Sunday, July 30, 2006

That gurgling sound isn't good, is it?

Every have one of those days that just don’t work out like you planned. We’ll I had one this morning. I rolled out of bed at 4:30 this morning to prepare for my Sunday morning long run. It was a perfect morning for a run. The skies opened once again last night and dump copious quantities of water on our fair city; cleansing the dust clogged air and dropping the temperatures into the high 70s … yes you heard right. The morning temperatures in Phoenix weren’t in the 90s, they weren’t even in the 80s. The air temperature this morning at 5:00 AM was 78, with 80% humidity. A perfect morning.

Unfortunately after a couple of easy miles, my lower intestines started complaining about life in general and made it very clear that I, to put it delicately, needed to return home immediately. I looped back around to the house and made it inside just in time. Within 5 minutes, I was prepared to get back on the street and continue my long run.

I ran down the block a bit and took a long drink from my water thermos, strategically stashed along my usual route and headed back out on the run. Since I’d cut my first lap short, I added extra ½ mile loops into the usual route to make up for the distance I cut off early due to my intestinal difficulties. However, after 3 more miles, with my stomach gurgling, I came to the startling conclusion that I just wasn’t feeling all that well this morning and walked home.

Although I didn’t get close to the 15 miles I’d planned, I did manage to get a little over 6 miles. In addition, I bought an extra hour to give me some time to catch up on your blogs.

Oh yes … I did a bit of an experiment yesterday and tried to run 7 miles on a treadmill. I slept in for the first time in ages and it was just too hot and humid to run out doors.

I discovered:
1) The LA Fitness I use sets the maximum time on the tread mills to 30 minutes. This is a major hassle. Does anyone know how to override this limit?
2) Running for an hour on a treadmill seems like a long time. You need to stay focused, can’t day dream as much … on the other hand, you don’t have to worry about cars.
3) The run was a lot gentler on my feet. I had no trouble with arthritic toes during or after.
4) Obviously, it’s easy to hold pace on a treadmill; however, I enjoyed the playing with the elevation feature to create hills where I wanted them

I’m still not a big fan of treadmills, but I did get a good workout yesterday.

Keep Running

Training for the week

Mon - Rest Day
Tue - 8.0 Miles, easy, 9:09/mi pace
Wed – 8.0 Miles, easy, 9:01/mi pace
Thr - 7.2 Miles, tempo, 5 miles @ 7:55/mi pace; 1 mi WU, 1.2 Mi CD
Fri - 7.0 Miles, easy, 8:40/mi pace
Sat - 7.9 Miles, easy, 8:40/mi pace
Sun - 6.3 Miles, easy, 9:31/mi pace

Total Weekly Mileage: 44.4 Miles

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You've got your good days, you've got your bad days

This morning started like any other morning at the local track; dark (as in pre-dawn dark), temperatures in the low 80's and humidity approaching 80%. All in all, it was a very nice morning. My training plan called for a 5 mile Tempo run at a 7:36/mi pace with a 1 mile warm-up and cool-down. I actually look forward to this day in my schedule. It gets me off the streets of Phoenix and away from the crazy drivers and allows me to focus on my shabby running form while circling the track at Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC).

This morning, I stepped onto the track before 5 AM. The track is on the back side of the campus, nestled up against a local golf course so there is little traffic noise and no ambient light radiating from street lights. There are usually a few walkers that show up once the sky brightens; but at 5 AM, I had the whole thing to myself. Even though it was dark, once I cleared the debris from last night storms from the track, it was fairly easy to navigate without lights. Even I can remember to turn left every 200m.

Although the campus is not exactly remote, there is a family of coyotes leaving in the area. Although I couldn't see them, they could see me and they weren't all that happy with me as I started my warm-up. I was serenaded through the dark by a multiple coyote chorus for 5 or 10 minutes as I plodded around the oval trying to shake the sleep out of my legs. At some point, they must have figure out that I wasn’t a real threat and quieted down.

To hit a 7:36/mi pace, I needed to complete each 400m lap between 1:50 and 1:54 and hold the pace for 20 laps. No problem, I had run 7:39/mi for 4 miles 2 weeks earlier without a problem. I wasn’t expecting it to be very difficult to push the degree of difficulty up by 1 second per lap. After all … what’s a second worth?

Evidently, 1 second is an eternity when the legs won’t cooperate. I completed the first lap in 1:57. No problem I thought, I’m only 3 seconds behind. I was running relaxed and the pace felt right. All I need to do is pick up the cadence a smidgen and I’m there. The second lap came in at 1:55. Now I’m 4 seconds behind. The third lap was back to 1:57 (7 seconds behind) after which the laps more or less held at 1:57 or 1:58 lap after bloody lap.

Nothing I did seemed to make any difference. I shortened my stride and picked up the cadence – 1:57. Increase my stride and pranced like a stable horse around the track – 1:58. Nothing I could think of would get my legs moving any faster. I was, for all practical purposes, running at top speed. I completed the 8k with an average pace of 7:55. Not exactly 7:36! The only good news from this morning was that I WAS able to hold the pace within +/- 0.5% for 5 miles. Not the pace I wanted, but a pace 70 seconds faster than my normal easy running pace under these conditions.

I’ll be back out on the track to try this again in two weeks. We’ll see what happens.

Keep running

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Raining cats and dogs

This blog is quickly becoming the 24 Hour Weather Blog. After waiting and waiting for our summer rains to start, the Phoenix area got hit with a very large storm last night. The main cell sat over the south and east sides of the city for several hours before moving north and west to clobber the rest of us. I didn’t get a lot of sleep with the thunder crashing all around, making all of our dogs very nervous. Fortunately, everything cleared out by this morning. However, the dew point was approaching 80F and we actually had fog developing in some areas of town.


I don’t know how all of you that live in high humidity areas do it. After running only 4 miles this morning, despite temperatures in the mid 80’s, my shirt felt as if someone had tipped a large beach towel in the pool and draped it over my shoulders. The shirt had to weigh several pounds alone and there literally wasn’t anything dry on me (Shirt, Socks, Shorts or Shoes) after an hour of running. Incredible.

Overall, this morning was an enjoyable easy 8 miles over the same course as yesterday. I took off a bit fast and completed the first mile in 8:40, but quickly settled into a nice steady pace and finished the run with a 9:01 average.

Keep Running

Training for the week:

Mon - Rest Day
Tue - 8.0 Miles, easy, 9:09/mi pace
Wed – 8.0 Miles, easy, 9:01/mi pace

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

At least it isn't 100

As unbelievable as it may sound, the official temperature at 5:00 AM this morning was 97F (36C). I couldn’t believe that I was reading the temperature readout on my own blog correctly. Suspecting an error, I called up the US National Weather Service Web Site and confirmed the data. 97! I realize that I promised to stop complaining about the heat, but this was hot for even the most hardened Phoenician.

After my abrupt end to my planned 10-15 mile recovery run on Sunday, I figured that I needed a full rest day to get my mojo back. No running, no x-training, no cheating; just walking, sleeping and eating well. This plan seems to have worked. Despite the record high temperatures, I felt strong through most of my 8 mile run this morning. Mile 1 wasn’t as sluggish as is normal for a morning run; miles 2 and 3 flew by as did mile 4 and 5, although I did have to yell at one moron turning right without looking right. Evidently, my primal yell is improving because he actually heard me through the closed windows of his pickup truck and stopped before hitting me. I also had a couple of twinges in my left glut. I don’t know what this is all about. It seems to come and go.

I dropped the dog off at the end of mile 5 and took off on mile 6. The sun was over the horizon by now, but the eastern sky was rather cloudy keeping the temperature from increasing much beyond 97F. The last few times I’ve stopped to drop off the dog at my house, I’ve had trouble getting back into the groove; but not this morning. Although my “dry weave” shirt was completely soaked, all body parts continued to cooperate. The early twinges in my left glut had gone away and my arthritic toes weren’t complaining too much. I passed the point where I had bonked on Sunday morning and kept right on running.

I changed my course a little this morning to put a more aggressive hill on mile 8. No sense in putting a good morning to waste! With this course, I end up with a small 40’ climb followed by a 20’ descent over a quarter mile followed by a short climb and other descent to the 8 mile point. I picked up the pace to 8:40/mi and powered up the hill finishing out the morning strong. It should be a great week.

I hope your day is going as well.

Training for the week:

Mon - Rest Day
Tue - 8.0 Miles, easy, 9:09/mi pace

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sabino Canyon

After yesterday's successful 5k, I was out the door this morning at 4 AM for a 10 to 15 mile recovery run. I needed to get started early this morning because my wife and I were due in Tucson, 130 miles south of here, by 10 AM on Sunday morning.

The 1st mile was my usual sluggish warmup I'm all to accustom to; however, the sluggishness didn't let up on the 2nd mile. Nor the 3rd. At the end of the 4th mile, as I was heading back towards my house, I gave serious thought to stopping altogether. The temperature was over 90, the humidity was up and I was drenched with sweat. I trudged on.

At 5 miles I stopped briefly to get a drink from the thermos I'd stashed by the side of the road. 15 miles was looking doubtful and 10 miles was iffy, but I pushed on. I continued plodding along through mile 6; however, my right foot started falling asleep. I could only imagine what my running style must have looked like at this point.

Some where on the 7th mile I gave up. I was doing myself more damage than this run was worth. Ironically, as I walked home, the sky started to cload up and the temperature dropped as another storm approached from the Northwest.



Tomorrow is a rest day (and I'll use it).

Training for the week:

Mon: X-train (40 minutes on a recumbent stationary bike)
Tue: 8 miles, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Wed: 8 miles, easy, 9:04 /mi pace
Thr: 5 miles, easy, 9:04/mi pace
Fri: Rest Day
Sat: 9.1 miles, race – 5k , 6:58/mi pace; 3 mi WU and 3mi CD
Sun: 6.5 miles, easy, 9:45/mi pace

Total Miles for the week: 36.7

Since I was in Tucson today, I used the opportunity to take a short hike through part of Sabino Canyon with my wife, oldest daughter and her boyfriend. We didn't get too far due to 111F degree heat, but I did take a few pictures:










Saturday, July 22, 2006

5k Race Day

Thank you to everyone who left me words of encouragement over the past few days for my race this morning. Something must have worked. Despite temperatures in excess of 90F (32C), I managed to pull off a 21:36. I few months ago, I would have never imagined I could get under 22 and was truly shocked when I found my name on the printed result sheets with 21:36 next to my name under the CHIP TIME column.

Race Report: Got up this morning at 4:30 AM and walked outside. The air temperature was around 90 and the humidity was high from the thunderstorms yesterdays. I wasn’t too surprised by the temperature since Phoenix hit 118F (48C) yesterday but I’m getting use to running in this weather 2 months into our summer season. I put the top down in my Mustang and hit the road for the 45 minute drive down to Tempe Arizona for the race.

I like getting to these races an hour before gun time. This gives me time to get my bib number, do my warm up run, and get myself calmed down before the gun goes off. You’d think I was running in the world championships the way I behave. Fear of failure I guess. This morning was no different. I got to the check-in table around 5:30 and was out on my 3 mile warm up run by 5:40 … a nice and slow loop around the entire 5k course. I’d never run this course before, so this gave me a chance to see it. Of couse I forgot to take my camera along on my warm up, so I took the pictures below after the race.









As I was standing in the starting chute, I spied my friend ML and pulled him over to me (lucky ML). This was probably the best thing that could have happened because as we got talking I completely forgot about the race. In fact, I was a bit startled when the gun went off and the crowd surged forward. As with the last race, I wasn’t running with my Garmin set up to monitor pace or time or mileage. I had it turned on with auto-pause to simply measure the lap pace for post race diagnostics; therefore, once I got to the start line, all I need to do was run.

What a nice start. Just a straight shot down a canal bank with no turn for a ½ mile. Plenty of time for everyone to get their positions worked out and plenty of space to pass (and get passed). Arizona Road Racers gives high school cross country teams free entries, so there were plenty of young kids in this race. I always enjoy running with the kids. There is something about their wide-eyed enthusiasm that is so refreshing.

The course turned off the canal after ½ mile or so and headed downhill for 100m to one of the ponds in the park. The course then followed the cement path around the edge of the water and then back up to the main road. Through the first mile, I kept my stride short and cadence high; or at least as high as I could. As I passed the one mile marker I saw a friend on mine who normally runs sub-21 minute 5ks about 10 seconds or so in front of me. I knew I had flown through the first mile, but didn’t know just how fast. I still felt strong, but was very conscious of the sun as my skin slowly started to broil.

I passed the water table at the mid point and reach out to get a cup of water to dump on my head. Unfortunately, some moron cut through on my right just as I got the cup and knocked into my still outstretched arm. Most of the water spilled on my fore-arm, the rest dumped on my right foot … well at least my foot was comfortable. 200m later, some other idiot stopped on the course directly in front of me to pick up something he had dropped. I’ve never seen anyone stop in traffic on a 5k before. I jumped around him and avoided getting tripped up. Fortunately, this was the last incident in the race.

I was still feeling pretty good at the 2 mile marker running along with a high-school girl that couldn’t have been any taller than 5’. She and I had been moving back ahead and behind each other for the past mile or so; at least up to the point where she passed her coach. As we passed her coach, he called out to her that she was currently the number 8 female. Well gentle readers, you would have thought I had stopped for a beer. Apparently, she got tired of running with the old guy and took off at a pace I can only dream of doing in another life.

For the first time, I didn’t feel any weaker on mile 3 than mile 2. In past races, I’ve always punked out on mile 3, but not today. As the course looped around and joined back up with the canal I picked up the pace. No sense on leaving anything in the tank on a 3 mile race. I just focused on keeping my stride short and up the cadence to the greatest extent possible. I passed a few folks along the way, but I also got passed in this same stretch, so I was very aware that I didn’t really have the stamina I need for a strong kick at the end.

I passed the 3 mile marker and continued along the canal bank towards the finish line. As I approach within 10m of the finish line the large clock read 21:45. 21:45! Holy crap batman. I knew I had gone under 22:00, but didn’t have a clue by how much.

As I said at the beginning of this long post, I was shock to see that I had run this race in 21:36. I was even more surprised to see that I’d averaged 6:58 miles around the course. Needless to say this was a first also.

I meet up with ML again after he finished an chatted for a few more minutes before I took off and ran my 3 mile cool down … interesting phrase cool down. What does it mean to cool down when the air temperature is approaching your core temperature?

I hope your day is going as well.

Training for the week:

Mon: X-train (40 minutes on a recumbent stationary bike)
Tue: 8 miles, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Wed: 8 miles, easy, 9:04 /mi pace
Thr: 5 miles, easy, 9:04/mi pace
Fri: Rest Day
Sat: 9.1 miles, race – 5k , 6:58/mi pace; 3 mi WU and 3mi CD

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Erratic Drivers

With the cicadas in full song, I took off on an easy 5 mile run this morning just before 5:00 AM. Although on the road for considerably less time than usual, I did manage to have a near death experience. Running along in the bike lane on mile 2 on a less traveled street I looked up to see a smallish black BMW accelerating and swerving into bike lane 50 yards in front of me. At first, I thought it was yet another redneck driver playing chicken; but, just before I jumped out of the way, I realized that the driver didn’t have a clue what was going on, nor did they understand that their car wasn’t suppose to be driving in the narrow lane reserved for our use. Something about the way I jumped to the left must have woken up driver, who then swerved back into the car lane. So although I run along two of the busier streets in north Phoenix without a problem, it’s along a smaller street that someone tries to terminate me. Go figure.

The rest of the run was uneventful. I finished the 5th mile strong with an 8:38. Overall average pace was 9:05; slightly slower than my 9:03 goal, but still ok considering the temperature was well over 90.

Tomorrow is a rest day in preparation for a 5K on Saturday. So I’ll probably not post again until Saturday afternoon. But I'll do my best to keep up with the rest of your blogs.

Keep Running

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Picking up the Pace

Although the temperatures haven’t really changed - still 90 (32 c) at 5:00 AM – I definitely had more of a spring in my step this morning. I had so much fun on the 8 mile route I took yesterday, that I did it again this morning. I did manage to get my sorry butt out of bed a little earlier this morning and found myself on the road before 5:00 AM; not much before 5 AM grant you, but still, my feet were smacking asphalt before most people’s alarms had gone off.

I motored through the first mile as the eastern sky was just starting to brighten. By the time I got myself turned around on my loop and heading east, most of the street lights had clicked off. I love the traffic level at this time of the morning; especially after I get off one of the major “mile” streets and onto a ½ mile feeder street.

Quick description of Phoenix streets – Phoenix must have been designed by an anal retentive engineer. Nearly all streets run North – South or East – West. The major streets, both North-South and East-West are laid out on a one mile grid. Feed Streets are located 1/2 mile between the major streets. This rule does vary around the large hills in town, but, for the most part, one major street every mile in every direction.

By the time I got to mile 3 I felt as if the pace was picking. Mile 4 went by very strong, and mile 5 felt good up until the point where I hit the last hill near my house. Running up the hill felt much harder this morning than yesterday with me huffing and puffing all the way up. I stopped by the house for a quick drink from my thermos and dropped the dog off. He didn’t want to go inside this morning. I suppose he was wise to the fact that I was about to leave him for another 30 minutes or so. He hates getting left behind, but he won’t drink water when he is excited to run and a big black dog running in 90 degree heat for over an hour can’t be healthy.

Mile 6. I can sum up mile 6 in one word: stiff. I felt as if someone had draped sandbags around my waist. The legs just wouldn’t move. By the time I got to mile 7 the tiredness had left again and I was set up for mile 8. I purposefully set up this course such that the last mile is a straight shot down one of the major streets in north Phoenix. Although the cars are constantly whizzing by, I just focused on the arrow straight bike line heading to the “finish line” one mile away. Actually, I can’t see the end point since it is on the other side of a small hill, but my imagination always sees it. There is nothing like the feeling of running through the first ½ mile, then powering up the hill, followed by a quick sprint down the other side of the hill to the end at the 8 mile mark. Although I don’t actually hear my Garmin beeping at most of the mile marks (too much traffic), I always hear the beep at the end of the last mile. It signals me to pull up and start walking my cool down. I completed last mile in 8:22 whereas the total average for this morning was 9:04/mi.

All in all, a great morning. I hope your day also goes as well.

Training for the week:

Mon: X-train (40 minutes on a recumbent stationary bike)
Tue: 8 miles, easy, 9:22/m pace
Wed: 8 miles, easy, 9:04 m pace

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Backing Off a Bit

First, a not so random observation: What is it with tattoos? What makes a perfectly reasonable person want to permanently implant a large colorful drawing on the lower back, just above the gluts? I guess it looks cool, but will they be thinking the same thing 30 years from now?

 

This is a slow week for me. The morning temperatures are still at or over 90 F (32 C) and the humidity is rising as we near our “monsoon” season. Since I’ve managed to bang out 45+ miles the last 3 weeks and I have a 5k race this Saturday, I think it would be best to back off a bit and give the body a rest. I realize that for many of you, a 45 mile week is, by definition, low mileage, but for me, it is still remarkable. Since I’ve managed to increase my weekly mileage from roughly 20 to as high as 52 over the past 3 months, I’m in no rush to keep pushing. My plan has me working up to 60+ as the summer heat subsides, but for now, 45 to 50 with a break every 3 or 4 weeks feels right.

 

That said, like nearly all of you, I’m an obsessive runner. Although my schedule called for a 7 mile run this morning, 8 sounded so much better. Pushing the mileage up to 8 allowed me add a bigger hill in the first 5 mile loop and then add an easy 3 mile loop at the end. As I did on Sunday’s long run, I stashed a water jug along the route so I could fill up on water at the 5 mile mark.

 

For the first 100 yards this morning, it actually felt cool; although this feeling quickly dissolved as the beads of sweat formed on my forehead. The first few miles were rather sluggish; my body’s natural reaction to getting dragged out of bed and forced outside at 5:00 AM. My pace picked up a bit on mile 3 and I actually enjoyed mile 4. I only had one run-in with a driver turning right onto the main street and not bothering to look to the right. The startled look on their faces as they see me jumping out of their way is priceless.

 

Mile 5 included a series of 3 small hills over the last ½ mile with a steep down hill at the end. The third raise kicked my butt big time. I kept reminding myself that this was making me stronger, this was making me stronger, this was making me stronger …. Funny, I didn’t feel stronger, just tired.

 

I loaded up on water at the 5 mile mark and headed off for the final 3 mile loop. Mile 6 and 7 flew by although the traffic increased considerably as it was well past 6 AM by this time. Mile 8 was my familiar straight shot home. One blissful mile; no turns and few intersecting streets. Although my overall run this morning was, at best, slow. I managed to run the last mile in 8:45.

 

The rest of this week should be uneventful. I have no speed work planned, only 7 or 8 mile easy runs on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is a reserved for light cross training. A 5K on Saturday and whatever I feel like on Sunday, probably a 10 mile recovery run. I think this adds up to something close to 40 miles (by the time you add warm up and cool down on race day).

 

I appreciate the nice comments I’ve received concerning the upcoming 5k. Although I’ve been very fortunate to improve my 5k PR on the last two races, I don’t have high expectations for this one. First, the temperature will most likely be 90 F (32 C) on Saturday morning and our monsoons are predicted to start this week, which means that the morning humidity will be quite high. And if my average pace on morning runs is any indication, the heat is taking a toll on my speed. I am running further, but I’m running slower, about 30 seconds per mile slower than I was doing when the temperatures were just 10-15 degrees cooler. I’ll have a great time and run the best race possible, but I’m not going to be too upset if I don’t beat my 22:01.

 

X-TRAINING REPORT:

 

After the brow beating I’ve taken from several non-blogging friends (yes they do really exist) as well as the suggestions from Robin and Dusty, I’ve started a bit of cross training on my rest days. My youngest daughter is trying to stay in shape over the summer so as to be better prepared for soccer (aka football on the rest of the planet) next this fall, so I’ve been taking her to our local LA Fitness for her work out. While there, I’ve started using the recumbent stationary bike, usually getting in 40 minutes at 100 rpm. From what I can tell by the rest of the folks around me, few see the beauty in these machines and slowly peddle along at low resistance levels at 60 rpm. At 100 rpm the machine has a nice bounce to it. This machine will really rock when you push it. I also brought along my MP3 player and cranked up a few tunes including Cream (i.e. Politician, Cross Roads, Born under a bad sign, etc) as well as The Doors, “Morrison Hotel” album; which ensured I kept the temp up and heart rate evaluated to at least 110.

 

Of course the whole time that I’m on the bike I’m staring at the fancy treadmills. Although I’m not a huge treadmill fan, they seem to be calling to me … “get off the bike”, “step up to a real machine” … I resisted however. I’m here to x-train and x-train I will do.

 

Have a great week running!

 

Training for the week:

 

Mon: X-train (40 minutes on a recumbent stationary bike)

Tue : 8.0 Miles, easy, 9 :22/mi pace

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Longer Longs

This morning, I had planned to run 14 miles, but I managed to extend my long run out to 15 miles instead. I started at 5:00 AM and ran three 5 mile loops in the area around my house. I stashed a large jug of water along the route so I could get a drink every 5 miles or so and I left the dog at home.

There wasn’t hardly anyone on the roads this morning, just me plodding around the streets of Phoenix in the bike lane with the birds chirping away waiting for the sun of come up over the horizon. I managed to get the first 5 miles in before the sun came up; for this, I was thankful. A bit more traffic and a few bicycles were whizzing by on the second 5 mile loop, but overall, things were still pretty quiet. My legs felt good other than a twinge or two in my left knee and an occasional complaint from my gluts.

By mile 11, I convinced myself that I could make it all the way around the 3rd lap for 15 miles instead of cutting things short and stopping at the planned 14. A mile later however, this plan was looking a bit dim. Running east into the sun I started to drag, catching the toe of my shoe on the asphalt several times.

At the start of mile 13 I ate my emergency gel pack (orange … sort of like eating flavored Elmer’s Glue) and decided to hang on as best I could. I looked down at my Garmin after I tucked the now empty Gel Pack into my shorts; my average lap pace was 10:03/mi. So at worst, I had only 30 minutes of fun remaining.

As I continued along on mile 13 the tiredness started leaving my body and my stride became a lot stronger. The Garmin beeped indicating the start of mile 14; two miles to go. The start of mile 14 is a slight up-hill, but my pace seemed to be getting stronger on each steep. I looked down at the Garmin as I passed the end of mile 14; I completed mile it in 9:10.

The last mile has a significant hill at the half way point with a light half way up. I pounded my way up the hill to ensure I got through the light while it was green. As I crested the hill, I took another look at the Garmin: average lap pace: 8:58. I gave it all I had for the last ½ mile and finished up the 15th mile in 8:29. Not too bad considering the average pace for the entire 15 miles was 9:30/mi.

I have a 5k race planned for next Saturday, so next week will be a relatively easy week, probably limited to 6 or 7 miles a day with no speed day. The National Weather Service is predicting slightly lower temperatures with the morning lows around 87 or 88, so perhaps I won't bonk mid-week as I've done on the past two weeks.

I hope you all have a great week and look forward to reading your blogs.

Keep running

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 7.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Wed – 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Thr – 6.5 Miles, tempo, 4.5 Miles @ 7:39/mi pace + 2 mile WU/CD
Fri - 4.0 Miles, easy, 9:23/mi pace
Sat - 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:18/mi pace
Sun – 15.0 Miles, long, 9:30/mi pace

Total Mileage for the week: 46.5

Saturday, July 15, 2006

7 Miles

5:00 AM, 93 Degrees ... Distance=7 miles, avg pace=9:18/mi; enough said (other than my dog throwing up a pair of panties on mile 3. What is it that makes dogs want to eat panties?)

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 7.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Wed – 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Thr – 6.5 Miles, tempo, 4.5 Miles @ 7:39/mi pace + 2 mile WU/CD
Fri - 4.0 Miles, easy, 9:23/mi pace
Sat - 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:18/mi pace

Friday, July 14, 2006

Running Interuptous

Today was not my best day of running. As you are all too well aware from my rantings (as well as the rantings of every other blogger living on the Sonoran Desert), it is HOT out here. Today was no different, something like 91 at 5:00 AM. It might as well have been 121, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. The first mile of my 7 mile easy run was uneventful, but I started to notice sweat rolling down the side of my face shortly thereafter. By the time I got to the 2 mile mark, some sort of liquid was dripping off the brim of my hat and I had the sense that I was starting to drag. Mile 3 is a long straight stretch, slightly up hill. At one part in the run, the city has repaired numerous of cracks in the asphalt with some sort of patching material (I'm sure the stuff has a name, but I’m clueless). I could have sworn that I felt the material giving slightly as I ran over it. Mile 4 has a slightly more substantial ½ mile stretch at the beginning followed by a slight down hill. I really mean slight. The road probably raises 20 or 30 feet over ½ mile. Although the grade is slight, I could feel the energy draining out of my body.

When the Garmin beeped 4 miles, I looked down at my dog and made a command decision for both of us. Since I wasn't having anymore fun and the prospect of running another 3 miles seemed, at the moment, to be somewhat akin to a full scale IRS audit, I stopped running and hit the stop button on my Garmin. I even went into history and erased the little bit I had run past 4 miles. Don’t know what caused me to do this, but it felt good erasing the record of my humiliation.

As I was walking the mile or so home, I ran through the few mile splits accumulated this morning. I ran the first mile in 9:11. Not too bad, I usually run the first mile slowly to get warmed up; but instead of speeding up as is usually the case, I just slooooooowed down mile after putrid mile. At the rate I was decelerating I would have had to run the 7th mile in reverse.

No need to cry for me. Tomorrow will be better, it can’t be much worse.

Keep running, keep hydrated, and keep cool.

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 7.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Wed – 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Thr – 4.5 Miles, tempo, 7:39/mi pace + 2 mile WU / CD
Fri – 4.0 Miles, easy, 9:23/mi pace

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Up tempo running

I scheduled a 4 mile tempo run (7:39/mi pace) for this morning. Instead of screwing around on the road dodging cars and dogs and worrying about out racing red lights, I went over to Paradise Valley Community College and used their track. No one was at the track at 5:15 AM when I arrived and the sun was just starting to peek through the trees east of the track and the temperature was starting to rise over 90. I ran an easy 1600 to warm up and started my attempt to hold a steady 1:53 split for 16 laps.

The first lap went by in 1:52, not bad for a start. Everything felt ok. The second lap clocked in at 1:56; ok, I’m slowing down a bit, time to start paying attention. Lap 3 improved back to 1:52 and lap 4 slowed back down to 1:56. Seemed to be see-sawing back and forth a bit, but finished the first 1600 in 7:36. With 3 miles to miles to go I was still feeling strong. No problems other than a couple of twinges in my left hamstring.

As I begin the 5th lap I started wondering what I was I doing out here in the heat. The voices in my head soon took over and I sort of lost track of where I was on the track. I think this is the same effect as talking on the cell phone while driving down the freeway at 75 MPH. You look up after a few minutes and have no idea how you got to where you are. Laps 5 through 8 ran by as 1:54, 1:52, 1:54, 1:52. Total time: 7:32. Apparently day dreaming while running works. Somewhere in here a jogger entered the track and started plodding along using the inside lane. Although I enjoyed having someone to chase and lap every couple of times around the track, I can’t understand why someone going that slow feels it is necessary to hug the inner edge of lane 1. Oh well. It’s been 35 years since I passed anyone on a track.

Halfway through and only 2 miles to go. I had no idea of course that I had improved the 2nd 1600 by 4 seconds, but I had a sense that things were going well because the lap time seemed to be hovering around 1:53 each time I passed the start line. By this point, I had just settled down into a nice steady pace and was gaining confidence that I would be able to hold up for at least an other 4 laps and perhaps all 8.

I ran the 3rd 1600 as: 1:52, 1:53, 1:52, 1:53. Total Time for the 3rd 1600: 7:30. Somehow I had managed to settle into a total auto-pilot mode for this 1600 and just ran around and around day dreaming about something. By this point in the run I had totally lost track of where I was in terms of lap count. Even though I had set up my Garmin to show LAP TIME and LAPS (or lap count), my ancient brain had difficulty figuring out if the LAP COUNT was the lap I was on or the laps I had run. The jogger gave up and went home, but several teenage girls should up and started milling around.

Again, I’d lost track of how many 1600 I’d run, but had a vague idea that I still had at least a mile to go. I decided I needed to run an extra lap at the end to ensure I didn’t short change myself and remembering that 1600m is about 30 meters short of a mile, I knew an additional lap would take me out beyond 4 miles. I even tried to multiply 30x4 and thought it was somewhere near 100 which seemed to be less than 400. I’m glad I don’t try to do my taxes while running at this pace.

The 4th 1600 sailed by in a blur: 1:53, 1:54, 1:55, 1:54. Total time: 7:36; slowing down a bit. I don’t even remember how I felt at this point. I thought I was still doing ok and running somewhere very close to my 1:53 lap goal, but the legs were just moving on their own. It’s amazing how long I hung on to 1:53 I saw on lap 13. I don’t remember seeing the 1:55 at all. Must have blocked out any negative thoughts.

After running 6400m I had lost track of how many laps I’d run (even though the Garmin was telling me) and was convinced that I had at least 1 lap to go and needed to add an extra lap as a safety lap.

Lap 17: 1:56 – yikes. I saw this one, needed to dig a bit and hustle around on the last lap. Lap 18: 1:53.

Time for a cool down.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 7.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Wed – 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Thr – 4.5 Miles, tempo, 7:39/mi pace + 2 mile WU / CD

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Temperature Alert

People … People … it’s way to hot! Just who decided that summers in central Arizona needed to be so miserable? Let’s review the forecasted Lows / Highs for the remainder of the week (in degree F)

Wed: 89/111
Thr: 90/112
Fri: 91/112
Sat: 89/111
Sun: 88/108 (cooling trend!)

I guess I just didn’t notice the heat when I didn’t train in the summer time. But trying to keep up a 50 mi/week running schedule when the lows are 90 is a challenge. I was pursuing one of Jeff Galloway’s earlier books this morning after I got back from my run and stumbled upon a section where he discussed the impact of heat on average pace. In his book he has a table that shows that an 8:00/mi average pace at 50 deg (f) translates to a 9:34/mi avg pace at 85. His table didn’t even consider the effects associated with our morning lows. Evidently, running at 90+ degrees was just beyond comprehension. After a spending a week at the beach in Southern California last week, I can see how people loose a sense of perspective. Running last week was effortless (at 70); this week is a bit more labored.

As much as I bitch and complain about the heat, I probably can’t do much about it. It will be here until late September. However, the whining will continue until the temperatures start to drop at which point I will start complaining about the cold, dark mornings.

This morning was pretty much a repeat of yesterday; slow start at 5:10 AM for the first 2 miles followed by a fairly steady pace through mile 6. I did pass one snarling dog safely penned behind a chain link fence on mile 3. Although the dog couldn’t attack, my timid lab (all 75 lbs of him) jumped quickly to the right to put me between himself and the mean doggy. As often happens, he nearly knocked me off my feet doing so. A few seconds later, after we had safely passed his adversary, he moved back to my left and continued trotting as if nothing happened. This dog is definitely a lover and not a fighter.

And as happened yesterday, I started to question my sanity on mile 7. I modified the course a bit to exclude the steep hills at the end, replacing them with a much more gradual rise through a neighborhood near my house. I resisted the urge to stare at my Garmin and waited patiently for the damn thing to beep at 7 miles. As I knew it would, it finally went off and I stopped the insanity and walked the rest of the way home. With the temperatures as hot as they have been, I’ve tried to ensure that I get at least a 5 minute cool down walk after my easy runs. It use to bother me to walk, but after pounding out 7 miles a day, it now seems reasonable.

Cross Training Update: Several of you with “boot camp” experience have asked about my cross training. Although I really do admire those of you who are able to put your entire bodies through an extensive training regime, I’ll know I will never get there. I’ve toyed with the idea of stepping up to triathlons, but have quickly squashed those foolish thoughts and have stuck with running. As is the case with many of you, I exhibit extreme compulsive / obsessive behavior patterns. Trying to train for three sports instead of one would do me in. Also, I enjoy running because I can do it anywhere. I travel a lot, usually two or three times a month, so I need an obsession I can bring with me. However, I do do other things. Last week I played tennis (twice) and swam (once). Last night I took my youngest daughter to LA Fitness so she could work out (you don’t let a 14 year old who looks like an 18 year old loose in LA Fitness alone).

While I was there I spent 30 minutes on the stair stepper. Evidently stair steppers aren’t the machine of choice for the buffed and beautiful. Although I hadn’t been one for several years, I kept the rep rate high and had little trouble crushing the younger guys around me. Sort of fun.

I also did 50 leg lifts with each leg on a quad machine. These muscles don’t get the same work out as the hamstrings and calves get on my daily runs. The more muscle-bound folks in the same area were doing sets of 5 to 10 using both legs with a whole lot more weight than I was using for my alternating one leg lifts, but I just plodded along. Since I want my daughter to keep up with her aerobic conditioning over the summer, I’ll probably see the inside of LA Fitness more often.

Keep running

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Week 3

This starts week three of my quest to run a sub-45 minute 10k. Since I only have 6 days of running planned for this week, I know I won’t top my 52 mile output from last week, but I have a solid week of running planned none-the-less with one speed day, another 14 mile long run (on Sunday) and 4 easy 7 mile runs.

 

I got out on the road just after 5:00 AM this morning for my first 7 mile run of the week. The sky was just beginning to lighten and most of the cars still had their headlights on. Although the sun had yet to rear its ugly head, the temperature was hovering just under 90. When I lived in Arizona in the late 60s, the summer highs were as hot as they are today, but the morning lows dropped into the high 70s. Since we’ve now covered every available square inch with asphalt and buildings, the whole valley acts like one big heat island. The man-made materials are so good at holding heat over night that the temperature never really cools down.

 

The first 2 miles were a very sluggish – a real left foot, right foot, left foot, right, repeat as required type of effort. As I made my 2nd left turn just after passing the 1 mile mark, it dawned on me why it is so important to run a slow and easy 2 to 3 mile warm up before a 5k. Trying to run fast at this point would have been a disaster. By the time I passed the 2 mile mark, the legs loosened up and I started running much more relaxed. Miles 3 through 6 went by without incident even though I was working out a respecitible 7 mile route in my head on the fly. In fact, on a long straight line stretch on mile 5 I toyed with the idea of extending this run out to 8 miles. Fortunately I came to my senses. I really need to avoid over-training and I am already running 2x more than my 5 year average.

 

The last 1/4 mile of mile 7 is a steep hill, followed by slight down hill and then another hill. I didn’t know exactly where the 7 mile mark would be, however, it was much further up the second hill than I had expected. Being a macho idiot, I charged up the first hill and found myself breathing very hard as I coasted down the slight decline. As I started “running” up the 2nd hill I couldn’t ignore my Garmin any longer and found myself frantically cycling through the screens trying to find one that would tell me how many more inches I had to run. Trying to read the damn thing with my right hand holding onto my left wrist while pushing my body up a hill was an exercise in futility. By the time that I was able to get my eyes in focused on the tiny screen with a display showing actual distance run I had already passed the 7 mile mark. I should have just kept my head down and kept motoring ahead as I had done on the first 6.98 miles.

 

I hope you all have a great week running.

 

Training for the week:

 

Mon – Rest Day

Tue – 7.0 Miles, easy, 9:01/mi pace

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What a difference a day makes

After hitting the wall at 3 miles yesterday, I started my weekly long run this morning with some trepidation. I had scheduled a minimum of 12 miles with hopes of getting to 13. If I started giving up at 3 miles again, I knew it would be a very long morning.

It had been a while since I’d checked out my heart rate with my monitor, so in addition to my Garmin 201 on my left wrist, I wore my HR Monitor on right wrist., I was fully wired and ready to go. I really hate wearing the HR monitor strap around my chest though. Since I lost my pot belly the darn thing keeps slipping down no matter how tight I make it.

I started out at 5:15 this morning, several hours earlier than yesterday, but still not as early as I should have left. I managed to get in only 2 miles before the sun came up over the horizon and the temperature started rising from the morning low of 85. However, even with the sun up, I was cruising along at a comfortable 9:10 pace with my HR staying just under 140. Not as low as I’d like it, but about as good as I could expect for this temperature.

Miles 3 through 7 clicked by without incident and I realized that I am really starting to become a distance runner when my Garmin beeped at 7 miles and I thought to myself that I only had another 6 miles to go to get to 13 miles. 6 months ago the thought of running 6 miles and word “only” never converged in the same sentence.

I looped back around to my house after 8 miles and dropped my dog off and gulped down some water from a thermos I’d left on the front patio and headed off for the rest of the run. Although my pace had dropped a bit over the last several miles in order to keep my HR around 140, I was still feeling strong at 9 miles and started thinking about what course I should run if I wanted to stretch the run out to 14 miles instead of the 12 to 13 that I had planned. At mile 10 I made the commitment to 14 miles and headed off on a much longer loop that would force me to get 14 miles or walk the same distance home.

At mile 11 the world started looking a bit different. The temperature had continued to rise as the sun rose higher in cloudless blue sky. My HR was edging higher even as my pace was dropping to the 9:30 range. My legs still felt good, but my left foot started complaining about the pounding. By mile 12 I was running on testosterone alone.

There is something about a runner’s ego that won’t let us quit when everything is saying stop. I’d managed to get out beyond 12 miles and didn’t fancy a 2 mile walk home. At mile 13 something clicked in and my pace increased dramatically. I ran the last mile in 9:10 after struggling for the past several miles. My HR continued to climb as I hit the last hill of this morning’s run, but my pace didn’t falter. As the Garmin beeped 14 miles however, I knew it was time to stop and walked a 5 minute cool down. I probably should have walked more, but the temperature was well over 90 by this point and I just wanted to get inside.

Discounting Saturday’s 3 mile failure, this has been a great week:

1) I hit an all time record for total miles run in a single week: 52.1 miles
2) I ran the fastest set of 800m intervals since high school: 3:19 avg
3) I ran my longest single run ever: 14.0 miles

Tomorrow is a rest day so I probably won’t post to this Blog again until Tuesday. I plan to spend the rest of the day watching the World Cup finals and working around the house. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Keep running

Training for the Week:

Mon - 7.5, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Tue - 7.0, easy, 8:57/mi pace
Wed - 7.1, easy, 8:49/mi pace
Thr - 5.7, 4x800 with 400 recovery; 6:38 avg pace
Fri - 7.6, easy, 8:57/mi pace
Sat - 3.1, easy, 8:53/mi pace
Sun – 14.0, long, 9:26/mi pace

Total for the week: 52.1 Miles

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Enough is Enough

Evidently, yesterday’s 7.6 mile jaunt through the hills of Carlsbad did me in. Either that or I'm no longer capable of running in 90 degree heat. Either way, after only 3 miles this morning, I had had enough and stopped running. I can't say that anything was really wrong; my brain was just simply screaming STOP. My legs weren't cramping. My pace was OK (just under 9 min/mile) and I took a quick HR immediately after stopping, it was only 112 bpm. So although everything was ok, I just didn't feel like running any further. We'll see how tomorrow's long run goes.

I hope you are all having better days.

Training for the Week:

Mon - 7.5, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Tue - 7.0, easy, 8:57/mi pace
Wed - 7.1, easy, 8:49/mi pace
Thr - 5.7, 4x800 with 400 recovery; 6:38 avg pace
Fri - 7.6, easy, 8:57/mi pace
Sat - 3.1, easy, 8:53/mi pace

Friday, July 07, 2006

The last run in Carlsbad

I managed to hit the send button instead of the save button on my black berry and sent my last post before I finished a complete thought.. So here is round two.

All good things must come to an end. This morning was my last run in the cool ocean breezes of Carlsbad. Whereas the locals were complaining about the extreme heat and high humidity those of us from central Arizona were basking in the cool moist air.

This morning I ran the steepest portion of the Carlsbad Marathon course along Palomar Airport Road from the 405 freeway to the turn around point past the Airport Entrance and back to my sister-in-law's apartment. 7.6 miles in all.

The first couple of miles are slow rolling hills. The traffic wasn't too bad at 5:30, but I was forced up onto the sidewalk from the bike path several times upon hearing some huge semi bearing down on my frail body. The route detours off the main drag on the uphill portion  and runs through a small commercial / office district before rejoining Palomar Airport road. This area has a couple of very steep but short climbs that force you up onto your toes (oh joy), but the real fun doesn't start until the course joins back up with Palomar Airport Road.

The total elevation change from the Freewasy is only 300 feet, but most of it is along the last 1/2 mile of the hill and this is one bitch of a hilll. I felt vey fortunate that I was running it on mile three this morning. I think it is on mile nine of the Marathon. At this point in my life, I can't imagine running another 17 miles after this hill. I've got a lot of work to do on hill training. And there is nothing like this hill in North Phoenix.

The fun doesn't stop once you get to the top either. After cresting the hill, I got to run down hill to the turn around point on this branch of the course. The course looses 50 feet over 1/4 mile along here. Although this little section wasn't nearly as steep as the other side of the hill,  1/4 mile wasn't eneough for me before I had to do an other climb.

Once reaching the top again, the course continues back down the very steep section of Palomar Airport Road back towards the Freeway.  I averaged just over 8:00/mi on this down hill section. Could have gone faster, but this run was suppose to be an easy 6 miles this morning and I knew that I was already blown through the top of the mileage range..

As the miles dragged on, the dull ache in my left foot continued to increase.  The pain usually subsides after a few miles, but there was something abiut runnig uphill that it didn't like. I also felt a bit dehydrated by the time I got back to the apartment. We'll see how I feel tomorrow back to the heat in Phoenix. It has been a hard week of running. I've logged 34 miles already this week and I still have 6 scheduled on Saturday and 12 scheduled on Sunday..

This is also my last BlackBerryBlog. Tomorrow it is back to a real computer with a real keyboard. I expect my spelling to improve dramatically. I can't promise any improvements in my prose.

Keep running

 

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Straight Line Intervals

More 800s this afternoon .. yes, this afternoon. I'm still in Carlsbad and slept in this morning (one too many martini's last night). So I didn't get out for my weekly intervals until noon! While it was well over 100 by noon today in Phoenix, it was only 75 along the beach? Since I don't have a clue where a track is around here, I mapped out an 800m section of the old Coast Highway (now Carlsbad BLVD) and with cars whizzing by at 60 mph, I dutifully ran my 800s.

Remarkably, I ran the fastest 800s ever (well at least since my last year of high school track in 1972). After a 1.5 mile warm up run, I ran 4x800 with 400m recoveries holding a decent pace for me:

1) 3:21 min
2) 3:17 min
3) 3:19 min
4) 3:20 min

I needed to leave for San Diego at 1:30 PM, so I cut the intervals off at 4. I don't know if I could have run another sub 3:20. I was really pushing the last rep hard to hold the pace. I'm very anxious to get back to Phoenix and see if I can repeat this on a track in 90 degree heat.

I've got one more 7 mile run scheduled tomorrow over the hilly section of the Carlsbad Marathon. The course raises and falls 300 feet over 3 miles, but most of the steepness is at the end of the climb. This should be interesting.

Keep running

Training for the Week:

Mon - 7.5, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Tue - 7.0, easy, 8:57/mi pace
Wed - 7.1, easy, 8:49/mi pace
Thr - 5.7, 4x800 with 400 recovery; 6:38 avg pace

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another morning in Carlsbad

Once again, it is 67 degrees with the marine layer obscuring the sun. You just can't beat this weather. Unfortunately, the 4 day weekend is over for a lot of folks and the roads are thick with cars once again. The last several days sure have been nice with minimum traffic.

Not much to report on the running front. I ran another 7 mile easy run this morning at a slightly better tempo than yesterday. My legs felt fine as the Garmin ticked off the miles. My big toe was a bit sore;. no real pain though, it just let me know it was along for the ride. Perhaps in the end, my bad toe will turn into a blessing. It certainly makes me pay attention to my pace and regulates the distance I'm willing to run. Without it, I might be tempted to increase my mileage too fast and get myself hurt..

I used the same course as yesterday to ensure I could make it across the San Diego Freeway without getting killed. It isn't a lot of fun running across the mouth of a Freeway on-ramp nor the exit ramp as people frantically try to get to work. The last thing they expect to see is a runner.

I also apologize if I haven't answered your comments promptly.  I can't post comments on any Blog (including mine)that uses Word Verification with my Black Berry.  I've managed to answer a few of you using someone elses PC, unfortunately, that PC just left for Los Angeles with its owner, so I'll be even less responsive over the next several days.

Keep running and keep writing. I hope you all have a great week.

Phil

Training for the Week:

Mon - 7.5, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Tue - 7.0, easy, 8:57/mi pace
Wed - 7.1, easy, 8:49/mi pace

 

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Carlsbad California

I hope all of you in the US are off enjoying the 4th of July holiday today. I'm still in Carlsbad this morning. Other than a thick marine layer, this morning was a more-or-less the same as yesterday.

Now that I'm racing faster, I think I'm ready to increase my easy pace a little bit. This morning I set out to hold a 9:03 pace for 7 miles. The rolling hills along the coast south of Carlsbad made it a bit of a challange to hold a pace, but I did fairly well. Overall, I covered the 7 miles at an avg pace of 8:57. Since it is the 4th of July, there was very little traffic. Not a single car pull out in front of me with out looking. What a morning :)

I did have several significant twinges of pain in my left big toe. Since I'm reluctant to look at surgical options, I imagine I should find a podiatrist who understands runners for an orthodic solution. Anyone have a suggestions?
Keep running

Training for the week

Mon - 7.5, easy, 9:22/mi pace
Tue - 7.0, easy, 8:57/mi pace

 

Monday, July 03, 2006

Running in Carlsbad

I've decided to shift my running week to the right by one day and do my long run on Sunday instead of Saturday. This let's me move my rest day from Friday to Monday and balances out my week and fits much better with my my travel schedule.

Although this is Monday and technically a rest day, I found myself in Carlsbad California this morning and couldn't resist a short easy. Although the locals are complaining about the heat, it is down right cool for a desert dweller. The lows are in the high 60's and highs are up around 77. Where's the heat?

This morning was typical. Temperature at 67 with clear skies (no marine layer); just a great morning for a run. I ran 3 miles south down the old coast highway from Carlsbad and had to force myself to turn around. I took a bit of a detour  on the way back and got in a few steep hills. This didn't do anything to help my average pace, but where else am I going to get the chance to run hills with the temperature under 70?

The remarkable aspect of this run was my heart rate. Although I wasn't pushing the pace this morning (it being a rest day and all), I took a quick pulse rate at the end of the run. I'd just finshed up the hills and had run the last half mile at a sub 9:00/mi pace. My heart rate was 112. It would have been over 140 back in central Arizona running the same pace in 90 degree heat.

Keep running



Training tor the week:

Mon - 7.5, easy, 9:22/mi pace


 

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The day after

Please excuse any obvious spelling errors over the next several posts. I don't have my computer with me, so I'm posting through my blackberry ( aka Crackberry)

Race update: I really feel the need to add a few more details concerning yesterday's 5k in Phoenix.

The course was the toughest I've run. It started out at the backend of a parking lot a mile north of the main entrance into South Mountain Park off of Central Ave. There were about 550 people there, but I completed my warm up and got into the chute 10 minutes before the gun. There were several High School cross country teams around me plus an assortment of older runners that I usually see at these races. In addition, David, another local race regular was a few feet in front of me carrying a large American Flag on a staff. The rest of the field was packed in behind me.

When the gun went off, everyone in front of me started running. I didn't need to weave my way through slower runners and immediately got over to the right side of the course to give plenty of room for faster runners to pass. David's flag was unfurled and flutering 15 feet in front of me.

3 weeks ago, the same fellow had passed me at the 2 mile mark and finished somewhere in around 21:30, so I wasn't too suprised that he was in front of me now. What suprised me was that he wasn't pulling away.

After a short distance we exited the parking lot via the access road and turned south on Central, running up the hill towards the main entrance. The roads were not closed for this event, and even though it was 6:30 AM, there were still cars on the road. I contine to be suprised how drivers believe they should be allowed to move forward as 500 runners are coming at them. I'm sure they really had somewhere important to go..

The first part of the hill wasn't too bad,  probably a 5 percent grade and  it flattens out at the Park Entrance as we passed the 1 mile marker. As we were going up the hill, I shortened my stride and upped the turn over rate.

Although I didn't have a watch running, I did have my Garmin on to record the miles. I ran this first mile in 7:06. In the previous 5K I ran the first mile in 7:09, so it was a good thing that I didn't have a clue how fast I had just run up hill. I'm sure I would have convinced myself that I was going to blow out again.

After passing the main entrance, we made a left turn on a side street and continued climbing on the 2nd mile. The hill got a lot steeper on this section and people.around me started walking. At some point the leaders passed us flying down the hill at mach 3. I had passed David and his flag and continued to chug up the hill with a very short stride. I wasn't worried about pace, I just tried to stay within my own race.

Thankfully, the hill ended at the turn around point and now it was my turn to fly down the hill. However, I have zero experience running down steep hills and it showed. I was actually thankful to get back down to the Park entrance as we passed the. 2 mile marker. David passed me again near the mile mark, but again, he wasn't pulling away. My time on the 2nd mile was 7:16.

Most of the 3rd mile was down hill. I caught up to David and briefly chatted about carrying the falg. The guy certainly has stronger arms than me. I couldn't have done it. We turned off of Central onto the parking lot access road again and the course flattened out. My legs were shacking a bit and I was having trouble keeping the faster tempo I'd enjoyed coming down the hill (dah!). However, I did manage to run the 3rd mile in 6:46.

The last 0.1 mile was a blur. I went through the gate and noticed that the clock read 22:05. But it didn' sink in until I had my chip removed and walked back around to the finish line to start my cooll down. The clock read 22:45. Then it hit me. I had just run a 5k in 90 heat on a very hilly course substantially under my PR.


-----------------------------

I was scheduled to run a 12 mile easy run this morning, but cut it back to 10. I slept in until 5:30 and didn't get out until 6:00. Average pace was 9:20. This isn't too bad for the morning after a race.

I hope all of you in the US have a great 4th of July holiday and wish everyone a great week of running. Life is good.

 

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Running 5Ks in the Sun

First, I think that I've now convinced myself that running slow and long really does make you faster. After running 5Ks fairly consistently in the 23:30 to 24:00 range for several years, I managed to get to 22:01 on hilly road course in 90 degree heat this morning. In addition to slowing my easy training runs down to the 9:15-9:30 range, I also took Mike's advice and ran a race, for the first time, without a watch. I had my Garmin on to log the miles, but I set up the custom page to display Total Distance, Laps, and Grade. Useless info at best.

The Garmin wouldn't have done me any good anyway on this course. The first 0.2 miles were flat, the next 1.3 miles was a constant up hill grade that got fairly steep right before the turn around point. Fortunately, the race was set up to run around a small round-about, so the turn felt really smooth.

I also ran a 2.7 mile warm up before the race and a 1.1 mile cool down after the race.

I was a bit disappointed that I didn't see anyone I knew at the race. I did see Carmin's name on the race summary. She broke 30 minutes on a very tough course, so go give her a big congratulations if you get a chance.

Keep running

Training for the week:

Sun - 5.0 miles; easy, 9:22/mi pace
Mon - 5.0 miles; easy, 9:22/mi pace
Tue - 6.0 miles, 5x800,7:03/mi pace
Wed - 5.3 miles, easy, 9:28/mi pace
Thr - 5.3 miles, easy, 9:06/mi pace
Fri - Rest Day
Sat - 5k, race, 7:05/mi pace + 2.7 mile warm up; 1.1 mile cool down

Total for the week: 33.5 Miles