2014 Victory for Victims 5k Recap

So how does one follow up a Marathon PR and Boston Qualifier?  How about by running a 5k!?  Doesn’t sound very logical, but that’s exactly what I did and it worked out pretty well for me!

Following the LA Marathon, I recovered quicker than I have after any of the previous 6 marathons I’ve run.  Chalk it up to improved fitness, chalk it up to improved nutrition, you can even chalk it up to running a smart race.  Whatever it is I felt pretty darn good a week out from the race.  I decided to take advantage of that and move forward with doing more running and focusing on speed.  I noticed some unexpected fitness gains.  It was weird to me to feel so strong at shorter distances so soon after the Marathon, though the feedback I received from other experienced runners is, this is not abnormal at all!  In fact, it happens often.

I decided to take advantage of this and shoot for a new 5k PR!  What race would I run?  I decided to return to the “scene of the crime” of the only official 5k I’ve done.  The Victory For Victims race which I ran in 2009 (and won my age group).  At that race I set my official PR of 19:37, though that wasn’t my primary target!

Cats Vitory

Going into this race I had an A goal, B goal and C goal. My A goal was a sub 18 min 5k. My B goal was sub 18:30 (to beat my boot camp 3 mile time), My C goal was simply to PR in the distance (beat 19:37).  The sub 18:00 time had some significance.  First, has to due with my Marine Corps background.  Runners under a certain age who complete the 3 mile run portion of their physical fitness test (PFT) in under 18 minutes are awarded the max allotted points.  Even though, at the age of 34 I would not be held to that same standard, and a 5k is technically .1 miles longer than the 3 mile distance.  The other significance was something I read on the website of The Los Angeles New Years Race.  Male runners who run sub 18 minutes are eligible for “Sub Elite” status.  Though I don’t consider myself “Sub Elite” it would be pretty cool to get that treatment at least for a day!

Anyway, I made it to Lake Balboa / Woodley Park bright and early at 6:30 am to pick up my my bib and t-shirt, and to meet up with some familiar faces (and some new ones).  I met up with Jeff from Runnergy Sherman Oaks who was meeting up with The New Basin Blues Running Club.  I had run with this group a lot in the past, especially on trails!  I caught up with some “long lost” friends and made friends with those I didn’t know so well.  Its definitely a nice way to start a race day morning with some great company!

Pre Race Blues

For a local 5k it was a well organized event and we had plenty to do at the start.  It was an expo set up with vendors, food (Panera Bread supplied pre run Bagel Bites) and swag giveaways (I got a Brooks Mustache Keychain).  The Laker Girls were on hand to motivate the runners before the start, though I don’t remember them leading a full warmup as they did in previous years, but I may have been pre-occupied.  Olympian Raefer Johnson was on hand as an annual staple to this event.  He spoke before the race kicked off and stuck around for the award ceremony post race.

V4V 5k Start Line
At the start of the race everyone was jockeying for position, I told a much older woman to be careful standing right at the start line as some faster runners may try to push her out of the way. When the horn went off I fought a little to get my space and I was off like a bat out of hell. With all of the adrenaline (and a little bit of caffeine) I was flying!  When I looked at my watch I realized it was not a pace I could maintain for the entire 5k and came to my senses a bit to avoid blowing up completely.  I gradually settled down and followed up the 5:35 first mile with a 5:53 second mile. All the while I was competing with a runner named Rene Canizales.  Rene is a New Basin Blues Team Member whom I met before the race. Very nice guy, but who says nice guys ain’t competitive?!  We took turns passing each-other at different parts of the race but neither of us was ever too far behind from the other.  The final mile plus was tough! I felt like I was just hanging on at this point, but I was still giving my all!  This is where my one gripe with the race comes in.  The course, at some critical parts was not very clearly marked, and in the final mile it really made a difference! I nearly missed a vital turn but quickly recovered.  Thankfully there were some volunteers to show the way… at the last second!  I also had to dodge some on-coming runners from the back of the pack.  They were coming while I was going.  The final obstacle was a pedestrian tunnel which dipped down and then back up ending back at the park for a final right turn on the grass to the finish line.  Though I was slightly ahead when we got out of the tunnel, Rene out kicked me from there, and I had no answer!

V4V 5k Finish
My final time was 18:07 with Rene ahead of me at 18:03.  After the race we congratulated each other, I then found out Rene was not even in my age group!  He’s 37 and I’m 34, nonetheless, it was motivation that pushed us both and we were both appreciative of each other for that purpose!  I finished 9th overall and 1st in my Age Group. Rene was 8th overall and 2nd in his age group. It felt great to know that I gave it all I had out there! No doubt the friendly competition helped! I am thrilled with my new PR and still have a sub 18 minute 5k goal within reach!

Results 2 Results 1

Post race festivities were great with hot food from El Torro and Ice Cream cones from Ben and Jerry’s. There were free massages available for runners as well!  The awards ceremony was great as every age group winner were called up by name to receive a medal presented by Raefer Johnson.  For this race there are no finishers medals for all participants, so if you want to leave with “bling”, you have to place in your age group!

Age Division Winners Men

Finally a nice bonus is the race pics which were made available online for free!  No, not the type with the big bold PROOF stamped on it, but a high quality race pic that can even be personalized with your name and finishing time!

Post Race Group

Post Race Thoughts: I guess with the 5k, there isn’t as much to pick apart with such a short race.  I definitely think I could tweak my strategy a bit and run more even splits, but that’s pretty much all I would change.  I wore my New Balance Minimus 20v2 for this race and they performed wonderfully.  I didn’t feel them, or at any point did I think abut them which is great!  This also shows that I was running with good form, since in these shoes you you feel it when your form is not right!  I’m not sure what’s next for me.  I’m eyeing a Fall Marathon but will likely run a 10k, Half Marathon, or both before then!  I hope to keep the PR streak going!

Happy Running!

New Basin Blues CATS Team

 

Leveling Up as a Runner

“It never gets easier, you just go faster” – Greg Lemond

The above quote was made by a cyclist, but it definitely applies to running as well.  Is it true?

I do believe there is truth to this statement, increased speed is a byproduct of hard work and training.  Where running is concerned I believe this statement is a little limited.  Obviously speed is not the only factor to consider, there’s strength, endurance, experience, mental toughness, etc.

You can even draw some parallels to the video game concept of leveling up.

LevelUp4

 

In some cases the “Leveling Up” is very literal.  Nike+ has a system that assigns a specific color as your total miles increase.  The color system is definitely a great way to encourage motivate runners.  Some runners take it further and participate in challenges as well.

LevelUp2

Then you have the  ‘Level Up’ training system developed by Adam and Kara Goucher and provided by Run The Edge.  The program structures the runner’s training as an actual game in which you accumulate points by completing a mix of different workout options, all assigned a certain number of points.  Accumulating a specific number of points will allow you to Level Up and move on to the next level!

LevelUp3

 

For those who grew up playing video games, all of this Leveling Up can appeal to our gamer sensibilities and to a degree, our competitive nature.  One common theme I’ve noticed is that after a certain level is achieved, there are more requirements to achieve the next level.

For me, the concept of Leveling Up in running relates to fitness, and other gains that I mentioned early in this post, (speed, endurance, strength, experience and mental toughness).  Initially these gains can make running feel easier.  The key is recognizing when we achieve these gains and stepping up our running and training accordingly.

Post LA Marathon I discovered that I had leveled up, in different areas of my running.  My tempo run pace felt much easier to maintain, previously challenging hills were no longer kicking my butt, etc.  I couldn’t help but test my new fitness during some workouts, resulting in some personal bests.  Since, I’ve decided to make some adjustments to my running and my goals.  I signed up for a 5k ready to run a new PR.

Here are 4 points if you have recently “Leveled Up”

  1. Challenge yourself – If workouts that were once considered challenging are much easier it may be time to step it up.  Feeling stronger?  It may be time to add more hills or more challenging workouts to your training.  Increased endurance? It may be time to start training for a longer race!  Faster?  You may benefit from a new pace group or training with some of your faster friends.
  2. Increase your mileage – To continue to see fitness gains it’s often necessary to increase weekly mileage as well.  Think about going from a Novice level training program to Intermediate.  Though there are different mileage options on training plans to accommodate those with busier schedules, generally more advanced training programs will include increased mileage.
  3. Recover – While stepping up your training efforts as a result of fitness gains its also important to consider recovery.  Being able to perform more quality workouts also means that it will take a toll on your body.  And while increased fitness may lead to taking less rest days during the week, recovery should not be neglected.  Whether its in the form of a complete rest day, an easy run, or cross training, its important to give your body a chance to recover to avoid over usage injuries, especially while you’re pushing yourself to new limits!
  4. Adjust your goals – I’ve touched on goals in a previous post and they will be different for everyone.  For many runners this means attempting to run a PR in a race.  For others it may mean racing a new distance be it a 5k, Half Marathon, Marathon, or Ultra.

LevelUp1

If you are struggling with leveling up and achieving fitness gains there may be different things to consider.

  1. Nutrition – Fueling your body is just as important as your training.  If your nutrition is suffering your performance will also suffer, at the very least, you will not be performing to your full potential.  For those struggling in this area it can be as simple as making healthier choices, for others it may not be so simple and I’d recommend consulting with a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist that’s familiar with the needs of endurance athletes.  I, personally saw great improvements after I incorporated using my NutriBullet and made other changes to my diet.
  2. Mix up your training – If the majority of your runs are the same distance, pace, terrain, etc. mixing it up is a great way to see improvement.  Longer runs should be slower, while shorter runs, faster.  Incorporating hills, trail running, and intervals can activate different muscle groups and lead to improvements.  Running on different surfaces is also a good idea.  A good running coach can identify areas on improvement and recommend different types of training, workouts, runs, to help get you to the next level.
  3. Rest / Recovery – Once again I must harp on rest and recovery.  If you are not seeing fitness gains one possibility is that you are not giving your body enough time to recover from hard workouts.  In addition to rest days, post run recovery is key.  Getting proper nutrients, proteins and carbs following a tough workout can help speed up recovery and maximize your fitness gains.

Best of luck to everyone, whatever your goals are, no matter what level you are at.  I believe that running should always be enjoyed, but its always nice to see progress!

Happy Running

– Eddie D

 

 

 

2014 LA Marathon Race Report

An epic race weekend deserves an equally epic race report!  The 2014 LA Marathon will forever rank high among my favorite races I have run. Just an incredible experience from start to finish from the expo to the finish line!

runlamarathon

Expo Day:

Being a part of an Official fully organized and supported training program for the first time has been amazing.  It also created such a huge build up for this race, so much so that I nearly blew my training!  On the final taper week, I thought it a good idea to run an 8 mile fartlek workout (7 with my friend Marko) I reasoned that we’d take it easy, but no chance of that happening!  Competition being what it is, we hit some blazing fast speeds that day.  Thankfully that was on Monday and I still had some time to recover before Sunday.  But first, the Expo!

Sarah Kenton Expo

Nutribullet is both a premium LA Marathon partner and sponsors of the Health and Fitness expo.  Since I am a member of Team NutriBullet I was invited to take part of some festivities!  Since those festivities started at noon, I decided to volunteer at the Ventura Marathon booth to help race director Josh Spiker.  I ran the inaugural race in 2013 and had a great time so I would have no problem promoting it!

Eddie Ventura Booth Expo

I really enjoyed working at the expo booth and having some great conversations with people about running!  Not to mention I got a Ventura Marathon t-shirt and hoodie out of the deal!  Thanks Josh!  While I was working the booth and helping get runners signed up Meb Keflezghi was taking the stage as a featured speaker!  I just had to take the opportunity to listen to my favorite elite Marathoner share the secrets to his success!

Meb Keflezghi

After that boost of motivation I finished up my work with Josh and prepared for the NutriBullet Festivities!  Nadia Ruiz Gonzalez was a featured speaker to share her success of running over 100 marathons!  During the presentation we had some Nutribullet giveaways and motivated the crowd as they answered Marathon questions for prizes!  After all of the fun we took some group photos and I eventually made my way out.

Expo Photo1 Expo Photo2

So I thought I was done at the expo when I see the Asics Treadmill Challenge going on.  I figured I’d watch for a little bit.  “Oh”, I thought. “That guy is pretty fast.  Actually he kind of looks like Ryan Hall!”  Well that’s because it was Ryan Hall!

Ryan Hall Expo

Ryan, the fastest American Marathoner was holding a conversation on the treadmill at about 4:40 pace.  Answering questions and asking some back to the crowd!  I answered a few questions myself but took off before it got too late.  He had been on the treadmill for 15 minutes by the time I left and I later heard he stayed on for an hour!  At 4:40 pace!

I got home, found something to eat and started preparing for race day.  As this is my 7th Full Marathon my routine is pretty set.  I laid my clothes out, prepared my morning meals and tried to go to bed at a reasonable time.

Race Day Outfit

There was a lot threatening to go against me on race day, the weather, the early morning, the time change.  I didn’t let any of this get to me though, somehow I was just confident that everything would work out!

Race Day:

Race day morning (If I could even call it that) was crazy.  Crazy as in, why would you do that if you are about to run a race?  I woke up at 1:30 am, gave me 30 minutes to get ready before my friend Mike picked me up at 3 am.  Yes, you heard that right!  No my math it not off.  This was due to daylight savings time, and the clocks going forward.  Yay, exciting stuff!  For breakfast I had some oatmeal with chopped apple, and 2 whole grain pancakes which I carried with me in a container.  I also brought a pre-made Nutriblast!  I spaced out my eating, starting with the oatmeal.  Since our shuttle was at 4 am I ate the pancakes and left the container in Mikes car.  I brought the Nutriblast along on the bus to drink when we got to Dodger Stadium!   We arrived early and I took advantage of no lines for the porta Johns.  I also picked up a banana and a bottle of water for some extra nutrition before the run.  I met up with my fellow Team NutriBullet runners prior to our 5:45 am festivities.  The fun was about to start!

Pre Marathon Party!

Prior to the Marathon there was a DJ on stage, NutriBullet Dancers hyping up the crowd, glow sticks, thunder sticks and loud party music!  Wait, did I sign up for a Rock n’ Roll Marathon?  Nope this was the new LA Marathon and NutriBullet was getting the party started right!  Team NutriBullet was asked to get out in front of the stage and do the twist while a video played in the big screen of us doing the same after one of our long training runs!  A video collage of the Team Nutribullet training season was also played on stage, and I have to say it felt pretty good to be a part of this group for the LA Marathon.

All of this was both getting me hyped up for the race, but also calming my nerves about the race at the same time.  Usually during a Marathon you have time to sit around and get nervous, with all of the festivities, no such chance!  Before heading to the corrals I made one final stop at the porta john to make sure nothing was going to throw off the race!  I met up with my friends, Team NutriBullet Coach John, Luis, Marko in the B corral and had my first GU about 20 minutes before the gun went off.  Game time!

The Race:

My strategy for the LA Marathon was to start the race at an easy pace and run negative splits.  Original plan was first 3 at 7:30 pace, next 3 at 7:15 the bulk of the miles at 7 minute pace and then try to pick it up after the VA.  After receiving some solid advice from Crispin Lazarit I decided to study the course map a bit more and plan to run certain miles based more on effort with my pacing plan as more of a guide.

Miles 1-6: (7:36, 7:12, 7:10, 7:17, 7:38, 7:18)

Since I was planning to run the early miles easy I figured I’d have some fun with it!  I ran with John whose plan was to run with all of the Team NutriBullet runners at some point of the race.  I purposefully went easy in the first mile since I knew we were hitting a downhill that could cause us to go out too fast.  Dodger Stadium was rockin’ and I was the voice of reason keeping our small group in check.  First mile slower than planned!  Mission accomplished!  There’s so much to love about the early miles!  When I ran this in 2010 I didn’t run through Chinatown or Little Tokyo so the course change since then was great!  Then there’s familiar favorites like Disney Concert Hall and those amazing Drummers!  Echo Park also brought fond memories!  Through it all I was engaging the crowd and feeding from there energy, so by that logic… Run slow to conserve energy + extra energy from the crowd = energy surplus!

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Miles 7 – 12: (6:54, 6:56, 7:01, 6:48, 6:48, 6:49)

After mile 6 is when I started my focus on Marathon Pace.  John and I ran about another mile together and then parted ways, me to run my race, and him to support his trainees.  This is also where I really hit my stride and clocked some of my fastest miles of the race.  I just went with it and made sure my effort was on par with my pacing plan.  I really enjoyed Silver Lake as the mural on Sunset has always been a favorite of mine during previous training runs.  I also came across the groovy 70’s Funk Soul group which prompted some high 5’s!  I saw a pretty funny sign on this stretch of the course that read “Smile if you pee’d a little”  It was so unexpected that I couldn’t help but laugh!  I knew that I’d be entering Hollywood and with that i’d get a huge energy boost!  I ran into Michael Blackson around Hollywood and Vine entertaining the crowd and having fun!  I ran over and gave him a high 5!  I think that glitter glove sprinkled a bit of magic on me because I only got stronger from then on!

Miles 13 – 18: (7:13, 7:15, 6:44, 6:49, 7:02, 7:00)

After the turn on Orange I got back on Sunset Blvd and all I could think about was Nutribullooza!  I was very hyped up thinking about it!  I remembered from last time that West Hollywood had a lot of energy from the crowds so I was feeding off of that as well!  When I made it to Mile 15 I took my gel and had my eyes peeled for those NutriBullet Shirts!  I heard the crowd calling my name and looked back to see Nutribullet T-Shirts!  I looked ahead to see our Fitness Trainer Monique cheering me on!  I also saw Jeremy our camera/production guy and gave him a huge high 5 as well (are you seeing a theme yet?)!   The great thing about the LA Marathon is that there is never a dull moment!  Beverly Hills was a welcome sight as its always fun to run on Rodeo drive!

NutriBalooza

Miles 19 – 22: (6:50, 6:57, 7:06, 7:25)

Going into Century caught me completely off guard!  I had heard about “Cheer Alley” but didn’t expect what I ran into!  Cheerleaders from all sides, I felt like an NFL player running out to the field before the start of the Superbowl!  It was insane and granted me yet another energy boost!  At this point of the race I was still going strong and feeling great!  I knew that the VA was coming up but I also knew what to expect!  I was sticking by my plan to run the VA Hills by effort.  My pacing had been great so I knew that 1 or 2 slow miles weren’t going to break me in any way!  While entering the VA Grounds I saw Cynthia from LASP cheering on!  She spotted me and yelled out some encouragement which is just what I needed before the toughest part of the course.  Indeed, this was not easy but at least my legs had some life to them.  While running through the VA I kept in mind my cause (raising money for Veterans) and yelled some encouraging words to the crowds!  I grind-ed my way through it and got a little emotional when I saw San Vincente!  I was 4+ miles away from reaching my goal!

Miles 23 to the finish: (7:04, 7:07, 6:36, 6:56, 3:05)

The final 4 + miles (My final total was 26.45 miles) was all about focus and determination!  I put my game face on and the gloves literally came off!  I knew from 2010 that just because I was on San Vincente didn’t mean that it was going to get easier right away, or that I could start relaxing.  Nope!  My legs were feeling the toll of so many miles by this point, its to be expected!  I knew that if I just held things together I was going to be very happy at the finish line!  I clocked my fastest mile of the entire race at mile 25 (6:36) and once I hit ocean I was overcome with emotion!  I cruised in at 3:06:38 gun time (3:06:24 chip time!)  I ran a 6 minute PR and my first ever BQ!  Boston 2015 here I come!!!

Eddie San Vincente

Post race:

I got my medal and some water but the most welcome sight was an ice cold wet towel handed to me by one of the race volunteers!  It was heaven!  I walked way to much after the race, since my phone wasn’t working properly.  When I finally got a call from my wife I was ready to go and get some food!  Would have been great to meet up with Team Nutribullet post race, but my body simply wanted some food and rest!

Congratulations to all of the 2014 LA Marathon finishers!  Though I beat most of the heat, I heard about the hot conditions.  I hope everyone was safe during and after the race, you all have my highest respect!

Happy Running!

Eddie D

LAM Bib Medal

Team NutriBullet – The Final Stretch!

With three weeks left until the Asics LA Marathon, I’m literally in the final stretch of my training with Team NutriBullet!  If you missed my previous posts and am unfamiliar with Team NutriBullet, you can read about my training here and here!

TNB Group Pic 2

Team NutriBullet!

This Saturday morning was Team Nutribullet’s final long run before the LA Marathon.  We ran from Joes gym to Marina Del Rey and back one of our rare long runs that did not include a tribal run or loops around a park.  It served as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the LA Marathon.  We were all wearing our Team NutriBullet gear, we stayed in our groups and ran our paces.  I had the honor of “leading” the 8 minute pace group!  I say “leading” because at this point in our training we are pretty much a well oiled machine!  We stayed together and hit our target pace for most of the run, though some nagging pains forced a couple of runners to fall back a bit.

TNB 8 Min Pace Group2

All Smiles Halfway Through 20 Miles

I had the honor and pleasure of running with 2 sub-elite athletes and members of the Los Angeles Speed Project (LASP) Crispin Lazarit and Cynthia V Zarate, who were both original Team NutriBullet Members!  For our groups final 20 miler this was a great opportunity to pick their brains and get some great marathon advice from 2 runners who have both qualified for Boston many times.  For me, personally, it was a huge boost of motivation to run with them and I just felt the positive energy and good vibes!  As happy as we all were to run with them, they were both very gracious in joining our group and running those miles with us!

Eddie Luis Freddy David Josue Laura

This 20 miler was the culmination of a training program that started in December and will bring us all to the starting line of the LA Marathon as stronger, healthier runners!  As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts about Team NutriBullet, we have lots of expertise at our disposal, from dietitians and nutritionists, to strength and fitness trainers to running coaches.  All of this, to impart wisdom to all of our teams runners, to help us all to be more balanced as athletes.  In short, all of these areas are important, proper diet, strength and core training, and running form all make for a much more successful running experience when applied!

TNB 8 Min Pace Group

8 Min Group w/ Coach John LaPointe

When I was asked to be a member of Team NutriBullet, I was also asked to be a pace group leader, which was a great honor for me, and not an opportunity I took lightly!  I was asked to pace the 8 minute group, which was a bit nerve racking in the beginning since I didn’t know how many runners would actually be in my group!  For the first 2 group runs there really wasn’t a set established 8 minute group, but slowly the group came together!  Looking at what it is now, all of the runners are exactly where they need to be! Being able to keep a conversational at a specific pace is one tell tale sign that its the right pace for a long run!  As much fun as I’ve had pacing the 8 minute group throughout this training program I have been willing to do what has been asked of me!  Some weeks this meant running as a “tribe” during the first few miles of our long run!  This “tribal run” helped to unite the group and give runners in different pace groups, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to run together or strike up a conversation to do just that!

TNB Tribal Run

Tribal Run

I have also had the pleasure of leading the 10 minute pace group for 2 weeks due to necessity by the group.  I’ll be honest, in a small way I dreaded my first run with the 10 minute group because I thought it would be much too slow for me, but something happened, I settled in and enjoyed it!  Actually, I enjoyed it a whole lot!!  So much so, that when I was asked to pace the 10 minute group again the next week I was happy to take the task!  I have learned that every pace group brings their own energy!  Their own goals, and their own experiences!  When I went back to running with the 8 minute group it was bitter sweet!  I was thrilled to re-join my 8 minute group, but sad to leave the 10 minute runners as well!  I almost wished both groups would run at a happy medium pace, but that wasn’t realistic for anyone involved!

TNB 10 Min Pace Group

10 Min Pace Group

So what’s next?  It’s time to taper and rest up for the LA Marathon!  We still have a few group runs left before March 9th, but the core of our training is complete!  I am extremely proud of everyone who has trained with our group, and am hopeful that everyone will reach their goals!  Whether its a first marathon, a PR attempt or a BQ attempt I believe everyone is now in a better position to achieve what they are set out for!  For those runners dealing with nagging injuries, now is the time to heal up and get healthy for race day!  I am thrilled to share my LA Marathon experience with this group, and when I wear that Team NutriBullet logo on my chest and back I will be representing the entire group proudly!

There are so many great people in Team Nutribullet so in my next point I will try to share about some of these amazing individuals!

Happy Running!

~Eddie