Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trail, Track, and Medium-Long

I was on the wait list for the Dizzy Fifties Trail Run, but now I'm in.  So I decided that Saturday would be a good day to scope out the course.  I know the course, but I've never run those loops together.  I did about a 21 mile run on the course Saturday.  I had no snake or deer hunter encounters, so it was a pleasant run.  I felt very fresh for the rest of the day, too.  I'm planning on the 50 mile option at Dizzy, so I'll be walking the Sinks Trail climb pretty much every time.  November 20 should be both miserable and fun.

The schedule shifted the track work back from Tuesday to Monday for some reason that I don't understand.  But I did what it said. I still had tired trail legs Monday morning when I did the 5x600m intervals. I forget how difficult that workout is.  5x600 sounds easy.  But there's nothing about sub 5k pace that is easy.  Matt totally dominated this workout and finished every interval 5-7 seconds ahead of me.
  1. 2:12
  2. 2:05
  3. 2:08
  4. 2:08
  5. 2:09
Today, the day following the track workout, called for a 15 miler. Yuck, it was muggy today.  I finished the run strong and managed a sub-8:00 overall pace, but I feel tired and beat up right now.  Tomorrow will be a day off.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Long Tempo

Twelve miles with seven miles at tempo pace were on today's schedule.  Actually, a 15 miler was on today's schedule and 12 / 7 was on Thursday's schedule.  But I slept late and realized that I didn't have time to get 15 miles done before 7:00 AM.  I seriously thought about doing 12 miles at long run pace.  That would have been easy and pleasant.  I still had that thought when I hit the road at 5:20 AM.  When my watch hit 3 miles, though, I decided to just do it.

I did mix it up a bit and do the tempo miles on the roads instead of on the track.  That time of day there is very little traffic in the neighborhoods where I'm running.  It worked out well as I only had one stop for traffic. Running that fast in the dark does disturb dogs a little more, though.  There was more barking than usual and I had to squirt a couple back with my water bottle.

I ran 7 miles at a 6:36 overall pace.  After the first mile at 6:37, I spent most of the rest of the run talking myself out of quitting.  When I hit mile 6 with a 6:35 average pace, I wouldn't have quit early for $100.  It's funny how a distance runner's mind works.  I kept telling myself, "Running until you're tired doesn't make you a better runner.  Running AFTER you're tired makes you a better runner."

Why do I like this suffering so much?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh The Track

The schedule for today was 12 miles total with 6x 800m at 5k pace. What is 5k pace? I sure don't know. So I opted for just slower than dry-heaving pace. If I dry heave or throw up, then I ran too hard. If I don't feel like I'm going to dry heave or throw up, then I'm not running hard enough. Yeah, that sounds about right.

  1. 2:51
  2. 2:50
  3. 2:50
  4. 2:54 (almost lost my guts, so I'm running just about right)
  5. 2:54
  6. 2:52 (Not sure how I didn't lose anything, but I didn't.)
The 4th and 6th were especially brutal for some reason. Other than that, I got some sick enjoyment out of today's workout. I ended up with 11.5 miles total.  I hope this helps shake some slowness out of my legs.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15k

The Numbers
I ran a 1:01:39 which is a 5 second PR (I guess that still counts as a PR). That was good enough for 15th (of 412) overall and 2nd (of 30) in the 35-39 Age Group.  14th overall was 59:49, so I wasn't close to catching anyone.  14th overall also happened to be 1st in the 35-39 Age Group.  Overall results are available at the HTC website.  The young runner I mention in the first 5k of the report below was David Gunther, a 14 year old.  He set a state age record at the race.  I met him and his parents after the race and he was a very nice young man and was happy with his race.  He should be!

I wasn't sure I'd run this one.  I wanted to. I mean, I haven't raced since Cotton Row, and I needed to toe the line again. But my daughter just had a tonsillectomy, and I wanted to be sure she was recovering well before I committed to a race.  Well, she's done just GREAT since the surgery, so Leigh and I decided late last night that I'd get up and go sign up on race day.

I was running a little late as usual, but was able to get most of my pre-race routine done and even registered in time to get one of the last shirts.  Thanks to Mike O'Melia, Fleet Feet, and all the volunteers today.

I did a 2 mile warm up with a random runner who happened to be Eddie Blankenship.  He ran the Duck and Run 5k and actually won the masters honors there.  He was telling me what a great time he had at the race before I even let him know I was the race director.  AWESOME!  I'm glad to know so many folks had such a good time.

First 5k
The race was just a little late getting started, but it was no big deal to me. I scoped out the competition, and picked out who would be the lead pack, the next pack, and the group I should be in.  I definitely started a little quick, with the second pack, but backed off quickly.  I saw Timothy Pitt who has been running strong lately and was running about my pace, so I decided to stay with him for bit.

I had an hour in mind, but I knew an hour would be a challenge on this course.  I hit the first mile, an uphill mile with a turnaround, at 6:20, well on pace for that and still behind Tim.  I felt really good, but there was a long way to go.  I passed a really young runner (maybe 15 years old or so?) at the scenic overlook just before the 2 mile split.  I ran mile 2 in 6:25, still on pace.  Just after mile 2, I passed Tim and clocked mile 3 in 6:24.  An hour will be tough!

On to 10k
On the way to mile 4, the course starts to growl at you a little.  Along the way to mile 4, I passed Emily Hardin.  I am not in her class.  She's a tough runner who regularly wins, won the San Francisco Marathon, and who looks like she's jogging when she's running a 6:00 pace.  I asked her, "Is this a marathon pace run? Are you OK?"  She had just finished doing a 40 mile Rim to Rim run in the grand canyon.  Ahhh. That explains it.  I absolutely admire her and know that she's the top female runner in North Alabama.  She wished me well as I went by.

Mile 4 was a miserable 6:40 and the wheels were coming off.  I decided that I couldn't make up 15 seconds in one mile, but if I'm tenacious I can make it up before the end.  Well, there was nobody challenging me and nobody in reach.  Mile 5 was 6:36 and mile 6 was 6:37.  So much for making it up a little at a time.  Here, I lost my focus and really didn't run well.

The Last 5k
At all the turns here, I would sneak a peek over my shoulder. I knew that I was losing time because my splits were just too slow, but nobody was really close.  Mile 7 was 6:43.  I have no idea why I didn't just gut it out and run faster.  Mile 8 was 6:44.  Again, the pain of exertion comes down to three words, "Suck it up!"  I didn't.  I exerted less.  After mile 8, I looked over my shoulder and noticed the young guy that I passed early gaining on me.  I knew that at this point, I would have to come back (which I was kinda doing) or they would have to run  much faster than they had been to catch me.  So I ran a little harder in the last 1.3.  I ran closer to my pace during the early miles.  Nobody caught me, but they weren't too far behind.  Mile 9 was 6:37 and the 0.3 (actually 0.4 by my watch) was 2:27.

This was also a very lonely stretch.  After Emily in the fourth mile, I didn't see another runner (except on the overlapping portions of the course).  I could have used some motivation.

I finished 1:01:39 which is a 5 second PR.  It's a personal best 15k, but it wasn't my personal best and I know it.  Not bad for shaking the race cobwebs off, though.  I know that I need to work harder, especially on the track.  I felt like I could have maintained a 6:35 - 6:45 pace for another 3 or 4 miles, but I don't think I could have run any faster.  Weird, I know.

I'm going to mix up my training a bit after RCM.  I'm going to spend more time on the track working on speed.  I'm going to do drills and 5k pace and faster more often.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ahh, The Mid Week 15 Miler

For some reason, I've come to believe that the multiple mid-week 13-15 mile run is the staple of marathon training.

Sure, the long run is important.  You have to learn what happens to your body at 20+ miles.  You have to learn to hydrate and fuel during your run.  You have to build endurance.  Don't skip the long run.  And you better practice marathon pace at the end of some of those long runs, too.

Likewise, the tempo run is a must.  You'll never learn to hold a difficult pace for mile after mile if you don't practice it.  And the physiologists (who are much smarter than I) claim that lactate threshold is the single best predictor of marathon performance. Tempo runs aim to improve lactate threshold. You'll never be able to run your fastest marathon without a steady diet of tempo runs.

But the mid-week 13-15 miler seems to be what gives my marathon training its kick.  Perhaps I say that because I enjoy them (sick, I know) more than the other types of runs.  But I know that twice a week I'm going to pound the pavement from 5:00AM to 7:00AM.  I'll suffer some misery, but then I'll see the sun rise and for some reason I'm not as tired. These runs seem to separate those who train for marathons from those who train, but happen to run marathons.  If I want, I can mix in marathon pace miles.  If I don't feel like it, I just run at a long run pace.  And people look at me funny when I'm wearing my reflective vest in broad daylight.  Yeah, I've been out here that long.

Today I belted out a 15+ miler at 7:35 average pace (minus the warmup 8:50 mile) and my heart rate never climbed out of the 150s.  Gotta love cooler weather.  Aerobically, I feel like I'm in pretty good shape.  I could certainly improve, but my HR seems to stay low for a given pace.  Old man age seems to be catching up with my legs.  I can't get them to go much faster.  It's really weird to feel like I'm at about max effort in my legs while I'm able to breathe and converse normally.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Well, I do suppose an update to this blog is due.  What, has it been 2 weeks now? I knew back in June or July that September would be the kind of month that I just have to find a way to endure.  Well, I have endured September.  I made it through the preparation, business travel, directing a race, and running Ragnar.

I'd really like to do a Ragnar report, but I don't know that I'll have time.  Let me just say that it was extremely hot (100F and 90F during my first and last runs) and I didn't go all out during my legs like I did last year.  I never got a side stitch while running, but I got several while laughing in the van with my friends.  If you ever get an opportunity to run a relay like that, take advantage of it.  It's an amazing experience.  It'll be one of the most fun events of your life.

I've still been trudging along with my marathon training.  I'm trying to hang in there and get the miles done.  My confidence is severely bruised and I don't feel very fast at all.  I haven't raced since Cotton Row, and I stunk so bad that day that if you sniff in downtown Huntsville, you can still get a whiff of my stench.  That was just an awful race (actually an awful 2 races). I really don't know how to get my mojo back, except to keep waking up at or before 5:00 AM to slog through the miles and gut out the tempo runs and MP runs.

I signed up for Dizzy Fifties, but didn't get in.  Maybe a few more will drop out and I can get in.  Since I'm so stinking slow right now, I thought I'd give a try at 50 miles.

I signed up for Mountain Mist also.  I did get in that one.  I'll have to bust it on the trails to be ready for that one.  I ran 23 miles on the trails on Saturday, part of it was on the Mist course.  Humbling.  I'm still sore from that run.  And I still have visions of the rattlesnake I saw while running alone.  That was a little spooky.