31 March 2009

Perceived Effort

I decided to run the Ashland Railroad Run 10K this coming Saturday. Last year's race was my 10K PR (45:29). But, I'm not shooting for my PR this year but running with a friend to help him set a PR. We're going to aim for a sub-50. So, this morning, I wanted to see if I could do a tempo run at about 7:45-7:50 to see if I could get the rhythm.

Warm-up mile was pretty normal. Then I picked it up to what I thought was about 7:45. It felt hard, though -- I assumed it was because I had done the Ukrop's 10K only 3 days ago and my legs were still tired. I hit the end of the mile and hit the lap button -- only 8:00! That was really discouraging, not because of the time but because it felt like 7:30. So, I did what any smart runner would do and slowed down.

The second fast mile didn't feel any easier even though I figured it was about 8:15. In fact, it felt harder. Hit the lap button -- 7:50!

So, naturally, I slowed down even more. Yeah, right. That mile actually felt better but, go figure, that mile was 7:14.

Lesson learned: perceived effort is a poor predictor of actual pace.

Second lesson learned: determining actual pace on an unmarked route and checking pace at 1 mile intervals is not highly effective. A Garmin or Pulsar are almost essential -- but that's an expensive solution.

Third lesson learned -- or, maybe just a rhetorical question: How in the world am I going to be of any help to my friend on Saturday if I can't judge pace any better than I did today? (Of course, maybe today my internal pace-o-meter was just out of whack.)
1.00 x 8:53.96
1.00 x 8:00.07
1.00 x 7:50.31
1.00 x 7:14.62
1.26 x 10:14.44 (8:07.65 mpm pace)
Run well, y'all,

28 March 2009

2009 Ukrop's 10K

It's done. I ran with 32,600+ of my closest friends today. This is a big race and the goal is to continue to see it grow. Whew! But, this is a well run race and Runner's World listed it as a must run in their March issue.

The elites took off at 8:30 -- I don't know who was here this year. Wave A took off at 8:31. I ran in wave B at 8:33 -- we were actually a couple of minutes early according to my watch. The temperature at start was 46° with a bit of a breeze out of the west. Heavy cloud cover but no rain. Just about perfect conditions for running.

My goal was to break 45:00 but really thought that 46:30 was more realistic. I finished in 46:46.59 (my watch -- official results will be out later today). Splits were:
1.0 x 7:27.21
1.0 x 7:25.97
1.0 x 7:25.46
1.0 x 7:22.35
1.0 x 7:44.00
1.0 x 7:49.16
0.2 x 1:32.44
So, I'm reasonably pleased. Interesting that I came so close to what I thought I was really capable of this year. The 6th mile was really tough. My body kept screaming, "WALK!" but I just wasn't willing to give in and kept looking for that 6 mile marker.

After I finished, I grabbed a bottle of water, a bottle of Poweraide, a bagel, and a banana. The bagel was way too dry and dense to eat then so one bite was it. The banana went down much better. Then I hit the Porta-Johns and headed back to the start to try to catch my wife and daughter (Linda and Stacey) before their wave started. Downed a Gu on the way and finished about 3/4 of the water.

Linda and Stacey had had to look for a parking place, so they had gotten to their wave group about 10 seconds before I got there. I jumped the barrier and waited to run again with them. We completed in 1:24:57. The first mile was in 11:35.85 -- the fastest mile they've run. You go, ladies! It was fun running as a family, at least 60% of our family (Stephen and Anna, you need to run a race with us).

All in all, a good day!

Run well, y'all,

25 March 2009

Running Fast Feels Good -- Final Tempo Run

Fast is a relative term, but whether fast is 5:00 mpm or 12:00 mpm, it actually feels good just to occasionally let loose and run fast over a distance. Today was my last tempo run before the Ukrop's 10K on Saturday. Another person from our running group ran with me -- it was good to have company -- thanks, Drew. It was hard but just felt good -- especially when I finished (LOL). I actually ran negative splits:

1.26 mi x 11:22  (warm up)
1.00 mi x 07:21
1.00 mi x 07:17
1.00 mi x 06:58
1.74 mi x 13:03  (cool down)

The third fast mile (6:58) was a real shocker when I hit the lap button on my watch. I really thought I had slowed down and I had to run in place for a few seconds at an intersection to wait for a car to pass.

If you haven't tried speed work, give it a shot -- whatever is fast for you.

Run well, y'all,

23 March 2009

Too Busy to Pray?

OK, I must confess, that I didn't think about this while running this morning. Of course, it hadn't been posted when I ran this morning. :)

This takes the cake. Check out this post on the Dallas Morning News' blog site: Too Busy to Pray?

The point of prayer is not that you ritualistically say your prayers every day. Nor is it the specific words that you pray. It is the relationship that is fostered between the individual and God; it is the submission of oneself to the Creator of the Universe; it is the acknowledgment of total dependency on the Sustainer of Life; it is the recognition of the need for the Author of Salvation. Paying someone else to do that for you doesn't cut it and certainly paying for a computer to do that for you won't gain you any grace. I don't think God would be impressed.

Taper week before the Ukrop's 10K. I ran 4.5 pretty easy miles (8:45 mpm or so) this morning. A short tempo run tomorrow morning. A couple more easy 4-milers on Wednesday and Thursday. Then we'll see what this old body can do on Saturday. I'll race with my wave and then loop back to the beginning to run/walk the course with my wife and daughter. Should be fun.

Run and pray well, y'all,

21 March 2009

Next to Last Tempo Run

Could this have been the last cold day of the season? At 6:40 AM it
was 26° and 70% humidity. I plan to do a shorter tempo run on Tuesday
or Wednesday -- the race is Saturday (Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K). So,
this was the next to last tempo run:

1 x 8:43 -- warm-up
1 x 7:29
1 x 7:22
1 x 7:14
1 x 8:06
1.1 x 9:43 -- cool down

I'm pretty pleased. I've downgraded my expectations for the race.
While I'd love to break 45:00 and set a PR -- and I'm not giving up on
the hope -- I suspect my time will be closer to 47:00. We'll see.

Run well, y'all,

19 March 2009

Worse Than Raintree

I thought I would help you all feel better the next time you run hills (Short Pump Posse, think "Raintree" -- it could be worse). This was about mile 5.5 to 6.7 of my 12-miler on Wednesday morning, Greenville, SC (a total climb of 115-120 feet -- and, yes, I know, there are even worse hills than this): Map of the climb

This is looking back at the first 0.1 mile of the climb -- the cars at the bottom are at the beginning of the hill:


Run well, y'all,

18 March 2009

12 to Start the Day

12 miles this morning at an 8:42.5 mpm pace. Tons of hills in
Greenville, SC, and lots of traffic between 6:30 and 8:30. Here's the


Off now to a Trustee meeting and confirmation of new employees. God is
blessing -- 7 families for Africa!

Run well, y'all,

14 March 2009

Good Morning for a Run

We were traveling from Virginia to South Carolina today, so I got up
earlier enough to get a run in before driving 7 hours. I was a bit
apprehensive because the weather report called for rain all day long.
But, I hit the sweet spot -- out the door at about 6:40 and did 8.2
miles at a 7:59 mpm pace (Sweet!). Nary a drop of rain until after I
finished -- but it rained almost the whole trip.

Instead of taking our usual route (I-95 to I-85), we headed west on
360 and then took 29 down to Greensboro (not exact directions -- don't
try to follow those). It was great. We did the trip in 6 hours 37
minutes and the best I've ever done on the interstate highways was
about 6 hours 30 minutes and the other route was a whole lot more

I'm in Greenville, SC for the next 5 days. That means running some
pretty nasty hills.

Run well, y'all,

13 March 2009

Last Treadmill Run ... Maybe

The weather prediction was for rain and wintry mix this morning. Sure enough, when I got up at 5 AM, it was raining. Too cold for running in the rain so I headed to the YMCA. We're ending our membership in anticipation of moving back overseas in the late summer -- plus, we almost never use the Y anymore. So, this was probably my last treadmill run for awhile. That's no great loss except for days like today when I want/need to run but am not willing to do so outside -- and it has to be nasty for that to happen.

I was bummed when I left the Y, though, because it was snowing. I would have loved to run in the snow! But, even if I had known it was really going to snow, I could not have waited. I ran 4.55 miles and did some treadmill fartleks, bumping the speed up to 8mph several times -- the variety makes the treadmill less tedious.

Run well, y'all,

12 March 2009

TIART -- Only in Running ...

Runner's Lounge's every-Thursday readers' forum, Take It and Run Thursday, is about things that are acceptable in the sport of running that might not be acceptable in normal life -- interesting and peculiar things that running brings into one's life. I'm looking forward to checking out all the entries but thought I'd add mine first so I can't be accused of plagerism. I call mine acceptable unacceptables:

Acceptable unacceptable #1: Going out in public with bed head. Under no other circumstances, except an emergency, would I consider going out in public without taking a shower. But I'll almost always head out to run without that morning ritual and, depending on the weather, might not even wear a hat. Of course, at 5:15 AM, it's pretty hard for anyone to see anyway.

Acceptable unacceptable #2: (OK this one may gross out some of you, but, well, today's TIART is all about lowered standards when running.) Wiping your nose on your bare hands, gloves, or shirt tail/sleeve. It's gotta be done.

Acceptable unacceptable #3: Amy suggested you easily pay $100+ for a pair of shoes you may wear a few months as an example. I haven't, yet, paid $100+ for a pair of running shoes but do pay $60-$90 for a pair of shoes that I'll wear 5-7 months. But, I also put 500-700 miles on each pair of shoes -- something I certainly do not do with most of my street shoes. I suspect I actually get more miles per $ out of my running shoes.

Acceptable unacceptable #4: Going outside in nasty weather -- 5°F, snow and ice, rain. Not only going outside and running but enjoying doing so.

Acceptable unacceptable #5: Closely kin to #4, wearing shorts in 30° weather.

Acceptable unacceptable #6: Paying for the privilege of exerting oneself to the point of exhaustion -- race fees.

Ain't running fun?

Run well, y'all -- and be a little crazy,

07 March 2009

?Bankruptcy? -- Transparency in Life and Government

[WARNING: Rant on]Now, I recognize that there are nuances of the law that the average person does not and cannot understand. Sometimes (most of the time?) I think lawmakers and courts do that on purpose so that they have job security. I'm one of those average people. But, this article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning, caught my eye:

Filing: Peanut Corp. has $4.8 million in debts, $11.4 million in assets

The infamous Peanut Corporation of America has filed for bankruptcy. According to the article, the Peanut Corp. of America has $11.4 million in assets and only $4.8 million in debts. That seems clear and straight-forward -- PCA has more assets than debts, in fact, right at 2.5 times as much in assets as debts.

Then, I looked up the definition of bankruptcy. The Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary lists this as one of the meanings: utter failure or impoverishment. That also seems clear and straight-forward -- bankruptcy means you have nothing, you can't pay your debts.

What I fail to understand -- in my simple, straight-forward way of looking at the world -- is how PCA can file for bankruptcy.

First of all, the evidence seems to point to PCA suffering from a bankruptcy (i.e. utter failure) in ethics (along with the regulatory agency that was supposed to keep a check on cleanliness) in its production of peanut food products. Now, that hasn't gone to trial, yet, so they have not been proven guilty...yet.

Second, how can they file for bankruptcy and thus, again in my simplistic view of things, avoid the responsibility to pay some of their debts? They sell the assets and pay their debts. Sure, the company would cease to exist, its investors would lose their money, and management would be out of jobs -- of course, those are the very ones who had the social and ethical responsibility to ensure that PCA produced a safe product. Workers (you didn't really think I would overlook them) would lose their jobs and many people had to deal with salmonella but they should be reasonably compensated from assets that remain after debts are paid. Granted, the $6.6 million of assets remaining after debts are paid won't go far, but it should be used to help those who are most hurt by PCA's (investors and management) irresponsibility.

What would America be like if our leaders used simple, common-sense language -- i.e., meant what they said? What would America be like if our laws were simple and easy to understand? What would America be like if Americans just did the right things? I could go for that! [RELAX: Rant off]

Sort of reminds me of the Sprint Nextel commercials on how things would be if firefighters were in charge:

Run, live, and rule well, y'all,

PS -- I realize that if anyone actually reads this, there's a good chance you'll disagree with me or, maybe even more likely, you'll know much more about the intricacies of the law than I do. Feel free to comment.

A Hint of Spring

What a change! Tuesday morning, with all the snow on the ground, the temperature was 9°F and never got above freezing. This morning, it was 50° when I headed out for a long run and 58° when I finished -- it's now 74°. What a change. Temps in the 50's are great for running. The problem is that the temperature will only rise over the next several months. (I don't like hot weather!)

The run was really tough this morning. It was a route that had defeated me 2 weeks ago. I finished the whole 12.99 miles (8:28 mpm pace) but did end up walking 3-4 times. I think a lack of sleep is probably to blame. I didn't sleep really well all week and we had a living room full of middle school girls last night -- we hosted the group for our church's weekend youth retreat. They were well-behaved but we didn't get to bed early.

The Ukrop's 10K is in 3 weeks. I'll be ready but I don't know if I'll hit my goal of <45:00.

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour tonight. DST begins at 2 AM Sunday morning.

Run well, y'all,

06 March 2009

DST and Negative Days

Daylight Savings Time begins Saturday night -- OK, technically, Sunday morning. Don't forget to set your clock forward before heading to bed Saturday night (10:00 becomes 11:00) or you'll be late for church Sunday morning.

Some have lamented the fact that DST means it will be dark for early morning runs for a few more weeks. Personally, that suits me. When it's dark, I can't actually see how slow I'm running and can pretend that I'm cruising.

Runners talk about negative splits. Well, the last few days, I've had negative days. Starting Monday, my runs each day got progressively faster:
Mon - 5.1 mi @ 8:25 mpm
Tue - 6.5 mi @ 8:21 mpm
Wed - 6.4 mi @ 8:13 mpm
Thu - 5.3 mi @ 8:07 mpm
Saturday, I'm planning on 12 miles and there's almost no chance whatsoever that this trend will continue! Should be short-sleeve weather.

Run well, y'all,

02 March 2009

Snow Run

I woke up early this morning. I don't know if it was internal excitement about the snow or too much water to drink for supper. Though I would have enjoyed another couple of hours of sleep, I'm glad I woke up because the outside world was beautiful. I estimated about 7" of snow and it was still coming down. I thought about running but decided to wait and see. While it wasn't really dark because of all the reflected light, I just wasn't sure how well I could see -- or, more importantly, how well I could be seen.

By the time I actually went outside to measure, we actually had 9.5" of snow -- I think it's the most snow I've seen in my life (almost 55 years). And, by 9:00, I had decided to see if I could run. I have an old pair of Brooks Adrenaline ASR (somewhat winterized) and decided to wear those to keep my feet a bit drier than my Etonics would do. I also had no idea how close to normal speed I could run, so told my wife not to worry unless I wasn't back by 11:00. Despite slipping and sliding in places and at times feeling like I was going forward only 1' for 2' worth of effort, it was a good run -- 5.1 miles at a 5:24 (I don't know where "5:24" came from -- maybe it was sliding down the hills!) 8:24 mpm pace. Just guessing, but it felt like it was somewhere between 10-20% more difficult than running in dry weather. The picture was taken across the street from our house after I ran -- the whole run looked like that. One guy, who was shoveling his drive, commented that he hoped I had my spikes on!

What fun!

Run well (and safely and dry), y'all,

Extraordinary Relationships

Today, this is more like Random Thoughts While Not Running. Since about 3:00 yesterday afternoon (Sunday), we've had 7"+ of snow accumulation and it's still coming down. Part of me would love to go for a run but I think my shoes would be full of snow. On the other hand, it's the kind of snow that sticks together really good so I might just have a 7" build-up of snow on the bottom of my shoes! Either way ... who knows, maybe later.

Our Bible study group started a study of Mark yesterday. Mark is everyman's  gospel (generic language, not intended to be gender exclusive -- everyman just rolls off the tongue more smoothly than every person) ... the Reader's Digest gospel. Even though Mark starts when Jesus is an adult -- he leaves out the birth narratives and any mention of Jesus' childhood -- I think it's a great place to start reading the Bible because it moves and doesn't get into a lot of theological discussion. Mark presents Jesus as he lived.

Next Sunday, our group is going to look at Mark 2. So, this morning, I read through that chapter again and was struck by verses 13-17, particularly verse 15:

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. (New International Version) [Bob's comment: Note that the NIV puts sinners in quotes -- the context leads me to believe that these dinner guests were sinners in the eyes of the religious establishment. All of us are sinners by God's standards.]

The Message, a modern interpretation, states it this way:

Later Jesus and his disciples were at home having supper with a collection of disreputable guests. Unlikely as it seems, more than a few of them had become followers.

I was struck by how different that particular dinner party was than many Christian dinner parties I've attended or [gulp] we've hosted. I'm currently reading the book, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman of Barna Research, so I'm perhaps more attuned to this than normal. Why did many follow Jesus? I think the NIV translation means many people of all sorts followed Jesus, not just the good folks like Peter, James, John and crowd (though, a really good argument could be made that few of them would have been considered good folks by the religious establishment -- we've sainted them since the first century). I think they followed Jesus because he truly cared about them and he showed it. Jesus never backed away from calling people to stop sinning (see John 8:1-11, particularly Jesus' statement to the woman in verse 11) but he always loved them and was always willing to spend time with them.

What's the point? Those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus have not done a good job of really loving all people. We either tend to be exclusive in our friendships -- spending most of our time and energy on people who are like us -- or we tend to at least appear to make friendships with people just because of a desire to convert rather than because we're motivated by love. I want to challenge believers (myself included) to be like Jesus.

Run (and live) well, y'all,

01 March 2009

A Big Hole

If you came across this in the middle of the road or sidewalk on your run, would it freak you out or what? Interesting time lapse photography:

I stole got this brilliant video from Vanilla at the Half-Fast blog. More 3D street art pictures at Edgar Mueller - 3D Street Art

Run well, y'all,