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


Dusty said...

Great job with the distance... both today's 14 and your weekly total. That is just great!

Ahhh... the troubles of being thin... the darn HR Monitor falls down. :) Not a bad problem to have. I wore one once and it said my heart rate was high when I was going slow - freaked me out & haven't worn it since.

That heat can be unbearable. Great job hanging in there. Humidity out here is pretty awful, but the harsh sun beating down during a run in the valley is unforgiving. I remember a nice man that always let me and my friends jump in his fountain in the front yard (Biltmore area). Great job to power through it and come up with a faster final mile -- always feels great to end like that.

Runner Chic said...


great job on your long run and weekly totals as well. You must be pretty impressed!! So how do you feel over all. Sounds like you are recovering and your legs are in good shape. Still wondering if you included that cross training??


Mike said...

You're definitely on your way. This weather makes the long run tough, regardless of when you start. That really is a great week, and at this rate you will exceed all the "bests" you set in the last seven days.

I think there is a point in a training cycle where runners start to get that invincible feeling during the long run. Kind of a "drop me off anywhere, I'll make it home" thing. I'm hoping to get back to that place soon myself.

wildiris said...

Your "easy pace" seems to be getting faster! Would you credit your speed work with that improvement? Your 5k race pace should be about 20-30 seconds a mile slower than your 800m interval pace. That means you should be close to a 22 min 5K. Not bad for 50+.

Phil said...

Dusty .. thanks for the kind comments. No one has ever called me thin .. I still have a bit to lose; but at least I'm out of the "overweight" catagory on the BMI.

Robin .. I can't do any cross training without thinking of you and entering it into my blog somewhere. I'll post a complete report in the morning. Overall, I feel great. In fact, I've never felt this good. My wife even told me that I'm in the best shape ever (or at least in the 27 years she's known me). My only problem is my toes. The legs feel great and all my other joints feel great. I'm running further and stronger than ever. I'm still a "middle of the pack" runner, but I'm moving up towards the front of the middle.

Mike .. thanks for the training tips over the past several months. Although I will most likely never get up to the 100mi/week range, I've already improved more than I thought was possible, thanks to, in no small part, your advice.

Wildiris .. good observation. I managed a 22:01 5K two weeks ago on a hilly course. It was a small local event and mostly hard-core runners show up to run a race at 6:30 AM in 90 degree heat. I finished 9 /25 in my age group and 145/572 overall. There are a lot of fast folks in the state.