Sunday, October 30, 2011

PR: 30k. Videos included :)

Today I headed for the Dyrehaven park north of Copenhagen to make an attempt on a new 30 k PR. My target was going below 3 hours which would be a 20 minute improvement. I've been dissatisfied with my marathon times lately and I've been suspecting that I was simply running to safe (=slow) after an injury at the Copenhagen marathon which broke me mentally. If I managed today's target I would feel sure enough of myself to aim for marathon time about 4:15-4:30 at my next marathon.

Dyrenhaven is one of my favorit places to run. It has some really step hills but the settings are great and there are a lot of stags (kronhjorte in danish) walking around the fields. I've set my halv marathon PR here earlier this year. I usually go there with a good friend who follows me on his MTB.

Today I asked him to film me at different stages of the run to see how my technique looked especially late in run were I would be tired. I hoped that the plank and side plank exercises that I have doing had improved my lines.

Today I was running in my old Kayano and compensated the gnawing problem by taping my foot at the problem area. They feels much better for me than my new Nimbus.

To reach my target I had to keep my average pace below 6:00. I started a little fast but I didn't wanted to end up in the same situation as my last marathon ;) Everything went great. I had an energy gel at 10 k and at 20 k. I didn't bring water at all but brought a energy mix instead.

Below are my videos and my final picture which reveals that I DID make it in time with a few minutes to spare actually :) 30 km @ 2:56 :D 

Now I'm looking forward for my next chance to set a PR at a marathon ;) 

@ ~15 km

@ 20 km

@ 27 km

@ 30 km :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Forests Rocks!

My daughter had a lot of surplus energy today so I thought I would take her for a trip into the forest where she could run about and play. We left the house with her in the baby jogger and headed for the forest. I live next to a lake and only a few minutes from a large forest. It been sometime since I've visited it and looking at it today made me wonder why. The fog today gave it an extra spiritual atmosphere. I really wished that I had suited up and we were going for a forest run instead of a forest play.  

My daughter ended up not wanting to leave the baby jogger more than a few minutes where we looked at extremely large rock and a little purple mushroom :) Passing a marked MTB trail I thought 'why don't runners have the same kinda marked trails?'. The MTB trail looked far funnier to run than the larger trail that everybody else are supposed to use. Later on when I passed the MTB trail again I turned the baby jogger down the path and tried it out it was greeeeat ;). When I was a kid I won a lot of BMX races included some championships but I've never taken on MTB as an adult but those MTB tails really really looks inviting even without wheels :)

Tomorrow I'll be going to one of our major parks in Denmark to try to make a 30k PR. I have a good friend that will pace me on his bike. I'm really looking forward to get running it will be my first real run all week.

Couldn't help but taking a picture of this little purple thingy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My App is taking shape :)

I've coded since I was 13 years old so naturally I had to code an app for iphone to help me easily calculate pace, speed and duration for a given distance in combination with one of these factors. It even has a 'miles' mode. I've been following SeaLegsGirl for some time and she tends to write her pace as minute/mile now I have an even better idea of how fast she really is :) The app isn't fully tested yet but I plan to release it in the iphone app store when it is done. Simple, fast .. and free of course :)

Tuesday in plane building night. My planes inner structure is nearly done. I've been working on it for some time so it is nice to see it start looking like a plane. As a head of development in a IT security company it is nice to get creative and work with your hands after a long day in front of the computer.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New PR @ 10k

It has been sometime since I've tested my form on a short distance race and after having watched a documentary on James Cracknell's Marathon Des Sables race I REALLY felt like running fast today. I used my old Asics Kayano instead of the softer Nimbus ones. I've used Asics shoes since I started to run for real which adds up to 4 pair of shoes of mixed Kayano and Nimbus. I really like the softness of the Nimbus but the stiffer Kayano is really what my right foots pronation need. The only thing about the Kayano is that for some reason my left foot big toe pad hates it. After a few kilometers it feels like it is on fire. I've never had that problem in the Nimbus. It might be time for me to try another brand of shoes.

Last week I made my first iphone app which is aimed for calculating the pace you need to run a given distance in a give time.

My first homemade iphone app :)

To reach the time that I wanted (below 48:00) I knew that I had to run at a higher average pace than 4:48. Out the door I went and the straight back indoor again. Brr.. to cold to run in shorts so I changed to my 3/4 tights instead. Out the door again and off I went. Love the feeling of running on fresh legs. The first 5k of my 10k route goes uphill. Not by much but just about 6-70 meters in total. Legs felt great and I wasn't looking as much on my watch as I am used to. I more or less just ran as fast as felt right. When I reached the 5k turn point I noticed that I had nearly broken my 5k PR. Impressive on a uphill run as part of a 10k event. I knew then that I really was in better shape than ever before. The last 5k I focused on keeping the pace. I knew that my average pace had to stay below 4:48 and the last 3-4 k it more or less stayed on 4:47. With 1k to go it suddenly said 4:48 and I responded by going all in. "Faster faster faster. Give it all you got". Soon my average pace was showing 4:47 again and it stayed there all the way to the finish. Once I reached  my front yard I threw myself in the grass. After a minute (or two) of recuperation I looked at my watch and confirmed my new PR :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Come on .. seriously!?

I just sat down and looked at my PR's. What is up with that 5:01:03 marathon time. Seriously I run 21.1 km in less than 2 hours. I could then walk for nearly two hours and still make it in less than 5 hours running the rest of the race in a fairly slow pace. Do I aim too (s)low?

By now I've run 5 marathon including my ultra race:

1.) My first marathon. Was run in snow. I just wanted to finish and had to change to dry clothes halfway through the race. Average moving pace was 6:55 min/km.
2.) *Sigh* Got an injury early on. Shouldn't have completed the race. Average moving pace was 7:21 min/km.
3.) A spontaneously marathon with no preparations. Took my time at all the water post to compensate for an empty stomach. Got hip problems halfway through and lowered my pace to ease the pain. Average moving pace was 7:12 min/km.
4.) Ultra race 50 km. Just wanted to make it through. Took my fair time eating and drinking at the water posts. The race was great but in no way fast. Average moving pace was 7:34 min/km.
5.) Aimed for 5 hours and 'got it'. Made only short water post stops. Didn't walk or had any other problems except freezing ;) Average moving pace was 6:59 min/km.

5 hours .. bah! ;)

The weakest link

This year I've run 4 marathons and in most of them I've been rather sore in my hips during and afterward the race. It usually starts in the late 10s and I stop thinking about it in the 30s. I didn't really think about it at my last race but I think I was focusing in it being cold instead ;)

1-2 months ago I started doing weight training because that I had noticed some pain in my lower back when running and that has helped a lot. So when I joined a lecture about running injuries a couple of days ago I hoped to gain some insight in my 'hip problem'. Was it something that potentially could become an injury or could I ignore it.

It was a great lecture by Tomas Pilsborg (physiotherapist, runner, ..). It seemed that based on his knowledge and values I did nearly everything right except 2 things.

1.) Currently I don't run often yet I run long distances = high risk for injury.
2.) My hips aren't strong enough to run these distances = high risk for injury.

I dunno what to do about the first problem yet but I guess it involves running more often and shorter distances. I just have to find the time.

The second problem I did some googling about and it seems that there are some great excises for this specific area. The plank and the side plank. This was the best public video I've been able to find for you.

I tried them out yesterday and they are HARD :) But I guess that that means they are working!

I hope that with a strong core my marathon time can get cut a lot and I'm confident that my 100 km race goal for next year won't be possible at all without these exercises . I have my next planed marathon in about a month I hope to test my new hips there.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Soo close ;)

My youngest daughter woke up at 4 AM Yay! But she was sweet and we had a nice morning :) I never got around to get any breakfast (for myself) but at 8 AM I left for todays marathon. It took me an hour to arrive and the moment I got out of the car a strong cooold wind hit me in the face .... brr. The race was taking next to the Baltic Sea and the wind was coming from the sea.

Foolishly I was convinced that running would give me the heat I needed and set out without the warm tights and jacket that I HAD brought with me. Stupid stupid stupid.

I had planed to run at my new long distance favorite pace 7 min/km. Which would mean that I finally would go below 5 hours for a marathon. With me was a good colleague doing her first marathon! She had signed up for a half marathon but last weekends success and me gently pushing her made her taking the jump for full distance ;)

10 meters after the start my right compression sock went for the foot and I had to stop to fix it. My running partner continued and it took me 3 km to catch up with her again. I had to run pace 6:20 since she got caught in the vacuum of the faster running main group. I have made the same mistake often but these days I'm fine with starting last and overtake my way through the race at the targeted pace.

The first 25 km went great at a steady pace. I had expected that my hips would give me some pain from 14 km and up till about 30 km but they didn't. Guess that fitness training on the side is paying of :) After 25 km I started getting cold. My colleague on the other hand was looking great! When I stopped to have a drink at a water post and she weren't a 'split decision' was made. I would continue in my targeted pace and she would continue in the pace that she felt was right for her (6:40-6:50 at that point). She was clearly in better shape than me today. I couldn't help smiling, this was the girl that a little more than a week ago didn't think that she could run more than 25 km.

The next 10 km was really really cold to the point where I was thinking about stopping. The thing stopping me from taking the decision was that I was able to keep my pace and I didn't wanna stop with a PR insight. I had placed a half a little coca cola bottle as a treat for myself at the last water post before the finishing line and it gave me a welcomed boost. The last 5 km I was calculating as a mad mad to try to make sure that I was reaching the finish line in just less than 5 hours. I didn't feel that I had enough energy to just go full throttle and I knew that I was cutting it tight. With 2 km to go I felt confident that I was gonna make it plus my legs felt good. With 1 km (based on my GPS watch) left I knew I was gonna make it. Then 400 meters later I meet the official 1 km left sign and my heart dropped. Shit, I had made the fundamental error in trusting a device with an known error margin. For some time I prayed that the sign had been wrong but as I crossed the 42.2 km on my watch in 4:49 I still had the 400 meters to go. I gave it all I had was running pace 4:?? at the end but it wasn't enough. My finishing time was 5:01:03 which is still a PR but sadly a tiny bit slower than I had aimed for 1:04 slower in fact ;) I had made a plan which I had followed and I should be really happy .. but I really wanted to be just that tiny bit faster ;)

I received a fine medal but all I really wanted at that point was a blanket. Man was I cold. Luckily my colleague brought me some hot chocolate :) She had been smart enough to run in winter tights and hadn't been freezing like me but it seemed that a lot of the slower marathon runners had had freezing issues. Brr. She had finished in 4:55 which she understandably was very proud of. I too was/am VERY proud on her behalf.

New PR :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where did my fear go?

Until last year when I ran my first marathon (look at my header logo), 42.195 meters seemed like a distance that only super humans could run. I remember how I as a young kid sat in front of the TV at looked at the marathon runners at the Olympic Games and stared in awe.

I started last year barely being able to run 2 km. 6 weeks later I ran my first 20 km ever. As the year progressed I ran a number of half marathons and as my last event I completed my first marathon in snow, -5 C and 10 m/s. I remember how I cried a number of times during the race due freezing in soaked clothes, the pain from fighting my own limitations and feeling really alone (though I weren't). Is was in somewhat disbelieve that I finally in the dark crossed the finish line. Ohh what a feeling!

My next marathon was nearly half a year later namely Copenhagen Marathon. I sadly got an injury after 7 km but the expectation of my friends waiting for me later in route made me keep running though slowly and in pain. When I finally reached the goal I hated everything about running. It took me several weeks to accept the medal I had received. None of my friends had shown up and I knew that I should have stopped instead I had an injury that meant I was grounded for some time. Actually one colleague DID show up just I as reached the finish line. She ran in front of me cheering but as she told me later my eyes were empty and I didn't see her at all. That race weren't worth it and I never wanted to run a marathon again.

Time passed and I started thinking about giving it another chance. A couple of months ago the Sea Legs Girl and especially a good colleague talked me into signing up for a marathon 10 minutes before it started. I hadn't prepared for a marathon at all but that fact also meant that I could relax mentally. I had nothing to prove and no one to disappoint. I did in no way make a perfect run but I completed and without any kind of injury. My appetite for running marathons was back.

I've had a number of races since then including my first ultra! I haven't feared any of them and they have all felt great. Realizing that I could complete a marathon even on an empty stomach and not having gone through weeks of carefully planed training runs and diet gave running a whole new dimension of .. freedom.

My next marathon is on Sunday and I have 2 more planed before the end of the year :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Runners highs and lows

I haven't run for nearly 2 weeks. I really haven't felt all the great. I've had no injuries but after my last two runs I have had a period of 'runners low'. My usual runs felt too short and not worth spending time on. I'd even lost my appetite. Strange and unwelcome feeling.

Luckily I got out there today.

A little more than a week ago I was sent a link to Marathon Des Sables I was sold right away! That and Badwater Ultramarathon seem like the ultimate races. Don't worry I'm not nuts enough to think that I can run either of those races here and now. But after my 2012 goal which is a 100 km race I now know what to aim for. The ironman goal has officially been deleted.

Talking with a very good colleague about doing long distance runs I asked her when she was going for her first marathon. She told me that she had never run a longer distance than 25 km but she was fascinated that others could. Knowing that she had been running for a far longer time than me and that she does so far more often I was quite convinced that she could easily run at least 30 km if she set out at the right speed. She like me and many many others have a tendency to set the bar to high from the start and then struggle at the end. 

I convinced her that we should make a 30 km attempt today and claimed that she wouldn't have any troubles finishing if only she kept the pace I had set for her 7 min/km. She did agree to make the attempt but didn't seem confident that she would make it all the way. I on the other hand knew that she would :) 

The trail used was the same trail as my recent 50 km run but with a turn around point after 15 km so that we would finish the same place as we had started. I had placed one water post at 10 km with water, lemonade, bananas and apples which we would visit twice. 

The weather today was rainy, windy and felt cold. Luckily the trail runs for the most part inside forests which acted as a great shield though parts of the trail had become rather muddy.

We set out and at once I had to tell her to slow down! 7 min/km feels really really slow when you got fresh legs but I knew that 25 km later she would thank me ;) All the way out she did everything I had asked and expected of her. We walked the steepest hills and kept the targeted pace. After 18 km though she started running a bit faster than I had wanted her to. I was getting a bit scared that she wouldn't make it all the way to the finish line. We had our second water stop at 20 km and even though we got rather cold from standing still she kept the slightly higher pace afterwards. By now I was personally getting a bit sore and was wondering when she would start getting tired. It wasn't until 27 km I started seeing signs of her being tired but at that point I was confident that she could keep this pace for the rest of the race and I took the lead keeping the pace that she had set. She looked a little tired but she kept up and I was really impressed. 200 meters before the finish line I sprinted and found my camera so that I could take her picture as she reached the goal.

That is a nice feeling :)
She had done really really great. Excluding the water stop she had kept an average pace at 6:49! Congratulation on your first 30 km run!! I don't doubt for one second that you would be able to run a marathon.