Lasse Viren 20k

Good bye Flagstaff. . .
Good bye Flagstaff. . .

After watching and celebrating my girlfriend’s graduation on Friday, my parents and I headed West back home to Simi Valley. The snow was nice for a few days, but training in it all Winter is just too much for me. Consistency and enjoying training are so much more important than any benefits training at altitude provides.

Upon arriving in Simi on Saturday, I went out for a 10 miler in the rain. Bad news is you get a lot wetter running in the rain than you ever do running in snow. Good news, however, is it was 57??F which means no ice!

. . . Hello California!
. . . Hello California!

Yesterday I decided to run the Lasse Viren 20k in Malibu, Ca. Before the race I started chatting with a guy that looked to be a pretty decent runner (and probably my main competition). He told me he had trained in Flagstaff in 2008. We began talking about triathlons and then he told me he won Ironman Arizona a few weeks ago. Then it clicked in my head that I was talking with Jordan Rapp!

From the gun Jordan, myself and another guy took off. About 400m later, Mr. Anonymous dropped back and I took the lead. I came through 1 mile in 5:35 with Jordan a few seconds back. I continued pulling away with 5:43, 5:41, 6:07 and 6:44 miles (last two were hilly). I reached a flatter, asphault section and dropped back below 6:00 pace with a 5:53 and came through the 10k in 36:46. I ran 72:20 here in 2006, and was debating whether I wanted to take it easy-enough to just win or go for a PR. I thought about my dilemma while cruising a downhill 5:15 mile. These trails were the setting for many tough long runs this summer, including my first-and-only 20 milers. As I reminisced of the many times I have run Sycamore Canyon with friends, the choice disappeared and it was obvious that I would keep pressing on for a PR.

The next miles were 5:36, 5:44, 5:36, 5:43 and 5:23. I opened it up just a bit the last mile and finished in 1:10:35. I am definitely happy with that performance: taking the win, running sub 5:45 pace for 20k at the end of my “first week back,” a ~1:45 PR. . . while being slightly under the weather. I probably shouldn’t be running so hard this early in my training, but I had fun. Assuming I didn’t injure anything yesterday, I am sure the effort will not have any adverse affects to my upcoming seasons.

After the race I spoke with Jordan and his wife Jill for a while. Very nice people. I told them of my triathlon aspirations and they encouraged me to seek out some folks at USA Triathlon (USAT). They are currently living in the area and I tried to explain a few locations for great trail runs and hopefully I will see them around during the rest of my Winter break.

Shout out to my mom. She also competed yesterday and won her 48-52 age group! Winning is in the family :). Great job Mom and thanks for driving!


Finals, Snow & Training

flagstaff_snow_treeAt most universities across the nation it is finals week, including at Northern Arizona University. The only difference with NAU is that some finals have been canceled. That’s right, CANCELED, due to snowfall. From about 4am Monday morning till early this morning, the snow never let up over Flagstaff. There is now about 2 feet of accumulation. In fact, last night saw blizzard conditions with wind gusts up to 40 mph, leaving some wicked snow drifts this morning.

Because conditions were/are so poor, NAU decided it would not be safe to require students to come to campus for finals after 12pm yesterday and all day today. Lucky me, I had a final yesterday at 10am (before the school shut down) and none today. My next and last final is tomorrow at 7:30am, and it looks like conditions will be better today so I will be studying like I will be taking the exam.

My balcony. Hopefully we don't need those bikes anytime soon.
My balcony. Hopefully we don't need those bikes anytime soon.

For people that missed their final, they have been given two options: either accept the grade they had before the final or reschedule the final exam for the first week of next semester (in January). If you aren’t happy with your grade, it is a crappy situation. Moral of the story: don’t bank on the final boosting your grade in the future — especially at the end of Fall semester.


Yesterday, Andrew Belus, Will Porter, Eric Lynch and I went running around downtown Flagstaff in the snow. We had a great time throwing snowballs at people and cars. Of course this was fresh powder, so the snowballs were plenty soft enough to not do any damage. That didn’t stop one guy from turning his car around and questioning Will with a wrench in his hand. Dude needed to chill out.

Needless to say, it was a great way to officially start my 2010 track campaign.

My van was completely covered in the morning.
My van was completely covered in the morning.

Today I decided not to be so brave and opted for the treadmill at my apartment’s clubhouse. I put 10 miles in at around 7:00 pace. Probably a little too fast for this time of year, but I quickly realized that the faster I ran the less time I had to spend on the treadmill staring at a wall. I did bring some tunes with me so that helped ease the monotony.

I noticed that my heart rate seemed like it was higher than it should have been, 166 bpm, for that pace and incline (2%). I have done some reading recently about riding on bicycle trainers (basically using your normal bike as a stationary bike indoors) and there seems to be a consensus that your power output while riding a trainer is limited compared to riding outdoors by how well you can cool your self off, among other things. Obviously there is no wind, unless you have a fan in front of you, to increase the convection coefficient (had to throw in some heat transfer terms as that is what my final is on tomorrow) to help cool you off. I wonder if this was the main contributing factor to my unusually high heart rate. If I have to get on the treadmill more this winter, I will be sure to play closer attention to it and see if I can come up with some good conclusions.

12 In the Snow and 400 Repeats

It’s April in Flagstaff, so that means snow apparently. After a nice, crisp 5 mile morning run yesterday, I had 12 miles to do in the afternoon. Skies were cloudy all day, until about 4pm… right when I went running. It snowed an inch or so for an hour and then let up for the last 20 minutes of the run. I actually saw some blue skies and sun after the snow had stopped, so that was a nice end to the long, lonely run.

Snow in Flagstaff

Today I had the classic 12 400s. Goal pace was 5k race pace (69-70) on 3 minutes. I ran the first half hitting 68-70, then dropped it down to 65-66 and closed up the last one in 59. It felt good to finish up fast and I am already excited about the steeplechase next week.

NAU Track

I got to give a shout out to my roommate Nell Rojas for winning her heat of the 5000m at the 51st Mt. Sac Relays. Nell ran a PR of 16:28.11 to win the University/Open section. She even was interviewed by Flotrack after the race.

Some of my teammates destroyed the 10k last night. Diego Estrada, just a freshman, placed second in the invite heat in 28:54.60 in his first 10k on the track. Ahmed Osman was fourth in 28:56.41 and Ben Ashekettle finished eigth in 29:04.78. Most years, those times are fast enough to make it to NCAA Championships. Video of the last 6 laps.