23 September 2010

Philly RnR RR and a new training tool

I haven’t written on this in a while and this will be a short post. Since the last post, I’ve returned to the States and raced in my first HM. This half was meant as a workout in preparation for my Marathon in Baltimore (Baltimore has been pushed, but more on that in a different post).
My coach’s direction for  Philly was…
                Sunday, Sept 19-run this workout inside the HM race
Please avoid running faster-this race is too close to your marathon to race it
20-22 mile total moderate run including 12 miles of alternating mile paces below:
1 mile 10-12 sec’s faster than GMP then 1 mile 45 sec’s slower than GMP. Repeat 5 more times without rest between pace changes. Run the last mile as hard as you prefer

So my thought was easy. Run 8:20/9:20. Simple right? Uh-huh! Rather than explain it, here is the chart of my Garmin  times (note: I didn’t worry about tangents and used the miles listed on the course for lap pace).
So that was not exactly what my coach prescribed, but I’ll take it. My goal was to run under 2 hours (but really under 1:55) and hit that goal with a Chip Time of 1:54:54.

The course was pretty nice. I really wish I had driven the entire course before the race. I assumed that it would all be in the city and that was about half wrong. All-in-all, a good day and a good race. One of the weekends major disappointments was the Hotel. I stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn and they were horrible for race details and help. The people at the desk didn’t even know where the start was, really!

The race felt pretty good all of the way through until about 10 miles. I actually had to stop during my slower miles to adjust my shoe. First, I adjusted it looser. Then tighter, then way way looser (more loose?). I think I was/am in the beginning states of Plantar Fasciitis. Which leads me to my new training tool (read: toy).
Today I brought a new training tool. It is a 2010 Trek 6000 Mountain Bike. I will use it as a commuter/Cross-Training bike. I really enjoy it so far and think that I will get a lot of use out of it.

Well that is all for now. I will be updating this blog more often…promise!
Upcoming Workouts:
Thursday, Sept 23-move to Friday if tired or run easy both days
8-9 mile easy run including 10-15 x 30 sec’s @ 5k effort w/1 min jog rests
Friday, Sept 24
XT 30-45 min easy

Saturday, Sept 25
4 -5mile easy run

Sunday, Sept 26
15-16 mile total moderate run including Yasso 800’s. Run 10 x 800m ~ 4 min w/2-3 min recoveries. Finish w/ 3 x 100m @ mile effort

05 August 2010

A few days later; a race dissected.

As I sit here three days after my recent 5k PR I am pretty happy. My happiness isn’t because of the PR or the race even; it’s about the prospect for future performances.  It was nice running 23:30; but it would have been nicer to run 23 flat or 22:30. I’m still a fairly new competitive runner so my potential is untapped and it is kind of a hindrance. I know I’m capable of much more, hell I’ve run faster training runs then I did in this race. 

After my 5k (24:15) earlier this year; my coach mentioned that I could probably run a full minute faster soon. Four months later, I did that and I still had more left in the tank. At first look at the splits, it makes the race seem pretty disjointed. I took some time to look at the actual splits broken down in Half Mile and Quarter Mile increments. I was surprised at how even each individual mile was run.

This break down shows me that my race was not fluid and while I can be happy with the breakdown I need to work more on running a continuous, even race. I believe I could have saved some time by just running more evenly throughout the race. I expect the first and last mile to be different as I account for dodging people in the front and ‘kicking’ at the end. This may not affect me to bad now with these shorter races but come Marathon morning I believe that this is the type of the thing that will cause a really bad race and probably an even worse experience all around.


Upcoming workouts:
Friday, Aug 6
5 mile easy run w/4 strides

Saturday, Aug 7
4 mile easy run

Sunday, Aug 8
18 mile with 6 x 5 min hills @ marathon effort. Then 5 strides.

"The essential thing in life is not so much conquering as fighting well"
~Baron De Coubertin

02 August 2010

Almost there…

Today I spent time building my running schedule for the next two months. By building my schedule I mean inputting the workouts that Coach Nicole gave me into my Garmin Training Center. I had to do this at work since the power in my tent (yup back in tent land) has been out for two days. Anyway, I looked thought he workouts when she first sent them to me and I immediately began thinking how awesome these workouts were gonna be. As I entered every detail of every planned workout, I couldn’t help but smile. I know that these challenging workouts will provide me with the tools to reach my goal in October.  I’m particularly happy about my potential as a runner. I think the greatest gains will actually come next year as I work on shorter distances during the spring and prep for the 2011 Fall racing season and whatever it has to offer.

Over the next two months I will focus first on building more stamina and strength (through hill workouts) and that will be followed by my Marathon Specific phase. This is all part of a process called periodization. The stamina/hill phase has workouts such as:

20 mile total moderate run including 3 miles on rolling hills @ HM effort, 5 min jog rest then 10 x 45 sec hills @ 3k effort w/jog down rests then 3 miles run up a hill @ marathon effort

The Marathon Specific phase (which I’m really excited about) will prepare to run the best debut marathon possible. One of the key workouts is:

16 mile run: 

~3 miles moderate then 3 miles @ GMP, 1 miles moderate then 10 x 90 sec’s @ 5k effort w/2 min jog rests, 1-3 miles moderate then 3 miles @ GMP

Again I am very excited about this upcoming training. It makes wonder how Coach Nicole will switch it up during my next couple training seasons. Come 16 October 2010, I know I will arrive to the starting line healthy and well prepared to conquer my first (hopefully of many) Marathon!
The assistance and guidance that my coach provides is invaluable. If I had followed a ‘canned’ training plan, I’m sure that I still would have been successful, but I don’t think it would have prepared me as well for being a lifetime runner. I’ve already seen drastic increases in stamina and speed and I know that there is more to come. Combine all of this with being in the comfortable soundings of the States and it is surely a recipe for success.

Upcoming workouts:
Tuesday, Aug 3
4-5 mile easy

Wednesday, Aug 4
8 mile with 10 x 30 sec’s @ 3k

Thursday, Aug 5
4 mile easy

Friday, Aug 6
5 mile easy run w/4 strides

Saturday, Aug 7
18 mile with 6 x 5 min hills @ marathon effort. Then 5 strides.

Sunday, Aug 8
Rest or 3 miles easy

“It is better, I think, to begin easily and get your running to be smooth and relaxed and then to go faster and faster.”
~Henry Rono

28; my ‘Run for Chiari’ 5k RR

 What is Chiari?Chiari Malformation is a serious neurological disorder where the cerebellum descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord.

Shorts at the bottom of the post…
I’m currently in Marathon Training and I am taking any opportunity to race; I’ve just completed my second race of the year, YAH (read: humor/sarcasm)!!! Anyway, I was training through this race but I had a goal of averaging 7:30 pace for the entire race (~23:15-23:30). This would give me a one minute PR over my previous 5k times.  I thought this was doable because I haven’t run many races while actually in training. My current PR was set earlier this year after returning overseas after three weeks of traveling to the States and back here for leave. My next fastest 5k was the fifth race in a 5k series from last year which I averaged about 10 miles a week; including the race.
Speaking of low mileage…One of the reasons I was a little skeptical about the race this morning was because I ran a total 27 miles over the last two weeks, all of which came this week on 4 runs. Two weeks ago I moved from my small base to a bigger one. During that move I didn’t get any running in. Part of it was because I was a little under the weather and part was because I’m a pansy sometime and just didn’t get out the door. Either way, I ran 0 miles for that week. I guess the rest paid off though (or it was a major fail and I could have run much better today?).  This week I ran those 22 miles with one run of 2.5 (Sunday) miles, one run of 5 miles (Tuesday) and two 7-milers (Thursday and Saturday). Not ideal mileage, but it worked.
Race Morning:
I had 16 miles scheduled for the day. The plan was to get up early enough to run 10 miles (plus some strides at race pace) ending near the start of the race. I actually managed to get up in enough time to do 1.5 miles and some strides. I wasn’t exactly warmed up, but I was ok. The strides helped out a lot. The show time for the race was 5:30 with a start of 6:00. I got their right on time and then headed out for the strides and stretches.
After the announcements we lined up to start the race. As I mentioned before, I raced here once before earlier in the year. I had assumed (oops) that this would be the same course with the same course markers and aid stations; nope! Brand new course, no mile markers, one aid station at the half way point (I don’t know if it was 1.5 miles or 1.55 miles); which seemed to be off anyway. 
The Race:
I lined up in the back of the front half of the pack. At this race in April, the winning time way 17.x and the third place time was high 19’s. Because of this I figured I’d line up here and maybe get to run against some low 20 min runners.  This planned didn’t work; when I looked ahead about a half mile into the race, I saw A LOT of Runners ahead of me; oops! I decided I’d play a little game. At the one-mile mark (that didn’t exist) I’d count the number of people I passed to see if I judge my starting place wrong.
The first mile was pretty uneventful; I picked a few people that were a couple hundred meters ahead of me to follow/catch. It worked out well. I started out slow and was able to gradually and comfortably drop my pace to my goal for the first mile. I also caught the people that I was eyeing, but I was passed a lot in this first mile, ugh. Mile 1 split was 7:47 (goal 7:40-7:45).
The second mile is where the fun began, I started to pick up the pace and immediately started passing people. I tried to nod and/or acknowledge most of the people that I got past. I also did something that most other people don’t do; after passing I looked behind me to make sure I was clear before cutting back to the inside of ‘the lane.’ This is where we had the turn-around, which was a hairpin type turn. Right before the turn a guy was handing out bottles of water and right after the turn there were paper cups of water. I decided to go for the cup of water…I was contemplating whether or not to get water. I didn’t need it, but I needed the practice of drinking from cups while on the run… As I went over to the aid table and got some water then veered carefully back onto the course I got into a collision with another runner about 5 meters past the table. He decided to stop (not walk, but stop) to drink his water. Ugh, I’m all for taking a break, but move beyond the table and out of the road! OK, so that after that fiasco, I had to play a little catch up to get back on pace. And I did. Second mile was 7:39.
The third mile was awesome! At the beginning of the race I wondered if I would be able to hold pace because I was kind of nervous and I hadn’t been able to get a good war-up done. Well as I eased into the third mile I felt great. There was a little discomfort, but it was the kind of discomfort that Runners welcome in. I was able to speed up and hold on nicely. I got the opportunity to race a couple guys, as they were fighting me to avoid me passing them. That was kind of nice; I broke the first guy after about 200 meters with a quick surge. The second guy was actually able to get away from me; at first. I managed to catch him about a ½ mile later and passed him for good.
The last .17 went really well. As there were no mile markers, I had to rely on the Garmin and towards the end of mile 3, I kept telling myself ½ mile to go and ¼ mile to go. At the quarter mile mark I was able to pass a few more people. This was nice because I was able to still accelerate. Some of the people that I passed early on was because they had slowed down. Now I was passing people because I was speeding up and ‘kicking’.  Last .17 was in 1:03 (6:07 pace)
Finish Line was a standard chute. I think the course was a little long, and some others agreed. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme because I believe that I still managed a good race and a huge PR. Overall the course was nice, the organization wasn’t too bad. I can’t imagine trying to organize a race, especially not in a combat zone. I’m happy with the result because inspite of the difficulties leading up to the race, I hit all of my goals: I ran 23:30 and finished in the upper half of the race; I managed around ~7:30 pace; I was able to run the entire race on feel and not ‘watch gaze’ the whole race; finally I was able to pass 28 people (hence the title of the thread).  I’m not sure what the winning time was because they didn’t announce it at the Awards Ceremony. My next race is in two week and it is another 5k. Hopefully I can build off of this race.
Upcoming workouts: 
Tonight, 1 August
10 Miles with 3 at Marathon Effort
Monday, 2 August
3 recovery miles
Wednesday, 3 August
6-8 mile moderate run including 10 x 30 sec’s @ 3k effort w/30 sec jog rests
Thursday, 4 August
3-4 miles easy
Friday, 2 July
4-5 mile easy run w/4 strides
Saturday, 2 July
18 mile w/ 6 x 5 min hills @ MP w/90 sec jog rests. Then 5 strides.
Sunday, 2 July
3 recovery miles 

Splits were:
Mile 1 - 7:47
Mile 2 - 7:39
Mile 3 - 7:13
Mile .17 - 1:03
People passed from Mile 1 through the end of the race…28
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
~ Chinese Proverb

10 July 2010

3 tough, short workouts…and a little epiphany

This week has been kinda slow for me. I missed a few runs due to work and well…generally feeling like crap. I’ve been fighting a cold for about the last month or so and it has finally caught up with me. I guess my prescription of running a lot to knock the cold out wasn’t the right dosage to get rid of the sickness. Oh well.
My first run of the week was on Tuesday, it consisted of 3 easy miles (29:29) in a sand and dust storm. I ran the extremely familiar loop without much problem. My breathing was easy and my HR was rather low. However, the sand and dirt sucked. I was cleaning sand out of my ears and nose for the rest of the day; thank God for sunglasses.

The second run was a little under three miles (2.76 miles, 25:40), what made it so tough? Running said distance in 105+ degrees of sun and wind. My heart rate was up a little and my breathing was a little short, but the pace felt easy, even in the conditions.

This morning was just 5 miles and it was actually pretty comfortable and cool. There was a little wind but not anything that I haven’t grown used to. The only detractor from this run was getting out of the door. For me running is as much of a mental sport as a physical one. I knew I hadn’t put in the required miles this week and I wasn’t sure if I’d struggle with the run or not. I have been running long enough to know that was silly, but I thought it anyway. The run felt good and I found myself again fighting to keep my pace in the easy range. All-in-all, the week hasn’t been so bad.

Tomorrow is a simple 13 miler in the morning with 3 easy at night. I don’t foresee any major issues with it, so I’ll finish the week with right around 26 miles. That is rather low mileage for me as of late, but rest is important. I’m trying to teach myself how to run more on feel, and a part of that is knowing when to cut the pace or distance a little. Tomorrow’s run will consist of some strides, a little fartlek and a 1.5 mile time trial.

About that epiphany…During today’s run, I looked up to the sky and thought about why am I having to deal with so much stuff right now? My mom started her Chemo therapy on my birthday; J is about to come back overseas to finish her deployment after getting basically no answers about her medical condition while in the states; I just had to say goodbye to some of the really good friends that I’ve made over here; and I’ll be saying goodbye to some more (new) friends in the next week or so. I asked God, “How much of this should I be expected to handle without losing myself”? The answer came to me before I could even finish the thought, it was simple…”All of it!” I do truly believe that God won’t put more in my life than I am able to handle, I guess there is strength that I just haven’t tapped into yet. There is a lot of bad in my world, but the truth is that I have so much good as well. I’ve made it so far, why start doubting now? So, on I go to conquer the next task and make myself a better man, after all, I am 29 now…

Tomorrow’s workout:

Sunday, July 11
AM: 13 miles, including 4 strides w/1 min recoveries and 1.5 mile time trial. 2x (3,2,1 min @ 5k effort w/ active recovery
PM: 3 mile easy run

"Life is short... running makes it seem longer."
~Baron Hansen

29 June 2010

My fall racing goals....and a change to the path to get there


So here I am, 29 June 2010, 109 days from Marathon Morning and I have not chosen a marathon time goal as of yet. I was waiting to see how my training developed and where I felt I’d be. It was never to be a game-day decision, but I wanted to really get a feel for my workouts and my fitness. Also, I want to place any goal a little out of my reach. Just enough to get me out of bed on those early Sunday mornings; enough to push me through the first few reps of a speed workout; enough to keep me honest on effort based workouts. As a result my time goal for RnR Philadelphia was also in limbo. Per my coach’s recommendation, I’ll just run this race as a GMP workout. I’m hoping to push GMP in the early miles and race the end at a full effort. And with no further ado…

For Baltimore, my goal is to run with an overall average pace of 8:30 min/mile; for a net time of 3:42.30. With the training that I have upcoming and the challenge of this specific course, I believe this goal to be reasonable and attainable, but not overly easy. I still reserve the right to edit this time over the next 108 days! As my training progresses or regresses, this time will surely change. However, this is my start point. This goal finishing time will be the litmus test that I will use to judge my workouts. I won’t be changing my paces until my fitness shows the change is needed; we train against current ability, not perceived ability. The Baltimore course profile shows significant up hills early and pretty good down hills toward the end. But is rolling throughout.
As my ‘Cherry Marathon’ I want to enjoy the course and experience as much as possible; I also want to run a good race though. If I was just looking for a way to go sightseeing around Baltimore, I’d drive the 45 minutes and skip the 4 months of training, hundreds of running miles, and inability to not talk about running to anyone that will listen.

That brings me to RnR Philadelphia. With it being four weeks out from Baltimore, I don’t get to race it as I normally would to fully test my fitness. The race will be a hybrid of a Goal Marathon Effort Run and a Speedy Tempo Session; I hope. Ideally, I’d run the first 10 miles at Goal Marathon Effort then drop down to HM or even 10k pace for the last 5k. So if I’m saying 8:30 for the first 10 miles, that will put me around 1:25:00 at the 10 mile point. Finishing between HM-10k pace would bring the last 5k or so around 7:49 for 24:20. All together that would put me on a perfect race day goal for Philly being at or right under 1:50:00. Philly is a fairly flat course with several former national and world records having been set on it.

The new road ahead:
Not much has changed in my training since my last blog. I emailed my coach about increasing my weekly mileage, and she agreed. As a result, I will have slightly more volume, mainly because I responded well to the intensity that we had been working on. The beginnings of that was my 5-miler this morning (as opposed to the 4 miles I had scheduled previously). Coach Nicole answered my question swiftly and without any reservations to my request. I am gaining more and more respect and trust for her with every passing workout. Online coaches are hit and miss, I really lucked out with mine. No complaints.

Upcoming workouts:
Tuesday, 29 June
5 miles easy
Wednesday, 30 June
9 miles moderate with 4 x (1mile @ HM Effort followed by 400m @ 5k effort)
Thursday, 1 July
Rest (or 3-4 recovery miles)
Friday, 2 July
3-4 miles easy
Saturday, 2 July
16 miles moderate with 4 x Strides, 10 x Sprints, then 5 x 200m, 3 miles at LT-HM Effort, finish with 5 x 200m
Sunday, 2 July
3 recovery miles

You have to believe that you can achieve it and then work your ass off to get there.
~ Jaymee Marty

27 June 2010

My first LSD (Long, Slow, Distance run), nope this isn’t a good thing…

This would be a good thing and a great accomplishment as a beginning runner training for my first road race. However, neither am I a beginning runner nor am I training for my first road race. But, those things aside, this could be commendable if I was actually going for a slow run. In fact, most training plans call for Long Run’s to be done at/around your Easy Pace,  but my Training Plan calls for all of my Long Runs to have quality (faster, pre-determined speed) runs in them. Happily, I didn’t have any problem with the quality of today’s training run.

When I started running this morning, I took a glance at my watch, and saw a ‘10’ in the minute-per-mile block, I was pretty shocked. I started to think that today’s run might actually be a waste. The ‘non-quality’ portions of today’s run should have been run at either a moderate or easy pace (9:20-9:25/9:40-9:45) but I could not get the times below that dreaded 10min/mile for the first few miles. Odd. I figured if I couldn’t run easy at 9:xx how could I do sprints and strides? But my uphill strides came through really well. Odd; why would running fast be really easy but running slow be hard? So, I continued with the workout and began the section for flying sprints. Again, spot on! The running felt relatively easy. Oh well, I kinda gave up thinking about it. After all, I’ve still got some Marathon Effort coming up.

My Coach wanted me to do 30-45 minutes worth of Marathon Effort running. She took special note to make sure that I knew to run on effort not pace. Cool. For training, she defines “Marathon Effort” as: “moderate hard but comfortable, breathing is labored but able to continue pace for an hour or more in training” (not to be confused with tempo runs). I figured I’d start out around 9:00 min/mile and adjust for the feeling of what I could hold for this length of running. Let’s back up a bit. How much of this was I gonna do? 30 minutes or 45 minutes, some undetermined distance (because I'm a rebel)? It worked out that I was ready for this part of the workout right before the 10 mile mark. I decided to run through until either 13 miles or 30 minutes, which ever came last. I managed to get in a little over 4 miles with an average of ~8:54 min/mile. BTW, the 13 miles came last. I finished the workout thinking that I could have (maybe even wanted) to put in more miles. That is the right way to leave a workout…I think???

Upcoming workouts:

Monday, 28 June
3 miles easy
Tuesday, 29 June
4 miles easy
Wednesday, 30 June
8 miles moderate with 4 x (1mile @ HM Effort followed by 400m @ 5k effort)
Thursday, 1 July
Rest (or 2-3 recovery miles)
Friday, 2 July
3 miles easy
Saturday, 2 July
16 miles moderate with 4 x Strides, 10 x Sprints, then 5 x 200m, 3 miles at LT-HM Effort, finish with 5 x 200m
Sunday, 2 July
2-3 recovery miles

"Man imposes his own limitations, don't set any"
~Anthony Bailey

24 June 2010

Mulligan; Re-do, Make-up…This workout went very well….

Today was my first quality workout since my horrid run on Monday. While this run may have been 10 miles shorter (well actually 6 miles shorter), I needed to hit it re build my confidence. The planned workout called for a total of 6 miles with a ladder of 7,6,5,4,3,2,1 minute runs, with active recovery for half the distance of previous interval. Simple right? Damn right! The workout should be run at 10k pace (8:10-8:15) but because I’m pigheaded and because of my crappy run on Monday, I decided to make each interval beat that time. And so I did, the splits for the run were 8:10, 8:07, 8:10, 8:14, 8:03, 8:06, 6:25 (Max HR Test).

In the thought of even-pacing and training, this workout sucked. I beat my goal on each interval, but that was all I did right! However, this workout was even more effective than you could think. Why? Simple; because I completed it. Not only that, but I did really well running the paces on a warm desert day. I gained back the confidence I lost on Monday. Also, I played with the paces a little. The first two sets I went out hard and just held on through the full time. The next three I ran steady through the time. The last one I started out slowly and blasted the end of the run. I tested my system on this short run and built some well-needed validation that my training is paying off and that my coach knows what she is doing.

One of the odd things about this run is that I hadn’t prepped like I planned on. I tried to get to sleep early last night, but I didn’t. I did drink a little better, but not as much as I wanted. I had crackers by my bedside, but I didn’t eat them. I need to work on these little things continuously in order to improve. I’m well satisfied with my performance and I look forward to more of it.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”
~Muhammad Ali

21 June 2010

My first actual bad workout.

I think that I actually mean my first bad workout ever. Even while in training for the RnR Chicago last year I never had to actually stop a workout short of the goal mileage. I could usually adjust pace and be ok. Even with some of the hard workouts in the Hall HM Training Plan, I was able to complete each workout.

Today I was not so lucky. Today’s (actually yesterday’s) schedule called for 16 miles with a 30 minute Progression Run and some Hill Sprints. I was able to get in all of the ‘quality’ work, but my wheels fell off as I was finishing the workout mileage. I made it to a little over 12 miles when I stopped for the day. I had drunk 2 liters (about 67.5 ounces) of water during the run. I meant to check the weather after the run but it slipped my mind; although at 1200 pm it was 111 degrees. Yes, that is One Hundred and Eleven degrees. Damn! Also, I seemed to be very tired this morning after the run. I escaped to my room to rest after lunch and ended up sleeping for about 3 hours, oops.

Originally I was really upset that I wasn’t able to finish the workout. I thought I had given up on the training but after the really long nap this afternoon, I realized that my body just wasn’t into it today. Hell it is surprising that I was able to push through as far as I did. All in all, I guess all wasn’t lost. I will start all of my LR’s way earlier from now on as well.

Workouts this week:

Tuesday, 22 June
Rest (or 2-3 recovery miles)
Wednesday, June 16
6 miles moderate with ladder of progressions
Thursday, June 17
Rest (or 2-3 recovery miles)
Friday, June 18
5 miles easy with strides
Saturday, June 19
3 miles easy
Sunday, June 20
13 miles moderate run with uphill strides and then sprints. Full Recovery 30-45 min @ Marathon Effort

"The long run is what puts the tiger in the cat.”
~Bill Squires