Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year in Review

There's no doubt that 2010 was my best running year having set a personal best in almost every race distance I ran, even though it wasn't many.  I only ran a total of 9 races (including tonight's New Year's Eve 10K) and recorded a personal best in 4 race distances (5K, 10K, half-marathon, & marathon).  I did not run a 5K race this year, but the time was a PB for the distance as part of a 10K race (2nd 5K split).  I know my 5K PB is a bit modest and I'm sure it would have been much faster had I entered and ran the actual race distance. 

The Jesolo 10K race in Italy, during my vacation trip to Venice, was a huge breakthrough for me. I cut a whopping 39 seconds off my previous PB.  More importantly, it was a confidence booster for me leading into the Munich Marathon.  Three weeks before Munich, I ran the Hoogland half-marathon expecting to run a PB and go sub-1:13.  Unfortunately, mother nature wasn't nice and treated us to some crazy winds.  On the bright side, my girlfriend and I both won our race, so it was a good day after all.  By the way, my half-marathon PB was from the CPC Loop Den Haag Half-Marathon early in the year as part of my tune-up for Rotterdam. In that half-marathon, which was also windy but not as bad as the Hoogland half, I cut my half-marathon PB by 22 seconds, but still came up short of a sub-1:13.  I will run the race again in 2011 as a tune-up for Rotterdam (yes, again) and hopefully break some new ground in the half. 

Munich Marathon was by far the highlight of the year.  I not only ran a new personal best, but I also finally went sub-2:34, a time I should have acheived at Berlin in '09 and Rotterdam last April.  It's a step in the right direction towards that illustrious sub-2:30.  Besides the PB, something I'm most proud of is finishing in the Top 10 (9th overall).  Yes, I know Munich doesn't attract or have the elite runners as big-name marathons like Berlin, Boston, London, etc. does, but hey, it's still a top 10 finish and it's not like Munich is not a well-known city.  Where did Frank Shorter win the 1972 Olympic Marathon?  :-)

Here are some numbers for the 2010 running year:

  • Ran a total of 9 races, 5 different race distances and 4 PBs. Interestingly, I ran 2 races each at the following distances: 10K, 15K, half-marathon, and marathon. 
  • Ran a total of 3700 miles, that's an average of 71 miles/week or 10 miles/day. 
  • Logged 9 weeks at 100 or more miles. Highest weekly mileage was 122 miles, which is also a career high.  Lowest weekly mileage was 4 miles.  
  • Ran a race in 3 different countries - Netherlands, Germany and Italy.\
  • Went through 8 running shoes: 4 x Saucony Grid Tangents, 2 x Asics 2140, one NB 904 and one NB 740. 
Happy New Running Year!!!

Update!!!  I just finished my last run and race of 2010.  Ran the New Year's Eve race (Sylvesterloop 10K) and PR'd by 17 seconds running 32:58 for 5th place.  What a great way to end the year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Runner in Winter

Great running video from Running Times on ultra-runner Anton Krupicka.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dec 20-26

Mon: 8.2M easy
Tue: 12.5M including 4 x 7' tempo interval (on the mill) w/ 3' rec jog + 3 x 200m w/ 1' rec jog
Wed: 12.7M easy
Thu: 9.7M easy
Fri: 11.5M including 8 x 2.5' w/ 90 sec rec jog;
Sat: 8.2M easy
Sun: 12.5M long run

Weekly Total: 75 miles on 7 runs/7 days
Wasn't the best training week as more snow fell (~18 inches) throughout the week.  My LaSportiva Crosslite became my daily running shoe, except for the tempo interval workout on Tuesday, which I ran on the treadmill.  The 7' tempo intervals felt comfortably hard and good.  On Friday I ran a fartlek workout of 2.5 minutes w/ 90 seconds rec. in horrible conditions. I ran the workout on a bike path that had about a couple inches of snow.  I felt like I was running 5k effort and pace, but certainly not going as fast.  My watch showed that I was running 6min pace.  I'll take it's strength gained in the legs.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dec 13-19

Mon: 9M easy
Tue: 9.3M easy
Wed: 9.3M including 12 x :25 seconds hill sprints with 1:30 recovery
Thu: AM - 6.2M easy; PM - 6.4M easy
Fri: 11.2M including 30 min. steady-state
Sat: 11M easy
Sun: 15.7M steady long run

Weekly Total: 78 miles on 8 runs/7 days
It was my highest weekly mileage since the end of September prior to the Munich marathon. I did easy running the first couple days of the week to recover from last Sunday's 15K cross race.  On Wed I ran 12 x 25 seconds hill sprints. Friday was a 30' steady-state run. I ran the 3M warmup/cooldown outside, but did the steady-state on the treadmill because the roads were slippery with snow/ice and running fast would not be possible. Saturday's easy run was eventful in that I got bit on the elbow by a dog.  Stupid dog owner did not keep his dog on the leash. Luckily though, I only received a scratch and not a puncture from the dog bite. Today's long run went very well, even with some of the roads still covered in snow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I haven't missed the Mescherbergloop cross race in the three years I've been stationed in the Netherlands.  After all, why would anyone miss it.  Cross country, trails, hills, mud (or in last year's race - snow), stairs, and good competition.

After about a half mile of running on the road, the only flat portion of the course, we turned left into a pasture (picture above) and the runners began to establish their positions.  I was somewhere around 10th place at this point. 

Climbing the first steady hill my British colleague Charlie (white and blue) and I caught a couple of runners, including the Dutch guy wearing blue and red to the right of the picture. At about 1.5 miles we crested the hill and began a descent of about 600 meters. The blue/red runner caught back up to us on the downhill, but Charlie and I would eventually lose him for good on the second climb. 

We had already passed another Dutch runner and approaching the stairs which this race is well known for.  I should mention that at this point I already knew that I wouldn't be able to get away from Charlie or vice versa, even though I would put a 10 meter gap on him on the hills or stairs.  Up ahead about 200 meters there was a Belgian runner who at one point I thought we could catch. That thought and the Belgian eventually faded away.

Charlie and I climbing yet another hill.  Not at all planned, we were glad to accompany and push each other, especially in the latter part of the race.  I remember with about 2K left in the race, Charlie was trailing me and could sense that I started to let up on the pace.  He encouraged me to push on, and we both motored our way side by side to the finish in a joint 6th place.  Here are the results and Dutch news coverage of the race.

I had a blast for the third year in a row at the Mescherbergloop and I'm sure going to miss it next year.  Here is a comparison of my three Mescherbergloop races.

muddy course
snowy course
racing flats on xc/trails

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dec 6-12

Mon: 9M easy
Tue: 9M easy
Wed: 9.3M including 15 x 200m (37s in snow) w/ 200m rec
Thu: AM - 5M easy; PM - 6.3M easy
Fri: 9M with 6K steady state
Sat: 7.3M easy
Sun: Mescherbergloop 15K (Cross) - 6th Place  56:45; 12M total

Weekly Total: 67 miles on 8 runs/7 days
Running conditions for the first half of the week were much of the same as last week - snow and icy. On Tuesday I ran some 200s on the snow-covered dirt track.  By Friday most of the snow had melted and I was able to run in road shoes for the first time in about 10 days. I got in 9 miles with 6K at a steady-state pace in the middle of the run. I kept the steady-state run short (22 min) because of the 15K Cross race today, which was a blast. I finished in a joint 6th place with my coworker and triathlete Charlie. I'll post the race report soon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Nov 29 - Dec 5

Mon: 9M easy
Tue: AM - 6.2M easy; PM - 6.4M easy
Wed: 9M including 12 x 1' hard/easy
Thu: 9.3M easy/moderate
Fri: 8.4 easy
Sat: 6.2M easy
Sun: Kapellerbosloop 7.2K (Cross) - 7th Place 27:54; 6.5M total

Weekly Total: 61 miles on 8 runs/7 days
It wasn't the best week of training as running conditions were awful; lots of snow, ice, and freezing temps.  The cross race on Sunday was my first in a very long time.  The true cross country conditions (see previous post) made it a fun run, but challenging race.  I'm already looking forward to my next cross race this coming weekend. 

Sunday, December 05, 2010


I ran my first cross country race of the winter season.  The sloppy conditions made it a true cross race.  Slush, mud, snow and freezing cold.  The 7.2K course consisted of 4 loops in the forest with a couple hills, one that's a fairly good climb. My performance today was right where I think it should be this time of the year.  Not even close to peak fitness and feeling like I'm gaining strength.  In the first loop I was in about 10th or 11th place until I passed 3 or 4 runners before the big hill.  In the 2nd loop I was running alone until I heard some splashing steps approaching quickly.  To my surprise it was Patrick Delait, one of the top local Dutch runners who I'm used to seeing disappear in front of me as a race progresses.  My only thought was that he either fell early in the race or is coming back from an injury. I talked to him after the race and it turned out that he just didn't have the power in the legs.  That probably explains why I was able to catch and pass him about 100 meters from the finish to place 7th overall.  This race was again proof of my strength on hills and the lack of speed on the downhills.  I would catch and outdo Patrick up the steepest hill only to get overtaken by him on the flat and downhill portion of the course. 

Here are the results.  Also, below is a video of the race (sorry, it's only in Dutch).  You can see me (yellow singlet) and Patrick running up the hill at 1:35 into the video.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Severe winter weather

Running conditions for the past few days have been harsh with temps in the teens/low-20s and the roads/trails covered in snow and ice.  However, that didn't stop me from getting in my runs.....thanks to my La Sportiva Crosslite.
I got in a good strength run yesterday in the trails of the Brunssumerheide (Brunssum heathland) running a fartlek workout of 1' hard/easy.  Note that I said strength and not speed, despite fartlek meaning "speed play".  I did 12 x 1' on the snow-covered trails.  I felt like I was running on sand, pushing hard but barely moving.  Wearing the Crosslite made a huge difference though, because I would have been doing more skating than running had I not worn them.  The workout turned out good and I felt like I gained some leg strength.

Today, I ran 15K at a moderate pace with my British co-worker Charlie, who recently placed 4th in the 30-34 age group division at the World Half-Ironman Championships in Clearwater, FL.  We had a pretty good run, but in some areas it was a little too slippery.  There was so much snow on the running trails and paths that we could not see where the patches of ice were. I'm hoping conditions will be better and not as slippery on Sunday.