Monday, April 30, 2012

4/29/12: Pikes Peek 10K Race Report

I love the 10K.  It's a great mix of endurance and speed.  It's an event I've been improving in dramatically over the years.  Believe it or not, 34 minutes on the track was all I could muster in college(several years ago).  Now, to be able to say I've run 30:56, is a really great feeling of all the hard work and intelligent training I've put in.  Even in 2008, I was still running 34s on roads.  I am not the same runner I used to be.  After yesterday, I have put myself into a new "zone" for the 10K.  And part of that is being able to run sub 5:00 pace for 6.2 miles, averaging 4:58s. 
After waiting around forever(the start was delayed by 12 minutes), the gun went off and I surged ahead with the lead Africans.  What are you doing??? I thought.  RELAX.  We made the turn onto Redland.  I looked around for any other white guys.  Where are they?? Then Karl Dusen(who owns a sub 30 10k PR) pulled up next to me and together we turned left onto 355 for the long, straight, race about to begin.  The Africans at this point started to surge ahead(OR I found my own pace and smartly didn't run with them).  Then Karl surged ahead as well and I sort of drafted off of him.  I could see he was at the tailend of the African pack and I was the 2nd white guy in the race.  Very gradually he would pull away but I at least kept him in my sight for most of the race.

So, with Karl up ahead, I was running pretty much alone, just trying to keep him and some of the Africans in sight.  I was in a very "grey" area.  A bunch ahead, a bunch behind, but not many right near where I was.  I split 4:54 the first mile.  The second mile I slowed a tad, hitting 9:53 for 2 miles, splitting 4:59.  I split 15:22 or 15:23 for the 5K, and was on good pace for sub 31(side note: my last road 5k from sept last year was run in 15:22, 2 weeks before I went 1:08 for 13.1).  I then began to see an African runner who had fallen off the pace up ahead.  I very gradually began reeling him in at Mile 4, and in the process of doing so, another runner passed me who I recognized from Cherry Blossom(2002 Marine Corps Marathon Champ Chris Juarez).  Just like the last race, he was passing me again.  Arrrrrrrrgh.  I stayed tough and drafted off of him but his turnover was going strong.  At least we both caught the Ethiopian(Seife Geletu) and continued to hammer.  I started losing ground on Chris a little bit though.  He would go on to finish 10 seconds ahead.  I found myself alone again approaching mile 5, when Jordan Zwick came alongside of me and gave me encouragement.  My legs began to wake up and I went with him, and together we passed 5 miles in somewhere under 25:00, and I realized if I was going to break 31, I better start running fast.  Very fast.  I began to withdraw all the speed workouts I've done this year and with pure sheer WILL ran faster, and faster.  Jordan stuck with me.  I suddenly felt like I was running an all out mile.  We sprinted home with crowds cheering and saw the clock 30:40...41...I hauled ass down the hill and Jordan pulled away just slightly to beat me by 3 seconds, finishing in 30:53, and I finished in 30:56.  I ended up as the 4th white guy and 16th in the race.  The top dozen were all East Africans.
1   1/149      1 Julius Kogo           26 Chapel Hill NC     28:12   28:11#  4:33
2   2/149      3 Abiyot Endale         25 Bronx NY           28:16   28:15#  4:33
3   3/149     76 Zenbaba Yigeze        29 Bronx NY           28:20   28:20#  4:34
4   1/184     25 Tariku Bokan          30 Herndon VA         28:48   28:47#  4:38
5   2/184      7 Kitema Nigusse        31 Bronx NY           28:49   28:49#  4:39
6   4/149     12 Fikadu Lemma          28 Bronx NY           28:54   28:54#  4:39
7   3/184     24 Birhanu Alemu Feyissa 30 Silver Spring MD   28:55   28:54#  4:39
8   5/149      4 Deresse Deniboba      29 Bronx NY           28:56   28:56#  4:40
9   1/199     15 John Itati            38 Royersford PA      29:00   29:00#  4:40
10   4/184     14 Kennedy Kemei         33 Chapel Hill NC     29:21   29:20#  4:44
11   6/149     74 Eric Chirchir         28 Jackson Heights    29:38   29:38#  4:47
12   7/149      6 Worku Beyi            25 Bronx NY           29:42   29:41#  4:47
13   8/149     26 Karl Dusen            29 Rockville MD       30:05   30:05   4:51
14   1/211   1005 Chris Juarez          41 Alexandria VA      30:46   30:45*  4:57
15   9/149     59 Jordan Zwick          25 Arlington VA       30:54   30:53   4:59
16  10/149     27 Chris Sloane          28 Rockville MD       30:56   30:56   4:59 
17   5/184     77 Seife Geletu          30 Washington DC      31:22   31:22   5:03
18   6/184     30 Jake Klim             31 North Bethesda M   31:33   31:32   5:05
19  11/149   1074 Carlos Renjifo        29 Columbia MD        31:48   31:47   5:07
20   2/199     33 David Wertz           36 Arlington VA       31:59   31:58*  5:09

I have one more race between now and the USA Half Marathon Championships.  I will compete in the Swarthmore College Outdoor Track 5000m like I did last year and make an assault on my 5k PR.  The 5K is obviously not my best event but it is important for me to work on this distance to help me get faster in the long stuff.  I'm looking foward to doing some 1k repeats!  Race is on Monday, May 14th, and the meet starts at 5 pm.  An odd time for a race but good thing I have Mondays off.  It will be a long night however as my race probably will be later that evening.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


BROKE 31:00 minutes today at Pikes Peek 10K in a time of 30:56, average of 4:58 per mile.  30 second PR from last year.  This is an awesome start to the 2nd half of my season.  Race Report Coming...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday, 4/25: 4x200m, 2x400m

On Wednesday of this week, I did a speed workout that was short and fun and a great tune up to get ready for this Sunday's 10K.  The workout consisted of 4x200m, 2x400m @ 1500m race pace.  I felt like a sprinter.  I felt "fast" on the 200s.  I can't wait to race on the track again in a few weeks.


4x200: 29, 30, 29, 30
4x400: 66, 66

I also booked my flight to Duluth, Minnesota this week for the USA Half Marathon Championships. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4/16-4/22: 80 Miles/Week & The Marathon Trials Qualifier

These past couple of weeks have been really great training weeks.  I am ready to take it down this week in preparation for this coming Sunday's Pikes Peek 10K, but overall I have felt pretty darn awesome on runs.  This week I did four runs of longer than 90 minutes, and got in 80 miles total with 1 day off.  The track workout on Wednesday gave me great indication that the turnover is there.  On Saturday I met with Luci(2012 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier) to do a long run with her at White's Ferry.  Hilariously, she went to Edward's Ferry by accident, and we each ran on the towpath to meet 2.5 miles in.  It was our first training run since before the trials in January, and we had a great convo about her trials race.  She also encouraged me that I too can qualify for the trials if I keep at it.  The race she ran in January certainly inspires me to do so-having been on edge with a foot injury, she was forced to cross train somewhat and do minimal workouts but yet found a way to finish the race in a dang impressive 2:48(this was only 3 months after she ran her DEBUT PR of 2:43).  Her husband, Andy Smith has done an awesome job coaching her and I do think Luci has the potential to go low 2:30's in the marathon someday.  We intend to get regular training runs in throughout the summer and I definitely enjoy helping her get faster and achieving her goals.       

The breakdown of the week below:

Monday: AM: 13 miles on the trolley trail and Rock Creek trails.
PM: easy mile plus plyometric drills while coaching

Tuesday: AM: 14 miles on the trolley trail and Rock Creek trails.

Wednesday: AM: Weights
PM: TRACK: 4x400(67, 67, 66, 65), 2x800(2:21, 2:19), 2x1600(4:55, 4:51)
Total Mileage: 9

Thursday: PM: 15 Miles starting from Great Falls on Towpath/MacArthur Loop

Friday: OFF

Saturday: AM: 16.6 Miles(12 with Luci), averaging 6:50s pace.

Sunday: AM: 11 Miles easy pace at Carderock

Total: 80 Miles

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

4/18: 4x400m, 2x800m, 2x1600m

I did a pretty hard ladder workout today on the track.  The workout was designed to move up in distance, so that by the last longer intervals my body would be really tired.  Mentally, this is a challenging workout.  It doesn't seem too bad at first, but once you get to the 1600s there isn't much left if you do it right.  Splits below:

400s(w/2-3 min jog/recoveries):

800s(w/3-4 min recoveries) :

1600s(w/4-5 min recoveries):

This workout was great prep for the 10k.  I am also beginning to dig into 5k specific training(VO2-Max).  I have entered the second half of my spring season.  I do see a link and connections from months before too.  A little bit of Daniels' Running Formula here.  For example, right now I am not doing 20+ mile long runs(I may do 16-17 like I did last Saturday), but over the winter, I did a lot of 20+ milers, to build endurance and a solid foundation.  After I built up my endurance, I began doing workouts of LT pace stuff.  I focused on Threshold and LT very well.  The races towards the end of that period were appropriately the half marathon and 10 miler.  Now I am going through the VO2-Max(I-Pace) stage, with a 10k and outdoor track 5k planned during the end of this phase.  The 10K is a very interesting event because is uses some of the LT Threshold stuff but also relies on partly VO2-Max.  The 5K is pretty much all VO2-Max.  I think my threshold is my strongest and most natural thing my body is good at(which is also why I believe my best races are 10k on up), but it is important for me to work on I-Pace.  I am not a 5k runner like I am a half marathoner-but that doesn't mean I shouldn't work on improving my 5k.  Everything relates to eachother eventually.

It is my hope that after the VO2-Max stage, I will enter a sharpening period Mid-May through Mid-June of doing some fine tuning and pretty much putting everything together and racing in the USA Half Marathon Championships as a final spring peak.     

Sunday, April 15, 2012

4/9-4/15: 84 Miles/Week

Monday: AM: 13 Mile loop, 7:00 pace, starting from my place to the trolley trail heading towards Bethesda, ran around NIH and back onto Wisconsin where I crossed on Cedar Lane to pick up the Rock Creek Trail.  Took the trail North to Randolph Road and back home.

Tuesday: AM: EZ shakeout run with Mickey for about 6 miles(8:00-9:00 pace)
PM: 9 Miles on towpath, 7:00 pace

Wednesday: PM: 7 Miles easy, 7:00 pace

Thursday: AM: Track Workout: 2x1200m(3:36, 3:34), 2x800m(2:22, 2:20), 1x400m(67), 1x200m(32), total mileage 8 Miles

Friday: PM: drove out to White's Ferry and did a brisk 10 mile loop in 59:00 minutes(5:55 pace).  For some reason I just love running fast here.  I started the first mile 7:00 and quickly worked the pace down to 5:50s for the first 5 miles, and for the second 5 miles worked down furthur into the 5:40s and high 5:30s the last mile.  Did an additional 1 mile shakeout to loosen things up.  Total: 11  

Saturday: AM: Long Run 16.5 Miles @ 7:00 pace w/ Matt: started at Lock 6 on the towpath and headed south into Georgetown, crossing the Key Bridge, took the mt. vernon trail down to the 14th street bridge and crossed back over, around the tidal basin down independence ave, around the Lincoln Memorial and back up to Georgetown where we picked up the towpath again.  It was really nice running longer(1 hour 55 min) again.

Sunday: AM: 12.5 Miles easy (7:30 pace) on trails near swains lock and great falls.

Total: 84 Miles

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The 2012 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler: 51:57

One of the most competitive races I have ever run in is the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  The field is loaded with top World Class Athletes and Americans all competing for prize money.  In addition, all the top VA, MD, DC runners compete for top local.  Awards are 25 deep(although not all top 25 get money), which is the deepest award structure I can recall in any race.  I have never made the top 25 in this race.  Ever.  Until this past Sunday.

I woke up at 4:00 AM.  On my own.  I didn't even need my alarm clock.  I knew I was ready.  I could hardly fall asleep the night before, which usually is a good sign for me.  I think I got about 5 hours.  If I sleep like a baby for 8+ hours, I usually don't run very well for some reason.  I had one of my favorite cereals, quaker oatmeal squares, and a little bit of orange juice.  Later, when I was on metro, I would eat my favorite pre-race snack: 1 chocolate powerbar.  There is something about powerbars that sit well with me before racing, in addition to having me feel ready and energized.  I would sip on powerade up until the start.

I arrived at the Grosvenor Metro at 5:00 AM on the dot.  The train arrived around 5:10-5:15, and I was off to race in our nation's capitol.  There weren't many on the train and the whole ride was really ease of stress.  It was nice.  I got off metro center and took the blue line where there were more runners-still not packed and easy.  It was only 5:40 or so.  I arrived at the Elite Tent a little bit before 6:00, and there were only a few others there.  I did my usual stick massage to loosen up my muscles.  Some stretching.  Finally I saw familiar faces walking into the tent, GRC guys, and some of my own racing team members-Wendi and Peggy, who would start with the elite women.  Wendi and I chatted nervously before getting ready to warmup.  Teamates Matt, Andrew and DJ also arrived ready to race.  I got in a 20 minute warm up and felt nice and loose.
The race announcer called the elite women to the starting area.  They were off at 7:20, and soon we would start at 7:30.  I put on my Wave Universe 4s and headed over.  The Line was PACKED.  I did a stride out and saw several people wishing me luck.  The start of this race is always pretty nerve-racking.  The more competitive the race, the higher the nerves.  Still,  I made sure to take a deep breath and get myself in "my zone."  I got ready to toe the line with the elites and all of a sudden the race announcer said step up to the line...and very quickly sblew the horn almost without me even realizing it.
My body jolted to life as the gun went off and put myself immediately in the top 15.  There was a lead pack already beginning to break away which was of about 10 people.  I stayed behind and looked around for others to join me.  Certainly there were.  GRC's eventual top finisher, David Burnham pulled up next to me along with other GRC runners Paul and Jerry.  Pacers runner Frank Devar pulled in front of our forming pack.  We rolled together across the Arlington Bridge and I split 5:03 the first mile.  We stormed across the bridge like our lives depended on it and ran around already seeing the lead runners forming a gap.  Mile 2 we hit around 10:07.  I then passed Paul and Jerry with Burnham and DeVar leading the way along with Darryl Brown(PA), and Jay Luna(Colorado).  People cheered like crazy on the Arlington Bridge.  People cheered for me, cheered for others behind me.  Others who were chasing me.  We made our way towards the Kennedy Center.

As we made our way towards the U-TURN under the Kennedy Center, we saw on the opposite side the lead African runners FLYING.  We made the U-TURN-I hate UTURNS.  The faster I get, the more I hate them.  For some reason I like to slow down so that I can make the turn as close as possible-other guys I noticed ran furthur out and only ran slightly slower and used their momentum to sling shot around.  I couldn't tell which would be better.  But it does suck slowing up around the turn and then trying to pick up your turnover again.  I just like to run the tangents as close as I can.  We made our way to the 3 mile split in 15:10.  It was kind of odd as I saw on the opposite side GRC runners Klim and Dusen, who I've never beaten ever.  Usually I was used to the direct opposite.  I knew they were going to give it their all to run me and anyone else down though.  I pressed on and hit 5k in 15:40s.

It occurred to me that i had never been that far up in this race before.  Someone counted our places as we ran by...13..14...15.  Shit, I was in the top 15!  Mile 4 was another daned U-TURN.  This U-TURN was an absolute killer...1 u-turn in a race is ok...2 is too much.  I again put the brakes on like a mad driver and then sped up again using full acceleration.  Then a runner pulled up beside me.  A runner who I DEFINITELY have never beaten before.  It was Jake Klim's arch-nemesis top Pacers runner Bert Rodriguez(pictured below in blue).  He was behind me??  This guy was a stud.  He and Jake had run sub 51 on this course in an epic race in 2010.  Come on Chris, stay with him, you can stay with him.  They can't hurt you unless you let them.  Then I saw Beth cheering so loudly for me right around mile 5.  I immediately fell in love with her all over again.  She has come to so many of my races, and has been there for me when I've had to deal with some of the toughest points in my running career.   I hung on with Bert as we closed in on mile 5 in 25:32.  But the race was far from over.   Crowds cheered and I saw so many people cheering and calling my name.  I saw Pat Savoy a runner who I coach going nuts on the opposite side and jumping up and down on the grass yelling my name.  I threw him a smile-it was all I could do.        
We made the turn onto Ohio Drive towards the toughest part of the race- Hains Point.  I hit the 10K mark in 31:45 or something around there. That's my 2nd fastest 10K EVER.  I still saw Burnham not too far ahead.  Stay focused on Burnham.  I tried to stay in contact with Rodriguez.  I fought hard and stayed tough.  But he was really starting to hammer.  I was losing.  I was no match for the veteran.
By Mile 7 I had lost ground on Bert, and saw him begin taking down Burnham, which he would eventually pass as well.  Still, I kept my head tough and stayed in it.  Don't back out.  Keep pressing.  Then fellow friend Brian Flynn came up alongside of me.  He encouraged me and I did the best I could to stay with him.  We made the turn around the point and hit mile 8.  I saw Jean Arthur(mcrrc's president) cheering for me.  By now, I was in pain.  Lots and lots of pain.  This is probably the hardest part-you still have 2 to go and you just gotta say to yourself "get to mile 9."  I knew if I could just get there, I would be alright.  Then Karl Dusen pulled up next to me and I gave him encouragement and so did he.  He was closing nicely.  He always does.  I tried to key off of him as he moved up with Burham and Flynn.  Not much more left...

Mile 9 I hit in around 46:40, which I knew I would be able to run high 51s at that point as long as I gave it a good go the last mile.  My PR for an open 10 is 52:54 from last year's race, so I was running considerably faster.  I had split faster though in my recent half marathons-but I really shouldn't count splits.  52:54 was my previous best time.  Sub 52 would be a new zone.

I clawed like hell to kick it in.  I could hear crowds roaring loudly as I ran underneath the bridge towards the final half mile.  This was the test.  The "hill" at the end can really get you.  I pushed and pushed and had the gag reflex once, but that always happens in my best races-it lets me know I'm pushing to the MAX.  This was all out.  I had nothing left.  It was all will.  I heard people on the other side cheering for me but it was all a blur.  I pushed and pushed up the hill, using my arms not my legs.  After all, what is the point of doing all those pushups if I can't get up this bloody hill?? FINALLY, I got over it, and ran towards the crowds at the finish line.  Ironically, I saw racing teamate Wendi finishing, who started with the elite women 10 minutes before.  Pretty awesome we ended up finishing at the same time.  People cheered really loudly GO =PR= GO =PR=! as we finished.  Wendi ended up running just over 62 minutes.  Peggy was PR's first woman in just ticks over 60 minutes. 

My final time was 51:57, an average of 5:11 per mile.  22nd place, my first top 25 finish ever.  I am extremely proud of myself and how I ran.  I couldn't have asked for more.  I went out aggressive but stayed tough and ran perhaps the hardest I've ever run.  This race was a good build-off of the half marathon 2 weeks ago and I am really excited for the Pikes Peek 10K on April 29.  I have plenty of time to recover and get in some sharp speed training in for that race.  I have also decided to book my ticket to the USA Half Marathon Championships in June.  Things are going great and I'm feeling awesome.

1      9 Allan Kiprono           22 Kenya                45:15(world leading time!)
2     11 Lani Kiplagat           23 Kenya                46:28
3     31 John Korir              36 Kenya                47:33
4     15 Ian Burrell             27 Tucson AZ            47:34
5     19 Jesse Cherry            24 Blowing Rock NC      47:40
6     37 Ketema Nugusse          31 Ethiopia             47:50
7     13 Josh Moen               29 Minneapolis MN       48:38
8     17 Patrick Rizzo           28 Boulder CO           49:14
9     41 Stephen Hallinan        26 Washington DC        50:18
10    345 Paolo Natali            31 Washington DC        50:44
11    346 David McCollam          32 Bridgeport WV        50:56
12    299 Frank Devar             23 Washington DC        50:57
13    112 Bert Rodriguez          32 Arlington VA         50:57
14    290 Chris Juarez            41 Alexandria VA        51:10
15    108 Darryl Brown            29 Exton PA             51:16
16    119 Jay Luna                28 Denver CO            51:17
 17    110 David Burnham           27 Arlington VA         51:23
 18    296 Karl Dusen              29 Rockville MD         51:27
 19    357 Brian Flynn             28 Bridgewater VA       51:29
 20    114 Carlos Renjifo          29 Columbia MD          51:43
 21    358 Dustin Meeker           30 Baltimore MD         51:53
 22    107 Christopher Sloane      28 Rockville MD         51:57
 23    116 Patrick Reaves          27 Durham NC            52:16
 24    111 Jake Klim               31 North Bethesda M     52:32
 25    298 Will Viviani            29 Alexandria VA        52:41

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Cherry Blossom Races 2010-2012

2012: 51:57, 22nd place
2011: 52:54, 32nd place
2010: 54:16, 46th place

Race Report Coming...