Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gmaps Pedometer rocks!

I really became frustrated with and all of the ads, little room to work and how tedious the effort became to map a run or a ride. Even if I did pay for the premium service, I'd still have to put up with some ads and the clunky interface. Then late one night I tripped over Gmaps Pedometer.

Gmaps is a "little hack that uses Google's superb mapping application to help record distances traveled during a running or walking workout. " It was created by a first time marathoner to track miles.

The interface is clean. Ads are placed discretely and don't impede the use of the application. It's easy. Instead of having to drill down to the 100 feet and add markers at every corner or bend in the road, Gmaps can automatically draw the route for a runner or a cyclist! That's butter right there! Also you can choose the ability to manually draw.

Now I can draw my route within a minute while enjoying my coffee. Then out the door I go for a run or a ride. Check it out:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

4 minutes shy of Boston

My goal is and has been running 26.2 miles in 3:20 or less. Last weekend at Portland Marathon, my goal was no different. I haven't sorted thru my running data yet, but I gave it a go, 100%.

I lined up with the 3:20 crowd paced by volunteers from the Red Lizard club. And I didn't really look at my watch until five miles in. We were 40 seconds up on pace. By 7 we were about 45 seconds up. I took a quick bio break and worked my way back to the group by mile 9. Feeling fine.

Every profile and course map misses at least one small grade or turn. At Portland, there's a slight uphill between mile 12 and 13. We flew up it. But I could feel it. Hit halfway at 1:38. On track. I was talking with another guy up the hill to mile 17. Mile 19 I was telling the pace lead I was getting anxious.

"Be patient. We'll pick it up down the hill."

Somewhere between 20 - 21 I lost contact with the group thru water stations. Made it back to them and once we hit the top of the downhill, the pace seemed to really pick up. Mile 23, 2:56 I had an outside shot. But I was having trouble picking them up and putting them down. Right hammy cramp at Mile 25. Wasted some time getting the knot out. Passed a handful of folks over the last mile. I was gassed. Nothing left once I hit the line.

While I was 4 minutes shy of Boston, I knocked off 24 minutes off my personal best marathon time. So I have confidence that my training plan is right on. Just need to get my legs healthly over the winter and get back out there for another go.

Portland's a great marathon for first timers and many timers. The city's awesome.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lacamas Half Marathon in the books

I ran the Lacamas Half Marathon on July 26th. It's a great course. The best miles were Miles 8 - 12 over a finely graveled path about 6 feet wide that followed the contour of the lake. Dangerously fast.

Again, I was really trying to stick to my marathon pace. This time I started timing myself at Mile 2 and randomly thereafter. I was definitely more consistent this go than at the Langley Half.

Lots of runners, 600+. The race was well run. But I still cannot understand why it cost $50 bucks to enter. The food and drink were no different than 10k. Though I didn't stay for the beer and bbq afterwards. 3:50am comes early. A beer would have put me to sleep.

Though I wasn't running for places I did pretty well. In fact at one point, as I passed a guy, he asked "If you don't mind, what was the time on your last mile?"
"7:36" I said.
"Thanks, you're looking strong," he said. Nice to hear it from a fellow runner. Running out here in the boonies, I only hear cows and trucks.

Race Results

I recommended this race. Just make sure you register before the fee goes up!

Keeping it steady,

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gently Rolling Hills

Never believe the race brochure. I had the Langley Half Marathon on my schedule for pacing work. My goal was to run 1.38 on the nose at marathon pace. Little did I know it would be really hard.

The hills were not gentle, but they did roll. I had a lot of trouble finding a pace to hit my mile times. My pace ranged from 1:30 under to 3:00 under. Couldn't find it. I think I was over compensating for the up hills when I ran down hill too fast. Also, I was getting passed by people on the downhill which made me run a little harder on the up to catch them.

I kept my mantra "pace, keep your pace" to mile 12 then I decided to see how much I had left in the tank. Wound up finishing at 1.35. The final 100 was all downhill, very hard on the knees. Still had a lot left but I think I would have died three miles later in the hills.

I placed in the top 20 and won my age group.

Not bad, but I didn't hit my goal of 1.38. I have the Lacamas Lake 1/2 Marathon July 26th on the schedule. Hope to hit my goal then. Get out there!

Icing the knees. Ben

Friday, June 26, 2009

Seattle Rock and Roll

Oh, the media machine is in full swing and for good reason. check out the article in the Seattle Times: Seattle's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon: 3 runners, different motivations, same resolve

Our own Andy Sullivan will be there for the half. Can't wait to hear the details.

When I read about the course, I was really disinterested. But the stories of the individual runners are amazing. I like Ralf's "In one sentence, it was an opportunity to overcome self."

Dude, nail on the head.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hydration - water and sports drinks

Up to now, I have been a water guy. I like water. I like the taste. Water doesn't build up on my teeth. My gut handles it fine. It's good on the wallet.

But after cramping in the Yakima Marathon the last 3 miles, I decided it was time to find the best combination of water, sports drinks and aids so that I could perform at my best. First, I read a few articles on the topic. Lots of them out there (see below). Second, I an experiment this month.

For one 18 mile run, I drank only water and ate a cliff bar. At mile 15, I began experiencing the same cramping as the marathon.

The next weekend, I ran the same 18 mile loop, but this time I drank water and I ate cliffshot gels according to the instructions. I did not experience any cramping for the entire run.

My next experiment is to run the same route on a sports drink aid entirely. Can I forego the food supplement and still perform well (no cramping)?

Sure, there are a lot of x's in this equation like fitness, what I ate and drank the night before, weather, etc, but I'm trying to keep what I can control in check or constant and just change my hydration approach on the day of the experiment. I'll keep you posted.

Some articles on hydration:

Hydration 101

New Rules of Hydration

Proper Hydration

Get out outside and run!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ben's Shoe Mileage Totals

While studying for an exam for Six Sigma certification, someone told me: "In God we trust, all others bring data." So I'm bring the data. Granted this is only 4 shoes for one runner, but it's all I have at this point. I've always been curious how many miles I can squeak out of a shoe before it's retired to mowing lawns and picking up after the dog.

I'm very curious to see if a more expensive shoe the Nike Vomero will out last any of the Brooks shoes cost less that $100. My hunch is that shoes over $100 and shoes under $100 will last with the same amount of miles plus or minus 25 miles. What data do you have to share?

BrandModelShoe Mileage Comments
BrooksGlycerin 5263.64feel a bit flat, and thin under forefoot
BrooksRadius362.58some life left after 350
BrooksDefiance340.70feet hurt at 13 miles; getting a bit flat at 280 miles. Keeping them for short runs and the track
NikeVomero94.10went the distance for the marathon. Felt cushy.