Tuesday, March 31, 2009

5 miles on the treadmill

I jumped on the treadmill for a quick 5 mile run today determined to maintain an 8 min/mi pace. I think that because I have been running these long distances recently I have not been expecting fast paces and got used to running slower. Eight minute miles is not too fast for me, but I have gotten unaccustomed to the pace. I accomplished my goal and even increased the pace for the final mile to complete the 5 miles in 39:48. I have got to remember to hold on to my pace in my long weekend runs in order to be ready for the marathon. You get used to the exertion, but your brain tells you to slow up even though you can keep going.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The almost 20-miler...

Well I got to run this weekend because my intramural basketball team laid an egg on Friday. At 3:30 PM on Saturday I cleared my schedule for 3 hours and set out to run. It was a misty/drizzly afternoon and I had a bit of fear about wearing my electronic equipment. I left my iPod and wore my Garmin, but I brought a sandwich baggie just in case the mist turned in to a real rain.

About 5 miles in my Garmin starts beeping to tell me that the battery charge is low. I saw the indicator earlier that day and noticed that it was at 33% battery. I guess that I misjudged that a charge level like that would carry me through the entire run because it stopped for me at 13.62 miles. I intended to run 20 miles, but I invented the route as I went along even running 1 mile down a dead end road. I finished with an 18.77 mile run as mapped by the Gmaps Pedometer.

I am bothered by my 9:38 min/mi pace because it seemed pretty close to my mental limit, but I did complete my hardest mileage week ever (56.78 miles). I really want a sub-4 hour marathon. If I am going to get it I am going to have to toughen up.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Championship weekend begins - the affect on training

I have officially retired my Nike+ Vomero 3 running shoes and replaced them with a pair of Saucony Triumph 6 kicks. I also finally registered for the Maryland Double, which means that I am now committed to completing both the Frederick and Baltimore Marathons. Yay!

This week I put in my normal midweek trio of treadmill workouts. My mileage was 5-10-5 from Tuesday to Thursday and I was facing a 20-miler this weekend, but doubt/hope I can't do it. You see, my intramural basketball team is in the third round of the playoffs this weekend and our championship is Sunday at the Comcast Center at the University of Maryland.

Tonight we take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Elite Eight for our hopeful berth to battle the winner of Virgina/NC State on Saturday in the Final Four. Last game I was player of the game for the first - without scoring a field goal! I had to play a 6'8" guy from Emory University that outweighed me by probably 100 lbs. I got fouled every time I held the ball down low and I wanted the ball. After going 5 of 6 from the foul line I got a generous goal tend from my large friend and finished the game with 7 points. Not the highest scorer, but the most tenacious effort. I've got to play like that tonight and all weekend for us to gain the championship.

Let's go Maryland!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My first 18-miler

Today's run technically belongs to week 11 of my training program. I normally rest on Sundays, but I am in the playoffs with my intramural basketball team and we had a game on Saturday. We had a good game and beat the alumni team from Emory I had 7 points, but had to go 5 of 6 from the free throw line because my 6 foot 7, 300 lbs opponent kept fouling me. This run would've been mile 39 of that week - my highest weekly total ever.

Well I needed to get the run in, but convinced myself to do the run in the morning. So, I woke up at about 4:30 AM, ate a bowl of Grape Nuts and was out the door at 5:15 AM. The only problem was that it was still really dark out and I had no idea when the sun was supposed to rise. I solved this dilemma by running along the major roads in my area for about 12 miles hoping that the sun would peek above the horizon enough to light the way on my rural running road. The plan worked and I entered the far end of Beaver Dam Road 6:55 AM with enough sunlight to not run into a deer unexpectedly.

I ate a Clif Bar today for energy on the road. I gave me energy, but it is a brick. I mean I nearly broke a tooth trying snap off a piece. My legs felt pretty dead from mile 13 on, I could not put in the strides I planned on at that point. So the stats for my run were:

  • Total Distance: 18.01 mi
  • Total Time: 2:51:33
  • Avg Pace: 9:31 min/mi
  • Detail: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/2689229
I also got my Nike+ 500 mile club milestone. I complain often about my Nike+ and do prefer the data I get from my Garmin, but I like the milestones in Nike. They really make you feel like you accomplished something.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Running to Hoegaarden

Probably the only time I voluntarily did 5 miles on the treadmill. I got home about 5 minutes into the first half of the UMD vs Cal game, changed clothes and jumped on the treadmill because I needed to get in my five miles. I also had just gotten some Hoegaarden, which is an awesome beer that I had first tasted on my recent trip to Australia, and I could wait to plop down on the couch a watch some of the second half with a frosty mug. I was supposed to do a fairly slow recovery run of about 9:00 min/miles, but I just couldn't bear running for 45 minutes and only catching a little of the second half in comfort. So, I stepped it up a little and ran at 7 mph (an 8:34 min/mi pace).

So the good news is that Maryland won and my beautiful wife was a TV star for 5 seconds today hanging out in the mid-point break with Whoopi Goldberg on the View. I also had my brew, which was not the same as the draft I had down under, but immensly better when you pour it out in a can and into a glass.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My First Interval Training

Training phase: Week 11, Day 2

Today I did 10 x 800 meter intervals at 10K pace with a warm-up, cool-down and 400 meter rest laps. Total distance was 10.01 miles, average pace was 08:47 min/miles which is pretty amazing given that I walked and cruised for five the ten miles.

Pace/distance graph showing my intervals and rest breaks.

  • Split 01: 7:01 min/mi
  • Split 02: 7:01 min/mi
  • Split 03: 7:14 min/mi
  • Split 04: 7:22 min/mi
  • Split 05: 7:35 min/mi
  • Split 06: 7:35 min/mi
  • Split 07: 7:23 min/mi
  • Split 08: 7:24 min/mi
  • Split 09: 7:32 min/mi
  • Split 10: 7:33 min/mi
  • Average: 7:22 min/mi
McMillan's running calculator, which I used to create my marathon goals, gave me my expected 800s speed workout time range as being 3:24.7 to 3:34.2, so I was a little off. However, I ran how I felt so I don't care about the 7 seconds I acheived my goal 10 miles. I consider this race as a base-building phase and the training I do for October's Baltimore Marathon as the one where I build upon my speed.

Monday, March 16, 2009

5 fast miles on a treadmill

I did a hardcore five mile treadmill run tonight at the gym. Started the run at 09:20 PM with a first mile at 7.5 mph, second at 7.6 mph, 7.7, then 7.8 mph. The last mile I bumped it up to 8.0 mph for the next 800 meters, the next 400 meters at 9.0 mph and the last lap at 9.5 mph. The average pace for my run was 7:41 min/miles. Followed the run up with a single weight training circuit of chest press, rows, shoulder press, pulldowns, squat, weighted lunges, ab machines, and planks. I was supposed to do another but the gym was closing so I headed back home to my sleeping family.

I read an awesome story about the current SunTrust National Marathon champ Michael Wardian. Michael has defended his title three consecutive times and is the USTFA's 2008 "Ultra Runner of the Year." His record wins at the National Marathon and 50K and 100K races didn't impress me as much as the fact that the guys is a lot like me. He is married with a kid and works a full-time job. He does what he needs to do to train like running a marathon on a treadmill (he formerly held the world record) and running like a mad man with a baby stroller. If you get a chance check out the article from Runner's World it was cool.

Feeling good and can't wait for Frederick Running Festival. There are 6 weeks and 6 days left until the race.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Frederick RF 2009 Marathon Training - Week 10, Long Run

Training phase: Week 10, Long Run

Set out Saturday morning to complete my step back week 12 mile run at the goal pace of 08:49 to 09:49 min/mi. This pace is determined from the McMillan Running Calculator based on my best 10K race result. I am striving for a sub-03:40:00 marathon.

I run with both my Garmin and my Nike+iPod because I am driven to get at least 500 miles with Nike+ before throwing it in a ditch and getting the overly expensive Garmin foot pod to satisfy my treadmill data collection needs.

My Nike+iPod deserves better treatment because it has seen me through the beginning of my running life. I wore it on my PR for my 10K and my first pseudo race was the Nike+ Human Race 10K. However it has never been particularly accurate, costing me recorded miles and making me run longer and harder to achieve my goals. Today it froze my iPod just when I thought that I was going to finally achieve my 500 mi. milestone. Gotta be fair though, I have never calibrated the thing. I think it is the same problem I have with doing my speed work I like to run right after leaving my door. I don't drive to the track or other trails. I must write on this later.

Speaking of throwing things in a ditch... I actually would never do that. I carry water and fruit snacks with me on my long runs and the occasional half a banana. I have only thrown out the banana skin on my routes. I was actually wondering about whether running in the gutter/ditch/breakdown-lane affects your pace when I passed a litter clean up crew. Now, I run on a very scenic, public road that is very lightly traveled most of the time. It is actually the very road where most of the GW Birthday Marathon occurs. This road gets a lot of beer cans, cigarette butts, and fast food dumps from the occasional knucklehead and I guess some of the unlucky knuckleheads of PG County got forced to do their civic duty that day.

I thought as I passed them the following: first what would they think of me (someone who looks a lot like them sans the sagging jeans and urban swagger) busting my tail on mile 10 of a 12 mile run when they have to walk a pick up trash as a punishment and two I saw way too many gel packs, water bottles, and other runner debris on the trail that they'll have to pick-up. I want all runners to be above that tendency and let it be clear that if a litter crew is forced to do a clean-up detail that they are picking-up after people who need to stop the bad behavior of smoking and drinking and driving - not running to improve their health and increase human performance.

Enough preaching, here are the stats.


  • Split 1 - 07:59, 1.00 mile
  • Split 2 - 08:11, 1.00 mile
  • Split 3 - 07:53, 1.00 mile
  • Split 4 - 08:28, 1.00 mile
  • Split 5 - 08:18, 1.00 mile
  • Split 6 - 07:49, 1.00 mile
  • Split 7 - 10:32, 1.00 mile
  • Split 8 - 07:56, 1.00 mile
  • Split 9 - 08:13, 1.00 mile
  • Split 10 - 08:43, 1.00 mile
  • Split 11 - 08:54, 1.00 mile
  • Split 12 - 08:10, 1.00 mile
  • Split 13 - 41:41, 0.01 mile
  • Total Time - 01:41:44
  • Total Distance - 12.01
  • Elevation Gain - 2,091
  • Elevation Loss - 1,974
  • Average Speed - 08:28
  • Max Speed - 03:42

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Frederick RF 2009 Marathon Training - Week 10, Day 3

Training phase: Week 10, Day 3

Did a scheduled 5 mile run as part of my Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon Training Plan. Brand new route for me. I followed Higgy's (my pet name for Hal Higdon) advice and sought out a new course to run. I chose a road run near my house that has long, slowly building hills. I found it challenging and have wondered has my fitness made some kind of milestone improvement because the 8"00 min/mi tempo paces I have set for myself are becoming easy.

  • Split 1 - 07:47, 1.00 mile
  • Split 2 - 07:44, 1.00 mile
  • Split 3 - 07:43, 1.00 mile
  • Split 4 - 07:55, 1.00 mile
  • Split 5 - 08:32, 1.00 mile
  • Split 6 - 08:15, 0.20 mile

Graph of my run's elevation, pace, and distance

I have got to register for this marathon! Next paycheck I swear!

Running and Blogging

I do not yet have a Facebook account. I am not sure why. My wife has one, my brother, my mom - why not me? I guess its because I am unsure why anyone would want to read about me and the things I am doing. But I am writing here, aren't I?

Well, this post is my first in close to one year. I had only created this Blogger account to publish some draft versions of a data visualization project I had in grad school. I have since graduated and hadn't thought of blogging until recently when I got bit by the running bug.

I started to keep a pretty detailed journal of my training after I started my training for the Maryland Double (the Frederick and Baltimore Running Festival marathons) this year. I have regularly read the forums on active.com since registering for the Baltimore Running Festival's Half-Marathon in 2008 to stay informed and energized about the race. So, since active.com provided members with blogging software I began to log my training with their training tool and journal my experiences with their blogging software. Inevitably, I wanted to do a better job, publish a better experience.

Active's blogging software left a few things to be desired. I cannot add persistent images and widgets like, JavaScript embedded content. So naturally I started to search for other people who keep a journal of their running lifestyle. The first one I stumbled upon was tim-purerunning here on Blogger. His blog gave me the inspiration to go deeper into this blogging thing since I now have a running hobby.

Since for once in my life I have a hobby that I am striving to perfect I have something to talk about (share) with others. Unlike football and basketball, I actually have been setting goals, practicing, reading books and seeking knowledge about how to improve in running. I have spent a fair amount of time perfecting my career skills, but it hasn't been something I spent a lot of time socializing. So, that is why I blog. I am blogging about my running for now, but I am actually going to have to figure out how to incorporate my other passionate interests. I hope that some of you have read this far and might be interested enough to follow me - it would be a great encouragement if I found that someone else found my writing useful or wished to provide helpful pointers.