Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Was That Fall?

Wow, this morning felt great. It's the week of the first college football games. Fall must be near. It was a cool 57 degrees this morning. I could not believe the pep that the cooler temps put into my step. Wow.

I met my good buddy Matt at the track for a 2x 2 miles at tempo pace followed by 4x 400m at repetition pace. What a beautiful morning to run fast. And, to think, I had to talk myself out of bed this morning. Boy am I glad I did!

The 2 milers were 13:02 and 12:37. I could not believe how easy that felt. I definitely should have run that first 2 miler faster, but I was trying to stay in control. The cool weather just felt so good! I sure hope that enduring these miserable midday 95+ degree runs will pay off this fall!

I ran the 400s at 78, 78, 78, and 76. Those didn't feel easy, but I could have done 3 or 4 more. I was really reining myself in today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


If you've read this blog long enough, you'll know that I occasionally ramble for no good reason. Today is a rambling day.

Workouts... I had a good one today. I did 11 miles with 6x800m intervals at 2:50. I was wildly inconsistent, 2:54, 2:47, etc., but I averaged under 2:50 and finished strong with a 2:46 and a dry heave. Saturday was a miserable, hot 18 miler on the XC course after volunteering at the triathlon. I hated that, and that pretty much firmed up my decision to never ever run recover from the holidays 50k. Well, actually, I'll probably run it this year.

I honestly feel great physically and for the first time in a long time, I'm excited about running again. Actually, I'm kinda excited about life again. Dark times pass, but sometimes you have to take action (sometimes drastic) to make them pass. Man, it's nice to have some optimism back.

Back to running. I have this love hate relationship with the track. Man, I didn't want to go this morning. That alarm went off, and I rehearsed at least a dozen excuses not to run this morning. You know what got me out the door? It was as simple as the fact that I had my running clothes laid out. No, that doesn't always work, but it did this morning. I didn't want to leave them there all day. My Nike Lunaracers were right next to my clothes, so today seemed like a good day to go to the track.

I spent the first 2.5 miles trying to talk myself into going to the track. I knew it would not be pleasant because it never is. But the weather sure was nice. And I had on my racing flats. How silly it would be to run an easy 10 miles in my racing flats. So, I was able to convince myself to go to the track. I secretly hoped that the track would be closed when I got there, but it was open. Now, I have to do it. Boy, I'm glad I did.

Optimism... I spent my getting ready for work time today daydreaming. I have two numbers in mind. Sub 18:00 for the 5k and sub 3:00:00 for the marathon. I spent my time imagining running 17 something at Spooktacular and 2 something at an early 2012 marathon. I have this silly condition where that I imagine I'm faster than I really am. But I once imagined running a Boston Qualifying marathon, and I did it. I once imagined breaking 19 for the 5k, and I did it. So, I'm going to keep on daydreaming about sub-18 and sub-3. Yeah, I'll probably need to put in some long runs, tempo runs, hills, and intervals on the track, too. But daydreaming about it sure won't hurt, will it?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Brooke Hill Run for Awareness 5k

I made a last minute decision to run in the Brooke Hill Run for Awareness 5k in Decatur yesterday. A super big thanks to fellow Fleet Feet Racing teammate Jon Elmore for putting on a great event. Also thanks to Fleet Feet Racing teammate Eric Charette for encouraging me to run this event and congrats to Eric for taking the overall win. Congrats also to Fleet Feet teammate Kathy Youngren for her overall win.

Limestone County also had a strong showing at this race with fellow Athens Sunday morning 10 mile runners taking wins in the 30-34, 35-39, and 40-44 age groups! So, the lesson is this: Come run the Athens Sunday morning 10 miler and you'll get an age group win! Congrats to Danny Harrison for taking the 30-34 age group and Lance Perry for taking the 40-44 age group. I took the 35-39 age group.

Post-race, I had an opportunity to visit with some friends that I wouldn't know without running. Running has been a source of great blessings for me. I had a chance to visit with Dan Burleson, April, my Fleet Feet teamates, and my Athens running buddies.

So, the numbers... I ran an 18:46, which is an August PR. (Hey, don't knock my qualifying statements. It's hot and humid. In Alabama, you're allowed to keep separate PRs for July and August, at least in my rule book for PRs.) That 18:46 was good enough for 4th overall and 1st in the 35-39 age group. I was pleased with that time given the heat and hills on the course.

The First Mile
I felt really good and had some idea of aiming for 18:00 flat until I ran my warm up on the course. The course was just too difficult and the weather was just too hot for me to have a reasonable chance at that. Fellow Fleet Feet teammate Marty Clarke was there. I know he's faster and a much more experienced racer than I am, so I had no delusions of beating him. However, I wanted to stay as close as I could. Well, that lasted all of about half or three quarters of a mile. He ran that first mile probably somewhere around 5:40, and I just didn't hang. I was afraid that I would blow up if I kept that pace. I ran more like 5:54 in that first mile, and that may have been a bit too quick.

I looked ahead, and the race seemed to be settled already. Eric Charette took the lead and held it. Victor Brown followed a few seconds behind. Marty was a few seconds behind him. And I was keeping Marty in my sight. That never changed after the first quarter or half mile. There were a couple of youngsters who were around for the first three quarters or so, but they fell quickly off of the pace.

Mile 2
The second mile had the steepest hill on the course. It was draining. I could feel myself slowing. Marty had opened his lead on me by just a few seconds, but I sure wanted to keep him in sight. I could not hear the split callers at any of the miles and I didn't really look at my watch, so I'm just looking retroactively at the data now to get my splits. I was looking at Marty and not my watch. I took a cup of water at the aid station and dumped it on my head. It was a hot one. I ran this mile with the hill in 6:03.

The Finish
I still was looking at Marty, but I could feel myself slowing down. No matter how badly I wanted not to slow down, I was still slowing down. But I noticed that Marty wasn't opening the gap, so he was slowing down, too. I wish I had more, but I just didn't. I ran the last mile in 6:11. I ran the last 0.1 in 0:37.

This course is no joke. There is a significant incline in every mile, with the first mile being by far the easiest mile on the course. I need more strength, speed, and hill training. So, I basically need to step up my all around training. Still, though, I feel very good. I feel fit and ready to attack some races this fall. My body feels as good as I remember in a long time. My mental outlook is getting better.

I am so thankful to God for my physical health. What a blessing it is to be able to join friends so often and be healthy enough to do something I love to do. Also, God has lifted some burdens from my mind in recent weeks. He gives grace and answers prayer. Every blessing comes from Him.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weekly Update

I suppose a weekly update is better than the non-existent updates lately. I survived another summer week. And I had a pretty good week of training. I'm getting stronger, but not really faster. That's ok. I'll take whatever improvement comes along.

I also had a silly revelation this week. I say silly because I knew it already, but for some reason I didn't behave as if it were true. That silly revelation is that a day that begins with a run is better than a day that doesn't. I've known that to be true for over three years now, but I had let myself get in the habit of sleeping in. I was sometimes getting in my runs in the afternoon or at lunch, but the day was just not right because it didn't begin with a run. The extra hour of sleep did not make me feel better. The hour or so of running did. Besides that, a run as the first thing in the morning just sets up the day.

I got in a decent track workout with five 1200m intervals. I kept them all around 4:26. Not great, but not bad considering the heat I was running in. I got in a long tempo run of about 11 miles total with about 7 miles near 7:00 per mile pace. That run did not feel good at all. I was just happy to survive it. It was hot that day, too. And today's 17 miler put me at 60 miles for the week. I think I'm ready to begin training for something. But what?

Also, this week, I made the decision to forego a fast fall marathon. I am planning to be a pacer for the Rocket City Marathon. Pacing the marathon last year was an incredibly rewarding and fun experience. I have to do that again. I just can't resist getting in a nice long run and helping people achieve their goals at the same time. Not to mention, it's an opportunity to run a marathon without hurting! I gotta take advantage of that! I don't know what pace group I'll be leading this year, but I hope it's the 3:45 group again. I already have the shirt. :)

So, I'll probably make this fall/winter the year of the ultra for me. I may get in my first 50 miler. I'll run as many trail races as my schedule permits. I'm pretty excited. I'll pick out a 2012 marathon soon.