Running and racing in Nor Cal

In high school I had sprinting speed but it was 440-880 yards (400-800 meters) that was more my range for some short distance capabilities.

However, I had an issue with asthma that kept my training to a minimum; track and baseball were right in my seasonal asthma time frame.  This lasted into my 20’s but I was still able to begin running again, more distance, I was training with the kickboxers, also ran hills for strength.  I eventually started running longer and sometimes found myself wheezing and constricted out in the middle of nowhere, so I always medical taped an inhaler to my left arm while running!

I entered some races in northern California near where we lived in the East Bay Area and found I could hold a 6 min/mi pace or better on most flat runs for over 30min.  Many races I would take off too fast and had no formal training, mostly missed that in high school.  My 1st mile might be in the low 5min/mi and by mile 3, I was at 6:30min/mi pace!  Didn’t know about base miles and two months of pre race interval sessions!  Called “peaking” for race day.

When I started running distance it didn’t feel natural to me.  Like the massive reps blogs, it was about base miles and getting used to distance, like over 40mi/week.  I had a very good runner tell me once you put in a thousand miles it will start to become very natural to you!  A thousand miles!?    

Soon, keeping a log, I had over a thousand miles and it did feel natural.  Also, my asthma was nearly gone in my late 20’s and didn’t affect my running anymore since!

I was always in the top few %, won a few small races, but wasn’t really a super runner.  In 1987 I entered my 1st Dipsea race and ran it for 16yrs straight plus a couple other times.  Not sure I’ve ever trained properly for any specific race but am planning on decent training for my return to the Dipsea in a few months and have a daily training blog going.

I have tried virtually all distances except the endurance type runs of 30-100 miles, that’s just too much, I tried 3 Lake Tahoe Marathons in a row; it’s just too darn far to me.  Running is meant to be enjoyable and that exceeds my enjoyment!  My 5k’s were generally in the 17’s and only broke that once, there are many who can run 15’s or better, but it still usually had me in the top few %.  Holding a 5 flat mile was difficult for me, low 50’s 400m was doable and ran a 56sec 400 15-20 yrs ago, like to train for that speed again, it’s still in me.  In comparison, a 5 flat/mi pace is 1:15sec 400’s, that’s working!

We even had our own race, the On the Edge Tough 10k in Rockville Hills Park, Fairfield, Ca, 1990, 91.  It was for a sportswear we were developing and got us a lot of attention, but the race cost us $1,000 the 1st yr with 200 entrants and $800 the next (after all entrance fees) so we stopped doing it, plus there’s an amazing amount of work and energy that goes into such an event!!  It was a good race liked by all though.  I was told if you can run a successful race you can own a company.  The sportswear will wait, we have a super concept!

The Dipsea is beautiful but the least fun race as you’re dealing with human traffic issues on the narrow trails.  The Nike Half in San Francisco was very nice and I ran it in the 90’s, I did a 1:21 and a 1:18 I believe, holding a 6 flat/mi that was my max to around the 10mi mark.  Have run probably 100 races in 20 years of every kind and now will get in shape for the Dipsea then the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon in the fall, goal is to do well this year then extremely well in 2014, God’s will. 

In summary, racing helps to give me goals to shoot for and makes me feel a kinship to others who are in great endurance shape.  Reaching my goal weight of 158 race day means very low body fat and a sixer… that is for me.  So lining up a few events for the next couple years is a “hobby” I enjoy, until next time, God Bless,

~Gary

kirchmeister5@gmail.com

ximorocks.com/kirch

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