Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Indoor Track Season

2013 Indoor Track Season

1/12/2013 University of Illinois Open Meet
800 meters
3rd Place 
Time: 1:56.1

Race Recap: My training heading into this race has only been 10-15 miles of easy running along with my stair climbing training which is a mixture of stair climbing, cycling, lots of core and abs, Jacobs Ladder which is a high intensity climbing machine. The combination of this type of training is great for a short race like the 800m.
I went into this race pretty confident. I checked out previous years results and I figured I could put together a 1:57 at least which would keep me somewhat competitive. Got there and found out I was slowest seed time in a heat of 6, which doesnt mean anything but still it meant I was in a heat that was quick.  Got out in 4the place. 1st and 2nd were a few feet ahead, while I was off the right shoulder of the 3rd place guy for 3 laps.  I went through the 200 in 26 high, 400 in 56 low, 1:25 low. The 3rd place guy and I started closing in on the front two with 100m to go. On the final stretched I made a charge and got 3rd. Felt really strong, never really faded or hit a huge wall. 
2/2/2013 Illinois College Open Meet
800 meters
1st Place
Time: 1:57.1

Race Recap: This meet turned out to be a timing disaster. The meet was crawling along and I ended up warming up way too early and found myself warming up and re-warming up, and sitting around getting frustrated just watching the meet officials poke around getting the heats lined up and so on. Watched the womens 800 start and it was a waterfall start with 14 racers. I thought this was ridiculous and was going to be pissed if they started the guys heat like that...which they did. I was the 3rd one on the line in lane 2. Got my elbow out and got out hard. Two other guys ended up rounding the curve and flying by me into the back stretch and immediately slowed down. This if you do not know is my pet peeve in the 800m, and they ended up running 2:04's.  Anyway, I was stuck behind these two guys until the 200m mark and I found a gap and went for it. After that I gaped the field for 3 laps. In the last 100m a Principia runner made a good push and we finished neck and neck.  Overall, considering how my warm up went and the iffy start of the race Im happy with this effort.

Here is a video of the race at IC...

Ever since I graduated from Eastern Illinois University where I was a middle distance guy, I have done a few short indoor track races per season. It becomes harder and harder every year working in the real world to find time to train at a level that I was at in college. Yet my stair climbing training has created a type of training that preps me pretty well for short intense races like the 800. Anything longer would be stretching it and Id probably have to put in more miles.  I'll probably run a couple outdoor races as well so until then Ill keep on training for the stair climbing season and transition into the summer running season.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trail Runner Magazine Uphill Challenge: Justin Stewart 1.58 miles

Trail Runner Magazine Uphill Challenge: Justin Stewart 1.58 miles

Every year at the Outdoor Retail Summer Market, a trade show for the outdoor industry, Trail Runner magazine hosts an Uphill Challenge. In each heat of the Uphill Challenge, two participants square off next to one another treadmills set to a 15% grade on which they run as far as they can in 15 minutes by controlling the speed. Not only do participants try to win their heat, but they also try to be named King or Queen of the Mountain by running further than any other competitor of their gender. Typically, the last two pairings feature showdowns between two top women and, then, two top men. This year was no different with Brandy Erholtz racing Anna Frost in the women’s finale before Philipp Reiter took on Max King in the day’s final race. In the end, Erholtz and King were the Queen and King of the Mountain.

 I heard about this challenge from a friend of mine on Facebook. Once I heard about it I put it on my schedule to try out. Since I have the US Mountain Running Championships, hopefully Mt. Washington, and the Pikes Peak Ascent 1/2 Marathon this summer I have been ramping up my mileage slowly and incorporating alot more trails/stairs/incline treadmill workouts into my plan. I have started with a pretty good base which Im finishing up here soon after the stair climbing season comes to an end. Since I live and train in central Illinois amongst the flat lands and cornfields I have to be creative in my training. So this treadmill challenge was a good benchmark workout to see where I am at in comparison to some of the nations and even the world best trail/mountain runners. Its a test with a set time and incline so you can measure yourself accurately against others. I unfortunately am not able to make it to the annual event where runner pair off in a head to head battle on the treadmill but I did my own test to where I would have landed in the 2012 challenge in Utah.

This was my debut at this challenge and from looking at other runners distances I set a goal in my mind, which was 1.5 miles. Pretty lofty but I thought it was doable. Highly esteemed runners like Max King who has won numerous nation and world titles won the challenge in 2012 with a distance of 1.65, 2nd was Luke Nelson of the Patagonia team in 1.51, 3rd was Anton Krupicka of team New Balance with a 1.50. In my test I went 1.58 miles, which would have placed me 2nd against some very decorated and experienced mountain and trail runners. Given my training situation and where I am geographically I do not have mountains to train on so this test for me is very reassuring in terms of my vertical fitness. It seems the more vertical a race is the better I am at it.

I will take this challenge/test and build on it. I will have this as a benchmark workout every week and half or two to see if I have improved. I havent trained the muscles it takes to run vertical (excluding stairs) as much as I would have liked quite yet, so the more vertical running specific workouts and runs I do the better this test result will hopefully be. Next time I will pace myself a little better and not go out so fast.

Check out the video...I know this isnt a 15 minute long video to accurately show I went the whole 15 minutes, but I would cheat or lie about this.