Saturday, May 31, 2008

the week starts on monday!

I've made a little progress on my program today, but it has been accompanied by frustration. I can't get the GTK calendar widget to start the weeks on Monday. It decides whether to start on Monday or Sunday based on your "locale," which is set operating system wide. There doesn't seem room for the "I live in the US but I want my running calendar to start on Monday" types.

Anyway, I've added the "Week of xxxx" at the top and linked it to the calendar widget, so the "week of" changes with selected day in the calendar. The left and right arrow buttons also work.

The careful observer will note the log entry doesn't match the selected week. I haven't implemented that yet.

By the way, I've used the option to show the week of the year on the left of the calendar. It's kind of cluttered looking, but I think it might be helpful for runners in figuring weeks to go, etc. What do you think? Keep it or remove it?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Where can I find some sleep?

First, I took a big fat zero yesterday. I was only supposed to do 30 minutes and I could easily rationalize the additional sleep. I "made up" by doubling today as I'd been hoping to on Fridays, but this is the first time my schedule worked.

I did the "10-12" by "1k" at MP. Basically, I ran my 10.4 mile home route (to and around the lake, back home, and a half a neighborhood loop). The plan was to warm up and then run 4 minutes on and 1 minute off until I ran out of real estate (while leaving enough time for a cooldown). I warmed up and didn't start the first MP segment until 2.8 miles in. There's a very steep path down to the lake at about mile 2 and then there's another very short, very steep drop to the bottom of the damn. As a result, I was at the absolute bottom of my route so the rest of the run was net uphill. See if you can spot the hills in my splits. The MP segments were: 7:39/151, 7:26/156, 7:47/158, 8:08/161, 7:04/158, 8:54/163, 6:56/164, 7:47/165, 7:17/164, and 7:08/164. At these paces, 4 minutes was between .45 and .58 miles. 1k is .62 miles. What can I say? I'm slow. I got in 10, but it only left a little over 10 minutes for a cooldown. Rests were all 1:00-1:06 except once when I daydreamed and it was 1:15.

I did a 30 minute jog this afternoon and it was really awkward. The 9:20 pace felt like I was stumbling around after this morning. Plus it was hot, so the run was basically hot, sweaty, stumbling discomfort.

After the run, I thought about my state of semi-sleep deprivation after getting up at 5 am three times this week. I revisited my schedule and wondered if there was any way to work in running to and from work. One idea I had was shifting my long run to mid-week. Since it's only 2 hours now, this is easily doable. Sets of hill repeats are a little hard to work into the run to work, but if I move them to Sat or Sun, then that problem is solved. The 10-12 by 1k @ MP and 6-8 miles and 80% are a no brainer to do on the way. Still, I can't quite make it work.

Sa - 9 w/ hill repeats or 200s am, 3 pm
Su - 9 moderate
Mo - Rest or 30 min jog, drive in, drive home
Tu - drive in, 10.4 w/ 6-8 @ 80% home pm, leave car
We - 10.4 easy(?) to work, drive home
Th - drive in, 10.4 home very easy
Fr - 13+ to work

There' s not enough days to stick something between the long run and the hill repeats. I could just do an 8-day schedule and put something between Fr and Sa. This thread has some interesting ideas. I could do the hard runs on Wed and Sat. Putting the hills and long run back-to-back wouldn't be too bad I think. I could possibly do the tempo/MP run on the way home Wed and then run in the next morning. I'd rather have 24 hrs between though. I need to think this through a little more. Right now, it's not broken and I seem to be improving, but I'd sure like some more sleep. The easy option -- go to bed earlier -- just seem too easy :-)

By the way, there's a nice article in the post today on the guy who spanked me at Cherry Blossom.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

summer is here

I need to thank the weather gods for the extended spring we've had. It's just been unbelievable. Nearly ideal running weather for months -- way longer than we could expect or deserve. High have been running 10+ degrees below normal and I knew it couldn't last. This morning was the first sign. It was 65.3 degrees with a dew point of 64.9 at 6am this morning. When the dew point gets over 60, I know summer has arrived. I ran again this afternoon when it was 81 degrees (67 dew point).

The running for today: 9.8 w/ 3x3xhills am; 3.2 pm;

I hadn't read Joseph's comment on rotating 200s with hills before I went out, but I'm not sure it would have made a difference as I've become enamored with the hills. Still, I think I need to rotate workouts if for no other reason than to spread out the niggles among my various muscles and tendons more evenly.

The GPS shorted me on the distance. The hill I ran is a serpentine paved bike path down to the lake (kind of a semi-switchback) and I can see that it frequently cut off the turns so that I supposedly averaged 10 min/mi for my 20-minute hill session.

Monday, May 26, 2008

week of 19 May

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. We just got back from Williamsburg, so I'm recapping the week a day late.

Mo - 6.2
Tu - 9.7 w/ 3x3xhills am; 3.2 pm
We - 8.6 a little easier than moderate 8:41/141
Th - 3.2
Fr - 10.4 w/ middle 6 154-159bpm
Sa - 6.2
Su -13.9 - 60 min out, 57 back
Week: 61 miles, 8:38 avg, 143 avg bpm

Overall a good week. Today, the 27th, I basically did a long recovery run instead of the maintenance run. The run went a little longer than I expected because I got lost :-) Anyway, I did 60 minutes and the 8:55 pace was only 131 bpm average! I don't think I've ever come anywhere close to that pace for that low a heart rate. I guess it was flatter than at home, but there were some hills.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good run today. Can I get a do over on that marathon?

I did my first Friday workout of the aggies plan today. I deferred it last week because I had the 5K on Saturday. The plan says 10-12 x 1k at MP or 6-8 miles at 80%. The first option sounded kind of complicated and I didn't know how much rest was needed, so I picked option 2. 80% for a 19:30 5k runner is 7:56 according to the chart so I shot for something around 8 minutes. Just as an aside, I noticed also that the percentages on the pace chart are pretty close to %MaxHR for me. He calls 85% marathon pace and miles 3-10 are about 85%Max for me in a marathon.

Did 2 miles warmup, 6 miles @ "80%," and 2.4 miles cooldown. I was surprised how easy the pace felt. My splits for the 6 miles were 8:10/139 (includes down very steep 0.3 mile hill), 7:47/154, 7:58/157 (uphill), 7:35/156 (downhill), 8:11/160 (up aforementioned very steep hill), 7:27/160 (net uphill with a big hill in the middle). I think the last one confirms I'm in better shape than I was for the marathon and I kinda wish I had a do over. I think I waited too long to start the fast training before the marathon. It's not entirely my fault though because that shin thing cost me my "month of hills" I planned for March. Oh, well.

I can't quite decide whether to run a 5k on 14 June or a 5-miler on 8 June. The 5M race is around the lake where I do my Sunday long runs so I think that would be fun. It's a slow surface (packed dirt and gravel with some uneven surfaces to negotiate) and there are some hills. I'm leaning towards the 5 miler because I don't want to keep chasing seconds on my 5k time. It is tempting though. The 5k is on the road and the course is supposed to be pretty fair.

Good luck to Mindi on the marathon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

running log program I've been writing

I've been messing around with writing a running log program for what seems like a couple of years. I mess with it every once in a while when the mood strikes. I like to change directions every 6 months or so in order to make sure I never finish. Anyway, I'm trying to make it look more like a runner's log book than something a computer programmer wrote to capture data.

The anal retentive entries are from when I first got my Suunto T6. The cal referred to calibrated the footpod used for measuring distance. Stram is "Suunto Training Manager" and after I downloaded the watch data, it would show mileage that differed by about one percent from what the watch displayed. This drove me crazy. I finally figured out what was going on. Both Stram and the watch internally stored the distance in meters, but the watch used a conversion factor of 1600 meters per mile instead of 1609.344 when doing to conversion to display it. I still can't quite get over that. At some point, some guy just said, "Ah. I think there are 1.6 kilometers per mile" and just typed it in.

Anyway, if you guys have any suggestions about how a running log program should work, please let me know. It will give me some motivation to change directions yet again :-)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

week of 12 May

Mo - 5.3/8:23/144 maintenance run
Tu - 9.8/8:35/144 w/ 3x3 hill reps am, 3.2/9:26/142 pm (HRM messed up in pm)
We - 9.3/8:24/146 moderate, hilly
Th - 3.0/9:28/134 recovery
Fr - 5.7/8:30/144 maintenance run
Sa - 5k in 19:47/188 (pr), 2 mi wup, 1 mi cdn
Su - 13.5/8:48/142 easy - 1 hr out, 1 hr back

Week: 56 miles, avg pace 8:35/mile, avg hr 145

Great week. I can check sub-20 5k off my list. I think I'm also starting to feel rather than think the "Kung Fu" of this schedule.

Of course, I've started scheming after my PR. I guess the 5k PR was soft and the calculators have that pretty much in line with my 8k (32:45) and 10M (1:08:49). Still, when you lop 45 seconds off your 5k PR, the wheels start spinning and you think of new goals.

I'm going to shoot for NCR as my goal marathon on 29 Nov, so I have some time before I get in marathon mode. I'd like to get a little faster at shorter distances over the summer and then build endurance in the fall. (Really this is just a scheme to avoid doing 20 milers in the middle of the summer heat.) 5-10k in the summer and the Parks half on 9/14. I ran 1:33 there last year. If things go great, I could take a shot at one of my long-term goals -- sub-1:30. That's a reach, but who knows. If I get antsy after that waiting for NCR (which I probably will), Baltimore is on 12 Oct and I could take a shot at 3:15 there.

I'll probably sign up for Carlsbad (24 Jan) as my backup to NCR since we'll be in San Diego. I'd love to just do the half, but I'm not sure it will still be open after 29 Nov and if something happens at NCR (like snow) I'd want to do the full at Carlsbad. If I already have the BQ in hand, a 4 hour fun run along the pacific ocean wouldn't be the worst thing in the world :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008


The race got off to an inauspicious start when the gun clicked but didn't fire. Somebody started yelling go, so after a couple of seconds, we went. I think I felt the need to "make up" for the lost time and I went out crazy fast, which is completely unlike me. I thought I had backed off after a couple of hundred meters. The garmin said 5:58 pace after maybe 4 minutes and I scoffed. I had lost reception in the crowd at the start and restarted it. I figured the GPS was just gooned up. I get to the mile 1 marker and they read "6:02, 6:03, ..." Oh, crap! (I'd alway figured my mile pace was about 6:00 based on my 5k.)

I look ahead and see a shirtless guy in blue shorts about 100m ahead and think it's an age group runner I know who usually runs about 19 flat. I think maybe I'm not far from where I should be. Maybe they put the mile marker in the wrong place? Then a few moments later, the real 19-flat guy passes me! I hung behind him until maybe a mile and a half and let him go.

The gave our places as we went by the school the first time. I was 19th. I finished 11th last year, but I think there were a lot more high school kids running this year. Before we did the little loop around the neighborhood, the leader came the other way and he was flying (finished 16:11 I think).

I saw my friend who was giving out the 2-mile splits. 12:30. 6:27 for the last mile. Not bad. My plan was to run 6:26 pace (which is 20:00). Some kids start to pass me here, but I don't care too much. Then the first female passes me. My pride stings a little, but then a guy passes me and I instantly think "he's in my age group."

I hung on maybe 5 meters behind the presumed M35-39. Then he opened. I closed a little, but on the track you finish on he pulled well ahead. My one regret is that I didn't try harder to go with him. Still, I crossed the line at 19:47! (19:44 on my watch after the "false" start and the 5 -10 feet to cross the line.)

The awards were kind of chaotic. They did all the first place awards first while they sorted out second place and of course the guy who passed me was in my age group. His time was 19:36. I hung around forever waiting for 2nd place, which I was sure was me. Then they said 2nd place was somebody else. Huh? They didn't announce any times for the second place awards. I said I wasn't sure that was right to the RD who said he'd check. Anyway, I hung around long enough that the race director who had shaken down the community for more stuff than he could give away gave gift certificates to everybody who broke 20 but didn't get an award, so I picked up $25 at Staples.

I'm thrilled about my time, but the confusion about the award thing kind of took the edge off. Now that I think of it though, it's possible that the guy who beat me nipped somebody at the line while I was in the turn and I didn't see it. Now I feel kind of bad saying anything to the RD, but it was so confusing when they were giving out awards and they didn't announce times, so I thought there was a high probability they screwed up. Hard to say anything bad about a 45 second PR! The course isn't certified, but I know the RD and he wheeled the course, so I'm pretty sure it's right. They might not have included the short course correction factor or something, but it's definitely an improvement. I ran this last year in 20:32, which was my old "PR."

I forgot to hit lap at mile 2, but I also forgot to turn off autolap. My Garmin splits are 6:01/180, 6:27/191, 6:24/191, 0:51/192 (.14 miles). The Garmin recorded 3.14 and 19:44 (3 second difference is about right for the "false" start. The Garmin is generally around 1% generous in all the certified races I've and this fell in line, which makes me pretty confident it's the correct distance. Despite going out way too fast, I still maintained a beat or two higher average than I have in other 5ks. If I can learn to suffer a little more late in races and don't go out stupid fast, I think I can improve on this.

Friday, May 16, 2008

should have just gone back to bed

I woke up several times during the night, which means when I woke up for good I already had that I-didn't-sleep-enough-and-my-head-is-going-to-hurt-all-day headache. (Joseph, did I get the hyphenation right?) Got out of bed for good at 5:30 and ran. That part went fine. 5.7 at 8:30 pace, which my body has settled on as my "maintenance" pace. Started out at 9:30 and was at 8:10 for the last 1.7. Average heart rate was 145 versus a 200 max, so pretty easy. My legs felt a little stronger than normal.

Got home, showered, and got ready to leave. I said something to my wife like "My head hurts. I'm not going to get anything done. I might as well go back to bed." I wish I had. On the way to work, I got rear-ended on the interstate and pushed into the car in front of me, which buckled my hood pretty badly. Anyway, lots of calls to the insurance company, getting a rental, yada, yada. I swear I have to start from the beginning ever time I talk to the insurance company. You think they'd write this stuff down. I'm currently waiting for them to call me back so I can give them my "statement." I guess the first 20 times didn't count. I called at 5. They close at 7. It's now 6. What are the odds they call back. I'm gonna say 100 to 1.

I had the good fortune to be hit by a government vehicle. My agent said that I'll definitely get my $500 deductible back... eventually. This is the government we're dealing with. I also had a state trooper work the accident. They apparently don't give you that magic report number everybody seems to want. I call some number in a week and go to some out of the way place to pick up a copy.

Tomorrow I'm running a 5k -- 13 days after the marathon. It was only 6 day between races when I set a PR last year. Does that mean I'm more cautious? Last year, only 7 M30-39 showed up. It's a high school fund raiser and there's a nice gap between the kids and their parents. That gap got me 2nd in my age group, a $25 gift certificate last year, and a handshake with our congressman. That's too hard to resist. I'm afraid the word is out now though on the soft M30-39 competition.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

day three of the aggie plan

Well, I did a 5.3-mile maintenance run on Monday, 9.75 w/ 3x3 hills on Tues am and 30 min on Tues pm. This morning I did my hilly 9.3 route at a "moderate" pace -- 8:26 per mile, which I think qualifies.

I was sore in strange places after the hills. For instance, I could really feel it on the back of my arms just above my elbows. Weird. By "sore" I mean kind of a weightlifting burn and not a legs-full-of-lactic-acid sore like you get after 4x1600 with 2 min rest. I ascribe this to using muscles I'm not used to using, which is kind of the point of this hill exercise.

The moderate run went quite nicely. I could feel the Tuesday's hills a little but my legs were fine and a "moderate" romp through the hills seemed perfect. In a way, the hill repeats and moderate hill run are "orthogonal," if that makes any sense. They fatigue you in different, complimentary ways, so I can be recovering from the hill repeats while still getting a workout.

I also noted today that might pulse/heart rate was quite good. At one point near the end, I was doing 7:50 per mile at 150 bpm on a flat section. I wonder if my 26.2 at MP is reaping any benefits? It also makes me wonder if I added speed too late.

The one thing I'm not enjoying about this schedule is running at work. I'm not working, but I'm still at my work building very early and psychologically it feels like I'm at work longer. Plus, I've found that traffic in DC starts at 6am. Geez. When I left at 5:30 (to do my longer mid-week runs), I could travel full-speed the whole way. Leaving at 6am, it's bumper-to-bumper the last few miles and takes me 30-35 minutes to go 11 miles.

I'm considering trying to run commute again, but I'd need to run home (10.5) in the pm and run back in (another 10.5) in the am. The Rubio schedule doesn't seem to work with this. The only thing I can think to do is Gallowalk some crazy slow miles in the pm home and do my workout on the way to work. Tempo or 10x1k at MP is easy to fit in. I'd have to be more creative on the hill reps. There are plenty of hills, but I'm not sure they are long enough for 3x up. I'd probably have to double back and further increase the miles.

My wife is surprisingly in favor of the run commuting. She notes that I'd save some gas $$. I figure I'd save maybe $8 a week. I've also considered working a bike into the equation. Unfortunately, I don't own one now and I'm a little worried about the danger of bike commuting.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

interpreting the aggie schedule

I've been looking at the 10k/marathon outline on the asics aggies page. I think I pretty much have it, but have a few questions.

Sun: Easier long run (20-25% of weekly mileage). 14-16 miles. Pretty simple although "easier" is a little vague.

Mo - Maintenance run -- How long? How hard? Based on the way the terminology is used on the other pages on the site, I think the answer is 40-60 minutes at 75-80% 5K effort. The chart only goes to 19:30 for 5K (they don't imagine someone as slow as me -- not even the women), but extrapolating, I think 8:20 - 8:40 is about the right pace. Intuitively, I did 5.3 at 8:30 pace on Monday, so I guess my intuition was "right."

Tu - 3 x 3 hill reps. The explanation from another page is pretty good on the workout. I did it this morning and liked it. I wondered how much warmup and cooldown I should be doing though. I've been doing workouts Benji Durden style in the past with pretty a long warmup up/cooldown (30 min wup + 30 min cdn). I'm guessing Rubio expects a little shorter warmup/cdn? Maybe 15 & 15 and then get the extra mileage with the "optional" 20-40 min pm run. Today I did the long warmup/cdn and a 30-minute pm run, so maybe that was too much. I wasn't sure I'd get to run this afternoon though and once I had a chance, I didn't want to give it up.

We - longer hilly run easy to medium effort. I'm not sure whether easy to medium is 70 (recovery effort) to 75 or 75 to 80. The mileage says 12-15% of the week, so for 70 miles, that would be 8.5 to 10.5. I was going to do one hill loop at work, which is 9 miles. Running to work would work also -- 10.5 miles. Unfortunately my ride home got a new job, so running to work isn't as easy as it used to be. I've taken the bus home a number of times but it's kind of a pain (~80 minutes versus a 30-minute car ride).

Th - 30-40 min easy or recovery or day off. Easy enough. I guess the "or" means that easy and recovery are different pace. Easy = 75%?

Fri: "10-12 x 1k’s at MP or 6-8 miles at 80%. Optional second run of 20-40 min easy. Can substitute race for workout if desired. Races during this stage should be CONTROLLED!" When it says "substitute race" does that mean a Friday race or a Saturday race? If Saturday, I guess this just becomes Saturday's maintenance run?

Sat: Maintenance run. Optional second run of 20-40 min easy.

Well, I think I've over-thought that now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

week of 5 May

Recovering from the marathon

Mo - 0
Tu - 0
We - 5
Th - 6
Fr - 0 (raining and I wimped out)
Sa - 5
Su - 9
Week - A whopping 25 miles! 9:01 min/mi, 139 bpm avg

I feel like I've lost some fitness. Oh, well. I guess that happens with a taper and a recovery week. I'm going to do a 5k on Saturday. I did this race last year. The dearth of M30-39s got me 2nd in my age group and a $25 gift certificate I used to take my honey out to dinner. It's not certified but I'm nearly certain the course is accurate, so I was thinking I'd take a stab at sub-20. After today's run, I'm not so sure I have a shot. I'm certain I could have at least scared 19:59 a few weeks ago (7x800 in 3:09 was pretty easy). We'll see.

I've been looking at various training plans and I *think* I'm going with Rubio or something like it. This makes me kind of nervous though. I'm almost certain 3:15 is a problem I can solve with more mileage and I'm not sure I'll be able to increase my mileage while doing more intensity, so that stuff has to pay off or I'm screwed.

One of the ingredients I think I've been missing are the short intervals/hills. Joseph annotated these with "just get in touch w/wheels." Well, I don't have any wheels to get in touch with (at least not as an adult). I was sedentary from after U14 soccer until I was a 33 year-old desk jockey. Maybe a little running like a 14 year-old at the start of a 5k would do me some good.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

lazy Saturday

I ran for the first time on Wednesday. A little sore, walked a little bit when I felt something. The hip thing was definitely there as I expected, but overall OK. Thursday I did my 10k out and back route just because I didn't want to do the 5-mile route yet again.

Friday, I woke up at my usual 5:30am, put on my stuff, opened the door and saw the pouring rain. I shut the door and decided to bag it. I'll take a recovery day. I don't think I've ever aborted that late before. I don't think there was much difference between 5 miles and zero though. I'm recovering. Bagging the run gave me some time to goof around on the computer. I've become an amateur genealogist this week. My son's reading a poem at school by a poet whose name we share. I've always been told we were related, but was never sure. Well, it turns out we are and my father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father came to America in 1638. Pretty neat. Anyway, the lack of running gave me some extra time and the genealogy project was a good excuse to talk to my dad and aunt.

I also perused the coolrunning board for the first time in forever. It's just about a ghost town. I did post though. Someone had run two 4-hr marathons and wondered if that meant they could never get down to 3:10. The narcissist in me had to post my story. Hell, it took me a while to just to get to 4 hours.

This morning, my daughter's soccer was canceled because the fields are swimming pools. I went for a stress free run in the light drizzle and 54 degree temps. I couldn't help but think this was perfect marathon weather.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Goofy race photos, goals, and training strategy

I'll start with the goofy race photos. You can find all them here, and this one is me doing my best Roger Bannister impression. Looking at my form, I swear it looks better when I'm wearing the Nike Frees. I don't see the ridiculous heel strike. I didn't want to risk wearing them in the marathon though since I'd only run them for one long run and was pretty sore after that.

Well, I haven't run a step since the marathon and I'm already been plotting my revenge. Some goals I have (in order of likely achievement) are

  • sub-20 5K -- I think I can do this summer based on 32:45 8k and 7x800 in 3:09
  • sub-7 minute pace HM
  • BQ (3:15) -- I'll get there this Fall.
  • 1:30 HM -- this is probably a ways off, but I have an outside chance in Sept
  • sub-40 by 40 -- sub-40 10K by age 40. Maybe not achievable. I turn 37 next month, so I better hustle! Of course 41 minutes comes first. I have a soft PR of 47:21 in an actual 10K. I split 42:55 at Cherry Blossom. I figure I might be in 41:30 shape or better now based on the 8k.

So how and where do I get there?

I'm running a 5K a week from Saturday. It's not certified, but I'm call it a PR because I know the RD and he's as anal as I am. The training "plan" is to limit my runs to under an hour between now and then. I might double a day or two next week and I'll probably cave and break my rule on Sunday, but that's my plan!

For the all-consuming BQ, I'm considering the following options:
  • 12 Oct - Steamtown. Can't beat -955', but it can be hot and I'd have to asterisk my BQ with the net drop. It's early enough though that I could run it and a backup race in late Nov.
  • 15 Nov - Richmond. I understand it's supposed to be a pretty fair course. It was really hot a few years ago though and the route is exposed. Avg high 60. Record high 86!
  • 23 Nov - Philadelphia. Supposed to be a pretty fast course. Couldn't be too hot. Avg high 51. Record for the day is 62. Record low of 21 might suck.
  • 29 Nov - NCR trail marathon. Easy course. Last 2 are a bitch, but the first 24 are very easy. Pretty sheltered from sun and wind. Very unlikely to be hot. My only worry is rain/snow. Rain could cause trouble on parts of the course. Very convenient to home. Drive up that morning.
  • 21 Jan - Carlsbad marathon. We're going to be in San Diego on vacation and I could run this. It looks beautiful. The weather should be good: avg low 46, avg high 61. It's San Diego, so the record high is only 73. The SD weather variance is very low. The course looks very difficult though.

I'm thinking of doing either a Steamtown/Nov backup or a Nov marathon/Carlsbad backup. I'm leaning towards Steamtown/NCR and running the half at Carslbad for kicks. Even if I BQ at Steamtown, I might have to run a legit BQ at NCR for peace of mind.

Marathon training? Man am I confused on this. There are several ways I can go. I've thought of just following the program in Ron Daws's book, "Running Your Best," which is basically straight Lydiard. This is a 6-month plan. Not sure how I work the two marathons in, but I can figure that out.

I've also thought about doing something completely different like Matt Fitzgerald's "Brain Training" book. I think the book is full of it with regards to be revolutionary or anything, but the notion of doing drills, strength training, fast repeats, etc. makes some sense to me, because I think I'm an incredibly weak runner. I have pretty good endurance, but no power. I was a completely sedentary never-was in his 30s when I started running and I've taken the long slow distance approach from the beginning.

I've also thought of Summer of Malmo'ing it. Doubling as much as possible with runs under an hour except maybe 1.5 hours on Sunday. I'll have to look at the Joe Rubio chapter in "Run Strong" but I think it's pretty close to this philosophy. This is appealing, but doubling is tough on the schedule and running to work means running 10.5 miles, which takes me more than hour. I like running to work, which brings me to me last option.

Run to and from work a lot. I can fit this in with Lydiard mileage-building pretty easily and I'll save gas money, too! I also have this strange theory that back-to-back pm/am runs help with endurance with less injury risk than single long runs. The notional plan would be. Drive in Tu, run home; run in Wed, drive home; drive in Th, run home; run in Fr, drive home; run 10 miles Sat pm; run 15 Sun am; 5 miles Mon am. I figure that's about 75 in singles and I'd double if I went higher.

Ah, not running stuff makes you think too much. Maybe I'll run tomorrow morning.

Monday, May 05, 2008


I was tagged by Mindi.

1) Write your own six word memoir
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links
5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play

It seems to me that Mindi and those who tagged her aren't using "memoir" in the dictionary sense, so I too will cheat and avoid the pain of writing a 6-word epitaph.

On the drive in to work, I was listening to Jackson Browne's Late For the Sky and heard the lyrics

Now for me some words come easy
But I know that they don't mean that much
Compared with the things that are said when lovers touch

From that, my brain pulled out my memoir: "Words don't mean much." I'll try not to make it auto-biographical.

Sorry, but Mindi tagged everybody on my running blogroll except hubitron and Joe Henderson. You think Joe would do it? I think I'll just be content to be a childless node on this social network graph. Hey, "childless node on the social network" has 6 words!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

not a day for a PR

... but I got one. No BQ -- not even close -- but still I'm pretty proud of this race. Mother nature and the course just weren't going to make a BQ possible.

I traveled up to Frederick the night before and stayed in a hotel. Halfway there I realized I left my Garmin, so I got a bonus hour of driving (and burned an extra $10 in gas). I didn't let it bother me though. Still, part of the motivation for getting a hotel was not having to drive 2+ hours on Saturday just to pick up my packet. How hard is race day pickup? Well, I got my stuff no problem at the expo.

At the expo, they had put little yellow stickies on the hilly part of the elevation map saying "it's not really that bad." I chatted with one of the pacers and got the "oh, it's the scale" response and I said something like "but that bump is over a 100 feet in mile 17." He smiled and say, "yeah, and in only half a mile." That's like a 4% grade. From the expo, I drove the hilly section of the course. Holy *****, are they **** kidding me? I figured I'd easily lose 3-5 minutes in here.

I checked the forecast and it was the same on Saturday night as it had been all week. A cold front was supposed to come through with some (possible thunder) showers, leaving low winds, low humidity, and temps in the low- to mid-60s.

I slept darn pretty well. I probably slept better than I did in California. (This marathon thing gets easier over time I think). I got my stuff on, went outside, looked up at the stars and said, "Where the *** are the clouds?" There was barely a cloud in the sky. Oh, crap. I think the cold front didn't come through overnight. The lack of cloud cover did bring lower temps though (it was 52 at the start). 52 or not, I knew with the hills, sun, and rising temperature in the second half though that I would slow considerably. If I wasn't running easily with the 3:10 pacer in the first half, I doubted I'd have a chance at 3:15.

I just decided to run my race. Before I got within shouting distance of a BQ, this was something I was pretty good at. I lined up between the 3:10 and 3:20 pacers and off we went. I started catching the 3:10 pacer in the first mile (and so did the 3:20 pacer), but I could tell he was slow. I hit the first mile at 7:35. After a couple of miles, the heart rate monitor had settled down and I stuck on 170 bpm. I kept steady at this effort in the first half letting my heart rate ease up to 172 at the half. The splits bounced around a little with the rolling hills (fastest 7:20, slowest 7:40).

A couple of things happened along the way in the first half. At mile 8, my right hip and upper quad starting to hurt. The pain didn't go away and started to grow. I very seriously considered dropping out at the half. The other thing that happened was wind came out of nowhere somewhere around mile 11? 12? Looking at wunderground, It went from "calm" at at 7:44am (race started at 6:30) to 11.5 mph gusting to 20.7 at 8:06 am (the next recording).

I hit the half at 1:38:39 (7:31 pace) and the real work began. It was getting pretty hot. It just got over 60 but there weren't many clouds and the sun was beating on our heads. We were also heading east with the wind at out back, which felt dead calm. I had some moments where I felt flush and realized I was going to have to manage my heat. I didn't let my my heart rate drift up quite like I normally would to keep pace at this point and my miles 13 through 16 were a little under 7:40. I also discovered a great trick. I would pour water on my head at each aid station which my semi-spongy Nike hat would soak up. It actually stayed pretty cold and I'd wipe my head and neck with when I felt hot. Worked great.

Mile 16. Uh oh. I just kept up the effort up the hills, but not letting myself red line. You just had to eat these minutes. At mile 18, the 3:20 pacer caught me. I thought I'd hold them off longer. They were running even splits, uphill and downhill. I'm glad I didn't run with them. I would put distance on them on the downhills and they'd catch me on the uphills. Finally at around 21 they left me for good on a long uphill. At a little shy of 22 we come back to the highway to head west back to the fairgrounds (map).

Holy crap, where did that **** wind come from? Checking wunderground, the 11.5 mph at our tail had turned into 20 gusting to 25 straight in our face! The rest of the race was just battling the wind and passing people. I got some miles in here back under 8, which I'm pretty proud of given the conditions. At mile 24, I witnessed the mile marker go down from the wind. This is one of those big wood easel-type markers. Boom. Down she goes. Running by the 24 mile mark at the time was coolrunner leitnerj, whom I subsequently passed about a half-mile later. I said hello and thought about running in with him just for grins, but my calves were starting to spasm and I thought they'd lock up if I slowed down. Plus, they call it a "race." I felt good to finish ahead of him since he's run 3:08, but of course he ran Boston 2 weeks ago, a 10K the day before Boston, and a tough 50-miler the week before that.

It was only 7:56, but I thought I ran mile 26 pretty nicely and even had a semi-sprint to get through the finish before it ticked over to 3:22.

This shows my time/place at the timing mats.

Clock Time3:21:57
Chip Time3:21:50
Overall Place50 / 923
Gender Place44 / 581
Division Place7 / 102
Age Grade62%
Total Pace7:42/M
6 5M Rank80
6 5M Time48:45
6 5M Pace7:30/M
13 1M Rank70
13 1M Time1:38:39
13 1M Pace7:31/M
21M Rank64
21M Time2:41:51
21M Pace7:42/M
24M Rank56
24M Time3:04:25
24M Pace7:41/M
Finish Rank50
Finish Time3:21:56
Finish Pace7:42/M

As you can see, I slowed down, but not as much as most people, and picked up places the whole way. I finished 75th last year, so I'll take it. 50th then was 3:17:47. I'd believe a 4 minute difference in course/conditions. It wasn't exactly easy last year either. They laid down all the mile markers before the race because of the wind. It was definitely windier but the course wasn't nearly as hilly and it was cooler and overcast.

Full splitsahol for my like-heart-rated friends.

7:35/157, 7:21/168, 7:31/170, 7:34/169, 7:26/170,
7:26/171, 7:23/171, 7:28/171, 7:34/171, 7:32/171,
7:26/172, 7:38/172, 7:43/172, 7:40/173, 7:31/173,
7:29/173, 8:04/173, 7:35/173, 8:14/174, 7:53/174,
7:42/173, 7:56/173, 7:57/174, 7:40/176, 8:10/176,
7:58/175, 2:24/180.

17 (8:04 mile) is the first "hill" mile. The mile markers must have been a little off because I was definitely better than 10 minute pace for the last 385 yards (definitely < 8 min/mi). My average heart rate was 172. I've raced 7 marathons with a HRM and I've average 172 or 173 in every one of them.

Friday, May 02, 2008

the travel grind

Just got back from San Diego. I ran 45 minutes on Monday before leaving for the airport. Did 45 on Tues, 90 on Wed, and 45 on Th. Early runs, all-day meetings, and unhealthy food at night while I caught up on the real work I wasn't getting done during the day -- life on the road. I managed to get to bed pretty early and felt good early in the week, but 8:45 on Monday slid to 9:30 last night before getting up at 4am for my 6:30 flight, on which I tried to rest as much as I could.

The forecast for Sunday hasn't changed -- low- to mid-60's and mostly cloudy. The wind has kicked up a little though and the cloud cover has dropped, which isn't good. My only real hope, and it isn't totally impossible, is that the speed work in the last few weeks has made me significantly faster.

Still though, I can run 35 secs per mile slower than Cherry Blossom and qualify. 35 secs slower than 10 mile pace seems like it should be pretty comfortable doesn't it? Of course, it's always comfortable at first until the miles wear away at you. You run harder but your splits are slower and you can't figure out why. It's such a strange race.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

the weather is looking...

...impossible. 59-65 degrees and 80% humidity. I don't see a BQ happening. Forget acclimating (not that I believe in it). It's been unusually cold for weeks and I haven't run in more than 50 degrees more than once or twice in the last couple of weeks. Ugh.

A little hope in the detailed forecast though. A front is coming through right during the race. The backside has cool weather and there's also the nugget below. Even though it's only a few days out, there seems to be a fair bit of uncertainty.