23 June 2008

Speedwork Suffering

I'm having trouble getting my track work done in preparation for the half marathon. The training plan today called for 7 miles total with easy warm-up and cool downs, 1600 meters x 3 @7:00 and 800 meter jogs between. I managed 1600 meters x 2 @ 6:53 and 6:55, 800 meters x 1 @3:27, and 400 meters x 1 @1:42, all with 800 meter jogs in between. I couldn't sustain what was to have been the 3rd 1600 meters. Not quite sure why I can't do this. The heat was tolerable today -- 69° and 71% humidity. I was well hydrated, drank Gatorade during each job, and had downed a Gu (chocolate) prior to running.

Maybe it's a function of age -- but I could do this 6 months ago. Perhaps it's because I swapped the easy week this week for next week's harder week because of vacation in the mountains next week -- did my legs (or my brain) just need the break? One consolation -- 3 weeks ago when I was supposed to do the same workout, I only did 1 1600 meter repeat and 1/4 of a lap on the 2nd 1600 repeat. I did improve.
1.9993 mi x 17:49.75 (easy warm-up)
1600 mt x 6:53.09
800 mt x 4:23.76 (jog)
1600 mt x 6:54.88
800 mt x 4:45.79 (jog)
800 mt x 3:26.86
400 mt x 2:47.15 (jog)
400 mt x 1:42.27
1.9993 mi x 17:36.24 (easy cool down)

Total run: 7.48 miles at an average pace of 8:52 mpm.

Run well, y'all,

21 June 2008

Embrace the Pain

Wednesday evening, the Half Marathon Training Team sponsored an injury prevention clinic with a local sports doctor, Dr. Dec. She commented that "Running hurts. Did anyone tell you that?" We all chuckled but it was a knowing chuckle. Running is great -- I love it. There are huge physical and emotional benefits but one does have to endure a certain amount of discomfort. I'm finding that, even after almost 5 years of steady running and after having tamed the 10-mile barrier, that longer runs and faster runs do leave me with some aches.

Looking ahead to today's Mayor's Marathon, the Anchorage Daily News posted an article yesterday on this very topic. Here's a excerpt -- the full story can be read here:
Prepare for pain.

The forecast for many of you 26.2-mile first-timers is partly miserable with occasional periods of suffering and a mild chance of legitimate anguish. Doesn't matter if you're a lickety-split type or someone who gets passed on training runs by people pushing strollers -- the marathon does not discriminate.

Still, it's important to embrace your agony. You've worked hard for this day -- if not, big bummer for you -- and you've no doubt persevered through some difficult training, so you have experience with excruciation. You're going to endure some bad patches Saturday, sure, but you'll be in good company.

While this article is in reference to a full marathon, the same holds true for a half marathon (at least for us mere mortals) -- even a good, hard 10K leaves me with some pain.

Ran 10 miles today -- 7 with the training team and then 3 more on my own. Pace was good, actually a little fast for the training plan, at 8:18 mpm. I've ended up running with 3-5 "young" guys when the group runs and they took me to the cleaners on mile 7 today. I console myself with the excuse that they were heading for the barn and I still had 3 more miles to go -- it makes me feel better. (grin) These guys are fun to run with (thanks to you all -- Hank, Todd, John, Chris, Drew) and we push each other to do just a little better each time we run.

Run well, y'all (and embrace the pain),

19 June 2008

Pushup Update and Hill

Andrew, at Andrew is Getting Fit, termed the 100 Pushup Challenge as not easy. That's an understatement. I think impossible is closer to the truth. I couldn't get through day 1!! (sad face) I did the first two sets (10 each set) and 2 pushups of the 3rd set with my arms and lats screaming at me the whole time -- still sore from the initial test. After the 2nd pushup of the 3rd set, I just collapsed. I'm a weak wimp -- oh, well, let's go for a long run.

Today was hill day (picture above is from the top looking down -- the white mailbox on the right is our finish line). Whoa! Pretty tough. Yeah, I know, it doesn't look that bad but that's the weakness of a 1-dimensional picture. Can a picture on a computer screen be 2-dimensional? Here are the results in order of fastest hill to slowest. Each uphill was about .13 miles with a climb of somewhere between 42' (gMap-Pedometer) and 60' (coach's Garmin) and was punctuated by a slow downhill:

# -- Seconds
6 -- 51.58
1 -- 51.72
5 -- 52.13
4 -- 52.52
3 -- 52.87
2 -- 53.39
Variance: 01.81 seconds between fastest and slowest

I've got a sore patella tendon -- it's not bad but I'm icing and taking a low dosage of ibuprophen. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I'll have a Chopat strap (patella band) to use when I run for the next few weeks.

Run well, y'all,

17 June 2008

100 Pushup Challenge

How many pushups can you do? Steve Speirs suggests that no matter how many you can do (or not do) now, you could be doing 100 consecutive pushups in 6 weeks. That's pretty impressive. Will it work? I don't know but I'm going to try. I started with the initial test last night and managed to do 15. Week 1 begins on Wednesday -- the program is about 10 minutes, 3 times per week for 6 weeks. We'll see. I must admit, I'm skeptical.

Yesterday's tempo run left me tired today. Following my Runner's World plan, I only ran 4.6 miles at 8:03 mpm but, wow, they were 4.6 tough miles.

Run well, y'all,

16 June 2008

Up to Tempo

Are you posting your miles in support of Ryan Hall? Click below, register, and post.

Move A Million Miles to support Ryan Hall in his quest for Olympic Marathon Gold in Beijing

Tempo runs are so much more my "speed" than track work, either 800 meter or 1600 meter repeats. The one advantage of the track work is that I can pretty easily check my pace at short intervals -- every 100 meters or so. But, on the road, I am so bad at estimating my pace.

Today, I really wanted to stick closer to my target since I had 4 tempo miles to do. Oh, well. I guess if I can do them faster, it's not a real problem...

1.00 x 8:51.33 (warm-up)
1.00 x 7:25.56
1.00 x 7:18.89
1.00 x 7:04.83
1.00 x 7:32.69
1.11 x 9:10.71 (cool down)

Even with the cooler temperature this morning, I finished absolutely drenched.

Run well, ya'll,

14 June 2008

Dogwood Dell Run

Today's 9-and-change was so much better than last week's 10 miler. The difference? I think it was the lower humidity -- rather than 86%, it was 66%. This was the Saturday group run and I ran most of the way with Hank and Chris (thanks, guys). I stopped my watch for the 2 hydration points because I wanted to know the actual running time. Total time was 1:16:11 -- a pace of 8:19.8 mpm.

We went to Dogwood Dell to start -- part of the downtown park complex that includes Dogwood Dell, Byrd Park, and Northbank Park -- and ran through some of the older, historic parts of Richmond. The course was relatively flat (well, except for the nasty hill when we went over I-195 at about mile 8.5).

Here's hoping that your run today is just as satisfying.

Run well, y'all,

12 June 2008


What a difference 10° makes. After months of 120° at 5:30 AM -- OK, no, hyperbole alert! -- let's try that again, it just felt like months of 120°. After 4+ days of 74° and 84%+ humidity at 5:30 AM, this morning it was 64° and 83% humidity. It felt so good and I was so glad. I was scheduled to do my first ever hill workout with the Patrick Henry Half Marathon training group and doing that in the heat/humidity combination of the last several days was not going to be pleasant.

About 12 of us met up and did an easy 1 mile warm-up (9:42) and then began our hill workout. The hill was 0.13 miles with an elevation gain of roughly 60'. Based on the pace chart that had been distributed and my goal for the half, I was counting on doing the repeats at 1:16.4. But, having no idea how fast that really was, I just followed the coach. When we turned around at the top, we had done the hill in 53.16 -- hard but not a killer. I ended up doing 5 repeats and was tired but not totally exhausted. It was fun doing that with a group, too -- much better than it would have been by myself.

Here are the figures:
Up: 0:53.16
Down: 1:31.39
Up: 0.54.97
Down: 1:30.14
Up: 0:53.26
Down: 1:32.26
Up: 0:51.67
Down: 1:31.92
Up: 0:51.62

We ended with a .71 mile cool down. When I got home, I did an additional 2 miles to get a total of 4.9 miles at an overall average pace of 8:26 mpm.

After all my moaning yesterday, it looks like at least most of the bad of the last couple of weeks has been, in fact, the weather. I'm just no acclimated to summer mornings, yet.

Run well, y'all,

10 June 2008


I hope it's just this awful heat wave that's hit Virginia and surrounding states, but the last 10 days of running have been mostly awful. It's not really that my times have been bad -- yesterday, for instance, I did a 3 mile tempo run and averaged 7:11 mpm -- it's just that it's been really hard. These high temps and humidity did come on quickly, so maybe I just haven't acclimated, yet. Still, on Saturday, while trying to do 10 miles, I wasn't sure if I could keep this up.

I have tried to change my hydration to meet the heat challenge. For Saturday's 10-miler, I packed Gatorade -- 20 oz of Glacier Freeze (I guess -- it was pale blue) in a used (but clean) water bottle. The training team directors had also put out 2 water/gatorade (red) stops on the route and had water/gatorade at the finish. I still walked 2-3 times in the last mile. Maybe it's just mental.

Anyway, **if** anyone has been looking for a post from me since last Saturday (1 June), I was just too bummed about running to write.

I'm training for the Ashland (VA) Patrick Henry Half Marathon in late August (that should be a cool run -- NOT!). Here are my runs for the last 10 days:

Tuesday, 3 June: 6.4 miles @ 8:07 mpm
Wednesday, 4 June: 6.6 miles @ 8:03 mpm
Thursday, 5 June: 5.8 miles @ 8:55 mpm (was supposed to be 1600 m repeats @ 7:05)
Saturday, 7 June: 10.3 miles @ 8:41 mpm
Monday, 9 June: 5.3 miles @ 7:51 mpm
Tempo Splits:
1.00 x 8:41.73
1.00 x 7:15.08
1.00 x 7:13.05
1.00 x 7:05.98
1.26 x 10.59.49

Tuesday, 10 June: 4.6 miles @ 8:14 mpm

And, yes, I'm a wimp about heat. The morning figures when I've run have been 73-74° with 81-88% humidity -- even to me, that doesn't sound blistering. I come in the house, though, looking like I've been swimming and forgot to take a towel!

Run well, y'all,

01 June 2008

Miscellaneous: Dehydration, Weight Loss

Yesterday was my first run with the local YMCA training group for the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in late August. The group was running 6.1 miles and it was a good run (8:11 mpm pace) -- I enjoyed the miles and the conversations. I met a group of guys who run on Wednesday mornings at 5:30 and they invited me to join them. That should be just the motivation I need to get over my "Wednesday 'Don't-Wanna's'".

After I ran with the group, I headed out for an additional 4 miles (my Runner's World training plan called for a 10 mile long run). Whoa! Summer is here. The first couple of miles of the extra weren't bad but by the time I hit mile 3, I was wiped out. I ended up with a pace of 8:44 mpm for that 4 miles and walked a couple of times.

I think I just hadn't drunk enough water for the weather (75° or so by that time and 80%+ humidity) and probably was low on sodium and electrolytes. Yeah, I know, 75° is not hot for many folks, but it is for me. "Perfect", for me, is 45-55° and I even like running when it's 30-45°. I think I'm going to have to carry something like Gatorade or Powerade for my longer runs for the next few months. I felt drained all day and I've been doing 10-mile runs for a number of months.

Viv at the blog, I'm Not Fit to Run, is sponsoring an Independence Weight Loss Challenge. I need to get rid of 5-10 pounds and thought this might be just the thing to spur me on. If a little virtual competition would help you, check it out. The deadline for sending in your initial weight is today, Sunday, 1 June.

Run well (and hydrated), y'all,