Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekend Recap From February 7-8

With Manila To Baguio 250km Race Director - Jovie Narcise after the NB Power Run in November 2008

The first full weekend in February was one that I didn't race.  Instead, with 41 days until the Oakland Half Marathon, it was training time.  This runner-blogger could have been at a training run and a meeting put on by the Pamakid Runners. There was also a DSE Run, a 10K through parts of Land's End and the Presidio. With a rare day off of work these days, I decided against both.  Since the longest run was 13 miles on New Year's Day, it was time not to talk about it, but do something about it!

With a second strong storm hitting the Bay Area on Sunday with heavy rain at times and strong winds, a training run through Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway was accomplished.  It was despite falling trees, large puddles of water from clogged drains and people who don't know how to drive in these types of conditions.  The loop I ran, or plodded through can be looked at below:

The run started out well as I went through the urban areas in reaching the park.  It wasn't until reaching the Great Highway that one started to wonder why anyone would run there on a day like Sunday.  It was windy, with the rain going sideways sometimes hitting you directly in the face.  However, one kept reminding oneself that training for this is important.  Also, there are other runners around the world that are facing even more difficult conditions (like the snow in the Midwest and Northeast!).  The weather was actually warm since it's the second of what is called the "Pineapple Express." That is a tropical-type storm coming from the direction of Hawaii.

Returning in Golden Gate Park, I was thinking of an ultra marathon that I was following on social media for the past couple of days.  The Philippines had an inaugural event called the Manila To Baguio 250km race.  My friend - Jovie Narcise (known as BR and Bald Runner) has race directed a munber of ultra events for awhile now.  A total of 20 brave runners reached the starting line a couple of days ago.  With the cutoff time being 50 hours, 16 of the 20 runners met the standard. Congratulations to Jovie and his staff along with the 20 runners who participated, their support teams and those that supported the event!

My thoughts switched to my running friends with the Cavite Runners Club (Philippines) who ran over the weekend.  I know that Lynne, Eva, Daryll and Raffy were out running their workouts.  There may have been others in the group that ran in some racing events such as a 20 miler and the Run For Jeremiah event.

While thinking of this, the training miles were going by more quickly and was almost done with the workout.  It was also when the rain and wind was the heaviest. There were parts of the area where I live that had small lakes and am sure the City is out in force trying to clean it up. It took about two and half hours to complete the journey and am glad to have get through it!  

After a shower and breakfast, I checked out a few things on social media.

Yesterday was the first PA USATF Ultra event of the season with the Jed Smith 50K in the Sacramento area. It looked like there were 11-12 runners that took part in one of the best ultras in Northern California. Congratulations to the Pamakids on a great showing!

Also, my friend Josam shared with us an ultra he ran in Malibu yesterday.  It was called the Sean O' Brien 100K.  According to Josam, it has an elevation change (gain/loss) of over 12,600 feet.  The weather was good for the ultra runners with cloudy conditions, fog mist in the air and light rain.

So, no excuses!  Today was a nice start of things to come.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A New Running Team

Lately, it's been an intriguing idea to start one's own running club, group or team. In my 47 years of running, it's either been a high school or a club that's a part of the Pacific Association USA Track And Field.

Today, it's been decided while at a restaurant while having breakfast, I'll be forming a new team.  There have been some possible choices.  While at breakfast, the decision on the colors has been made.  Orange and black are my favorites which just so happen to be the San Francisco Giants colors.

After last Sunday, the time has come to do this.  Nothing against the current clubs that I run with here in the city (Pamakid Runners Club and the Dolphin South End Runners).  However, due to a number of roadblocks (that I won't mention on this blog) over the last several years, it's time to move on.  I plan on honoring my membership with the above clubs as well as USATF and RRCA for the remainder of 2015.

Because of these roadblocks, I cannot be depended on the clubs to be at a specific event or race.  Also, as I found out last year when I was at a USATF event, it was extremely difficult to get to get there due to transportation issues.  Unfortunately, I haven't participated at a USATF race since!  Interestingly, in 2015, there will only be USATF road race in San Francisco, and that's not until December which is the Christmas Relays.  Even that event is tentative right now because the 2015 Club XC Championships is scheduled for the same weekend! 

The focus for the group to have fun and participate in San Francisco running events (Bay To Breakers, The Giant Race, Run Wild, KP Half Marathon and 5K, San Francisco Marathon, Christmas Relays, DSE fun runs, etc.).  These will be races that aren't difficult to get to whether vehicle or public transportation.  If the group wants to leave the area to do the race, more power to them.

More details involving the team with follow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Race Dedicated For The Fallen 44

Last Sunday's Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon was definitely a great success. Thank you to the Pamakid Runners Club as well as RhodyCo Productions for making it a great event as always.

This year was different for me in this event.  The past few years, I ran in the half marathon (21K) and have done relatively well.  However this year, it was a 5K and a certified one.  John and the club did a great job getting it USATF certified.  Since we don't have much in the way of 5K certified races in Golden Gate Park anymore (Zippy 5K and Run To The Far Side have gone elsewhere), it was a pleasure to see one.  The course had a slight rise in the first mile as well as a 180 degree right turn at Stow Lake.  Much of the rest of the course was level to downhill.

I mentioned to John and the club following the race that there were a lot of positive responses from the 5K participants and hopefully, this course will be a standard for years to come.  Unfortunately, it seemed that a few didn't seem frankly to care about my positive remarks.  So it is what it is, I guess!

The other reason for running was in honor of the 44 soldiers whose lives were taken in a battle in MIndanao, Philippines about 10-11 days ago.  I've visited the Philippines on three occasions and have a good amount of running friends from doing road races, triathlons, trails and ultras.  Many of the runners there along with myself did a training run, trail, ultra or road race over the weekend to honor the victims.

After a long week at work and having to work late Saturday night and being up on my feet, getting up Sunday morning was a struggle.  Yet, this runner-blogger was running for a purpose and not oneself on this day.  Reaching the start area about 7:45 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. race because of MUNI issues was not acceptable!  I did get in some stretching and some strides in front of the start line.  However, the 5K race was going to be a struggle in my mind.

The runners started by running east on Kennedy Drive and made a right turn. They would see the Band Shell and the De Young Museum on the right side.  We would then turn right onto to Martin Luther KIng Way and would head southwest before making a 180 degree hairpin turn onto Stow Lake Drive.  To me, it was the toughest part of the race and we hadn't reached the one mile mark yet!

Finally reaching the one mile mark in 9:30, I knew that my thoughts of a 25 minute 5K on this day was out the window.  It was now trying to enjoy a run and just finishing. Leaving Stow Lake, it was a left turn on Kennedy Drive and heading west to Transverse Drive.  It was at the turn that an emergency pit stop at the toilet was needed (which took roughly 20 seconds).  While in the porta-poty, one is thinking of what could happen next!

Fortunately, there was the left turn at Transverse and the right turn at Middle Drive for the downhill portion.  Despite the emergency stop, I somehow reached the two mile mark in 18:58.  With 1.1 miles to go, would there even be a season best after three 5Ks this year?

The last half mile seemed to be the best running I've done this year.  The downhill at the Polo Fields was nice and it seemed that the leg turnover was as good as it's been in a long time.  Reaching the three mile mark in 27:33, things definitely seemed better.

We were back on MLK Drive and the last .106 miles was in 38 seconds.  I was definitely disappointed with a 28:11 clocking but one has to take some positives out of this.

It will be awhile before donning the Pamakid singlet again for a race.  This runner-blogger is signed up for the Oakland Half Marathon in March.  I was committed to the Ruth Anderson Ultras in April until the realization of the race being on Sunday. Unfortunately, I've backed out of what might be my only ultra this year.  And with a USATF Pacific Association Schedule, that to me is a disappointment, I'll be looking at other local but important races this year.  Sorry, but it is what it is!              

Monday, January 19, 2015

Racing Recap From January 17-18

In the last mile of Sunday's Waterfront 5K. 

Before sharing the Waterfront 5K and 10 Mile race, as always, congratulations to those running and racing over the weekend.

Among the races I followed on social media were the H.U.R.T. 100 miler in Hawaii, the 10 and 20 miler and the first Rizal 360* 60 kilometer.  The last two races were in the Philippines.  The two events went on despite the fact that the Pope was in the Philippines and that there was a major tropical storm that weekend.  There was also a trail race in the Santa Fe 18K (Philippines) and the Hong Kong 100 Miler.

Last Sunday ended up being a bonus race for me.  Because of our work hours being cut back, I had a chance to travel to Brisbane and Sierra Point Parkway for the Waterfront 5K and 10 Miler.  Several years ago, this race was moved from the San Francisco waterfront because of construction and traffic.  Though some people liked the old course, living in the city, like I do, going to a run on the Bay Trail with no vehicles is a welcome venue!  Also, the Dolphin South End fun runs are always fun for me.  It's always good to see runners that share some great running stories like the ones I heard yesterday.

Speaking of firsts, it would be the first time I would be running the Waterfront 5K after doing the Waterfront 10 for two straight years.  The previous week, I participated in the Fort Mason 5K for the second time and the first race of 2015. Finishing the event was okay but during the weekend, during workouts, I was wondering if the fire of competing was still there.

In the first mile of the Waterfront 5K.

Well, things were better on Sunday.  The start was very slow.  It got to the point after about 400 meters, a little kid with a blue shirt kept getting into my running path.  It was a little annoying because his parents were right next to him and were doing absolutely nothing.  I decided to go onto the grass to pass the family because they were too slow.  I blame it on myself because I shouldn't have been that far back to begin with.

Along with Bill Hamilton, Bill McCarty, Paul Mosel and Mark Pritchard.  Mark ran the 10 miler while the rest of us did the 5K.

The 5K course is an out-and-back trail course with several turns and mostly flat except for a couple of bumps.  Most of the course is pavement but there's some dirt. Always to the left side going out and to the right side coming back is San Francisco Bay.  Sunday was a different weather day than the previous two trips to Brisbane.  It was foggy and damp but good for the runners when you were running.  Otherwise, it was cold and damp when standing around!

The first mile was very slow again in 9:55 and reaching the 1.55 mile mark was a little better in 14:50.  Figuring it out, I knew that breaking 30 minutes was not only a vow to my friends outside the United States but would be a lock.

However, as I reached the two mile mark, I got one of the nastiest side stitches ever. It slowed me to a walk three times.  Yet, I was determined when reaching the final turn (see photo above and going the other way).

The last 300-plus yards is a straight-away and you can see the clock and finish. The stitch finally subsided and was able to stride it in.  Despite the walking, finishing in 28:54 (14:04 second half) was satisfying.  However, there's still a lot of work to do with the KP 5K, a running club sponsored race in two weeks.  I have goals in mind (better than the results from the last two races) so this week's training is important.

Next race:  DSE Rainbow Falls 5K on Sunday, January 25.  It's one of my favorite park runs.  Also, thank you to Diane, Paul and Johnny for the photos.         

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Racing Recap from January 10-11

The start area of Sunday morning's Fort Mason 5K.  The Fort Mason hill is in the background.

The second weekend of 2015 was definitely a successful one worldwide in running circles.  The Hot Chocolate 5K / 15K event in San Francisco drew over 12,500 finishers (4670 in the 5K, 7854 in the 15K).  The event sold out early and it reminds me of the days when Run To The Far Side 5K / 10K would attract that many runners. Congratulations to everyone who participated.

Also, congratulations to all the participants who ran in the Philippines this past weekend.  There were four events.  The Egg Power Run (3K, 5K, 10K and 21K) was being held in Fort Bonafacio (Metro Manila area).  The Resolution Run (1K, 3K, 10K, 20K and 32K) was held in Nuvali.  The Tarak Ridge Trail 25K (or TR25) was being run in Mt. Mariveles (Bataan) and the Cebu City Marathon and Half Marathon went on in Cebu City.  I saw many of the posts and responded to a few of them.  I haven't seen the full results of any of the races yet but they'll be out soon, hopefully!  To this runner-blogger, there's no question that running is doing well in the Philippines!

I ended up running in a low key event that was put on by the Dolphin South End Runners.  It was my first DSE event since last April and it was great seeing a few familiar faces.  The event was called the Fort Mason 5K.  It was an out-and-back course taking the runners from the Dolphin Club.  We would run west over the Fort Mason Hill to the Marina Green and harbor and back.  The race is in its second year and, according to many Garmins, it's a pretty accurate 5K.

One of the nice things about this run is the scenary.  The runners didn't see this on a gray and overcast morning today.  I went back out after breakfast and took several photos.

According to May My Run dot com, the course has an ascent of 164.49 feet with a maximum elevation of 108.01 feet.  This is the start of the hill going east and back to the Dolphin Club.  In races such as this one and the Across The Bay 12K race, I've often used this hill to my advantage to catch runners, especially on the down hill portion.

Sunday was only my second race since last July 4th.  I've been getting the mileage in but hardly any speed work.  And it really showed today!  I decided to go out slowly with my teammate Bill.  Honestly, it was actually fun running from the back of the pack.  You see what a lot of runners are doing.  Though they may not be fast, as far as speed, they are still runners going out and reaching whatever goals they might have.

The hill going out was okay and I felt good, maybe too good.  I wasn't feeling tired from two successive 50 mile weeks running.  When reaching the bottom of the hill, I mentioned to Bill that I would go up and check how Paul, another teammate was doing.

The first mile was a snail's pace (for me) at 11:31.  Something reminded me that this could be my slowest 5K ever.  Doing 203 of them prior to this, I didn't want to start 2015 with what could be a negative mark.

I caught up with Paul and he was looking good and continued on just to see how the conditioning was.  After the turnaround a little past Divisadero Street, reaching mile two in 21:21 (9:50 second mile) was a definite improvement. There was a little more bounce in the stride and not the shuffle in the first two miles. The third mile on this course is likely the most difficult.  There's a slight incline up to the Safeway store right before the Fort Mason Hill.

I felt a slight twinge in the left calf (cramp only) as we hit the hill and was able to walk it off.  The effort was definitely better than mile two.  Up and over we went and the Dolphin Club was in sight.

Reaching mile three in 29:54 (8:33 for the third mile), I was actually able to stride it in almost alone.  Usually, the last .11 is around 35-36 seconds with today being 43 seconds.  Unofficially, the finish was in 30:37 and avoided a worst 5K ever.

Yesterday, I received the bib and chip for the Kaiser Permanente 5K on Super Bowl Sunday.  It will be only the second time running the 5K in this event but it will be certified for the first time.  Three weeks is not that far away and my goal is to break 25 minutes.  Don't bet against it!

Career race #1107 is now history!