Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Raybuck's Tennis Ranking Questioned

Following a second straight loss to a USATF 4.0-ranked player last night under the lights (6-3, 7-5), the USATF contacted Mark Raybuck and threatened to downgrade last year's 4.0 ranking. Raybuck was upgraded from a 3.5 after forcing some 3-setters and finally winning two matches against a 4.0-level player last summer. However, this season has not been so fortunate, with two straight losses prompting the call from the USATF. Raybuck had his chances last night, leading the second set 5-3, but then losing 4 straight games, including several double faults. He is scheduled to play against the same player next Monday night. If Raybuck wins that match, the USATF has informed him that they will re-consider the downgraded ranking. As usual, Raybuck's running ability was prominently displayed throughout the match, literally shocking his opponent by running down what would be for others impossible drop and lob shots. His final comment to the reporters after the match was "I may not be able to hit the ball, but I sure can run!" (now this post can legitimately appear under Mark and Eric's Running).

And one last mention regarding this post - I did have the only ace of the night, a solid 1st serve down the center line on the ad side of the court. Wish I had a radar gun on it, as my opponent really didn't even have a chance to move towards the ball. It surprised me as well!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Phase 2 Training Continues!

My phase 2 training was very successful this weekend, including a Phase 2 track workout Friday, 5 miles at an 8:30/mile pace on Saturday, and 7.14 miles at an 8:45/mile pace yesterday. The Phase 2 speed workout differed from Phase 1 by including one 800 meter interval at the beginning of the workout (2:58), followed by 6 400s, rather than just 8 400s. Phase 2 includes more endurance work: hence, the 800. The 400s were all between 80 and 81 seconds, with one stray 81.3, and a final 79.3. This workout was encouraging, as quite often, I am the only one at the track foolish enough to be doing speed workouts. Friday, I encountered 3 other people doing some semblance of speed. The first was an older guy with gray hair, running laps, but throwing in 200 meter intervals at a good clip. When I told him it was tough getting old, he said "yes, but we're fighting it!" Then, later, a young couple showed up and without any warmup, started doing 400 meter intervals. The interesting part is that the husband (or boyfriend), gave the woman a "head start" each lap, then started his watch and took off, but timed it perfectly so that he "won." I think he was running about 75 -second intervals, by the looks of it. Does this remind you of anything? I wonder if he lost one of the intervals to his wife, if her handicap would have been suddenly and severely slashed?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mile Time Reaches Plateau as Phase 2 Begins

Before a vacation to Key Largo, I made one last stab at a mile, running 5:28.5, about 0.7 seconds better than the previous 5:29.2. At least it was an improvement, but the curve (see graph above) indicates that I have potentially maximized my performance in the Phase 1 Training Program. Phase 2 has now begun! Let's define Phase 1 as Sub 5:30, and Phase 2 will target sub 5:20.

Monday, July 20, 2009

8K Race Results!

As a "kickoff" to his "Phase 2" sub-5 mile training, Raybuck completed a hilly, 8K road race last Saturday, finishing in an acceptable 32:42 (6:35/mile), with a sub-6 minute final mile (although downhill). He finished 15th overall out of 141 runners and 2nd in the 50 to 54 year old codger division (see photo). Click on the title to link to the complete results (Laurel Run 8k).
"I'm still not where I want to be" said Raybuck to the clamoring reporters after the race, "but Phase 2 is definitely underway!" When asked why his current training is referred to as "Phase 2" Raybuck replied "Because Phase 1 is complete."

Note: Raybuck's Parsons colleague Eric Felter also ran in this event, and finished in a very respectable time of 34:16 (6:54 per mile), 19th overall, and 5th in a very competitive 40 to 44 year old age group. When questioned by reporters, Felter stated that he was rather pleased with his time, having lowered his time from 2 years ago, thus defying age.
(Course with mile markers shown above)