Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quick Thoughts

First, thanks to everyone who has encouraged me since Cotton Row. Cotton Row is one of my favorite events, and I hope to be able to run it for years to come. It's a classic. I'll probably keep it as a circle on my calendar, too. I'm going to want to be at my best for that race every time I run it.

I haven't run since Monday, and I don't know when I will again. We're at Disney World, so I figure I'll get plenty of walking in over the next few days. I still plan to run as much as I can while I'm here, but I'm not sweating missed workouts this week. The important part of this vacation is time with my 3 favorite girls in the world! I'll regain any fitness I lose from this when I get back to reality.

I learned a few things from Monday.
  • I'm not as fast as I think I am! :)
  • I can still get faster.
  • I can have a bad race and a great day in the same day.
  • I should set more realistic (but still challenging) goals.
  • I have a pretty awesome set of family and friends around me.
Happy summer vacation! I'll tell Mickey "Hi" for you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cotton Row 10k Race Report

I need to preface this post... I'm pretty hard on myself. If you don't want to read me being hard on myself, then don't! And before I begin beating myself up, I must add these comments...
  1. Thanks to Dink and Suzanne Taylor for putting on a first class event! This event is great and gets better every year!
  2. Thanks to all the volunteers who make it possible!
  3. Congratulations to all the first time runners!
  4. Congratulations to both of my daughters for PR'ing in the mile! 9:37 and 9:52!!
And, just because I didn't run well today, I don't consider this a bad day. I had a ton of fun and I look forward to the rest of the day! I'm happy! I'm thankful for the ability to run and the insanity that makes me enjoy it! I'm just really disappointed in my performance today and I am going to take steps to improve it.

Well, I have to do it. If you put your goal out there, you have to eat the crow when you don't come close. Today, I didn't come close. The goal was sub 40:00. I don't know everything that went wrong today, but I do know a few things.

For those who just want to know the numbers... 41:54, 95th of 1838 finishers overall, and 12th of 158 in the 35-39 age group.

Now, the report.

I did not sleep well last night. I was just too excited. I really believed (note the past tense there) I could make a run at 40 on this course. I wanted to. I went over the course again and again in my head. I dreamed about running. I woke up several times. I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. That was expected, and I rested well Saturday night and took a nap on Sunday, so that's no excuse.

I arrived in plenty of time to do my warm up. I did about 1.8 miles with a couple of strides at race pace. I chatted with some friends and we all wished one another luck and I was on my way to the start. When the race started, there was a huge crowd around. I spent probably a bit too much energy weaving. I had picked out Joe Francica and John Geiger to try to pace from. I finished just behind both of them at the Cookie Dash 5k. I hit the one mile split just behind Joe at 6:06. John was also nearby. That was just a wee bit fast, but it shouldn't have created the disaster that it did.

I intentionally slowed after that to try to pace myself better. Joe then began to pull away. He was having a good day and obliterated 40:00 with a 39:04. John was still nearby. I hit the 2 mile mark at about 12:47, 6:40 for the mile. Woah! that was way too slow!!! And I have the most difficult mile ahead of me!

I then made the mistake of trying to make up some time. All I did was lose my breath as I started the first of the two small hills. I made it over the second small hill with a little left, but I just couldn't speed up on the slight downhill. I was gasping and hurting. I could see the turn to Mountainwood ahead, but it sure looked farther than it ever had. I was trying to hold on to hit the top in 20:30 to salvage a chance at my goal. I could hear "Rocky", but I knew I was in trouble. I made the turn onto Mountainwood and started to power up the hill as I had practiced. I heard the split... 19:40 something. That mile took almost 6:54. Yuck! I was over 20 seconds off my plan! I knew, though, that I had a chance if I could just hang on.

Then, just after the split, things began to unravel. I was struggling badly. I had nothing left and I did the unthinkable. I walked about 20 yards of Mountainwood. UGH!!! I've never walked any part of that hill ever before. Obviously, here John passed me. After settling down a bit, I started back up, grabbed some water at the aid station to just splash around my mouth to see if that would make it easier to breathe, but I was beyond repair. I tried hard, but I just couldn't go fast. It felt like I was going fast down the hill, but the split on this mile was a disaster. 7:20. Yep, 7:20. I did not expect a 7:20 mile today. I guess I'm almost arrogant enough to run a 7:20 warmup mile. I am in complete disbelief of that 7:20 mile. So, that puts me at 26:55, a full 1:15 off of my plan. I knew now that I had no chance.

So, I must admit, that I quit. That is completely inexcusable. With the fastest mile on the course still to go, I still had a chance at a PR. I was gutless, disappointed, and defeated. I ran the fastest mile on the course in a very disappointing and embarrassing 6:34 to be at 33 and change. In my dreams last night, I ran that mile in under 6:00. I probably cost John some time, too. I believe he was pacing off of me as much as I was pacing off of him. We were side by side for most of that mile.

I didn't do any better on the last mile, either. It's a very flat mile with only one small rise, and it took me 6:40 to cover it. On the flat part, John made his move and passed me. But so did about 6 or 8 other runners. I was the poor sap in the last mile that people were targeting to pick off. It made me a little angry, and I picked up the pace in the last half of the mile. Yep, I ran fast in the last half of the mile and still ran it in 6:40. Up the hill to Greene Street, I passed John, but I knew I would not be able to hold that lead. I'm now at 40:07 with the 0.2 (0.28 by my Garmin) to go.

As I expected, John had more of a kick at the end than I did. I heard him coming, and I knew he was going to finish ahead of me. I was spent and was just trying to hang on. I did the last 0.28 in 1:48, (6:21 pace), so I had a little something left at the finish, but not enough to hold off John.

All in all, it was a VERY disappointing effort. I trained. I was blessed and fortunate enough to avoid injury. We were blessed with as good of weather as you can expect (67, overcast, humid, and NO wind) on Memorial Day in Alabama. With all those advantages, I simply blew it.

What went wrong?
  1. My diet. I was very undisciplined for the past few weeks. I did not eat like someone who was focused on running a PR on a brutally difficult course. That won't happen again.
  2. I tapered too much. I shouldn't be tapering for 10k's. I took Sunday off and went extremely easy on Friday and Saturday, and the result was a stale and lethargic feeling instead of a fresh and rested feeling.
  3. I started too fast. My target was 6:15, and I should have run it in 6:20, but I ran it in 6:06. The result was FAR from a negative split on a course that begs to be negative split.
  4. I got lazy with my long runs. My long runs crept down to the 12-13 mile range instead of the 15-17 mile range. I will fix that this summer. My long runs will be at least 15 from now on. Period. And I'll mix in 20+ milers, too. When I run long like that, I have the confidence to convince myself that a 10k is short. Today, I couldn't convince myself that it wouldn't hurt for long.
  5. I skipped some hill workouts. I'm committing to do hill work at least biweekly, and maybe even weekly. I will not be defeated by Mountainwood again.
I had my 3 goals going into this race. Goal 1 was to break 40:00. Goal 2 was to set a PR (40:57). Goal 3, missing which defines disaster, was to break 42:00. I barely avoided disaster, and it sure feels like disaster.

This is a pivotal race for me. It's my first race ever that has not been a PR. How I respond is the test of the next few months. Right now, I'm determined to get my revenge on Cotton Row. I will break 40:00 next year, but hopefully I will have improved enough that 40:00 will not be a challenging enough goal.

Pictures soon.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cotton Row 10k Course

I'm taking it easy today hoping to have fresh legs and my best 10k effort yet tomorrow. I'm reviewing the course in my mind as preparation for tomorrow, so I'll share my thoughts.

The Overall Course
I've said before, and I'll say again that I really love this course as road courses go. It starts and finishes downtown and winds through some historical and beautiful neighborhoods. Most of the lawns are very well maintained and there is some shade on much of the course.

This is no doubt a negative split course. A negative split is almost a given here. The highest point of the course is almost exactly at the halfway point and there is significant elevation loss from there to the finish. You go from 853 feet to 621 feet in less than 3 miles, with only two very small, short uphill sections during that stretch. I would guess that most runners will negative split by 30 seconds or more.

The Start
The start is near the VBCC at the intersection of Clinton and Monroe. Runners start east on Clinton for a block and then turn right on Church St. Church St. has a small curve that can be straightened a little to shave a few feet off the distance before turning left on Lowe Ave. Lowe is curvy and also can be shortened a bit. I haven't had much time to practice this because there has always been traffic on the street when I run it. I've heard that the distance savings can be significant enough to be worth nearly 10 seconds. After crossing Adams St., you'll see the 1 mile split. If you want to meet your goal for the day, this needs to be at least 10 seconds ahead of your goal pace because 1) It's your first mile (duh), 2) It can be run short, 3) It's relatively flat. I'm hoping to hit this in 6:15 tomorrow.

Mile 2
The course transitions from downtown to neighborhood streets just after 1 mile. You're still on Lowe, but it becomes Fraser. There's a slight veer to the right onto Sierra before turning left onto Carmelian St. Carmelian can also be shortened slightly, but it is slight. Carmelian ends at McClung Ave. and runners will turn right. There is a cymetary on your left and houses on your right and the Mile 2 split just ahead. Again, you need to run this one well. It's only slightly uphill. You should run this one near your goal pace. 6:20, 12:35 is my target.

The Toughest Mile
Now, the course will show it's teeth. There is a very noticable incline up McClung to Owens Drive. It flattens and maybe gives back a few feet just as you turn on Owens, but then starts up again. These two hills always get me a little because I'm only thinking about Mountainwood, and I forget about these until I'm running them and feel my pace slipping. Mentally, these hills have been tougher for me than Mountainwood. Mountainwood I am expecting and psyched up for; these, I'm not so much. After topping the second portion of the incline on Owens, the street splits. Stay right and stay low. You'll start a slight climb again just as the street re-joins. This is a nice residential street. When you see Mountainwood, look out. Hang a left and start the most brutal climb on any 10k road race in the state. It's downright evil to put this hill on a 10k course. This hill defines this course. This hill is the course's identity. Everyone who runs this race remembers this hill. Those who don't run this race hear about this hill! Objectively, there are worse hills on road races across the country. But this hill gains 80 feet in just over 1/8 of a mile. It's steep! The 3 mile split is just about halfway up the hill. There is also a homeowner with a sense of humor near the top who is blasting the "Rocky" theme every year! Hope you didn't destroy your chances for your goal with this mile. It will be slower than your goal pace. I'm really hoping to run this mile no slower than 6:45. If I hit the first two miles as planned, anything below 7:00 should avoid a disaster. My target tomorrow is 6:45, 19:20.

Another Tough Mile
This mile begins with the remainder of Mountainwood to go! It's seriously uphill to begin. After topping Mountainwood, runners will turn right on Toll Gate Road and there will be aid. This is, I'm guessing, roughly the 5k split (though there's nobody there calling 5k splits). If you're 30 seconds or less behind your goal pace, you are in good shape to meet your goal. If I'm above 20:30 here, I will seriously have to fight the urge to give up. The road dips slightly to allow some recovery, then climbs again to the intersection of Toll Gate and Bankhead Parkway. The left on Bankhead is the sharpest turn on the course, but it isn't bad at all, though sharper than 90 degrees. Then, you get back the climbing you did! Bankhead is the most dangerous road on the course if you want to run it any day other than race day. There is no shoulder (but there is an awkward to get to sidewalk on the right hand side of the road) and there will be traffic. But on race day, just LET IT FLY! Traffic is controlled and you have some time to make up! Mile 4 ends at roughly the same elevation it begins, so run it in your goal pace, though it surely won't be an evenly paced mile. It's up at the beginning and down at the end. The 4 mile split is just beyond a left curve. I'm aiming for 6:20, 25:40.

The Fastest Mile!
Mile 5 is the fastest on the course. You MUST beat your goal pace on this mile, and you must beat it soundly. You'll finish the quad-busting downhill on Bankhead until it veers right and becomes Pratt Ave. That portion is seriously downhill. You have to fly. Take advantage of gravity and don't let your footstrike slow you down! Pratt will divide, and you'll turn left on Grayson for two blocks before turning right on Clinton. The Grayson/Clinton section is the flattest part of the course. Carry any downhill momentum if you can, but you will be slowing down now. The 5 mile split will be near Coleman St. I'm aiming for 6:05, 31:45.

Bring It Home!!!
Just after the 5 mile split, runners cross California St. just south of the 5 points area. Then, they'll go a block to take a left on White St., then a right on Randolph a block later. This stretch of the course has some well maintained homes with character. I like running this section. This is also a very flat portion of the course. Runners will follow Randolph back to the downtown area. On the way back, there is one more hill that leads up to Greene St. It isn't a bad hill at all, but it is late. Hill probably isn't even the right word. Rise, maybe. Just know that it is all downhill from there! After crossing Greene St., turn right on Washington, then left on Clinton a block later. From here, you can see the finish!!!! Don't get too excited, though because it's farther than it looks! HOLD ON!!! DO NOT LET UP!!! After that turn on Clinton, I'm guessing that I'll have about 2:15 to the finish. It's between 0.3 and 0.4 miles to the finish, closer to 0.4. You may see the 6 mile split painted on the road, but nobody will be there calling splits. I'm aiming for 6:25 + 1:15 for 39:25. That's not much room for error to break 40:00.

Wish me luck. I hope this course tour helps you if you're running the Cotton Row Run 10k.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Winding Down!

Yesterday I joined Eric F. for an easy 5 miler at lunch. There was a little heat at the end of the run, but it wasn't too bad. We went at about an 8:05 pace, and ended up doing about 5.45 miles total. I didn't want to go far or fast. I'm saving up! Nice run and thanks, Eric.

Today, I was going to run the course with the Fleet Feet group, but I was late getting started out of the house. When I got there, there were several people still there and I ended up running the 5k course with my friend Jennifer. She's running her first 5k at Cotton Row on Monday and is doing great!

After that, I played several games of racquetball to get moving and to relax. It was great fun! I'm getting more excited. I hope I have it in me!

Tomorrow, as part of my preparation, I plan to blog a description of the 10k course.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Easy Does It

I'm going easy from now until race day. There's nothing I can do between now and Monday to get more ready. I'm just trying to rest and stay fresh.

I wanted to get up early and run this morning, but I had neither the energy nor motivation to go out the door this morning. I brought my stuff to run at lunch, but the day didn't afford an opportunity to go out for lunch today. That's why I usually go in the morning. Too much can happen in the course of a day.

This afternoon, Erin (my daughter) wanted to run some. She wants to run in the Eurocross 5k at UAH on June 6, so I'm encouraging her. I haven't been working with her enough, but she has been running at PE at school. She ran 0.8 at PE today, and wanted to run 2 miles with me this afternoon. The block we live on is a 0.5 mile loop, so we started running around the block. She made it 3 laps and could have done more, but Lindsey (her twin sister) was on her bike and she wanted to ride some. So, I did 1.5 miles with her at about an 11:30 pace. I'm sure she'll be able to finish the 5k on June 6.

After that, I took off for a 7 miler at an 8:00 pace. The weather was nice, and the run was easy. I hope I'm ready.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cotton Row 10k Again

Monday will be the most prepared I've been for a race course ever. I've run the Cotton Row 10k course nearly 10 times in the past couple of months. I know the turns well. I know where the mile markers are. I know where the hills are. I know what's coming next at any point on the course. I know both how far from the start and finish I am most anywhere on the course. I think I'm going to like running the race knowing the course that well.

I met Mike this morning at 5:45 (those of you who know me know that 5:45 means 5:50) to run the 10k course. I was a bit disheveled this morning because of a lack of sleep (for the second night in a row) and I wasn't in my car. I am just a bit out of my routine this week.

Anyway, we started at about a 7:30 pace and it felt like I was sprinting! Mike was clearly pulling me along. I will have to warm up well without cooking all my eggs before this race. after about a mile and a half, I was settled into a comfortable pace near 7:00. I didn't want to go too hard today, but I did want to test a few things on the course. Mile 3 is going to be a killer. Up the hill on Mountainwood, I pushed pretty hard, but not like I will on race day. Then, I tried to hit 7:00 pace as soon as possible after topping the hill. I was successful with that. On race day, I'm hoping to hit 6:25 as soon as possible after that hill. I let it fly on mile 5, trying to go about race pace, but again, I didn't want to go too hard today. I want to save something for my legs for Monday.

I finished in 43:59. I did start my watch a little early (so splits aren't exact) and I did double back on the course some. I just need to shave 4 minutes off of that by Monday!!
  1. 7:25
  2. 6:59
  3. 7:04
  4. 6:54
  5. 6:28
  6. 6:54
  7. 2:12

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Today was a perfect day to run. Today was one of those days that truly makes me wish that everyone was a runner. That's because those who aren't runners miss getting out on mornings like this, enjoying the weather, enjoying the company of good friends, and pushing the body. Today's weather was perfect, mostly clear, low 40's, 80% humidity or so. Now most folks may think that is cold, or cooler than comfortable at least. But when you're running, that is amazing weather!

The plan for today was 8 x 400m at 5k pace with one minute rest in between. Now, I just can't run 400m at 5k pace; I feel like I have to run them faster. My goal was 85-90 seconds. I met Lanier and Matt at the Athens track at 5:00 AM. I felt really good except for the lack of sleep. I was up until almost midnight working last night. So, I could have used an extra 3 hours of sleep. But other than that, I felt great.
  1. 1:23
  2. 1:26
  3. 1:30 (long quarter, 0.27, this actually was the fastest one in terms of pace)
  4. 1:21
  5. 1:27
  6. 1:24
  7. 1:23
  8. 1:22
After the quarters, we ran an easy cool down for about 6.3 miles total. Nice running today Matt and Lanier!

Now, I'm just trying to stay rested, fresh, injury free, and mentally tough this week so that Monday I can truly give a quality effort.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday 10 Miler in Athens

The crowd is thinning for the weekly 10 miler, but I'm going to keep doing it, except for next week. I'll be taking next week off to rest up for Cotton Row 10k. Today, 5 runners were there for the weekly 10 miler through Athens. It was good to see Mike there after he had to take a few weeks off to allow some injuries to heal.

It was much cooler and windier than I expected this morning. It was a VERY nice morning for a run. It sprinkled on us for a couple of miles, but it was just about as good as running weather gets in May in Alabama. It was a no excuses kind of a day.

Carl, Mike, and I were up front, with Lanier and Mark Y. running an easier pace. Mike pushed the pace early, and it did feel more difficult than it actually was. By the mid miles, though, Carl and I were both able to carry on conversation at a pace in the low 7:00 range. We finished up in 1:11:30 for a 7:09 average pace.
  1. 8:22
  2. 7:11
  3. 7:05
  4. 7:11
  5. 7:12
  6. 7:00
  7. 7:03
  8. 7:05
  9. 6:43
  10. 6:29
Nice. I think Carl had a little more left in the tank this morning than I did. Thanks for the run and the push, guys!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday and More on Friday

After yesterday's track workout, I was a little discouraged. I only ran one of the miles at or below my target pace, and I didn't finish the workout. If I had it to do over, I would have forced myself to do that last mile. Oh well. I was totally spent. At the time Friday morning, I didn't know if I had another mile to give, but I should have failed trying instead of quitting. As punishment, I ran an extra mile on my cool down just because.

Then, Eric F. mentioned that he was going to run at lunch yesterday. I was a little behind on my mileage for the week, so I joined him. It was a nice (hot) lunch time 5 miler at 7:58 pace. I needed something else to make me feel better about the day. So, I got 13 miles in total on Friday, with 4.5 of those really hard (oh how I wish I could say 5 of those at 5k pace).

Today, because of some things scheduled around the house, I was not able to go and join the Fleet Feet group running Cotton Row. So, I slept until about 7:45 (WOW! That's the latest I have slept in a LONG time!!!) and then went for an easy run that began in the rain. It was a very nice run. When the rain stopped, it was warm and steamy, but not too hot. It was really a tolerable day for a run. I didn't know how far I would go when I left the house, I just knew that I didn't want to go faster than 8:00 pace (but I ended up running a few sub 8:00 miles).

At about the 8.5 mile mark, I ran into a friend, Lance, who has been running for a couple of weeks and is already running 4+ miles at about a 9:00 pace. I was glad to join him for about a mile and a half. It's always great to see folks running and to catch up on things going on. Hope to see you running more often, Lance.

I ended up running 11.1 miles mostly at an 8:00 pace. My legs were sore from yesterday's speed work, but nothing beyond normal soreness. I hope to have something in the tank for tomorrow's 10 miler. I'm sure Carl will be pushing me again! I'm looking forward to it... Then, I'm easing up to be ready for CRR 10k. I'm still hoping for sub 40:00, but yesterday's speed work helped me to realize just how ambitious that goal is.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday thru Friday

Slacking on my updates again... But I'm busy. I haven't been on Facebook much, either.

Wednesday, I woke up early to get in an 8 miler on the Cherry Creek trail that runs through downtown Denver. The weather was perfect for running! I wish we could just sometimes get dry air like that here in Alabama. It was about 55 and like 0% humidity. I ran a 7:50 average pace, including an 8:30 warm up and cool down mile. Then, I had to rush to catch my plane.

Thursday, I was just too exhausted from the trip to get up early. I planned to do something at lunch, but ended up working right through lunch. I even forgot to eat, and ended up having a handful of peanuts and pretzels for lunch. And the problem with that is that I ate too much at dinner.

This morning, I met Lanier for our weekly speed work. He was kind enough to accommodate my crazy travel schedule. The plan called for 5 x 1 mile at 5k pace. What?!?!?!?!? That seemed excessive to me! And, we didn't finish and I was below 5k pace for only one mile. I am a bit disappointed in my performance in today's workout. I did 4 and a half miles. I guess that if I had really pushed, I could have gone another half mile. But my feet were heavy today. Even during the warm up and cool down, my footstrike was unusually loud. I couldn't really correct it. My feet were just heavy. They were heavy during the speed work, too. I wish I knew what was causing that.
  1. 6:19
  2. 6:07 (ouch! and I paid for it with slow, painful next miles)
  3. 6:19
  4. 6:21
  5. 3:06
That was weak, I know. But every one of those was more difficult than the one before it. I would blame the humidity (it was beyond muggy this morning), but it will be hot and humid on race day. I can't use that excuse. I guess I can blame my nutrition this week. It hasn't been very good. I indulged in a burger and a slice of cheesecake (my two favorite indulgences) Tuesday night, and skipped lunch yesterday. My nutrition has much room for improvement.

Ten more days to race day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Catch Up!

This is probably the longest stretch I've gone without updating the blog. I simply haven't had time! Whew, what a week.

I did hill repeats at lunch Thursday. I was simply too tired to wake up early and do it. It worked out, though. I needed some hot weather work, and Thursday was HOT. I forgot to bring my watch, so I have no idea how I did. I ran up and down Stoneway Trail on Rainbow Mountain 3 times and then did a short hill on Thomas Drive. Then I had to hurry back to work for a 1:00 meeting.

I took Friday off. I planned to run about 8 or so. When I woke up, my knees hurt for the first time in a LONG time. Maybe it was the hills? Maybe it was that the shoes that I ran in on Wednesday and Thursday have about 530 miles on them. I don't know, but both knees were sore so I took the day off.

I did the double Cotton Row 10k plus racquetball workout again on Saturday. That's a good way to start a weekend. I ran the course much easier this time, though. I ran the course with my friend and perennial female masters winner Whitney. I ran the last mile and a half at about my target 10k race pace, but ran the rest of the run at about 8:00 to 8:10, with an occasional burst of 7:00 - 7:20 pace mixed in. My racquetball skills were not as good as the previous week, but I still played well enough to win a game or two. And I bought some new shoes to replace those old shoes. You know the drill, buy from Fleet Feet. So far, the knees are fine.

I spent Saturday afternoon tending to my daughter who had a bicycle accident. She's fine now, but Saturday was scary. I was up till near 1 AM which clearly affected the Sunday AM run.


Again, I did the usual Athens Sunday 10 miler. Carl and Lee were with me in the lead pack. I was really tired from the night before, and had a TON of things to do to prepare for Mother's Day. So, I had to bail on the guys when they were about at the 8.5 mile mark. I ended up with about 11.2 or so miles total because I ran from my house to the start of the 10 miler. Lee was the alpha male in this run, but Carl hung tough, too. I sissied out, but I had to. I was feeling the effects of lost sleep and I just had to get my house work done before church. They ran a record (for this run, certainly not a record for either of them) 1:11 for the 10 miler. Nice job.

Also, for this run, I'm guessing the distances because the battery was completely dead on my watch. I didn't have time to sync it up from Saturday's run, and I left it on all day and night Saturday, and it was dead Sunday morning. I usually call out the splits on that run, but we were running the whole thing blind Sunday. It turned out ok, though.

Meetings all day in Denver. Simply no time for exercise.

The schedule called for 8x200m at 5k-15s pace??? That seemed light. I was pushed for time in the morning, so I did 2 mile warm up and then did 4x400m at 1:30 each on a treadmill. Even at a mile high, that didn't challenge me. So, at lunch, I took advantage of this splendid weather here in Denver and ran 6 miles along Cherry Creek at about a 7:35 pace. AWESOME!!! It was a beautiful run. I didn't get to eat because of the run, but it was SOOOO worth it. I'm going to do that same route, but 8 or 9 miles tomorrow morning.

Happy birthday Leigh!!! I'm sorry I'm not home for it.

That catches us up! I haven't really been slacking, I've just been slacking on updating the blog.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Easy 10

This morning was an easy 10 (okay, 9.8) miler. I ran at about an 8:10 pace from my house around town and around the high school and greenway. It's cool that I can say "easy 10 miler". :) It was an enjoyable, slightly wet run. Just logging miles today. Hills tomorrow.

I've gotten a few hits on my blog from folks looking for Cotton Row course information. I'll write up a course description soon, but for now, here's the elevation profile from my Garmin. This is using DTEM data, and not just the guesstimate that the Garmin does, so it should be pretty close.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


First, I have to congratulate my good friend and Mount Cheaha 50k training partner, Matt, on the birth of his daughter, Sarah, yesterday! Congratulations! I'm so happy for the family! I am also thankful to God that both mother and baby are okay. Matt, a daughter will absolutely melt your heart! Jenny, now you're not as badly outnumbered! And, now the boys have a little sister to love and protect, and I'm sure they will. Sarah is truly blessed to be born into such a great family. JOY!! JOY!!! Congratulations! And, yes, the birth of your daughter is an acceptable excuse to miss a speed workout. :)

Yesterday was an easy 3 treadmill miles at 8:20 pace followed by a "pull" workout.

This morning, I met Lanier for 8 x 800m at 5k pace (3:07 per 800m). Today was really a good workout. It's the first time in two weeks that I gave the workout the effort it deserved and I left the track feeling like I could have done another rep or two. And I really enjoyed the company this morning. The weather was humid, but not as hot as it's going to be. It was about 60 F and about 92% humidity with no wind.
  1. 3:03
  2. 3:07
  3. 3:05
  4. 2:59
  5. 3:05
  6. 3:06
  7. 3:05
  8. 3:00
Every one of those was at or below my goal time!! And I didn't slow down at the end!! I'm very pleased with today's workout. And Lanier really kicked it in on the last one, too!

A great start to the day!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday 10 Miler in Athens

We had a low turnout for this morning's weekly 10 miler in Athens. Maybe the weather forecast kept some folks away. I know a few are battling injury, and others were elsewhere or recovering. There were 4 of us, which is the second lowest turnout yet.

When I left my house to run to the rec center to meet the group, I knew that I was in for a long day. I could feel everything that I did yesterday! I was running an 8:15 pace, and it felt like 7:20. Every step was more difficult than the previous one. That's what I get! I should have thought about today's workout yesterday while I was hammering the end of the second CR loop and while I was going all out while playing racquetball.

The pace today was a little slower than what should be my tempo pace. However, I accomplished one of the goals of a tempo run today. I was tired and wanted to stop, and I maintained the pace to the end of the run anyway. I did want to quit about 8 miles in, and Carl talked me out of it! Thanks. I'm glad I stuck it out. Also thanks to Matt for giving me a ride back home from the rec center. I could have run home, but I would have done not much better than a 9 minute pace. I was glad I didn't have to.

Fortunately, the weather cooperated today. It was muggy, but it wasn't too hot. It rained just enough to cool us down at about the 4 or 5 mile mark. Carl wished for it, and we got it. It was so humid, though, that we were soaked for the rest of the run. There was no drying out.

10 miles in 1:13:43, which is 2 seconds faster than last week.
  1. 8:22
  2. 7:37
  3. 7:28
  4. 7:28
  5. 7:05
  6. 7:14
  7. 7:12
  8. 7:00
  9. 7:03
  10. 7:07

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Double Cotton Row

The Fleet Feet of Huntsville sponsored training runs for Cotton Row began today, I think. While I'm talking about Fleet Feet, I'll go ahead and do a commercial. I don't work there or have any relationship with them except that I'm a satisfied customer. Those guys are great. Go there to buy your running gear. They know the sport and will take care of you. The customer experience at Fleet Feet in Huntsville is second to none. Also, they do more to support the local running community than any entity I can think of. I wouldn't think of buying running gear anywhere else. Great staff and GREAT owners.

There were two groups, one that met at 6:00 and one that met at 7:00. The 6:00 group is the faster group. I didn't get in the lead pack with Marty and Greg (those guys are just out of my league fast), but stayed in the second pack with Joey and a guy I met this morning, Jeff. We ran just about 7:22 average pace for the 6.2. With the second group, nobody ran my pace, so I took off and ran alone. Joey and Marty were coaching the next steps groups. Great work, guys.

On the second time around, I ran the first two miles much closer to 8:00 and I stopped and chatted with a fellow named Steve at the top of the Mountainwood hill. Then, I really tried to pour it on at the end. I didn't go race pace, but I wanted to finish the 12.4 miles very strong, and I ran those at about 6:45 each. Even with the slow miles and the stop, I ran the second loop in 46:43 for a 7:30 average pace. Then I finished up with a cool down mile and headed to the gym.

Yep, I went to the gym after 13+miles and played racquetball for the first time in at least 2 or 3 months. I forgot how much fun racquetball is. Surprisingly, I was able to compete. I really didn't expect to play well. However, during doubles, I heard the opposition talking to each other about keeping the ball away from me and hitting to my partner. :) I went 1-1 in singles, losing at 13 to one of the top 3 players at the gym. I played 7 games total. I love racquetball!

Friday, May 1, 2009


I don't remember the last time that I took 3 days off in a week. I do NOT like it. There have been two days this week that travel and work simply prohibited any form of exercise. I look back at those days, and I honestly don't know where I would have fit it in. I should have scheduled differently.

Today, I planned to run at 6:00 AM. Well, at 6:00 AM, it was raining, thundering, and lightning. Bad. I should have sucked it up and gone to the gym and run on the treadmill, but I opted for sleep. I justified it by convincing myself I would go to the gym at lunch. Well, I got an email informing me of a 12:15 meeting. Yuck. Who schedules that? Who isn't at lunch at 12:15?

I'm really frustrated with this week. If I miss my goal at Cotton Row, I can look back at this week as a true setback. My diet was garbage. My sleep was awful. I'm stressed out. I only have 29 miles in this week. After tomorrow, I should get that above 40, which is the only consolation I have this week.

Slacker I am.