May 7 2013

Random Thoughts and Race Day Weather…

Less than a month to go! Yes… its the perfect time to panic! That is, unless you’re fully trained up right? 🙂 Hey don’t worry… there’s still time for plenty of CT (Crunch Time) Runs!

I’ve neglected to write on here for a long time it seems… looking back… last post… March 23rd. OUCH! Yikes! And it’s now May 7th! WOWZA! Race day is almost upon us!!!

I’ve had so many posts I should have written since then… so much to say… but I’ve only been neglecting to write… I’ve not been neglecting life! I’ve been busy! There’s so much to say though that I’m just going to attempt to write a bunch of short quip bullets and hope that will suffice…

1. Ran 14.7 miles today. Calves hurt afterwords so bad that I wonder why I do this to myself. Later when they didn’t hurt I was so happy I accomplished my goal of a 15 mile (hey almost) training run today!

2. Drank a few too many beers one night and decided it would be a good idea to sign up last-minute for a race in Minneapolis where I would be for just a couple days! Occasionally regretting the added logistics (and price for being a last minute registrant) – it wasn’t bad! That was actually uncharacteristically my *first* race of the year… normally I’ve done a few by this time. It was perfect weather and a very flat course. I was happy enough with it.

3. Today was a great day (May 5th at time of writing). The Royals won, (nice walk-off win!), Sporting KC won, my 4 year old daughter was in her first ever dance recital, it was Cinco De Mayo and we had Mexican and margaritas! Along with the run that’s a resounding victory.

4. It’s ok to wear cotton sometimes. It will not kill you. When race day comes (and your race is long) some tech shirt might be better. But for an every day run? What do you think people ran in for the last 50 years! Cotton! It’s ok! It won’t kill you!

5. Did you read my previous post (my Garmin 405 gave up the ghost)? Garmin Dead? It’s back and its fixed! The new battery is kick-butt! If your Garmin is dead or dying, I highly recommend the service I used! (http://stores.ebay.com/fixyourgps)

6. I had a TREMENDOUS run one day after the night before I scarfed tons of pizza and beer. You don’t have to opt for pasta if you don’t want to. This pace over a half would have scored me my new goal which is to run a half in 1:39:59.

7. Unless Hospital Hill is your first and/or only Half-Marathon completed or to be completed… I wouldn’t expect a PR at it. Why? Just cause it’s kinda hilly and you could probably run faster on a flatter course. Is this a downer? Heck no! I’ve assigned for myself a special, Hospital Hill PR which stands apart from other half-marathons! It’s in its own category! Each year I shoot for a Hospital Hill specific PR.

8. But you *can* PR it… last year’s weather was so perfect… 58 at 7am, 68 by 10am… (and then a perfect 82 that afternoon). I ran a Hospital Hill PR what I perceived to be “easily” — could have gone for more (a true PR)? Will this year’s weather be so good that you and I can both get a real PR here? Could happen.

9. In fact … let’s take a look… How does that weather compare to years past?

Year 7AM Start 10AM (3HR) HIGH Finish Time
2012 58 68 82 1:47:23
2011 80 87 93 1:54:51
2010 78 82 91 1:48:42
2009 71 71 87 1:51:37
2008 80 84 87 1:54:57

Wow! Look at the difference from 2011 to 2012! 20 degree differences at start and finish!

Well weather isn’t everything of course… but I did run the fastest on the coolest year and the slowest on the hottest years! I do also have a particular specific memory of 2011 – being hot and hurting/winded (but good 🙂 )out on the course and there being a bucket of ice available around mile 10 — I was so thankful for it! Next year, didn’t need it!

10. But… you can’t control the weather. Rain, snow, heat, cool… it is what it is and we’ll make the best of it. Just realize it could affect performance! What it doesn’t affect is the awesomeness of the event. It continues to be awesome despite the weather!

11. This year it could snow at Hospital Hill. Or it could be the hottest one ever. You never know with Kansas City weather!

***PREDICT THIS YEAR’S STARTING TEMPERATURE!***
Leave a comment on this post predicting the air temperature in Kansas City at 7:00am on race day and whomever guesses closest to the actual temp at 7:00am June 1st (before race day obviously)! I’ll send you a $15 gift card to RoadID! (if I can find it)

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Mar 23 2013

Garmin Dead

My beloved running companion, my precious Garmin 405 has finally had it’s last run. I’ve known this day has been coming for a while but I’ve been running with it as long as possible. It’s *possible* that it might be able to record the entirety of Hospital Hill… but 1:45 really seems to be the absolute limit. Back in October running the Kansas City Full Marathon, on a completely full charge it lasted 1:44 / 12 miles. That was a little disappointing since that was my marathon PR and I really like having a nice record of all of those on the Garmin connect.

Even though I’ve run 40 activities since then, I think its finally time. Yesterday I went out with the Garmin at 99% charge. I went on a route that I frequently run which is exactly 6.85 miles. It’s a great route that I love to try to beat my previous bests on. Since March of 2009 I’ve run it 17 times anywhere from 1:02 to 0:53. A couple of weeks ago I ran the route and had a pretty great run. I thought I’d PRed it for sure… nope. Missed it by 20 seconds. Still a great run. Yesterday I left the house feeling pretty good and was running strong from the start… I thought I’d go for a good time on the ol 6.85 miler. Well I did have a strong run. I really strode it out at times and was clocking the miles in great splits. Then — oh no!

With about a mile left I got a low battery warning… another half mile, another low battery warning. I was talking to the Garmin saying comon’ you can do it! Just half a mile more! It was giving me even more incentive to finish strongly. My old 53:50 PR (7:52/mi) would die today. But no, next time I looked down the Garmin was staring at me blankly. My Garmin had finally died.

Oh I finished just fine and I’m sure it was a training PR for me on that route. Continuing with my pace would have been a stellar 51:49 (7:34/mi).

So now I’ve got to decide to do… new watch? Repair? I looked at all the options:

Garmin Forerunner 10 – $129 great price… simple, fun, easy, new (latest model). Only maybe slightly simplistic with a couple of features.

Garmin 410 – $199 – A strong contender… I nearly bought this. Just like the 405 but with some cool features… you can actually power it off! (wow!) Quicker satellite acquisition / more accurate reception.

Garmin 610 $349 – The new multicolor one is cool. I was real tempted with this one. I’m sure its like the 410 but even better. Just a little pricey.

Garmin 910XT – $399 – An intriguing choice… Although I haven’t done any triathlons… I’d like to possibly. I’ve done some experimenting with Duathlons and have worn my Garmin out a few times biking. Other nice feature would be the super extended battery… remember I’m training for a 50k and that would really come in handy … My 405 in its best days only made it just over 4 hours which couldn’t quite finish a 20 mile trail run for me. It’s expensive though… and HUGE!

Garmin Repair 405 – $79 with them being just down the street in Olathe this was pretty tempting too… and the responsible / frugal thing to do. After all, my 405 does everything I want really and for the most part I’m 95% satisfied with it. Just hate to spend $80 when for just a little more could get a brand new watch.

In the end I chose none of the above. I’m sending my current watch to a guy in California I found on ebay who for $40 is supposedly going to re-fit my existing watch with a new battery which is capable of lasting 8-10 hours in training mode. Now THAT would be awesome! For that 50k I’ve got coming up in July it just may be able to do the job! (6-7 hours I think).

Of course this all depends if the repair works out ok, but hopefully it will … he seems to have LOTS of satisfied customers! I will report back when I receive my “new” watch back. Until then… maybe I’ll run a few times sans GPS! Old school!

Happy Running and Training!

(Posts about Beer are forthcoming I promise!)

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Feb 27 2013

Back from the Cruise and into…

For those of you keeping score at home: (redacted), (redacted), (redacted), and Jenny… and Tad? I did NOT perish on the cruise, nor was I on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph! I’m back, despite not having posted since Jan 30th, and have yes been enjoying all the snow same as you.

What a difference a few thousand miles makes eh?

From this: (here’s our ship, my daily view, and the beach)
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To this: (a view early Thursday night before the snow really piled up)

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But that’s ok with me. I don’t mind the snow… I actually like it.

The cruise was very nice… prior to leaving (this was my first cruise) I had wondered about running on the ship. There’s actually as much opportunity to run as you like, without being a nuisance to anyone too!

They have a “jogging” (their words, not mine!) track on top of the ship. This was pretty neat! I really wish I could have used it more. I ran on it one morning and it was amazing. I had this thought that my GPS would be showing little circles out on the ocean slowly going south… nope. The ship was booking it south. So much so that I have some amazingly fast stats to go along with the really boring GPS graph… see for yourself:

The track was fairly small… here’s the sign from it:
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Sorry about the bad picture there… but it says 11 laps is one mile. Well I believe I ran 22 or 23… I lost count. So roughly two miles. As you see from the (previous) above graphic though I quite incredibly ran over six miles in 17 minutes at a pace I can’t even reproduce on my bike going downhill. The best part of course though as you can probably imagine was having that sea view. It was very nice, if a bit warm and slightly crowded. There were plenty of other people up there running too.

Another experiment I wanted to try was running on the treadmill on the ship. I know I know you’re saying… why on earth would you run on the treadmill on the ship? Well it was just an experiment! And check this out… how often do you get to wear your GPS watch on a treadmill — and have it do anything? Landlocked – that’s going to be one boring Garmin Connect activity… you’ll be lucky to register any movement at all. Here though I clocked along at another furious pace:

The stats are a little less fluctuational here since I’m running in one direction… previously I was running against and with the ship as I did laps, subduing the speed and exaggerating it accordingly.

So… that’s the skinny on running on a cruise ship. After doing a little research it appears that nearly all ships have the running track and quite probably most of them are better than the one I was on, but I found no faults and enjoyed it all thoroughly. The gym where the treadmill was was also quite nice looking out over the ocean with extremely spacious and adequate changing rooms, showers, and a dry sauna and a steam sauna.

Well that was that. A fun experience … would definitely go again, although I do think I prefer the woodsy outdoors opposed to the “beachy” – but hey I won’t pass it up… especially from February in Kansas.

…BUT as I told you… I enjoy the snow! I went for a nice run Saturday (right after about we got 12″ snow here locally in Lansing) after I had noticed while driving around that most sidewalks looked plowed. Well it was cold… and only some of the sidewalks were plowed, almost none of the ones I was going to run on… and as much as I wanted to hit the local dirt trail, even I know where to draw the line. My shorts and non-snow-shoes probably wouldn’t do too well in 12″ (and more in drifts) on the trails.

So what to do? Well I was running by the deserted local Elementary school (it was Saturday!) and I’d oft wondered… just how far was it around that parking lot? Heck… why not take a few laps. So lap it I did. The second time around I discovered it was .57 miles around the perimeter. I tested this the next time around by predicting my mileage at the loop (these are the crazy things you just love to do while wearing a garmin) and wa-la. The science was solid. So anyway I did a few laps here and eeked out a measly 4 mile run:

Zoom and and look at the southern portion… yep that’s a parking lot! Was it a boring run? No it wasn’t! It was ok! So the point is: the miles are where you make them! Sidewalk snowed up? Dying to run outside? Try a big (plowed) parking lot! Preferably one you can run to… wouldn’t you feel dumb for driving to one? No you wouldn’t? Me neither… but I’d rather run there.

See ya soon. I start officially training (yes that’s right, I’m not even training yet!) March 10th. So see? If you’ve been slacking off you’re fine! You got time! March 10th will mark 12 weeks out. I think. 🙂

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Jan 30 2013

Finding the time for a long run

Well forget trying to find the time and energy to complete a long run… how about the time and energy for a run of any sort… that I would be happy with, or perhaps even time to get a blog post done? There’s a good start. Well making the most of every second I’m writing this from volleyball practice. Yeah – that kind of volleyball… I’m sure plenty of you are familiar: the kind that runs year-round through every season and just never quits. That’s ok though, for the most part its fun… except we have two in it… and another in boyscouts… uh, dance, basketball, etc, etc, yadda yadda you know the rest. Our schedules are packed to the brim every week. Somehow I do squeeze in some runs though.

Last week I wasn’t writing from volleyball… I was running! You just never know where you’ll find a nice run. Last week it was about 35, dark and stormy, windy. I thought as I was leaving — I don’t care! I’ll just run around the parking lot. Well I started doing some laps in the parking lot yes, but I soon found a decent enough sidewalk and heading back the other direction for a while – ran into a nice park that I had forgotten was there!

You can see the parking lots in the upper left and the riverfront park in the lower right:

VB Run
And here’s all the run details for that matter:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/265408141

You can always see an RSS feed of all my runs here too: http://www.runsometimes.com/statistics/ – as well as some other junk. That way you can always keep tabs on me. If I say I took a 20 mile long run, well you can look and check. Only a few obscure scenarios would lead to one of my runs being missing from that list:

1) I forgot my Garmin… not likely… but it *has* happened… and at Hospital Hill (2011) no less! I think that’s the one major race I ever forgot to take it to. Boy did I beat myself up over that one. It’s really made me remember it since then. You know what though? Everything turned out ok. (not really).

2) Garmin dead. This happens all the time. One because its old and I’ve used the hell out of it… and also because sometimes I forget to charge it. Normally I will even postpone a run for just a little bit though to take it and it can survive the run. It really is starting to show its age though. 416 runs with it as of today since July 13, 2008. It’s getting to where it dies about 17 miles into a trail run, or more recently this past October at 12 miles into the 2012 KC Marathon. Hmmm… that doesn’t bode well for a half-marathon does it. Might need to get that replaced before then… stay tuned for that adventure — glad I reminded myself!

Uh… where was I. Hmm… scenario 3 not to have… oh yeah:

3) I ran it on the treadmill. 20 miler? Hah! Not likely… but believe it or not I’ve done it before. Well, ran about 3 hours on the treadmill anyway. That’s kinda fun… in a sadistic sort of way if you want to try it sometime.

Ok so point is… if I say I ran that long run, I probably did, unless I didn’t, in which case no one cares anyway.

So now REALLY let’s see where were we? Well I had just completed that really nice run last week by planning on running laps in a casino parking lot but ended up on the river and through a park! You just never know where that mediocre run is going to take you!

Now why am I blogging tonight instead of running here again?

It’s a tad colder for one.

For two I REALLY needed to get this blog post done and I had some time tonight of course…. why the crunch for time? Well I’m going on a cruise soon… and I don’t plan on blogging while cruising… at all. What I do plan on doing is running though. I’ve never been on a cruise before so I was wondering about the running… do people run on the deck? The people I’ve asked (none of whom were runners, but all were cruise veterans) said “yes! they saw those stupid runners on the decks constantly and were constantly almost being run into by them! why do you ask?” oh no reason… except I plan on running those decks too… hopefully. Anyone here experienced (runner *and* cruiser)? Oh I’ll be relaxing some too of course I’m sure and doing whatever else it is you do on a cruise… I know we’re gonna be on some beaches… and guess what I plan on doing there? That’s right!! More running!!! And check THIS out! When I’m done I’ll hop in the ocean! Kabam, yeah I got that one!

Third reason I’m not running tonight…. Well I did do that 13 mile long run earlier.

So you see, the moral of the story is no matter if you are stuck at volleyball practice for two hours, or stuck on some ridiculous ship in the Caribbean in February, you can always find time to run.*

*(I’ll know for sure about the latter when I get back… and I will be sure to tell you all about it (the running) in a very matter of fact manner.)

Happy Running!

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Jan 13 2013

Hospital Hill Blogging Kickoff

Hello – I’m thrilled that you’re here and for this opportunity to write once again about one of my favorite races ~ The Hospital Hill Run!

Let me quickly introduce myself and this blog:

I started the blog in 2008 when I had a goal of running the KC Marathon in under four hours. I thought it would be a nice way to track all of my stats / runs… it turned out well (I met my goal!) and I’ve just basically continued it since.

It’s mostly served me since then as an immensely useful tool to look on my past experiences to better prepare for those in the future. It’s also quite fun reliving those past experiences too! 🙂

As for myself… I’m 34, male, average runner, 4 kids, super busy schedule with many interests that compete for my time.

I started running in my adult life a little more than 6 years ago, right after I quit smoking. Yeah that sucks huh? Smoking! Ew gross! I can’t believe I once enjoyed that…. tsk tsk. Running is SOOOO much better! 🙂

I always knew I would return to running though. It’s in my blood. My dad was a runner, and when I was growing up I would go with him to 5ks and such. I was even a middle school track star (didn’t translate up into high school though).

Since I started running again in 2006 I’ve run 6 marathons in 4 states, 17 half-marathons in 3 states, and dozens of other races.

When I first began the quitting smoking and running a co-worker commented to me, one day 6 years ago, about Hospital Hill. “Hey so you’re a runner now huh? Maybe you can do Hospital Hill!” – this was a challenge of sorts as it was spoken with a tone that suggested not only was I not really going to keep this running thing up, I would never be able to do something like Hospital Hill… obviously a runner’s mecca of some sort? I had to know… I googled it and found it. I was fascinated. I just stared in awe at those runners. And it had such a ring to it… Hospital Hill! It sounded so foreboding and awesome at the same time. I wasn’t really sure if I’d ever be up for that challenge – but I knew I wanted it… badly.

That year I ran my first half-marathon ever, the Hospital Hill in 1:56:32. I nearly broke down in tears at the end. I relished every second of that day and absolutely glowed for a week. I’d found another kind of runner’s high.

And boy was I a NEWB. I ran that race in TWO cotton t-shirts, cotton underwear, basketball shorts, and with an ipod held in my hand. I even wore a watch with hands on it and a leather band! EGADS! I’m fairly certain I saw someone that morning before the race pointing at me (with my half-marathon bib attached) and remarking to their son that I was ill-equipped to run this race. But *I* also remember seeing someone else at the race wearing such rags they honestly looked like they were a dirty homeless person (and I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean a homeless person who is quite unwashed) lined up to run… and I think that person left me in the dust. So… gear isn’t everything.

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The Running Newb in 2007

These days of course I run in the latest fashions, shiny shoes, and a trusty Garmin which I’m nearly distraught without. I am quite looking forward to this year’s Hospital Hill. It will be my 7th consecutive running.

I could quite literally type for hours about running, but I suppose I will wrap this up for now to save something for next time….

I plan to explore many topics over the next many weeks leading up to the Hospital Hill Run:

1. Beer… How does it enhance running?
2. Beer… How does it taste so good?
3. Beer is a great carb source.
4. Finding time to run with the activities of 4 kids, 2 dogs, rampancy, rampancy, rampancy, rampancy, rampancy, 2 kids, 4 dogs, 8 beers, trail running, 3 shoes
5. Hill Training
6. Speed Work
7. The quest to find the time and energy to complete a long run
8. Establishment of a 2013 Hospital Hill Run Goal Time
9. ?
10. Profit

That’s it ladies and gentlemen! I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Hospital Hill Run blog post. Tune in next week for the thrilling continuing ramblings where I will try as hard as I can to make you laugh out loud or at least smile and perhaps even offer a morsel of information that might em-better your running! HAPPY RUNNING!

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Jun 8 2012

Post Hospital Hill Run 2012 Thoughts…

Another year done, sixth in a row for me. In many ways the course and event were the same but from year to year there are a few things that change…

This year the start corrals were instituted. They seemed to be somewhat “soft” barriers (before the race started) as they would allow you to cross over into another corral if you really wanted to no problem — but there was the suggestion to stay put. I imagine most people did… after all, they were organized where runners had volunteered that they would be running / finishing in that time period. When I registered I chose 1:53 for my projected finish time. A little later on I decided I was going to go for 1:48. My original prediction put me in corral C while my new goal was corral B. My bib said “C” but I had no trouble crossing the rope into B and starting there.

I wanted to line up with the 1:50 group and then stay with them and then end up finishing a couple minutes ahead of them. I further supposed the best course of action would be to line up in between the 1:45 group and the 1:50 group and see neither one again… for the most part that is exactly what happened.

For those curious – the corrals did indeed have staggered starts. Corral A started at approximately 7:00. Corral B at 7:01 – and presumably – Corral C at 7:02, etc, etc. From what I saw everyone took this in stride as it was communicated to the crowd right before it happened. There was no complaining that I saw and complete cooperation – and that’s great of course! Perhaps that what was expected – and you would hope it would be… I only really have one thing to compare it to which was the Chicago Marathon I ran last year… In THAT race the human wall that separated the Seeded Corrals from the open corral was nearly trampled as it began to burst at the seams behind me. Most reasonable runners realize that your chip time is your official time, your PR time, and clock time just becomes another cool anecdote – so starting 5 minutes after 7:00 is fine even — time doesn’t start for you until you’re across the line.

Ok – so it went smoothly. How did it compare to years past? I never had any trouble in years past really although in one respect I would say it was greatly improved. That is, the general density and congestion even before the race started. Usually it’s cram-packed shoulder to shoulder and this year there definitely felt as if there was breathing room – everywhere! Sure it was still crowded but you actually had room to sit down and stretch if you wanted and this didn’t relinquish – right up to the start of the race. There was such a difference in fact that I wondered if the announced record field was actually in fact smaller than past years – it wasn’t. There were 6,600+ lined up.

So I started at 7:01 with corral B. One fun aspect over the first couple of miles was every time we crested a hill and I got a look at the field in front of me there was the usual mass of runners but this year there was a nice huge gap with a scattered few runners in-between it and then the mass of the “A” corral runners.

Another thing I noticed is that when it was the mass start… you’d immediately be passing people left and right and having people sprinting past you right and left as everyone vied for their position and pacing rhythm…  fading from their overly ambitious start position or latecomers galloping forward to unite with likewise runners and pace teams — with the corral start it seemed as if most people were going one speed… this made it a little more difficult to pass as no obvious lanes presented themselves, but everyone was going at least an adequate speed I suppose. I went out fast I thought, perhaps too fast remembering past instances of going out to strong early and past pacing teams that went out moderately and worked into good paces eventually. I was a little unsure and in a sort of mode where I was treating Hospital Hill with special care… certainly didn’t want to overdo it too early as I believe I did the year prior when I missed my goal by 8 minutes or so.

I was ahead of the 1:45 and 1:50 pace groups from Corral B through mile 4 or 5. Here 1:45 passed me, but that was mostly the plan… finish between them and 1:50. They actually looked pretty serious as they passed me in formation… some serious runners there. I think now, that I probably could have hung with them the rest of the way no problem… but I was just still a little apprehensive. I kept my steady non-pace team pace.

This being my sixth HHR I really feel like I know the course well now. I looked upon every mile with recognition and memories of past years… every stretch is quite familiar and I’m continually pleasantly surprised to encounter them all as I turn corners and crest hills with a smile on my face. Each landmark a silent mile marker.

Well 1:45 was passed and I never saw them again, and the group that I didn’t want to catch me, the 1:50 group I never saw again either. It all went according to plan! I hit the mile 5 aid station and downed a gel, a full cup of gatorade — (which was mixed SO tightly it was very salty! YUM!), and even some water and walked for a brief moment. After this I was fully refreshed and also quite warmed up. The temperature was absolutely perfect and for the remainder of the race I never once felt a twinge of a cramp, never once was “beat” on a hill or had to slow due to any sort of uncomfortable sensation whatsoever… in short… I felt great! There was a point… around mile 7 – Meyer and Brookside – where last year… I was soooooo grateful for buckets of ice waiting there which I scooped up handfuls of and melted them on my forehead and neck… which helped to cool me down greatly. Here this day however, I daresay I was just moderately sweating and not at all hot or tired or uncomfortable.

The weather was so perfect I guess I should have just gone for an overall Half Marathon PR after all… but I was still well on track to run a nice HHR PR, so that’s what I stuck with. Then even at mile 11 or so I felt as if I had a second wind and picked it up a little. Broadway hill wasn’t too bad this time… Trinity hill I knew would be there… and I heard someone remark it cruel… yes it kinda is… but I bounded up it and ran it in at a very brisk but comfortable pace. It was here in 2008 I believe I over exerted myself and had some blood vessels in my calves pop and cramp as I ran the final 400m or — attempted to sprint in some fashion… that was a scary moment then… but not so this time.

I ran it in comfortably and knew what I had awaiting me… Three Little Pigs BBQ, a beer (sadly not boulevard, but I suppose I’ll drink any free beer), flip flops, etc.

In the eating area was live video of people crossing the finish line and an enthusiastic DJ. Last year there was a band here… but the DJ was sufficient I think. Speaking of bands there were a few out on the course and they were enjoyable. The one though, shortly after the turn onto Brookside… was the same spot this year and last in which I got a big adrenaline boost. That’s the spot 🙂

Well, anyway… watching this live video it occurred to me that Hospital Hill is just this technologically bleeding edge, over the top, commercialized, blaring, furious heart pounding, glamorous, in your face, concrete, trendy blue, tasty, better than well done, furiously organized, bright, new-and-improved event! Hospital Hill Run has some of the best swag ever too that is just, as I’ve said before, bombastic. There is nothing wrong with any of those adjectives either…. Hospital Hill is old, storied, it is-what-it-is and its one of the best pulled off and organized races from top to bottom anywhere. I guess I have this perfect scent of it in my mind’s eye but it’s difficult to convey. You’ll just have to run it yourself six times and see what you think.

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Jun 3 2012

Hospital Hill Run 2012 by the numbers

Let’s revisit the 2011 and 2010 numbers by looking at the 2012 numbers shall we?

Participation Year by Year:

Year Total Half 10k 5k Increase
2006 2692 1339 594 759 N/A
2007 3036 1545 710 781 344
2008 3434 1823 817 794 398
2009 4829 2400 1273 1156 1395
2010 6176 2970 1528 1678 1347
2011 6584 3172 1410 2002 406
2012 6610 3355 1531 1724 26

And then my updated numbers…

Year Date Time Overall Age Gender Pace
HH 07 6/2/2007 1:56:32 637/1545 59/105 479/955 8:54
41% 56% 50%
HH 08 6/7/2008 1:54:57 390/1823 41/111 290/993 8:47
21% 36% 29%
HH 09 6/6/2009 1:51:37 668/2400 102/204 521/1267 8:32
27% 50% 41%
HH 10 6/5/2010 1:48:42 443/2970 72/258 360/1502 8:18
15% 28% 24%
HH 11 6/4/2011 1:54:51 595/3164 90/278 450/1604 8:46
18% 32% 28%
HH 12 6/2/2012 1:47:23 660/3348 83/246 514/1695 8:12
19% 33% 30%
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May 29 2012

…a scant few days remain…

Well it’s here. Not too much to say this year, but let’s hit a few bullets:

– It doesn’t look to be quite sold out… you can REGISTER NOW or possibly register at the expo. The field was expanded so a previous near sell out and/or actual sell out may have been met and they’re squeezing in a few more.

– I really wish I could give out another free entry like I was already able to do for one person! I do have one other thing… if anyone’s out there… anyone still reading this… if you leave a comment on this post I may hand out a $15 gift card to RoadID… you’ve seen those of course… you read the ads in Runner’s World…  you know what it is! So yes I have one gift certificate to give out. If you leave a comment simply stating your goal time for Hospital Hill you’re entered in the drawing!

– Hospital Hill route looks to be the same this year. There is that little indentation at the extreme southern end up 62nd st and down 61st that continues to allow for the moved start line. If you haven’t run the Hospital Hill Run lately, well it adds YES another hill!

– I’m going to be DOG TIRED. I’m going to the Royals game this Friday night. Yes that’s right… this Friday night at 7:10pm will be at the Royals game… which probably leaves me at home any time between 10:30pm and 12:30am. Honestly though, that’s not so bad. I’ve done plenty of races on barely any sleep before. The good advice of course – especially if you have a hard time goal in mind – is to get the good night’s rest. The very first Hospital Hill I ran in 2007 I was so anxious (it was my first half, and my first big race at all) that I think I finally got to sleep about 1:30 and then awoke every half hour thinking I was late. I ended up running it fine in 1:56.

– Not to be outdone, I will THEN attend the 1:10pm Royals game Saturday afternoon! So yes that’s Ball Game – Home – Sleep – Drive – Run – Drive – Ball Game! Hey! Sounds fine to me! I love a good half-marathon in the morning with a full day planned! (it’s just the full marathons I’m kinda scared of, but hey, I plan full days with those too).

So! It’s piece two of the medal, an X thousand runners which I will analyze a scant 5 days from now, and another piece of the history books. Hospital Hill Run is almost here! I’m kinda getting excited writing about it!

Don’t forget leave a comment with your goal time for a $15 gift cert to RoadID (plus I have another code you can stack with it too!).

SEE YOU AT HHR!!!! SAY HI TO ME I WILL BE AT THE 1:50:00 pace group right next to the pacers wearing a white 2007 Hospital Hill Run shirt that says “Run For the Hill of it!” on the back.
(I was debating between running with the 1:45 and slowing or running with the 1:50 and speeding up… I think I’m going the easier route! 1:45 is a tough pace for me!)

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Mar 29 2012

Goal Establishment and Running Logs…

65 days – 2 months 4 days – until Hospital Hill Run 2012… when last examined specifically I had it at 85 days.

I’ve really been keeping up with my running log – and by that token I’ve also been keeping up with my running for the most part. The running log is great… if you’ve ever read my “About” page … that’s why this site is here… so I can keep a nice, easy, accessible running log. I even went today and resurrected my 2011 running log and linked it off the running log page… I can now compare the two side by side… and it looks like 2012 is going marginally better… I’ve really felt this time like I’ve quite kept up with it all. Usually I’m concerned about long runs – or more specifically the lack thereof as most of my runs tend to be 3-5 miles especially in years past but I’ve knocked out quite a few this year of distances over 7 miles. That’s a great feeling… to know you’re ready.

I was discussing training with my running bud and I mentioned to him that my next upcoming race, the Rock the Parkway half marathon was “in the bag/piece of cake/no sweat/done easily” — I hesitated for a moment before I sent that off as you don’t really ever want to be too over confident… but wait… why? Yes why the hell not? 13 miles!? I can knock that out in a couple hours man! (or less)… so… I sent it off. This is a blatant violation of certain unspoken runner’s creeds in which every task or race set before you will surely result in you “crawling across the finish line/leaving in an ambulance/finishing in 1+ hours more than it really will” etc etc ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Not discounting that… I’ve done it and will continue… but I regress…………………………………

Ok so its in the bag. Now what? Set a goal my friend! I like to set lots of goals. Don’t worry… you can always settle later by recalling and quoting any number of mishaps and misfortunes / sunspots etc. Starting with the first goal you’ll of course want to set the world record, then simply win, then set a personal record, then a course PR, then do better than last year… etc! Lots of goals!

Well my goal for Rock the Parkway, besides beating all comers will be to finish in 1:45ish. This is going to be the first of 4 half-marathons done in quick succession for me and this one should set the stage for things to come. I really want to run sub 1:45, and then I’d like to eventually run 1:39. I don’t know if the latter is possible, but if it is surely the former comes first. My current HM PR is 1:46:59 so I’ll need two minutes off of that for 1:44:59. I’ll actually settle for 1:45:XX.

SOOO….. Rock The Parkway… 1:45ish (sub 1:50) sounds good to start the season. The eventual goal will be a new PR/CR at the Hospital Hill Run. Hospital Hill is one tough course and I’ve had at least one good year on it… I was getting faster and faster each year until I wrecked it last year and had to invent new rules. So we have:

2007 – 1:56:32
2008 – 1:54:57
2009 – 1:51:37
2010 – 1:48:42
2011 – 1:54:51

This year I’ve conservatively set my goal at sub 1:54:51 — better than last year. Follow the goal chain up though and quickly we get to Course PR. I’d love to run sub 1:48:42. At Hospital Hill though!? Tough!!!! I really have no idea how I got that time in 2010. I believe that this year though, going in, I’m going to have a great idea of what I can do as I have not one, not two, but three lead up halves.

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Mar 20 2012

Unnecessarily verbose recollections of recent trail and track training

Yesterday I ran on good ‘ol Ken Bernard Park Trail. It was a fairly good run – and a quick one at that; punctuated near the end by a freshly rotting corpse of house cat laid out in the middle of the trail in such grotesque fashion that it was all I could do to retain my lunch. I can see it now in my mind’s eye: a grey cat which had it’s mouth open as if mewing with fangs bared and quite normal looking besides – save for a trip down the spine where the hind legs had a hole blown out of them by a dog or a shotgun. It was here at this exposure that several thousand scavenging consumers had assembled to wriggle about and waft waves of repulsiveness into the air. Stumbling forward from here I was able to continue and finish the run – stunned by my beautiful trail’s new addition.

As I departed my beloved well liked trail I ran into some geo-cah; no wait, wtf? Tick on my leg. Not attached thank GOODNESS but a little fat and enough to leak a discernibly and surprisingly off-yellow fluid as I crushed it and madly looked around for more. I don’t like ticks if it isn’t right now plain… and they’re just coming into season. Usually when RUNNING through the woods they just don’t have time to attach… but I suppose as I stumbled past the previously mentioned carcass one found time to go for a crawl. I believe next time I shall take precautions.

Well I left the well liked likable trail behind and that was a training day done, yesterday.

Today there was a nice rain falling which is at times a joy to run in. I set out with not much time on my hands – and smartly decided on a speed work out. These are hard to come by at times – not because of any other factor than the strange but perceptible characteristic of becoming harder and harder to set out for proportionately equal to the amount of time that has lapsed since the last. Conversely, now that I’ve got one down I expect to knock them out regularly for the rest of my training. Other “unique” runs follow the same pattern… a treadmill run is hard to commence if you’ve not done one in a while, a long run seems like there’s never a good time to start one since you haven’t done one in so long, been so long since you drove to a trail you’d rather not bother tonight, etc.

BUT! The pattern breaks somewhere… and tonight was the night! First track run I’ve done since June 2011. Love being able to pull that up on the Garmin logs, assuming I’ve labeled each run correctly. And you know what’s even more amazing? My postulated theory is right. Each track run of the past is surrounded by many more on each side date-wise, tapering off on each end. The other obvious factor becomes training goal and time off but believe me – sometimes it’s hard to get going on something and when you finally do – you’ve broken the ice and can continue. Great 🙂

So tonight’s speed workout wasn’t much… at least not anything to warrant the time spent here – but it was fun and enjoyably different to be on the track again. I ran there knowing the start line for the 100m on the south side of the track was .47 miles from my house. And was it? Yes it was. Comforting, those things that are constant. Well that aside I decided to see if I could run a sub 7:00 mile and ran 6:30. Good, but not great. I jogged a couple laps and decided to see if I could run a sub 1:00 quarter mile. I even turned on 90% at the end. 1:20! Terrible! I think? I’ve not done speed work in a while. No matter though – that just sets a nice high time which can be more easily broken next time – as I’m sure to return soon right? Oh, and I believe I was also hampered by unwelcome images of a rotting cat corpse which had me gagging and staggering at least once. Yuck.

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