Monday, March 31, 2008

5 miles, Feeling well

Tonight, Jennifer, Pavlov and I went for a 5 mile run. We maintained 9:15 or so pace. I'm feeling well. My calves are still a little sore, but otherwise feeling like a champ. My one complaint would be hunger. About 3 miles through, I hit a sugar low and just wanted to be home. But I know that is just an issue with today's eating, not with recovery.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm recovering in the rain

Ok, maybe its not worth signing about. Tonight was a nice recovery. It was about 50 degrees and starting to mist. I actually love that. 4 miles in 37:19. Legs actually feel awesome. My calves are pretty tight. Not used to that kind of speed for that length of run. Calves weren't prepared.

(Yes, the post title is intended to be lame.)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

13 Down, 39 to Go: New Marathon P.R.- 3:17:57

Whether I would "race" today was a game-time decision. I didn't decide last night, although I was leaning towards racing. I thought I would decide when I woke up. I woke up about 4:45, but when I awoke, I still couldn't decide. I slept just ok, but didn't feel too bad. I decided to get in the shower and stretch, and then decide.

After showering, with no time left to put off the decision, I thought "Lets just go for it." If I go out hard and crash, well I can still finish. And I can probably still finish in just as much time as if I went out slow. Yea, it will hurt more, but sometimes that is fun. So the plan was to head out at Boston pace, and see how long I could hold it. Before I completely crashed, I hoped to back off and try to finish well. I hope that I can build up enough cushion with the fast pace to still P.R. No, this isn't a good race strategy, but I didn't really care. And no, I had no expectation of actually qualifying for Boston.

So I got dressed (race attire, not slow-run attire) and headed out the door.

We have had some nice whether lately. But not today. Today it was cold and windy. Temperature at 6 a.m. was maybe 35. But with a 20+ mph wind out of the east, it felt more like the mid 20's. The race began about 7 miles away from the finish. They would bus us from the finish and then make us wait for 45 minutes before we started. It was setting up to be a cold affair.

At 7:00 (still pretty dark), the gun sounded (without notice) and we were off. I headed out pretty fast, trying to keep up with one of the first few packs. There were a couple well out front - which I knew I didn't want to go with - and then a couple of groups who looked like a 7 min/mile or so group. That's where I wanted to be (I historically go out way to slow -I now realize I have to go out fast to run a good time).

Mile one was 6:59. Maybe a little fast, but a good warm up mile. I dropped off that pace a little (as did several other people) and started to group up with those who also clearly were shooting for 7:15 pace (3:10 marathon). The picture on the left is that group (I can be seen with the black vest, yellow hat and black head band hiding behind the guy in the orange cap - I was hiding from the wind (photo by The next few miles would be right around 7:15.

Even through the first few miles, the wind would clearly be a factor. Not really paying attention, I thought we had a south wind, and a north-easterly run. But, after speaking with those around me, we definitely had a tough day ahead of us. Much of the run was easterly, right into the EAST wind. And to top that off, the toughest 4 miles of the course (14-18) was directly into the wind. Most of us knew that 3:10 would be a struggle, but we all had a good head about it. So, we stayed on pace.

Half-way through, we were dead on. 1:35:20 at the 13.1 marker. But, all good things come to an end. Once we turned the corner at mile 14, we started heading up a steep overpass and directly into the wind. It was very, very tough. (Honestly, we even formed a draft line, like cyclists, and the front person would take us up the hill and then drop back. Kinda funny.) We all dropped off pace a little, but still will able to hold 7:30's for a couple of miles. But the 4 miles into the wind were too much. By mile 17, I no longer had Boston in mind. The only thing on my mind was that I needed to maintain 7:45's or so the rest of the way to P.R.

I struggled for a few miles, but kept at it. I had a couple of 8:00+ miles, but always eased back down below 7:00. With 2 miles to go, I knew I could do it. Just needed to hang on to mile 25, then I would go for it. And I did. The last mile was about 7:15. I passed several of those who had left me at mile 17. The finish was in site, as was a P.R. Not only a P.R. but a chance at sub 3:18. I sprinted the last quarter mile or so, and crossed at 3:17:57. A new P.R. by about a minute and a half.

I ended up in 31st place overall out of 476 runners. 2nd place in my age group, out of 20 runners. 7:34 pace.

Great day. I feel really great about the P.R. I know I sell myself short and call myself a slow runner. I may not be someone who competes to win, but I am pretty happy to be up there. And every time I up myself, I remind myself how much fun it is to try to be "fast." I'm happy that I have developed a nice mix. I am happy to run comfortably and just to finish. But some days it really is nice to mix it up and go for a personal best.

Friday, March 28, 2008

An easy 4 miler

I am beginning to think I shouldn't go for it tomorrow. Today, my 4 miler (gym, treadmill, 35:00) just felt slow and painful. Ok, not really "painful" like I really hurt, but just not good like I would like them to feel. But, to my legs defense, they always are painful when they are ready to race. Weird.

I don't know. I am still a game-time decision. I am thinking of going out had and just seeing how it feels. Maybe I'll even go out at Boston pace (3:10) and see how long I can hold it, knowing that I will hit a wall, but hoping that is late enough in the race not to do too much harm. We will see.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Getting ready for Saturday

Today, I began thinking that I might want to race on Saturday at the Olathe Marathon. Now I am already entered to participate, but that doesn't mean I am ready to race. But since last Saturday's P.R. in the 10k, I am feeling like I might have the legs to give it a shot a new personal best.

So tonight I headed out for a fast 4 miles. A few seconds short of 27 minutes. Maybe I can do this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

5 mile intervals with Jenn

Jenn, Pavlov and I went for a 5 miler this evening. Jenn did 8:00 min/mile pace quarter miles followed by quarter mile rests. Getting some good 8:00 min/mile pace will be good for me for Saturday, since I will be trying to hit 3:30 at the Olathe Marathon on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bike, Spin, and a lazy 4 miler

This morning I made it to spin class for the first time in forever, and made it into the pool, for the first time in an even longer time. While it only has been about a week-and-a-half for both, if I am planning on doing a half-ironman, that is too much of a delay. So....I guess that means no half-ironman this year.

I really am trying to come to grasps that I can't do everything I want to do. I am not giving up on the fact that I can do a half-ironman, but I am giving up on the fact that I can do one, while at the same time running 52 marathons in a year, and training for 100 mile runs. So I am giving up for this year. I will continue swimming, and still try to make my yearly swim and bike goals (bike is probably out of reach, as I hoped for 2500 miles).

Tonight, not feeling great about that decision, I took it easy for a late night 4 miler.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A morning 4 miler

This morning I was more interested in insuring that I ran before work, not so much that I ran fast. I took it easy for a 4 miler in 39:00. Beautiful and relaxing morning run.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jenn's training 4 miler

Jennifer and I don't run at quite the same pace. But I love to run with her. What i have found works the best is to match up her speed days for my slower days. Today, she did great, and my "slower day" was pretty fast.

Jenn ran a sub 36 minute 4 miler. That may be a record for her (she has been real close to that pace over a 10k). And I think for the first time ever, she ran a sub 8 min/mile. She certainly has it in her, but I don't think she has ever really maxed herself out. She is trying to get ready for a 5k here in a few weeks. I think she is capable of breaking 25 minutes if the conditions are right. I just need to convince her of that....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Sun Run 10k

Today was a scheduled Team-in-training run. As part of that training experience, we wanted our participants to get the feel of "race day." To help ease the jitters of a first-time racer, we often have our people enter a small local race to get the feel of starting lines, water stops, and pacing. We used a local Easter 10k run for this year's training race.

We began with a 3 miler warm up (for those who couldn't bear to break from their marathon training distances). After an easy 3 miler, we all split up to run the 10k at our own paces.

Like I said Thursday, I wanted to break 42 minutes. My P.R. is around 42:30, and I would be pretty happy to knock even a few seconds off that. But I was feeling good.

I took off and the first 5k was dead-on at 2o:53. I just needed to hold on to that pace for the next 5k and I would break 42 minutes. But after another 2.5k, I really felt like I had more to give. I picked up the pace a bit and still felt good. With 1k to go, I really tried to give it all I had. In fact, I broke 42 minutes, and 41 minutes, but just by a second. 40:59. A new P.R. The last 5k was just over 20 minutes, with the last kilometer at 3:45.

Not a bad pace for a slow guy!

Friday, March 21, 2008

4 miles, 4 min/mile slower

This morning, after yesterday's hard paced 4 miler and tomorrow's 10k, I just wanted an easy 4 miler. It was slow. 10:35 pace.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

4 miles in 26:23

I am planning on running a local 10k this Saturday. I haven't really been training to run that far at a fast pace, so I thought I would go for a hard 4 miler tonight to see what was feasible. I am hoping to break 42 minutes on Saturday, so I wanted to try to hold a 6:45 pace for 4 miles. I did. 6:36 pace. I think this is a record for me for a 4-miler.

Legs are back to normal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

4 miler

I'm a little sore from last night's 50k. I ran the entire time (no walk breaks as I often do on 50k+ runs) and the entire run was on pavement (most on hard concrete). Muscles are fine, but just the pounding has made me sore.

Tonight I took it easy with a 4 miler. I really did loosen up as I made it closer to the end.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

12 down, 40 to go.

Dean Karnazes wrote recently about the "runabout" He suggested finding a Saturday morning and just taking off for a run with no real plans on what to do, but to just make a day of it. It got me thinking. I am a slave to mileage, and a slave to a planned course.

So tonight, at 6:15 pm, I set out for a 5 hour "runabout." No plan on where I was going, no real plan on distance (needed to make a marathon, hoped to make it 30). I just ran.

It was very exciting. I hit different parts of my typical running path along the way, but I certainly found some places that I have never been. I headed out to a couple of suburbs, around some shopping areas, and just through some random neighborhoods. My only real though on direction or path was making sure I was within a few miles of convenience stores. I needed to make sure I could get to water or food (I missed dinner).

I finished just before 11:30, 5:14 minutes of running. I did decide to go a few extra minutes, just to make it to the 50k mark.

I think I am on to something here. Taking off and making an evening event out of running with nothing but the enjoyment to think about. Maybe in a couple of weeks I will try 6 hours.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Run and Swim

4 miles, 32 minutes. A pretty poor swim of 1500 yards. Form just wasn't that good.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Plans are made for changing

I made plans for a 30 miler today. I was going to get up at 4:00, and run by 4:45. Plan was to do 15 miles at 8:00 min/miles and be back by 7:00. Then I was going to meet Jennifer and Amanda for 15 more, before church at 11:00.

But today wasn't the day. I think the big issue is that I am sick of the cold. When I got up at 4:00 it was about 25 degrees. High would only have been 35 with 15 mph+ winds and cloudy. I just couldn't do it.

So I canceled.

Ended up running 5 miles this evening.

Now I have to reschedule. I think I will try a night run one day this week.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

TNT 16 miler

This morning I did a nice and easy 16 miler with TNT. We averaged about 11 min/miles total - a little faster at first, slower at the end. Temperature was a little cool. Problem was the wind. 17+ mph winds from the north. So when running north, the temperature was frigid. Probably a 20 degree difference running north and south.

Run felt good. My knee started hurting a little. Broke in some new shoes. It may be that, or it may be that I have been trying to learn/practice treading water and swimming on my back, which is a little different on my knees.

Tonight I went for a 1000 yard swim.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Speed work

Tired of the monotony of the slow paced treadmill 4 miler, I did a little speedwork. 30 minutes total for 4 miles, with a half mile warm up and cool down. Tried to keep around the 7 minute/mile pace.

Followed the run with another 1500 yard swim.

Feeling good, although my shoes are toast. Picked up a new pair to start with tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Swim, Bike, Run

I actually got them in the right order. For the first time I swam over my lunch hour (that is why I joined the YMCA - to swim during lunch at the gym which is only a half-mile from my office). After work, I headed outside for a 10 mile bike (all I could get in before dark), and then on a 4 mile run.

Feeling pretty good. And certainly recovered from last weekends double marathon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

6 miles - New Route

I headed to the gym after work. Since it was 60+ degrees, I decided to head outside from the downtown gym, and take a run down by the river. Beautiful day, and nice to have some new scenery. I headed out fairly easy for the first mile, and then picked it up for the next 4 miles, averaging somewhere around a 7:15 pace. With a mile cool-down, total time of under 47 minutes. Not a bad day.

I am noticing that I have a little trouble actually running fast. Having run so many longer runs at a slower pace, I am having trouble getting the legs to move fast enough to really max out my heart rate (or even get it to the 170's). I'm working on it, as mixing in those fast runs really makes me feel better.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

3 and 4

That is 3 beers and 4 miles. I finished.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Great Recovery

My recovery today was unbelievable. Other than being a little tired from not sleeping long enough (long story), I felt great. My legs felt great. My hunger was under control. And my legs felt great (did I mention that). After work I took off for my daily 4 miler. The first mile always takes a minute or two to warm up, but after an initial 9:00 mile, I followed that with an 8:00, 7:30 and a 7:00 min/mile. Really felt good today.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

11 down, 41 to go.

26.2 miles. 4:32:32. Average heart rate 131 (Even in my own mind I think that is sick). Two marathons, two days. And I felt great when I finished. I consider today an enormous success.

Amanda (fellow TNT coach) ran the first 10 miles of Marathon #11 on the year. Jennifer ran the next 11. And Pavlov ran the last 5 miles with me.

Having run the same course around my house several times lately, I decided to mix it up a bit. I still began and ended at my house, but instead of winding around my neighborhood, Amanda met me at my house at 7:30 am (just after sunrise with daylight savings time) and we headed to Andover, a town about 8 miles away. Taking a few side jaunts, Amanda ended in Andover at about 10 miles. Waiting there with Amanda's car was Jennifer (Thanks a million Amanda - who had run 15 the day before with TNT). Jennifer picked up and ran the next 11 miles with me.

We maintained a stead pace of 9:50 for the first 21 miles. But at that point, I was on my own for the last 5 miles. Luckily, I have a crack-dog who loves nothing more than to run. I picked her up, and she drug me for the next 5 miles at a 9:30 pace.

26.2 miles x 11 down, 41 marathons more to go. (20% there!).

End note: I keep telling myself that the purpose of this blog is to track my mental and physical state as I go through this. I entirely expected that I would have highs and lows, and even have occasions when I felt really bad and wanted to quit. To date, I feel that I have not reported these feelings. I think there is a logical reason. I feel fine. I refused to minimize my accomplishments, but I beginning to get to the point where I can run a comfortable marathon in 4:00-4:30 and then feel completely normal after a shower and meal. I suppose that's what training is all about.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

10 Down, 42 to go!

Ten marathons in 10 weeks was a milestone in my mind. I believed (and still believe) that if I can make it 10 weeks, then only an injury can stop me (fingers are crossed on that one). It's quite a relief knowing that I have made it this far. In my mind, my fitness is clearly good enough to take this through the end of the year.

This morning was a very, very testing run. Its March. But its March in Kansas. That means it could either be 80 degrees or 10 degrees. This morning the weather opted for the 10 degree mark (actually, to be fair, it was 11 degrees). But luckily, there was little wind at 6 am when I started.

I began with 6 miles on my own, before meeting a fellow TNT'er who wanted to get a couple more miles in than the planned Saturday team training run. It was still dark, but very peaceful.

At about 7 am (6.3 miles in) I met Alan for a few more miles before our scheduled 7:50 TNT meeting time. We went about 5 miles. The sun came up, but so did the winds. By 7:45, the south wind was kicking at 10+mph, which kept the "feel" below 10 degrees.

At 10 minutes after 8, we started our TNT run. With the cold whether, and the number of layers everyone had on, we went very slow. Maybe 10:30's, with several 2-3 minute water breaks mixed in for the first 10 miles.

After 10 miles, most of the team was done, and we were back at our cars. A few wanted to go 15 miles, and since I had already gone 11.2, 15 would put me dead-on for my weekly marathon. Perfect.

The last 5 miles were pretty slow. But we finished. One of our team members went the farthest she had ever been. And with the cold temperatures, that was quite the accomplishment. For me, it was Marathon 10 down. While it didn't really feel like an "event," nonetheless it was 26.2 miles. 10 down, 42 to go.

Total time 4:43 and some change. Average heart rate for the entire run: 133.

I am feeling well. I don't feel much impact from today. Scheduled to do another tomorrow. Knowing that, I should have drank more. But with the cold whether, that was a challenge (water bottles actually froze over at one time, even though they were insulated water bottles).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Gym 4 miler

One of my biggest frustrations with treadmills is that they often are not accurate. This is particularly true at hotels, but sometimes gym treadmills aren't that reliable as well. Today, I went to the gym after work for an easy 4 mile run. I set the treadmill at 7 mph (8:35ish pace). I planned on running steady for 4 miles. But, after about a mile, I realized either (a) I was really tired, or (b) there was something wrong with the treadmill. Since I had my Polar watch on, I quickly realized that the treadmill was about 1 mph off. So I had been running at a 7:30 pace. Since I was already running "fast," I figured I might as well finish it off hard. Ended up with a 30 minute 4 miler, with some hills mixed in.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Well, kind of.

I started the morning with a 45 minute spin class. Today was a little boring. Some days, I can mentally imagine the class following a normal road cycling course. But today, it was mainly "drills" which didn't have any real world correspondence. A little boring for me.

I followed spinning with 1000 yards of swimming. Not a bad swim, but nothing exciting.

After work, I went for a quick 4 mile run, as we were going to a friends house that evening. Not a bad 31 minute run. Legs are feeling well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bike trainer and run.

20 miles on the bike trainer tonight. I am really trying to (a) get my bike mileage up and (b) get comfortable in the aero position on my tri-bike (see picture). Ride really felt good. Legs are still dehydrated from yesterday.

Jennifer and I headed out for a 5 mile run about 2 hours after I finished my ride. 5 mile run in 50:15. Not a bad run.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Record Swim (and a good run)

I can't pinpoint today's motivation. But whatever it is, it worked. I hopped on the treadmill for a 1 mile warmup, followed by a 20:15 5k, followed by a mile cooldown. This was very tough, as I haven't run "fast" for any distance in a long time. This may be my fastest 5k in over a year. Very good run.

After the run, I was planning on a 1500 yard swim. If you have been reading, that is a pretty long swim for me. I intended to break it up into 250 yard segments (5 laps). But after 5 laps, I felt like I should keep going. Then 10 laps and the same. 15 laps. Form was actually better than normal. I really felt like I was gliding. 20 laps (1000 yards). 25 laps. Still haven't stopped. As I approached the 1500 yard finish line, I just felt like I had more. So to 2000 I went. My longest swim to date was 1800 yards (1 mile=1760 yards). My fastest mile was about 43 minutes. Today, I past the 1800 yard mark in less than 40 minutes. Total time for the 2000 yards was about 43 minutes. Quite a success.

As I finished, I could tell I was deeply dehydrated. Topping the tough run with a long swim, my legs (calves) really started cramping. I stopped only 3 times in the total 2000 yards (all during the last 500) to stretch my cramping legs and feet.

Really felt great about my workouts.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Late evening 4 miler

Nothing exciting to report. A little tired today from work. Just an easy 4 miler about 10:00.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bike and Run

I put off the weekly marathon until next weekend. Going to try a back-to-back.

Today was 65 degrees, but very, very windy (raining in the afternoon). I went out for a 20 mile bike ride on my newly completed tri bike, but it was a little too windy for any feeling of safety. So I headed home and out for a 4 mile run. Again, the hip is a little sore, so I took it easy.

I know I should consider stretching (obviously). I really does help. Seems that my hip pains lately are directly related to non stretching. We'll see if I can stick to that.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hip is a little sore

Not sure why, and I think it will get better, but my hip has been pretty sore lately. So today, although I had wanted to do a few more miles, I only ended up with 4 miles at a fairly easy 9 min/mile pace. Hope it works its way out (usually does okay by the end of the run).