It is unusual to have this much to write about in the first post of the year, but I hope this is an indication of the great things to come in 2016.
The story started awhile back after my fall Marathon in 2015, I ran a decent race, and lost some motivation to train seriously again. After the Marathon, I originally planned to train regularly, participate in local races, and eventually get ready for a spring Marathon in 2016. Then, I got an invitation from Skechers Performance to run in the Half at Houston Marathon on January 17. I was never satisfied with my Half best, and knowing Houston to be a flat course packed with fast elites, I decided to travel for a good Half in January.
The training leading up the Half was one of the most consistent block I have had. I think I averaged around 165k/week for around 6 weeks, and then gradually decreased the volume as the race got closer. I hit most of the key workouts except for a couple where I was very tired. Initially, I thought 72/3 minutes would be a great time goal to aim for, but as the race got closer, I decided I will just get to the startline and race.
The trip to Houston lived up to every bit of my expectations. The Houston Marathon organizing committee did a great justice for all the runners who participated. Everything from the Expo to the race volunteers to the post-race food were the highest of quality that I have experienced. It is definitely a race I would recommend and an experience I would like to have again.
Good job! Houston Marathon
Proud to be part of a fast growing team.
Sneak peek into this year’s collection.
What made the trip sweeter was that I had a wonderful stay with the family of a colleague. They were the best hosts that one can ask for. One of them worked with George W. Bush, and I had a blast learning about US politics.
This was home for 3 days.
These were my training partners!
The gun went off at 7AM on a breezy 4C Houston morning. I was not used to having so many elites at a race, so the first kilometer was a bit of a mess trying to pass people and getting passed by people. Eventually, a group of American women pulled along me. I knew the leading BAA girls were capable of running around 72s so I jumped on the back of the group and started rolling 5:25/mile. The good times last until about 10k, and after that I felt apart and began feeling sorry for how slow I was moving. Occasionally, I would be able to hold on for a couple of minutes with the people passing me, but for the most of the second part of the race was pretty miserable. In the last 5 kilometers, it was easy to realize how this is the course where Ryan Hall set his American record (59:43, and that is not the course record (59:22)!). The entire course was flat as a pancake. I finally found some energy in the last 2 miles and came through the finish line in 74:34.
Of course, I was not in this journey alone. On a day where I thought my effort would be overshadowed by the awesome performances the Canadian crew had. I received many more warm congratulations and encouragements from family and friends than I can mention here. It is the first time where I felt my training and racing have made an impact for others as well.
Like every race, I came away with many lessons. The first is that the first 15k of a Half should be comfortable. Looking back, I shouldn’t have forced myself to continue with the 72 group after I began to feel uncomfortable at 8k. The extra 2k at the wrong pace did more damage than I could have recovered at the end. In a long race, it is okay to drop back when you realize your initial goal was too aggressive, but at the same time it is difficult to think logically when you are racing. Second, I need to trust my first instinct to be better at running tangents. I actually studied the course and watched last year’s race a couple of times, but it was difficult to not get caught up in the moment and follow the runner 50 meters in front of me. On a couple of occasions, I swirled around the road causing me to run extra distances than necessary. I am always annoyed when people complain that the course is a few hundred meters long according to their GPS, because I do not think this is the course’s fault.
From my interactions with the runners at Houston. The simplest and most important lesson is that I did not achieve the times I desired because I did not train hard enough. Therefore, I am back to training for the next race.
Week of Jan 4-10 (120k)
M: 4.6 miles tempo
T: 14k easy
W: 10*3 min hard; 1min recovery
T: 15 w/ strides
S: 5 min tempo (twisted ankle)
S: AM: 20 w/ strides; PM: 4
Week of Jan 11-17 (75k)
M: 10 min tempo; 10*1 min hard; 1 min recovery
W: 1000m in 3:10; 2000m in 6:28
F: 5 w/ strides
S: 5 w/ strides
S: Half at Houston Marathon in 74:34
Week of Jan 18-24 (118k)
T: 15 w/ strides
W: 17 w/ strides
T: 5*1000m in 3:05; 3 min recovery
F: 20 w/ strides
S: 3*15 min @ 3:35/k
S: 19 w/ strides
Week of Jan 25-31 (155k)
M: 10 min @ 5:30/mile + 4*2 min fast; 2 min recovery
T: 20 w/ strides
W: 20 w/ strides
T: 10*200m in :33; strength exercise recovery
F: 21 w/ strides
S: AM: 19 w/ strides; PM: 21 w/ strides
S: AM: 19 w/ strides; PM: 5