Tuesday, June 30, 2009

30 June

It turned out that our relay team lost by 63 seconds despite having a nice cushion lead going into the 6th leg and having the 2009 Netherland's Half-Marathon Champion Patrick Stitzinger (1:02) running the 7th and last leg.

I'd say that we actually lost the relay because our 5th runner ran two consecutive legs, the 5th and 6th leg totaling 32 kilometers (20 miles). Initially, he was supposed to only run the 5th leg, but due to another injured runner someone had to double. In the weather conditions we ran in, high 70s and very humid, it would have been smarter to have him run an early and late leg versus two consective legs (note the two bib numbers below). He ended up totally bonking in the 6th leg running 1:31 for 17.3K. On the other hand, we still should have easily won the race if Patrick (left below) had at least run a tempo run. He ran 57 minutes for 15K, which he normally finishes in 44-45 minutes.

Regardless of the end results, we all still had a lot of fun. The team won 4 of the 7 legs. I won the 3rd leg of the race and was given a trophy at tonight's track session since I didn't stay till the end. Interesting that the results had my time at 59:21, about 30 seconds faster than what I had.

Tonight, I did some shorter intervals with the club. We did 10 sets of 300m (100m rec.) + 200m (100m rec.), total 5000 meters of speed. I'd list the splits but it'll be a bunch of repetitive numbers. I ran the 300 meters in 52-54 seconds and the 200 meters in 34-35 seconds.

Today: AM - 4M @ 7:17 pace; PM - 8.5M including 10 sets of 300m + 200m
Mon: 10.1M @ 7:00 pace

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vaals-Venlo Estafetteloop (relay race)

This week was a low mileage week. I did easy runs on Wed, Fri and Sat. Thursday I did not run at all because I was very busy with work and also had a function that night. It was probably a good idea to take a complete day off because the legs and body were feeling fatigue the previous days.

I mentioned in my last post that I decided not to run the US Army Europe 10-Mile qualifying race yesterday because it was just too far (5-hour drive). However, what I didn't mention was that I would run one leg in a relay race on Sunday (today) instead. The Dutch running club I train with on Tuesday nights asked me to run Paul's leg because he is injured. I figured that since I wasn't going to run the USAREUR 10M, then I'd run in the relay race. The relay race, 25th Vaals-Venlo Estafetteloop (sorry, it's in Dutch), is a 100 kilometer (62 miles) race consisting of 7 runners. It's a stagger start with slower teams starting at 8am and other teams starting in increments of 5 minutes (total of 55 teams). Our team (Wilma Running Team) started last at 0905 and was the favorite to win.

I ran the 3rd leg, which according to the race program is 17.4Km (10.8 miles) and probably one of the toughest legs with quite a bit of rolling hills. My Garmin 405 measured the course at 10.7 miles, which may be a bit off because the course runs through lots of tree canopies. Regardless, I ran a good leg and felt strong the entire time, especially on the hills. I ran 59:50 (5:32 pace or 3:26/km) and was the fastest in the 3rd leg. I was very fortunate to have many runners ahead of me because it gave me some motivation to catch and pass runner after runner. I'm not sure who won because I didn't tag along for the remainder of the relay due to other committments. However, we were in the lead when I finished my leg.

Here's the weekly summary:

22-28 June

Mon: Noon - 7M @ 7:12 pace including 7 x 10 sec. hill sprints; PM - 5M @ 7:13 pace
Tues: Noon - 3M @ 7:23 pace; PM - 8M including 15 x 300m w/ 100m recovery
Wed: 8M @ 7:03 pace
Thur: DNR
Fri: 10.6M @ 6:54 pace
Sat: 6.6M @ 7:02 pace
Sun: 10.8M @ 5:32 pace (Vaals-Venlo relay leg); 14M total

Weekly Total: 62 miles

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

23 June

I think Friday's 10K and the easy runs of 9 miles on Sat, 18 on Sun, and 12 on two runs yesterday finally caught up to the legs. They felt fatigued, but I still managed to get in a good track workout on a solo effort. Paul is still injured and Emily was a no show. The workout tonight was shorter intervals of 15 x 300m with 100m slow jog for recovery. The last time I did short intervals was a month ago. I remembered that I did some 300m repeats and the splits were around 50-52. I figured I'd shoot for 52-53s since the legs were a bit fatigued and the recovery was slow jogging. I was practically dead on at 52-53 splits. My last repeat was 47 seconds only because I was pushed by Wil (the coach), who tagged along after my first 100m and tried to beat me to the finish. I held him off. Splits were 52, 50, 53, 53, 53, 53, 53, 53, 52, 52, 51, 52, 52, 52, 47.

I will take the next day or two very easy. My next race is supposed to be the US Army Europe 10-Mile in Grafenwöhr (Germany) on Saturday. The 10-miler is the qualifying race for the USAREUR 10-Mile team that will run in the Army Ten-Miler in Washington DC. Grafenwöhr is a 5-hour drive from the Netherlands. With the race at 0800 on Saturday I would have to leave for Grafenwöhr on Friday. Unfortunately, I am unable to get off from work early and do not want to spend the whole night driving. It looks as though there'll be no Army Ten-Miler for a 2nd straight year.

Today: Noon - 3M @ 7:23 pace; PM - 8M including 15 x 300m w/ 100m recovery
Mon: Noon - 7M @ 7:12 pace including 7 x 10 sec. hill sprints; PM - 5M @ 7:13 pace

Sunday, June 21, 2009

15-21 June

I think the effort I put in in Friday's 10K was about right. Besides a little tightness I felt fine in yesterday and today's run. Yesterday I did an easy 9 miles averaging 7:01 pace. I would have liked it to be at a slower pace, but was just following my HR keeping the effort at 68-70% of max.

Today's 18M long run was much of the same and felt good. Overall pace for the run was 6:49 with an avg HR of 147. I averaged 7:00 for the first 9M and 6:38 for the last half. The run capped off an 80 mile week.

Mon: Noon - 11M @ 7:08 pace; PM - 4.2M @ 7:31 pace
Tues: Noon - 4.3M @ 7:17 pace; PM - 8M including 1600 (5:15), 1400 (4:34), 1200 (3:53), & 1000 (3:09)
Wed: 9.5M @ 7:01 pace
Thur: 6M @ 7:22 pace
Fri: 10.2M including 10K Race - 34:19 (5:31 pace)
Sat: 9M @ 7:01 pace
Sun: 18M @ 6:49 pace

Weekly Total: 80.2 miles

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Buffer Run

Buffer Run 10K - 34:19, 2nd Place Overall

I must first admit that I might have exceeded the effort and pace for a tempo run. I ended up running the race at 93% of max HR; average HR was 178 bpm. Despite running the race a little faster than tempo effort/pace, I never felt like I entered the anaerobic threshold area.

At the start, I only saw and knew one runner (Ivan) who is quite fast. I have never ran with him in the same race until this one, but I still knew from previous results that he is one of the top runners in the area. The gun went off and the two of us ran controlled for the first two hundred meters. However, right before the first incline Ivan suddenly surged giving him about a 20 meter lead. I thought it was an odd move to put in a surge that early in the race and considering the amount of gradual incline to come. We descended a small downhill coming across the 1K mark, which I split at 3:18. Ivan must have gone through somewhere around 3:05-10.

The next two kilometers were gradually uphill. At 2K (6:42), I evened up with Ivan just by running the same effort. We reached 3K at the top of the hill together in 10:20 (3:37 split). Ivan then put in a small surge again. About 30-45 seconds later we were side by side again. I think he realized that he wasn't getting rid of me with his small surges while I was running an even effort/pace race. 5K split was 17:06 (5:30 pace). Ivan and I ran stride for stride the rest of the race clicking off kilometer splits between 3:22 & 3:26 (5:25-5:32 pace) with the exception of 9K (3:35) which was uphill.

With 400m to go and still running stride for stride, I knew that I was going to settle for 2nd place. I was fine with it because my thought all along was to use the race as a workout. Another reason was because there was no doubt Ivan had more leg speed than me, probably from the 12 years of serious cycling he did. The way he surged during the race also seemed effortless. With about 200m to go Ivan shifted into another gear and took the win. I had no interest in trying to challenge for the win. I could tell Ivan was extremely happy of the win because he literally jumped in the air and pumped his fist as if he won a million dollars when he crossed the finish line. On the other hand, I was also very happy with my race, specifically the way I executed it. Running 34:19, with the 2nd half only about 6 seconds slower, on that course with a steady effort shows a good sign of fitness. Splits below and results here (click on "Heren 10 km senioren").

Distance / Split / Time

1K / 3:18 / 3:18
2K / 3:24 / 6:42
3K / 3:37 / 10:19
4K / 3:25 / 13:44
5K / 3:22 / 17:06 (5:30 pace)
6k / 3:26 / 20:32
7K / 3:26 / 23:58
8K / 3:24 / 27:22
9K / 3:35 / 30:57
10K / 3:22 / 34:19 (5:31 pace)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

18 June

Only ran an easy 6 miles today because I'm freshening up the legs for tomorrow night's Buffer Run, which consists of a 6K and 10K race. I'll run the 10K as a tempo workout, at approximately half-marathon effort. I say effort and not pace because the course is tough there's no way to run a consistent pace. The course, only a mile from my house, is rolling hills. The first 3K (almost 2 miles) is a gradual incline, the next 5K slightly downhill with the exception of a short hill at 6K, and the last 2K a gradual hill. It should be a good tough workout.

Today: 6M @ 7:22 pace

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

17 June

Easy 9.5 miles during lunch. Could have gone another 1/2 mile to make it a full 10, but wasn't too concern about it. No 2nd run today. Instead, I had my first massage (90 minutes) since 6 weeks ago. I was overdue for one. Leg muscles and back feel much better and loose.

Today: 9.5M @ 7:01 pace

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

16 June

The 15+ miles yesterday, despite it being easy, made the legs feel like I was wearing some ankle weights during my lunch time run. I did an easy 4+ miles around a lake followed by some core exercises and stretching. Five hours later after work, I met my Dutch friends at the track for some speedwork. The workout for the night was 1600, 1400, 1200, & 1000 with 200m recovery (walking the first 100 then slow jogging the 2nd 100). Paul had some issues with his right leg, so it was just Emily and I running together. Emily also ran in the Maastrichts Mooiste 5K this past Sunday, but in the elite race (she ran 16:56), so we both didn't have fresh legs. Her coach and I decided that we should run a little slower than 5k pace, so 3:20/km or 80 second laps (5:22 pace). I chose to do the pacing and Emily had no problems with that. We ended up exceeding the agreed upon speed limit. The good thing is that the pace felt fairly comfortable.

Splits were: 1600 (5:15), 1400 (4:34), 1200 (3:53), 1000 (3:09)

Today: Noon - 4.3M @ 7:17 pace; PM - 8M including 1600, 1400, 1200, 1000 @ ~5k pace; 12.3 miles total

Monday, June 15, 2009

15 June

Did I run hard enough in yesterday's race? I was asking myself this question because the legs felt fine and normal in today's runs. During lunch time I went for an easy run with Jurgen. I intended to run alone until I bumped into him just as I was heading out of the locker room. My planned hour run was stretched to 78 minutes (11 miles) as I accompanied Jurgen on his Monday loop. I did a 2nd run of 4.2 miles after work.

Today: Noon - 11M @ 7:08 pace; PM - 4.2M @ 7:31 pace

8-14 June

Overall, it was a good training week, which concluded with my first 5K race in what seemed like ages. I'm pleased to have get in 70+ miles with the race.

Mon: Noon - 9.1M @ 6:59 pace; PM - 4.2M @ 7:18 pace
Tues: Noon - 4M @ 7:25 pace; PM - 8M including 5 x 1K (3:10, 3:09, 3:07, 3:08, & 3:06)
Wed: 10M @ 7:01 pace
Thur: Noon - 6.6M @ 7:08 pace; PM - 4.2 @ 7:12 pace
Fri: 8M @ 7:09 pace
Sat: 4.2M @ 7:10 pace
Sun: 5K Race - 16:24; 13.1M total

Weekly Total: 71.4 miles

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Maastrichts Mooiste, 1st Place Overall

It was my first 5K race in almost 2 years. I finished in 1st place running 16:24. I accomplished the two goals I set coming into the race: 1) better my 5K PR of 16:37, which I ran 7 yrs ago; and 2) Top 3 finish. I was hoping to run faster than I did, possibly somewhere around 16:05-10, but two bridges with gradual inclines, many turns including a U-turn, and slippery cobblestones (which the course consisted mostly of) made that task a bit difficult. In the end the time didn't matter too much as I was most ecstatic about the win.

The race was very well organized, as they all seem to be here in the Netherlands. When the gun went off I held back because I knew many would go out at about a 5:00/mile pace. I also knew that many of the pretenders would be coming back once we hit the incline of the first bridge, only 300 meters into the race. At approximately 1K (actually never saw or looked for the marker) there was about 12 runners in the front. Shortly after, the group was broken up into 2 smaller groups with a lead pack of 4 and the rest including myself a few meters back. After we crossed the 2nd bridge and made a right turn, I decided to move up to the lead pack. Up front I saw the motorcycle with the race clock reading 8:xx. I figured we were somewhere around 2.5K. I was feeling good and strong at this point, so I decided to make a push. I don't think it was much of a push, but it was good enough to put a gap between me and the other 3 runners. Just before the 3K mark, which is the only marker I saw throughout the race, we made a U-turn. It was my first chance to see how much of a lead I had. To my surprise I had about a 10 meter lead. I tried to increase the lead each time I made a turn. At about the 14th minute of the race I looked back just to see if I was in any danger of being caught. The next runner was about 50 meters back and I knew I had the race in the bag. I made one last turn towards the finish line in the Market Square and was greeted by a loud cheering crowd. I cherished the moment and celebrated by raising the arms as I approached the finish.

I didn't take any splits at all. In fact, I never even looked at my watch, probably because I was following the motorcycle with the race clock. Complete Maastrichts Mooiste race results here. (Note. My last name was mispelled - "Bas" instead of "Blas")

Friday, June 12, 2009

12 June

Easy 8 miles today. I didn't do a key workout, as I normally do on Fridays, because I'll run a 5K race on Sunday. Despite running at an easy pace, my legs didn't feel all that good. The leg muscles and joints felt a little beaten up. I'm not sure why. The odd thing is that I'm not feeling sore. I hope it's just one of those bad-feeling days. Better to have it now rather than Sunday.

Today: 8M @ 7:09 pace
Thur: Noon - 6.6M @ 7:08 pace; PM - 4.2 @ 7:12 pace

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10 June

Easy 10 miles in the Brunssumerheide during lunch. Legs felt a little sluggish early in the run, but better as I clicked off the miles. I kept the HR at about 68-70% of max heart rate, which made for a nice easy run.

Today: 10M @ 7:01 pace

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

9 June

I had only planned to do one training session, track workout at night, because I didn't think I'd have time to fit in a run at noon due to a busy day at work. However, when my meeting ended early I realized that I had an hour to spare, so I sneaked out for a short easy 4-miler.

Tonight was a good track session with my Dutch friend Paul and Emily Chemutai, a Kenyan female who trains and races here in the Netherlands. This is about the 5th time Emily has joined us for some speedwork. We did 5 x 1K with 200m recovery. Paul, Emily and I each took turns with the pacing; Paul would pace the first 400, I'd take over for the 2nd 400 and Emily for the last 200. We mixed it up every repeat so that we weren't pacing the same portions of the 1K. Splits were 3:10, 3:09, 3:07, 3:08, & 3:06. I was surprised that Emily stayed with the pace, because she just came off a 10K race on Sunday running 33:58 (see below). Paul, Emily and I will be running the Maastrichts Mooiste this weekend. However, we will all run in different races; Paul will run the 15K, Emily in the 5K elite race, and me in the 5K non-elite race.

Plts Naam GJ Woonplaats/Vereniging Bruto Netto
1 Caroline Cheptonui Kenia 31:36 31:35
2 Nadia Ejjafini Marokko 32:45 32:45
3 Lydia Kurgat Kenia 33:01 33:00
4 Ruth Wanjiru Kenia 33:20 33:18
5 Monica Wangari Kenia 33:32 33:30
6 Joan Aiyabei Kenia 33:44 33:43
7 Emily Chemutai Kenia 33:59 33:58
8 Masila Ndunge Kenia 34:03 34:01
9 Loise Kangogo Kenia 34:39 34:38
10 Ezby Strydom Zuid-Afrika 34:42 34:40

Today: Noon - 4M @ 7:25 pace; PM - 8M including 5 x 1K (3:10, 3:09, 3:07, 3:08, & 3:06)

Monday, June 08, 2009

8 June

Ran 9 miles easy during lunch with 10 x steep hill sprints (11 seconds). Why eleven seconds? Well, I basically just picked out a stopping point on the hill, which took me 11 seconds to reach. In the early evening I went out for another easy run, 4.2 miles on my normal shakeout run loop.

Today: Noon - 9.1M @ 6:59 pace; PM - 4.2M @ 7:18 pace

Sunday, June 07, 2009

1-7 June

Yesterday was an unscheduled day-off from running. I took a day trip to Bastogne (Belgium) to discover the Battle of the Bulge. I really should have gone to Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day, the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. However, a day trip is certainly not enough to discover Normandy, and this weekend would have been too crowded especially with President Obama attending the commemorative ceremony. The trip to Bastogne was worth sacrificing a run, which I intended to do in the early evening when I was back from the trip. Unfortunately, I didn't make it home till 9pm and decided to call it a day off. It was probably a good idea too because I've been feeling a little of pain on the right knee the past few days. Despite not getting in a run, I did do a lot of walking. I walked a good portion of the battle ground which Easy Company (Band of Brothers) occupied, and even saw many of the still-existing foxholes they crouched in during battle.

Today, I did two runs; a morning long run of 17 miles and an easy 5 miles in the late afternoon. The knee didn't bother me at all during the runs. But I feel some twinges here and there when I sit motionless. I'm icing it and taking vitamin I.

1-7 June

Mon: AM - 8M @ 6:59 pace including 8 x 13-sec hill sprints; PM - 4.2M @ 7:06 pace
Tues: 9.1M @ 6:39 pace including 8 x 2' @ 5k-10k pace w/ 1' easy
Wed: 12M @ 6:56 pace
Thur: 9M @ 6:59 pace
Fri: 10M including 2 x 2-mile tempo intervals; 10:47 (5:18, 5:29), 10:37 (5:19, 5:18 )
Sat: DNR
Sun: AM - 17M @ 6:43 pace; PM - 5M @ 6:56 pace

Weekly Total: 74.3 miles

Friday, June 05, 2009

Suck it up

I felt very sluggish when I started out my run; legs a little heavy, HR was too high (151) at a slow pace and the motivation to run at tempo pace just wasn't in me. Thoughts of sacrificing the planned tempo interval workout (2 x 2 miles) for an easy run crossed my mind. But then I thought about the famous military slang "suck it up". I did just that. After a three mile warmup and a couple strides, I set out on a half-mile grass loop on a sports field for the 2-mile tempo intervals. I ran at a effort which felt around 5k-10k pace. The planned recovery between the tempo interval was 2 minutes of very easy running, but then I changed it to however long it took me to get the HR down to 65%. It took an additional 12 seconds (2:12). Splits for the tempo interval below. It was a good workout after feeling like crap early on.

10:47 (5:18, 5:29); HR (171/175)
10:37 (5:19, 5:18 ); HR (172/173)

Today: 10M including 2 x 2-mile tempo intervals
Thur: 9M @ 6:59 pace

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


At first I felt a little guilty because I chose not to attend a hosted dinner, which was part of a 3-day work conference, in order to get in my run. The original plan was to get up early and out the door by 5am for my run, so that I can attend tonight's dinner. However, when the alarm sounded at 0445, I chickened out and decided to sleep in till 6am. At 1930 (7:30 pm), I was out of my Army dress uniform and into some running gear for an easy 12-miler. The run felt very comfortable with the HR averaging 146. One thing for sure is that I did not feel guilty after I finished my run.

Today: 12M @ 6:56 pace

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I managed to get in my run before starting a long day at work. I did a fartlek workout of 8 x 2 minutes at approximately 5k-10k effort with 1 minute easy for recovery. During the recovery portion I monitored my percentage of max HR to see how low it would get. The max HR percentage got as low as 65-67% for the first five repeats and only 69-71% for the remaining three. Obviously, it would have taken me over a minute to get down to 65% for the last few repeats, but that wasn't the point of the workout. Good tough workout overall. I suggest you try this fartlek workout if you have never done so before.

It will be very difficult to get in a run tomorrow. It comes down to whether I want to run at 5am or 8-9pm. No running is not an option.

Today: 9.1M @ 6:39 pace including 8 x 2' w/ 1' easy

Monday, June 01, 2009

Day off = Rest, Relax, Run

Had a day off (Whit Monday) from work, so I took advantage of it by sleeping in longer than normal and getting in a couple runs. I woke up at 0830 (got in a whopping 9.5 hrs of sleep) and was out the door at 9 for an easy 8 miles. At 6.5 miles into the run, I stopped at the base of a steep hill for some hill sprints. I did 8 x 13-second hill sprints. Later in the afternoon I went out for another easy run and followed it up with some core exercises. The next couple days might be tough for me to get in some quality running as I'll be working early and getting off late.

Today: AM - 8M @ 6:59 pace including 8 x 13-sec hill sprints; PM - 4.2M @ 7:06 pace