Feb 27, 2010

Need For Speed

Seems like that would be an overused running blog title. I'm going to use it anyway. Why the need for speed? Because I always say that if you want to run fast you have to run fast. Seems to make sense. Of course everything isn't for everybody but I find that this is for me. Not interval speedwork per se although I'm sure that helps me too. No, I'm talking about running long at a pace faster than normal. For me, those are MP (marathon pace, although I've never really run a full marathon at this pace) runs.

I usually run these around 7:10-7:15 per mile. All my best marathons have been after a month or two of getting in two of these runs in a week. So I'm now embarking on that portion of my marathon build up (have I mentioned Green Bay in May is my "A" race? At least for this Spring it is). Building up for Myrtle Beach last year I only got to 50 miles per week 1 time. I qualified for Boston at Myrtle Beach. So now I'll cut back on the mileage and pick up on the intensity.

I did one of these runs this week, on Thursday. Of course that was after I totally bagged on another run but was able to get a weight session and some swimming done on Wednesday. Anyway, it was 12 miles with 10 at 7:13 pace. My HR compared favorably to my Myrtle Beach build up and I'm still 2+ months out. Right now, things are good although my legs are feeling a little sore. Maybe I'll rest up a little this week (ie low mileage) before the marathon and next week after the marathon and then hit these hard.

February ended up with 203 miles on 13 runs for a whopping 15.6 miles per run. That's my highest average ever, ever, ever. Of course I would have liked to have had more miles and more runs but it seems those numbers are never enough for me. I'm feeling that same way for this week as I only ran 3 times and got in 44 miles. After Monday's workout though I decided to take an extra day of rest.

Happy running to everybody!

All in: Thursday 12 at 7:28
Saturday 14.04 at 8:20.

Feb 22, 2010

Ugh, what was that?

I was inspired by Jill to run a treadmill PB of my own but sorry to say, I failed woefully. I set out to do a little over 20 but never made it there. I was feeling okay, a little tired but my HR was way higher than it should have been over the course of the entire run. Took a gel and potty break at about 11.5 miles when the treadmill automatically resets at 99 minutes. Took another little water break 5 miles later. I was definitely getting tired but thought I could gut it out. Then at a little over 17.5 everything went downhill. Energy was gone, HR jumped, effort went way up. I pushed to get to 18 but was almost out of it at that point.

So what was up with that? Could be that I wasn't fueled up very well. Thinking back I didn't eat so much yesterday. My weight was down to 150 this morning which is about 2 pounds lower than it has been in the morning recently. Could be that I'm still not recovered from the marathon last week and 64 miles for the whole week. It was the first time I ever used a vanilla gingerbread Gu but I can't imagine that was the problem. Could be just one of those days. I'm still counting it as a long run though. We'll see what the rest of the week brings.

"Make the most of yourself, because that's all the you there is." Ralph Waldo Emerson I believe.

All in: 18 at 8:42

Feb 20, 2010


Usually race pictures don't turn out so well. This one seems acceptable.

It's hard to have a bad week of running when you start it off with a 3:40 marathon, So I guess mine has gone pretty well. The weather has been much nicer but that hasn't made running outside any easier. I went outside Tuesday and today but the snow/ice/slush/water almost made it unenjoyable. Maybe I just need to use the smaller back roads and run down the middle of them. At least it makes me run slower for my recovery. Well, maybe I'm just running slower because it is my recovery. I definitely have had dead legs all week. Still I've been able to get in some decent mileage, 64 miles overall with 10 on Tuesday, 13.82 on Thursday and then 14.06 today. Thursday seemed to be particularly hard. Seemed like I just wanted to be done and around miles 9-10 I almost stopped. Somewhere after that though it just became running and the effort seemed to mostly go away. Although tired, my body was moving on it's own so I was able to get about 14 in.

My other workouts, weights on Wed and Fri, were a little lighter too. Hopefully it will come back better this week. I did manage to swim a bit last week on Wednesday, 500 meters. Okay so that is pretty short and only took about 12 minutes but since I haven't swum since last June that was okay. It did remind me that I don't like 1) jumping into a cold pool, 2) the chlorine smell all over me, 3) water in my ears and 4) the headache that I get from swimming. I think it has to do with my uneven breathing. It usually gets better as I do it more though. I'll probably start swimming once a week, I mean triathlon season is coming in the summer (whenever that is).

I enjoy reading all your blogs and seeing your progress. Thanks for the diversion.

All in: Tuesday 10 at 8:54
Thursday 13.82 at 8:47
Saturday 14.06 at 8:43

Feb 15, 2010

Mercedes Marathon - Birmingham, AL

Unfortunately all the snow in the South did a number on flights getting in and out of Atlanta so I had to make the trip by myself. Luckily my wonderful wife secured a ticket for me to get there on Saturday afternoon.

To get the abbreviated version, click the movie below, otherwise, keep reading:

First of all, by the numbers:

3:40:22, 8:25 per mile. I finished 19th of 92 in my age group, 159 of 850-900 overall and 129 of ??? for men only. Interestingly enough I was 31st in my age group at 10k, 28th at 15k, 27th at 25k, 21st at 30k and ultimately 19th. Seems some people out there slowed down more than I did.

It was cold to start, just below 30 degrees I think. Luckily there was no rain or snow though. Mostly cloudy for the whole thing but the sun did manage to peek out occasionally.

Yet again, I started out faster than I wanted too. It wasn't my fault, really! I mean it was soooo easy. The first time I looked at my watch it was in the 7:50's and I thought something must be wrong with my Garmin. I had to force myself to slow down and then slow down some more and then some more. The first few miles weren't hilly but they weren't flat either. First 5 miles 8:18 pace.

I thought I'd like the double loop course but I found myself just wanting to get the first half over with so we could get rid of the half marathoners and I could just get down to finishing the race. A half marathon is a long time to go "just wanting to get it over with." We hit the biggest hills on the course from miles 7-10. Crowds were good, especially at the relay exchange zones where they crowded the streets and only 2-3 runners could pass at a time. It was kind of fun actually. Second 5 miles 8:21 pace.

The course flattened out quite a bit and they separated the half people from the full people just after 10 miles although they were just on the other side of the street. Since they separated us it seemed like the halfway point should just be around the corner but it was still 3 miles away! Seemed like forever. Finally, they finished and we kept going; no official halfway timing mat but I think I came in around 1:49:07, 8:19 pace. Too fast because this was just a training run after all and I want to be able to keep training this week. Third five miles 8:23 pace.

I felt pretty strong the whole race, runners came and went but I seemed to be passing more than passed me. The second loop wasn't nearly as supported by fans. I guess they were all there for the half marathoners. Does anybody else out there hate taking gels as much as I do? I don't mind the flavor but I just don't like having to take them. I don't like drinking either. Just something I gotta do. Fourth 5 miles 8:31 pace.

Finally we were over the hills and things started flattening out again. Some lady took a horrible fall up ahead of me. I don't know if it was because she tripped on a pothole or another reason but she went down hard. Luckily there were spectators and officers immediately on hand to take care of her. Around mile 23 I felt the exhaustion set in. I always repeat my mantra "Just keep running, just keep running." I also tell myself that the miles are long but the marathons are short and it will be over with before I know it. And it always is. Fifth 5 miles at 8:40 pace.

Down the homestretch I passed the man with the Ironman hat that I thought was long gone when he passed me in mile 11-12. Somebody passed me and I said "good start" and he said "thank you, thank you" but I wonder if he knew what I meant. Entering the final chute I like to raise my hands to the crowd because they always respond with a big cheer and I know it is for me. It worked again for this marathon, twice. They announced my name and home town as I crossed the line. Last 1.2 miles 7:47 pace. Second half about 1:51:15, pretty even pacing.

Officially I had 26.07 on the Garmin. But the course is certified and that is 99.5% accuracy so I guess it is acceptable. All the mile markers seemed about a quarter mile off though. Whatever. One thing I would have liked to see would have been the water on one side of the street and the powerade on the other. It was kind of hard to get exactly what you wanted. Also they could have draped the medal over your head at the end instead of just handing it to you. Just the little things I guess.

I seems if you run a marathon on Valentine's Day, as I have the last two years, you get a bright red technical shirt for your trouble. Also got a hat. The medal is okay but I would have liked to see the little triangle areas be hollow so it would look more like a Mercedes hood ornament.

After an ice bath and shower I was back at the airport by noon. It was kind of a planes, trains and automobiles adventure getting home. I caught the first flight out of Birmingham, sat in Atlanta missing some full fights before changing concourses, flying to Chicago and getting into Minneapolis at about 9:30. Wait for the train to the other terminal, walk through two parking garages and finally get home at 10:30 PM. Yes, at that time I shovelled the driveway.

All in: 26.2 miles at 8:25.

Feb 11, 2010

More Tapering

This week has turned into more of a taper than I thought or wanted it to be. I bagged my weight session on Tuesday but my 15 miles on Wednesday was still a little sluggish. It was kind of odd because my legs were sluggish but the pace seemed real easy so it kind of turned into a modest progression run. I kept getting fast from 8:34 to 8:06 by the end. I was planning on doing another 15 miles today; and I'd really like to do it, but I'm feeling a little bit of pain in my Achilles tendons. This is an area that has plagued me before so I'm being very cautious with it. I'd say right now the pain is 1.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, so no big deal. But I don't want it to become a big deal so I'm not running today or the next two days before the marathon.

For the marathon I'll do it just like the MS blues marathon, go out at 8:30 or so per mile and just see how it goes. I'll walk when I take water to get a good drink. I'm definitely hoping to cut the potty breaks though. I mean really, two is one too many and two more than I'd like to do. I'm thinking 3:45-3:50 range but would only get upset if it is over 4:00. Also, I really don't want to be doing the marathon shuffle at the end.

So, today is my weight workout that I blew off on Tuesday. I'll give myself a sad face for only getting in 35 miles this week. That's disappointing especially when mentally and physically I really want to run. :(

See you next week with a race report.

All in: 15 at 8:18

Feb 5, 2010

Marathon Week

We are getting socked in by a bunch of snow once again but I'm not going to let it get me down. No, even though I'll be heading out to shovel the driveway for the third time in about 18 hours I'm excited that it's marathon week. What is there to be excited about? Well, that I get to taper this week. For this marathon, tapering means only 3 runs and about 50 miles this week and I'll probably skip my Friday weight session. Also, I'm excited that my family will accompany me to Birmingham this weekend to cheer me on. Hmm, what activities will Birmingham have to offer? I'm also excited that my long run for next week will be filled with gels, water stops and fans instead of the treadmill, staring at a bank of TV's and trying to find something to listen to.

All of those things I had to do today on my 20 mile run. I did my 15 miler last Saturday on the treadmill too but since my son had a basketball tournament I had to start at shortly after 5 AM. Also, since I haven't used the arm warmers that I got for Christmas I had to use them in case I need them in Birmingham. So, in summary I was on a treadmill at 5 AM with arm warmers for 15 miles. Bleah!

Okay, just when I thought it was safe to stretch I read this article. Now what do I think?

Finally I have a friend who I have done 3 marathons with who, after a couple year layoff, is getting back into our sport. Hopefully we'll be able to do a Fall marathon together. Please give him some love here.

All in: Saturday 15 at 8:21
Monday (today) 20 at 8:27

Feb 4, 2010

Marathon Line Up

These are the marathons that I have currently decided upon:

Mercedes Marathon, Birmingham, AL; February 14th
Little Rock Marathon, Little Rock, AR; March 7th
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, Oklahoma City, OK; April 25
Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, Green Bay, WI; May 15

Then in the summer I'll head west a little and maybe do something in Wyoming, Montana or Idaho. I'd really like to do one of the marathons in Alaska over the summer too. In the fall the only things I have on the radar screens are St. George Marathon on October 2nd and Las Vegas Marathon on December 6th (7th?).

Been a good week so far, I had a really nice run yesterday. Usually I'd do my 10 miles with 6x1 mile intervals but I decided to do a MP run instead. This is a good test as to my fitness compared to my other marathon. I started out at 7:13 and couldn't believe how smooth and easy the pace felt. I kicked it down to 7:08 and still felt good. I ended up with 8 miles at 7:10. Based on my HR I could have easily done a few more miles at that pace but I have a couple of 15 milers still this week and didn't want to mess with those. So, as far as MP runs go, I seem to be way ahead of schedule. I'll start those for real in March.

Today was an easy 15 miles. Nice and easy, nothing special.

All in: Wednesday 10 at 7:28
Thursday 15 at 8:34

Feb 2, 2010


January was kind of a good and bad month. I was surprised to see that I ran less than half the days, only 14. Clearly the cold I had through the holidays and getting sick after the marathon held me back. I promise I'll try to do better in February. On the good side was I did get in 194 miles and while that isn't a lot it is an average of almost 14 miles per run. I haven't had an average that high since June of 2005 but then I only ran 3 times that month and one of them was a marathon. (Okay, so I didn't really "run" that marathon. It was pretty slow and walking/jogging by the end.) Here's to a more consistent February!

Yesterday's 20 miler was way better than last week. Could be because I used a gel instead of sport beans. I also tried endurolytes for the first time. Jury is still out on those. I only tried them because I had a pack that was stuck in a goody bag from some event that I did. I really can't say if they helped. I'll probably try them again but likely only if I get them in a goody bag again. After I was done I felt good enough to take the dog out for rollerblading (cold but the road was (mostly) dry) and shovel the driveway. Anyway, another 20 miler on the treadmill and we're getting more snow this week so I'll probably be there for the rest of my runs too. At least today I'll just be doing some weightlifting and core/stretching work. Shorter than my run workouts.

All in: 20 miles at 8:34