Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 quick review

Three goals for 2008:

- sub-20. Check. 19:49 at Atoms 5k in May.
- BQ. Check. 3:15:22 at NCR trail marathon.
- more than 3000 miles. Check. 3180 for the year at an avg pace of 8:54.

Goals for next year?

- sub-1:30 half marathon. I know it seems crazy for a guy who just ran a 20:12 5k. The 68:49 10 miles I ran is 6:53 pace though. 1:30 is 6:52. I plan to be in much better shape sometime this the year than I was then.
- Requalify at Boston. I'm not that committed to this frankly, but I don't like running a marathon without a goal.
- Finish the JFK 50. I really might rethink this, but there it is. I've never done an ultra and I kind of like the simplicity of running farther than I have before. I have no time goal. I've learned my lesson from my first marathon.

windy 5k, decent time

The graph tells the story. The race started at 4 pm at the "dip" :) It was only 25 mph gusting to 38 mph at that point. Wunderground said the wind was from the northwest although it felt more like the northeast to me (maybe the terrain affected it?) Add the wind to that a pretty tough course and I decided that I would be incredibly thrilled with breaking 20 if I could manage it. Well, I didn't.

They changed the course from last year (and re-certified it). One nice feature is that it is no longer a double loop, which means you don't have to negotiate walkers). I had hoped it meant half the elevation gain, but that wasn't quite the case.

Mile 1 starts on a downhill with a tailwind, but quickly turns to a climb mostly into the wind. My split was 6:33 (180 bpm) average, the next mile was mostly downhill and a net tailwind and I split 6:26 (188 bpm). I felt like I took a bit of a nap there. I usually hit 190-191 bpm on the second mile. Still I was only 7 seconds off 20:00 pace at mile 2. I knew it would take a miracle though since would be turning uphill and into the wind. I picked up the intensity, but the 3rd mile was 6:34 (191 bpm). I ran an even pace and didn't get passed by anyone. Still there were two guys 10-20m ahead I was constantly trying to close the gap on (and draft off of), but never could quite do it. Everybody else went out too fast and I went by them. One guy looked like he was really hurting when I passed him just short of the last right that leads to a downhill finish. I sprinted on the downhill and he sprinted right with me! I put a little extra kick in to hold him off and finished (by my watch) in 20:12.

It's really hard to say what my fitness is based on this race given the conditions. I talked to several of the usual age group faces that I see at races. One guy said he was 40-45 secs slower than his usual time. Another said he was about 30 seconds slower than his last race. A 19-flat runner I know finished over 19:40, so 30+ seconds doesn't seem crazy. I finished in 19:44 (by my watch) at the 5k in May, so I think I'm in decent shape. I'm also about 5 pounds heavier. If I ditch that, I think I'll post some good times soon.

forecast: windy

5k starts at 4pm. Hour-by-hour from

Partly Cloudy / Wind
From NW
33 mph

Ouch. There's a new course this year. Still a double loop. The high point is 25m higher than the low. Two 75' climbs in a 5k plus >30 mph winds doesn't sound fast to me!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

week of 22 December

Mo 6.15 0:55:25 9:00 - easy
Tu am 12.63 1:47:41 8:32 - moderate, w/5 x strides
Tu pm 4.17 0:39:37 9:31 - jog
We 10.07 1:35:21 9:28 - long jog (tired)
Th 0.00 - Xmas
Fr 10.07 1:25:09 8:27 - moderate
Sa 6.99 1:02:03 8:53 - easy
Su 14.97 2:13:54 8:57 - easy (tired legs)
Wk 65.03 9:39:10 8:54

Good week. I could have hit near 70 if I had snuck out on Christmas. I actually had a shot when everyone was taking showers after present unwrapping and before guests arrived.

My legs felt beat up by Sunday's run and I tried to warm up to 8:30's but didn't quite feel like it.

My weight is getting to be a problem. I hit 164 after the marathon and it never went away. After a week of Christmas eating, I'm now up to 165.3. I haven't been there since the end of our week at the beach in August. I can't just up my weight by 3% and expect it won't affect me. We'll see how the 5k goes tomorrow. Last year I ran 20:32 at the Atoms 5k in May and 20:33 on New Year's. This year I ran 19:49 in May. I was hoping to scare 19:30, but with my weight and relative lack of miles of late, 19:50 is looking pretty good. Just checked the forecast and yikes! 40 degrees is awesome. But the wind is supposed to be 20 mph at 4pm (down from 27 at 1pm!).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

week of 15 December

I'm out of town and can't seem to download the Garmin drivers to install on my laptop. hasn't worked for two days. What is the deal with Garmin? They have great hardware and the rest... not so much. Anyway, I've read the following off the 305 screen.

Mo - 6.45 @8:58 - easy
Tu - 7.00 @~8:40 - moderate including 1 x Rock Circuit
We - 10.26 @8:15 - moderate w/ 20'' alternating 5k/5k+60''
Th - 5.52 @9:08 - easy
Fr - 10.00 @ 8:32 - moderate including 3 x ABCs, 8 x 15'' hill sprints, and 5 x strides
Sa - travel to Atlanta for Christmas, no running
Su - 14.80 @ 7:59 - moderate + 8 @ 7:31, 7:25, 7:04, 6:52, 6:55, 6:46, 6:57, 6:54
Wk - 54 - wow, I need to do something about that

The Sunday run was intended to be 4+ moderate out to the 1-mile loop of leg-forgiving finely crushed gravel and then 7:40 for the first mile, cutting down 10 sec/mile with the 8th as fast as I liked. Then come home via the 2+ mile route.

Well, I hit the first at 7:31, but my garmin said it was 7:41 pace. So far, so good. Next was 7:25. Too slow. Ramp it up, to try and hit 7:10 -- 7:04. OK, I'll shoot for 7:00 and get back on track. 6:52. A little fast. I'll try for 6:50. 6:55 and this is getting hard. Shoot for 6:40. 6:46 and I wasn't sure I could race two more at that pace. Backed off to 6:57 on the next and then ran as hard as I felt like and only manage 6:54.

It's a little worse than this because after running a number of laps there, I believe the loop is about 5 seconds short of a mile based on my garmin. On the other hand, I used gmap-pedometer ( ) and found it .9978.

I have to make some excuses. Even though the loop has a perfect running surface and is 5 seconds short of a mile, it is not exactly flat. You can see from the link above that the high point is about 35 feet higher than the low. That sounds plausible. You gain than in a couple of tenths, which is a pretty good grade. The other excuse is the wind. The weather said it was 22 gusting to 30 as I walked out the door. Based on the kids kite that was about to be ripped off the string, I'd agree.

Anyway, that was a tough run and I held up pretty well. Even though I don't think I could have raced the last laps faster, the heart rates weren't at all crazy. and my heart rate splits were 162, 162, 170, 173, 176, 179, 177, and 178. I've averaged somewhere around 178-180 for a half marathon and 180-184 for a 10 miler.

The mileage is very week and I've learned by examing my mid-section that my weight is inversely proportional to weekly mileage. Ugh. Off to a good start this week. 6.17 yesterday and 12.65 + 4.17 today. I need another good day tomorrow before I take a zero on Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

10 miles w/20'' alternating 5k/5k+60

I've been sampling from the workouts on my future schedule like a Chinese menu. I want to make sure I know how to execute them. This includes fitting them into the very hilly terrain of my running routes. Today's run was 10 mile moderate 20-minute continuous alternating 5k/5k+60sec pace (roughly 6:25/7:25). I figured I should cover about 3 miles in the 20 minutes, so I'd start when the Garmin hit 5 miles, which would leave me 2 miles to "cooldown" (or at least go back to moderate). Unfortunately, 5 miles in puts me at the lowest elevation point in the routeThe first 90 sec MP/90 sec 5k was on the flat and I hit it pretty well (6:26/7:14). Then I went up a comically steep section (steeper than where I do hill sprints) and my 5k pace was 7:58. The rest of the splits times are barely correlated between fast and slow as I went up and down over hills. The graph above shows the terrain roughly although gps elevation completely stinks. I miss wearing my Suunto with the barometric altitude. If they can fit that in a reasonably sized wristwatch, why didn't they put one in the 305?

I did the rock circuit yesterday, but only did one circuit instead of two and cut down the number of pushups. I'm searching for some sort of equilibrium the lets me get through the week in one piece.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

week of 8 December

Mo - 5.99 0:58:03 9:41 140 -- 133 excl miles 1-2
Tu - 9.32 1:25:47 9:12 141 -- 134 excl miles 1-2
We - 9.33 1:27:50 9:25 134
Th - 6.99 1:01:42 8:49 143 -- the new easy?
Fr - 7.88 1:07:06 8:31 154 -- moderate w/ABCs, 8x15'' hills
Sa - 6.43 0:57:47 8:59 155 -- "easy" + rock circuit
Su - 13.53 1:57:02 8:39 149 -- last 9.5 moderate
Wk - 59.48 8:55:17 9:00 145

I tried some new workouts this week and tried easy = 145 bpm and moderate = 155. Friday's runs was hard though and it seemed to carry into yesterday and today. I was given a range for easy (140-150) and moderate (150-160) and after today I really think I need to stick to the low end of that range. I also ate like crap the last few days. Lunch and dinner on Fr and Sa was pizza, fried chicken, PBJ, and pizza. Ouch. On top of that I didn't get much sleep.

No wonder today's run was crap. Compare today to 5 weeks ago

12/14 - 13.53 1:57:02 8:39 149 (75%) -- 3 lake laps
11/09 - 22.54 3:12:58 8:34 148 (74%) -- 5 lake laps

My heart rate rises during long runs and three weeks ago, I averaged low 140s through 3 laps versus 149 and at a faster pace. The highest mile split in those three laps was 146 compared to 155 today. Wow, I have totally jumped the shark.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the rock circuit

This kicked my butt today. (It looks so easy on the video.) The last 30 seconds of elevated pushups turned into just 5 followed by me jogging away with my tail between my legs. The knee was also a problem. The strides were preceded by some limp-jogging to get things in a groove before the strides. I'm not so great at the starting and stopping.

Oh, well. We have to crawl before we run.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The new easy is harder than the old easy

Max HR: 200 bpm

Recovery <140
Easy 140-150
Moderate 150-165
Marathon Effort 166-172
Sub LT 173-175
LT 176-184

Above are my training zones. Marathon and LT look right in the neighborhood based on my races. I'm a big weenie though and "easy" above is harder than how I normally run easy, which is way too easy. Got that?

Anyway, I did 7 this morning, average 142 bpm and 8:42 per mile. After the first couple, the miles were basically 8:30/145. Really not that hard and a bit more fun that my usual 9:15/134 slog. This past go around, I basically only had three types of runs: workout, recovery, and long. The long run was at the 140-150 easy effort above. "Brain Training," which I was loosely following, had lots of base/recovery pace runs, and weenie that I am, I opted for recovery every time.

I feel recovered except my butt/hips are *still* sore. I sill have three weeks before my official training schedule starts. I'm planning to do more easy runs and try out some of the supplementary training (core routines, etc.) that's in my schedule.

My run was very good today (except it was 45, raining, and windy) and I have some hope that I'm not far from where I was pre-marathon. Of course, I'm going to lose some fitness recovering, so we'll see where I am at the New Year's 5k. I'll be happy with anything sub-20. 19:30 would be very, very nice.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I got me a coach

In a semi-impulsive move, I decided to hire me a coach. Today, I got my schedule that starts on 12/31 and I am psyched! I get to do all kinds of crazy stuff besides just running. I'm not talking Adam-running-up-hills-with-a-sandbag crazy, but more like your basic core strength stuff that I neglect. Best of all somebody tells me what to do without me fretting over whether I'm doing the right thing or not. Until 12/31 though, I'm still making it up as I go.

Today I did 9.3. Pace was 9:12 min/mi and heart rate was 135. I've gone from 9:57/133 to 9:40/133 to 9:12/135 in the span of three days. I think I'm getting over the marathon. After the run I did some weights. 2 x [ 10 x (adductor, leg extension, leg curl, lat pull, row pull, bench press)]. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm kind of hoping I can fix my runner's knee which is still biting my in the... knee. Hip thingy is a distant memory.

The forecast for tomorrow is incredible. 54 degrees at 7am. Are you kidding me? It snowed last Saturday and was about 20 and windy on Sunday. Now it's going to be 54!? I'm planning on another 9.3 very, very easy -- in shorts.

Oh yeah, after freaking out about my weight yesterday, it was 161.6 today, about a pound above my low over the last three months. Perhaps the post-marathon water weight lingered longer this time? I need to watch what I eat anyway, so the day-to-day weight doesn't really matter.

Monday, December 08, 2008

164.5 lbs

Egads! OK, I rationalized the 164.0 on the scale the night before the marathon as water/glycogen put on in the last few days when I cut my mileage. I rationalized the 163.5 a few days later as water retention from muscle damage (inflammation). Now that I weigh in at 164.5 and can see it on my waistline, I have to accept that it's just fat. This might explain some of my "fitness" loss in the last month. Looking at the bright side, this means I have more room to improve.

Today was the 2 times the neighborhood loop. 9:40 min/mi, 133 bpm average. The breathing and heart rate were in sync finally (140 felt hard on the uphills). The pace dropped about 20 seconds/mile from yesterday, so thumbs up there -- only another 20-40 seconds to go. I felt a little more spring in my step. I think a lot of the post-marathon loss in pace must be due to inefficiency resulting from soreness/muscle damage. I like to assume that at least.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

week of 1 December

Mo - Rest
Tu - Rest
We - Rest
Th - Elliptical 30:11 134 (67%)
Fr - 4.95 0:46:23 9:23 140
Sa - 5.42 0:50:06 9:14 143
Su - 8.98 1:29:24 9:57 138 -- ~134 if you throw out first lap
Wk - 19.35 3:36:04 9:36 139

Today I reached the acceptance phase in mourning my lost fitness. I finally reached rock bottom and settled in for 90 minutes of shuffling along at 9:57 per mile. That was slow enough to keep me around 133 bpm. It felt hard when I crept up to 140 on some uphills, so it feels like my breathing has finally reconnected with my heart rate.

The prescription now is oxygen. I'm planning to consume as much of it as I can with slow runs that concentrate on time on my feet and minimum impact to my legs. I'll probably even use the elliptical. When my muscles don't ache anymore, I'll throw in some weights, hill sprints, core work, etc. I want to get stronger. Not Adam strong, but I'm hoping to work up to a single pull up by the end of the year :-)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

second run back

Went for my second easy run since the marathon last Saturday. My heart rates are still wacky. I can easily shoot over 150 without batting an eye. My breathing doesn't pick up like it normally would and I don't notice until I look at the watch. My last half mile was actually 9:50 pace and 140 bpm average. On the exact same run 4 weeks ago, I ran 9:08 at 125 bpm. Yikes!

Of course, I've been on a long slide since 4 weeks ago and I think I lost a lot even before the marathon. I'm still scratching my head as to why.

Friday, December 05, 2008

5 "easy"

Ooch. Ouch. Like the tin man, I shuffled off this morning, discovering aching muscles I didn't even know I had. Had a weird little knot in my left hamstring. My hip flexors (I think those are my hip flexors) were really tight. After a blazing 9:45 mile, I eventually worked up to a jog and I think my last mile was a little under 9. All in all, it was a good first run back. You have to start somewhere!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Shamrock Half marathon

My spring goal: run sub-1:30 at the Shamrock half marathon on 3/22/2009.

back at it

Did 30 minutes on the old elliptical today. Been a while since I did that. Got my heart rate up to around 145. I'm a bit out of shape (or not recovered). My "gluts" were still a little sore and my left quad was as well. No problem with the hip or knee. I think I'll try 5 easy tomorrow am. No more sleeping in!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

a couple of days behind

I guess this one hurt me more than the previous marathons. I'm at least a day behind in how I feel. Combine that with a desire to be more cautious this time and I haven't run a step since the marathon on Saturday. I plan on saddling up the elliptical for about 30 minutes tomorrow.

I've gained some weight. I thought it was post-marathon inflammation, but it hasn't come off yet. I'm at 163.7. I weighed a whopping 164.0 the night before the marathon (9 pounds above my goal!), but rationalized that it was extra glycogen/water from tapering. Maybe it was that Thanksgiving feast :-)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What am I doing?

Make up your own caption.

revenge of the hip

I guess endorphins and ibuprofen kept it down on Saturday. Not moving on Sunday probably kept it away as well. I took two steps off the elevator at work yesterday and, with my weak muscles, extended the joint enough that the pain came back sharply. I still don't know what this is. It feels like it's really down in the joint. Who knows? I'm hoping with some rest that it will just go away. No exercise at all so far. I'm considering 30 minutes on the elliptical tomorrow. Maybe not though. No rush.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Week of 24 November

Mo - 8.71 1:10:21 8:04 155
Tu - 5.00 0:45:21 9:04 129
We - 4.04 0:36:43 9:06 144 - HRM issues
Th - 4.20 0:34:17 8:10 171 - HRM issues
Fr - Rest
Sa - 26.40 3:15:20 7:24 174 - PR, BQ!
Su - Rest
Wk - 48.37 6:22:11 7:54 162

For completeness, above is last week's training. No running today either, by the way. I feel about as sore as I ever have after a marathon. I have no injuries, thankfully and the soft trail also seems to have saved my feet which usually hurt more. It's really just the typical weak quads and trouble walking down stairs (by which I mean holding onto the rail for dear life).

I've been looking for hotels for Boston and it's about as painful as the marathon! Everything near the finish is sold out or over $450. My wife found one by the airport, but this whole thing is sounding like less fun with the logistics. Fly up Sunday, stay by the airport, checkout, shuttle to the T, T to the race, bus to Hopkinton, race, get bag, T to airport station, shuttle to airport, and fly back. I guess I leave my wallet in baggage check at the race? Can I pack everything in a bag I can check. I feel sorry for whoever sits next to me. Frankly, I'm not sure it's worth doing. Everybody says I should, so I will, but I'd really be going just for the marathon and not to see Boston. Is it really worth the hassle?