Audacious Albert's Blog

Archive for July, 2009

Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 28, 2009

I recently became a fan of Haruki Murakami’s writing after a friend suggested some of his books to me. And after I found out he wrote a memoir about running, I had to read it!

In this simple book, Murakami describes his marathon and triathlon training and the impact it had on his writing and lifestyle. Furthermore, he highlights key moments in his life which helped define himself as a person and author.

Although I am not an aspiring novelist or writer of any sort, I found this work very inspirational and relatable to my own lifestyle. It talks about more than running and writing, but also of the struggles that come from a busy lifestyle, and dealing with various conflicts that arise. He talks about how he handled with these events and how they shaped his own life, built character, and defined new aspirations.

I especially enjoyed reading about the mental cycles he went through while training and racing whether it be from running solo from Marathon to Athens, running his first ultramarathon, or running in the New York City Marathon. The mantras that he repeated, the excruciating pain experienced, and the relief and accomplishment felt upon completion are all concisely described. Any runner or athlete will be able to relate to it.

From reading this memoir, I have more respect for Murakami for his lifestyle and strong commitment to running and writing.

Thanks Haruki for sharing your experiences, struggles, failures, redemptions, and successes with us.

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2009 Lacamas Lake Half Marathon Recap

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 27, 2009

It was a beautifully warm day. Many runners (around 1500 I hear) ventured out to Camas High School to participate in the Lacamas Lake 1/2 Marathon Run/Walk, and 4 Mile Run/Walk events. Parking was ample, port-o-potties were not. Needed to use the restroom about 20 minutes before the race; they had about 15 port-o-potties lined up and the line was huge, but seemed to move along pretty well. I made it to the start line with about 3 minutes to do some strides and quick stretching.

Miles 1-5: The first mile was almost all downhill with a pretty steep downhill in the first 800 meters. I knew I should start out slow to avoid hitting any kind of wall so I cruised along at about 7:20 pace for a while till I hit mile 5. At around the 5k mark, I glanced down at my watch and it read somewhere around 22:30.

Miles 5-8: We ran by a golf course, and faced some gradual uphills and downhills, and a pretty significant hill starting at around mile 6-6.5. The downhill part felt nice, and it was an out and back part of the course, so I was able to see some friends as I made the turnaround.

Miles 8-12: This part of the course turned into a trail and went along the lake. Nice views of the lake! It was hard to see who was ahead of me, and I was running by myself for a good few miles. There were plenty of walkers along the side which I passed who offered some much needed encouragement. At around mile 10, there was an aid station where I hastily ripped open my energy gel packet, consumed the contents, chugged a few big gulps of water, and was off to finish the last ~5k of the race.

Mile 12-12.5: Passed 12 mile marker… Great! Only 1.1 miles left, I’m feeling pretty good, got some energy left, I’ll be able to finish this strong and fast, right? Not quite… made a right turn, and faced a big hill!!! The website describes this part of the race as “…a pretty steep uphill climb, so save a little extra energy!” Pretty steep?? How about EXTREMELY STEEP?! This should have been bolded and underlined, and highlighted in red! I exaggerate of course, but many people resorted to walking, and I was reduced to a slow jaunt which probably would have been as fast as walking, but I refuse to walk during a race! I was so relieved to make it to top of the hill, round the corner, and see the track where we would be finishing.

Finish: I did my best to mask my exhaustion and to look like I was finishing strong (see finish video). Official chip time: 1:34:58, and new PR! Great race!!!


My Finish Video!

 


My sister and I before the Race



Beautiful views of Lacamas Lake… a very scenic course!

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Training Update and Upcoming Races

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 20, 2009

Training Last week (7/12 – 7/18):

SUNDAY: Rest
MONDAY: 7 miles
TUESDAY: Rest
WEDNESDAY: 7 miles
THURSDAY: 6 miles
FRIDAY: Rest
SATURDAY: 10 miles

TOTAL for the week: 30 miles

 

Upcoming Race Schedule:

Lacamas 1/2 Marathon: July 26
(maybe) Hulaman 1/2  Marathon: August 16
(maybe) USA Productions: Portland Run America – 5k: September 6
Pints to Pasta 10k: September 16
Komen Race for the Cure: September 20
Marine Corp Marathon: October 25

 

Current PRs:

5k: 18:00 (2008 Race for the Cure)
8k: 32:25 (2009 Run for the Cheetah)
10k: 42:05 (2008 Nike Human Race – Portland)
15k: 1:07:48 (2009 Shamrock Run)
Half Marathon: 1:35:15 (2009 Race for the Roses)
Marathon: 3:34:01 (2008 Portland Marathon)

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2009 Inaugural Oregon Prelay Race Recap

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 19, 2009

Last weekend (July 9-10) was the inaugural Oregon Prelay, a relay race consisting of 12 person teams starting from Portland (well, actually Tualatin), and ending in Eugene with the last leg ending along Prefontaine’s trail in Eugene.

I did not know too much about this event until about 3 weeks before when I found out I won a free team entry from OregonLive. Thank you OregonLive, RunOregon blog and EPIC Relays! EPIC Relays are the organizers behind the awesome relay event. More information about them can be found here: http://www.epicrelays.com/ and on their blog: http://epicrelays.blogspot.com/

Organization:

The organizers were very helpful and flexible with me when I was trying to assemble my team of 12 runners. Before I knew it, team “Eat More, Run Less” was fully assembled along with mascot, Teddy!

Directions were marked well except for one incident when one of our runners took a wrong turn. Other than that, we the markers which indicated exchanges and van tradeoffs were placed well. My favorite marker was the “One Mile to Go” which after seeing, I strategically picked up my pace. All the volunteers were also helpful and friendly.


Van #1 at the start line ready to go!

The Course:

The course was beautiful! We ran along small roads and witnessed amazing scenery that I never knew existed in Oregon despite living here for 20+ years. Although there were some narrow shoulders along the course which we had to be careful running through, most of our legs seemed pretty safe. I’m sure the directors are working on marking the course better in order to increase safety for next year’s epic race.


A cool stream at a park located at one of the van exchanges



Never knew or heard of the Oregon Garden before, but looks like something to check out in the future



Imagine running against this sunset… amazing!


Results:

Although I initially thought we were going to be a noncompetitive team just going out here to have some fun, I think the competitive runners in us came out when we realized we were the lead team. Since there was a wave start and we had an earlier start time, we were unsure of how far behind the other teams were. With each leg, my split times became faster:

Leg #4: 6.0 Miles (Rating: Hard) – 7:06 min/mile pace

Leg #16: 7.7 Miles (Rating: Very Hard) – 6:56 min/mile pace

Leg #28: 2.4 Miles (Rating: Mild) – 6:05 min/mile pace

Looks like I got a pretty good speed workout in for my last leg. If only I could keep these paces up for a marathon… 🙂

As a team, we ended up placing 1st in our division (Mixed Open) and 3rd overall in a time of 23 hrs 47 minutes 32 seconds.

Thanks Stewart for taking all these great pictures! (maybe next time I won’t be so lazy to take my camera out of my bag)

Overall, it was a very EPIC race, and I had an amazing time participating in it. I am looking forward to it next year, and highly recommend it to everyone reading this.

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