Expectations for the 2016 Surf City half marathon

T-minus five days until my first half marathon of 2016: the Surf City half marathon.

As I’ve come to expect, the temperature drops to sometimes-unbearable conditions during the months of December and January, but the weather stays pretty conducive to running. There are, of course, many days where it’s too snowy or too cold for a sane person to go running. But more often than not, as long as I layer properly and take my Yak Trax with me, I can run outdoors.

But just because I can go running outsides doesn’t necessarily the mean the conditions are perfect; in fact, it’s still pretty darn miserable that first 5-10 minutes of running in sub-freezing weather. It would be a great excuse for me to stay inside and play video games or watch TV, but the Surf City race I do every year keeps me honest through these winter months and gives me a clear goal to achieve.

This will be my fifth year in a row running this race and sixth time overall; I have one marathon (my first!) and five half marathon finishes at this race. Last year I PRed the distance and course, crossing the finish line with a time of 1:53:42.

My expectation is that I finish the marathon at 1:55 or faster. My goal is to beat my PR last year and my dream race would have my finishing under 1:50.

My training last year vs. this year:

December 2014: 76mi
January 2015: 91.8mi

December 2015: 74.1mi
January 2016: 100.7mi

I ran marginally more for this race than I did for last year’s race. I definitely ran much faster and got some more speedwork in this year, hence my optimism for PR. We’ll see how it goes!

Here’s a sign that you’ve got a running problem



When Saucony decided to discontinue their Virrata line of running shoes, I panicked and started stockpiling their shoes. The Virrata and Virrata 2 shoes have been my go-to running shoe for the past three years now; since they tend to wear through pretty quickly, I’ve already wore through five pairs. Luckily, Sierra Trading Post clearanced these out like crazy last fall, so I was able to buy their inventory for my size at 70% off ($30 EACH!) Since I’m starting to get more mileage out of these shoes now (I’m at ~360 miles on my current pair, which will soon be retired to snow/mud running duty) so these three should take me through at least 2017. After that, I’ll have to look at new neutral, zero-drop shoes.

My Newtons that I alternate with (Distance III) have been good to me and I’ve enjoyed running in them. So even though I’m only 1/2-1/3 of the way through the lifespan of my current pair, I pounced on the 2015 Distance IV model when it got listed as clearance at Zappos to make room for the 2016 Distance V. I didn’t get the deal of the century like I did with the Virratas, but I still did pretty well for myself getting them 40% off. I’m pretty happy since Newtons aren’t cheap shoes to begin with.

My 2016 racing calendar

My tentative race calendar for 2016:

  • Surf City half marathon (Huntington Beach, Calif), February
  • Spring Prairie Dog half marathon (Arvada, Colo), April
  • Summer Open sprint triathlon (Longmont, Colo), May
  • Tri on the Plains sprint triathlon (Sterling, Colo) OR Lake to Lake olympic triathlon (Loveland, Colo), June
  • Calgary 70.3 triathlon (Calgary, AB, Canada), July

I will sit out the BolderBoulder and the Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon this year. They’re both really fun events, but I am starting to get large crowd-fatigue and I probably shouldn’t spend money on the entry fees anyways, considering our big trip to Canada.

I may pepper in another local Arvada 5K or 10K in the spring. I have no fall races planned so far. I would like to travel for another marathon (the Twin Cities or Marine Corp Marathon have both piqued my interest.) The idea of training for and running another marathon sounds great nine months away from the reality of doing it, so we will see. Another fall option is traveling to a half marathon (Sara’s cousins have floated the idea of the Yosemite half marathon.) But barring traveling to a race, I am content finding a local non-Rock ‘n’ Roll fall half marathon or sprint triathlon.

Here’s to staying healthy all year!

Back in the pool!

Early this morning, I went to the George J. Meyers swimming pool in Arvada, purchased my punch card and  got back into the pool after taking a year off from swimming. 

Although the Calgary 70.3 is 8 months away, I needed to start swimming again to build up my fitness. This snow storm that we just had forced me to stop running for a couple days while the snow melts and gave me a reason to get back into the pool.

The pool was great. There are 16+ swim lanes, so no waiting for a lane to open up like I used to have to do at 24 Hour Fitness. I “only” swam for thirty minutes today, but I’m already a little sore. That’ll teach me for neglecting upper body workouts. 

My next step…get back on the bike saddle and rebuild my cycling endurance!

2016: My running year in review

2015 is coming to a close. This has been my most successful year in terms of running accomplishments. First and foremost, I have managed to stay healthy most of the year. Besides the occasional shin splints or lingering cramp, I have been fortunate this year.

I’ve ran more miles this year than ever before (over 1011 and counting with 20 days to go!); this makes me simultaneously happy and sad. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve ran so much this year, but it makes me sad that I probably won’t be breaking this record in the near future, as I turn my focus back to triathlon.

I retained a running coach for a little less than half of the year. Having a coach provided me external accountability to do my training, guidance and structure to my race training and giving me the confidence to run more. I don’t think my marathon PR would’ve happened without him.

Where I ran in 2015
Where I ran in 2015

Cities and states I ran in:

  • Arvada, Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Anaheim, Huntington Beach and San Francisco, California
  • Miami Beach, Florida
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Kona, Hawaii
  • Rapid City, South Dakota

Races ran:

  • 10K – Five
    • Colorado Marathon 10K
    • Arvada Park to Park 10K
    • BolderBoulder
    • Arvada Turkey Trek
    • Plymouth Rock ‘n’ Run
  • Half Marathon – Four
    • Surf City Half Marathon
    • Miami Beach Half Marathon
    • Arvada Harvest Festival Half Marathon
    • Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon
  • Marathon – One
    • Portland Marathon

I PRed every distance this year!

  • 10K – 52:23 (Bolder Boulder) then I broke that record again, 49:43 (Plymouth Rock ‘n’ Run)
  • Half Marathon – 1:53:42 (Surf City)
  • Marathon – 4:22:30 (Portland)

What’s on deck for 2016? I have two things on my calendar right now: Surf City half marathon and Ironman 70.3 Calgary. I’m getting back into triathlon after taking all of 2015 off. I’ll be logging far fewer running miles this year, but I’m excited to get back into the pool and start riding my new bike. I will add more races (BolderBoulder? Some local Arvada races? A sprint triathlon?) in the future though.

Race Report: Plymouth Rock ‘n’ Run 10k

I finally broke 50 minutes in the 10k race distance last week during the Plymouth Rock ‘n’ Run turkey trot! I used to run the trail that this race was partially on when I first started running as a hobby back in 2007.  So it was a bit of a hometown race for me.

It was a little windy and chilly race morning, but it was nothing compared to the 18 degree start at the Arvada Turkey Trek 10k I ran the Saturday before. I warmed up a little bit before the race with a 1/4 mile jog; I would have been well served to warm up for at least 1 mile, but I had to wait in line at the porta potty. Priorities, people.

I seeded myself in the middle of the pack and had to deal with a little bit of congestion the first half mile. After 3/4 miles in, it was pretty much open road, so I picked up the pace slightly. I stepped up the pace again during mile 3, when I first started seeing the ultra fast runners already on their way back. Once I did the turn myself, I saw that there were a lot of runners behind me. That was a big psychological boost, so I kept up my pace.

By mile 5, I couldn’t believe my pace and time. I even had a shot at breaking 50 minutes if I kept up the pace. “I don’t know if I’ll be in this good of running shape for a while,” I reasoned, and decided to take the pain and go for it. We were running on the trail by then and were off the graded road, so I was feeling great. I crossed the finish line with an official time of 49:43! I may have only broke 50 minutes by 17 seconds, but gosh darn it, I broke it.

My Garmin splits:

Mile Time
1 08:21.8
2 08:09.5
3 07:59.9
4 07:51.4
5 07:54.2
6 07:34.3
7 01:55.9
Summary 49:47:00

Overall: 103/590
Male: 86/275
Men 30-34: 6/25