Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ragnar Relay - Leg 25

This last leg was one of the toughest things I've ever done.

Exchange 18
Dave was the last runner in Van 1. When he handed the wristband to Paul at exchange point 18, we departed quickly in the dark of the night to a hotel that Gene had reserved for us about halfway between exchange 18 and exchange 24. Having that hotel was one of the best ideas of the whole trip!

There were people lying on the ground everywhere at exchange 18! The weather was starting to get uncomfortably cool. I grabbed a cup of hot chocolate and was than
kful that I didn't have to try to sleep in a sleeping bag on the ground. They were serving a hot meal there, too, but I couldn't think of eating after Park-n-Dine!

One thing I learned about relay racing is that you don't have nearly as much time between legs as you think you do! Man, we didn't waste any time, but the time just flew by! We got to the hotel at about 1:30 and we were estimating the start my leg at about 5:00 AM. Counting time for a MOST welcome hot shower and drive time to exchange point 24, that left about 2 hours for sleep. The last leg was BY FAR my hardest! It was supposed to be 7.8 hilly miles.

Exchange 24
Those two hours of sleep just flew by! When we got to exchange point 24, it was very crowded. There was a lot of traffic and there was just no space to warm up. I tried to warm up, but it was just miserable. I didn't have space or desire to run. So, after about a half mile of jogging, I just hung out with the team and waited on Christie to bring me the wrist band.

I really wanted to run harder on this leg than I did. I wasn't thinking anything crazy like 6:30 or even 6:45 pace, but I sure was hoping to keep the pace below 7:00. A 6:59 pace would have been acceptable. However, I had a feeling that 6 something miles were a VERY long shot. I was trying to get warm and stay warm, but I just couldn't stop dreading the run! Justin said that there would be no more 6:00 miles for him. I agreed that my 6:30 miles were all used up as well.

The 25th Leg
At about 5:40, They called "1-1-5, Team 115 get ready, your runner is approaching!". Oh well, here I go. I guess I will if I have to! I knew that this section would be hilly. It was nothing like Runner #5 had to deal with, but it was rolling to say the least. I also hadn't studied this route like I should have, so I was more dependent on the course markings. Angie told me that if I was running uphill then I was going the right way! It sure seemed that way!

The first mile was mostly downhill and it still took almost 8:00! I wasn't warmed up and I was very tired. It wasn't "running" fatigue as much as it was "lack of sleep" fatigue! I just couldn't get going. The second mile was rolling, and took around 7:40. I knew then that sub 7:00 average was probably out of the question, but I was awake and warm now. I realized that I hadn't eaten since the Park-n-Dine. So I downed a gel and tried to dro
p the pace. The problem with dropping the pace was that it was still hilly!

Man, this route was in the middle of nowhere! I heard (and smelled, ugh!) cows and horses all around. The smell of this route was nearly unbearable!

When I started this leg, there was no other runner in sight. At about mile 1, I finally caught someone. I encouraged her as I passed. Yep, even running a 7:47 mile, I caught someone! And then there was another! Then, the Expedition leap frogged me and Van 1 was there cheering me on! That is really what lifted my spirits. I heard cheering teammates and I kept seeing blinking butt lights to chase. At this point in the relay, though, nobody was making even a modest attempt to hold me off! I encouraged everyone as I pa

Wow!! More blinking butt lights! I passed at least 14, maybe 16 runners on this leg. I was having trouble counting because of the lack of sleep! Nobody passed or even threatened to pass on this leg. I don't think I was the only one who was totally spent by this time.

At the two mile to go mark, a van passed and told me "2 miles to go!" I thanked them and tried to give more effort. I was just out of gas, and that next to last mile was uphill!!! Another van passed by at the one mile to go mark and said, "1 mile t
o go!!" I thanked them, and tried again to increase the effort. Thankfully, the last mile was somewhat flat. I was so glad to see the exchange point up ahead!!

This run didn't hurt nearly as bad as the first and second. It was like I just couldn't move faster. It was just the general fatigue of two previous hard efforts in the day combined with the lack of sleep. The leg was a little longer than advertised, 7.96. I averaged 7:15 per mile, up and down and up and down. I probably did let the team down a
bit on this leg. I just didn't give the effort that I should have. Looking back, I should have taken the attitude that this is the last leg and I have nothing to save for. I simply did not go all out.

Ragnar Relay - Leg 13

The Pre-Run Mistake
While Van 2 was running their legs, we joined them at the occasional exchange point. We tried to rest, but it just wasn't bed time. Since breakfast, I had only had a bagel, peanut butter, apples, chips, etc. So, I was STARVING. So was everyone else. Gene and Steve were familiar with the area, so they recommended a diner along the way, the Park-n-Dine in Hancock, MD. If you're ever in the neighborhood, don't miss this dive.

I made a huge mistake at the diner. There was this great looking sandwich on the diner menu. Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, fried mushrooms, and cheese on sourdough. It was AMAZING! As I was about to take my last few bites, Steve reminded me that I had to run in 2 hours. WHAT?!?!?! OH NO!!!! I had completely lost track of time. Huge mistake! Um, yeah. Turkey on wheat with lettuce and tomato would have been a much better choice.

The 13th Leg - The First Half
Leg 13 was a 4.1 mile run that had a couple of noticeable hills. I've never run a 4 mile race before, so I was guessing at what pace I should run this leg. I decided I'd be aggressive and run it at 5k pace and see what happened. There I am taking the baton. (OK, it was a reflective wrist band, but whatever.)

At this point in the race, we had lost just a little bit of our planned time. We were maybe 15 minutes behind our plan, so I was going to try to make some of it up. Since it was a night leg, I was allowed a bicycle pacer. So, Steve rode alongside me. I warned him that I would be pushing too hard to talk on this leg. His encouragement and watching for traffic REALLY helped.

Immediately after starting this leg, I passed 3 people. I went out at 5k effort, but there is about an 85 feet hill in the first quarter mile of this leg. OUCH! It was NOT 5k pace! And when the hill let up, it didn't flatten or go downhill, it was just a gradual 40 feet rise until about 1.5 miles. UGH! The first mile was definitely harder than 5k effort, but ended up 6:37 for the mile.

About half a mile in, I got passed. Steve warned me that he was coming. His move was strong! I stayed on his shoulder, but he was determined. He dropped the pace to about 6:00, and I knew that I couldn't hang on to that, especially uphill. I had to let him go. This guy was at least 50. Man, I hope I'm that fast when I'm 50! I kept him in my sight. He backed off some when he realized that I wasn't going to stay with him.

At the top of the hill, at about the 1.5 mile mark, the 50-ish year old passed another runner. That runner was going at a sub-7:00 pace, and he didn't even try to keep up. So, I set my eye on him. At about mile 2, When I started to make my move, he stayed with me for just a few steps, but then he encouraged me and let go.

I kept the first passer in sight on the flat section at the top of the hill. I didn't know if I would be able to make a move or not. I knew that the downhill was coming and I feel pretty strong on downhills. I did close the gap some down the hill, but it was futile. He is faster than me! I asked Steve about the guy I passed, and my lead on him was slowly building. I had one guy to chase, and nothing really to worry about from behind.

The 13th Leg - The Second Half
Mile 2 was mostly flat with a couple of 10-15 foot bumps in it. I hit it in a disappointing 6:35. The next two miles were downhill or flat all the way! I hit them in 6:05 and 6:01. During them, I blew by 3 other runners, but the guy who passed me just built his lead. This leg was the only leg that gave me the "1 mile to go" sign. When I saw it at about 3.05 on the Garmin, I was determined to just get after it!

At about 3.6 or so miles, there was a turn to the finish. I could see this daunting 50 foot hill up ahead. UGH!. And, after the turn, there was this nasty smell of raw sewage! Remember the diner in Hancock, MD? Eww! At my current effort level, that was about the worst thing that could have happened. I managed to keep everything down, though. This leg turned out to be just a bit shorter than 4.1, and I was a little surprised by the finish, so I didn't start my ending kick soon enough.
I didn't feel as good as I looked, so I must've felt really BAD!! After the bad feeling went away, I got this extreme euphoria in the van. I guess that was endorphins combined with satisfaction?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ragnar Relay - Leg 1

My first leg of the Ragnar Relay was a "no excuses" race from the start to the first exchange point. I had ridden in a very uncomfortable 15 passenger van for hours and hours the day prior, but I had one of the best nights of rest I've had in a long time! The weather wasn't as warm as the forecast. It was cloudy, and just below 60 at the start at 11:00 AM EDT. The leg was FLAT. The surface is the same surface on which I run about half my miles and almost all of my temp runs on. PERFECT!
And we're off!!! I took the lead and held it for about 0.75 miles. I probably started just a bit too fast, but I was very excited! I got passed at about 0.75 miles. I didn't think this guy was going to take me. I kept him in sight, and never let him get more than 10 seconds ahead. There were two others just behind me. At about the 1 mile mark, they made their move. Their move was stronger, and they were competing with each other. I do wish I had joined them. Who knows if I could have kept up or not, but I didn't try. One day, I'll get over that tentativeness I have early in races.

The two opened their lead over 3rd. I kept 3rd in sight. I had to decide. Do I want to go after the leaders or not. For whatever reason, I wasn't sure if I had it. I was afraid I would bonk. Why was I afraid? Oh well. There was no one in sight behind us. This was becoming a battle for first and a battle for 3rd.

At about the 3.5 mark, I decided to make my move on 3rd. I passed him strongly and didn't look back. OH NO!!! What is that? My shoe is untied?!?!?!? How does this happen? UGH!!! I decided that stopping to tie it was the best move because if I fell, I would lose even more time. Yep, he passed me as I was tying my shoe at the 4 mile mark or so.

I wasn't ready to give up that pass so easily. I chased him down and easily overtook him again. Now, the leaders were probably out of reach. I gave some effort, but their lead was nearly 30 seconds, and I just couldn't close the gap. I finished in around 40:30. That's PR pace for me, but of course this isn't a certified 10k. But it was about 6.22 miles, which is pretty close. I was very pleased with the time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

12 Runners, 199 miles

I'd like to give a BIG thank you to the Morisak family for their hospitality last night. What a beautiful place this is! I got a good 9 hours of sleep so I'm ready to roll today! I start at 11:00 AM this morning, and then we'll end when we cover the 199 miles from Cumberland, MD to RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.

That's a photo of our team post spaghetti dinner. The dinner was AWESOME!!! Bailey, the Morisak's daughter, made the sign for us.
Left to Right: Gene, Steve, Christie, Justin, Dave, Elle, Eric F., Angie, Kevin, Paul, Eric P, Shawn.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just a Bit Behind

I got behind on Sunday when I didn't get in my full 15 miles.

Then, yesterday called for a double, 6 miles in the AM and 4 miles in the PM. I only did a single, 6 miles in the AM. Today, I did a little over 8 miles with some strides instead of the scheduled 7, but I'm still behind.

I really have to be honest with myself. Doubles are going to be tough to fit into my schedule. On days that I'm scheduled for doubles, the second run has to happen at lunch or not at all. Once the afternoon hits, there just isn't any way I'm taking a precious evening hour away from my family to go for a run. If I wait until the kids go to bed, then I'm still taking time away from my wife. Also, then, I'd likely be cutting into sleep time, which would probably do more harm than good.

Rather than make excuses, I am going to do my best to clear my calendar for lunch on double days from now until the marathon. For two days in a row, I've had meetings during the noon hour. So this is a week that I've learned a lesson. Besides, the reduced mileage may make me fresher for the Ragnar Relay this weekend!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lightning! Wow!

I met Carl this morning for the usual Sunday 10 miler. It was raining, and there was lightning way off in the distance. As the run progressed, the lightning got closer. And closer. And closer. My wife called at about mile 6.5, and I happily had her meet me to get me out of the storm. I was getting a little scared! My pace definitely quickened as the hope of shelter drew nearer. She met me at Athens elementary to rescue me! Carl continued and survived, so I guess I just got a little wimpy this morning!

I only got 9 or so of my planned 15 in today. But hey, it was weather that caused me to quit.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rainy Long-ish Run

Since this is a recovery week, the long run was scheduled for a 16 miler. Since I was partner-less in Athens this morning, I intended to join the Fleet Feet group in Huntsville at 6:00 AM. I set out all my stuff last night. But I just felt like I was walking in quicksand while I was getting ready this morning. The door just seemed so far away! I did get out the door and in the car at 5:30 AM. That's just enough time to make it if the traffic lights are kind. But I realized that I forgot a few things that I had set out and had to turn around. By that time, it was just too late so I opted for a wet run alone in Athens.

Today's run felt really good. I enjoy running in the rain, and it was raining hard this morning.

One complaint I have is with Athens drivers. Please, give a runner or a cyclist a lane. It won't kill you, but it may kill the runner or cyclist. We know you see us and you are just being rude. But what can I do except make myself visible? At least 5 cars got unnecessarily close to me this morning.

I almost reached out and hit one car with my hand this morning. I was sooooo ANGRY! That driver had NO reason to get that close to me. It was a four lane street, and the other 3 lanes were completely empty, AND I was off the road on the grass. And I still could have reached him if I wanted to. And he got over to the lane closest to me just a couple hundred yards in front of me. There is little doubt in my mind that he was intentionally trying to scare me. (At best he was texting or otherwise not paying attention.) Maybe if I had thrown something at his car, he would have thought he hit me and it would have changed his behavior in the future. UGH! If I see you coming, I will check the other lane. If it's occupied, I will get off the road, even if that means I have to stop. Please, if the other lane is free, give me some space. I will wave at you in return.
  1. 8:53
  2. 8:12
  3. 8:06
  4. 7:58
  5. 8:13
  6. 8:01
  7. 8:06
  8. 7:50
  9. 7:56
  10. 7:53
  11. 7:51
  12. 7:46
  13. 7:41
  14. 7:39
  15. 7:46
  16. 7:32
  17. 8:25 (coasting since I was done but not home yet, and I stopped to give some out-of-towners some directions)

Friday, September 18, 2009

General Aerobic and Recovery

Wednesday Matt said, "Summer just will not let go!" It has been very warm and muggy in the mornings. The afternoons have been cloudy and not as hot. But upper 60s and low 70s with 90+% humidity is not pleasant running weather!

Yesterday was a general aerobic 10 miler. One positive adaptation I seem to be making is that my HR is lower for a given pace on the past few runs. Granted, the pace has been easy, but the HR has been lower than normal for that same pace.

Today was a hard gym day and an easy recovery run. Now, I'm just gearing up for the Ragnar Relay next week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another Mid-Week Half

I'm going to paraphrase a bit from Advanced Marathoning. If you want to learn more about the physiology of the marathon and how to train for and race a marathon, follow that link and pick up that book.

You may be wondering, "Where are all the speed workouts? I thought marathon training was supposed to be hard. He's not hitting the track for intervals, so he's not training hard."

There are physiological systems that underly marathon success -- endurance, lactate threshold, and VO2 max, in that order. Long runs and tempo runs have the most relavence for marathon performance. I have to remind myself of that when I'm up at or before 5:00 AM for yet another mid-week 13 to 15 miler. Believe me, I would much rather have done a set of half mile repeats at a blistering pace this morning. Oh, intervals would have been a hard workout. But don't think it's easy just because my pace is slower than 5k, 10k, tempo, or even marathon pace. Join me every day for a few weeks and you'll see. This schedule is hard. On an average week, 4 workouts are 10 miles or longer. Intervals come later.
Today Matt came over for "yet another mid-week 13-15 miler". It was a good, fairly evenly paced run with a strong finish. Most miles were between 7:55 and 8:15. It was hot, humid and dark.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rain, Rain

Yesterday, I met Matt for the usual Sunday morning 10 miler. We cut it short because I was a little late and we both were pretty much toast after Saturday's efforts. We did 9.5 miles at 8:30 average pace.

Today, I thought about skipping. The schedule called for a recovery 7 miler. I got to bed later than I planned last night and I feel a bit of a cold coming on. And, if you're going to skip a day, a recovery day is a day to skip. A trip to the gym will accomplish just as much good.

I'm not right. I know that. Here's all the evidence you need. When I did drag my head out of the bed this morning, I looked out the window and saw it raining. It was not sprinkling; it was raining. That sealed the deal for me. I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to run in this morning's showers! I know that this morning's weather would have the opposite effect on normal people, but I LOVE running in the rain. So, I did 6 very easy miles in the 70F breezy rain. Loved it!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Duck and Run 5k

Today was the big day! Athens' only race, the Duck and Run 5k. I would like to run this, but a 5k just didn't fit in my marathon training plan right now. So, I volunteered to help with the race. Volunteering was good for me because I got to see more of what goes in to putting on an event like this. Tanjie does a great job with this race! I appreciate her effort in putting on this event. I'm really glad that we have a race in Athens. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure this event continues!

I LOVE the course for this race! It's rolling but fast, if that's possible. It's shady and pleasant. If I were going to show someone the city of Athens, I'd pretty much take them on this course.

Leigh and the girls were working the aid station, and I was working the finish. It was my first time to work a finish, but I've run enough races to know roughly what needs to be done. Still, when a large group finishes close to one another, it's stressful! And people do pin through the hole that says, "DO NOT PIN". Please, don't do that.

Looking at the faces of the finishers reminds me of why 5k isn't my favorite distance! 5k's HURT if you run them right! I saw some misery at the finish line!

Results are here.

Local runner Tyrone Harris was the overall winner, very easily at 17:14. He always dominates this race, and we're happy to have him. Jon Elmore joined us from Decatur and took second overall and won the masters at 18:34.

Behind Jon was my good friend and training buddy Matt Davis! WOOHOO!!!! 3rd overall! 1st in the 30-34 AG!!! And... he broke 20:00 EASILY!!! He came in at 19:34. I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!!! WOOT!!!!!!! I'm super happy for my buddy!

Also, taking the 35-39 age group at about 24:23 was my good friend and new runner Lance Perry. Congratulations!!!

Congrats also to Whitney Hollingsworth for winning the female Masters. I didn't know the overall female winner, Tammy Hull. Congrats to Glen King, Phillip Stewart, Bud Bowen, Barry Pugh, Wendell Sandlin, Nancy Hardison, and Sharon Connealy for picking up hardware in the age groups. I'm sure I left someone out, but congrats!!

I'm really proud of my friends Matt and Lance. Awesome showing guys! It was as much fun seeing them do well as it would have been to run the race, and it didn't hurt nearly as bad as the last 5k I raced!

18 with 10 at Marathon Pace

I wish I had some fancy words or clever way to describe today's run. But I don't. It was hot and miserable. I worked at the Duck and Run 5k (another post on that will be coming) in Athens this morning and did not get up to do my long run before the race. That was my first mistake. I started the run at 11:00 AM and it just got hotter and hotter! The schedule called for 18 miles with the last 10 at goal marathon pace. I ran 18, but I blew up at the end and only got 7.5 or 8 at marathon pace.

Misery. Yep, that's the only word that fits. I've definitely learned that heat has serious adverse effects on my pace, heart rate at a given pace, and the way I feel after a run. It was 83F at the start and peaked at 95 at about 1:00 PM. That's just too stinking hot for a long, hard run!

To Quit or Not to Quit?
I've never wanted to quit a run as badly as I wanted to quit today. I kept asking myself, "Do you feel an injury anywhere? Do you feel like you're going to pass out? Are you dizzy?" I kept having to honestly answer those questions, "No," which meant that I had to continue or be a wimp. The only problems were normal running pain and extreme fatigue. At about mile 15, I wanted to do anything in the world except continue running. But I continued running. The pace slowed such that running may not be the best word to describe what I was doing, but I continued anyway.

I hope my physiology and psychology adapt positively to today's workout. After all, isn't that the goal of training? It hurt, and I continued through the hurt with nobody to push me. Hopefully I gained some mental and physical toughness.

The Good
On the bright side, it was good to see some familiar faces out and about today. I saw Mike O. who was inspired by today's ABS cross country race. He was running sub 8:00 pace when I saw him. And I saw several of the usual suspects there.

The City of Athens was having an employee picnic. At mile 16, my water bottle was dry and I was parched and spent. I begged for a bottle of water from them, freely admitting that I had no money with me and that I was not an employee. Apparently, I looked pretty sad at mile 16 because I didn't have to ask twice! THANKS!

Oh yeah, I broke 70 miles for the first time ever this week. Nice. 73 and change for the week. It won't be the last 70+ mile week before the marathon.

Splits are below for anyone who cares.
  1. 9:12
  2. 8:41
  3. 8:46
  4. 8:41
  5. 8:36
  6. 8:37
  7. 8:32
  8. 8:09
  9. 7:22
  10. 7:22
  11. 7:18
  12. 7:12
  13. 7:23
  14. 7:23
  15. 7:32
  16. 7:48 (The blow up is beginning)
  17. 8:30 (Stopped for water from city employee, but still, I was fading!)
  18. 7:54 (It took everything I had to keep this one under 8:00. I kept saying, "It'll hurt at least this bad on race day. Fight through this.")

Friday, September 11, 2009

Duck and Run 5k

I don't have much to post today regarding training. I just did an easy 6 mile recovery run with some friends and Ragnar Relay teammates before work this morning. So, I'm using this space to talk up the Duck and Run 5k in Athens tomorrow.

The race starts at 8:00 AM. Race day registrations are accepted. The race headquarters is at the Big Spring park just north of the intersection of Washington St. and East St. in Athens. I really like this course! It is not flat, but it's not hilly, either. I'd call it gently rolling and shady. It goes by several historic homes, a really old public library, and swings you by the courthouse square. The finish is slightly downhill for the last .2 or so miles right in the Big Spring Park parking lot.

I'm partial because this is the only race running in my hometown, but this is a good event. If you're a 20-ish minute 5k runner, you'll have a chance to take your age group at this one. Last year there were 120 runners. I'm hoping for a bigger crowd this year. I'll be working the finish line, and I hope to see you there as soon as possible after the start! I'm excited about this one!

Come join us for a fun 5k in the beautiful small town of Athens!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tough 13 miler

I knew today's workout would be a challenge. Saturday was tough. Monday was tough. Yesterday was tough. Now, I have a 13 miler on my schedule? I have to start at 5:15 AM so that I can get the miles in and get to work by 8:30. What? Why am I marathon training anyway? What is wrong with me? 50 miles already and I haven't even done this week's long run?

Today, I had to go at it alone. It was dark and foggy. Several times, cars didn't see me because of the limited visibility. I was aware of that and was extra careful. I didn't wear headphones on this run, even though it was alone, for this very reason.

It was warm and humid. Yuck. I did not enjoy today's run. Don't misunderstand. It was a good run. I developed more mental toughness. I trained while tired. I'm GLAD I ran this morning. It's just that the run was brutal. I talked myself out of taking the shortest route home and quitting early several times. I kept repeating... "If you run faster, it will be over sooner." So I did pick up the pace at the end. It would have been faster, but I did have to stop for traffic several times late in the run.

My heart rate stayed in the range that it should have. I was tired, but felt good. I probably ran this at about the right pace.

  1. 9:33 (I really struggle with the first mile.)
  2. 8:31
  3. 8:26
  4. 8:14
  5. 8:04
  6. 8:01
  7. 8:13
  8. 8:07
  9. 7:55
  10. 7:54
  11. 7:46
  12. 7:59
  13. 7:31

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Midweek Tempo

Monday's 15 miler felt great.

Yesterday was a recovery day. I did 4.5 very easy miles. Well, I did go hard for 800m, but still, mostly easy. I met a friend from the ABS cross country team, Marshall, at the Athens High track. He wasn't able to join the XC team for the afternoon workout, but needed a good hard day. So, I held the stopwatch for his early AM 800m intervals. I'm proud of him for getting in the workout even though the schedule was challenging. I would have liked to have joined him, but I knew the injury risk was too great. I ran the last one with him because I felt like he needed a push. And man, he turned it in fast, 2:48! I think he has a bright future in running.

Today, I did a mid-week tempo run. Matt joined me for 4 easy miles followed by 4 tempo miles and 2 cool down miles for 10 total. I did not feel great at the start. My stomach wasn't right and I was tired. I complained and dreaded the start of the faster running. However, the faster running felt really good!

The miles are a bit long on the walking track, so the average pace was 6:45. The target was 6:51. Splits below. They were fairly even except for the 3rd. It felt too fast, too. And I paid for the lack of restraint in the fourth. My HR stayed in the tempo range except for the last half of the last mile.
  1. 6:54
  2. 6:50
  3. 6:35
  4. 6:53

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nice Labor Day Run

Because Saturday was such a hard day and today is a holiday, I opted out of the Sunday morning 10 mile run. Instead, I met Matt and Scott for a few (6 or so) EASY miles on Sunday. It was hard to get started and I didn't want to, but I felt much better after the run than before it. That's a purpose of a recovery run.

Today, I met Carl and Matt to run the usual Sunday route. I ran over to the Rec Center, did the 10 mile city loop, did another loop around the track, and took a 2 mile route home to get 15 for the day. I think Matt was going for 20 today.

Todays run was nothing short of encouraging and invigorating! I didn't really feel good for the first 3 or 4 miles, but after that, I really felt great. My heart rate stayed in range for the entire run, even with a quicker pace. The 7:47 or so pace felt like I was holding back! I still had a lot of energy left when I got home after 15 miles, and I finished with a 7:41 mile. I probably could have gone 20 with Matt today, but that would have been overdoing it just a bit.

The Runner's World Quote of the Day today comes from Bill Rodgers and reads, "Your training partners are key to your success, and friendships based on your runs together are strong." Today, I see a lot of truth to that! Carl makes my Sunday runs faster. Matt makes me go a lot of mornings when I don't want to! And, the miles are filled with some great conversation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Monte Sano 10k and 5k

Monte Sano 10k and 5k Road Race Results

As always, I'd like to give a big THANK YOU to the race volunteers. A couple of people that I know who worked to make this race possible are Madelyn Patton and Carl Smith. This is really a good, fun event. The course may be one of my least favorite, but the event is very good.

What To Do?
I was a little conflicted about how to approach today. My focus is completely on Rocket City Marathon. I really don't care about 10k and 5k times right now, but I really enjoy the camaraderie of medium sized races like this one. I needed a long run, so I decided late to go ahead and sign up for both races.

Then, I was wondering how to tackle the races as part of a 20 miler. I thought about really getting after both of them and just using whatever I had left to finish a 20 miler. When I started warming up, it became clear that today was not going to be my day. The 8:30 to 9:00 warmup pace felt harder than it should have. So, I decided to just treat the races as tempo miles mixed in the long run. That's what I did.

The 10k
I met my good friend Mark at the parking lot, and we ran a warmup with George. Mark and I ran almost all the miles together today.

We ran 4+ miles before the 10k. Then I ran the 10k at a 6:51 pace. Mark went a little faster, maybe 6:45 or so. I can't say that it felt easy, but it definitely was not a 10k race effort. It was a good tempo run because I ran a really even pace except for the last half mile or so where I sped up. My HR stayed in the tempo range for most of the run. It's amazing how many people you pass in the last mile if you just run a steady pace throughout the race! I caught up to my friend Scott in the last mile, and he still had another gear left, and that was good to see. He left me on the home stretch.

The nice thing about running it at tempo pace is that I had plenty of energy to cheer on other runners during the race. On this course, you'll see the runners ahead of you several times during the race. I also heard my name quite a few times today. Nice. Thanks, even if I didn't recognize you!

Between The Races
Between the 10k and the 5k, we ran another 4 miles. That put me at 14+ for the day going into the 5k. I was starting to get tired. It poured rain during this time. There were still lots of 10k runners on the course. We got drenched, and it felt great!!

The 5k
My goal for the 5k was to run it at tempo pace. That would be my 14-17th miles for the day at tempo pace. It was harder than I thought! I ran the 5k at a slightly slower pace. It was a little closer to 7:00. Mark was again way out in front. He probably was close to 6:45. Scott also had a good 5k. I didn't expect to catch folks at the end of the 5k, but if you run it even, you will! I caught my friend and Ragnar Relay teammate, Shawn Barber, during the last mile of this one. He had another gear! He poured it on on the .1 of the 5k and opened up a 4-5 second lead on me. He had a good race!

After the races, we were only 3 shy of 20, which is what the schedule called for. We hung on to run the course again at a leisurely pace to finish up the 20 miler. GREAT RUN TODAY!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Catch Up!

I've been out of town all week. For the most part, though, I've gotten my miles in.

I was able to get in a 6 mile recovery run early Monday morning. It felt great. I was almost cold at the start! I left Monday afternoon for Minneapolis.

I don't sleep well in hotel rooms for some reason. This was no exception. Added to that, I had tons of preparation for the job I was to do Tuesday. I was up way too late. I missed the morning run in favor of sleep. I ran a 10 miler along the west bank of the Mississippi in the afternoon, and the weather was PERFECT! The people who live there are spoiled! There are just miles and miles of very good and safe running along both sides of the Mississippi. I like the idea of living there in the summer and in Alabama in the winter. I've been there in February, and that's why I couldn't live there!

I finished up my work in Minneapolis a little early, so I flew home Wednesday night instead of Thursday. I was planning a 12 miler along the East bank of the Mississippi for Wednesday, but I missed it to come home early. So, Wednesday was a goose egg in the log. I made the last flight out by like 4 minutes! I was so glad to be home, though.

Today, I got in yesterday's missed 12 miler. The weather was nice for here, but it certainly wasn't the great weather that Minneapolis was having. I ran the 12 miler with a 8:05 average, including the 8:30+ warmup miles. I had a good, strong finish. It felt good except that I'm getting a pain in the arch of my left foot. I don't know what that's about.