. We probably lost a little time on this mile and a half long stretch, but not too much. I knew I was pushing a pretty fast pace for my current fitness as I hit the first mile mark.

Mile 1: 7:27

Yep, even faster than my fastest quarter mile intervals to date. I knew I couldn't hold this pace the whole way, especially since I knew we had a gradual uphill waiting on the way back. We had a small pack of runners at the turnaround, but I ended up in front of all of them. I don't know if I have some special talent for getting back up to speed faster than other runners, but this seems to happen whenever there is a change of direction in a race (see my last race report where I left a large group behind at the top of a steep hill.) We headed back and I saw the huge groups of people still headed towards the turnaround. I wanted to make sure they all remained comfortably behind me.

Mile 2: 7:43

I knew I had slowed from the first mile pace, but I ended up slowing a bit more than I anticipated. I was still under what I needed to hit my goal of sub-24 minutes, but it was closing up quickly and I was now fighting to maintain as we came back out on to the pavement. There were two runners who were passing others right in front of me and I mentally latched on to them, letting them pull me along. I would eventually pass them both near the end, but for now I was happy to let them drag me towards the finish. It was at this point that we began the long circle around the stadium, which includes about a half mile of steady incline. I dug down and tried to find whatever was left to maintain pace. I passed a bunch of fading runners as I spotted the 3-mile marker and accelerated.

Mile 3: 7:52

I passed my two leaders and a couple of others who couldn't respond to my late surge. As I came up on the finish, there were a few of the 1-mile walkers. Right at the line one of them decided to cut right across in front of me and I nearly wiped out both of us on the slick pavement. Fortunately, I tap danced past her and finished.

Mile 3.1: :43

Official Race Time: 23:46 (7:39 pace)
104 out of 632, 10 out of 39 in AG

In all, a really good race for me. I don't think I could have done anything more with my current fitness. The average pace for 3.1mile was the same as my interval pace for 1/4 miles a week before. I will get faster. I have a solid training plan and as I continue to lose weight, my speed will increase and my fitness will get better.

Mesa Turkey Trot

Rain was in the forecast and as I went to get the paper in the morning the ground was wet. But, the sky was clear. Here's a picture of the start of this years Mesa Turkey Trot. Three races were on the schedule. A one and two mile untimed fun run, followed by the 39th running of the 10k race.
The course is a nice one. A two mile loop around the park on closed streets, then about four miles thru a neighborhood and on Power Road, a busy thoroughfare that is half closed. Thousands of runners make it a fun race.
My plan was to do 10 minute miles. All six of them and to finish strong to come in under the 1 hour and 2 minute mark. Maybe get under 1 hour. In 2006 I did this race in 1:11. Last year was my PR of 1:07:59 at this race. This would be my fourth 10k race and I was hoping to PR.

You can see it was overcast at the start. But, I didn't think it would rain on us. I shedded my sweatshirt and left it at the start. I felt sluggish in the beginning, but was running in the 9's, so I just kept at it and figured I'd find out what I had. Lot's of traffic, so I ended up weaving in and out and around runners, strollers and walkers. My first mile was done in 9.41. A good time for a 10k race.
The road we start on has lots of desert shoulder to run on and lots of runners where taking advantage of it. The problem was that they were also off course and not running the full 10k. I kept on the street and stayed on the course. No big deal. My second mile was done in 9.32. I was actually getting faster. I figured I was banking my time for later. A lady passed me with a jog stroller. Music blaring. Not my choice of artists, but it was nice to hear. Too bad she was faster than me. I never saw her again.
Mile 3 was done in 10.49. Took a quick walk break around 2.5 mark. I was congested a bit and that left me a bit winded. Mile 4 was done in 11.04. Another walk break and I ate a GU. Vanilla Bean. I've been eating a few more carbs, so running out of gas was not a worry for me this time.
Being well rested, I cranked it up a bit and ran a 10.37 and a 10.34. I actually ran some 8 minute fartlek's in between some walk breaks. It's nice to run that fast late in the race, but I can't sustain it for a long stretch. I was playing leap frog with about 20 runners.

The last portion of the race is in Red Mountain Park. It has a beautiful lake and lots of grassy areas. I kicked in in gear and did the last .2 at a 7.59 pace. It's tough to do because you're running on a concrete sidewalk (see picture) and there's not much room to pass people.
Today, for the second race in a row I PR'd. My finish time was 1:04:36. I bettered last years time by 3.23.

The New D Tags

This race used the new disposable D Tags. It comes on your race bib and you just loop it onto your shoe laces. No need to collect them after the race. Mine is still on my shoe.

Here's hoping that any of you with races today had a great day and a great race. And for everyone I wish a Happy Thanksgiving and lots of good health.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Turkey Trot & Dairy Air Dash

Turkey Trot & Dairy Air Dash Volunteer Report by Reid Axman

A few weeks ago, I thought to myself, "Maybe my knee will be well enough by then to run this race." I ended up deciding that I didn't want to risk anything, so I thought to myself, "Maybe I'll volunteer for this race." I was also thinking that this race was going to be on the day of Thanksgiving since it is a "Turkey Trot." As it turned out, it was the weekend before, and I had already made plans to go on a campout with the boy scouts, so the volunteering was out of the question. Well, earlier this week, I found out that the campout had to be canceled. Bummer. I was looking forward to that. Then, with other things going on, I had forgotten about the Turkey Trot until last night as I was getting into bed. Then I thought, "I'm gonna go and volunteer." So I set my alarm and got up early and headed over to the race to offer up my services.

It was a pretty small race (maybe 50-60 runners), so there were already plenty of volunteers. But hey, the more the merrier, right? I was able to help out at the registration table handing out shirts and goodie bags. I was surprised to see how many people from church I saw there for the race. It was pretty cool to see all their friendly faces. After the 5k started, I was given the task of timing the 1 mile fun Runners--all 2 of them. Once they finished, I went over to the 5k finish and cheered everyone on as they crossed the line. I was kind of surprised to see the first place finisher come in just under 23 minutes. I'm used to seeing the winners of 5ks coming in around 15 minutes. Seeing that made me wish I had run the race. Next year, for sure.

This was another great opportunity to help out in the community. This injury has helped me to give a little back to running. I've really enjoyed helping out at these races. I'm planning on another Turkey Trot next week (actually on Thanksgiving Day), and I also signed up to help out at the expo for the Arizona RNR Marathon in January. For those of you running that race, I'll be there Saturday morning. I'm not sure yet what they'll have me doing, but I'll fill you in on the details as it gets closer.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ironman Arizona 5k

What the heck. My 5k race I was going to run was cancelled. So, I thought I'd run the Arizona Ironman..

What, you say. You can't do that without training. It's 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running.

Sorry, I guess I got you confused. I ran the Arizona Ironman 5k. It's the charity race the day before the triathletes take the stage.

It was pretty cool. We started at the new Tempe Arts Center and ran along the Tempe Town Lake. There were about 225 runners and the weather was ideal. Maybe in the 60's. I think most of the runners were family of a triathlete that will be racing tomorrow.

I got to meet Paul from Houston. His daughter and son in law are racing tomorrow. He and I ran this morning. I told him I really wanted a sub 30 minute race. But, I've been having tendinitis issues with my left foot. The good news is my legs are well rested. The bad news is, I'm not sure how my foot will hold up. My plan was to do a 9 minute first mile, followed by a 9:30 and a 10 minute mile. That would get me under the goal of 30 minutes. I, in fact did a 9:10 first mile followed by a 9:41 second. I was feeling really good and ran the entire way, except for a water stop around 1.6 mile mark. Maybe 20 seconds worth of walking and drinking. The second mile was rolling hills (three of them - just like Boston). Just kidding, the hills were maybe 30 yards in length and were not an issue.

In mile three I watched as a man about my age was in front of me. I figured I better get ahead of him if I wanted any hope of a medal. Heck, it's just good practice to race against the closest runners to you. I tracked him down and was within 40 yards of him when we started the final portion of the race. I did mile three in 9:15 and as we turned onto Rio Salado and saw the finish line I pour on the gas. My pace for the last 1/10 of a mile was a blistering 6:57. I speed past bib # 99 and finished at the same spot the triathletes will be finishing IMAZ tomorrow. Turns out #99 wasn't in my AG, but was 2 groups older.

My previous PR was 30:16 and today I finished in 28:49 (garmin time). A new PR and under 30 minutes. You can click on the graphs below to see a map and my splits.

Good luck to all those athletes competing in Ironman Arizona tomorrow. I'll try to stop by to see you in action.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Learning For Life 10k

Race: Learning For Life 10K (Peoria, AZ) by Mike Miller
Friday, November 14th, 2008

For those who maybe didn’t know, Kimberly has been training very hard over the last few months for her upcoming PF Chang Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. The event is getting very close now and her run schedule is ‘amping up’. As part of her training she works with a team up at our Country Club that all practice and train together. This week for one of their training runs they decided to all do an organized event together. Seeing it was local and on a Saturday morning, I decided to participate as well.
The event called Learning for Life has a 10K and a 5K. We did the 10K because the Arrowhead group was looking for about that many miles today. It’s a great smaller event that is focused on supporting youth groups. A lot of the adult runners seemed to be local police and fire officers (as it was also part of the event). In fact, Kimberly ended up running a big part of the race just behind the local SWAT team.
We had a great time. It was right up the way from us at the Peoria Stadium where the MLB players do spring training. The course ran along 83rd street to the viaduct, down past 75th a little then back for the 6.2 miles. After the run they had a magician and other activities for the participants. I got Kimberly a charity Police Bear.
For the first time of any run we have done together Kimberly and I both got a medal. I came in 6th overall and second in my age group a little over 49 minutes. Kimberly was FIRST in her age group! This was of course something she pointed out to me a few times… . Then again, I had to remind her that this was my second top 10 overall in the last 3 races!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Phoenix 10k

The Phoenix 10k & 5k by Pat Monahan

It's been a busy weekend. Mostly work, which is a good thing. But, I did get to squeeze in 'The Phoenix 10k' formally know as the New Times 10k. The last two years it was run in downtown Tempe due to our metro area building a new light rail line. I ran the 5k in 2006 and I ran both the 5k and 10k last year. This year, they lost their sponsor but are back on their home course in downtown Phoenix. The 5k is run at 7:45 am. The 10k is run at 8:30 am. It costs $20 to run either race and for an additional $8 you can run them both.

It's like Ernie Banks says, "Let's Play Two".

I decided I was going to run the 5k as best I could. My PR of 30:25 was not a real goal, no way can I do three consecutive sub 10 minute miles. But, I wanted to get as close as I could. It's chipped timed, so I didn't worry about getting across the starting line quickly. The temps were around 55-60 and we had clear skies. No wind, although it got windy and rained later in the day. According to Garmin I had an opening split of 10:21. I was pretty happy about that. The course is a 3.1 mile loop around the state capitol around downtown streets. The asphalt felt really hard this morning. My left heal has been bothering me lately, so I held back a bit. I passed four different bands and we had people cheering all along the course. My second mile was a 10:32 pace. I was pretty happy about that. Around the 2.5 mile mark I was getting pretty tired trying to keep the pace. I had a choice, I could take a quick 1 minute walk break and finish strong or end up limping home with a 12 minute split. The walk break did me good. My third mile was done in 10:54 and my .1 was at an 8:15 pace. After the walk break I ended up passing 27 other runners. I counted to keep myself distracted, more so than out of vanity. Well, maybe a little of both. I didn't count the guy in the wheel chair. He was inspiring. It was an everyday wheelchair and he was alternating powering his wheels. Kind of like a someone in a canoe paddling on the left and then the right.

Garmin told me I finished in 33:06 for 3.14 miles. I don't have the official times from the race yet.

That gave me 10 minutes to rest before the 10k event. The bathroom lines were long. I looked for a private corner to pee, but none where to be found. I ended up waiting til after the 10k.

My plan was to do the best I could in the 10k. But, plenty of walk breaks were anticipated. This race would require two loops of the same course I had just run on. We passed the same bands, the same buildings, the same corners. At one point I was coming up to a corner and there was a man with his shopping cart and all his worldly possessions looking at me to see if he could cross the street. He was willing to wait. I was still 10 yards away from him and there weren't any runners behind me. I gave him the sign to cross and I ran just behind him. Lives cross sometimes in interesting ways.

I was about 2 miles into the 10k or 5 miles in, counting both races when I got a bit disoriented. I thought we had to go further out and we were turning around. heading back to the capitol grounds. I even asked the runner next to me if we had made a wrong turn. This has never happened to me before, but we were further along than I thought we should have been. I was OK and we continued on. This 10k had over 1000 runners. I wasn't going to race it, as much as just run it, so I started in the back. How far back? The very back. I tried to be the last runner to cross the timing mat. I wasn't even in line when the gun went off. When I crossed the line, they were ready to start taking up the mat and pulling down the balloon arch. I say this because it was a double loop, so during the race we hear police on motorcycles telling the runners to move to the right. I didn't know why, until a few seconds later the leaders of the race come running past us (like we were standing still). So the last half of the race I got to watch all the leaders run by at 6 and 7 minute paces. My splits were 10.49, 11.59, 12.08, 12.22, 13.03, 12.39, 10.40 and I had a time around 1:18:xx. 10 minutes off my PR for a 10k.

Last year I ran both races in Tempe in 1:48:15. This year I ran both races in 1:48:17. When you run both races (and yes, they give out awards for combined time), it's called the Five and Dime. I missed my PR by 2 seconds.

I did get a nice looking black baseball cap for free from a domestic violence group, but didn't see much else at the various vendor booths. The rest of the day was filled with showing homes and writing offers. A good but tiring weekend.

48 by 48
I'm still working on goals for my 48th year on this planet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Outrun the FBI 5k

Race Report: Outrun the FBI 5k by Chad Sayban.

I awoke to a perfect morning for racing. It was cool with no wind and a clear sky. I ate a Powerbar and had a bottle of Gatorade and headed out for the event. I arrived about an hour before the race, picked up my race number and t-shirt. This is the third race since I started racing again, but it was the first one that I actually treated like a race instead of just a tempo workout. That means I went in with a goal. I knew that a PR is out of the question at this point (22:24 twice), but I wanted to push my current fitness level. My goal was to run 8:00 minute miles to come in between 24:30 and 25:00. Treating it as a race also meant that I would go through my whole race routine. I went for a 10-minute jog, followed by a full round of stretching. Then I did 4 x 100 meter strides followed by some more stretching. I start this about 30 minutes before the start so I'm done about 10 minutes before the race. I placed myself very near the front since this was not a chip timed race. Now, this race had an additional wrinkle in it. There were 5 FBI agents running the race. They were given a 30 second head-start over the field. As you passed each one, they would give you a sticker on your bib number. Interesting, but I was more interested in my time than anything else. Besides, the five of them looked like they were legitimate runners.

A police siren blew and we were off. The course wound around a park near downtown Phoenix. When I saw the route on the website, I was worried that it was going to be so confusing that runners would be going in every direction and shorting the course. It turned out to be a really easy course to follow and a lot of fun. It isn't a really fast course because of all the turns and a few other surprises. I founds a rhythm pretty quickly and settled into a pace that felt about right.

Mile 1: 7:20

Hummm... I wasn't too sure about that mile marker. I didn't feel like I ran the opening mile that fast, but I really couldn't be sure with my current training. I decided that I felt like I was running a good pace, so I kept at it. About halfway through the second mile, we came to a grass field with rolling hills that was an out-and-back section. On the return leg I caught two of the FBI agents as I hit the 2 mile marker.

Mile 2: 8:32

I think that answered my question about the first marker. I know the rolling hills slowed me down a little, but not a minute's worth. At this point I was with a pack of about ten who were jockeying back and forth on the narrow sidewalk. A woman in the pack said 'oh shit' and I looked ahead. The cones had us going to the top of a large mound about 50 feet high. At the base of it I chopped my stride with the idea that I would hit the back side of it hard and push in the remaining half mile from there. It worked like a charm. I never saw any of the other ten people in that pack again. I caught the third FBI agent with less than a tenth of a mile to go.

Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 3.1: 0:46

Finish time: 24:40

Given the fact that the course was not a very fast course at all and what my goals were, I can only call this race a big success. I had no pain at all - before, during or after the race. I cooled down, ate and stretched and felt wonderful. I have not seen the results yet and pictures are supposed to be posted tomorrow. I managed to catch three of the five FBI agents along the way. I heard that the fastest agent was only passed by two runners. I'll post an update with them once they are available. For my first 'real' race back, it went as well as I could have hoped for. I'm still a long way from my 5k goals - break my PR and eventually go under 20 minutes - but I'm making good progress. I just wonder how fast I'll be once I shed the 20 pounds I want to get rid of. I'll just have to find out.

Until next time...