Racing

Racing
contact me at e.senseman@gmail.com

3/31/2013

03/25 - 03/31

Snowboarding, traveling, and more training this week, with less than a week until the AR50. Here goes:

Monday (Mar. 25): PM 11 miles, 1hr:24, 7:37/mile, Breckenridge, CO. I did a few hours of snowboarding in the morning and then went out the door before dinner for a nice run through the streets of Breckenridge. Finally, a nice, sunny, and warmer (ish) day.
Tuesday (Mar. 26): PM 11 miles, 1hr:24, 7:39/mile, hill workout, Breckenridge, CO. I needed a full five mile warm up before the workout today after snowboarding again this morning. The workout included 4 x 280m hill, 2 x 700m hill, 2 x 780m hill, for a total of 4.5 miles of hill work, 2.5 of which was uphill and included around 1,200' of ascent. The pace on the uphills stayed between 7:50/mile and 8:30/mile while the downhill portions hovered around 6:45/mile.
Wednesday (Mar. 27): off. Another day long trek across part of the country, returning to St. Louis.
Thursday (Mar. 28): PM 16 miles, 1hr:45, 6:33/mile, 3 x 1mile, 18 x 20/40, 3 mile tempo, Washington University Track, Forest Park, Clayton, MO. I was happy with the workout this afternoon, given the long day of travel yesterday, the upset stomach (due to the imprudent decision to have beer cheese soup and a stout at lunch -- oops), and the windy conditions. I had a 2 mile warm up, a 2.5 mile cool down, and around a mile easy between each of the three sections of the workout. In the 1st part of the workout, I ran repeat miles in 5:20, 5:21, 5:24 with 400m easy jog between sets. In the 2nd part, I averaged around 6:30/mile for a bit less than three miles, running the 20 seconds hard at around 4:45/mile pace. During the 3rd part of the workout, I finished with a 3 mile run in 17:46 (5:58, 5:57, 5:51). Exhausted by the end.
Friday (Mar. 29): AM/PM 13 miles, 1hr:52, 8:37/mile, Lewis and Clark Trails, Weldon Springs, MO. A really nice, warm, sunny day made for pleasant running, although the trails were a mud bath and slowed the pace. Tough getting the legs moving after the effort yesterday.
Saturday (Mar. 30): PM 11 miles, 1hr:15, 6:51/mile, out-and-back on Wydown Rd. with a Forest Park loop, Clayton, MO. An enjoyable late afternoon run in some rain showers. Legs felt good.
Sunday (Mar. 31): off. General fatigue and a day of travel back to Madison gave me reason to take it easy today.

Weekly Totals: 62 miles, 7hrs:40. Fewer miles than planned again this week, but perhaps all for the better, since I had two good workouts and still felt good by the end of the week. Six days until the AR50!
March Totals: 315 miles, ~37hrs:20. A good month, which has me prepared for three April races.

3/24/2013

03/18 - 03/24

Post-marathon training week looked like this:

Monday (Mar. 18): off. Soreness lingering from Saturday.
Tuesday (Mar. 19): AM 12.5 miles, 1hr:26, 6:57/mile, SMR loop from the Capitol Square. Ran with Chris Rubesch on a cold, blustery, but sunny, morning. I could feel some soreness and tightness in my legs on the down hills, but otherwise am feeling better.
Wednesday (Mar. 20): AM 10+ miles, 1hr:10, 6:54/mile, out-and-back on Cap City from the Capitol Square. Another early run with Chris Rubesch; another cold, blustery, but sunny, morning. Legs improving (i.e. reduced soreness).
Thursday (Mar. 21): AM 13 miles, 1hr:28, 6:48/mile, SMR loop from BRC. Had an early run with Hank and Fran this morning and added two miles with Fran after the 11 mile loop. Once again: cold! My legs were feeling mostly recovered this morning, which is great news. Off to St. Louis in the afternoon.
Friday (Mar. 22): AM 11 miles, 1hr:18, 7:06/mile, out-and-back on Wydown to Forest Park loop, St. Louis, MO. Super early run this morning, as I was heading west by 6am for a long day in the car out to Breckenridge.
Saturday (Mar. 23): PM 7+ miles, 1hr:34, 12:58/mile, snowshoeing on Lower Flume, Mike's, and Middle Flume trails, Breckenridge, CO. I've developed a bit of a cold this week, so I got some sleep and relaxed in the morning before hitting the trails in the afternoon. Most of the trails were untouched, and the snow was up to 3+ feet deep in places, which made for quite an effort. About 1,000' of climbing on this one.
Sunday (Mar. 24): AM/PM 15 miles, 2hrs:03, 8:13/mile, out-and-back on Tiger Rd, Breckenridge, CO. The blustery and cold theme continued this morning, as I ran in high winds, single digit temperatures, and snow/ice covered roads. About 1,200' of ascent, mostly on the way out, made more challenging by the conditions. Was really pleased with how my new Montrail Bajada shoes did on the roads (no spikes or cleats needed).

Weekly Totals: ~69 miles, 9 hours. Slightly lower mileage than I might have hoped, but a good week back after the race last weekend. Two weeks out from AR50!

It's hard to tell, but I'm thigh-deep in snow here.

A view from the Middle Flume trail, Breckenridge, CO.

24" of snow in the last week here in Breckenridge. 

Breakfast tacos at Amazing Grace, Breckenridge, CO.

3/18/2013

03/11 - 03/17

Race week! Here's the breakdown:

Monday (Mar. 11): off
Tuesday (Mar. 12): AM 12 miles, 3 x 800m/200m/400m, at the Shell with Fran. Easy 200s between fast half-mile and quarter-mile repeats with 400m easy jog between sets. Repeats in 2:36/1:00/1:15; 2:35/1:00/1:14; 2:35/1:00/1:15. PM 4 miles, :30, 7:30/mile, treadmill. Legs were tight from this morning, but a few easy miles felt good. Moderate incline throughout.
Wednesday (Mar. 13): AM 10 miles, 1hr:13, 7:17/mile, out-and-back on Cap City Trail. A bit sore from yesterday on a cold, windy morning. Legs should come around by the weekend.
Thursday (Mar. 14): AM 8 miles, :56, 7:01/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail. As expected, my legs feel much better today. More easy miles in preparation for the weekend.
Friday (Mar. 15): AM 6 miles, :44, 7:14/mile, out-and-back down 14th to the Lincoln Memorial, DC. Final easy run before the race tomorrow.
Saturday (Mar. 16): Rock N' Roll USA Marathon, 3rd place, 2:36:18 (5:58/mile), Washington, DC. See my Race Report: Rock N' Roll USA Marathon. The short story: this was the best race that I've ever run.
Sunday (Mar. 17): off. Not too sore -- good news.

Weekly Totals: 66+ miles, ~7hrs:20. Lower miles due to the race at the end of the week, but otherwise I'm staying on track with training. Hopefully I recover swiftly enough to keep my mileage up over the next two weeks.

Along the Mall, with the Washington Monument afar, DC.

The Lincoln Memorial from a distance, DC.

Washington, DC. 

I found home while away.


Race Report: Rock N' Roll USA Marathon


The weather was almost perfect and my training had gone as well as I could hope, so I felt ready for a marathon PR on Saturday. But apparently my goals were too prosaic, lofty as they seemed before I crossed the finish line on Saturday morning: my 2:36:18 finishing time was almost 6 minutes under my original projected goal, almost 4 minutes under my revised projected goal, and almost 2 minutes under my "best day possible" goal; moreover, prior to the race, I had no thoughts at all about making the podium, nor did I ever, in my wildest dreams, expect to finish 2:06 behind Michael Wardian (granted, he had five pelvis fractures last year and has only recently returned to training).

So it's safe to say that I exceeded my expectations on Saturday; indeed, I had my best day of racing to date. My plan was to go through the half marathon averaging around 6:07 per mile, and then to start picking up the pace for a negative split on the second half of the course (the second half of the course had considerably less ascent, and so was considerably faster, in theory, so my goal was to take what the course was willing to give me. The total ascent was, for a road marathon course, a not-so-flat 1,000+ feet.). I executed that plan with precision. The proof, as the saying goes, is in the pudding. Here's what the pudding looked like:

0 - 5km:             18:48 (6:03/mile), 11th place
5km - 10km:      19:01 (6:08/mile), 10th place
10km - 10m:      22:45 (6:01/mile), 10th place
10m - 13.1m:     18:37 (6:01/mile), 5th place
First 13.1:          1:19:11 (6:03/mile)

13.1m - 20m:     40:22 (5:51/mile), 4th place
20m - 26.2m:     36:45 (5:56/mile), 3rd place
Second 13.1:      1:17:07 (5:53/mile)

Marathon:        2:36:18 (5:58/mile), 3rd place

A few points are worth mentioning: (1) My first 10km was in 37:49, my last 10km in 36:45 (-1:04); (2) my first 13.1m was in 1:19:11, my second 13.1m was in 1:17:07 (-2:04); (3) the second half of my marathon was 29 seconds faster than winner Peter Lawrence (-0:29) and was 2:14 faster than ultrarunning great, and second place finisher, Michael Wardian (-2:14). I had the distinct pleasure to talk with both for quite some time after the race, especially with Wardian, who was incredibly nice and willing to discuss all sorts of topics, and joked with both of them that if I had had five more miles to chase, I might have caught them (I was joking, but I think there's some truth to it!).

*A short write up by Charlie Ban at RunWashington is here.
*Final results can be found here.

Thanks, as usual, to the volunteers, spectators, race organizers, and my support crew for a wonderful race! Thanks, too, to RaceReady and Berkeley Running Company. Some photos and video from the race are below:
video
An introduction during the award ceremonies. 

And we're off!
Cruising through DC, around mile 14. 

The celebrations begin (with Cynthia).


A wonderful support crew (with Ileana and Werner).

The half-marathon finisher and I (with Danny).

More photos, more smiles (with Kari, Danny, Cynthia).

Award ceremonies. 

A nice piece of hardware.




3/10/2013

03/04 - 03/10

The penultimate week before the DC marathon looked like this:

Monday: off
Tuesday: AM 11 miles, 5 x 1,000m at the Shell with Fran. Three miles warm up; four miles cool down; 400m jog between repeats; repeats @ 3:16, 3:14, 3:11, 3:08, 3:05. The plan was to run six, as Fran did (his fourth, which I missed, being a 3:12), but I was reduced to the ground when my calves cramped up after the third repeat. I'm not sure what the cause was, but the pain was severe and never fully subsided (though it reduced enough for me to finish the workout after a few minutes of stretching).
Wednesday: PM 9 miles, 1hr:07, 7:27/mile, treadmill. Easy miles in the evening after a snow storm during the day. My calves were sore all day yesterday, but were feeling better by this evening.
Thursday: PM 10 miles, 1hr:11, 7:06/mile, out-and-back on Cap City Trail to the Arb (road). More easy miles in the late afternoon.
Friday: PM 14 miles, 8 mile race pace in 47:41 (5:57/mile), Arb (road). Three miles warm up; three miles cool down; splits @ 6:10, 5:59, 6:05, 5:57, 5:55, 5:47, 5:56, 5:48. I started off easy (as I'll hopefully do in the marathon), and then slowly, but sporadically, tried to increase the pace. Felt good.
Saturday: AM 15 miles, 1hr:53, 7:32/mile, out-and-back on Southwest Trail with Hank. A nasty morning, with freezing rain and overcast skies. But Hank and I managed a solid run.
Sunday: AM 14 miles, 1hr:31, 6:31/mile, SMR loop plus three miles with Fran. The pace stayed brisk, but not purposively, as Fran and I cruised along during another nasty morning (rain, puddles, cold).

Weekly Totals: 73 miles, ~8:30. I tried to keep my mileage as tame as I could manage this week, since I'll be going for a fast road marathon next weekend. I feel fairly rested, so I'll be trying to stay feeling good into next weekend.

By The Numbers: Ages of Top 2012 Ultrarunners

UltraRunning Magainze, in their most recent issue (March), published an article summarizing ultrarunning results from 2012 (I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had the 53rd fastest 50 mile time and the 21st fastest 50 km time in the country). Looking through the results, I paid close attention to the ages of the top finishers. It has been claimed that one does not achieve peak performance in ultrarunning until one is older: perhaps in one's 30s or 40s. I've also heard it claimed that, in the case of ultrarunning, women typically peak later than men. Do these claims hold any weight?

Using the statistics from UltraRunning Magazine, I averaged, for both men and women, the ages of the runners who were credited with the Top 15 overall finish times, from the 50km distance to the 100 mile distance, in 2012. Additionally, I averaged the ages of male and females with the Top Graded Performances from each of the distances. Lastly, I averaged the ages for those that were credited with four or more wins in 2012. Before providing those results, consider the following information on 2012 ultrarunners:

36, 484 different individuals in North America accounted for 65, 530 ultra finishes; 717 races had at least 20 finishers; 252 races had at least 80 finishers; the median age of ultra finishers was 41.3 years; women constituted 29% of ultra finishers, men the remaining 71%; the further the distance raced, the more male dominated the race became, as female finishers constituted 31.4% of 50km finishers, 26.1% of 50 mile finishers, and 20.8% of 100 mile finishers; what about those 100km races? they were the least raced of any standard ultra distance, constituting just 3.1% of all ultra races (50km made up 53.9% of races, 50 mile made up 23.4%, 100 mile made up 8.4%, 7% were fixed time races, and 4.2% were other (here's to you Badwater 135 folks, and others!)).

Data Set 1: Consider the breakdown in the average ages of runners who were credited with the Top 15 overall finishing times in the respective distances below (M indicates the average Male age; W indicates the average Women's age):

1. 100 mile: M 37.33 years*; W 36.93 years
2. 100 km: M 34.47 years; W 36.67 years
3. 50 mile: M 32.67 years**; W 35.73 years***
4. 50 km: M 34.07; W 34.93****

*Jon Olsen had two of the Top 15 times; Mike Morton had three.
**Ian Sharman had two of the Top 15 times.
***Ellie Greenwood had two of the Top 15 times; Melanie Bos had two.
****Megan Hovis had two of the Top 15 times; Michelle Mitchell had two; Connie Gardner had two.

Over the four distances, for Top 15 overall times, the average male age was 34.64 years; the average female age was 36.07 years.

Note the following: at 100 miles, the average male age was .4 years more than the average women's age (+0.4); at 100km, the average male age was 2.2 years less (-2.2); at 50 miles, the average male age was 3.06 years less (-3.06); at 50km, the average male age was .86 years less (-0.86).

Data Set 2: Consider the breakdown in the average ages of runners who were credited with the Top 15 Graded Performances in the respective distances below (UltraRunning Magazine says that: "These rankings are determined by using the Comparative Difficulty Ratios developed by Gary Wang at RealEndurance.com." See UltraRunning Magazine for more information.):

1. 100 mile: M 34.53 years; W 36.6 years*
2. 100 km: M 31.73 years^; W 37.9 years^^
3. 50 mile: M 30.6 years**; W 32.67 years***
4. 50 km: M 30.53 years****; W 34.07 years

*Tina Lewis had two of the Top 15 Graded Performance times.
**Ian Sharman had two of the Top 15 Graded Performance times; Brian Rusiecki had two.
***Ellie Greenwood had three of the Top 15 Graded Performance times; Stephanie Howe had two.
****Max King had two of the Top 15 Graded Performance times.
^Only 11 Top Graded Performances provided.
^^Only 10 Top Graded Performances provided.

Over the four distances, for Top Graded Performances, the average male age was 31.85 years; the average female age was 35.31 years.

Note the following: at 100 miles, the average male age was 2.07 years less than the average women's age (-2.07); at 100km, the average male age was 6.17 years less (-6.17); at 50 miles, the average male age was 2.07 years less (-2.07); at 50km, the average male age was 3.54 years less (-3.54).

Now note that: the average age for male Top Grade Performances was 2.81 years less than the average age for male Top 15 times overall (-2.81); the average age for female Top Grade Performances was .76 years less than the average age for female Top 15 times overall (-0.76).

Note further that: at 100 miles, the average age for males with the Top 15 Graded Performances was 2.8 years less than the average age for males with the Top 15 times overall (-2.8); at 100km, the average male age with the Top 11 Graded Performances was 2.74 years less (-2.74); at 50 miles, the average male age with the Top 15 Graded Performances was 2.61 years less (-2.61); at 50km, the average male age with the Top 15 Graded Performances was 3.54 years less (-3.54).

Note finally that: at 100 miles, the average female age of runners with the Top 15 Graded Performances was .33 years less than the average female age of runners with the Top 15 times overall (-0.33); at 100km, the average female age with the Top 10 Graded Performances was 1.23 years more (+1.23); at 50 miles, the average female age of runners with the Top 15 Graded Performances was 3.06 years less (-3.06); at 50km, the average female age of runners with the Top 15 Graded Performances was .86 years less (-0.86).

Data Set 3: Consider the breakdown in the average age of runners who were credited with four or more wins in 2012:

1. Men (18 individuals): 32.28 years
2. Women (13 individuals): 36.23 years

Note here that: the average age for males credited with four or more wins in 2012 is 3.95 years less than the average age for females credited with four or more wins in 2012 (-3.95).

Conclusions: If we assume that (1) statistics from previous years are similar to those in 2012, (2) top finishers are at their peak, or close to their peak, in terms of their performance, and (3) the average age of top finishers  is relevant to their performance, then it seems correct to say that (a) one's performance at ultra running distances continues to improve at least into one's 30s, and that (b) women appear to peak later than men (by at least two years, on this data).

3/03/2013

02/25 - 03/03

A great week of training! Here goes:

Monday (Feb. 25): AM 10 miles, 1hr:09, 6:56/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail. Roads/bike paths were in decent shape today and my bask stayed brisk. A nice, calm morning.
Tuesday (Feb. 26): AM 11.5 miles, 3 x 1mile, 400m/600m, 10 x 20/40, at the Shell with Fran. 400m easy jog between miles, and the repeats were @ 5:21, 5:16, 5:14. The intention was to run four 1-mile repeats but my legs were smoked after three. Fran went on to run a 5:04 for the fourth mile, while I ran the first 400m (1:16), rested for 600m, then ran the last 600m (1:54). After an easy mile on the track, I ran back home and did my 10 x 20 seconds on/40 seconds easy. PM 8 miles, 1hr, 7:27/mile, treadmill. Easy miles on the treadmill as a snowstorm started blowing in. Just as the paths were beginning to clear, more snow!
Wednesday (Feb. 27): PM 10.5 miles, 1hr:18, 7:28/mile, along Monona Bay to the Arb (road). Really poor conditions this afternoon: several inches of snow on the ground, snow falling, and strong winds. The conditions made the run fun but a bit frustrating.
Thursday (Feb. 28): AM 8 miles, 1hr, 7:26/mile, out-and-back on the Cap City Trail. Easy miles in, once again, subpar conditions.
Friday (Mar. 1): AM 18+ miles, 11 miles in 1:04:14 (5:50/mile), Forest Park, St. Louis, MO. Back in St. Louis for the weekend and what a run today! 3.5 mile warm up and cool down with a strong 11 mile run in the middle. The idea was to run at marathon race pace but the splits ended up on the faster end. I felt really strong, and really relaxed throughout the workout, allowing myself to go easy during the rolling miles, and then to pick up the pace during the flatter miles. Splits were thus: 5:41, 5:54, 5:59, 6:02, 5:42, 5:46, 5:44, 5:57, 5:53, 5:54, 5:37. PM 7+ miles, :52, 7:17/mile, Powder Valley Park, Kirkwood, MO. An evening run through some hilly, but paved, terrain.
Saturday (Mar. 2): AM/PM 20 miles, 2hrs:10, 6:30/mile, out-and-back on Wydown Rd. to Forest Park loop (x 2.5), St. Louis, MO. I was surprised at how well my legs were able to respond after yesterday. The pace felt leisurely during most of the miles. I ran four miles at (near) marathon race pace in the middle, miles 9 - 12, in 5:59, 5:54, 5:54, 6:02.
Sunday (Mar. 3): off. 183 miles in 12 days. Time to rest.

Weekly Totals: 93+ miles, ~10hrs:50. A spectacular week; as much mentally as physically (the faster paces felt easier than expected and so I'm more confident in my ability to run a fast road marathon).
February Totals: 320 miles, ~47hours. I couldn't be happier with training this month. Four days off, twenty-four days of running, which amounts to a bit over a half marathon on average per day of running.