Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The maraton

Today I wrote in a friend's livejournal; something about how I was balancing SCA fencing and running pretty well way back when. I was getting into both at about the same time, and I thought they complimented one another nicely. The endurance given by the running helped my fencing, as well as leg strength, coordination, and breathing. The lateral movements, balance, and mental concentration of fighting helped balance the running. It was fun to have two whole new worlds to explore, get better in, and play off one another.

Then came along the marathon, and she is jealous. Oh, yes. I got little injuries from all the training, certainly. I got worried about getting injured during the fighting, and set back my training. And then there's the time and energy commitment; the first marathon takes a hell of a lot of both.

And that may be the reason I love it so.

I can wing a half marathon. It may not be fast or even very pretty, but I can do it without a second thought. I got to a point in the last few training cycles that 13.1 miles felt like a decent run to get the blood moving, but not that big of a deal. That is, anything under 10 miles was barely worth getting dressed for, and it wasn't until 16-18 that I felt like I was moving. Though I didn't go much over 20 miles at a time, two or three days a week at 16-18 mies wasn't out of the question. It wasn't even abnormal. It just was.

And that's one of the amazing things I find about the marathon; the training is both teh suck and awesome, takes both sacrifice and commitment, and to do it well takes pain and tears. Well, maybe not tears, but curses certainly. The occasional dry heave isn't out of place, either.

The thing that I find I love about the marathon is that at mile 20 or so, I get to meet myself. If I've been running it hard and right, mile 20-21 I begin to find that parts of my body start failing to work right, and pain begins to set in. How do I react? How do I keep my legs moving when I feel like some of the muscles have entirely given up, and now are acting as dead weight? What does it take for me to keep moving and not give up?

And, if at mile 20 something is really going wrong, will I be bright enough to figure that out? DNF typically means "Did Not Finish" although some say it means "Did Nothing Fatal." On the other hand, the latter read isn't always true. Had I dropped during the 50K DNF would've had the first reading without the second. But I digress.

I love the marathon, and I love the training. I revel in the soreness in the morning, when I'm staggering around like I'm double (or triple) my age. I love the feel of humming along, running at my marathon pace and feeling like I could run that way forever.

I love the fire in my throat as I'm doing intervals, the rasp that comes from too much heavy breathing in the cold. I love how every footstep is an adventure, running hard on icy pavement and trusting in screwshoes to keep me upright.

I love being outside in the winter. Of being completely on my own without a care in the world except to do the next mile, or next interval, and slowly wear away the rubber on the sole of shoes. I love wearing a single layer in freezing temperatures and feeling hot, like the idea of wearing short sleeves might not have been a bad idea.

The marathon spurs me to these things like nothing else. Ultras don't have the interval sessions for the most part. Half marathons- well, I could train for them more intensely. And I've love to run a half marathon goal race, and shoot for 1:35 or less (1:37:02 is my current PR) but... the marathon is a daunting challenge. I've run six, I think, and they've all taught me something. I really can't say the same thing for the halfs or ultras I've run. Curious that. I'm going to have to think on that a little more.

Anyway, that's my love letter to the marathon. She's a cruel lover; but I've never had another who gave me so much back in return.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Running Year in Review

2010 was on interesting year, filled with triumphs, stupid moments, PRs, and the odd wasted opportunity.  The changing form through use of five fingers and Good For Running has been a success.  The move to a more minimal type shoe (when not using five fingers) has also been good... though after using five fingers any standard trainer feels over cushioned.

One thing nice about that, though, is that when I'm trying on standard trainers, it takes the cushion out of the equation.  They all feel equally over stuffed, and it doesn't feel like a good thing.  That way, I get to concentrate on things like fit, how natural they feel on my feet, and how little I like running in standard trainers.

But anyway enough about footwear.  What I'd like to do is go on, at length, about the last year focusing on the races I did and the major things that occurred.  Some, I'm sure, will be a repeat of older posts, and hopefully won't contradict them too badly.  As my dad used to say: "Memory is the second thing to go, they say, and I forget  the first thing."

So... onto the races!

I began training for the Martian Marathon in December of last year, but the training (and consequences related there of) greatly effected the first nine months of the year.   Daniels probably has been my favorite book plan I've tried, and I've gone through three or four, depending on how you count.  It was an extremely flexible and hard-but-not-too-hard program. 

January~  Didn't do any race, but did a lot of base building and the odd hard workout, as Daniels suggests.  I wish I could have done the Bigfoot Snowshoe race, but I skipped it.

February~ Superbowl 5K (21:28/6:55 pace).  I really felt the difference changing my form made, especially on downhills.  it make them consciously harder.  But on the other hand, I got in the habit of counting a long time ago in my running, and counting strides per minute is one day to make a 5K go faster.  It was also nice to negative split it as a race.  Race congestion had a little to do with that, but I also planned it that way, and managed to stick to the plan.  If history hasn't gone all rose colored on me.  :)

March~ More fun following the Daniels program.  This was the big build up to the taper, and a good chunk of the taper as well.  I remember some wonderfully difficult training runs that were longer than my long runs, but with intervals thrown in to boot.  I remember a few crash and burns, a few triumphs, and a lot of miles.  I spent a lot of time at Indian Springs, and got heartily sick of the two mile loop in the middle.

April~  Martian (3:27:46/7:55 pace) and recovery.  Martian went well, as I think I laid out in my race report.  What sticks with me is the feeling of deadness that hit some of my muscles in the latter stages of the race, as well as the jump in my heart rate near mile 21 that didn't stop till the end of the race.  Oh, and staggering about like Bambi after crossing the finish line.

I also seem to remember the race recovery going quite well, which I lay at the feet of changing up my form.  One of the problems of overstriding is the peak of force that slams through the body with a heavy heel strike.  It's fairly minor, but it adds up.  If I'm maintaining 85-90 strides per minute, over the course of a 3:27 marathon I'll have 35-37 thousand of those little shocks go through my body.  When I finished Bayshore last year, I felt a little like I had been in a car accident.  Martian was significantly different- at least in terms of abuse I felt done to my body.

A couple of weeks later I did the Trail half marathon (2:14:15/10:14 pace) in five fingers.  It went well, I ran it easy with a friend, and didn't have any problems or pain.  I love that half; it's challenging, but not technical in a way that would hurt me later on in the year.  Rocks and roots to trip over, sure, but less than at Pontiac, my trail running park of choice.  Some decent hills, but I wasn't running for speed.

May~ Brookshire 5K (21:22/6:53 pace) In a way, this was the opposite of the Superbowl 5K; I started off fast but my pace fell off toward the end.  Running with folk isn't always a great idea, especially when you know just how much faster they are.  Still, it was a PR, and done through some wet and rainy conditions.  If I had run it smarter, I think I may have done a little better.  But probably not much.

June~ this is where things fell apart.  Did a lot of five finger miles in the first week of June, and ended it running at Highland Rec, probably the most technical trail system in the area.  Stubbed my little toe, right foot, three times starting at mile 6.  I don't know which of those stubs might have broken it, but I'm pretty sure one of them did.

Sadly, that wasn't the problem; compensating for the stub was.  Left calf took up a lot of slack, and probably did the majority of the work going down hills for over 10 miles.  The next day, bad pain that didn't go away for the next six weeks.

August ~slowly built up miles.

Crim (1:20:33/8:03 pace) This was a test.  I wanted to know whether my body and my leg would be okay with a hard, if not a race effort.  It was, and I chopped 16 minutes off of my Crim PR of '06.  Of course, I was a *much* different runner back in '06, but still.  A PR is a PR.

September~ like a dam with a lot of back pressure, I scheduled a race every weekend I could.

Labor Day 30K (2:46:39/8:57 pace) One of my favorite races, i ran it with a friend and spent a lot of time chatting about various stuff.  i love the hills, the dirt roads, and the race distance.  If it were up to me, the English (or was it French?) would have set the marathon distance to this length back in the 20's, or whenever.  Beautiful day for easy running, and I couldn't have asked for a better race experience.

Romeo to Richmond Half (1:42:42/7:50 pace) Decent half, although I really didn't care much for the slightly sandy trail we had to run on, the sun in our eyes, and the wind in our face.  Nice day for a run, but  I was kind of glad when it was over.  I may have been happier doing a repeat of the Falling Waters half, but this made more sense at the time.

Woodstock half (1:56:10/8:52 pace) this was a fun half, though I think I was slowed considerably due to sleeping pretty poorly the night before.  I didn't figure out how to keep warm in my tent- the right combination of clothes with my sleeping bag, and woke up with a pretty fierce pain in my lower back.

Again, I ran it in my five fingers, and that was fine... though I did get a blister, which was unexpected.  I also ran through a pair of the Injinji liners.  That was kind of disappointing.  they were new, and the socks are good quality.  It just appears the the first generation of liners aren't.  I've heard better things about the second generation.  Not sure if the two were connected.

October~ Brooksie half (1:39:00/7:33 pace) Definitely one of my success stories of this year.  I originally signed up to run with a friend as far as I could, but probably would drop at the 6 or 10 mile mark.  Didn't quite work that way.  I remember feeling fairly strong throughout, and banking time at the beginning (a race tactic I usually don't recommend) really worked out well.  I remember being fairly whipped for the last three miles, but able to run strong.  It helped an awful lot to be running with a friend.  I'll have to see if I can arrange that for next year.

Run through Hell (44:04/7:06 pace)  I really enjoyed this race- like Labor Day 30K it was on hilly dirt roads, perhaps my favorite running terrain.  Still feels vaguely trail-ish, but I don't have to concentrate nearly as much on not tripping, and I can get some sort of momentum going.  And hills are fun because I like to go up them so much- I did most of my passing on the up hills, I think.  Lots of people, and I knew many of them, so the cheering back and forth helped a lot, too.

It was in October I decided to get an internet running coach, so I could take my flawed thinking out of the mix and learn from someone in a more fluid environment.  Someone who may have different ways of reacting to issues that come up during training.  It's been a good experience, and it got me to do certain things I've always been pretty lax on when assigning them to myself.  Cross training, for the most part.  But also increasing miles slowly, and being reassured that changing the schedule and downshifting miles isn't always a bad thing.

November~ Jingle Bell Run (43:47/7:03 pace)  Not bad run, though I know I could have done better if I had stuck with someone.  I lost concentration midway through the race- I really didn't have the mental focus.  But ran hard enough to earn a quasi-PR.  I did the race in '08 and ran in the 42s, but I thought the race was short, so I don't think of it as a PR.  Even if I did the same course today and do.  My garmin says that it was 6.3 something, so it certainly wasn't short if the garmin can be trusted.

December~ Fat Ass 50K.  Went well.  :)  The write up was fairly recent, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it.  But it was nice to come in first.  It give me some bragging rights to say I won a race with a 90% attrition rate (to be fair, though, I very much doubt that even if the day had been beautiful, that all 40 had plans to do the full three loops).

For next year: I'm signed up for Bayshore, and I'm going to continue my working relationship with my coach to hopefully help me run a 3:15.  May or may not be a Boston qualifier for 2012, but I'm not really concerned right now.  I just want to run as intelligently as possible, to get as fast as I can reasonably can with as little chance of injury.

So, I'd like a 3:15 Bayshore.  I'd also like a fast Martian time- a PR would be nice,  meaning sub 1:37:02.  We'll see if that happens.

I'd kind of like to do the Woodstock 100K, if that works out.  I'd also like to possibly do the Mohican 50M, though that's less of a goal for me.  Maybe pace if I feel up to it.

And that's the year as I remember it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fat A$$ 50K

You certainly don't have to enjoy pain to run 30 odd miles through snow and hills, but it helps. For the rest of us, there's Aleve.

You also may not think that warm chicken soup during a 7+ hour winter run might not be the most wonderful thing you've ever tasted. On this count, you'll either have to trust me or try it yourself. But honestly, if manna from heaven tasted this good, the children of Israel would've never left the desert.

The day was relatively warm, as days have gone this December; low to mid 20s feels positively balmy when you've been in single digits for a time. Easy to over dress, but that's why layers were invented.

The start had a sort of carnival feel; no complicated race instructions, no jockeying for position to find the right place for your pace- just a bunch of people trying to squeeze together for a group photo and a big "Thank You" to the RD (race director).

Not that FA50Ks usually have RDs, or aid stations, or awards, places, or race t-shirts, but this wasn't the typical FA50K. All kudos to Farra for making it so!

The first lap went well; I started off fairly slowly with the first few miles averaging somewhere around 15 min pace. I broke off from the group and moved along on my own, slowly catching up to a couple of runners somewhere around mile six. I chatted back and forth with them till the end of the first lap- the usual "when did you start running" "what races have you done" and the relatively merits of screw shoes vs Yak Trax vs Microspikes and the like.

First Lap 2:18
First Break ~15 minutes.

I started lap two with a fellow I had been chatting with for the last part of lap one- a marathon maniac who had PRed in a 50K the week before. Not quite as crazy as some of my friends who had run the HUFF 50K the day before, and were out of the trails with us, but still plenty crazy. He felt the fatigue building, though, and I left him behind about a mile into the second loop.

From then on, I ran pretty much on my own. It was pretty familiar to me- I run the trails at Pontiac Rec a lot, and occasionally in significantly worse conditions. There was maybe four inches of broken snow, but I was using screw shoes and only had to be kind of careful on the down hills. There were branches hanging over the trail, but I only had to be careful to not let them whack me in the forehead was I tried to run bent over at the waist.

I failed at that a couple of times. It's a good way to get a headache and neck pain at the same time!

Mile 15 is when I started to feel pain in my left hip flexor, which moved to my gluteus medius muscle after about a mile. This gave me two huge draws to finish the second lap- the chicken soup of the heavenly variety, and the bottle of Aleve I knew I had stashed in my car.

Second Lap 2:20
Second break ~21 minutes.

I started my third lap thinking "this could be bad." As much as I've run at Pontiac Rec, I've never done 30 miles there. And my longest training run for the race was *cough* 17. My longest run through heavy snow was 6. But the Aleve had muted the pain to a barely noticed sensation, and I had trained fairly hard for the past three months to "just finish" this race. And I wasn't feeling bad, just fatigued.

I ran the course never hitting the wall, and I only stopped running due to mental fatigue once or twice. My toes were wet and cold, but thanks to Smartwool I had neither frostbite nor blister. I love running gear!

I finished the lap with my gamin telling me I had run 30.5 miles. I popped out onto the parking lot with only two cars- mine and someone else's. I thought it might have been someone who was running the race, but I was too mind fogged to think to look for telltale bumperstickers, 26.2 ovals, or other signs.

I ran down to the entrance like I was told, turned around and came back to the car. The effort that had me at 13-15 minute miles on the trail had me at about 10 while on the roads, at the every end of the race. I really do wonder how I would have done without the snow fall.

I finished the race in 7:42:27 (BTW, Farra- sorry I miss reported 7:44).
Average pace: 14:45
Calories burned: ~4000 (maybe more)

I later learned that of the ~40 people who came to do the race, only four finished the 31 miles. Of those four, I finished first. I know at least one of them started early, did at least two of of the laps in snowshoes, tramping down and marking the trail for the rest of us. So much kudos and thanks to Jeff L, definitely the unsung hero of the race!

Also many thanks to Farra for being the driving force, RD and organizer. You did great, and I hope to see this race happen again! And Bruce, for being Aid station volunteer extraordinaire, and bringing tents and everything.  And those of you who actually managed to read this all the way to the end!  :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, December 13, 2010

Six Days

Personally, I love the challenge of running through snow. 

It feels really hard core, like only the most dedicated (or addicted/insane/compulsive) are out on the trails plowing through inches of the white powdery stuff.  It works some muscles particularly hard; my hip flexors, quads, and particularly my Tensor Fascia Lata muscles are all deeply fatigued at the end of a long run through the snow.

And really, it's part of the game when running in a northern state.  All we can do is deal with it, or condemn ourselves to the treadmill for four months out of the year. 

Still, I am getting a little nervous about doing a 50K in this next Sunday.  It's going to be a an interesting journey.  Hopefully no injuries will result.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jack Daniels' talent for understatement

Jack Daniels was describing Threshold pace as being something between a person's 10K pace (30 minutes for the fast runners) and their marathon pace (best pace you can maintain for 2 or more hours).

Kind of struck me as funny. I mean it's hard to argue with... Most people's threshold pace will be between what they can run in a flat out 30 minute time trial and the time it takes them to run a marathon.

I guess his book was aimed at athletes a little faster than I am, is all. 30 minute 10K is only slightly more comprehensible than a two hour marathon for most of us- though the former might earn you a few thousand dollars while the latter would probably earn six or seven digits if you could do it consistently....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No more dead lifts...

... my back is not happy with me.  I don't know whether is due to crap form, or an instability 'cause of landing on my tail bone one day when I fell from a tree, or a mix of stuff.  All I do know is that my SI joint is only happy when I'm not moving.

*sigh*  life is like that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jingle Bell 10K

10Ks aren't as much fun as half marathons, but their a sight better than 5Ks.  5Ks are just an exercise in pain management, perhaps not as bad as 800s, but still to be avoided as possible.

the last time I did the jingle bell run was in '07, which was a good year for me.  some good races, and some bad, but for the most part everything I put a serious effort into went fairly well.  this race in particular.  records say I finished in 42:38, but I blamed it on the course being short.

Could be that.  Or it could be I had a really good race.  Maybe some of both.  But I took away from that experience that maybe I had some speed that I hadn't tapped into yet.  Well, I was slower this year, but I still put up a respectable showing, i think: a decent 43:47.  Not sub-7 pace, but pretty close.  Got me 19th overall, though only 6th in my Age group.  it's not like I'll ever be going sub 30, or even sub 40 unless I have some sort of break through.

First mile went how first miles usually go.  I started off a little slow till I figured how my body would respond to race pace.  During my warm up I had to walk for a bit to keep myself from throwing up.  Bit of irony that was lost on me at the time, but I didn't have any problems with my stomach during the race.  So I guess it was worth it.  Still, I was worried that I'd mess up someone's lawn for a bit.

Ran with a friend of mine who wasn't going to race the race- or so she said before the race started.  She did a five mile easy run before the race, and was thinking that she'd just run with a friend.  Well, she pulled ahead of me after mile one and finished well enough to take female Master's.  I was happy enough just to be able to keep her in sight for a couple of miles.

Also was recognized by one of my customers; a high school cross country runner whose mom is the team's coach.  I was surprised that she was able to do any sort of recognition during the race- personally, I'm usually too absorbed to recognize anyone unless I run with them on a regular basis.

Anyway, i got to the end and saw the time counting its way up to 44, which I beat, and the runner up ahead of me, whom I didn't.  Couldn't have asked for better weather, or a better marked course, and it was fairly flat.  though I like hills; gives me a reason to say why I didn't earn a PR.  Even though in this race I say that I did, if the '07 race really was short.

This week, I've got the trot with turkeys, which I'm looking forward to.  Always fun running around someone else's stomping ground.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quick update

Legs are sore... Time to break out the aleve and foam roller. Jingle Bell run race report due soon!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week in review...

It was a good week of running.

First, the summery:

M- 6
T- 10 (bike) and weights
W- 13.7
F- 9
Sa- 12.5
Su- 8.5

49.7 running
10 biking

As I noted before, the weights was a nice change, and it made me feel stronger as I ran things like hills. 

Also, today I ran the Run Through Hell race, getting a 10K PR- 44:04 (garmin time), pace of 7:06.  I'm really very pleased with that- I went in thinking 7:15-7:45 was about as good as I could expect considering the hills, the crowd, and that yesterday's run was pretty tough.

Things I wish I could have done better:
Remembered a post-race snack for afterward.  I was *hungry*.
Started up a little bit... I had to weave around a lot of people at the early stages of the race.  Even though I thought I was fairly close to the start, I probably should have been further up.
Worn better shoes- I should've donned my racing flats.  The Elixers are nice, but they're getting a little long in the tooth, and I did have both the Kinvaras and Fastwitch in my trunk.  Ah well, next time.

Good times!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Being Coached and strength training

So, I decided to hire myself a coach.

I've been thinking about it for a while, mostly because I want someone with some objectivity to make up my weekly training program.  I like what I've done in the past, and I've learned a lot.

I just want to try something different.

My first week started off with some cross training (I chose biking for cardio) and some resistance training.  Nothing amazingly intense- lunges, squats, steps ups, and some core work.  But it was enough to get me sore for a couple of days, in an uncomfortable but not all the way to pain type way.  Except when I sneezed.  That hurt.

But the interesting part was the effect it had on my running, especially with respect to hills.  I've always approached hills with a consistent effort type idea.  Now, even though my muscles were sore, I could power up the hills.  The muscles liked working hard, or something.

It'll be curious to see what happens in the future- if I ask to do it more than once per week, and if I continue to see its effects on my running.  And if my running really does become better because of it.

I contracted for the next two months to take me to a Fat-Ass 50K  on December 19th.  If it goes well, I'll renew for a longer term- hopefully to help me run a 3:15 at Bayshore.  That's the plan, at least.  I'll try to keep you posted on how it goes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brooksie Way Half

I almost wish I had done the 5K. Frank Shorter was running the race, after what he claimed was his 160,000 mile hip check up. Really, I think it was some sort of surgery, or something, but honestly how cool would it be to be in a race with Frank Shorter? And to say that you beat him?! He came in a 27:23, so it would've been possible...

But to think. If you Run 40 miles per week 50 weeks out of the year you end up with about 2000 miles. It's a respectable distance, and certainly more than 95% of the rest of the population typically does. But it would take you 80 years to run 160,000 miles. It's over six times around the world at the equator, if I remember right. It would be running from New York to California something like 50 times.

Pretty amazing to contemplate. But I digress.

The Brooksie Way took place on a day almost perfect for running; high 30s low 40s, a bit of sun, a bit of wind, and little to no humidity. Definitely fall; the season's colors were already showing forth.

Of course, I didn't see any of the colors when I got there, because I like to get to races early and sacrifice a little sleep to avoid the nightmare that is parking. So when I pulled up and in with no traffic I figured I made the right choice. Seeing the miles of backlog about 45 minutes later I knew I made the right choice. :)

I did about a 1.8 mile warm up with a friend, found another friend whom I had promised to pace, and waited for the start of the race. Though the temps were a bit brisk, warming up in a jacket let me stay warm enough to wait at the finish line in my typical sleeveless tee.

So the race started, and even though we were smack dab in-between the seven and eight minute pace signs, we probably passed a couple of hundred people in the first mile. *sigh* race etiquette. Oh well, what can you do?

Let me natter on a bit about my race plan. I didn't really have one, except I wanted to try to pace a friend of mile for as long as I could hold on. He wanted a 1:40 half, which is roughly a 7:38 pace. Personally, I thought that there I could probably hang on for six miles, I might be able to hang on for 10 miles, but would check in with myself at those points to see how I felt.

I gave myself a 1/3 chance of being able to finish with him.

The first six miles were downhill, and some pretty fast running. Though most of it was on roads, a good chunk was on the Paint Creek Trail- not paved, but flat and a good running surface. We hit mile six at 43:52, which is a pretty good clip; maybe a 7:20 average pace.

I didn't really realize that my friend's race plan was to bank time during the fast downhill of the beginning to slow down during some of the pretty killer hills of the middle. It worked. Even though our pace dropped to the low 8's and high 7's for the next three miles, we got through the 10 mile mark right around 1:16... meaning I beat my Crim time by about four minutes.

The last three miles went nicely- hard work, but good. We got onto Oakland University's Campus and wound our way through some vaguely familiar streets until we started toward the mansion, and some extraordinary downhills started. My friend asked me if I wanted to push myself, and after taking a minute or so to consider, I guess I decided I did.

When I saw the clock hit 1:39 I knew I was coming in under 1:40, and was kind of shocked. My friend let me go ahead and finished two seconds after me. We wandered a bit, met up with some friends who finished earlier, found coffee, and hung out a bit more.

It was a throughly enjoyable race, and I had a wonderful time. First time I have run as a pacer to someone at my level, and it worked better than I thought it would. Perhaps we'll be able to pace one another to a 3:15 at Bayshore next year... that would be pretty cool. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 8, 2010

Beautiful Day...

Want to go for a run... trying to decide whether, six, nine or 14 miles.  Decisions, decisions...

I bought a pair of New Balance 100s; they're a minimalist shoe (though not quite as cool as the minimus).  Feels short, though it tested properly in the store.  I'll just have to see how they develop.

This racing season has gone really well; I'm trying to decide whether to end it on the high note of Brooksie, or do a few more runs just because I can.  I love running through the woods, but I also love running fast.  There was really something to the feeling of doing 7:10-20s during Brooksie and feeling good, and being surprised by every mile marker.

Hopefully, I'll be able to do a Brooksie write up soon...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week in Running 9/13

Kind of a step down week for me...
Distance- 42.7
Time- 6:24:32
Pace- 9:00/mile

M: off

Tu: 5.5 mile run on the West Bloomfield Trail after work. Turned dark by the time I actually hit the trail, so I wore my lights. Felt odd after all this time.

Wed: 6.1 Run with the group. Started slow, picked it up about half way. Felt pretty good to cut loose a little. Though I wonder if I'd be better off trying to keep up with some of the guys. I think I have it in me to run faster. Of course, it also might break me...

Thurs: 4.0 mile run around Pontiac Rec's West bridle loop. Nice and muddy, froggie, turtlie, and the odd turkey. Didn't see any big animals, though. In five fingers.

Friday: 9 mile run around Pontiac Rec's Bridle loop. Five finger run, which was also a lot of fun- thought not quite as fun as Thursday. Forgot my Garmin, so I just ran by feel.

Sat: 5 mile run at Indian Springs. It was supposed to be a nice, easy shake out run to keep the blood flowing for the race on Sunday. Went a little harder than I probably should have. Still, don't think I sabotaged myself... much. :)

Sun: Romeo to Richmond half. 13.1 miles in 1:42:43 (according to Garmin) The race was good, though I kind of wish it would have been Richmond to Romeo. That way, the wind would have been at my back *and* the sun wouldn't have been in my eyes. I was promised a rainy and cloudy day! How dare it be sunny and breezy?!

All in all, a good week of running. Next week, the goal is 54 miles, and to run four races at Run Woodstock . *Really* looking forward to this one. Love trailing, love camping, am looking forward to the whole experience!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some thoughts while on the trail...

I love running in the rain.

Frogs are really kind of weird looking. I'm really glad I didn't step on one of the dozen or so I saw hanging out in the puddles.

Saw a rock about the size of a dinner plate. Realized it was a snapping turtle. Happy that I didn't scream like a little girl.

I live running though mud, as long as I'm in five fingers. I still shy away from doing it from time to time, and I have no idea why.

I stopped in the middle of the run, thinking of all the things to be thankful for. Wind on my face sand between my toes. A niece with a new liver, and that the surgery went well. A mom with cataracts being removed, and that that surgery went well. Being able to run four miles without a second thought. A job that I enjoy most of the time. School, because learning is fun on a lot of levels.

Toys like an iPad and contact lenses. Enough food that I have to worry about overeating. Shelter that keeps me warm when it's cold, cool when it's hot, and the power to change things around if I so desire.

The world is a far less threatening place during a run. And it's easier to be grateful when in motion.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One thing...

... that annoys me about high mileage running is, of course, having to take two showers a day.

It gets tedious.  Worse is being to tired and going to bed all gross feeling.  Hopefully I won't have to do that more than once at woodstock.

On the other hand, if that's all I have to complain about, life is pretty good...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week in Review

Distance: 51.6 miles
Time: 8:41
Avg. Pace: 10:07/mile

M- Nice run on the West Bloomfield Trail. Ran with L~ with whom I haven't run since last October, and whom I sadly didn't recognize until she reminded me of her name. I was feeling the effects of the Labor Day 30K, and so may have pushed it a little bit harder than I should have. But I'm okay with that- beautiful days deserve nice runs, right? :) Fell in the first couple of hundred yards. Bled quite a bit, and I still have the scrape as well as a minor war wound. Good times!

T- Pontiac Rec, in Five fingers. I was originally going to do speed work at the WBHS track, but there appeared to be a game on and it was too busy to really be of interest to me, so I scotched the plan in favor of doing the bridle trails. I wish it were a bit muddier. It would have made it more fun. But they've done some trail maintenance, so everything was dry on only moderately fun to run though.

W- Group run from the store. Was pretty good- ran fairly easy. I may have to ramp up the Wednesday store runs to a tempo/threshold; there are a number of people who run at that pace. I like to keep my easy runs easy, though. Hm...

Took Thursday off.

F- ran the mountain bike trail at Pontiac Rec in Five Fingers again. Nice, but I may be happier running at Island Lake in them. Less technical, and I need to get used to watching my feet in them again. Earlier in the morning may be the way to go, too.

Sa- WB group run at the trail again. Ran with C~, and had a good time. Definitely fall type weather, and quite beautiful for all that, but I'd like to not have to leave to go work at the store quite so quickly. Glad, though that I'm not like the assistant manager having to flee to the store after running the Crim. He was kind enough to do that for me, because there's no way I could have run the Crim and gotten back to the store in time to open.

Su- Brooksie way half marathon course, minus a mile or so. Nice easy pace, and the terrain didn't seem nearly so bad as Labor Day 30K. I'm looking forward to it!

All in all, a great week of running. I'm grateful to be back in the 50 mpw world; and I'm not certain if I'm going to stay in the 50-60 for the next few weeks (minus a step down) or bump it up to the 60s. I think the former would be the wisest, but the latter might be more fun. Ah, decisions, decisions...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 6, 2010

Week in Review

Week went well... 44 miles, seven hours, seven minutes. Getting back into some nice milage again!

Monday's group got me poison ivy, which I'm still dealing with to a lesser extant. Been a while since I had it. Pretty miserable experience. :P

Wednesday group was kind of hot. Ran a decent chunk of it with J~, who suggested we sprint to the end- I found myself working out some left over angst. After I stopped I felt both my pecs and lats cramping up, unused to the exertion.

Think I'll have to do something about that- maybe add arm swings with dumbbells into my regimen, or something.

Thursday was a nice five finger run around Pontiac's bridle loop, though I switched over to the bike path at mile five. Felt nice to be doing some decent miles in five fingers again, though I wished there was more mud.

Saturday was the Labor Day 30K, which may be my favorite race. definitely going to have to see about doing that one as many times as possible. :) I'd love to be able to run it when I feel in top shape, and see what happens...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Crim Recap

I like goals when I run.  Even if I don't make any them, trying to do them helps me run a more intelligent race.  Occasionally I overdo it and have a half a dozen different hopes floating around of how the day will go, but for the most part things have gone well with this philosophy.  Guess that's why I stick with it.

Anyway, this is the third Crim I've run, and the first since '06.  '07 was a huge year for me, when my running ability improved by leaps and bounds. I was curious to see how I could do even coming off an injury and six weeks of recovery and gaining 10 pounds.

Trust me, by the end of the race I think I could feel every ounce of that extra weight dragging on me like dozens of tiny anchors.  But I digress.

the day was as perfect as the Crim gives- middle 60s at the start, windy and not overly humid.  I've had runs in the mid 60s feel like hell because of high humidity conditions, but luckily the race managed to dodge that bullet this year.  I got in early, got my race stuff and put it all together- number pinned, D-tag attached, the usual.

My goals were as follows: a PR (<1:37:08), sub 9 min/pace (1:30) sub 8:30 (1:25). Secondary goal is to run the last three miles faster than the first three.  I also had in the back of my head the idea of negative splitting, but I wasn't certain I was up for that.

I started off the race feeling pretty good, enjoying the relative cool and the flatness of the roads.  I knew it wasn't going to keep up- temps were scheduled to go up to 75 or so by 10AM, and the hills aren't anything to sneeze at.  I was a little bit worried when I noted my mile splits were right around 8 minutes, though.  I told myself I could take it easier during the middle third of the race and run hard for the final third and it would be fine.  It would give me an easier time doing the hilly part of the course.

Right around mile three, I linked up with a couple of friends from the running group; both of them were doing their long run for their training program as part of the race.  They'd met early to do five miles, run the Crim, and then do another five after the race.  Personally, since they're trying to run a 3:30, I figure they did a good marathon pace run in the middle of their 20, although I have no idea how much they rested between runs.

It was really helpful having them to talk to, though.  Kept me from taking the hills too seriously, and I did let my pace fall off like I wanted to.  I passed the half in 41:01.  I think mile five was my slowest, but also with my highest heart rate average (171) until I hit my last mile.  I also think the hills at mile five were also the hardest.

One word about pacing- at least, according to my garmin, I'm pretty good at it in the beginning of a race.  My first three mile splits were 7:56, 7:57 and 7:57.  Not too shabby!  heart rate was in the 160's, too.  I'm pretty happy about that.  

Anyway, final time was 1:20:33, five minutes faster than my stretch goal of 1:25, and 16:35 faster than '06.  My first three miles were at an average of pace of 7:56; my final three miles were done at an average pace of 7:45, so i got that goal too.  And since I passed the midpoint in 41:01, I managed to drop about a minute thirty from the first half to the second.

All in all, I call it a win.  :)

Week in review...

Happy with this week: Did some easy runs, some speed work, and a race which gave me a little confidence back as a runner.

Total miles: 35.8
Time: 5:13:19
Average pace: 8:45

Mon: 6 miles WB trail with the Monday morning group
Tues: 6.1 miles WBHS track speed work.  Quarters.
Wed: 4.1 at Pontiac- five finger run, 6.1 WB group run with K.
Thur: off
Fri: 3.5 on WB trail.  Supposed to be easy. 
Sat: Crim- 1:20:33.  16:35 PR. 8:04 pace.
Sun: off

A week to be happy about, I think.  :)

Next week, 37-42 miles!  Many of them with come from the Labor Day 30K, I think.  Not one I'm going to race- it's almost double the length of my longest run since May.  Rolling the dice, but I've gone without running this race for so long that I really *don't* want to miss it again.

That being said, I also really don't want to get injured.  Maybe I'll go heart rate mediated...

Anyway, tentative plan-

Mon- 5-6 group run
Tues- 5-6 speed work
Wed- 5-6 group run
Thurs- off
Fri- 3-6 shake out run
Sat- 18.6 Labor Day 30K
Sun- off

Total Planned miles are 37-42.  I hope it goes well!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Crim

Here's where I speculate on what the Crim is going to be like. 

First off, I haven't run it since '06, and my time was 1:37.  Which i really think i should be able to beat, although I'm not certain by how much- doing a nine minute pace today wasn't "easy" and it's a much easier course.  But here's how I see a couple of different ways to run the race going...

Run it easy; probably just shy of a 10 minute pace.  Don't work hard, enjoy the experience, wave to the crowds and people watch.  Hit the end and not feel tired, winded, or in any way overly stressed.  Predicted time: 1:36

Run it moderate: this would probably start off trying to be easy, but then ramping up the effort until I fall into something approaching marathon effort.  Possibly climbing to Half marathon effort.  On this course I could figure that to be probably 8:30-45 pace, averaging in the race something just over a nine minute mile.  At a guess, 9:15-30.  Predicted time 1:33

Run it moderate-hard:  if the race day feels really good, and the temps are low, I'd probably start off trying to run easy but really running moderate, and after the first couple of miles going into half marathon effort pretty quickly.  If the Bradly's go well, and I'm feeling good through mile seven, perhaps even seeing what I've got left.  Predicted time: 1:30

If things go extraordinarily well, somewhere in the 1:20s.  I don't think it's impossible, considering my marathon pace in April put me below 1:20.  But it's not April, and I'm not in that shape anymore, sadly.

Running it smart would be much happier.  I can leave fast for another year.

Weekly recap

last week- a step down week, and the last free weekend from races for the next couple.  I'm pretty excited about the Crim this Saturday, but even moreso for the Labor day 30K the week after.  But I digress...

Monday's run was with the group, mostly with L, and it was good.  I reflected on the fact that maintaining a nine minute pace wasn't nearly as easy as it used to be.

Tuesday I got up, thought about going to speed work, and skipped it.  My body felt a little to tired from four days straight of running, and I was feeling like I was coming down with something.  I think it might be allergies, though, so I could be wrong.

Wednesday was group run, and it was good!  Mostly let... um... I forgot who set the pace, but it was relatively brisk.

Friday was a not-so-fun run at Kensington.  I don't know if it was the extra weight from the backpack, the fact that the water made me feel sick, or just the heat that killed me, but it was *not* a fun run.  Walked a good chunk of it, doing 10 miles in 2:09 or so, if I remember right.  13 min/mile... I did better four years ago when i was training for Detroit on my own.  Bah.

Sunday was the exact opposite- trails with five fingers, only four miles, no extra weight, and it was significantly cooler.  So, ya'know.  That was better.  :)

I really don't know whether I'm going to be able to do well for the Labor Day 30K; it'll be going from a max run of 10 miles to one of 18.6, which is a huge step up.  If I'm smart, I'll run it with L and W (different L), take it easy, walk the hills, and have a good time.  Without any danger of injuring myself.

Perhaps I'll be able to do that for the first 10 miles, and then for the last half of it see where my body wants to take me.  I do wish I had gotten a 12, 14, and 16 mile runs in prior.  But such is life.  Hopefully I won't hurt myself too badly...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rest Heart Rate

Woke up today and my heart was beating at about 72 bpm. Normal, but it felt fast to me for some reason. After seven hours, eating (which boosts the metabolism), drinking coffee (which also boosts metabolism), and the like, my heart rate is 63 bpm.

Could be a sign of overtraining. To be paranoid, I'm taking the day off from running, especially since it's speedwork. Besides, my body feels pretty tired and my throat feels scratchy. Though they sound like excuses, they really are reasons, and I'd love to go to speedwork today if I really felt like it were a good idea.

But it doesn't, and I can live with that. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The week in running...

Not displeased; the rebuilding continues.

total miles- 30.8
time- 5:37:35
average pace- 10:59
number of runs- 6

Monday group run.  It's been a while since I've run with the Monday morning group.  It was always a nice, relaxed, and comfortable atmosphere.  Nice to have the direct invite from Bill... I've missed that group's connection.

Tuesday speedwork.  A mix of 100 and 200 meters runs, done at a moderate to hard effort.  With the sun and the heat and everything, I think I'm playing it smart by not trying to go overboard.  This upcoming week, though, I'm thinking of doing a ladder of effort consisting of 400s; after a warm up, do a 400 at marathon pace, then half marathon, 10K and then 5K, then lower the effort back down to marathon pace again.

The nice thing is that I'll be able to see if my pace and heart rate will be something consistent from one 400 to the next.  Still, that's only two miles; perhaps I'll have to do a few more things to make it a bit more distance; I'd like to get in at least five miles.

Group run on Wednesday; we'll see how that goes.  Part of me really wants to go farther than six miles, but another part of me knows that it might not be the best idea.  Oh well, I'll burn the bridge as I cross it.

Thursday- probably a rest day.  It's so cool to think that I'm back on a five or six day per week running schedule, even if most of those runs are a lot shorter than they used to be.  I've missed this part of the game, too.  :)

Friday appears to be off, so I'll probably do something interesting then- perhaps travel a bit to Island lake and do some running there, or perhaps Kensington.  Perhaps I'll do Pontiac- that kind of calls to me now, too.

Probably another rest day Saturday, since I'm working again.  And then run on Sunday, either with RUT or doing the Kirk in the Hills.  I miss doing the Kirk.  It was a splendid challenge, but I don't feel safe doing it without others there.  *sigh* dislike road running.  except when the roads are clear of everything except runners.  :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The thing I hate about my lack of fitness...

.. there are a lot of things I dislike about having lost a lot of fitness over the past two months.

I'm about 10 pounds heavier than I was and 15 pounds over where I want to be.
I can't run as far or as fast.
annoying habits of overindulgence at the table.
weakness for ice cream.
eating for fun.
eating out of boredom.

But the thing that annoys me the most is the stress relief I'm denied by not being able to cut loose.  There's something awfully freeing about hammering away at the miles at something close to "hard."  It's a stress relief that feels like no other I've experienced.  when the whole body is working together like a machine- it's beautiful.

And if feels good.  Like an accomplishment, like acing a test in a hard class because you know the material back on forward, like a pay off for having done work of quality.

Of course, since I haven't done any quality training, the lack of that feeling should come as no surprise.  And getting it back will feel pretty wonderful.

I maintained a sub-8 minute pace for 26.2 miles; three hours, twenty seven minutes and some odd number of seconds that was in the forties somewhere.  Three-Twenty something is a pretty big accomplishment from starting in the four-forties four years ago.

With the right amount of work, and the right inspiration, I can do it again.  Better, even.  All I have to do is play it smart, and do it right, and have a bit of luck on my side.

But more than anything else, i think I'm looking forward to feeling that feeling again.  :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010


running wise, everything fell apart in June.  Bad combo of being unlucky and unwise.  For all intents and purposes, I had about eight weeks off of running, and I didn't do anything to pick up the slack.

last week, I did a series of tests.  Six mile run.  Speedwork.  Lots of stretching and even a bit of warming up to boot.  No problems, really, except for the normal "I've lost a hell of a lot of fitness dammit!" type issues.  All part of the game.  Ran 18 miles total, which wasn't bad when all is said and done.

This week will be 24; I subscribe to Daniels (or maybe it's Pfitzinger's... I forget) idea of adding in mileage in a week the sum of the number of runs you did in the last week- thus, since I did 18 miles in six runs last, this week I'm up to 24.  This week, since i did the 24 in five runs, I'll shoot for 29 (or so).  Not nearly so conservative as the 10% rule, but I'll throw in a rest week after next just because it's probably the smart thing to do anyway.

And I think i'll keep to that schedule, adding four to six miles per week every three weeks with a rest week thrown in.  Comes to 12-18 miles per month.  At the end of August I should be up around 36 miles per week.  40-50s for September, and hitting the 60s in October if everything goes well.

I may even be in a place to be able to run a decent race sometime in October.  It's a pleasant thought, at least.  :)

So, for next week:
Goal distance: 30 miles
Number of runs: 6.  Or so.

... of course, it occurs to me that if I were to break up my runs into short, three to four mile type things I could add nine to ten miles per week if I really add miles more quickly.  But that might be counter productive...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Really don't like swimming.

It's supposed to be a freeing activity, and fun and all that, but I just find myself flailing through water without any real ability to make myself go forward. Beside the discomfort of inhaling, choking on, and otherwise having liquid going where it shouldn't. Or when it shouldn't. Or whatever.

So the swimming was eh. Perhaps if I had someone there with whom I would enjoy swimming it'd be better. Or if I'd spend the time to become more comfortable doing it. But I'm about as out of my element in water as a bird is trying to walk up to it's prey.

After 15 minutes of something approaching misery (decided to stop before it became an out and out slough-fest) I hung out on the beach listening to music and reading from the Zombie Survival Guide. Plants Vs. Zombies may be getting a little too far into my psyche.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rethinking Woodstock...

So, I'm signed up for this 50 miler. It's probably not going to happen.

For the past three weeks I've had this calf strain thing that just isn't going away, and for all the rest time and medicine I've taken and so forth the healing process is slow.

I'm not sure how many weeks are left; twelve at a guess. Not many- not enough to really feel like I'll be ready to do as well as I'd like.

Oh well, such is life.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One week, one mile of running

New low of running for me. Last real run was Sunday before last. Monday after was the fiasco that directly resulted in my injury; the Wednesday a week ago I ran a mile an knew I wouldn't be able to run another.

Been a week. Hasn't been as bad as I feared, but I feared it pretty badly. I may try to run in the next week. We'll see how it goes...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Calf Strain part 2

Still hobbling, but not as much as earlier in the week. I tested my leg on Wednesday, and it failed- half a mile in and it was unhappy. At the end of the mile I was very glad to be done.

Tomorrow, though, I get to see my lovely girlfriend Lynnivere, who (among other things) is a massage therapist. Perhaps she'll be able to make things better.

If not, then she'll have to wait for me as we run together. I have a feeling that it would do me good. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One thing leads to another...

Running in five fingers can lead to stubbed toes. Stubbed toes can lead to gait changes, which can lead to injury. Like a calf strain. Like, ya'know, my calf.

So now I'm hobbling around. it's about as much fun as it sounds. :P

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Night Rain Running

Things don't always go as planned. This works out for me a lot of the time, because my plans can often be crap.

So my plan was to go for a run at 5:00 PM, do 10-15 miles, and have a good time before the rain came.

I finally got to Pontiac Rec around 9:00 PM, and the rain hadn't quite reached the T-storm level promised. That came in after I'd gone about a mile.

It was glorious! The frogs were singing in chorus, the light rain made a gentle pitter patter when it fell on the leaves, and I was just cruising along in my five fingers, throughly enjoying the feel of the mud as it squished between my toes.

The rain got harder, and it became impossible to see using my headlamp... the reflection from the raindrops was really distracting. I had recently bought a flashlight, and was immensely glad I did. it definitely helped keep me from killing myself by tripping on rocks as I ran.

The rain got harder yet, the mud got deeper, and I got more into the rhythm of the run and the night. The miles and the trail flew by, and mud made its way up past my knees as a solid sheet, while covering the backs of my legs up to my shorts.

The GPS tweeted, but I mostly ignored it except when to change which hand held the flashlight. Certain hills I had to walk because they were just a bit too treacherous with rock and root and mud, especially when running down them.

All the while I thought about how much I was enjoying this run, but wishing my dear lady Lynnivere were there running with me. The night, the rain, the mud- it all blended together to make a wonderful, sensual whole. If I could dedicate a run to anyone, it would be to her.

The run ended with me sopping wet, covered in mud, and grinning from ear to ear. I think the running after glow buzz must have lasted five or six hours- and now I want to schedule all my runs to be at night in the rain, if they could all be as fun as this one...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Pontiac Rec, Waterford, MI

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A training run of errors...

the workout: a bike-run brick workout. It should have been easy...

left house. glanced up through my rear view mirror. If everything had gone to plan, this is what my car would have looked like from the outside-

this is what was actually there-

forgetfulness.  it happens.

Went back home, got my bike, got to the park.
Back tire leaked air as quickly as I pumped it in.  *sigh*

change out back tire, and didn't make too much of a mess doing it.  Greased up my hands a bit, though.

Wanted to change from pedals to cages, with a view towards biking in Five fingers.

Over zealous.  Open hand hit on my wrench let cassette teeth biting my hand-

Cassette teeth are sharp!

Start biking, finally.  Mile into bike, see signs that path is closed.

Starts laughing.

Bike on roads, no problem, 35 minutes and 10 miles later, done.  and fairly happy for it.

Start run- feeling like I'm running through molasses, but running fairly fast.  It's hot, though.

Run for the forest; mosquitoes like that.  Hydration backpack keeps blood from getting too viscous for them to suck.
And they really do suck.

Planning fail; water runs out mile six. Two miles left.  Hydration pack works better with water.  Mosquitoes miffed.

One mile covered in trees; starting last mile heart rate high, pace slow, and don't feel like collapsing from heat.  Walked it in.

good times!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Oy. allergies.

The thing I really don't like about openwater swimming is that I always have this allergy attack that takes days to go away. Ugh.

next time, I'm *going* to find my swim bag with my goggles, ear plugs, and most importantly, nose plug. Because this is just not very much fun...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


There's the thing called the Aqua-Bike, but for athletes that don't do the run thing. It's like a duathlon (run-bike-run) except it's a swim-bike-swim.

I was on my way home from school, knowing that I wanted to run, but I also wanted to train for battle of waterloo, coming up in about 12 weeks.

Though I didn't have any of my summing gear, I did have my running shorts, my five fingers, and a pocket with a zipper. I had my heart rate monitor and Garmin 310. So I thought: why not?

I got to Pontiac Rec, threw on the appropriate gear, set the watch for multisport, and took off to the lake. I swam about 17 minutes (for abysmal swimmer me, that translates to about a third of a mile) ran to my car to pick up my sun glasses and hydration pack, ran 8.5 miles, dropped all that stuff off, and did the swim again, finishing where I started.

I was good- I actually found some sort of rhythm when I was in the water. I was struck by how I swim in 2D the way Woodstock from the Peanuts flies in 3D. And how swimming in five fingers wasn't so bad. I got them well and truly wet, did the run with no problem, and go them well and truly wet again.

Now all I have to do is figure out a comfortable way to bike in them...

Monday, May 24, 2010


Looking for a way to find motivation... since I'm no where near used to it, heat is killing my desire to run.

Oh, how to get started?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod


Thursday, May 20, 2010

enough lollygagging. time to get serious again.

For the past month and a half, i've been taking it easy... running 3-4 days a week, putting in some decently long runs but also skipping lots of days for no real reason.  the body needed a break, and the semester started to get busy, and I shorted my running because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

that's all over, starting this weekend.

This weekend, if I've done my math right, marks 18 weeks before Woodstock, where I've signed up to do a little running.  Also, 12 weeks to Battle of Waterloo, which I seriously need to start training for seriously.  else death may result.

So, what's on my plate you might ask?
running.  Swimming.  Biking.  In five fingers.
deciding to do the Ultra in five fingers or not.
attending to this problem in my right hip.  *grumble*

and I may even spend the weekend drawing up a program.  Tentative miles per week:
50s in May
60s in June
70s in July
80s in August
60s-70s in September

hell yes!  this sounds like fun!

Monday, May 10, 2010

24 miles in five fingers...

Almost double my furthest in five fingers prior.  but ya'know, it was my 36th birthday (well... day after) and I wanted to do something fun and for myself.  And this seemed the very thing.

I was shooting for 36 Kilometers (~22.5 miles) and missed by a bit.  I took my camera, and did my best to have as much fun as possible with it.  the only thing that would have made it better is to have a running friend along with!  But it was a good time on my own- the weekend was full of activity with people.  I really needed this to destress, have some down time and enjoy myself.

Lot's of Pics Here

At the Pontiac Lake beach

In the Huron River

Looking for trolls!

Friday, April 23, 2010


There are lots of reasons I like to run; Wednesday was one of them.

No, not Mr. Wednesday from American Gods, though if he showed up I'd be sure to run the other way; but it was a relatively cold, blustery day during the group run.

Sun was on it's way to the horizon.  Clouds were dumping rain.  We got the double rainbow thing, and I was struck at how clear the purples and blues were standing out.  Can purples and blues be vibrant, especially against a storm cloudy gray sky?  With the Sun making everything glow gold, I guess they can.

I love running in the rain.

I love getting the feeling of... hunger... to run fast.  When it's all i can do to reign in those impulses.  Running smooth, running easy, but there's also that feeling of "let's see what happens" if I were to cut loose.  It was a struggle to repress that urge.

Hopefully it'll hit again on Sunday.  I still don't feel recovered from the marathon, but there are always other factors in play.  I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Random and mostly disjoined thoughts on my training

Some reflections on my training:

Number of week: 18
Number of Shots: 19
Miles run: 1020.
Hours of running: 160
Average Pace: 9:25

Deepest snow experienced: 8" (non-drift)
Coldest Temps: ~-10° with wind chill.  Still wasn't wearing a jacket. (took it off, truth to tell)

Favorite discovery: you don't fall backward if you're doing the Good Form Running thing.
Second favorite discovery: you can do threshold intervals during a long run.  It's good for you!
One thing I wish I had done more: hard intervals
Another thing I wish I had done more: marathon pace runs
A final thing I wish I had done more: progression runs.

Flaky promise made to self: no restaurant hamburgers.
Favorite moment during training: running the superbowl 5K, going to a sub-7 pace and feeling great!
Biggest fear: the ice-pick in my shin feeling again.
Biggest inconvience: GI issues during my runs (no pun intended).
Solution: Tums, and the occasional use of dried leaves.

Favorite new gear purchase: Garmin 310!
Second favorite gear purchase: Nathan HPL 020
Third favorite gear purchase: Microspikes
Odd feeling: My gear is turning me into a clone of Jeff and Al of RUT

Biggest thing I learned on raceday:  house of cards falls from the base.  A minor, conscious effort to tilt my pelvis posteriorly kept me from slumping forward in my spine, decreasing the thorcic kyphosis which leads to a terrible cervical lordosis.  

Happened to me all the time at the end of a marathon.  My posture would be the same as if you looked up at the ceiling, then bent at the waist to keep the same neck angle but were trying to run forward.  Horrible waste of energy.

Book that's inspired me to think about running crazy miles: Once a Runner
Book that's inspired me to think about running crazy miles in five fingers: Born to Run
Best analogy to how I felt during training: wad of cookie dough
How I wished I felt: carved out of wood

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Three shots into the wind

It was supposed to work out perfectly.  18 shots in a fifth.  18 weeks.  The weekend of the marathon, to celebrate the end of the training cycle, I'd drink that final shot with great relish.

Of course, I didn't think that my light hand with the alcohol would bite me in the end.  And deciding against the weekly shot last time may have been a mistake.

Because to finish off the bottle, I poured and drank three shots, which is significantly more than I've drunk since the running fit Christmas party.

I think the Jack Daniel's training program was a success, although I don't know that I would do it again.  I'll probably leave out the whiskey next time.  But I'm truly happy that I was able to do it- not many have, would be my guess.  I really should have taken a picture... :P

Martian Marathon

First the numbers:

Time: 3:27:46.4
Pace: 7:56/mile
Place(s):  AG 12/31, Gender 68/281, OA 71/415

I really couldn't have asked for a better race day.  The temps were perfect for me: in the high 30s to start, in the 40s for the bulk of the race, and probably low 50s at the end.  I don't believe that I really started sweating until mile 10, which is unusual for me.

Here an obligatory map of the course:

The first 10K flew away in a blur.  I do remember thinking that I had better slow down, because my first goal was to run the final 10K faster than the first.  It was an attempt to keep me honest about not going out too quickly, and I think it might have helped a bit.

Not as much as I would have liked, but that only would have happened if it had come true.  I hit the 10K at about 48:40, or a 7:51 pace.

In any case, I remember having random thoughts flow through my head, thinking that I had better note things down if I wanted to write them up as a blog post, and then thinking that the only memory I'll have for the race is that I wanted to write a blog on it.  Which is a tad ironic, but it's one of the dangers when you promise race reports and have no idea what to say.

I do remember cheering on and being cheered on by friends, running for a while with H, whom I hadn't seen in a while, and thinking that the way will be more clear when the half marathoners start back to the finish.  They did, and it was, and I didn't feel any sort of desire to turn around with them.

Time passed, and I hit the turn around at 1:43:16, or a 7:53 pace.

Then the hills started.  I really don't remember running down them, but I sure do remember every time I looked forward I thought "great.  another hill. did we really run down all these?"  More miles passed, and I finally hit mile 20.

There is a mystique about mile 20 of the marathon; most of us don't run more than that for a training run.  And I've often said that the halfway point of the marathon is mile 20, because that's where you really have to start spending psychological energy to keep the legs moving and form from going to hell.

And it was my plan to go from marathon effort at mile twenty slowly up to all out effort at mile 26.  And I think I did a fairly good job, although my pace doesn't reflect that at all, although my heart rate does.  Check it out:

The red/purple represents my heart rate during the race; the blue my pace.  Aside from a sharp spike at mile 11- something I don't remember and didn't feel- my pace didn't fall off (go above 8 min/mile) until about mile 21, where there's a fairly increase in my heart rate.  Pretty much for the final five miles of the race, my heart rate hung out in the 190s, getting up to 204 at the end as I was sprinting for the finish line.

I would have liked to have run harder, but I don't think my body would have been too happy with me.  Perhaps next time I'll see if some endurolytes or S-Caps or something will be helpful.  Could be I was in atrial tachycardia- runs in the family- but it's one of those things I'd need to be running with at least a two lead to find out.  Which I do, but sadly it's not set up to take as specific a reading as would be necessary to get a proper diagnosis.

It was also interesting that I felt like some of my muscles just decided to go on holiday.  I swear I could feel parts of them shut down and say "Okay, we give up."  They threw up their (figurative) hands and gave up.  It felt like carrying extra baggage.  

The end of the race was interesting- for the final couple of miles I was trying to chase down a runner whom i didn't realize till later was one of my coworkers.  I mean, we never really saw one each others face, and we've only worked a couple of shifts at the same time, but it was kind of interesting.

Right around mile 26 a couple of friends of mine (G and D)showed up to cheer me on and run me in.  This was particularly nice because the wind was right in my face and I was able to draft off (and be pulled in by) one of them. 
Also nice was the fellow behind the microphone knew me and not only cheered me in as I finished but plugged the running fit at which I work.

My boss was there at the end and congratulated me, for which I thanked him, and I wandered punch drunk through the  chip removing, medaling and watering ritual.   My friends steered me towards food, other friends, and finally the massage tables.  Massage.  Almost as welcome as the water at the end of the race.  Amazing, that.

So I got most of my goals time wise.  I didn't get my "can I run an intelligent race" goal, but I figure with the temp difference and the downhill/uphill difference, I didn't do too terribly.

Some other random numbers:

1st half: 1:43:16 or a 7:53 pace
2nd half: 1:44:28 or a 7:59 pace

One minute, 12 second difference, which isn't bad.  I'm not displeased.

1st 10K: 48:40 or a 7:51 pace
Last 10K: 50:25 or a 8:08 pace

One minute, 45 second difference which means more in a 10K, and is significantly off my goal, but I bowed to both RPE and heart rate, and didn't try to push myself to cardiac arrest.  that would have been unfortunate.

It was a really good time.  If I have friends who would want me to pace them through it in the future, I'd be happy to do so.  I've heard people complain about the course, but since I don't run on it that much, I kind of enjoy Hines Drive.  For now, it's time to recover, spend some quality time with a foam roller, and see what other adventures may be in the offing.

My next race is in two weeks: the Trail half marathon.  I ran it for the first time in '06 in a time of 2:24:02.  I think I might pace someone, I may decide to race it, or I might just go to enjoy myself and not worry about my time.  Decisions, decisions... Perhaps I'll do it in five fingers.  That might be fun. :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Man, things do change

Huh.  I'm going to be waking up in about four hours.  Nice.

I used to have a sheet listing all the things I should be doing on the night prior to a race, to make sure I didn't forget anything (I can just imagine leaving without shoes) and so forth and so on.

I'm a bit more relaxed now.

I still certainly suffer from pre-race jitters, but I don't fight them now, and I think they have less power over me.  at the very least, I don't get as frustrated in trying, and failing, to fall asleep.

No, these days it's just me waiting for gun time, and trying to distract myself.  The hard work has been done, and the taper is hours from over.  Tomorrow I get to see how well Daniel's' program works. Imperfectly followed, of course, but I still tried.  And did fairly well, i think.

Anyway, plan for tomorrow.  Start off at a relatively slow pace: 8:10-20.  Hang out there for a mile or so.  jump up a bit to the eight o'somethings, and hang out there for a while.  When I hit mile six or seven, and feel like I'm fully warmed up, try to drop the pace into sub eights.  No faster than 7:50 on the flats; perhaps a bit faster on the downhills, but only if I've paid for it on the up hills.

I hope to be through the 10K in no slower than 51 minutes, but no faster than 49:30.  We'll see how that goes.  Take the first Gu at the first water stop after mile five.  Settle into my groove, hanging out at an barely imperceptibly faster than eight minute pace.  Keep my form loose and relaxed.  Keep my turnover fast, light, and easy.  Well, as much as I can.  Keep the muscles in the back of my neck as relaxed as possible- they really like to tense up when I get fatigued.

Hm... I wonder if holding my pelvis at a more posteriorly rotated point would help with that.  Perhaps I should try it... after the race. 

Anyway, I'll take my Gu at the fives, and hopefully when I take my last one at mile 20, I'll be somewhere near 2:41 time wise.  that's when I get to see how I'm doing for real.  My hope is to decrease my pace a few seconds per mile- not straining mind, but putting just enough effort in to hit the finish line... well... totally finished. 

What I'd love to see is a 7:58 mile 20, 7:52's or there about for the next couple of miles,  high 7:40's there on out.  It'll be more taxing than the LT workouts I've been doing at a 7:20 pace by that time, I'm sure.  But I do hope my body is ready for this.  If it happens, great.  If not, I'll be good anyway.

Time to try to sleep.  Three hours, 30 minutes to when my alarms are set to go off.  Good times!

Friday, April 9, 2010

the night before the night before

races are all about making the right decisions at the right time, and the few days before the race are key.

So, of course, I spent tuesday night reading a book till 3:30 or so in the morning, and had to get up in time for work. Let's say four hours of sleep on the outside.

Right now, I'm on a roll when it comes to studying, and I don't really want to stop. But it's the night before the night before the marathon, when I should get all the sleep I possibly can.

So, of course, I decide to type in my blog, doing neither anything productive nor sleeping like I should. Which is why I have only myself to blame if things go poorly Saturday.

If this were a role playing game, I'd've failed my common sense roll.

[edit] Yup, mistake.  I got about five hours of sleep.  But I did get a lot of studying in!  :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

One week left. Minus a day.

I think I'll skip my shot today; partially because I'm feeling under the weather, but also because I don't feel I deserve it.

Reasons I hate the taper:
I'm used to interacting with food as if I'm burning 7000+ calories per week in running.  If I'm only burning, day 3000, this is not so good.
There's an inverse relationship between my (psychological) stress level and the amount of exercise I'm getting in.
Lethargy is a vicious cycle.  "bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, and so forth..."
I was on spring break these last two weeks.  I had all the time in the world, but the schedule told me not to, run, damn it.
There seems to be a positive relationship between my immune system and the amount I'm exercising, to a point.

Yesterday I skipped my planned nine mile run.  Today I skipped my planned six mile run.  But I slept for about 11 hours, which I almost never do unless I'm feeling sick.  The plan called for 46 miles this week.  I got in maybe 30, with a bike ride which was about the equivalent of a six mile run.

Pretty weak.  Next week will be more interesting, I hope.  Threshold run tomorrow.  Easy runs Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.  Race Saturday.

I'll finish off my bottle of Jack.
I'll do a final write up of what I think I've learned.
I'll figure out what I'm going to do after this race.

Tomorrow the final week begins; I'm really looking forward to what its going to tell me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Well, hell and damnation

Ya'know how you sometimes have dreams, and those dreams seem quite far away but possible if things would just align perfectly?  And striving for those dreams makes them that much more worthwhile?

Well.  The BAA made a certain dream that much more difficult to attain.  Oh well, such is life.

So far as I can tell, they took a blanket 10 minutes from everyone's QT.

So, at my current age I'd have to run an average 7:06 to hit a 3:05:59 (I don't know whether they'll still be giving the extra 59 seconds).

As if maintaining a 7:29 pace for my current QT of 3:15 wasn't hard enough.

Oh well.  If I have another break through, like I did between '06 and '07, perhaps I could get there.  Otherwise, I guess I'll have to learn to be content without ever qualifying.  I guess there are worse things in life to learn how to have to do...


[edit] Well, my face is red.  :P  Happy April Fool's!  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I like to change things up in my training.

For instance, I've run five marathons and I've never used the same training program twice.  Having the experience of following some new training program has taught me new workouts, new philosophies, and made me do things I never would have.  Daniels' 19 mile training runs with LT intervals is a good example.  I've never come across anything like it in any of the other programs I've tried.  It's good, and hard, and I think it's made me a better runner.

Diet has changed, too.  Last cycle it seemed every time I had a long run and ate out (and I was eating out quite a bit last year) I had a hamburger with fries.  Partially because it was typical fairly cheap in comparison to other menu choices, but also because I like them and it gave me lots of calories in protein and fat when I needed them.

This time, though, I haven't been eating out nearly as much- maybe once a week or so with my Wednesday night post run group.  At first it was an unconscious decision to not order a hamburger, but eventually I made it into a conscious one.  There was the connotation that it was something that I did last year.  This year is different.  Not better, perhaps, but different.

Anyway, I had my first hamburger today.  It was... okay.  I made it myself, so that might account for it's mediocrity, but I expected some vestigial memories from last year.  There wasn't any, really.  It's odd, too... there were some great things about last year- 1:37:08 half (faster than I ever thought I'd be- faster than I am now, certainly) and some not so good memories (the injury that set back my training and contributed to a decent but not great 3:32 Bayshore).  Triumphs and disappointments. 

But there wasn't anything like that. It was just a hamburger.  It's funny how the meaning of symbols can change over time when you aren't looking.

Why yes, I am crazy

We like to complain about the weather in Michigan. Figure it's the
same everywhere, but I'm looking at the future forecast, and it's
looking kind of warm. I mean, very warm for a runner.

It's 30 degrees right now. It'll get up to 50 or so today. Later on
this week, the day will start at 50 and go up to 70. 70 is warm. Very
warm. To warm for me to train in until I get used to it. But the issue
is if it's this warm during Martian, I have a feeling I'm going to be
well and truly screwed.

Like I said, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Just a test

I'm just wondering if this works.

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two weeks to go

Saturday run- the run I feared- went really well.  Two miles up, 15 at marathon pace, two miles down.  My splits were a bit off, and some were slower than others (I think one of them was down to a 8:08) but for the most part I was spot on, and only a couple of seconds off of an 8 minute pace average for the 15.

Feels good.  A decent confidence boost- much better than the fiasco that was Friday.  And though it started off chilly, the sun was up and the people were out, and I saw a number of other runners out there both in my group and not.  Even though I ran the majority of the miles alone, still kind of nice to feel as part of a community.

I did discover that fencing really doesn't hold much of an allure for me.  Its fun, but it's not great fun.  If I had developed more relationships with the people there, I may have tried harder to get out there more, but... it just isn't a priority, and I don't strong incline to it.  Was nice to see some old fencing friends again, though.

Also nice to run with RUT this morning.  Good folk, and hopefully I'll be able to make it to a goodly number of their runs this summer.  I would really like to get a bit more time on the Poto, and I do like Island Lake, too.  Although if I do go to Island lake, I may really be tempted to bring all of my tri stuff and do a proper swim/bike/run and the like, making it and all day thing of exercise craziness.  Who knows?  The trail goes by Spring Mill Pond.  Maybe I'll just take a short cut and try to swim across while others are running.  It would only work if I manage to cut 4/5ths of the distance off, though.  My running speed and swimming speed are *vastly* different.

Next week will sort of be interesting.  I'm supposed to do 60% of my miles, which equals 42, but I not only have the two Q workouts, but the "week before the marathon" work outs start to come into play.  Between the two I'm pretty sure I'm at 50 odd miles, which is a bit more than 42.

No biggie, I think.  It'll be fun!  I may just skip the Saturday run, since I have to work.  Ah, the sacrifices I have to make for real life.  It's a terrible thing.  :P

Two weeks.... really something close to 12 and one quarter days.
Less than 100 miles of training.
Weather, luck, and accident/injuries permitting, I get to really let my demons come out to play.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What I would do differently... ("I want" rant, part 2)

This is a preliminary type thing- a retrospect of this season's training.  The double Jack Daniel's(') has been fun, and though obvious I'm the only one I know who has done it, so whatever.

My first thought is- I want more miles.  70 per week is a lot, but I want more.  I think it would be helpful to my running.  And I think my body can take it.  Everything going well, next time I do something like this I'll have more weekly milage. This wasn't a fault of the program so much as when I put it together it seemed like a good number at the time. I know, a reprise, but it's an important theme.

I want more progression runs, which I define this way:  Start off with a couple of miles of warm up.  Do five miles at 15 seconds slower than marathon pace.  Five more miles at marathon pace.  End with five miles at 15 seconds faster than marathon pace.  do a couple of miles of cool down.

See if you can choose a hilly route, too.  Just to make it fun.  :)

I want more speed work.  There was a decent amount in the program, but I had in my heart of hearts a bit more desire to do 400s and 600s and 800s.  I wanted to spend more time on the track, even though that wasn't really a possibility during the winter.

I want more marathon pace runs.  I think I only had four or so on the schedule for this training cycle, and that just doesn't seem enough.  I decided to throw a mile in at marathon pace for my run today, to see how natural it is, and was almost completely unsuccessful at holding an 8:00 pace.  I held 7:45 for about a half mile and then slowed down to 8:10, which left me with an average of about 7:55- not bad, but not what I wanted.  I needed consistency, and I don't have it.

I want to fix this shin thing.  Occasionally, I feel like I hit a stride which is vastly different from any stride I've had before- all fore foot, using my calves both for shock absorption and propulsion, hard work but fairly smooth.  it takes a lot out of me.  I usually hit this stride when my shin is killing me because of the herniation thing.  I wonder if this is the way I should be running, or is it a gait flaw which will eventually do a lot more damage than pain it avoids?

I think I want to serious work on lowering my body weight.  I was running really well at 165, and I'm wondering if I could possibly do better, and be less hurt, if I were to lose a good five- or even ten- pounds.  Yeah, I did look pretty gaunt at the time.  Oh well, I'll deal.

I think... perhaps I'll sign up for a marathon in the fall.  I know bunches of people are talking about Columbus, and Grand Rapids has a certain appeal.  Of course, if this shin thing doesn't go away, maybe I'll just stick to trails.  That might be the way to go.

Daily Mile challenge

This was not a great time to accept a challenge.

The Daily Mile is not unlike a cross between a running log and facebook, except without the postings of friends becoming with friends with people you don't know and updates about mafias and farms and stuff.

It does, however, have a garmin connect feature (new this week) and the ability to issue and accept challenges.  Also, there's a leader board amongst you and your friends on who's running the most weekly miles.  The trash talking is all in good fun and the like, part of me really doesn't want to be humbled on the leader board.

Which brings us to challenges.  The first challenge I've accepted is to run 200 miles in April, so I'd have to  average about 50 miles per week.  I don't foresee it as too much of a problem, because I have a great ability to screen out things I don't want to see.

I'm tapering.  I might be up in the 50s during the first couple of weeks in April, but it might be in the low 40s, too.  I might sneak in a few miles, but the idea of sabotaging my marathon because of a silly daily mile challenge doesn't seem terribly smart.

Also, marathon recovery usually takes a while- usually a couple of weeks, if not more.  I'd love to be the guy who is able to do an easy 10 the day after a marathon, but I'm just hoping that I'll be able to wander about without looking like I've well and truly damaged myself. 

And lastly, I'm getting more into the spirit of doing triathlons, I think.  There's a part of me that really enjoys having the beginner's mind.  The knowledge that I'm so amazingly slow in the swim and so mediocre at the bike that I'm almost certainly going to be in the cellar of my age group cuts off any competitive impulses.  I can go just to learn, and enjoy myself.

I like to do well.  It's just that I have to change my definition of "well" to fit the circumstances.

Which comes back to this challenge.  It'll be a challenge.  Which, now that I think about it, is kind of the point.  :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tapering, changing plans, and feeling sluggish

I'm never quite sure how to handle the taper.  I'm sure I've never done it well.

So, this week I'm supposed to do 49 miles; a good 21 miles down from my peak.  49 miles isn't bad- it's an average of seven miles per day, which seems like a lot.  But when I do the math for the required Q workouts by Daniels, those take out a good 30 miles out of the equation in two days, leaving me 19 to split among the remaining five.

19 miles.  five days.  Less than four a day.  So I took Monday off, and I took today off, and I ran a very easy six on Wednesday.  Tomorrow I get an easy five or so, and Sunday I'll do a loop of Pontiac with RUT.  But one hard day in five just feels... wrong.  Like my body is deciding that I'm not really serious about running anymore and wants to go back to days of 25 miles per week and no hard training.

I just hope I'm able to use the hard run to teach my body otherwise.  Although it was originally scheduled for Friday, I've moved my Q1 workout to Saturday to run with the group at Kensington.  It may well be one of the more tough workouts I get to do- 15 miles at marathon pace, with four miles of easy running.  If I can't do it, I think I'll be screwed for the race, but it'll be exciting to find out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And I was all set to be discouraged...

So, today's workout didn't quite go as planned.

It was fairly simple on paper- run easy 20,  then do 17:30 at lactate threshold, 20 easy, another 17:30 at LT and then a couple of miles easy.

the first interval didn't go very well.  First off, there may have been more hills- the elevation gain was a lot more than for the second.  Also, there were trucks barreling down on the path at 20 mph or so, which is the first time I've ever encountered that before.  I wonder whether they were consumers power checking on the new piping they installed though our lovey metropark.

But I digress.  After leaping out of the way of the trucks,  I found it a little difficult to find my stride and get back into the interval.  Also, I was carrying my hydration pack, which might also play a role in slowing me down.  I made sure to only pack about 30 odd ounces of water, but there's also the weight of the pack, and... well.  I'm just making up excuses.

The first interval was supposed to be at 7:20, and it started off okay.  But as I continued to try to push, things got harder and harder, and I glanced down at one point and saw my pace just about 8:00/mile.  My marathon pace.  Talk about discouraging- I was pushing hard, and feeling like I was getting only slower.  I finished off the interval at a 7:37 pace- 17 seconds per mile slower than I wanted, but not as bad as I feared.

I did the 20 minutes of recovery, and started the second interval just pushing hard, not watching my pace or anything.  After the first half I looked down to find my pace at 7:22, which felt *much* better.  I had a few moments of averaging a bit faster, but wound up finishing that interval at 7:22, which is essentially where I wanted to be.

Does make me wish I had remembered my heart rate monitor, though.  some objective data about how hard I was pushing would have made me feel better- I would have been able to blame hills or wind or whatever if my heart rate for both intervals was roughly the same.

Still, according to my records, I was running better in February. :(  I don't know if it's the heat or something else, but even on the slick surfaces we had earlier during the winter, I was running faster and doing better.  Oh well; perhaps the marathon will so go okay.  I hope so...