Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mmm.... the warm glow of week 12. Six left.

And my fifth should be about two thirds gone.  Pretty much, although I think I might not pour myself a regulation shot.  I guess I don't have a heavy hand when it comes to the alcohol- at least, when it comes to myself.  Maybe I'll serve the last of it on the rocks after the race.  That might not be a bad way to go...

Anyway, this week.  As I mentioned earlier, it was a step down week, a nice, easy 49 miles or ~ 70% of my max weekly goal.  I *almost* made it- I went 48 of 49, which isn't all that bad.  Especially after Friday's 2.5 hour 9.75 mile jaunt.  Really, running through eight inches (or more) of snow is really tough, particularly when I had and extra pound on my feet when compared to my regular trainers. 

But I digress.

The week went well, i think.  There were some normal difficulties inherent with running during winter, and I made adjustments and I think I did the work I needed to for physiological stress to occur, which (hopefully) will make me into a stronger runner.  Psychologically, too. 

So, with six weeks left, I have three "real" weeks of training before I begin my taper.  Thankfully, although Daniels' cuts miles back, he doesn't appear to cut back intensity much, so it'll be a nice, easy progression into the race.  That is, I won't feel as torpid as I have in the past with a three week taper.

For this next week, even though I'm back up to 100% max miles (70 for the week) the workouts don't appear too killer.  One is the standard long run of 2.5 or so hours (usually I'm with a group, so it tends to go longer) with a interval workout of 2 x 20 minutes at threshold pace with a 20 minute RI.  Not bad at all, really, if I can get the miles in.  I may be lucky enough to run with people on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday if things work out.  So if I get my intervals in on Tuesday, I'll be golden.

On the other hand, 12 miles on Tuesday and maybe 5 on Wednesday leaves 52 for Thursday through Sunday.  And I have to work Sunday.  Hm.... decisions, decisions.  I may do the double long run back to back on Friday and Saturday, just to get the miles in.  I'd love to be able to do two a days, but I just don't think my schedule allows for it.  Maybe next time!

"Two easy 10 milers"

Well... maybe one easy 10 miler.

After work yesterday I headed to my favorite trail- Pontiac Rec.  I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but it has this nice 10 mile loop which is relatively technical, hilly, and fun.

It's also significantly harder through 8-10" of snow.  My Saucony Razors have built in gaiters, which helped a lot, but didn't do that much for the snow which came in through the top.  Kind of like the waterproof boot not quite as high as the puddle into which you step.  Only slower.

On the bottom of the relatively heavy Razors (~16 oz) I had my Microspikes, which I believe weight about five ounces apiece.  Breaking through the snow made a 10 mile run take about 2.5 hours, which is about as long as my "long runs" should take- at least, according to Daniels.  I kept on wanting to know if there would be a correlation between depth of snow and some other, more understandable gradient of effort.  For instance, if every inch of snow was like a 1% incline.  Makes me wonder if anyone has done any studies on it.

Anyway, after the sun went down, the run became more grueling than fun- especially when the drifts started getting knee-high, and I ran out of water.  I walked up most of the uphills, like a good ultra runner.  Did make me long a little for spring, though.  I'd really love to go back to being able to run those trails without walking.

As for Saturday, I'm taking it off.  Sunday I may do it again- or possibly run with my group, or hit the local metropark.  Decisions, decisions...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Huh. Weird.

This week is a step down week.  I didn't figure it out till today.

Daniels' is different from all the other programs I've done before in that you pretty much control the schedule.  You pick a max number of miles per week, you do the Q workouts, and the rest of the miles you're pretty much free to get in however you like.

I like it quite a bit.  If I don't decide to go off the deep end and do choose to do another fall marathon, I'll probably follow it again.  Otherwise, Pfitzinger's 90+ mpw training program might be the way to go.  I mean, the first week's mileage is 60.  Further on in the program, a recovery week's mileage is 75.  75 miles for a recovery week.  A little hard to contemplate, but there it is.

Anyway, my max mileage for this program is 70 mpw, and this week I'm supposed to do only 70% of that, so roughly 49 miles.  After Q1 which took 18 miles and today's Q2 which took about 10.5 I have about 20 miles left to go.  Leaves me two 10 milers, which I'm planning to get in after work Friday and Saturday.  Much, much nicer than the bad planning that left me 35 miles to do in two days, rather than 20 miles in three.

It feels...  nice.  like I get even more of a break than I need, and certainly more than I deserve.  But it might be necessary.  Today's Q run was... not so good.  I wish I could blame it on the fresh snow, but I think it was mostly a matter of will.  Two easy 10 milers... seems almost like a holiday.  nice feeling, believe me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


So, today's run has got me thinking about physiological and psychological toughness.  Ideally, the two will be equally harnessed and work together so that neither will fail before the other- although when the crash comes, it comes hard.

My workout today was after two days of complete rest, a scheduling happenstance that has only occurred once  earlier in this training cycle.  Felt weird, to be truthful.  Anyway, I was hoping that I'd have an easier time of it for this run.  Two full days of rest is odd in my circles, and even a single day of rest can do wonderful things to my state of mind.

Didn't quite happen the way I hoped.

It started off well enough, although with the usual complaints of running in winter.  Even with screw shoes on an imperfectly plowed path, it was a bit dicey from time to time.  Mouth piece of my hydration system froze until I put it into my shirt, as unsanitary as that sounds.  And the blown snow had me squinting most of the time.

The effort I was expending was marathon effort- maybe a little more.  It got hard fairly quickly- if it had happened to me like that during the race, I would have had to reevaluate my goals and thought to myself: "It just not my day."  My mental game started off well enough, but it went down hill as the miles accumulated.  14 miles at a hard effort hurt.  Even though that effort wasn't reflected in my pace or my heart rate.

My pace wasn't really anything to write home about.  After warming up for a couple of miles, I started pushing harder and really not going anywhere.  I was supposed to be running at a 7:52 to follow Daniels' program.  Since I'd be fairly happy to finish the marathon at an 8:00 min pace, I thought that somewhere between 8:00-8:15 would be okay considering the conditions.

First two miles of trying to keep tempo were almost exactly 8:30s, which really should be my easy pace, though my heart rate was in the low 160s, which is about where I wanted it.  Technically, it should have been in the high 160s, but I think trying to get it there would have been enough to break me.

After that I kept my pace in the 8:05-8:20 range, and my heart rate dipped and swayed in the the high 150s to low 160s for the next dozen miles.  My thoughts were relatively unfocused, except for when they touched upon how hard I had to push to keep my pace or heart rate from slipping into "not hard enough" territory.

Like I said, it was hard.  And the limiting issue was my mind.  My will.  Something that I hope can be strengthened by runs like this...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 11. Seven to go.

"Now is the winter of our discontent..."

Winter training is never easy training.  The extra weight of clothes and gear, the cold stinging in the lungs, the snow, the fear of slipping- it all plays to make this a difficult time to run.

What's worse, training has it's seasons like any good story- times of fun and times of pain, and it follows it's seasons most religiously.

Now is the blah time.  The taper is about a month away, so too far to really look forward to, but it's still there, just beyond the horizon.  The first excitement of the beginning is long gone, but the end certainly isn't quite in sight.  It's the blah time, and it's easy to lose track and focus.

And so here I sit, tipsy from my weekly shot of Mr Daniel's most excellent Tennessee Whiskey, reflecting on how this week went. 

It went well.  the hard runs were hard, and that's for sure.  Hard enough that I felt I pushed myself to a new level, although whether that's up a half flight of stairs or off a cliff is hard to tell at this distance.  I'll let you know if I land with a sudden crunch.

The difficult interval sessions I've already babbled about- no need to reiterate.  I did a few longer runs and easier runs, and they're not a big deal, I think.  At least, they didn't take all that much out of me, or so I hope.  I'm just curious to see what will become of me when I start to run for true.  Martian, I'm hoping, will be fun.  Longer run type feel, slightly harder effort, until i get to the point where I let my demons off the leash and really get to see what I can do.

I'm hoping that I'll have some gas left around mile 20.  I have done 20 milers and finished feeling fresh and relatively pleased.  Tired, but otherwise fine.

So here's the thought.  Do the first quarter somewhere at about an 8:00 minute pace.  After I hit the quarter I'm sure I'll be good and warmed up, and so I'll drop the pace to somewhere between a 7:50-8:00.  Just slightly faster, if everything goes well.  My hope is to hang out there for about 13 miels of the race, till about mile 20.

And then, as they say, we'll see what we can see.  I don't want to try to bust out a mile faster than 7:40 till after mile 23, when I really might not have anything left, especially if things go really wrong.  But my pie in the sky goal would be to finish the last three miles averaging under a 7:30 pace and finishing in under 3:25.

Some pretty big dreaming, really.  It might happen.  But I think my three goals are certainly within my grasp- a PR at 3:32, sub 3:30, and finally 3:25 as the fly goal.  I just have to run a smart race... not that I've had all that much luck with that in the past.  :)

Anyway, about next week... my two Q runs sound good.  A 15 mile marathon pace run (depending on how the weather cooperates) with two miles of warm up and cool down, making a nice 19 mile run again.  And then the typical Threshold run: 4 X 12 minutes with 2 minutes of rest in between, with the typical two miles warm up and cool down.

We were promised 3-8 inches of snow tomorrow, so it might make some of those runs... problematic.  Ought to be interesting to see how things develop.  :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Should I take it easy?

Decisions, decisions...

So, for the past two weeks I've come in under my goal mileage.... 6.1 two weeks ago, and 6.2 last week.  If I choose to take tomorrow off, it'll be the third week in a row: 3.7 off goal distance.

3.7 isn't all that much; physiologically speaking, the difference between 59.3 miles and 63 isn't significant.  But it's pointing to a trend which I'm finding disturbing.

I'm running hard, though, and that's what I can use to justify it.  I'm putting the time in.  I'm putting the effort in.  It's just that I can be a little bit obsessive compulsive, and I want to get my miles in, dammit!  Three weeks of falling short gets to me.  *grumble*

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interval by interval

Intervals can suck the life right out of you.

The first one from today was sort of a warm up interval, mostly because I lost focus and found myself thinking about interstellar travel and how confusing things could become if it weren't something close to instantaneous.

Instantaneous travel, in retrospect, makes running feel a bit obsolete.

The second interval started off with a start.  That is, a ravenous- and possibly rabid- big, fuzzy squirrel ran out in front of me about a minute into the session.  Thankfully, I was too out of breath to scream like a little girl or a B movie actress.  I only managed to cough, wheeze, and somehow continue on even though I wanted to stop reflect on the evil of wildlife.  Really, I just wanted to stop.  But that's the way intervals are.

It was during the 30 seconds of rest I had my worst realization of the run.  It happened at about second 25, when my garmin starts beeping at me to get ready for the next interval that I knew I hadn't recovered from the last.  That "Beep... Beep... Beep... Beep..." sounded like the electronic foot steps of doom.

"Cerr-aapp!" sounded through my head as I flogged my legs into the first few steps of the interval.  Those are always the hardest, especially when they decide to turn to jelly.

So I run for a while, and my pace settles in, and I'm not hurting any worse than normal.  In fact, after a couple of minutes I'm feeling pretty smug.  yeah.  My legs are strong, tough, and carved out of wood.  My legs have legs, if you know what I mean.

So why is my pace drifting down into the 7:40s?  Dammit!  Lost my focus, again!

And why does it take 20 of my 30 second rest interval to go from gasping to something approaching controlled, heavy breathing?  Where did the first 10 seconds go?

It was starting to get bad-  I would push for all that I was worth and my legs just didn't want to respond... immediately.  Eventually I would get them up to where they needed to be.  But the cost in effort and will was higher than normal- which is exactly what I need, I think.

The sun was out, and it was a beautiful day.  In celebration, i wore shorts and a long sleeved T under a short sleeved T.    It was too warm for the effort of the work out.

I thought about my form during the workout, and wondered if I was getting better or more sloppy as time went on.  I wondered what it'd be like if I tried to run a mile flat out.  I wondered if the gasping I was doing was throwing off my rhythm lots or only a little.

I somehow made it through interval six in 7:09, but at the high cost of a heart rate average at 191.  I really should have been in the 170s.  Preferably, low 170s.

But thankfully I won't have to do another hard run like this for a while- I mean. next week is way far away, right?  :)  And I have an easy run of ~13 tomorrow, and I can take (wonder of wonders) Sunday off!  Yay!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I don't know what running long is anymore.

Three of my last four runs have taken over 2:30, which is fairly long.

Today's run was 16 miles, which used to be my cut off for long.

Tuesday's workout was 19 miles, but there was 44 minutes of threshold work which turns it from something long into something vaguely indescribable.  No quite true.... I can describe it accurately as painful.  It took all of my will and most of my concentration to put one foot in front of the other during the latter part.

Next week is "long" in that I'm supposed to go 2:30 or 22 miles, whatever is less.  At my goal marathon pace, that would be maybe 18.8 miles- and it's supposed to be significantly slower than my MP... perhaps 30 seconds to a minute slower per mile.  So, 16-17 miles... does that qualify as long, after doing the threshold run on Tuesday?

I'm trying to figure it out.  Perhaps if I go crazy on the ultra thing, I'll figure that everything that takes less than six hours won't quality as long...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oy. Tough run.

Oy. Tough run. But I know that is makes me stronger. But still... ouch.  Painful.

The two mile warm up was plagued by second thoughts about my shoe choice. I was thinking that I had messed up my Ravenna by putting screws into them, penetrating the hydroflow pouch. But I think I was just used to a shoe that had a different forefoot cushion.

Glad I stuck with them, though. I needed the traction.

the first interval went fine, though it was tough work. I tried to visualize running at a 7:20 pace, but it slipped a little outside of my reach. I think that having my hydration backpack on, too, made it a little more tough, beyond the usual slickness of the snow covered path.  12 minutes, 1.62 miles, 7:25 pace

the second interval was a bit more tough. I tried my hardest to try to have a pace in the 7:20s, but just wasn't able to get it done. I felt pretty heavy legged at the point, too. They just weren't responding the way I wanted.  12 minutes, 1.6 miles, 7:30 pace

the hour twenty at an easy pace went fairly well, although it felt like filler, ya'know? Busy work. But I figure it set things up for the final interval. 80 minutes, 8.9 Miles, 9:00 pace

This last interval was killer- twenty minutes at a threshold pace. I was supposed to be at 7:20, but I barely made it under 7:40. Twenty seconds per mile slower than goal pace. Most of the problem was accumulated fatigue, part of it was lack of nutrition during the run, and the rest was probably just lack of will. It hurt, I have to admit. My breathing and stride were all out of sync. And as much as I tried to push, it felt like the path was pushing back, harder. 20 minutes, 2.62 miles, 7:39 pace

Still, I got the workout done. My heart rates were pretty much where I wanted them to be. I have no complaints...

19 miles
8:40 average pace

Monday, February 15, 2010

Picture time

Friend of mine took a pic at the superbowl 5K- I know my hair looks a fright, but I figure it's because I was running so fast, right?  :)


In case you're wondering, yeah, I have an orange and black motif going.  I blame it on the timing chip- it's orange.  Which led to the shoe choice.  Which lead to the baselayer choice.
Though I'd like to think I'm not that vain- I am. :P

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week 10; Eight weeks to raceday!

Supposed to be a 70 mile week this week, but with the snow it made it a little difficult to get the miles in.  So I didn't.  :P  I ran for about 12 hours, many of the miles through ankle deep snow, with a relatively high heart rate.  So I did the work.  Had I been on pavement it would've been... well, easier.  At a nine minute pace- my aerobic training pace- I would've run about 80 miles in that time.

And, for the most part, my average heart rate was higher than when I'm doing my aerobic pace, so I'm calling it good.

Okay, done rationalizing now.  It's funny how strong the desire is in me to give justification for not hitting my mileage goal.  Especially since this is the second week in a row I've missed it by about six miles.

So what have I learned: backloading my miles bites.  I ran ~35 miles between Monday and Friday.  Trying to get another 35 in on Saturday and Sunday was not a good plan.

Saucony Razors plus Microspikes is a heavy combination.  I'm torn between the strengthening of running with extra weight on my feet making me stronger, and the damage it might be doing to my turnover.  I've been working hard on my turnover, and don't really want to lose the ground I've gained.

I'm wondering if having the H1N1 vaccine Monday may have taken a bit out of me.  I felt a bit under the weather during the first part of this week, and canceled a run because of it.  Even if it was all psychosomatic.  Though there is an immune response with vaccines.  Eh, no big deal.  Like I said.  I got the miles in.  For the most part.

I listened to "Once a Runner" this week, and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  It sort of has inspired me think about going off the deep end, figuratively, when it comes to running.  Part of me really wonders what it would be like to regularly be doing 90-100 mile weeks.  But another part of me really thinks that the smart thing to do, after this race season is done, is to switch over to triathlon training.  Nothing makes me appreciate running more than doing other sports like swimming and biking, ya'know?  :)

Anyway, next week.  63 miles scheduled. 

Two threshold workouts- the first is a lot like ones I've done in the past- a couple of miles of warm up, two intervals for 10-12 minutes at my new and improved T pace (~7:20) with a couple of minutes rest.  Then 80 minutes at an easy pace, followed by 15-20 minutes at my T pace.  couple of miles cool down.  Approximately 17 miles, if I do my math right.  argh.

The second is new: two mile warm up, and eight intervals of 5-6 minutes at T pace with a 30 second rest.  Two miles of cool down.  Lot easier to write up, at least.  :)  Maybe 10 miles.  So 27 or so miles of threshold training, and maybe 36 miles of easy running.  We'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Just as I thought: threshold runs aren't as fun as they were last week.  'Course, a half inch of newly fallen snow covering some icy spots can make for some dicey running, but still.  There is a big difference between targeting 7:40 pace and cruising at 7:35 verse targeting 7:20 and having a hard time maintaining 7:25.

Sure, terrain has something to do with it.  And it may have been easier to keep to the 7:20 pace had I been wearing my racing flats, like I was during the race.  But still, tempo runs may be one of my favorite workouts, and even moreso when I can slack a little.

But then they won't do as much good, and a point of this is to explore what the body can do when some discipline is exerted, right?  A guiding rule for me in my training is let the easy runs be easy, but be sure the hard runs are hard.

Today's workout was supposed to be two mile warm up, 20 minutes a 7:20 pace, 10 minute rest, another 20 minutes at 7:20, and then a two mile cool down.  My first interval was a 7:20, and my second was at 7:26.

Six seconds per mile isn't a lot.  Less than 18 seconds difference over the 20 minutes, although that idea really makes no sense at all.

On the other hand, I had run the race on Sunday six seconds per mile faster, I would have squeaked out a #5 spot, rather than #7, and would have gone home with a really cool beer stein. Six seconds can mean the difference between almost failing, and almost succeeding.  Six isn't a lot, but it means something.  And what it means is that I think I'd be a little bit happier if I chose to work a little harder.

I'll let you know how that works out.  :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week 9

Okay, I know I went on and on for the race report from the Superbowl 5K.  Believe it or not, I really did use a filter- there was some stuff that I thought about mentioning while I was doing the race that I forgot about till after I posted.  But this is supposed to be running babel, and so it's my hope, gentle reader, that you'll be willing to put up with drivel on the off chance some wheat may be gleaned from the chaff.

The week was good, even though I chose to not do my full miles.  The schedule called for 80% off my max weekly mileage (56/70) but I chose only do to 50.  Not even that, if my memory doesn't desert me- a mere 49.9.  Quite a come down from the bragging of the average 71.5 miles per week in January.  And the exaggeration, for there are more than the standard four weeks in a 31 day month.

But I digress.  Approximately 50 miles this week, but they were, for the most part, good miles.  Three hard workouts, including today's race.  Two days of approximately 16 miles, which definitely made my legs sing in discomfort.  And finally, my choice to really think of the race as double miles, because of the stress involved.  So, if that's the case, I did 53 miles, which is closer to 56 than 50 if I do my math right.

And is it just me, or does the Jack Daniel's seem to hit me harder now than it did at the beginning of this training cycle?  But there I go again, digressing.  Hopefully by now, you're used to it.

Even though immediately after the runs of hard or long or both I tended to feel quite fine- peppy, even- I felt quite old and decrepit afterward.  I mentioned in my FB posting that it felt like tiny dwarfs, mining for gold where my leg muscles should be.  And spending some quality time with a foam roller,  well dosed with Naproxen, seemed to help them move on.  But the issue of getting stronger was always in the back of my mind.

The T intervals didn't seem quite so tough as they had previously.  I wasn't on the knife's edge of hyperventilation, or pushing for all that I was worth.  It was, truth be told, getting much easier to play in the 7:40 pace.  I sped it up, hung out with the 7:30s, and tried to think that it was a sign that I was getting faster.  That was my hope, at least- that all the work on form and distance and speed and cadence was all pulling together to make me a better, faster, and stronger runner who could do the deed with a greater effect for a smaller effort.

Wishful thinking, but it also happened to be true, if the results from today's run was any indication.

But this puts me into a bit of a hot seat, now.  When I put my information into the tables designed by Daniel, things change a bit, and not necessarily for the better.  All of the sudden my T intervals of happy memory become as obsolete as my old Rev B iMac, in Boni blue and with the mystery port  (My new iMac, after a 10 year hiatus purchasing two iBooks, rocks the house, BTW).  Now, all of the sudden, my T intervals are 20 seconds per mile faster.

20 seconds per mile.

20.  That's a lot.  It's something that I have a problem counting to without pulling off my running shoes during a race, if you get my meaning.  Unless I'm wearing five fingers... but I'm digressing again.

Speeding up 20 seconds per mile when your pushing hard on the outset makes a fairly large, fairly hairy difference.  20 second pace difference over 26.2 miles is over eight minutes.  Cutting eight minutes in a marathon is a lot- I'm training my ass off right now to try to cut two.

But it's a wonderful thing, too.  I mean, it really does point to some rather wonderful improvements.  I'm getting better.  Faster.  Stronger.  And I'm going to have a great marathon if everything in the second half of my training schedule goes as well as it did in the first.

It's a pretty big "if".  But I'm okay with that.

Next week is a lot of miles, but none of them are all that rough.  Q1 is either 2.5 hours or 17.5 miles, whatever's less.  I usually chose to ignore it and run slow with friends for three or more hours, which tended to be between 16 and 20 miles, truth be told.  But you have to make allowances for running with friends- the whole social aspect of running is kind of key.  And given a choice between that and doing the program perfectly, I'll chose the former.

The second Q workout is T intervals... really, I think I'll change my nomenclature to T as in threshold.  Or tempo.  Since my new and improved T pace is 7:20, I figure it'll be harder than it would have been had I run it last week.  But anyway, it's a time type thing: two miles up, 20 minutes T pace, 10 easy, 20 T,  and then two miles down.  Say about 12 miles all told.  70 miles all together.  I wonder when I'll fit in my long run... probably Sunday, everything going well.

But let me say it outright if it hasn't come through loud and clear... Daymn, but it felt good run run hard today.  Better than chocolate.  Better than bacon.  Perhaps even better than chocolate covered bacon.

I guess the jitters worked!

I haven't been this excited about a race in a while.  Racing had become something that I did for fun- not to push myself or see what I can do, but as a moderate to hard run that I went to with friends and had a good time.

And there are lots of reasons to race.  Fun is the biggest and best, and I was having fun, and that's all that really mattered, at the time.

However, when I decided to follow the Daniels training program, and did his speedwork sessions at (roughly) the speeds he suggested, I could help but wonder- how much good is this doing me? The miles are easier at the same pace, and I really do feel like I'm getting better, but, I wondered- how much?

Well, now I have a feel.  And it feels pretty good.  :)

I started the race by doing the course nice and easy about an hour before gun time, thinking that I'd get about 30 minutes of down time after the warm up- not enough for the muscles to tighten and lose their advantage of the warm up, but enough for me to psychologically prepare and hang out a bit with friends.

I lined up with my friends, although there were a variety of paces represented.  The gun went off without much preamble- I didn't hear a pledge of allegiance, or the national anthem, or anything- or even a "on your mark..." just "bang!" and the slow walk to the mats, and then the running.

My main goal was to run smart.  I wanted to run the first mile slowest, and slow build my speed so that my last mile would be my fastest.  I wanted to pay attention to my shin (which didn't give my any issues, by the way).  I wanted to make sure my breathing was smooth and even, that I left some in the tank for the finish, and that above all I maintained a smooth, even gait and a cadence somewhere in the vicinity of 100 strides (200 steps) per minute.

So I started off 'easy'.  My steps were light, my breathing easy, and my turnover fast but not labored.  I passed a bunch of people, and was passed by people in turn (though I do have to say, I passed a lot more than was passed by).  Running fit might benefit from adding pace markers/staggered start for some of their larger races.  I mean, this one may have been up to 1200, and it's been growing quite a bit since I ran it in '07.

Granted, it was below zero in '07, but that's part of the game.  :)

First mile passed uneventfully in 7:03*. (* = According to Garmin)

I felt fine, and was surprised at my (newfound) ability to take advantage of the downhills.  I could really feel the addition to my momentum.  If there was one thing nasty about being a heavy heel striker/overstrider it was this- going downhill was painful.  Hard on the body, hard on the muscles.  Leaning into them and developing a midfoot strike has made downhill a much more enjoyable experience, although it's still painful when my form gets sloppy.

The course was an out and back, and somewhere in the middle of mile two I saw some of the front runners coming back towards me.  I was curious if I would know some of them, but without my glasses it was kind of hard to spot anyone.  I managed to say hi to a few, but I would have felt better had I been able to catch more.  It was a big psychological plus, I found, and sorta had to reign myself in because after a group of friends passed by all cheering for me, I had enough of a boost to put myself into oxygen debt.  I had to gasp for breath for a while to get it back, and slow down a bit.  All in all, though, I'm sure it was a net plus.  :) 

Second mile went by at a speedy 6:47*.

Final mile started with a relative down hill, then a fairly steep down hill, followed by an uphill, and finally flat pretty much to the end.  At least, that's how I remember it.  I passed a few people who's breathing was pretty labored during the uphill, and that felt pretty good.  I sort of felt my feet losing their cadence a couple of times, and really didn't want to allow that, so I went back to counting steps to make sure I was somewhere near where I wanted to be. 

I wasn't hurting quite yet, it wasn't quite pain so much as feeling on the knife's edge of going to that place the good runners go, pushing for all they're worth in spite of the pain.  I was pushing hard, but not that hard.  Personally, I think I was in flow- a place where minute and miles sort of fly by in a sort of half- trance state.  It's a really nice place to be- quite restful, in a weird sort of way.  Though my body was working Really Damn Hard (tm) my mind was half somewhere else, detached, doing its own thing, and happy to be there.

Could have been the endorphins, too.  Running does that to me, sometimes.

Something else that was purely subjective but also possibly real: I could feel my tissues going into oxygen debt (and the burn that comes with lactic acid) and also feel them dealing with it.  I don't really know how to explain it- just the sensation that at a certain point I really expected my body to complain, go into shut down and make it a lot tougher to maintain the sub-7 pace.  I expected to really have to work to keep moving, and watch my pace slow as much as I pushed.  During a 5K, this has happened to me typically halfway through the third mile.  And it didn't.

Believe it or not, I imagined all my little mitochondria working to produce energy for me.  Making all those little ADP molecules (and maybe even AMP) back into ATP.  One of these days I'm going to have to see a picture of a mitochondrion so I'll be able to properly image it.  Weird, eh?

Mile three came and went in 6:41*,  my fastest mile in maybe a couple of years.

Anyway, I kicked it up at the end, passed a few people but was passed by a couple of young cross country kids who had a hella lot better kick then me.  Hit the stop button when I crossed the mats, got my pint glass, and hung out and talked to friends who also ran the race.

According to Garmin, my pace was 6:50, the course was 3.15 miles long (possibly due to weaving/not taking the most efficient path), and my average heart rate was 176 (max 189).  Of course, if the course was measured correctly, my pace was 6:55.  Either way, it's sub-7, which I haven't seen since I was in North Carolina, weighed less and trained on more difficult terrain.  So... daymn, that feels good.  :)  And hitting my goal (sub-22) felt really good, too.  And the knowledge that this training schedule is really, truly, making me into a better runner who can go faster with less effort makes for some happy feelings, too.  Although I really do have to give accolades to the people at Good Form Running, also.  Altering form has been one of the more difficult things I've tried to do in my training, but it's also been one of the most rewarding.

So, executive summery:
Time- 21:28 (chip) 21:30 (garmin)
Pace- 6:55 (chip) 6:50 (garmin)
Place- 7/98 AG 111/624 Gender 126/1167 OA

[edit for further info]
45 second PR
1:20 faster than the same race last year!

Superbowl 5K pre race jitters

It's been a while since I've had pre race jitters.  Partially because I didn't really care about any races I've done in the not too distant past.... there were just things to do.  Come what may, it didn't really effect me one way or the other.  I ran, I tried to enjoy myself, and to not to do anything too stupid.  Sometimes it worked out, other times... not so much.

But I kind of have hopes for this race- that it'll tell me how I'm doing in my training.  It'd be really nicely helpful if I'm able to tweak my paces either up or down, and I'd really like to be able to think that I'm stronger than I was three months ago.

But there's a big difference between a half marathon and a 5K- and I'm a lot better at the former.  And so I'm thinking too much about the race- tactics and plans and wondering what I'll do afterward to get my weekly miles in, if I choose to complete them.  It's messing up my sleep, and now I'm looking at getting only five hours, rather than the seven I had planned.

But I'm excited about the race, and that's kind of cool.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Superbowl 5K pre race thoughts

I'm curious to see how this goes. So many questions: will my shin blow up? Should I wear racing flats? Will the cold play a factor? Will I be able to break 22:00?

Don't know. but it'll be interesting to find out!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Marathon pace workout...

So, the Q1 was a marathon pace workout. 16 miles total, two up, two down, 12 at (targeted) 8:00-8:10.

The path was snow covered, and beneath the snow, in spots, was ice. Not the world's best running surface, and about three miles in, I fell- one moment I was up, the next I was down.

I was up again in a few seconds and doing a check to make sure nothing hurt more than it should- nothing did. But trying to maintain a good pace when just that much more unsure of the terrain make the workout harder.

And it wasn't easy to begin with. I downshifted my expectations to 8:10-8:20 pace, and kept to it fairly well. Only one mile was in the 8:20s, and that was because I did something complicated when I should have kept it simple.

My body aches, though. Could have been from the fall. Could have been from a fairly long run with a lot of moderate-hard running. Likely a combination. I'm glad today will be an easy run!

A question I'm never sure how to answer...

I was asked to today: "Do you run a lot?"

My first thought is to answer: "Compared to some, no." But that's not quite honest- compared to most in our rather non-running obsessed society, I do. Usually I answer with something that I don't have to back up, like "sometimes more than others, but yeah, I run a lot."

sometimes people go on to ask how much. Another difficult question. Yesterday I didn't run at all. Today I ran 16. I compromised and said that last year, I averaged about 40 miles per week. Truth to tell, it was a little more. I could have just as honestly said (as noted yesterday)that I averaged 70 miles per week last month, but i didn't want to brag.... well, not that much.

If I'm going to brag, I'd rather do it here. I mean honestly, where else is there to brag if not in a blog?

But I was surprised by my monthly miles- it's probably my highest monthly mileage ever, and that wasn't a goal, or intent. It just sort of happened. Hopefully the benefits from running so many miles will just sort of happen, too. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

January miles


284 miles for the first month of the year.

that's um... not bad. No way I want to keep that pace, even though it'd be a wonder to see 3500 total come 2011. Or even 3000. Hell, I'm okay with not going past 2000. But I figured to get to 2000, I need to run an average of about 40 miles per week, with a couple weeks buffer.

Scary to think that I averaged ~70 miles per week this month. I mean, that math's not quite right (there were more than 4 weeks in January) but still. A little over the top. And I'm not certain if it's going to get much better till the taper...