Thursday, April 29, 2010

week of 19 April

Mo - 7.9 in 73'
Tu - 7.9 in 71' -- wore Ronins, PF bothered me
We - 7.9 in 65' (moderate) AM; 2.1 in 20' PM
Th - 7.9 in 71'
Fr - 7.2 in 68' -- drills
Sa - 4.8 in 42'
Su - 1.1 in 11.5' wup; 10k race - 40:04

Total: 52.9 in 7.6 hrs

Sunday, April 25, 2010

40:04 Pike's Peek

Light rain off and on, temp 55 degrees, a very slight headwind (5 mph).

Everything was uneventful. I was lined up about 5 feet in front of the 7:00 pace sign next to a 52 year old woman (not name Joan Benoit) and another one in front. They kept begging a guy with two girls about 8 and 10 to move further back. He moved about 5 feet back. What's the matter with people?

Anyway, the "go" word comes and I scream out, probably too fast, as I see 5:59 on the garmin after it settle. Still there are a gazillion people passing me and even more as I back off. I can see a stream of probably 500 people in front of me. (I ended up 137 OA.) So I spend the race passing people until the 5th mile marker.

HR monitor is wild (showing 233) in the first mile and I'm ignoring it. This is a really downhill portion and I hit the first mile at 6:22. I hit the second mile at 6:20/185 bpm. That's like 10 mile heart rate. Maybe I'm taking it too easy? Is all the downhill in the beginning? I haven't run the course before. Next mile is 6:22/187. Ok, more like it. I hit 5k at 19:49, tying my (very soft) PR and have 11 seconds in the bank by my reckoning.

Things level off this mile and the split is 6:28/187. Uh oh, I gave back 2 seconds in mile 4. Now the work begins. Mile 5 is a long, long climb that you can from forever. I tell myself I have to get up this on pace. Mile 5 is 6:30/188. Good effort but gave back 4 seconds.

After hitting lap at the mile 5 marker, the garmin says 6:35 and I just can't seem to generate the power to make it go lower. This is also uphill. I quickly figure there's no way I'm going to make it and here's where I screw myself up. I start thinking about how much it hurts and start to back off, seeing 6:42 pace and figuring it's over. We crest the hill at ~5.8 and I can see the finish. Suddenly I can see the finish and start to wonder if I can make up 10+ seconds and I start flying. According the garmin I ran the last 0.2 at 5:44 pace. (Mile 6 is 6:40/186 with the 186 revealing how I totally wimped out.)

I could make out the clock when it said 39:51 and I kept sprinting in. Watch said 40:05. Chip time posted now says 40:04. Ugh, ugh, ugh. If I had hung tough and given myself a chance, I definitely could have made it. I don't think I can find another fast 10k before the weather turns, so I get to stew over this for 6 months. Great.

If there's a training lesson here, I do think my lack of fast running, hill sprints, etc. hurt me when trying to run fast and maybe those fast twitch fibers were there for me at the end when the others were worn out. I just never run that fast and maybe I don't have quite the power to get my 10k time in line with my 10 mile time. Really I think I just don't like pain!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

rooting for accuweather has little lighning bolts for my 10k tomorrow morning and accuweather has a magical break around race time where it's just cloudy. Come on accuweather! Temp 55 degs, which is nice. 95% humidity isn't so great. I'm terrible in any kind of "heat" or humidity whatsoever. This is right on the edge for me. It should be a "headwind," but it's supposed to be only 3 mph, so essentially calm.

I've tapered for this so I'm hoping not to waste it on a thunderstorm. I felt like I really hit everything almost perfect in the two weeks between races, recovering without losing too much. We'll see tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

week of 12 April

  • Mo AM - 5.65 @ 9:23
  • Mo PM - 2.08 in 20:32
  • Tu - 7.86 @ 9:01
  • We AM - 7.85 @ 8:49
  • We PM - 2.00 @ 10:00 -- treadmill, alternate 4' @ 2.5 deg/1' @ 0 deg
  • Th AM - 7.87 @ 8:50
  • Th PM - 2.06 @ 9:40
  • Fr AM - 7.21 @ 9:20 -- drills
  • Fr PM - 1.96 @ 9:12
  • Sa - 8.04 1@ 8:56
  • Su - 12.21 @ 8:02 -- 12.2 w/ 8.2 moderate
This Week - 64.80 9:38:25 8:56

Kinda sore all week. I thought my energy was back on Wednesday but my legs had sore spots. Then I relapsed on Thursday and was fatigued until Sunday. I was still a bit heavy-legged on Sunday and took a couple of miles to warm up, but felt good. I'm quite sore on Monday night as I write this and skipped my PM run to use the foam roller, so I think I probably should have waited another day.

I'm not sure what to expect Sunday at the 10k. I'll probably lose some fitness with the easy runs and reduced miles, but I definitely won't break 40 if I don't recover. It's a point-to-point downhill course (-190 feet) with one left turn, so that should help as long as the wind isn't blowing the wrong way. I should also have lots of company at my pace. I'm also considering another 10k on 5/16 to have another chance to break 40 (if I don't) or to get a legit (unaided) 10k PR. 3 week in between should give me a chance to recover and get a little volume in.

(Couldn't resist checking the weather and it calls for a completely direct headwind of 7 mph.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

I love these shoes: Nike Free 3.0v2

Now that I've expressed my undying love, I'm sure they'll be discontinued.

I run differently in these shoes. I thought I was running differently in them, but wasn't sure until I ran on the treadmill this week. It's a totally different stride than even in my racing flats. I feel like I plantar flex, searching for the ground like you do barefoot, and I can feel the cushioning under the middle of my foot as I land. Not even my feelmax uber-light shoes create this sensation. Unlike the feelmax shoes, I don't feel like I'm running in quicksand. I feel like I get more energy return and it's easier to run faster. (Or maybe this is just weak feet and sub-conscious cautiousness in the feelmax shoes.)

They also are apparently my PF cure. I stopped wearing them last week when I needed more toe box room (because of the bloody toe) and my PF was the worst it's been in this current round on Monday (after the Sunday race). I've been wearing these all week*. My PF was completely absent on Thursday's run and I only felt it very slightly today.

The big difference with these shoes and the 5.0s is the heel. My heel is barely higher than my mid-foot. I can feel the mid-foot cushioning compress when I land, which is totally different than what I'm used to. I'll be interested to see if the wear pattern reflects this. They also, of course, have the flexible Free sole. I believe being able to bend your toes when picking up your heel reduces the tension on you fascia. (By the way, you can actually feel your toes on the ground. The toe spring in most shoes prevents this.)

OK, that was a very poor bit of writing, but it will have to do as my love poem to the Nike Free 3.0. I just ordered another pair. Nike, please don't discontinue these shoes!

(* My toe is better and I (duh) figured out that if I completely loosen the laces at the bottom that the toe run isn't that bad and I don't have a problem.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

week of 4 April

Mo AM - 8.37 1:13:52 8:49
Mo PM - 2.06 0:20:58 10:11
Tu - 7.85 1:02:18 7:56
We - 7.84 1:10:54 9:03
Th AM - 7.84 1:08:54 8:47
Th PM - 2.03 0:19:42 9:41
Fr - 7.34 1:08:57 9:24
Sa - 4.71 0:41:48 8:53
Su - Cherry Blossom 10 miler in 1:05:55; 0.19 @ 9:59 cdn (it all counts!)

Week - 58.43 8:15:11 8:29

Bloody toe on Monday was feeling better after wearing widest shoes (precisions) and completely loosening the laces. I also wore very casual shoes to work.

CB was great. My first race was GW parkway 10 miler in April 2005 and I've run CB every April since. My times have been 1:24:49, 1:19:49, 1:09:49, 1:08:49, 1:06:43, and 1:05:55.

I'm hoping to break 40 for 10k on April 25th. It won't be easy though.'s calculator gives me 39:57 based on a number of calculators. Given it's a downhill course (that I'll have to asterisk) and that I went out too fast at CB (my 5k split was 20:12.), I think I have a good shot.

Predictions based on: Average prediction
(excluding Purdy)
Distance Age
Time Min

10 km 40:18 39:47 39:49 39:55 39:42 39:57 06:26

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cherry Blossom 10 miler: Damn you, Fenty!

I ran good ol' CB this morning. My friend and I tried to get there a little later (so we don't stand around forever) and I *barely* made it. I got in the first corral just as they were marching forward with the plastic mesh separating the corrals. I was literally the last guy in. We stood there about 5 minutes and I thought this would be fun to try and get out at 6:40 (my goal pace) with not a step of warming up.

Turns out it was fine. I had to weave a bit, but nailed the first mile at 6:40 and it went by fast. Then I felt a little too good :-) Next was 6:28 and then 6:21. Yikes! HR was at 185 which is about what I expected. I could feel my threshold but felt like I was at it or just under, so I went with it, but backed off a hair. Next two were 6:34, and 6:32. I started to feel it at 5 and felt like things were going about right as I was really wanting to reach the 6 mile marker (my usual MO in a 10 miler). 6 mile split was 6:37.

Now on the old course you turned around for a gentle downhill on Rock Creek Parkway. On this one you had out to the no man's land where many a Marine Corps Marathon has gone to die. Mile 7 is 6:36 and I feel like a PR is assured. My legs are getting a bit rubbery, but after I round the end of Hains Point, what do I see?

ADRIAN FENTY! He ran 62:xx last year and I thought I had no shot, but he's right there in the next group ahead! He's not far off now! Can I PR and beat the Mayor in the same race? Well, I wussed out I'm afraid. I tried to reel him in slowly but it was going the other way and I never got closer. Still, I thought I might beat him on the chip if I could stay reasonably close since "his honor" starts right up front.

Mile 8 was 6:24, but it was short and I wasn't surprised to see 7:00 for mile 9 (6:42 pace for both). I never saw the Mayor again after he turned off Hains Point, but the time at mile 9 gave me some motivation. I realized I had a good shot at 1:05 if I just could run another at ~6:40 (which wouldn't be easy). The last mile is also the toughest with the only real uphill of the course (not much, but enough to notice on this pancake course). I saw the 800m to go mark on the ground and had already used 3:29 (7:00 pace). I can't be slowing this much? I wasn't. Last mile was 6:39 and I just made it -- 1:05:55.

Here's the killer. They just posted the results and Mr. Mayor's chip time was 1:05:53 and he finished one place ahead of me. Just two seconds!!!! Argghhhh!

Nevertheless, I'm super happy. I set a 48 second PR on essentially base training. I haven't done any intervals. I did a short tempo months ago and some really mild repeats. Other than that, the 8k is the only fast running I've done. My "workouts" are just some moderate (155-160) running every 3 or 4 days. I've done good volume and lots of runs, which has gotten my weight back down, but I've checked my records and my weight is the same as last year (164).

Full splitsahol below:

Time Split time Distance Split pace Avg. HR
0:06:40 6:40 1.01 6:37 186 (93%) -- HRM not working
0:13:09 6:28 2.03 6:19 185 (93%) -- HRM not working
0:19:30 6:21 3.06 6:13 184 (92%)
0:26:05 6:34 4.14 6:03 184 (92%)
0:32:38 6:32 5.16 6:26 185 (92%)
0:39:15 6:37 6.17 6:33 185 (92%)
0:45:51 6:36 7.17 6:37 184 (92%)
0:52:15 6:24 8.13 6:38 185 (92%)
0:59:15 7:00 9.18 6:44 184 (92%)
1:05:55 6:39 10.20 6:29 186 (93%)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Magill Drills

When you see me say "drills" in my log, this is what I'm doing. Usually ~4.5 miles jog warmup, 4 strides, the drills in the video (with jog/stride/walk between like in the video) followed by 2-4 strides depending on how I feel and a jog of about 1.5 miles home.

I'm absolutely amazed at how much I speed up from the warmup strides after doing the first drill (usually "schoolyard skipping). Before the race Sunday I plan to warmup with 10-15 minutes jogging and a few strides and skipping.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

PF or bloody toe

Well, I ran today. I wore the widest shoes I own (Mizuno wave precisions) and loosened the laces as much as possible. On my toe I had a band-aid slathered in as much body glide as the law will allow. It actually went OK. I could obviously feel it with each step, but it wasn't too bad. The bad part is that I could feel the stiff shoes affecting my PF. It's not bad, but it's slowing my healing. Oh, well. I can't run in the other shoes right now (well, without some serious pain).

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bloody toe

Toe hurt throughout the run as it has for over a week. This time I took off my shoe to find a bloody sock. Taking the bandaid off I saw that a pretty thick layer of skin about the size of a dime was flapping in the breeze with raw skin underneath. Ouch. I've had this before (although not this bad). It eventually goes away, but I'm not sure how exactly. I think my shoes are too narrow. Even the Mizunos with the wide toe box are a problem. Maybe I need a wide?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Stumbling upon Hadd?

While running the other day, I remember the massive Hadd thread on and for some reason it struck me that my newfound moderate-every-third-day strategy might be similar to what Hadd described. Well it sure seems to be. Here's the schedule Hadd gave "Joe" for building his mileage

Joe was given schedules to show him how to best get from 50 mpw to 80 mpw.

Mon 60 mins easy 145 HR
Tue 75 mins easy 160HR
Wed Easy 45 mins 145 HR
Thu Easy 60 mins 150 HR
Fri 75 mins easy 160 HR
Sat Easy 45 mins 150 HR
Sun 90 mins easy 155 HR
Approx 60mpw

Mon 75 mins easy 145 HR
Tue 60 mins easy 155-160 HR
Wed 60 mins easy up to 150 HR
Thu 75 mins easy 145-150 HR
Fri 75 mins easy 160 HR
Sat 60 mins easy 145-150 HR
Sun 90 mins easy up to 150 HR
Approx 69mpw

Mon 60 mins jog easy 140-150 HR (or lower)
Tue 90 mins including 70 mins @ 160 HR
Wed 75 mins easy 140-150 HR (or lower)
Thu 75 mins 150-155 HR
Fri 90 mins including 70 mins @ 160 HR
Sat 75 mins easy 140-150 HR (or lower)
Sun 2 hrs easy 145-155 HR (but to include 60 mins @ 160)
Approx 80+mpw

That's pretty close to what I'm doing: jog, easy, moderate. I've even started doing (see last Saturday) warmup and cooldown on the longest run like his 2 hr easy day. Also the 80+ mpw adds up to 9.75 hours and mine has been right at 10 the last two weeks (guess Joe's faster than me!). One big difference is that I'm doing doubles and I'm a weany compared to Hadd's HRs. Here's last week in terms of time/avg heart rate

Mo - 74'/135; 20'/???
Tu - 70'/137; 19'/???
We - 64'/151; 20'/???
Th - 69'/143; 20'/???
Fr - 70'/136
Sa - 98'/153; 19'/???
Su - 63'/143

The AHR are probably often off though because the first 20' is gooned up before I break a sweat. Usually it's 10-20 bpm high, but sometimes it's way low. Still it's pretty indicative and good for relative comparisons. By the way, runsaturday has a nice calendar view that lets you toggle between time/distance, time/heart rate, etc.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

week of 29 March

Mon - AM: 7.87 @ 9:25; PM: 2.11 @ 9:21
Tue - AM: 7.84 @ 8:59; PM: 2.09 @ 9:17
Wed - AM: 7.84 @ 8:12; PM: 2.06 @ 9:38
Thu - AM: 7.86 @ 8:45; PM: 2.06 @ 9:53
Fri - AM: 7.36 @ 9:33 -- drills
Sat - AM: 12.25 @ 8:01; PM 2.06 @ 9:15;
Sun - 7.27 @ 8:45

Total: 68.7 @ 8:51; 10:08:18

According to Garmin that's 8,070 calories. I think I ate that in chocolate bunnies and peeps.

Nike Free 3.0v2's arrived on Friday and I couldn't resist a second test run on Sat to try them out. They feel good. Nike runs narrow, but I wear a half size bigger and it seems OK. They don't have quite as wide a "wheel base" in the heal as the 5.0s and feel a little unstable although they are much lighter and don't have that giant heel. I also did my 7+ on Sunday in them but imagined myself hurting myself a week before Cherry Blossom.

Everything things sorta holding together and I expect to get to the starting line OK. I'll probably double less this week or shorten my morning runs. I do plan to do drills on Saturday because it really seems to prime me for the next days run, but I might not do the full repertoire. Or maybe I should do them Friday? Eh, doesn't really matter. I'm kind of hedging on mileage this week. I probably won't take it super easy as Pike's Peak 10k on the 25th might be a good chance to break 40 if CB goes well. It's a cheater course though. You take one left and run downhill for a few metro stops and then take the train back. I've heard there are some ups and downs, but it drops 190 feet. Weather looking good for CB. High is only 63. Low is 49 and race is at 7:40am.

I've started using for my runs. I really use SportTracks and then it has a plugin for (very) easily uploading your runs. The site is kind of hard to navigate, but the guy seems to be a hardcore geek and there are lots of features. He publishes all the data in a million ways and you can mashup data in a million ways apparently, but it's all kind of a hodgepodge. I'm "greg" at runsaturday.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Hobby jogger training

I'm a hobby jogger. Nothing wrong with that except that I own lots of books and have spent way too much time thinking about how to run faster when the answer is simple to comprehend, but difficult to achieve: lose weight.

At 5'9.5'' and 163 lbs, I'm not that heavy by 2010 standards, but I could be much lighter and still healthy. As a freshman in college, I weighed 138 lbs at this height and when I took a fitness class that included a skinfold test, my body fat was 11%. I met Alan Webb once and we're just about the same height (I'm maybe 0.5'' taller) and I have a smaller frame, but he weighs 20 lbs less than me and could bench my weight 40 times while I can't do more than one pullup.

Pace is roughly linear with weight for small weight changes, so if you drop 1 or 2%, you can expect to run 1 or 2% faster. If you drop 10%, it might only be 7%, but you get the idea: there is very little you can do to improve your race times that's more effective than losing unneeded weight. Notice I said "unneeded weight." I'm talking about the ridiculousness of a middle-aged guy with a gut wondering why his lung-searing 10x800m interval sessions aren't propelling him to distance running greatness.

Of course you have to run also. When I weighed 138, I think I ran 1.5 miles during our Cooper test (12 minutes) at the beginning of that fitness class. Now, I would probably cover 2 miles in that test (according to McMillan my 32:07 8k is conveniently worth 12:00.2 for 2 miles). Of course, I ran that 1.5 miles while being utterly sedentary. When I started running at 33 years old and 187 pounds, I might have covered 1.2 miles in 12 minutes on a good day.

OK, so unless your already close to your ideal weight, the answer is to run as much as your schedule and body can tolerate and to lose weight. The first helps with the second, by the way. I had a coach last year and I really started to slow down after April when my mileage came down as we shifted focus to higher-quality, lower-quantity 10k training. Not coincidentally, my weight went up as well. I don't think it's easy for good runners to comprehend the tubby tendencies of the hobby jogger. We like to eat! I have a friend who's a very good runner who at over 6' weighs 150 lbs when at peak training and "ballooned" to 155 when a knee injury sidelined him completely for months. I think a lot of "talent" has to do with being skinny. Sure, the "talented" probably eat better on average, but they don't necessarily struggle with it. (I also know a former D1 runner who no longer runs and eats like you wouldn't believe, but is as thin as a rail.)

So, how to train? I could of course save a hell of a lot of time by just shoving less food in my mouth, but as millions of people already know, that's damn hard! Running 10 times a week seems easy by comparison. ( I'm hoping one day I can get both to happen at the same time.)

I think burning as many calories as you can is a good place to start. This means running lots of miles and not getting injured. How?
  • Doubling when you can is a good way to burn extra calories without much injury risk. (Cross-training would probably work, but I can't seem to fit that in my schedule while lacing up shoes and going out the door is pretty easy. ) As an added bonus, I don't snack between arriving at home and eating dinner if I'm running and showering.
  • Limiting off days. The effect of your heroic workout or long run will be negated if you add ounces the next day by eating and not running. Don't waste a perfectly good day.
  • Up the average intensity if you've hit the limit of your time budget, but try to do it in a way that doesn't reduce the calories you're burning by "wasting" days recovering. Right now, for me, this means moderate running (HR in the 150s) every third day or so.