Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tempo Thursday

I did an easy 5 miler yesterday to work out the residual stiffness from Tuesday's VO2 session. I went at an 8:00 pace. I only had 42 minutes because I slept a bit late, so I had to bring all the miles in around 8:00 to be sure I got in a decent amount of miles.

Today, Matt came over and we ran over to the track and did 2 x 2 miles tempo. I haven't gotten enough sleep lately, so I knew I didn't have the mental energy to focus on pace for 4 straight miles, but I wanted some quality work today. 2 x 2 was the compromise. It was difficult even with the compromise! There was a longer than reasonable 5 min break between the 2 milers.
  1. 6:36
  2. 6:44
  3. 6:41
  4. 6:44
Those miles do measure just a bit long on my Garmin, so they are probably just a bit faster than that. Maybe 6:32-6:39 or so. I still think that may be just a bit too fast for tempo miles, but once I settle in to that pace, I want to hold it.

I was pleased with the way I fought through the urge not to go and the urge to quit today. Matt helped me to overcome both of those urges. Running partners help! I still see poor nutrition and too little sleep as my biggest training weaknesses right now. Those are solvable problems. I must solve them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday VO2 Workout

I took yesterday off after a hard weekend. Today, I met Carl, Mark and Kris for some 1200m repeats at Lockheed field. This workout was interesting because the unsure footing and small hill at the end add a little difficulty. So, I think equivalent effort on a 400m track would have yeilded faster splits.

Carl was the rabbit today! All of his splits were a few seconds faster than mine. The 1200's were just a little short, 0.72, 0.73, 0.74, and 0.73. We have it figured out now in case we want to do 1200's there again.
  1. 4:28 (6:11 pace)
  2. 4:32 (6:15 pace)
  3. 4:27 (6:04 pace)
  4. 4:28 (6:08 pace)
That was my best set of 1200 repeats ever. I'm usually a bit slower on the 3rd one. The difference was that today, I had someone to chase on that 3rd one, so I gutted it out. The last one was hard! I was still chasing, too. VO2 sessions are much better when someone is there to push or pull you.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Morning 10 Miler

I'm really thankful that the Sunday morning 10 miler is such a regular thing. I would absolutely mail it in some Sunday mornings if I didn't have folks meeting me there. Today may have been such a day. I mean, I had a 60+ mile week last week. I did my long run yesterday. Don't I deserve a day off?

I was glad to see Carl and Matt there this morning. We did the usual route. We actually made an effort not to go too hard at the end today. Last weeks finish was fun, but it had consequences! I was toast for two days! We did the 10 in 1:20 or so. I struggled with the first mile, but settled in. The last 4 were close to 7:35.

It was a nice run!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

16 Miler

I slept a little later than I wanted to this morning. That put me a bit behind getting started with the run. I felt pretty good, if a little tired. I must learn to get to bed earlier. Period. Right now, I recognize that as my biggest training weakness. I just have to find the discipline to improve it.

I gave another read to Coach McMillan's marathon training long run philosophy. I decided that today would be the day that I try a long, slow distance without carbs. Now, mind you, I don't want to be doing any runs that are 2 minutes per mile slower than my marathon goal pace. 1:00 to 1:15 slower is more like it for me. So, I kept it near 8:40 for most of the run. And I did not take any carbohydrates before or during the run. I did not bonk like I thought I would. I finished the last two miles under 8:00, so I had something left at the end without any carbs. I may try this again to adapt to burning fat and to train my muscles to be more efficient at storing glucose. I was tired, but still felt strong at the end. I guess that next I need to try one of his recommended fast finish long runs.

I ran much of the run with Matt this morning. The run also had a few pleasant surprises. I had a chance to run a couple of early miles with my friend Lance and a few late miles with another friend Tim. The miles are much more enjoyable with good company! There's joy in living in a small town and knowing many of the people I see while I'm out running.

One other note is that today capped off a 63 mile week. WOW. I think that's the 3rd or 4th time that I've broken 60. I'd like to break 70 and maybe even 80 during marathon training. I'm starting to get a bit of confidence back that I had lost over the past few weeks.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Getting ready for the weekend...

I'm hoping for a fairly high mileage weekend. Gearing up for that, I did 2 easy, 2 marathon pace, and 2 easy for six total miles today. The weather was lovely!!! I'm hoping for a solid base building weekend. The plan is for 16 or 17 on Saturday and the usual Sunday 10 miler.

I am feeling a bit fatigued. I think that's just a lack of sleep coupled with an increase in stress recently. I hope it's not a sign of burnout or overtraining.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I planned to do 10-12 miles this morning. I could feel Tuesday's tempo run. I didn't want to get out of bed. I wasn't ready to start when Matt showed up. I hoped he wouldn't come. I was struggling. But he showed up.

It was a struggle just to get started. It took us near 10 minutes to cover the first mile! But soon after that, we hit a 8:15 groove. After about 5 miles I figured it was as good a time as any to do some marathon pace miles. Those three MP miles were harder than I expected, but so was the entire run today. So, I don't read too much into that. Then we held on for about an 8:15 pace for the rest of the run home.

9.75 total miles with 3 miles at marathon pace. Just a little more humid than comfortable, but still bearable weather.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Easy day

I did an easy 4 miler in the rain this morning. I loved the weather! I feel great after yesterday's tempo run.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ahh Tempo

Last night, I did an easy 5.5 miler at 8:15 pace.

Matt came over at 5:45 this morning and we jogged over to the Athens High walking track. There were lots of people out this morning!

The plan was to do a 4 mile tempo run. We really had to talk each other into it this morning. I had no "go" in me. I didn't feel like transitioning from the easy pace into tempo pace. But, I reasoned, the weather won't get better than this. If we don't do quality work this morning, we will wish we had when the weather heats up. So, we extended our warmup a half mile (probably not a bad idea given the cooler temps) and off we went.
  1. 6:41
  2. 6:35
  3. 6:39
  4. 6:39
I really liked the consistency. I could not have run that last mile faster. I was ready to be finished. My Garmin has the miles shorter than the track has them marked. I'm not sure which is more accurate. My garmin had it at 4.09 miles and a 6:30 average pace.

The cool down was quicker than normal, about an 8:05 pace. Warm up, tempo, and cool down were a total of 8.2 miles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Morning 10 Miler

I think I redeemed myself for last week's pitiful 10 miler. I really struggled last week. I felt great for the rest of the day after the race yesterday. Is it the weather? Probably so! I ran over, ran a hard 10 miler, and ran back home for almost 14 total this morning.

I had been looking forward to this morning's run since I first saw the cool forecast. It was about 56F when we started and about 65F when we finished. It was humid, but VERY comfortable. I can't wait for fall running!

It was good to see Glen and Mark Y. join us for the run today. We started with an 8:47 mile and finished with a 6:23 mile. Nice.
  1. 8:47
  2. 8:19 (the last above 8:00)
  3. 7:50
  4. 7:58
  5. 7:50
  6. 7:53
  7. 7:39 (I was starting to push the pace a little, feeling great)
  8. 7:21
  9. 6:57
  10. 6:23 (This was all Matt. Thanks!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

WC Handy Festival Da Doo Run 5k

I rode over to Florence with Carl this morning to run the WC Handy Festival Da Doo Run Run 5k. The overall results and the age group results are at the Shoals TRAC website.

The winner as usual was Josh Whitehead, followed by Hirbo Hirbo and my friend Eric Charette. I ran a 19:47 for 2nd of 11 in the 35-39 age group and 17th of 253 overall. Carl took 1st place in the 45-49 age group. The masters winner, Bill Fanning, hammered out an impressive 17:15.

The weather was great today. I've been excited about this race since Thursday when I knew I would run it. I slept great both Thursday and Friday night. Today was a no excuses day. I wanted to break 19 or at least PR. I didn't really come close to either. I'm just not in my best 5k shape right now. I'd like to break 19 before I get too serious about Rocket City. It's possible, but I have to learn to hurt a little more.

We arrived with plenty of time to register and get a thorough warmup in. We spoke to Eric Charette before registering. When I saw him, I knew he had an overall award in mind. Carl and I did a 2 mile warmup, running the first mile and back. The last mile of the race covers much of the first mile, so we got to see just under 2/3 of the course during our warmup. That was definitely helpful. I got a chance to chat with Barry and Bud from Elkmont while waiting for the start.

Mile 1
This is a very interesting course. I do believe I can run it faster than I did today. I like it and I will try to run this again next year. It starts with a gradual climb, a slight loss of the climb and then a significant uphill.

I was standing next to Josh at the starting line. I was absolutely amazed by how fast he started. He had a huge lead and he was out of sight when I made the first turn. I don't know his first mile split, but it had to be well under 5:00. He is definitely a start fast and hold on 5k runner.

I struggled to get through the crowd in the first mile. Some guy in headphones would not let me pass. RUDE! It's a 5k, people. Do without headphones for a little while. Ugh. I had to tap him to get by. PEOPLE!

Carl passed me heading up the hill on Tennessee Street to Court Street. I passed several folks going up that hill. After the turn onto Court St. to head toward UNA I passed a couple more. I don't remember getting passed again until the last few feet. I hit that mile in 6:15. Not bad, but I knew that sub 19 was gone.

Mile 2
There's not much to tell here. This mile was more uphill than I expected. I was just trying to keep Carl in my sight. I began to realize that he would have to come back to me. His lead was pretty solid. Also, the course doubles back after a loop and it was awkward coming back into some folks going out. This would be my only complaint with the course. It seemed like we were crossing traffic. This mile took a disappointing 6:24 to cover.

Mile 3
I still had Carl in my sight for the 3rd mile. I also had young Tanner Ryan in my sight. I wanted to pass him, but I just didn't have the guts. I closed on him and got almost even going down the big hill that we climbed in the first mile. On the ascent, he opened his lead just a little more. We both passed another man here, but I did not know him. After crossing the 3 mile split, I tried to kick it in. I really didn't kick it in soon enough here. Tanner turned it on, too, and his fast is faster than my fast. I should have found the guts to make a strong move with a half or a quarter mile to go. Who knows if I would have held it? I probably wouldn't have because of his youth.

I covered the 3rd mile in 6:15.

Stacey LeMay came on with a strong all out sprint at the end to finish about a step and a half ahead of me. We had the same finishing time, so it was close. I didn't know he was coming! I was totally surprised by that.

All in all, this is a good event. The band, Crossroads, was VERY good. I really enjoyed the blues music pre and post race. This is my second Shoals TRAC race, and those guys know what they're doing. I enjoyed meeting several shoals runners and hanging out with Carl and Eric after the race.

No sub 19 and no PR today. Oh well, maybe another day. I felt like I could hold the pace for another couple of miles, but I didn't feel like I could go faster. I recovered from the race and was ready to run again very quickly, and I felt great for the rest of the day. Maybe I'm just not conditioned for 5k's? Or maybe I'm just not as fast as I think I am.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Things appear to be approaching normal both at work and at home. This means that I can get back to a reasonable exercise schedule. I managed to get in all my workouts this week in spite of the schedule challenges. Most of that is thanks to a very supportive and understanding wife. She's the greatest.

Wednesday evening, after church, I fit in a quick 3 miler with each mile getting progressively faster. 8:30, 8:00, 7:30. I just wanted to move my feet and finish faster. Success!

Yesterday, less than 9 hours after the 3 miler, I met Matt for an 8-10 miler that almost always is closer to 10. We did 9.75 yesterday with our fastest miles in the last 3. It wasn't a fast run, but it was a good one.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's WC Handy 5k in Florence. I asked Leigh which race she would prefer for me to do tomorrow, and she chose the morning race. I'd like to go to the HTC Twilight 5k and see more of my friends, but the 8:00 AM time slot is a better fit for me. Here's hoping that I have 3.1 fast miles in my legs tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back on Track?

My schedule is still crazy this week. I'm trying really hard to get workouts in, no matter what. The past couple of days, getting in a workout has meant no lunch. That's not necessarily a bad thing since I ate a snack both before and after the workout each day.

Yesterday was a full body resistance workout at lunch. I probably pushed a little harder than I should because I honestly thought I was going to throw up at the end of the workout. That has never happened to me while lifting weights. I was in a rush, so I limited the time between sets. It was a tough one!

Last night, I ran 6 easy miles with 4 x 100m strides during the 4th mile.

1200m repeats at 12:30 PM in July in Alabama? Yep, that's a bad idea. It was my only opportunity today, though. So I slathered on the sunscreen and braved the 92F sunny moderately humid afternoon. I ran these on the 400m track around the football field. I love that surface and I love the consistency of the distance of each quarter. I don't like being completely protected from the breeze that usually comes from the west.

Was it a bad idea? Well, the heat and sweat slinging off my hands as I pumped my arms and the misery of hanging on in that last lap of the last 1200 indicate it was a terrible idea. However, the sense of accomplishment in hanging on and the gained confidence of finishing the workout in the stifling heat made it worth it.
  1. 4:45
  2. 4:45
  3. 4:53 (why do I struggle with the 3rd one?)
  4. 4:46
7.9 miles total. It actually felt pretty good. Well, that's a lie. It feels good to have done it. That's what I meant.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Morning Short 10 Miler

I was VERY tired when I met the usual group at the usual place for the usual route this morning. This week has been brutal with both work and personal responsibilities. I haven't slept well and I haven't run as much and I haven't been to the gym at all. I had several good weeks in a row, but the past two weeks have not been up to par. Both quantity and quality have dipped. I have to get back on track quickly if I'm going to hit my big goal (BQ) this year.

Yesterday, Matt and I ran around Athens for 16 miles in the heat of the day. Yep, we were running from about 11:00 to 1:00. The late start was born of necessity. I would gladly have gotten started earlier, but it just didn't work out. It was a struggle to hold on. 17 was the target, but I was happy to stop after 16. The pace was about 8:45. I realized too late that I didn't have any gels. All I could find were Jujyfruits. While they're ok when you're mindlessly chewing during a boring movie, I don't know of any marathon champions who fueled on Jujyfruits. It was a struggle to hang on, but I finished strong at near an 8:00 pace in very uncomfortable heat and humidity.

I didn't sleep well last night (or the previous two nights), and Jujyfruits and chocolate milk was just about all of my carb intake yesterday. I woke up tired and I just wasn't able to hang on. This was the worst that I have tanked the Sunday morning run yet. We started at about a 8:50 pace. That gradually dipped to 8:00. By the 5 mile mark, I was toast. I wasn't hurting. I wasn't struggling to breathe. My heart rate wasn't unusually high. I just had no gas (well, no fuel, I did have a little gas). I had to stop and walk for about a quarter mile. Carl and Scott kept cruising. Matt and I ran the next few miles at about 8:20 or so. I cut off a turn to make the route about 0.7 miles shorter and Scott was waiting near the turn. Carl had left him, too. Carl was SMOKIN this AM.

Carl caught us at about the time that we turned onto the high school track, and I was happy to bring in that last half mile at about a 6:45 pace with him. It was fun! But there is no way that I could have hung with him for the whole 10 miles this morning.

I ended up with 9.3 total this morning. Better than none, but I'm hoping for a better week.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Not so much...

This has been one of the craziest weeks ever. I've had no time to run. Sometimes, life gets in the way of running. Some things are more important than miles and this week has been about those things.

One thing I've learned is that a few days off won't kill you. Watch your diet when you're forced to take time off and you'll be fine. Don't let a few days stretch into a few weeks, but don't panic. Other things are more important and when forced to take a few days off, previous hard work will pay off and carry you through that time without any real appreciable loss in conditioning.

At the beginning of the week I was concerned that I would do too many hard runs this week. Then, life happened and I don't know that I'll even get 20 miles in this week. It's a humbling reminder that I am not in control and I am not most important.

I did an easy 8 miler with Matt yesterday. It felt great and I felt very strong at the end. I'm filled with the urge to hit the road as soon as I can! I just don't know when that will be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Holiday Weekend

I was set to have a very high mileage holiday weekend. I ran 11 miles Friday morning and 15.25 miles Saturday morning. The 15 miler was at an easy 8:20 pace. It was hard to hang on at the end, but I did finish strong. Then, I spent all day with family after that.

Saturday was a GREAT day. The kids and I had tons of fun! Thanks Don and Sue and Alex and Lori! I was exhausted Saturday night and slept well until about 3:30 AM when the storms rolled in! The thunder and lightning lasted until about 6:30, so there was no Sunday morning 10 miler. I was looking forward to seeing how my body would handle the miles. I actually felt great all day Sunday. I felt like I could run that 10 miler with marathon pace and even tempo pace miles to finish.

I should have run in the afternoon on Sunday, but I wasted the time watching Wimbledon instead. Tough luck Roddick. I was squeezing for Roddick, but Federer is just too good. I was really proud of the American because he had several opportunities to quit and he didn't. He never quit. His improved conditioning is really paying off. I hope today's disappointment doesn't set him back. He will win a Wimbledon. He just ran into the greatest tennis player of all time on one of his best days. Federer's best is just a little better than Roddick's best. WOW!!

Today, I ran 9.2 miles and finished with about 2.5 miles at goal marathon pace. It felt GREAT! I'm ready for the week now.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Back Out There

One day off turned into two. And that is fine with me. I wish I could say that I rested during my days off, but I was traveling and working and not sleeping.

Today, I hit the road with Matt this morning. We wanted to just get in some time on our feet. The weather was GREAT! We were aiming for 8-10 miles, and I thought Matt was going to have to carry me when we started. I was just exhausted and didn't feel like doing anything. After the first mile, I started feeling better. After that, I felt GREAT. We stretched 8-10 out to 11 and I really didn't want to stop then. I felt like I could have run all day today.

These were easy miles, about 8:15 pace. We finished the run with about 1.5 miles at 7:20-ish pace. I want to run a sub 3:15 marathon in December, which is a 7:25 pace. So, I'm trying to get as much practice as I can at that pace without burning myself out. That's all I was trying to do this morning was to get a feel for marathon pace.

I'm trying to keep easy miles in my base. When I do quality work, I want it to be quality. But I need more miles to keep my endurance where it needs to be for marathon training. So, I'll do more miles tomorrow and Sunday. Join me Sunday morning for a 10 miler at 5:45 AM at Athens Rec Center. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I just could not go out the door today. I've been feeling fatigued since last Wednesday, and I just could not make exercise happen this morning. I woke up and got ready, but I just didn't have the energy to go out the door. So, I got back in the bed. There is no time today for an afternoon or lunch workout, so today will be completely off. I haven't taken a day completely off (no weights or running) in almost a month now, so I suppose I'm due.

On a side note... I saw this article on Yahoo! today. Alabama is second to Mississippi in adult obesity. I don't want to be too preachy here, but obesity is preventable. The best quote from the article is this: "There isn't a magic bullet. We don't have a pill for it." I think that's exactly what I've been saying all along. Exercise and eat healthier. It really is that simple and that hard.

You don't have to run a crazy 40-60 miles per week like I do. But you will notice a drastic difference in the way you look and feel if you will consistently do 30-45 minutes of exercise 3 days per week. Do you realize that is only 1.5 - 2.5 hours per week? Most people waste much more time than that in a week watching a TV show they're not even remotely interested in.