RIP Ed Whitlock

Very sad to learn of the passing of running legend Ed Whitlock at age 86 from prostate cancer.

It’s normal to idolize Ed for his running accomplishments, but I also idolized him because he seemed to be such a down-to-earth human being. I’ll miss following his exploits and good humor.

By way of tribute, here’s a post from last October, titled simply enough “Why We Love Ed Whitlock.”

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike - March 13, 2017 at 17:43

Categories: Columns   Tags:

Race Report: Shamrock’n Half-Marathon

Well, Plan A, B, C, and every letter up through about Q went out the window, but there are some things you just can’t account for.

It was a beautiful morning, nice and cool with a light breeze – the kind of weather you dream of when you have a time goal. Mine was to run one more sub-2 hour half-marathon, and my training suggested I could do it if nothing went wrong. The race started on time and off I went.

Mile 1 – 9:42

Mile 2 – 9:20

Mile 3 – 8:58

My plan was to hit Mile 3 at 28:21 and I actually hit it at 28 flat. I wasn’t worried that I had gone out too fast because I knew there were some hills and turns ahead.

Mile 4 – 9:08

Mile 5 – 9:10

Mile 6 – 9:00

Gave some of it back, as expected, and got myself to target pace. The plan was to hit Mile 6 at 55:21, and I actually hit it at 55:16. Things were going great. The pace was comfortably hard, and my only worry at this point was whether hills or heat might throw me off pace.

Mile 7 – 9:13

I reached the halfway point at 1:00:20 and Mile 7 only 7 seconds off pace. It wasn’t going to be easy as I knew I had to pick up the pace, but if I could just hold 9:06-9:08 the rest of the way I’d get it done.

About one-third of the way into the next mile was a 90-degree left turn. As I planted my right foot I felt a sudden pain in my arch, as if I had stepped on a large stone. I stopped for a second but I couldn’t see anything, so I continued on.

Unfortunately each push off with the right foot felt really bad. I pulled over to the side, removed my shoe and checked for a fracture, but I wasn’t thinking right. It wasn’t THAT kind of pain. In any event, nothing was broken. It just felt very sore. I put my shoe back on and started up again.

But I couldn’t get anywhere near target speed.

Mile 8 – 11:31

I wrote on Saturday that I couldn’t afford even one really bad mile, and now I had one. I was two-and-a-half minutes behind, with a sore right foot and five miles still to go. What to do?

Mile 9 – 11:21

If I could have kept running consistently, I might have had a shot at last year’s 2:04:03, but I ended up alternating a 3/4 mile run with a 1/4 mile limp. It’s best to say as little as possible about this part of the race.

Mile 10 – 11:39

Mile 11 – 11:16

Mile 12 – 11:54

We crossed the Tower Bridge and set up for the final stretch around Raley Field, into the stadium, and around the warning track to the finish along the third-base line. I just wanted to get it over with, so I clenched my teeth (literally) and ran as hard as I could for the last mile and a quarter.

Mile 13 – 9:39

Finish – 2:13:37

At an average 10:07 pace, I ended up almost exactly one minute per mile above my target. Nowhere near my worst performance, but disappointing because this was my final effort.

I’ll run half-marathons again. In fact, I already have one in mind for next year, but this was my last attempt for time. It would have been nice to reach my goal, but I believe the training I did to put sub-2 within reach contributed to my injury.

From now on, the rare half-marathon will be in the 2.5-3 hour range and only for fun. Racing (and training) will be 10 miles or fewer. That should extend my running life, keep me relatively injury-free and still allow me to compete at shorter distances.

1,426th of 3,438 finishers. 45th of 84 in 55-59 age group.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike - at 06:00

Categories: Race Reports   Tags:

Half-Marathon Plan A

Tomorrow I run the Shamrock’n Half-Marathon with a sub-2 goal. I’m capable of doing it, but frankly don’t have much margin for error.

Realistically the fastest mile I’ll be able to run during a half-marathon is around 8:45. Since my average pace will have to be 9:09, I can’t afford even one really bad mile. While going out too fast is always a concern, I also have to worry about going out too slow and leaving myself with too much of a gap to make up. So I have a pretty simple strategy.

First three miles – 9:48, 9:24 and 9:09

9 minute miles the rest of the way.

That gets me in at about 1:59:16, leaving 43 seconds to account for unexpected events.

So that’s the idea. If I can’t hold up, my secondary goal is to beat last year’s time of 2:04:03, which should be in the bag barring some horrible disaster.

The weather will be beautiful tomorrow, although about 10 degrees hotter than my preference.

Wish me luck. I’ll tweet my official time tomorrow as soon as I have it, and will post a full race report here on Monday.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike - March 11, 2017 at 13:17

Categories: Junk Miles   Tags: ,

Yet Another Running Hazard


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike - March 10, 2017 at 12:32

Categories: What's New   Tags: ,

Shape Up Or Sheep Out

Need to cross-train but a gym workout doesn’t appeal to you? Try shearing sheep.

According to a study undertaken by the University of Western Australia‚ shearing sheep is one of the most physically demanding activities. “Shearers are super-athletes‚” says team manager and trainer Izak Klopper of the South African Sheep Shearing Federation. “A study found that fluid losses‚ for example‚ compared to that of top marathon runners, and calorie expenditure, was higher than that of rugby players — and rugby only lasts for a couple of hours a couple of times a week. Sheep shearers work up to 10 hours a day‚ seven days a week.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike - March 3, 2017 at 13:14

Categories: Outpost of the Odd   Tags:

This Week’s Running Hazard

Booby traps.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike - February 22, 2017 at 13:43

Categories: Outpost of the Odd   Tags:

Problem and Solution

If you get lost in the fog, like these two runners, you can find your way home again with the Sygna T-shirt.

The Sygna T-shirt has all the capacities of a traditional wearable fitness tracker: it can measure steps taken, floors climbed and calories burnt, but it can also tell you which road to follow to get home. To enable the smart features, users first have to download a companion app and set the desired destination. The vibrations from a built-in vibration sensor located on each shoulder lets the runner know which turn to take.

Also useful for finding the nearest donut shop after your 8th mile or so.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Mike - February 21, 2017 at 12:59

Categories: Outpost of the Odd   Tags:

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