Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If you are what you say you are, then have no fear the camera's here...

I spent a lot of time talking about how I won't run the 5K race next week at work if my legs are all beat up after my marathon on Sunday. I know I was bragging and probably was obnoxious, but I starting to feel my improvement and want to show it with good times. Does this get in the way of having fun?
If you are what you say you are, then have no fear the camera's here...
I planned on just running a good pace for four miles with a negative split tonight. A slow first mile followed by progressively faster miles until I finish, but alas it was not to be. I galloped out of my cul-de-sac and found myself stretching out down the hill. At this point I just straightened up and worked on my form and just held the tempo. The hills caused me to vary my splits between 7:42 and 7:19 for the first three miles. I decided that my last mile will be my fastest and by gosh I did it. My final mile was 7:17. I am geniunely stronger and when I start training for speed after this marathon I will really see what my potential will be.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pace groups - to fall back or sprint ahead

The Marathon Movie preview I just saw puts the DVD on my short list for Father's Day gifts.

I have been chatting with the members of the 3:50 Geico pace group on the Frederick Marathon forum. I think that I am going to start my race with them to ensure that I maintain the right pace up to mile 16 and test myself based on my strength at that point. The pacers have given me great food for thought that make me comfortable with the decision. Miles 16 - 22 of the Frederick marathon are really challenging according to the elevation chart, but I think that I've prepared myself well since I have often run elevation gains of 1000+ feet.

Tonight was beautiful weather in my town so I could not help but run outside and accidentally found myself trying to prove something about my 5K abilities. I ran 3.13 miles in 22:57 because my job is having a 5K the Wednesday after the marathon and I have not yet decided whether I want to run it. You see, alot of people at work know I am training for the marathon and I would not like it at all if I could not post a good 5K time. However, I am not sure my legs will permit me to impress if they've been zapped by the 26.2 I am going to race (not run) only 3 days earlier. Pride has got me twisted. If I don't run some people may not understand if I do run I may not look like a superstar (forget the fact that I may hurt myself - can you say stress fracture?). Seems like a simple problem, but I still don't know what to do.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What the treadmill has taught me

I started my running doing late nights on the treadmill after getting inspired by Runner's World Half-Marathon Challenge. I set myself goal paces for certain amounts of time and I went from DNF to slowly accomplishing each workout. The treadmill was integral to my training because I used it like free weights - the speed was my weight the time my set. I knew how much improvement I was making by setting the weight/speed higher and and doing more sets (read: running for a longer time).

Running outside (on my own) can do the same thing, it keeps you honest - but honesty is not always what you need. Sometimes you need that prop, that assist, that helps you trying harder than you normally would. Sometimes you need to run on the back of the treadmill or cheat on a rep.

However, you always need to translate this training to the field, out of the weight room. That will be shown a week from now on the hills of Frederick, MD.

Training note: Sunday, 8 miles, 66 minutes

Thursday, April 23, 2009

3 miles -- 25:43 -- 8:34 min/mi

Short post today. My legs feel fresh. 3 miles at an easy pace. I gotta go do some push-ups and an ab workout.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twighlight loop around the hood

I never knew that socks could make such a difference. I bought a pair of Balega Enduro socks for my upcoming marathon and gave them a trial run this evening. OMG the words fail me they felt so good. They even have a cool website.

Short summary of the run. I ran well, I am finding that I can fairly easily run 8 minute miles, even when I am not trying to go fast. I got chased by the largest German Sheppard ever, interrupted dinner for a family of deer, and got cheered on my neighborhood kids. Not bad.

  • 6.01 miles
  • 48:09
  • 8:00 min/mi
P.S. I had done my 100 push-up and 8-minute ab workouts on Monday and Tuesday, but I skipped it tonight. I'll get back to it tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Taper, taper, taper... I am trying to be disciplined and make today an easy run. I used the McMillan Running Calculator to determine what an easy run pace is and the result came back with 8:49 min/mi or 6.8 mph. So, I got on the treadmill and that is what I did. I could not resist spiking the run with a mile at 3.5% incline.

I have a couple of other thoughts that have been on my mind...

Yesterday's Boston Marathon appeared to be really good. I had to watch the finishes online because I was at work, but once again the women's final had plenty of drama and once again the finish race featured Dire Tune of Ethiopia. Unlike last year Ms. Tune failed to overcome the kick of Salina Kosegi and this time she fell over from exhaustion at the finish line. I saw her carried out on a stretcher and that was it. She is an amazing athlete she is the former Boston champion and there have been no front page reports on her health. In fact, I am no web research rookie and I can find no reports of her well-being on the Web.

This disappoints me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Negative splits are for rock stars

Saturday mornings. My Saturday mornings are the days I relish most because it is the one time in a week where I have an hour or two to myself to see what I am all about. I am in my taper so today's long run is only 12 miles. I am trying to find my marathon pace so I set out to go out at a pace a bit above my goal time and come back at running my goal pace with increasingly stronger paces. Fat chance.

I still don't know my goal time. I felt good the whole time, but when I looked at my Garmin around mile 5 I realized that I was going too fast and had little hope of returning at a faster rate. I gave the negative split attempt a go, but I could not seem to match my effort at the start - I was tired. I did, however, push myself to my second fastest mile for my last and am grateful for that. Now I know what it takes to be an elite. I will have to train to my highest ability and have the confidence in myself to push beyond when the effort is required.

Total Time
Total Distance
Elevation Gain
Elevation Loss
Average Speed
Max Speed
100:08:10 1.00 150 128 08:10 06:59
200:07:50 1.00 159 170 07:50 06:44
300:08:05 1.00 76 129 08:05 06:49
400:08:11 1.00 238 243 08:11 06:10
500:07:54 1.00 453 464 07:54 03:09
600:07:59 1.00 326 361 07:59 05:09
700:08:56 1.00 121 73 08:56 07:16
800:08:21 1.00 207 202 08:21 05:16
900:08:11 1.00 91 98 08:11 06:50
1000:08:30 1.00 159 71 08:30 07:36
1100:08:52 1.00 155 161 08:52 07:26
1200:07:52 1.00 84 120 07:52 05:56
1300:00:04 0.01

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Good weather arrives!

I could not wait to get outside. Prior to today I have had three consecutive runs on a treadmill. The temperature, breeze and hills felt good. I just felt the joy of running today nevermind that it was getting dark before I got home. I just ran and maintained a good pace of 7:43 min/miles over 4.21 miles.

I just saw the new Nike Zoom Vomero+ 4 today. They look so awesome and I love almost every mile I ran in my Vomero+ 3's. I cannot believe that I let the fact that my running shoe store didn't have them in my size make me switch to my Saucony Triumph 6 shoe, which isn't bad its just I don't yet love them like the Vomeros. Oh well, I will not let that rain on my parade.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Ab Workout Routine

I did a easy 8 miles today on the basement treadmill at an 8:55 min/mi pace. It was supposed to be a really easy run, but the squats and lunges from last night's weightlifting must've made it a little more interesting.

ForeverRun (a.k.a. Sara) from the Loop posted a blog about an obscure 1994 video called 8-minute Abs and this routine kicked my butt. I had been doing the Lolo Jones workout from February Runner's World magazine and this workout may have just replaced it as my favorite. This is because it is a complete Ab workout that does not require stopping to transition. If you can stand cheesy faux-90s Jazz/easy-listening you should check this workout out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Less than 20 days to go until race time

Good ole Hal Higdon. I've used his Novice 1 marathon training plan for 16 weeks now and have logged over 376 miles since January began. Today was the first day I could walk normally after my longest run ever of 20 miles this weekend and I wanted to thank my body by going fast. So, after dinner this evening I headed out to the gym to bang out a 5-miler with a goal of sub-eight minute miles for the whole run.

I did the first 5K (3.1 miles) of this workout at 8 MPH on the treadmill, then took it down to 6.7 MPH for the next mile finishing the run a 8 to 8.3 MPH. The total 5 miles took me 38 minutes 50 seconds, a 7:46 min/mi pace - not bad.

We had a chance to hang out with Helen and Brandon down in Florida and got to talking about Brandon's body building competitions. This got me and Nay inspired and though we aren't entering any upcoming shows we both have been frequenting the website and upping our workout activity. Tonight I lifted weights for about an hour and a half after running.

  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Shrug
  • Pushups
  • Pullups
  • 21's
  • Side Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Skull Crushers
  • Kickbacks
  • Bent Arm Rows
  • Side Lateral Raises
  • Squats
  • Walking Lunges
I started off with lighter weights because I have not lifted free weights in a while and have lost a lot of muscle in the last year or so. I want to get a more visibly strong physique so I'll be at this for a while and I am going to try to eat better. I actually bought some Whey protein since I don't tend to eat a lot of protein in my normal diet. Speaking of diet, I actually stayed on track with one today. I can get away with eating cookies because I am only 185 lbs (12% body fat), but I can get so much better if I just eat the right things.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Finally... 20 miles!

Oh I am so glad to be home! Vacations are good, but don't you always feel you need a vacation from your vacation? Especially if your vacation is a week at a theme park and the park is so full it reaches capacity and every line you wait in is 90 minutes or longer - that's work not a vacation.

Another reason that I am glad that I am home is that I have to put in good work this week to get ready for my May 3rd marathon and I have already lost one day of running due to this vacation. I missed my 10-miler on Wednesday, but I was not going to miss my 20-miler this Saturday. Or was I? It rained like cats and dogs this morning and though it is not raining now I feared that running outside was not an option. I dropped my kids off at my mom's house and set off to the gym to begin my life as a gerbil.

I stopped off at the grocery store to see if I could find some GU packets or Clif Bars, no luck just some MetRx bars that I did not want. I grabbed my old favorites instead, Kellog's Sponge Bob Square Pants fruit snacks. Finally at the gym, I set up my water, my Gatorade, my phone, fruit snacks towel, and start to run. A grueling 3 hours on the treadmill ahead of me.

Opposed to last Friday's 15-miler on the treadmill, hours 1 and 2 were not so bad. One day of rest really helps. Hour three was mostly good, but miles 18, 19, and 20 commanded my respect. Luckily, I heard a friendly voice at the start of mile 19 that woke me from my agony. A young lady that I see at the gym frequently had grabbed the treadmill next to me. A serious feat because I thought that I had generated a serious funk between my 2.75 hours of exersion and the burn of my shoe soles on the treadmill belt. But soon I knew why. She said, "I am so jealous that you get to run a marathon soon." To some this may sound strange, but runners recognize this as the respect and comraderie that runners share with each other.

This young lady who I have seen walking with a purpose on the highest incline levels for 30 to 60 minutes. She was always walking though, and she looks like a runner. I found out that she had a terrible accident some months ago where she had a brain surgery due to falling when she was running on a treadmill. She, like Natasha Richardson, had an epidural hematoma and the reason she was spared a similar fate (death) is because she was knocked unconscious because Lord knows that we runner's are tough and would've tried to "walk it off."

The good news is that she, I am sorry that I didn't catch her name, is now medically cleared to run again and is looking forward to future races. Her toughness forced me to clear my head and finish my last two miles stronger than I had felt and her reminder that the last 10k after the 20 miles I had run are ALL mental. I remember her toughness on the Sunday of my race.

  • Total distance: 20.0 miles
  • Average speed: 9:29 min/mile

Thursday, April 9, 2009

FL Vacation Run #2

I set out to run 10 miles today to make up for missing my run yesterday, but I stopped at 6.62 miles due to an upset tummy. I thought better of running 10 miles yesterday because we went to the Magic Kingdom and I knew my legs would get a serious workout standing in line, walking and carrying my daughter, and I get cranky when tired.

  • Total distance: 6.62 miles
  • Elevation gain: 369 ft
  • Average speed: 08:30 min/mi

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

FL Vacation Run #1

I must have walked 10 miles over the last two days - carrying my almost four year old daughter for 5 of them. I am also getting a cold. Note to everyone, if you have a biting your nails habit break it before you go to a theme park - gross. So, I got up around 6:45 am and gulp down a glass of water. I did not feel too good, but my race is in less than a month - up and at 'em.

I do a warmup run up to the club house for the vacation home association and proceed to run through every cul-de-sac and side street of the development. It was cold for an April morning in Florida, but a far cry from the horrible lows of the past winter. Five miles later, I stop, walk a little bit then practice my running form with a brisk jog back to my unit. Another successful training run complete. My goal of a sub-eight minute mile pace accomplished.

  • Mile 1 - 8:13
  • Mile 2 - 8:02
  • Mile 3 - 7:58
  • Mile 4 - 7:57
  • Mile 5 - 7:38
  • Total - 5.01 miles, Elevation 579 ft, Avg Pace 7:57 min/mi

Friday, April 3, 2009

15 miles through the Dark Knight

Because I am going to Disney tomorrow I wanted to get my long run out of the way tonight. I was supposed to do 20 miles, but I had to settle for 15 miles on the treadmill. I got home from work after dropping off the dry cleaning and picking up dinner intending to eat a little something and jump on the treadmill for a "marathon session." I set up my laptop to watch the Dark Knight DVD while I run. I was striving for a 9 min/mi pace for the whole 20 miles.

I did well through the first ten, but by mile 11 I knew I was in trouble. I started have a pain like a side stitch, but in the front of my belly. I slowed down so that the pain wasn't so intense and regathered myself to keep going. The movie ended and my two younger children were having an intense game of laundry basket basketball that combined with the fact that the treadmill had started to feel slippery with sweat and I decided to call it off after 2:21:51 - 15 miles on the treadmill, my longest treadmill run ever.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A run with some b-ball and Adam Corolla

Vacations are tough. I mean they shouldn't be, but the week before you go on one you've got to wrap up whatever you are doing at work. You have got to make plans to be away and make sure someone is taking care of home and you have to adjust your schedule. All of this so you can go and have some well deserved fun.

I have got a nice vacation lined up to Disney World, but I am a software engineer whose work has to be wrapped up in 3 week cycles. I am missing my last week of this cycle so I have got to get all my work done this week before I jump on a plane. So, it is not surprising to me that I get home at 8:30 PM and still have my 5 mile run ahead of me.

I ran this one on my basement treadmill and took it nice and easy with a 9:07 min/mi pace for 45:39 while watching the college basketball skills competition and listening to the Adam Corolla podcast guest starring Alonzo Bodden. The Adam Corolla podcast is great stuff, funny, sometimes cerebral and this episode is probably his most coherent. Maybe not too funny, but just a listenable discussion about Alonzo's background with the Skunk Works and Ace's enjoyable sidebars.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm running in the rain

I set out today to run fast, to make this marathon goal of mine more real. I want to run a 3:40 marathon. I need to run at an 8:24 min/mi pace for 26.2 miles to accomplish this - no easy feat. My goal for today was to run 10 miles at a 8:00 min/mi pace. It was misting when I got home from work today. I wrapped by iPod in a plastic baggie and put my Garmin on and ran out the door hoping to get the miles in before it both got too dark to run and before the drizzle turned into an all out rain.

Well, I could not run my normal long distance route because it doesn't have street lights and I didn't map a new one because I actually planned to run inside on the treadmill. I pieced together some routes that I thought might make up 10 miles and by my estimation it might have worked had the rain held off a little longer. I have lost one iPod due to running too long in the rain and I would not risk my new Nano and my Garmin 405 to a similar fate. So I rounded the entrance to my neighborhood at about mile 7 and wandered the sidewalks to increase the mileage count to just over 8 miles before trudging home in the rain.

8.14 miles
8:08 min/mi