One of the goals in mapping out a racing season is to try and keep running fresh and April was a great example of that. We saw lots of strong efforts, but also some 'test out the wheels' and fun runs, just to keep things interesting. Congrats go out to Jackie and Juanita for the 10k Retina Run, Kirsten in the Big House 5k, Monica in the MEC 10k, Verylene in the Forest City Half marathon, Michele and Elizabeth in the Trestle Trek, and of course Lonna running the 5k and John running the marathon in Boston. Congrats to all!
May will be a very busy month also. Good luck to Jackie (MEC 10k), Alice (Good Life HM), Michelle (Flying Pig 5/10/1.6/HM!), Carol (Yosemite HM), Monica (MEC 5k) Lynn and George (Alvinston to Watford), and Heather who will be racing the Buffalo Marathon. GO RENEGADES!
Speaking of Boston, in keeping with the goal of trying to make Coaches Corner fresh, this month Lonna and John were kind enough to write up the highlights of their Boston experience. Thanks to them for taking the time to do this.....I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
But first, I get to play coach for a bit. Many of you are starting to see your training ramp up, with a mix of different types of 'speed work'. The obvious reason to include this in your programs is to increase your speed and endurance, but these runs can accomplish much more. They are challenging and will take you out of 'your comfort zone' but that's also one of the goals. If you have aggressive racing goals, at least sometime during those races, you'll be out of your comfort zone and you need to be prepared for that. So if some of your workouts feel 'hard', they're supposed to! While this type of running never gets easy, the more often you do it, the more your body and your MIND will get accustomed to it and the better you will be able handle it in your races.
Other areas to work on during speed work are breathing / relaxation / form. When you're running hard your body needs oxygen so breathing deeply and regularly is the best way to accomplish this. At the same time, even though your body is straining to run fast, think about trying to stay as relaxed as possible. When you get tired, the tendency is to tense up, particularly in your shoulders / upper body. Try to relax your shoulders, and again, breathe hard! Finally, when we get tired we tend to 'lumber' and again try to avoid that. Try to maintain your cadence with quick light steps and this, along with the other two points just mentioned, will help you to run further and faster.
That's all for now.....have a great month.....Cal
Cal asked Lonna and I to recount our experiences during our recent trip to Boston for Lonna’s BAA (Boston Athletic Association) 5K race and my BAA Marathon. Bostonians and the citizens of the associated suburbs really embrace their Marathon (9,500 volunteers)!! They can’t thank you enough for taking part.
Lonna and our Sister-in-law Joan (this was Joan’s first 5K) took part in the 5K race on Saturday. It’s put on by the BAA and has about 10,000 runners. The winner…..Ben True of New Hampshire set a new US record for the 5K with a time of 13:20, improving on his previous record of 13:22 from 2015, also set at the BAA 5K. The elite runners completed the 5K before 1/3 of the 10,000 participants had even crossed the start line. Lonna and Joan both really enjoyed the race. It was a perfect morning!! The course is set in downtown Boston and the route crosses the BAA Marathon finish line before ending in the area of Boston Common.
We went to the Expo on Saturday at the John B Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center to pick up my Bib and to tour the Expo. Lots and lots of people. On Sunday….. Lonna, Joan and Lonna’s brother Wayne toured the downtown area of Boston, while I stayed off my feet (Coach Cal’s recommendation). We stayed in downtown Boston which immersed you in the Marathon experience. The events that encompass the Marathon are all within walking distance of the downtown core. Our hotel had a huge “Boston Strong” banner hanging from their archway. On Sunday evening we met Mike, Sandy and their son Shawn Master along with Ken and Debbie Walker at the Union Oyster House (the oldest Restaurant in the United States). I think this was Mikes third Boston Marathon and I am not sure how many Ken has run but he did say Monday’s race would be his 77th Marathon.
Monday morning at 7:30 Lonna, Joan and Wayne accompanied me to the bus loading area at the Boston Common. My bus loading time frame was from 8 to 8:40 (race start 10:50). The runners are bused out to the start line in Hopkinton……southwest of Boston. When I arrived at the Athletes Village (a few blocks from the start line) I took Ken Walkers advice and headed to the Porta Potty line ups. Long lines……fortunately it was a sunny morning. It would not have been as pleasant, if the weather didn’t cooperate. There were some large tents but not enough to provide cover for all of the 2017 runners (27,411). At the Village the runners were provided with a final opportunity to fuel before the race…….bagels, energy bars, coffee and water were available along with sunscreen and medical attention if required.
At the start of the Marathon my watch was showing 20 degrees Celsius. A little on the warm side!! The first 5K was downhill and very crowded. A 2 lane highway thru a rural/residential setting with no sidewalks. It was difficult to make any progress but fortunately the pace was in the general vicinity that Cal suggested I settle into, for the first 10K. From 10 to 20K is mainly flat. I was adamant, I was not going to get over heated, so I took advantage of the water stations at each mile marker. There were actually 2 water stations at each mile marker (along with Gartorade) staggered, on each side of the road. As I got deeper into the race, I would hit the water station on the right hand side of the course and then head to the one on the left, to throw more water over my head. The water stations were a sight for sore eyes when you saw them in the distance. Having them that close together and taking advantage of them was a nice distraction. It kept my mind off the race…..between fueling, salt caps and water stations, I was kept busy for the 42.2K. In the second half of the race, the strategy was to “hang on” …….thru the Newton Hills, over Heart Break Hill, followed by a net downhill to the finish line. I had enough left to raise my hands over my head as I crossed the finish line. I got that pic from MarathonFoto and I actually had a smile on my face.
I think what makes the Boston Marathon unique is its rich history. This year was the 50th anniversary of the first woman, Katherine Switzer to run the Boston Marathon. Katherine along with 100 runners from “261 Fearless”, a global non-profit she founded, ran this year’s Marathon. “261” was Katherine’s bib # from the race 50 years ago and the BAA retired that bib # after this year’s race. This is the first bib # to be retired by the BAA. Another story from this year’s race is that of Ben Beach. This was his 50th consecutive running of the Boston Marathon. That in itself is a tremendous accomplishment. However in 2002 Ben was diagnosed with a movement disorder known as dystonia. Essentially when he is trying to extend his left hamstring his brain is telling it to contract. He describes his running form today as “pathetic”. Two great stories of Athletes who have overcome obstacles and compel us to appreciate their perseverance.
All and all it was a great experience. Lonna and I really enjoyed it and we hope to make it back again. We both appreciate the guidance of Coach Cal and the support of our fellow Renegades!!
Thank you, Lonna and John