Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I LOVE outdoor racquetball. It's a completely different game from indoor, and it is so much fun! Today, I played 8 games of outdoor. The training plan called for 4 miles. There's no way that 8 games = 4 miles of distance, but it was a good, long, FUN workout and probably exceeds 4 miles in terms of effort. And I've read that lateral movement strengthens the hip abductor muscles which helps ITBS.

You may have heard the eggs bacon principle. In a bacon and eggs breakfast, the chicken is involved in the breakfast, but the pig is committed. Well, I'm a pig now. I was involved in training; now I'm committed to the marathon. I sent in my application and fee today. My knee is feeling much better, so I think I can make it to the starting line. If I make it to the starting line, I'm confident that I can slog it out to the finish line.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Still trying for tempo

So today was another attempt at a tempo workout. I opted to skip last week's long run because I was so far behind schedule, and it was a short long run. Wait, that doesn't make sense. Anyway...

Today called for 10 miles with 8 minutes of vigorous uphill time. I'm not able to get to hills today but I will be able to Thursday, so I'm substituting the tempo workout for today's workout. I tried
  • 3 miles at goal pace
  • 4 x 800 cruise intervals
  • 3 miles at tempo pace
I didn't really have a good way to measure the 800's today, so I tried to do 3:30 pickups at cruise pace. I really was going much faster than cruise pace, but I can't make myself slow down on 800's or 400's. I simply could not maintain tempo pace for more than 2 miles at the end. I seriously thought I was going to vomit. I was totally gassed, and was still 2 miles from home.

Oh yeah, about a half mile after I gave up and started walk/jogging, I was jogging and saw a skunk. He was way too close for my comfort, about 20 feet. So I found some energy and kicked it in as close to a sprint as I could! Luckily, I got away without being sprayed!

9 miles total, and I'm trashed. I need to find a way to finish a tempo workout strong. Maybe next week. The good news... My knee is GREAT!!! Thanks for showing me the stretches Mark!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day off

Today was a day off. I'm trying to figure out when to get in the long run this week. Probably sometime tomorrow, but tomorrow's schedule is very tight. I wanted to run it today, but my legs were trashed from yesterday's speed work and racquetball.

I'm still getting the "why" question. I still don't have a good answer. My wife says it's because I've lost my mind. I say it's because I truly enjoy running and to prove that I can finish something this big.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Speed Work

Yesterday I took off to travel across the country to get home. Thursday was an easy day. I ran about 5 miles at about an 8:00 pace. I wanted to do speed work. I ran to a track near my hotel, and they were playing a football game on the field encircled by the track.

Today was a 2 mile warm-up and a 2 mile cool-down with 4x800 and 4x400 with 2 minute rest in between the speed intervals. 7 miles total.
  1. 3:00
  2. 3:05 (long quarter)
  3. 3:04
  4. 3:09
  1. 1:22
  2. 1:33 (long quarter, that's 7s faster than usual!)
  3. 1:28
  4. 1:26
After that I played 4 games of racquetball (singles). Those games were very intense! I love the stamina and endurance that running gives me!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Today was scheduled to be an easy day, 4 miles with some short pickups to avoid traffic. Easy runs are so much fun. Today I ran an out and back along the Columbia River. And it was windy and COLD. But it was beautiful. I wish I had brought my camera!

7:46 (lots of time spent waiting on traffic on my way to the river)
8:13 (even more time spent waiting on traffic on the way back)

Those stretches Mark showed me are like anti-voodoo. I didn't even feel my knee until mile 4 when I had to stop for traffic. This is the second time in a row that my knee didn't hurt more than it did on the previous run. I hope this trend continues as I gradually add miles.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I was hoping to join Mike Greene for some speed work this morning, but I was just up too late last night. I don't think I could have made it on 5 hours sleep, so I slept a couple of extra hours and did my workout at lunch today. It was HOT! The next time that I'm tempted to stay up too late, I'll remember how miserable today's workout was.

My training plan calls for 2 x 3 miles at tempo pace. Well, I didn't quite make it. I did a brief warm-up because of the heat. Then I did 2 miles, stretch, then 3 miles, then 2 miles cool-down. Today's workout could be considered slacking. Wow. 7 miles is slacking. What am I trying to do?

Stretch for about 5 mins for IT band.
6:50 (too fast!)
7:09 (about right)
7:21 (too slow... I'll blame the heat, but I could have given more effort)

I didn't stopwatch the two cool-down miles, but they were between 8 and 9 minute miles.

Mark Freeman showed me some stretches for IT band. I did those last night, this morning, and before my workout. My knee did not hurt until after the second mile. Then, after the additional stretch, it didn't hurt for the 3 tempo-ish miles. It was somewhat painful on the cool-down miles. But... This is the first run in a long time that it didn't hurt more than it did on the previous run.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Planned Rest Day, My Race Calendar

Today was a planned rest day according to my marathon training plan, day 1 week 5. But I didn't take it totally off, which is a big no-no. I played a match of tennis.

I'm still finishing up this league that I signed up for. I only have one more match. Tennis used to make me tired, but not anymore. This was a pretty intense 3 set match, too. And I was just as strong in the last game as I was in the first. Wow. I really like running! Captain obvious here... Running will improve your fitness!

Here's my race calendar for the rest of the year.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

13.1... Halfway!

Warning! Long, boring post.

First, before the boring stuff, Duck and Run 5k results are here and here.

This week's long run was scheduled to be a 13 miler. I just set my iPod to half marathon because it was a pre-set distance. I made it, at a slower than planned pace. My knee started hurting on about the second step and hurt the entire run. It's time to just man up and run. From here on out, almost every long run will be my longest distance ever run, except for the recovery weeks.

Here are the splits.
  1. 8:40
  2. 7:57
  3. 7:57
  4. 7:57
  5. 7:51
  6. 8:04
  7. 8:46 (This was actually a 1.1 mile split, so 7:57, 0:49, maybe?)
  8. 8:23 (aid station stop, thanks for the Gatorade, Matt!)
  9. 7:59
  10. 8:03
  11. 7:38
  12. 8:05 (worst hill on the run, and a fence to go through)
  13. 7:56

That was 1:45:22 total for an average of about 8:00 per mile. I sincerely hope for a better time at the HTC Half Marathon.

I was really pleased with the consistency of the splits, but disappointed in the pace. I intended for the first mile to be slow. I really wanted mile 11 to be closer to 7:20 and mile 12 to be MUCH closer to 7:20. I forgot about that hill and fence in mile 12. I should have kicked in mile 10 and 11. I still had some energy at the end of the run, and felt like I could have gone further. I had gotten used to ignoring the knee pain! That's probably because of the slower than planned pace. It did cross my mind that it was only halfway.

Here's something similar to today's route. Not exactly, but I did run all of that route and then some.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Duck and Run 5k, a PR

Wow, today was a TON of fun!

First things first... BIG PROPS to Tanjie Schrimsher for putting on such a fun event. She did a great job with this event. This is the first race that I've ever seen with homemade cookies at the finish. YUM!!! I'm really glad to have an annual race in my hometown. Thanks Tanjie! It was great to meet you today.

Also, I got to meet a lot of local runners, Tyrone, Glenn, Mark, Phillip, Whitney, Brian, Tim, and others that I may have forgotten. That was the best part. I heard several of you say, "Oh yeah, Eric, I read your blog!" Thanks for reading! Look for me at other races, and of course at the Rocket City Marathon.

And a big congrats to my buddy Matt for taking 1st in his age group in only his second 5k ever! Nice run Matt! As Mike said to him, "Are those hills worth it now?"

And finally, I took my age group with a 20:40. One of my goals was to run a 20 minute 5k before the marathon. 20:59 would have worked, but I'll take 20:40. Nice job to the young man, Matthew, I think was his name, finishing his first 5k and first race ever who held me off on my push at the end to finish at 20:39.

Splits were 6:06 (way faster than I planned) for mile 1 and 7:00 for mile 2 . I missed the 3 mile split, but the last 1.1 was 7:34. It was probably something like 6:55 and 39 or so. I should have finished stronger.

I'm sure Tanjie's blog will have the official results when available. I'll also link them here. Put this race on your calendar for next year. It's well worth it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Press On

I've given my knee a bit of rest this week. I've read lots of articles and asked more experienced runners about the knee problems I'm having. I think this is what I need to do.
  1. Make sure my shoes are right. I'm pretty sure of this thanks to the folks at Fleet Feet. Those guys are great. Shop there. I'm perhaps the happiest Fleet Feet customer ever. They have the best customer service I've ever experienced in a retail store. Period.
  2. Strengthen my quads. I need to and will work harder on this.
  3. Ice and NSAID when it hurts. That I do.
  4. Stretch. I do stretch after every run, but I probably need to work in a couple of stretch sessions per day.
  5. Quit being such a sissy. It's marathon training. Did I think it wouldn't hurt?
Looking forward to tomorrow's race, the Duck and Run 5k in Athens. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No news

I suppose the fastest way to lose blog readers is to neglect to update... I'm back!

No workout again today. When I started this blog, I said that I'd let myself and the world know when I slack. Well, I guess I'm slacking this week. Travel and my knee are my excuses, but I should at least be doing some other type of training like weights, ellipse, bike... something. I really hope this week doesn't kill my training.

Traveling throws me off both my exercise routine and my diet. And this week's travel was particularly brutal with early mornings and late nights. I suppose that's one of the challenges of maintaining a full time job while marathon training.

I'm still looking forward to Saturday's race!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple of days. Sunday was a scheduled day off in my training. I took Monday off to adjust my schedule to long run Sunday so I can do the Duck and Run 5k on Saturday. The bad news is that my knee has been killing me since Saturday afternoon. I iced it several times Saturday and Sunday and it's still sore.

I tried my workout this morning, and it was a no-go. My knee just didn't feel right. I did about 3 miles on a treadmill and about 20 minutes on a bike. Workouts like that will NOT get me ready for a marathon. And oh yeah, I'm in Denver, and I was GASPING during those miles. The altitude REALLY makes a difference.

My plan is to go easy this week and race Saturday. Then, I may take next week off completely from running (bike, elliptical, and weights only) and see how it feels. Next week is a recovery week in my training program, so maybe I can take it off without losing too much conditioning.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

12 Miler

I did finish my 12 miler today, and it felt really good. The thought that this isn't even halfway did cross my mind. The IT band on the right knee annoyed be from miles 7-12, but it wasn't severe. Long runs rule. I hope I still feel this way when I hit 18, 20, and 22 miles.

7:47, 7:43, 7:36, 7:26, 7:44 (bleh traffic), 7:29, 7:47, 8:01, 7:56, 7:53, 7:58, 8:26.

Not too bad, but not too good, either. I need to work on reversing those splits to finish stronger. Miles 4-6 are usually my strongest (as they were today) and that's why I really like the 10k race.

I actually ran about 12.25 miles and it took 1:35:05 for an average pace of 7:46. I'm really disappointed in the splits on miles 10 and 11. I thought I was picking up the pace on those miles. I was hoping to hit those at 7:35-ish. I felt like I had energy. I felt like I was expending extra energy. It just didn't show up in my pace.

I felt like I hit a wall around mile 7, and my pace did slow down for the remaining miles. A funny thing is that "Struggle Within" by Metallica was playing (random shuffle on the iPod) when I was feeling the worst.

I promised Erin that I'd run a mile with her today. She has reminded me of that at least three times today and 5 times this week. :) So that's on this afternoon's schedule, along with miscellaneous chores and college football.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another Easy Day

Rush to the post office and mail in your Duck and Run entry form!!!! Today's the last day for discounted registration.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's long run. 12 miles! I hope to knock that out at around 7:35 per mile. We'll see.

Today was just a day at the gym.
  • 10 minutes of jump rope
  • 15 minutes of racquetball (drills and a quick game)
  • 3 sets of 15 dumbbell presses (55lbs.)
  • 3 sets of 15 bent dumbbell rows (55lbs.)
  • 3 sets of 15 dumbbell military presses (30lbs.)
  • 3 sets of 15 upright dumbbell rows (30lbs.)
  • 3 sets of 12 unassisted dips
  • 3 sets (6, 6, 10) unassisted overhand pull-ups
  • 180 Swiss ball crunches (60, 20, 100)
I just couldn't knock out those pull-ups today. Am I weaker or fatter or both? I still struggle to keep my left arm involved in pull-ups. I've got to find something to strengthen that left side.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today is a scheduled rest day in my training. So, I'm resting. I may do some weights or play a game of racquetball if it rains this afternoon. Otherwise, I'm off today.

I can't help mentioning 9/11/01. This blog isn't about stuff like that, but 9-11 is my generation's "day that we'll never forget". Like most Americans, I'll never forget where I was and the shock, horror, and anger I felt that day. Though I was not in NYC and I don't personally know anyone who was, we were all directly affected. I still hear President Bush saying, "Make no mistake..." before several of the promises that he made that day. "Thank you" to the soldiers who are fighting to keep those promises.

"On a day when buildings fell, heroes rose... One of the worst days in America's history saw some of the bravest acts in America's history." George W. Bush (from http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/11/911.day/index.html)

Now back to my purpose for this blog. Easy or off tomorrow and 12 miles Saturday morning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still seeking a good tempo workout

Tried to do my tempo workout today. The plan was 2x7:25, 2x7:03, 2x7:25. Well, no so much. I did two 8 minute warmup miles. Then I did 7:15, 7:13, and 7:05. Then my hamstring asked me nicely to stop. So, I listened. It wasn't terrible pain, but it wasn't pleasant at all. So I jogged the 1.7-ish back home from the track at about an 8:30 pace. Soon, I'll get a good tempo workout in.

I'll rest (gym workouts only) until my long run (12 miler) Saturday morning.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


First, I have to do something I forgot to do yesterday. Congrats to my buddy Mark for finishing first in his age group at the Frantic Frog Triathlon. See the full results here. Nice job Mark! I have no idea why Mark would marathon train with me. I have no chance to keep up!

Today was just a nice 4 miler. I was aiming for 7:25 or less pace. I skipped the strides since I tweaked the hamstring doing that last week. Today, both legs were fine. I just did 2 laps around a 2 mile loop in my neighborhood. I was able to hold the pace very well, even on the small slow rising hills. It actually felt great to run today. I'm starting to feel the effects of the missed tempo workouts, though. I was struggling to keep my pace on that last mile, but I did. I really need some tempo work.

7:24, 6:57; 7:25; 7:18 for an average pace around 7:12.

Any Athens readers out there? Does anyone know of any good hills to workout on in Athens? I've been doing Thomas Dr. in Madison and Hillmont St. in Huntsville. Those are great hills, but they're not in Athens. I know about Lee St from Marion St. to the RR track. That's a nice hill, but it's too short. Any nice 1/4 or 1/8 mile hills in Athens that rise 60-100 feet? Comment or drop me an email if you know of any.

This would be ideal if it were in Athens.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Did 8 miles total today. Today's workout called for 8-10 miles with 6:00 total uphill time.

Here is my route for today. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=2244596

On the way, the splits were 7:56, 7:31, 7:25, and 7:12. I repeated the hill on Thomas drive. I did 1 of the 1/4 mile uphill runs and 4 of the 1/8 mile uphill runs with 3:00 rest between. (That's how long it takes me to walk the 1/8 back down.) It rises about 80 feet in a 1/4 mile. The last 1/8 mile rises about 60 feet. I ran the 1/4 in 2:00 and the 1/8 miles were 1:09, 1:06, 1:09, and 1:05. My hamstring made me stop. I wanted to do at least two more repeats, but my hamstring was killing me.

When I finished the hills, I ran straight back to Browns Ferry Road instead of going to Gooch Lane and back. The reason is that my hamstring was just hurting too bad. And my pace was really slow on the way back because of the leg. I didn't time my splits on the way back, but they were certainly above 8:00, probably close to 8:30.

At least I hit my mileage and uphill time goals. I totally missed my pace goal, but I'm blaming (making as an excuse) injury. Again, I think it's been a good start to the week.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day Off

Today was a planned, much needed and enjoyed day off from exercise. I'll be back at it tomorrow in the AM.

A question has come up a few times over the past couple of weeks. Why? Why would anyone run a marathon? What motivates someone to train to run 26.2 miles? Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about this one. Other than the fact that I've truly begun to enjoy running to the point that I look forward to each week's long run, I don't have a good answer. Maybe that's good enough. For now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

11 Miler

Well, I went ahead and did my long run today. When I woke up, my legs were feeling fine, so I went for it. And besides, I knew my buddy Matt was waiting for me... I couldn't let him down. Nice run today, Matt. Thanks for the push.

I left my stopwatch at home, so no splits. But my iPod with Nike+ kept track of the overall run. Just a shade over 11 miles in 1:31 that comes out to about an 8:17 per mile pace. That is NOT where I wanted to be at all, but I finished. Today was more about mental toughness than speed. I was fatigued, but I wasn't hurting. I wasn't having trouble breathing. My heart rate seemed under control. But something in me started saying "STOP!" at about mile 5. And I just gutted it out and finished. I had to "reachdown" and find some energy to finish. I'm looking forward to the day off tomorrow.

After the run, I helped some friends move a piece of furniture. They probably wish I hadn't run today. :)

RE: the pace...

My good friend at work, Angie, told me that I probably shouldn't be running race pace when recovering from injury. I had a "DUH!" moment. That's so obvious, but I didn't figure it out until I heard someone say it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tempo... Not Really

The tempo workout this week was supposed to be
2 x 7:30 miles
2-3 x 7:03 miles
2 x 7:30 miles

I really did 8:00, 7:50, 7:36, 7:10; 7:55; 8:10. And every step hurt the hamstring a little, but not much. The hammy and fatigue are my excuses for this morning. Since the run was such a weak effort this morning, I'll try to hit the gym for some weights today if time permits. I'll probably go easy or take tomorrow off and do the 11 miler on Sunday.

I need to sleep more, but college football was on last night!

And good luck to my buddy Mark who is racing the Frantic Frog Triathlon tomorrow. He's also marathon training with me, but is starting way faster and stronger than me. But he's gonna push me to work harder and smarter. Rocket City is the first marathon for both of us.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hangin In There

Well, today's workout was completely uninspired. I was disappointed that I couldn't run and I didn't give my workout 100%. So, Doug, I brushed my teeth, but I'm not sure I used toothpaste. :)

I tried a light jog for about 40 yards, and it would have been possible to jog a little today, but I didn't because there was some pain. I figured a run today would make it worse. I'll probably take tomorrow off, too. Then I'll see how I feel on Saturday for an 11 miler.

Today's workout:
  • 150 crunches on the Swiss ball (1 set of 40, 1 set of 50, and 1 set of 60)
  • 3 sets of 15 dumbbell presses with 55 lb. dumbbells
  • 3 sets of 15 leg raises on the ab bench (wanted 3x20, but didn't have it in me)
  • 3 sets of 12 dips
  • 3 sets of 12 military press with 30 lb. dumbbells
  • 3 sets of 15 weighted crunches

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Week 2, Injury 2

Ugh. So, today was supposed to be 4 miles and 4 x 100 m strides. I did 2 miles (and those felt really good!), and then stopped at the Athens Middle School track to do the strides. On the 3rd set of strides, I felt a sharp pain in my left hamstring. Yuck. I tried to walk it off. I tried to stretch it out. I tried to massage it out. It still hurts. It doesn't hurt when I walk, but I can't even jog. Grrrr. I'm gonna ice, stretch, and massage to see if I can work this out soon. I really don't want to miss another tempo workout this week. And missing this weekend's long run would be TERRIBLE. It's an 11 miler, which would be my longest distance run ever. I am really looking forward to that run.

I know my mistake. I was going too fast on the strides. I was feeling so good this morning, that I overdid it a bit on the strides. I think I'm going to replace my strides with Fartlek intervals mixed in my mileage. I tend to maintain a little more control during Fartlek sessions than when I'm on a track. Something about a 400m or 200m track just tells my body to sprint.

Oh, by the way, I sent in my registration for the Athens Duck & Run 5k. Come on, send in that registration if you haven't already! Sept. 12 is the early registration deadline. Print this form, write a check, and come to Athens and race. Yeah, it's a Saturday which is my long run day, but I'm gonna move my long run around that week to accomodate my hometown's only annual race.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Well, today's workout doesn't much matter because I'm celebrating 14 amazing years of happy marriage today!

But, I'll post it anyway...
  • 15 min warm-up with 4x100m (estimated) strides.
  • 1 mile @ 6:32, 2 mins rest
  • 1 mile @ 6:37, 3 mins rest
  • 1 mile @ 7:05, 3 mins rest(I thought I was going to die on this one, and this one has a long quarter in it. No, really, one of the quarter mile markers on the Athens High track is a little long. Either that or I'm consistently 10-12 seconds slower on it for no other good reason. I think another one is a little short, but the short one wasn't in this mile.)
  • 1 mile @ 6:48, 3 mins rest
  • 15 min (maybe more) cool down
7.75 miles total

All in all a good start to the work-week, though I would rather not have had that 7 minute mile mixed in there.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day Off

Today was supposed to be a cruise workout with 4 x 1 mile repeats @ 6:42 per mile with 2-3 minutes in between. And yesterday was supposed to be a day off. But I ran 10k (6.2 miles) yesterday just to participate in the Nike+ Human race. I really wasn't into that run yesterday, and it showed. I struggled just to finish! My knee was OK, just a little sore. But every other body part of mine tried to convince me to stop running. My lungs, my arms, my legs, my shoulders, my heart, EVERYTHING said STOP! But I didn't and I lasted the 10k. I'm guessing that during the marathon, I'll hit a part of the race where that everything tells me to stop and I'll have to fight through it. I'm viewing yesterday's mistake of not taking my scheduled day off as practice fighting through that.

Today wasn't totally a day off. Check out what I did today. Keep in mind that this is a 6 year old car with 80k miles on it.
Yeah, that's my reflection in that door. It took me all day to get it to shine like that. No, I won't do your car! :) Surely that kind of work counts as cross-training?