Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a few days in St Louis or how I learned to love the treadmill

Mo: 10.27/8:09/???? am, 4.00/9:09/133 -- I got home at 12:30 am from Disney World. Slept to about 8 and got in my 10 miles. I forgot to put the Garmin on the charger after getting home. I got the start time though and could power back up to get the stop time (clock time), so I could get pace. Went to work and then flew to St Louis. I knew it was going to be tough to get runs in, so I stole another 4 miles on the treadmill. No Garmin again, but I sampled HR at .5, 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 and averaged them. Treadmill running is the only real option given the dicey area around the airport.

Tu: 8.00/8:50/136. Got up at 5am to make sure I got a treadmill for long enough. I planned to do an hour but stole some extra miles, worried again about getting miles while here.

We: 7.00/8:49/133. They moved the start time for the meeting up an hour, so 7 miles was already pressing it.

Getting to 70 miles a week isn't easy. Four pretty good runs in 3 days puts you a mile behind the pace. I'm mixing the runs though, so a long run on Sunday should make up some ground. The good news is that my pace/heart rate is as good as I can ever remember it on a treadmill (I'm generally lousy on those things.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

week of 21 January -- my week in flatland

Sorry for the silence and thanks for the comments. I just got back from Disney World. The picture shows the running story for the week. A 0.93-mile nearly pancake-flat loop at the Port Orleans resort. (By the way, the map the hotel gives you says it's 0.7 miles. Mr. Garmin begs to differ.)

I did a medium/really easy week (as opposed to hard/easy) and cut back the miles.

Mo - "rest" (2 airplanes and MGM studios)
Tu - 9.97/8:43/138
We - 8.00/9:04/134
Th - 9.97/8:38/140
Fr - 6.14/9:20/138 (HRM falsely high first miles)
Sa - 9.96/8:11/141
Su - 6.22/9:01/130

Total: 50.27/8:46/137

It's amazing the difference the terrain makes. Last week was 9:16/140. The Saturday run was a little less than two minutes slower than my 2006 Cherry Blossom time (which was then a PR), so I guess I've come a long way.

After this week, I could smell 3:15 and thought about the importance of terrain and good weather. Even if I'm in much better shape would I do better at a 4 May marathon on a pretty hilly course than a 2 March race on a perfectly flat course? Ah, I'll never get in the long runs to do a decent 2 March marathon, but the thought has crossed my mind.

Joseph, I'll try not to get volume drunk. I think my non-running schedule might take care of that for me.

Adam, my goal races are the Cherry Blossom 10 mile run on 6 April and the Frederick Marathon on 4 May.

Mindi, the damn dog is lovable and, unfortunately, very old. He's 13 and a half and the demographics for 14 year old labs aren't that good. He's got back/leg problems and can't get up by himself, so he barks to get up to get water, when he falls off the sofa trying to reposition position himself in the middle of the night, when he wants to go out, experiences fecal incontinence (there's a euphemism), you name it. Getting old is a bitch.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

week of 14 Jan -- a bird in hand is worth two in the bush

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. That's been my approach to getting the miles, but I went after the two in the bush on Thursday and it cost me some time on the 'mill. On Thursday I was going to run home from work and then back in on Friday. I somehow convinced myself the snow and freezing in the forecast wouldn't be a problem, but when the freezing rain was actually just rain, I was staring at about 3 inches of slush. I took a couple of steps and wisely decided to drive home and run on the treadmill. Then 3 on the treadmill the next morning (couldn't get out of bed for more after the dog woke me up several times during the night) and 6 in the neighborhood Friday night, which I started at about 8:00 because I was stuck at work (my own fault) until 7:30. I should have just stuck to the routine and driven to work and run there on Thursday morning before the snow. Live and learn.

Here's how the week went:

Mo - 9.34/9:28/137
Tu - 9.33/9:19/136
We - 9.44/9:02/139
Th - 9.00/9:32/139 pm
Fr - 3.25/9:14/135 am, 6.04/9:07/141 pm
Sa - 10.72/9:14/144
Su - 13.03/9:12/145 -- actually exactly 2:00:00 long without planning it that way

Total - 70.15/9:16/140

Everything is holding up OK except I got a twinge on the medial side of my right knee today. I don't think it's anything though, but I can still feel it as I type.

I was pretty tired again at the end of the 13-miler. It feels like all these "short" runs have made me weak (endurance-wise), but hopefully I'm just tired after a big week. I was ready to be done at 13 miles when in the past I would have just been getting started. I haven't done more than 13 since the marathon on 10/30/2007. Between 1/1/2007 and 10/30/2007, I ran 18 or more miles 26 times. You have to give up something though, and I've been sacrificing the long run for weekly mileage.

Next week is a cutback week. When I come back, I'm going to go into more of a hard/easy schedule, extending my long run and doing some faster aerobic running.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The pretender running on empty

My day today

  • Alarm goes off at 5:20.
  • After shaving and brushing my teeth, I'm on the road at ~5:45.
  • I get to work at ~6:05 (takes only 20 minutes this early)
  • I get changed and am running at 6:15 am.
  • I finish running at 7:48.
  • I do some stretching, crunches, etc., take a shower, get dressed and am in my office at 8:30 am (right on time).
  • Leave work at 5:45.
  • Get home at 6:10 (light traffic tonight).
  • Eat some pizza that's awaiting me.
  • Change and pack up clothes in my gym bag for tomorrow.
  • Sit down to write this at 7 pm, which is only two hours before we put the kids to bed and get ready to start this again.

One thing I don't like about driving to work and running there is that I leave when it's dark and get home when it's dark. If I give a generous 15 minutes for eating my pizza, the whole run, work, prepare for tomorrow's run/work took about 13 hours. You subtract some sleeping time and there's not much left each day. You throw in coaching basketball, a cub scout meeting or two, and whatever random stuff comes up, and it's pretty easy to answer the question "where does all the time go?"

I know everybody else is in the same boat, but I was listening to Jackson Browne on the way home, which can be kind of depressing :-)

And when the evening rolls around
Ill go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
Ill get up and do it again

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive

If I can, I'm going to try running home from work Thursday and then into work on Friday (10.5 each way). This way I'll have my car at work and don't have to deal with taking the bus home (which adds probably 45 minutes each day). It also means I get to sleep in Thursday and see my kids before school and I save the 20 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon driving to and from work. An added benefit over my usual running in routine is that I can arrive a little later on Friday. Normally when I run in I try to get there before 7:45 so I can get to my office to retrieve my work clothes without seeing too many people in my sweaty running clothes. With this plan, I can leave my clothes in my car and still be on time if I get there at 8 or so.

Another low heart rate day

After a high heart-rate Sunday, Monday and today were better. I did my at work route yesterday and today. It's quite hilly, but it's more like San Diego was. Long steady climbs and descents rather than a lot of ups and downs. Basically I run down close to the Potomac and back in a loop.

Yesterday was 9:30 min/mi and 136 bpm. Today was 9:20 min/mi and 134 bpm. I need to look at my log when I get home, but I'm pretty sure when I did this on the third it was about the same pace and 140 bpm. It was windy that day though and 15 degrees compared to 30-35 yesterday and today, so I'm not sure they're comparable. Today's run was right in line with San Diego though, so maybe it wasn't a fluke out there.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

(mpw > 70) == True

I ran 72.25 miles this week. It's the first time I've ever run more than 70. The magical low heart rate of San Diego was lost when I returned to SloTown, U.S.A. on Friday. I'm still scratching my head why I was so much faster out there. It wasn't the terrain since it was definitely hillier there (confirmed by Mr. Garmin -- see above for Tuesday's run). I just dunno.

Mo - 9.4/9:42/135 -- at home
Tu - 10.2/9:33/132 -- San Diego
We - 6.5/9:24/132 am, 3.6/9:22/132 pm
Th - 9.4/9:29/135 am, 6.6/9:13/135 pm
Fr - 4.7/9:37/139 pm -- back home
Sa - 8.3/9:41/147 -- HRM way screwed up, think this was about 140 really
Su - 13.6/9:57/138 -- I was just slow today

Total: 72.25 miles, 9:36 min/mi, 136 bpm average

Anyway, that's about 6 more miles than I've ever run in a week. I'll try for something similar this week. After that, I'll try to move to more hard/easy, mixing in higher-end aerobic runs and longer runs on Sunday.

Friday, January 11, 2008

running on the road

I flew out to San Diego on Monday where it was actually colder than an abnormally warm Virginia. I saw some of the fire damage as my favorite running trail was closed. I managed to get my running in around meetings and airplane travel though by getting up at between 4:30 and 5:30 and doing some doubles. Mo - 9.4; Tu - 10.2; We - 6.5 am, 3.6 pm; Th - 9.4 am, 6.6 pm; Fr - 4.7.

The legs are a just a touch sore right now, but not really as bad as they were nearly every day at the height of marathon training. I was really sailing along fine this week, but might have overdone it a bit with the double on Thursday, but I had to run along the water (see above) when I stayed by the airport before flying out on Friday morning. I also wanted to make up for the morning running I wouldn't get on Friday because I was flying out. If all goes well, this should be my first 70 mile week ever.

The heart rate is low though and the living is easy. Averaging 134 bpm this week and 9:30 min/mi so far. Is my HRM screwed up? This is amazing since last week I averaged 143 and 9:25 pace. There was a 5K thrown in there last week, but still. I've checked the maps on SportTracks and I can see the path I ran is shown correctly. The track shows me turning around at precisely the intersection I did, so I believe the distances. (GPS is amazing by the way.) Could the low heart rate be the mileage be kicking in?

I haven't mentioned it, but I've been doing all this in the Nike Frees without a problem. The only thing "Free-related" is the callus on my right big toe is getting rubbed a little raw. The left arch feels like it's too supportive, but I've had that same issue with other shoes. I'm not sure if my left foot is wider or my arch is lower or what.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

week of 31 December

I finished the week with 13.2 miles today. Despite how slow it was (9:35 per mile) and being pretty short for a "long run," it took something out of me. It could be my lingering cold or the muddy conditions or it could be that it was at the end of the biggest mileage week I've done it a while.

Mo - 1.6 warmup, 5K in 20:35, 1.55 cooldown.
Tu - 4.7 am, 5.8 pm
We - 9.5
Th - 9.3
Fr - 10.4
Sa - 7.3
Su - 13.2

week - 66.3, 9:25 min/mi, 143 bpm avg

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Exploration run

A friend and I went exploring a new network of trails today. It was very slow going because of not only the hills, but frequent stops to check the map, take a few pictures, etc. These pictures were taken with the $10 Vivitar mini digital camera my wife got me for Christmas. (That's yours truly in the first picture.)

1:21:09 (6:27 of this was stopped), 7.26 miles, 11:09 min/mi, 135 bpm hr avg

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

2 hours devoted to running -- what am I doing?

For the second day in a row, I drove to work early to beat traffic and get a 90 minute run in. As I was stretching and doing crunches afterward, it struck me that between the 20 minutes or so packing my stuff last night, the 5 minutes getting dressed, the 90 minutes running, and the 10 minutes stretching and crunching (to coin a term), I spent over 2 hours devoted to this run. I did the same thing yesterday.

Is this really worth it? Seriously, is there some sort of record for hours running per year per age grade point. I should patent this. I'll call it the futility index. Mine for 2007 is 6.4 based on my 412 hours running and 10 mile time of 1:09:49 (64.7 age graded). Post yours for fun. I used this calculator (the first google found) for my age graded score.

I satisfied myself with one of my favorite rationalizations: opportunity cost -- better known as "what the hell else am I going to do?" (This same rationalization got me a PhD in Chemistry.) Really, what was I doing before I was running? Mainly, I was getting a little more sleep and staying up for my local news and part of Letterman. I'll take running. This morning I saw the sun rise over the Potomac and ran by the George Washington Masonic Temple Memorial before turning around and heading back for work. There are worse ways to start your day.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

a cold wind blows

You people from Minnesota might want to stop reading, or at least promise not to make fun of me.

I froze my %$$ off this morning. Maybe the 10 days in Atlanta made me soft, but I was cold out there this morning. I wore my usual winter fare -- tights, two tech shirts, a running vest, hat, and gloves. I did an out and back. The out was downhill with the wind at my back. The back was... well, you figured it out. The wind blew whatever warm air was trapped in the layers and froze my arms. The same for my cotton gloves and my hat didn't cover my earlobes. Plus, for good measure, it started snowing. Ok, wunderground confirms it was only 28 degrees (stop laughing there in Minnesota) but the wind was 18 mph sustained, gusting to 28, and I was running straight into it.

Of course a nylon shell and a hat that covered my ears would have solved all my problems. Lesson learned I suppose. Now if I could just find that damned hat.