Tuesday, April 24, 2007

week of 23 April

Mo -4.11
neighborhood. I felt so good yesterday, I almost went for an afternoon run. This morning, the only after affect was some tightness in my right hamstring. I think this is from my right hamstring being tighter than my left. Anyway, it seems a little strange that 15 miles with 10 @7:26 pace would be so much easier to recover from than 20@9:07 pace.

Tu - 10.8
Repeat of last Tuesday. 1 loop warmup, 8 x 0.3 miles. Split/Rests were: ..... Finished with the 4.11 loop. The first interval was slow. Then I decided to start with 2-2 instead of 3-3 breathing and my breathing sort of got out of the way of my running and it was much easier. I'd run with 2-2 breathing the whole way with progressively more forceful exhales. Legs felt fine during the runs except a few twinges of the left knee doing the 10 laps/mile track. Then walking down the steep hill to my house, the left knee didn't quite "groove" right -- the usual knee thing.

We -4.11
Felt inspired to run my recovery a little faster. 8:43 pace and 144 bpm average. Knee didn't bother me at all except a little bit when I was walking afterwards and later in the morning when I dropped my car keys and stopped to pick them up.

Th - 11.5
Ran to the lake and then an out and back up CCT plus a detoure to check on the stair construction (it doesn't look like they've done anything in a month). Distance is a bit of a guess with gmap but probably within a couple of tenths. I did the warmup a little quicker than normal (a little over 20 minutes to the lake ~9mm pace). After 30 minutes did 3x10 faster with 5 minute jog between. averaged about 160 bpm I think with the last near 170. Don't know the paces. Animal count on the trail: 1 possum (I think it was a possum), 2 deer, 1 fox, and something jumping in the pond (fish?) that scared the bejeezus out of me. I was doing a tempo section when I saw the deer. I was running fast enough at him that he gave me the "deer in the headlights" look for one potato, two potato... I started to slow before he ran away. At the end on the big hill, I noticed that my calf (or something) was very tight and had a little pain. It's about 6 inches above my right outside "ankle bone."

Fr -4.4
Had to watch the kids and run on the treadmill. 40 minutes. HRM was off until I built a sweat and I was surprised to see it at ~132 when it corrected itself and I was at 9:30 pace. I upped the pace over time and was at 6.9mph (8:41) for most of it. Just got over 140 in the last 10 minutes and got in the 143-145 range at the very end. I am much faster than last time I ran on a treadmill. I felt the calf thing again today. It feels like it my be my peroneal tendon, but up where it connects to my calf (not in the foot where you usually hurt it). This is a little distressing. I need to make sure I take it really easy tomorrow.

Sa - 4.3
Treadmill again. 9:16 pace. HRM messed up for first 10 minutes (read 160+) and 140 average isn't close to right (I occasionally touched 139 at the end). Once the HRM started working, I found myself at 8:57 pace and a heart rate of 129. I've definitely improved a lot recently. New pair of shoes. wp7-1. Shoes felt perfect. I'm still having the calf/tendon problem and it's pretty distressing. It was about the same as yesterday. I think what's going on is that my turned out right foot is using some of these tendons on the outside of my leg when it sure be relying on the more capable Achilles more.

Su - 13.2
The schedule said 2 hours and I aimed to get them in although real life made it tough. I got 15 minutes in outside before my daughter got home. After a 15-20 min break of making lunch, I was forced to the treadmill for the next 1:45, which involved me watching about 4 episodes of Arthure. This was brutal. My pace/heart rate was very good, but I was absolutely drenched in sweat and the monotony cause me to reduce to 6 mph for the last 15 minutes (I had been at 7 mph and 150 bpm, which is pretty good for me). 11.6 miles on the treadmill and google says 1.6 outside. 2:00:14/140 average (messed up for first 5-10 minutes), pace 9:07 min/mi. Exactly the same as the last two 20 milers. Calf thing didn't bother me at all during the run although it felt a little tight afterwards. The left knee is still troubling though. It's only at slow speeds and downhills where it gives me problems. Used new shoes.

This week I'm hoping accuweather isn't right. High of 78 and low of 58. Ugh. accuweather's saturday high is 76 vs 68 for wunderground though, so I'm not sure who to believe. I'd have settled for today. It was 50 at 7:30am when I start and 66 at 11am when I should be finishing.

One thing I did well this week was sleep. I was asleep before 10 on Th, and Fr, and by 10:30 on Saturday.

52 miles, 7h 49m
wp6-1: 279 + 35 = 314
wp7-1: 17
wr10-1: 335 + 0 = 335

Sunday, April 22, 2007

10-mile race as a training run

Sorry this is long...

I ran a 69:49 10 miler 3 weeks ago, which mcmillan tantalizingly calls equivalent to a 3:15:30 marathon (my BQ is 3:15:59). I'm doing a marathon in two weeks and I did a BQ pace experiment at a 10-mile race this morning. The plan was to run even 7:28 min/mi and see how I felt and what my heart rate was. I learned that 1) I'm a pretty bad test subject (didn't run even splits) and 2) it's unlikely I can run 7:28 for a marathon. The data is below. "asc/des" is ascent and descent in feet during the split; "hr" is average heart rate and the last column are my heart rate splits for my PR marathon. I did a 26-minute warmup @ 133 bpm.


pace: 7:26 min/mi, avg hr: 177. avg marathon hr at 10 miles: 169.

I was pretty encourage during the first mile (which is very downhill), but when I couldn't keep near 170 and make 7:30, I pretty much the result of the experiment. After the 7:45 split I tried to ease back down to the 7:28 pace I wanted to average and overshot some. Then I was right back on overall pace at 8 miles and tried to ease back to do two 7:30s, but ran a 7:51 9th mile?! At this point I was annoyed and tried to make sure I made up the lost 20 seconds, but overshot again and (in my annoyed state) ran the 6:42 last mile.

One thing that I found interesting is that I appear to have bounced back from the lower heart rates I saw at cherry blossom. I averaged 180bpm there. If I went for a PR today, I'm pretty sure I could have averaged 184bpm today like I did last august at annapolis. I felt completely fine the whole way, but I'm quite sure I couldn't have run back the other way and then 2/3 of the way back :) If I had paced myself a little better, I'd say there's a chance I could have run 20 at that pace.

Realistically, I don't think I have any shot at a BQ (damn you calculators for telling me I do!). The course I ran today is fast with a net downhill of 80 feet and temps were ~55deg with no wind, sunny and no shade. Conditions can't be any better on May 6th and from the course elevation map it looks like the marathon has some hills. The question I have now is what to shoot for. It's been awhile since I blew up at a marathon (closing 47-minute 5K last march!). Maybe I should foolishly try to hang with the 3:20 pacer for the first half. (By the way, I wish 14 day forecasts were real. Accuweather calls for low 48 and high 62 on May 6th.)

Followed the race with a 20-min warm down at 156 bpm average. My tweaked knee kept me from jogging the downhills during the warm down. I need to keep an eye on it.

Warmup was probably 9:30 pace and warmdown probably 10:00, so I'll say 14.8 total today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

week of 16 April

Mo - 4.11
nbhrd loop. 9:21 min/mi @ 138 bpm

Tu - 10.8
Set off without a real idea of what I was going to do. I thought I'd repeat last Tuesday, but I decided that maybe the rest intervals were too long on the hill loop. Then I thought that the only thing that I might improve before marathon day is VO2max. With this illogic, I did a nbhrd loop, ran to the 10-laps-per-mile school track and did 8 x (3 laps in ~2 minutes, 1.5 laps rest). I picked 2 minutes because I figured 3:20 marathon was 6:40 yasso 800's and 3/5*3:20 is exactly 2 minutes. Neat, huh? I shot for 2 minutes because I figured that's about what Benji was doing his 800s in and because I strained my hamstring on lap 4 last time I did intervals :) Anyway, the intervals went 1:59, 1:59, 2:01, 2:00, 1:58, 1:59, 1:58, 1:59. I concentrated on running relaxed start at number 4 and the rest went quite easily actually. Rest periods were 1:22, 1:27, 1:23, 1:27, 1:24, 1:27 , 1:22. The alternating pattern is because I just picked some convenient landmarks at opposite sides of the track and guessed at half a lap. The track is crushed gravel and isn't marked. Max heart rates at the end of each intervals was 173, 176, 174, 177, 179, 179 , 179, and 180.

What does this workout say? One thing it says is that I probably can't break 20 minutes in a 5K. These weren't at all hard really, but I don't think I could turn my legs over much faster while running relaxed. I think I could do yasso 800s at this pace. 3:15 800's would be 6:32 pace. These were 6:33 to 6:43 pace.

OK, how far did I run? 2.86 + .2 to track + .1 around + 8 x .3 + 7 x .15 + .1 around + 4.11 = 10.82. Pace was 8:41 min/mi. 150 bpm average.

We - 4.1
Very slow today. 40:00. Nice and slow. 132 bpm average. Left knee felt kind of weak and I tweaked it walking up the driveway after work.

Th - 10.5
My legs felt kind of dead and I was worried about my knee so I only did a couple of faster sections rather than anything like a tempo pace and I did the 10.5 route instead of the 11.7. I almost didn't do any faster running, but I had to get something out of today before doing 2 easy days on Fr and Sat. It went like this
  • 28:38 jog, avg ~130 bpm
  • 14:48, avg 152, 1.86 miles, 7:57 min/mi
  • 8:23 jog (and waiting at stop light), avg 143
  • 18:17, avg 157, 2.38 miles, 7:41 min/mi
  • 22:43 jog, avg 145 (includes 2 minutes at light and I did jog up the big hill and hit 160 bpm at one point)
  • overall: 1:32:49, avg 144, 8:53 min/mi
I remember during the second faster section that it was very easy and that if it were 8 min/mi, then I would have a very good chance of running 7:30 during the marathon and if it were 8:30 min/mi then I would have no chance. I guessed it was 8:10 or something like that. Well it was 7:41 ?! Just realized this was a net descent of105 feet. Oh, well. Still the first section (at only 152 bpm average) was basically flat (+75/-69). The first mile of my last marathon was 161 and the first couple was probably 164-165 average. 12-13 bpm should be worth another 30 secs/mi. Hopefully the weather will be good. I just maybe, might have a shot at this.

I weighed myself on the dr's scales at work. Weighed 160 flat with socks, shirt, tie, and pants. Discovered my wallet weighs 1/8 of a pound :)

Fr - 4.11
nbhrd loop

Sa - 4.11
nbhrd loop

Su - 14.8
26m wup. 10 miles @ 7:26 min/mi (177 bpm avg), 20m cdn

52.5 miles, 7h43m (lowest time in a *long* time)
wp6-1: 226 + 53 = 279
wr10-1: 335 + 0 = 335 (am I ever wearing these again?)

Monday, April 09, 2007

week of 9 April

Mo - 4.1
Nbhrd loop. Legs felt surprisingly good for the day after a long run. I thought about my form and ran this without picking up my knees so much, but picking my feet up and leaning forward a little. I can't tell whether it makes any difference. 38:28/137. Basically like Saturday. What happened to the Friday magic? Maybe that was the post-tempo HR suppression. My weight was 156 after the run?! Can that be right? I never even saw 157. Maybe I'm dehydrated. I believe I was 155 when I graduated from college 14 years ago. 156 would be great, but I can't believe it.

Tu - 10.66
Bear with the g-mapping pointless precision. Plan was to do a little short of 1 nbhrd loop (2.86-.24 =2.62), but I overshot, so call it 2.59, plus 9 times the new hill loop (9*.44 mile), plus a nbhrd loop and a half (4.11) for 10.66. Up the hill was ~0.15 miles. It was dark and I couldn't see my watch, so I'm glad the splits for the hills turned out as well as they did (although I miscounted and only ran 9)
1:21 up, 2:31 jog down and around
1:21, 2:33
1:21, 2:34
1:20, 2:32
1:19, 2:35
1:20, 2:37
1:21, 2:35
1:17, 2:36
I would have sworn the first couple were the fastest. Glad I didn't fade. Hill was between 49 and 62 according to the old T6. 55 ft in .15 is a 7% grade. Of course that means I was doing 9 min/mi which seems way slow. No way to know for sure. Anyway, on the last two my left foot hurt on top towards the outside (like when you turn your ankle). Hopefully nothing bad. I was surprised when the neighborhood loop went in 36:32/148 (8:53 pace). After running a little harder, I usually find my deliberately slow jog (I even walked for 60 steps) is faster than my normal pace. Weight 157 after.

We - 4.1
Nbhrd loop and a half. Probably should have jogged a little slower. Scale (digital) was wonky. I stepped on it 4 times and saw 160, 155, 159, and 159. I'll call it 159.

Th - 11.44
4 nbhrd loops. 4*2.86 = 11.44. Did a 1.90 miles of tempo at the beginning of the second and third loops, which gave ~9 minutes jog between. First was 14:10/164 (7:27 min/mi) and second was 14:04/169 (7:24 min/mi). I'm surprised they were that slow. I felt more comfortable on the second than the first for some reason. I can't believe I ran 25 sec/mi faster than that? Can't imagine doing that for 26.2. Still, I didn't have the heavy "lactic" feeling in my legs I normally have after the last tempo intervals and looking at the first 15 minutes of my PR marathon, I average 165 or 166, which compares favorably to the 164 above. During the run, I tried to concentrate on not raising my knees and picking up my feet behind me. I'm not sure whether that's right or not. Weighed 160. My left foot really hurt in the arch when I was walking barefoot afterwards. It might be PF, but didn't feel the same. The overall pace today was 8:48, which I believe is the first time I've ever averaged under 9 min/mi for an entire training run (seems crazy).

Fr - 4.1
Maybe it was because I was cold or because my legs felt better, but I started off faster than a normal recovery run and just kept clicking. My pace was 8:55 min/mi. Average HR was 141, which is considerably higher than a normal recovery jog (133-137). I should be more than fine for my long run on Sunday, so I don't see the harm.

Sa -4.1
'round the nbhrd. 38:21/136 (9:21 min/mi).

Su - 20.3
Steady rain and 45 degrees. Funny, but the the lake wasn't too popular today. I skipped the ice bath after I got home and opted for a hot shower instead. I hope the tights soaked in 45 degree rain water did the trick. I felt very strong. My mental math wasn't that good and I thought I was slower than last week, but it turned out I was only a whopping 5 seconds slower this week at the same average heart rate (9:07 min/mi @ 148bpm). I felt strong at the end of this one. I also noticed my heart rate was lower at the end. The out and back last week was 16:40/164. Today it was 16:37/161. I should also give the nod to today since I ran in waterlogged shoes. The trail was full of puddles and had a few areas where it was flooded about a foot under water. The rain was a little annoying at first, but once I let go of the idea of staying dry it turned into a nice run. I had the beautiful trail almost completely to myself and listening to Dave Van Ronk's Fair and Gentle Ladies in solitude near the end more than made up for getting a little wet.

My foot bothered me again. In the last lap, it felt sore just behind the ball of my left foot. I expected it to hurt walking barefoot at home, but it wasn't as bad as Thursday. I was shivering when I got home and decided to skip the ice bath and take a hot shower instead. Hopefully my rain-soaked tights and waterlogged shoes made up for it :)

59 miles, 8h54m
wp6-1: 167 + 59 = 226
wr10-1: 335 + 0 = 335

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

week of 2 April

Mo - 4.1
Slow around the neighborhood. Ouch, ooch. Still smarting from the race. Weighed 160 after the run. I fell off the wagon on Friday (McD for lunch and pizza for dinner) and then had some celebratory chips ahoy and ice cream on Sunday.

Tu - 10.5
Ran to work. Benji thinks I'm doing hills two days after a race? He's crazy. Just slow and easy to work. Took some walk breaks, especially on downhills. 1:43:26/134. A little under 10 min/mi pace.

We - 4.1
Plodded around the neighborhood in 39:19. Still very sore. I don't see how I'll run a tempo tomorrow. Weighed 161 after the run. What happened to the weight loss? Maybe this is just the temporary weight gain after a race I've seen before. Swelling of some sort? Wish I'd have remember to take an ice bath on Sunday.

Th - 10.5
1:34:17/144 (9:01 pace). I think this was my faster ever run in to work, but I attribute a lot of that to hitting ever stoplight at just the right time. I also got to the lake about a minute quicker in part because it was cold and I tend to start quick to get warm. My legs were still quite sore, but not as bad. No way could I do the normal tempo run, but I didn't want to wait around until Sunday to get a workout in either, so I decide to do two ~10-minutes stretches of some faster running, but not tempo pace. 1st was 10:01/154 (max 165) over 1.27 miles (7:55 pace) and 2nd was 9:40/157 (max 165) over 1.27 miles (7:38 pace). My avg HR during the first mile of the NCR marathon was @161 bpm, so I think something 7:45ish is in the cards allowing for the race day elevation in the first mile. I think I'll try BQ pace at the 10-miler two weeks out to see what it's like.

Fr - 4.1
It was cold this morning (36 degrees) and my legs were a lot less sore. When I started, I felt like I had a little spring in my step and might have been going a little fast, but checked my HR and it was 125. I had the same feeling the rest of the run where I'd look at my watch and it would be 5 bpm lower than I expected from the speed. Pace was 9:15 min/mi which is about 20 sec/mi faster than it's been since I started this route and my heart rate was 133 which is as low as it has been. This is despite walking for about 30 secs to get a knot out of my left calf. I think my legs will be good by Sunday's long run. Weight was 159. Again, I've seen the same things where my weight goes up a couple of pounds after a hard race and it's back down by Thursday. Maybe it's some residual inflammation?

Sa - 4.1
Cold again and legs feeling even better. I think I raced this a little bit, trying to capture the magic of yesterday. It wasn't there. 9:19 min/mi, but my heart rate was 5 bpm higher. 5 is a lot.

Sun - 20.3
I always seem to dither before getting out on Sunday. I think I secretly hate 20-milers. Anyway, this one is in the books and it went quite well. My trend of progressively faster long runs continues (although this was a few bpm higher than last week). Today was 3:05:23/148 (9:07 pace). It was faster than my 1.5 year old 20 mile race PR. Splits were 43:24/135, 41:50/144, 41:59/149, 41:29/158, 8:19/163 (out), 8:21/165 (back). My last 4 20-milers (4 of the last 5 weeks with a race thrown in) have been 9:41 min/mi (152 bpm), 9:35 min/mi (151), 9:23 min/mi (147), 9:07 min/mi (148). My paces have finally fallen to Benji's recommendations of 9:34 easy, 9:05 long run for a 43 min 10K runner (which I looked at based on my 5 mile time).

57.6 miles, 8h58m
wp6-1: 109 + 58 = 167
wr10-1: 335 + 0 = 335
all runs were in the precisions

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Cherry Blossom 10 miler

A bit much drama for a slow guy but...

I ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler today. The weather was perfect -- cool (50 degrees) and overcast with light winds. This is a very fast course where world records have been set. If I didn't have a good race, I'd have no excuses.

I ran a 5M PR of 34:20 at the end of January, which is my best race by a good bit. According to mcmillan, I could run 1:12 today. The 5M race was extremely hilly though. I've also lost 2 or 3 pounds since then and my long runs have been getting faster at the same heart rate after I started incorporating tempo runs and some hill/intervals the last four weeks. All of this made me think that sub-1:10, while ambitious, was possible. I've been running regularly since 1 Jan 2005 (I had some aborted attempts before that) and an April 10-miler has become my annual fitness test since it was the first distance I ever raced (April 2005). I shocked myself then by running 1:24:49 when I was hoping for 1:40. I met my goal of 1:20 last year running 1:19:25. I'd set this up in my mind as my goal race for the spring. How would I do today?

I was in the green corral, which meant I was in the first wave of the common folk but after the elite and sub-seeded waves went. I did a token 2 minute warmup before I stood and shivered in my short sleeves in the corral. I tried to position myself guestimating at 500 people in front of me (1:10 was around 500th last year). I was afraid I lined up too close to the front, but once we were off, I found myself dodging and weaving to get by people. The green corral is just too big. It goes from 62 minutes to at least 90 and it seems to be a pretty homogeous mix in there.

Last thursday, I did one of my cruise intervals at 7:05 pace. I tried to replicate my breathing and how I felt then during the first mile and it seemed to work. I hit the first mile in 7:12. This 7:12 was probably sub-7 effort though as I dodged people.

The 3-3 breathing I started with gets a little harder to maintain in the second mile. I'm passing people in droves and must be going a min/mi faster than some of them. How were they this far ahead? It doesn't slow me down too much though. Second mile is 6:51. I'm thinking two things: 1) that was my 5K PR pace I set on New Years and 2) I'm back close to 1:10 pace and not feeling too bad.

There are a few gentle inclines now as we approach and pass over the memorial bridge in the third mile. I'm into 2-2 breathing now and I can feel myself over my threshold on a couple of the inclines and back off a little when I feel it. 6:56 for this mile.

I pass the 5K marker and look at my watch. 21:43. My 4 month-old PR is 21:15. (One nice thing about a world class even like this is that I'm pretty sure of all the markers.) We turn onto rock creek parkway, which I remember from last year has a slight uphill grade. I believe I picked it up slightly reacting to the fall off in time between mile 2 and 3. This split is 6:51.

The fifth mile is *very* slightly uphill I think but we're basically in the flat section. The lead elite woman (who had a head start) comes flying by the other way. Nobody is anywhere close to her. We also start to see the elite men and someone says, "they look like they're in such pain." I'm thinking, "that will be us in about four miles." Split is 6:53. It's starting to get hard, but I think that it's supposed to be hard halfway through a 10-miler.

Mile 6 is slightly uphil, but it's definitely uphill. I fade some along with everyone else. I spend some effort dodging people and I notice some people passing me for the first time. I'm just hoping to hit that turnaround between 6 and 7 with enough left to go for it. I pass the 10K mark in 43:14. (My PR from Feb 2006 is 47:21.) Split is 7:05.

We turn around in middle Mile 7 and I think I pick it up a little on the downhill half, but my split is 7:07. Oh no, I'm letting it slip away! Need to push up the effort.

Mile 8 is pure downhill (although slight) and I'm hoping to get back to those low 6:50's as I'm now working hard. Split is 7:00. For the first time I think to look at my overall time and not just the split. It's couple of seconds after I hit the lap button and I see 55:59. 1 second in the bank. I'm running 7:00 min/mi on the downhill with one second in the bank. (Turns out I actually had a whopping 6 seconds in the bank.) I'm going to have to work harder.

Mile 9 is back on the flat part. I'm running hard but can't let it all out just yet. I'm hoping to get anywhere near 7 on this split and then hope I can sprint in at the end and gain back whatever seconds I lose. Late in this mile when it gets hard, I think about what it would be like to be on the edge of a boston qualifier and whether I'd gut it out and make it. I decide I'm going to prove to myself I can gut it out. Split is 6:59. I'm going to need another sub-7 in the last mile.

I pick it up as much as I can, but I can't sprint yet. I'm passing people, but others are passing me. Am I going slower or faster? I have no idea. Just go as fast as you can I tell myself. You don't want to find yourself a second over. Finally, I can see the finish line from a very long way down the flat, straight Ohio drive. It looks so far way. I look at my watch and I'm at about 1:07. I think I'll never get there. I'm now into ragged, freight train breathing now. Nobody around me seems to be breathing this hard. At one point I think I see Bill Rodgers! (No, it's just a girl with short brown hair.) There's an older guy (65+) next to me who's outkicking me. How is he doing that? One minute left. They're screaming in the megaphones to kick. At this point I think I'll never make it. It's so far away. Then suddenly I'm right there at the finish (!) and this easy sprint comes out of nowhere to cross the line. I stop my watch and it says 1:09:48. Last split 6:56. I'm elated. It was very, very hard and I did it. No regrets. Not a thing I'd have done differently. Just a perfect race.

Next stop is the frederick marathon (after my backup 10-miler that I'm now running as a training run).