Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Who turned off the heat?

I made it to Seattle today. Although I have to admit that I was tempted to get myself bumped again when the gate agent announced (same as yesterday) that US Air was in an over sold situation. Instead I was a good boy and got on the plane. Seated across the aisle from me was a mountain of women. This poor gal was so large that she sat at a 45 degree angle for the entire trip. All the way to Seattle I kept thinking that all we need to do was get her walking 30 minutes a day, then running 30 minutes a day, then racing 5ks and 10Ks, and by then we’d have her down to 120 lbs and sitting upright in a seat. Oh well, I’ve got to stop trying to save the world.

Once I got to Seattle everything changed. The snow storm I’d missed last night made a mess of the city. The surface streets were full of ice and I counted at least 30 cars abandoned by the side of the freeway on my from SEA-TAC airport north to Redmond. Once I got to our facility, I was the only car in the vistor parking and the office was more or less deserted. Two of the 4 people I came to “visit” called me while I was in transit from the airport and explained that they couldn’t get their cars out of their garages this morning and didn’t make it to work at all. I had one productive meeting in the afternoon, but most of the time I spent on the phone with our other facilities.

I knocked off work at 5:00 PM and headed over to the hotel. By this time the temperature had dropped to 24F and I got thinking about the 12 miler I had scheduled to run on Wednesday morning. With the temperature alread rather frigid for this Arizonan at 5:00 PM and the sun setting quickly, I realized that the conditions for a good run weren’t going to get any better overnight. So, I pulled on my cold weather gear (tights, long sleeve running shirt and gloves) and dug out my head lamp and set off down the bike trail that parallels the 520 to the Sammamish River.

This was an experience I’ve never had before, running on ice. First, the constant crunching noise made for a very loud run. Second, my fingers immediately went into a deep freeze even with my running gloves on. I had to pull my fingers out of the glove’s fingers and ball them up with my thumb for warmth. My ears were gone as well, but the numbness was refreshing; or more correctly, I couldn’t feel my ears. I wasn’t sure this was the smartest run I’d ever started, but after the first 2 miles, I finally warmed up enough to be comfortable and learned how to run on the ice and snow without slipping too much.

After 3 miles, I got down the hill to the Sammamish River and headed north. By now it was completely dark and all I had was my head lamp illuminating the ice and snow under my feet … crunch, crunch, crunch. Three miles out along the river, three miles back. With 9 miles down and only 3 miles to go I was now faced with the prospect of a long 1.25 mile climb up from the river.

I had done well to this point, considering the conditions, and held a pace around 8:55 for the first 9 miles, but I knew I didn’t want to run up hill for a mile at that speed. Once I got on the hill, my pace slowed down to 10:30 and I just kept grinding along until I got to the top when I could pick up the pace again over the last few miles. A glance at my watch indicated that I could still get my average pace for the entire run down under 9:00 min/mile if I could run solid sub 8:20 minute miles for the last two miles. I had to stop at a light on mile 11 which didn’t help my pace, but I really pushed mile 12 hard and ran it in 7:59. However, it wasn’t enough; total time for 12 miles was 1:48:10. I missed the 9:00/mi cut off by 10 seconds. Oh well, maybe next time.

I have a new found respect for all of you that run regularly in this weather. It’s not easy. My hat’s off to you.

Running for the week:

Mon: 6.2 miles w/ 6x100m strides, 8:34/mi avg pace
Tue: 12.0 miles, easy, 9:01/mi avg pace

Monday, November 27, 2006

Seattle Interuptus

You just gott’a love US Air. Their web-site wouldn't issue me a boarding pass, so I headed down to the airport in Phoenix this morning sans boarding pass. Once I got to the US Air check-in desk I was able to get a boarding pass, but I still didn’t have a seat. I got through security without a problem and headed to the gate, found a power outlet to plug in my computer and waited for a US Air Gate Agent to show up and see what we needed to do to get me a seat.

Once the Gate Agent arrived it was pretty clear that I wasn’t going anywhere; at least I wasn’t going anywhere comfortably on this flight. The flight was horribly oversold and the prospect of flying packed into coach for 3 hours didn't seem that appealing. I ended getting bumped off the flight and rearranged for a repeat performance on Tuesday morning. I then called my admin to rearrange my hotel and rental car, called the folks in Redmond and rescheduled my Monday afternoon discussions and watched my flight depart without me.

This was probably a better arrangement anyway since I still had a lot to get done in Phoenix, except it meant that I now needed to squeeze a 6 miler on Tuesday morning before leaving for the airport at 6:00 AM. That just wasn’t going to happen. So instead of waiting for a Tuesday I ran my 6 miler after dinner tonight. I wouldn’t recommend this. There is a reason I run in the morning. It’s oh so very controlled. I roll out of bed before the normal people get up and finish just as they start rushing off to work. My stomach is empty and I’m well rested.

Running after dinner meant I had deal with my largest meal of the day trying settle in my stomach and semi-coherent drivers pulling out of every side street without a care in to the world and no thought of looking right before turning right. Lots of fun. My stomach got tighter and tighter over the first 3 miles, but started to settle out as I started the 4th mile. (I knew I shouldn’t have eating that cheese cake). Since I had 6x100m stride-outs to complete, I decided to cram them all into the back end of the 4th mile.

Amazingly, my legs just took off as I started the first stride-out. I felt as if I was simply floating above the ground, not even conscious of my feet hitting the pavement. I pulled back after 100m and continued at my usual pace for 30 seconds and started the next stride-out. I finished the first 5 before the end mile 4 and finished off the set on mile 5. Pretty good night run. Hope your week goes well.

Training for the week:

Mon: 6.2 miles w/ 6x100m strides, 8:34/mi avg pace

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Doing the Double

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend in California, but finally got home this afternoon after driving across the desert with what seemed to be ½ the population of the Arizona. My daughter’s soccer tournament turned out about as expected considering the competition. They started off playing a team from Northern California ranked 41st in the country on Friday morning and beat them 2 : 0. Not a bad start, but Friday afternoon, they played the # 1 team in the country (this team has won the national championship in their age group the last two years). Our girls played a tough game, but lost 0 : 2. Although they did have a final game on Saturday morning, the tournament was essentially over.

I snuck in a 5 miler before the Saturday morning game; a pleasant out and back in the hills north of Irvine. I kept the pace too high up the hill and paid for it with sore calf muscles afterwards. However, when the temperature is in the low 60s, the sun is out and the birds are chirping, it’s hard not to over due it. In the afternoon we drove 60 miles south to Carlsbad California and I made a quick decision to run my Sunday 14 miler on Saturday afternoon. We were leaving for Arizona before 7AM on Sunday and I knew there was no way I’d want to run 14 miles after driving 400 miles home. And what the heck, 14 miles along the coast can’t be all that though.

The first 6 miles went well, although holding an 8:40/mi pace was probably too fast. Then again, the sun is out, the waves are crashing onto the shore, there are people, cars and bikes everywhere; what’s a guy to do? For the first 4 files, I ran north through Carlsbad along Highway 101 soaking in the circus along the shore and then turned around at Carlsbad Village Drive to head south again. As I got to the south end of Carlsbad, I started to feel the effects of too much beer the night before and the fast 5 miler in the morning and I tell that I was dehydrating quickly. I finally found a liquor store on mile 10 and bought a 32 oz water bottle (why is there a Circle K on every corner expect when you need one?). The water helped, but my pace never recovered. I really struggled along the last 4 miles. This was probably the worse medium long I’ve run in quite a while

I’m heading to Seattle on Monday morning, so my blogging will continue to be erratic until the end of this week. The trip has already started on a low note. I couldn’t get my boarding pass printed from home, which means I need to stand in line at the US Air counter tomorrow morning to get a boarding pass. That should be fun.

I hope you all have a great week of running.

Mon – Rest Day (recovering from my MP run on Sunday)
Tue – 10.4 miles w/6 x 600m @ 6:43/mi avg pace (go team!)
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:52/mi avg pace
Thr - 8.0 miles, easy w/8x100m strides, 8:39/mi avg pace
Fri - Rest Day
Sat (Morning) – 5.0 miles, easy, 8:43/mi avg pace
Sat (Afternoon) – 14.9 miles, medium-long, 8:55/mi avg pace
Sun – Driving Day

Total mileage for the week: 46.4 miles

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Morning

I had to drive from Carlsbad California to Irvine California (55 miles up the coast, 55 miles back) get my soccer team checked in for a post-Thanksgiving tournament. Why anyone would require a Thanksgiving morning tournament check-in (especially for out-of-state teams) is a total mystery to me. But there I was racing up the coast at 8:00 AM in the morning and fighting traffic on the way back at 9:30. In typical SoCal fashion, I drove 110 miles to spend 4 minutes sitting front of a tournament official as he check my team’s travel papers, player cards, birth certificates and medical release forms.

Once I got back to Carlsbad, I changed into my running gear and headed out for another crack at Palomar Airport Road. This time I visualized pulling myself up the steepest part of the hill using a rope. Seemed to work. I held a much better pace and got to the top of hill without feeling gassed. My overall average pace for the run was considerably faster than yesterday; improving from 8:52/mi to 8:39/mi.

I also added 8x100m strides on the return leg. Today, I crammed all 8 strides into a two mile segment of the run, running the first 6 on a flat spot on mile 6 with a 1 minute break between each stride and completing the process with the last 2 on the first flat spot I found on mile 7. All in all, a very good run.

Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day and I doubt that I’ll have the time to find an internet connection required to read your blogs. I’ll be back on Sunday and promise to catch up with everyone. In the mean time, I hope you all have a great weekend.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day (recovering from my MP run on Sunday)
Tue – 10.4 miles w/6 x 600m @ 6:43/mi avg pace (go team!)
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:52/mi avg pace
Thr - 8.0 miles, easy w/8x100m strides, 8:39/mi avg pace

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Palomar Airport Road

I was in Carlsbad California this afternoon so I took the opportunity to bang out a quick 8 miler up the 300’ foot hill along Palomar Airport Road. This is the longest and steepest hill on the Carlsbad Marathon and I find the prospect of running up it during a real marathon is a bit daunting.

This was only the second time I’d run up this hill and first time I did it, things didn’t go all that well. Today was different. I definitely slowed down on the last ½ mile where it gets very steep, but overall for the entire run (up and down), I average under 9 minute miles without pushing very hard. I’ve got a 14 miler scheduled for Sunday and I might be able to work this hill into a medium long run.

I wish everyone in the US a great Thanksgiving Holiday. This is one of the few US holidays that has not become overly commercialized and most people still take the time to make preparations for this holiday themselves instead of buying everything pre-made. It is really a great time to spend with family and friends. We’re spending the time in California with most of our extended family (both relatives and others that have become an integral part of our family over the years). You just can’t beat this holiday. My daughter also has a soccer tournament in Southern California after Thanksgiving, so I’ll spend the weekend driving up and down the coast. Fortunately, this is an easy week on the Pfitzinger program and I only have three more easy runs to complete this week (5 miles, 8 miles and 14 miles).

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day (recovering from my MP run on Sunday)
Tue – 10.4 miles w/6 x 600m @ 6:43/mi avg pace (go team!)
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:52/mi

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

VO2 Max

I ran my first VO2 Max workout on the Pfitzinger plan this morning. I was up well past midnight last working and didn’t get a chance to read over the game plan for the workout until just before I turned off the light after dropping into bed. Although I am on a pseudo vacation today and didn’t have any need to get up until 6:30, my eyes shot open before 5 AM as usual and I was on the road for a 6.2 mile warm up run before heading to the track for the interval part of the workout. I ran another 1600m at the track to give myself some time to figure out the required timing split for each 600m interval and it took almost the entire 1600 to take my average 5K pace (7:00/mi) and figure out how many seconds that would equate to for a 600m (you wouldn’t know I took graduate level math classes in college … I can barely do arithmetic in my head anymore.). I finally figured out that I needed to run each 600 in the 2:35 range. So I finally settled on 6x600m @ 2:35/interval with 45 seconds of jogging between intervals.

Actual splits: 2:30, 2:30. 2:30, 2:29, 2:30, 2:31 – average pace – 6:43/mi

My left hamstring started to complain on the 4th interval. Nothing too serious, it just started to tighten up a little. I was also starting to feel gassed on the 6th interval. I had entertained a fantasy of running 8 intervals, but gave up on that idea once the hamstring started complaining and simply ran a slow 1600m cool down instead. No sense getting hurt by pushing out beyond the training guidelines.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and figure out that 2:30/600m was 17 seconds/mile faster than my 5K pace. Also imagine my surprise when I read the Pfitzinger plan again and realized I was suppose to run 5 x 600m w/90 sec jog between. No wonder I was feeling a bit tired with only 45 seconds between intervals. That’s what I get for running on too little sleep.

I hope you’re reading your plans more carefully than I read mine. Enjoy the week, especially those of you in the US enjoying a great Thanksgiving Holiday.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day (recovering from my MP run on Sunday)
Tue – 10.4 miles w/6 x 600m @ 6:43/mi avg pace (go team!)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nothing much about nothing

It’s 88F (31C) again in Phoenix this afternoon. My calendar keeps saying mid-November, but it feels more like mid-September. The low this morning was 75F (24C). The jet stream usually moves way south this time of year dragging cooler artic air our way. This year, the jet stream is staying 1000 miles north of here and as a result our friends in the Pacific North West are getting bombarded with rain while we're baking in the south. I spoke with a couple of folks on my team in Redmond Washington this morning. One can’t get to his cabin because a river has overflowed and is now running where the road once was. The other had a tree tip over and crash through part of his roof (his neighbor clocked the winds at 70 MPH on a home based meteorology center). Top that off with the weather Thomas has had to put up with in Ireland as well as Lana's experiences this past week in Tennessee and I’d say that many of us are suffering through some pretty miserable running conditions.

I have nothing of any note to report running-wise. Monday is my traditional rest day, so I just lounged around the house all day ... we'll I didn't exactly lounge around. I had intended to take the entire week off, but spent the better part of the day working 2007 financial projections instead (don’t you just love this time of the year). However, Tony was nice enough to forward pictures from the New Times 10K last week. Since he has yet to start his own blog (ready to take the plunge Tony?), I thought I’d take the opportunity to post pictures of those of us that were at the race.


This is me at the start of the race ... still looking comfortable.

This is me after 44 minutes of running. I thought I was running relaxed, but you wouldn't know it from this picture. The women in the black shorts with the white stripe is the person some of you so crudely accused me of ogling.

Tony looking cool and relaxed.

This is my buddy Bill to the left in this picture. Bill isn't technically a blogger, but he is a good friend of mine. Once again, he beat me; this time by 20 seconds. Bill is my age, so I don't have the usual excuses for not keeping up with him.

Carmen working hard to break 60 minutes in the 10K.

Ann running pain free in the 10K

Pat breaking his old PR in the 5K. This guy is going to be a contender in a year or so. I've never seen anyone make the type of progress he's made over the past 3 months. He started out running to loose weight (sound familiar) and now seems to be loosing weight to run better. Pat ran a 34:00 5K at 234 lbs. He'll need flame retardant on his shoes when he gets below 200.

Lisa pushing hard in her 1st 5K. Another runner is born.

I'm sorry if I missed anyone. Have a great week running.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

MP Attempt

Although it is November in Arizona like it is everywhere else in North America, the temperature hit 88F (31C) this afternoon. Not exactly perfect running weather for my first significant MP run; but, what are you going to do? The calendar says 15 Miles with 12 at MP, so that’s what I did. I got started at 10AM, so the peak temperature at the end of the run was probably under 85F (29C). Although, not at the peak for the day, not exactly sweater weather either.

After a lackluster warm up, I dropped off my black lab at the house so I could focus on the MP part of the run. I used a 2 mile loop that I've measured to do the timing splits and did not rely on my Garmin to try to keep of actual pace. Making left hand turns every 1/2 mile drives the thing batty. I’d also decided yesterday to start out at 8:30/mi and work my way down to 8:20/mi if I felt OK after the first 6 miles.

Of course, the run didn’t exactly work out as planned. After jogging down to the starting point, I took off as if I was in a 10K, running something under a 7:00/mi pace, but backed off considerably before reaching the 1/2 mile mark. (note to self: DO NOT DO THIS IS A REAL MARATHON) and completed the first mile in 8:06. Way to fast.

I got things under control and locked into an 8:20/mi pace through the first 6 miles. The pace felt good even through it much faster than my usual training runs. At the end of 6 miles I picked up a Gatorade bottle I’d left by the road, which took a few seconds, and continued on the 4th loop around the course trying to drink while holding a much faster pace than usual for a long run. This was almost comical.

Everything was OK until the voices in my head started arguing on mile 8. On the one hand, I was already half way through the 12 miles @ MP portion of the run; on the other hand, I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and the higher pace. However, I followed Mike’s sage advice and sped up on mile 9. 9, 10, and 11 felt good again and I even toyed with the idea of extending the MP portion to 13.1 miles. I’d already run PRs for 8 miles and 10 miles on this run and I knew all I had to do was hold the 8:20/mi pace for 13.1 miles and I’d have a PR in the 1/2 marathon as well. However, mile 12 put an end to that fantasy. This run had a purpose and that did not include over extending myself to get a PR in the 1/2 on a private course. As soon as I completed the 12 miles, I took my foot off the gas, grabbed a fresh Gatorade bottle and just cruised along for another 1.1 miles to finish out the entire run at 15.3 miles.

Mile Splits @ MP: 8:06, 8:26, 8:20, 8:20, 8:20, 8:20, 8:23, 8:26, 8:18, 8:16, 8;11, 8:24
Average MP – 8:20/mi
Average for 15.3 miles – 8:32/mi
New 10 Mile PR - 1:23:20

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest
Tue – 6.2 miles, recovery, 9:12/mi avg pace
Wed – 14.9 miles, medium-long, 9:02/mi avg pace
Thr – 6.2 miles, recovery, 9:04/mi avg pace
Fri – 6.2 miles, easy, 8:34/mi avg pace
Sat – 6.0 miles w/ 6x100m strides, easy, 8:29/mi avg pace
Sun – 15.3 miles medium-long w/12M @MP; MP = 8:20/mi , entire run = 8:32/mi

Total Mileage for the week: 54.9 miles

Random Photos

Although I was very disappointed that I didn’t get any photos of fellow bloggers at the New Times 10K last Sunday, I did take a few photos none-the-less. The following are two that I found quite interesting

Who in their right mind opens up an Adtkins Diet booth at an endurance race? Yum - low carb snacks. You'll notice that there is no one in the booth.

The first thing this fellow did when he got back to his car after the 10K was light up a cigarette. After participating in uncountable races over the past 5 years. This was the first person I've ever seen smoking.

Friday, November 17, 2006

MP Run Prep

With Mike’s help, I’ve been pondering an appropriate target pace for my first marathon. No time like the present since I’ve got to run a 15 miler with 12 at MP this weekend. The Carlsbad Marathon is not exactly flat. It has one significant climb of 300’ over miles 7 and 8 as well as seven or eight 50’ climbs as the course climbs out of the many lagoons at sea level up to the bluffs above the beach. Therefore, I need to be a little conservative to ensure I don’t blow up after 15 miles.

Looking back over my 4 long runs in the last 3 weeks, it appears that my run-all-day pace is somewhere between 9:00/mi and 9:10/mi. When I run long runs faster than 9:00/mi, it takes several days to recovery. When I run slower than 9:10/mi, I don’t have any problems jumping right back into my routine. Further assuming that my easy pace is at least 10% slower than my MP, I figure that my MP for a flat course should be between 8:11/mi and 8:20/mi. Since this is my first marathon and I really don’t know what I’m doing and also considering the level of difficulty (heck they’re all difficult), I think a reasonable MP is 8:30/mi. If I go faster, so be it. If I get gassed, well, I'll just need to go slower next time. We'll see how it goes this weekend.

Today’s run wasn’t all that exciting. I’m taking a working vacation today (translations … I’m completing a couple of projects while slacking off at home) so I was able to delay my 6 miler until 10 AM. That means I actually got to run in the sun again (go me). After the first 1/2 mile the legs were feeling pretty good so I picked up the pace far earlier than usual. I was under 27 minutes as I passed the 3 mile point and under 35 minutes when I got to the 4 mile mark. At 5 miles my watch was right at 43 minutes so even my tiny brain could figure out that I was 2 minutes ahead of 9:00/mi pace, but I was still feeling good, so I just kept on moving on down the road and looped back to the finish at 6.2 miles. Average pace for 6.22 miles was 8:36/mi.

This was much faster than I wanted, but it will do. I never felt as if I was pushing myself to keep up the pace, so it still qualifies as an easy run in my book. We’ll see what happens this weekend when I need to jack up the pace even more and hold it for 12 miles.

If anyone has the time, please drop in on D and Dawn and wish them luck. Both are running the Philadelphia Marathon this weekend and I expect that they will both PR.

Finally … I went to my daughter’s first High School Varsity Soccer game yesterday. She started at center midfield (as a freshman) and I’m proud to say that she had more fouls called against her than anyone else. Nothing that would draw a card, she was just excited to be mixing it up with the older girls. Her team lost 2-3, but I enjoyed it none-the-less

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest
Tue – 6.2 miles, recovery, 9:12/mi avg pace
Wed – 14.9 miles, medium-long, 9:02/mi avg pace
Thr – 6.2 miles, recovery, 9:04/mi avg pace
Fri – 6.2 miles, easy, 8:34/mi avg pace

Thursday, November 16, 2006

All's quiet in north Phoenix

The crazies must have stayed in bed this morning. Whereas yesterday, the streets were filled with activity at an ungodly hour of the morning; today, things were incredibly quiet. Nothing - no gun shots, no thuggish looking individuals skulking around, no whack-jobs on bicycles - nothing. One jogger and a couple of people walking dogs were about all I saw.

On the running front, I did a 6 mile recovery run with my black lab. I started out very slow at a 9:30/mi pace and worked up to an 8:45/mi pace on the last mile. I’ve got two more easy 6 mile runs planned for Friday and Saturday leading up to my first difficult run of this training cycle – 15 miles with 12 at MP. I know I can bang out a 15 miler without difficulty …. Keeping up MP will be the challenge.

Hope your week is going well

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest
Tue – 6.2 miles, recovery, 9:12/mi avg pace
Wed – 14.9 miles, medium-long, 9:02/mi avg pace
Thr – 6.2 miles, recovery, 9:04/mi avg pace

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crazies Everywhere

The crazies were everywhere this morning. I must have past at least 5 guys shuffling aimlessly down the side walk, hands in pockets with hoods over their heads. When I run into someone walking around by themselves at 4:00 AM, my head fills with negative thoughts concerning what they’re up to. I also heard several gun shots this morning. Nothing too terribly close, but still unnerving. Finally, I ran across a truly bizarre individual wondering around north Phoenix in the pre-dawn hours. Out of the dark, I hear someone screaming obscenities. I can barely make out a bicycle slowly riding towards me. As the rider gets closer, I can see him turning around as he screams out yet another string of curse words. His phraseology isn’t terrible eloquent, but I can tell he is thoroughly pissed at who ever he imagines is trailing behind him. He rode by me without comment and of course, there was no one behind him.

Despite the numerous distractions I did bang out a pleasant 15 miler this morning. The Pfitz plan called out 14 miles, but I pushed it out to 14.9 since each “5 mile” loop I use for most of my long runs is actually 4.97 miles. It just made sense to keep going until I completed the last lap.

Lap Averages:

Miles 1 – 5 > 9:03/mi avg pace
Miles 6 – 10 > 9:04/mi avg pace
Miles 11 – 15 > 8:59/mi avg pace
Overall Average Pace = 9:02/mi

Although the average pace for each lap was fairly constant (at least as constant as I could make it) I did find myself struggling along mile 8. I wasn’t tired or fatigued, but my legs started feeling heavy. I pushed to increase the pace and the feeling went away after 10 minutes and I got back in the groove again. On the last 5 mile lap, I picked up a water bottle I’d left along the road and found myself slowing down considerably as I tried to drink from the bottle and run at the same time (and watch for cars and crazies along the road). I was 22 seconds off a 9:00/mi avg pace as I passed 4 mile mark on the last lap and had to hustle along on the last mile to make up the difference. Since I have a hill on mile 5, 10 and 15, it’s always a challenge to make up time going up hill.

After running 18 miles last Wednesday and 15 miles this morning, my legs are starting to get accustomed to medium-long runs mid-week. Who would have thunk it? Unfortunately, I had a teleconference at 7:00 AM this morning and I needed to get my daughter off to school by 7:30, so I had to roll out of bed at 3:45 AM to squeeze in this run. I certainly hope you are getting more sleep.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Back on Plan

After drifting away from a strict interpretation of the Pfitz plan last week in order to sneak in a little 10K tempo run on Sunday, I’m back to following every word of the plan this week. I’ll be in town all week, so sticking to the schedule shouldn’t be a problem.

Nothing much to report this morning other than the fact that I’m a real wimp when it comes to cooler weather. The temperature dipped down below 55 for the first time this fall and I broke out my long sleeve running shirt. Two months ago I was complaining about 85 F morning runs and now I’m shivering with temperatures in the mid 50s. It will get interesting when the morning temperatures drop into the high 30s in January.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest
Tue – 6.21 miles, recovery, 9:12/mi avg pace

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Times Race Report

It was a perfect central Arizona morning for the New Times 10K; just cool enough before sun up so that I was comfortable wandering around in a pair of warm ups and pleasant enough at race time to stand around in my usual race gear waiting for the starting gun. Real Chamber of Commerce weather. I wasn’t trying to PR in this race this morning; instead, I just wanted to run a fast 6 mile tempo run somewhere between 7:15/mi and 7:30/mi. So, I had none of my usual performance anxiety issues that usually precede a race. That is not to say that I didn’t do some of my neurotic pre-race activities. I still got to the race 2 hours before the start and walked around for a full hour before I started my warm up (old habits die hard). This gave me a chance to look for some of my blogging friends before the race. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anyone. Tony (from Scottsdale) did manage to find me while I was waiting for the race to start, but I never did find anyone else. It was great to meet Tony and he managed to PR this morning running in 46:09 .. go Tony.

This morning, I lined up about 50 feet from the start line to try to avoid some of the congestion at the start. Since the race moved to Tempe, the first leg now travels over the two-lane Mill Avenue Bridge immediately after the start. This section is very narrow and filled with all sorts of runners making it very difficult to pass. Plus, the course is slightly up hill going over the bridge which only slows things down more. Fortunately, the course widens out on the first turn north of Tempe Town Lake and heads up a short hill which really separates the runners. Although I started out at a slow shuffle, by the time I got to the top of the hill the average pace of the runners around me increased considerably. Now I could get finally started on my tempo run.

To help me get started, I locked onto a 20 something and let her pace me down the hill and back across Tempe Town Lake on the Rural Road Bridge. She lost me along Rio Salado Parkway, but a gentleman near my age soon joined me on my right. He had just run the Silicon Valley Marathon 2 weeks earlier and was hoping to do something under 50 minutes this morning. He must have gotten nervous when I told him he was on-track to run at least 45:30 at the pace he was going because he soon dropped off my shoulder, leaving me to run alone. I still felt great as I ran past the 4 mile marker. I had no sense of fatigue and my pesky hamstrings were operating as I needed them to. So far so good; my body didn’t seem t realize it was traveling much faster than the usual 7:40 pace I use for tempo runs (just going to prove that running is mostly mental)

As the course turned onto University and headed back towards down-town Tempe, another 20 something in a black top with black shorts cruised by me. I immediatly locked on her pace and stuck to her. I don’t have a clue what she looked like from the front; but judging from her legs I was convinced she could do some serious damage at this distance so if I could stick with her I wouldn't have any trouble maintaining my tempo. She was just running so effortlessly. She pulled away from me near the end of mile 5 and I was flabbergasted when I looked down at my mile split as I passed the mile marker and saw that I had actually slowed down to a 7:35 for mile 5. This wouldn’t do. I can go out and run a 7:35 any day. Interestingly, I didn’t feel as if I’d slowed down, but I must have just convinced myself that my running buddy in the black shorts was moving much faster than she was. I had simply lost focus. I didn't feel tired, but it seemed like my brain was starting to back off the tempo. It was time to get serious.

With only a mile to go, the course was now back in central Tempe. One more mile shouldn't be a problem, but I need to get with the program. I'm just not a good enough runner to casually run 7:15 repeats. I needed to put in a little more effort. For the first time in the race, I actually tried to significantly increase my pace. I caught up with my running buddy and passed her in a half mile or so and kept on cruising and once I spotted the 6 mile mark up ahead, I started sprinting. Yes, I know this was supposed to be a tempo run, but I’d been oh so good for the first 6 miles; now it was time to stretch out my legs. I really don't know how fast I was moving, but it must have been way faster than my target pace.

It felt very good to finish a 10K with plenty left in reserve. The real test, of course, will come on Tuesday when I get to continue on with the Pfitzinger Advanced Marathon training plan. I need another good week this week and I can’t afford to have over-taxed my legs this morning.

Actual mile splits:

Mile 1 - 7:34 (weaving through traffic)
Mile 2 - 6:58 (fun down hill)
Mile 3 - 7:17 (right on pace)
Mile 4 - 6:56 (fastest mile)
Mile 5 - 7:35 (what the ... )
Mile 6 - 7:11 (much better)

I PRd this 10K finishing in 44:51. This is 1:09 faster than my previous best and a whopping 3:34 faster than last year. I finished 229/2900

Hope your weekend went as well.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest (very much needed)
Tue – 10 miles, recovery/easy – 9:12/mi avg pace
Wed - 18.2 miles, long - 8:52/mi avg pace
Thr - Rest (what do you expect)
Fri - 6.2 miles, easy with 8x100m strides - 8:41/mi avg pace
Sat - 5.0 miles, recovery - 8:56/mi avg pace
Sun - 6.2 miles, 10k - 7:13/mi avg pace (+2 mi warm up/1 mi cool down)

Total Mileage for the week: 48.7

Friday, November 10, 2006

Getting race ready

Thank you very much for all the kind words for my last post as well as your predictions of fast times at the New Times 10K on Sunday. Since I don’t want to screw up my marathon training (any more than I have already), I’m planning to run this race as a tempo run. It will be faster than my usual pace, but I don’t intend to go out there and try to break any records. I really want to focus on a nice consistent pace over the entire course.

I know there are lots of you running in the New Times 10K on Sunday, including Carmen, Ann, and Tony (sorry Tony, I don’t have link to your blog) as well as Pat, who is running the 5K course. I’ll be wearing my usual outfit – Blue ASICS sleeveless top, Black ASICS shorts, and a White “Runner’s Den” cap. The exact outfit you see in almost every picture I’ve every posted. My bib number is 222.

I took this afternoon off as a vacation again and waited until 1:00 PM before going out for my run. For some reason, I just wanted to run in the warm sun (it is suppose to cool off next week). My heavily revised plan for the week called for 6 miles w/ 8x100m strides. I spent the first two miles warming up before starting the strides on mile 3. I ran 4 strides on mile 3, 3 on mile 4 and 1 on mile 5. Mile 6 was my typical cool down, run way too fast. Average pace for the 6.2 mile run: 8:41/mi

Hope your week is going well. I'm looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back to back long runs

I’m certainly no Dean Karnazes, but I’ve run 46.3 miles in 3 runs over 4 days. Not too bad pour moi.

I got out of the house at 4 AM this morning for a quick 18 miler. I ran 18 last Sunday, took a rest day on Monday and ran 10 on Tuesday; so I was a little unsure how this run would go. I’ve never run back to back long runs (over 17 miles) in 4 days. Being an election night junkie, I didn’t get much sleep last night, but it didn’t seem to matter much. I was feeling pretty good on the first mile and felt completely warmed up before I completed 2 miles. There was very little traffic out at 4 in the morning, so I more or less had the road to myself; expect a I did pass one jogger on my first 5 mile loop. What are these people doing up this early in the morning?

Not much to report on the run. I held an incredibly steady pace through the first 15 miles and kicked it into high gear for the last 3. I set up the loops so that I had a short but steep hill to climb on miles 5, 10, 15 and 18. Running up hills really knocks me out of my rhythm. My breathing gets heavy and I have to fight to get everything back under control. I figure it’s good practice. Aside from some slight discomfort on mile 13, everything else went very smooth. Also, this was the longest run for my dog Cooper. He finished without complaint and could have gone further had we had the time.

Run Summary:

Miles 1–5 : Average Pace 8:59/mi
Miles 5-10: Average Pace 8:54/mi
Miles 10-15: Average Pace 8:55/mi
Miles 16-18: Average Pace: 8:34/mi

Overall average pace for 18.2 miles: 8:52/mi

The rest of the week is easy recovery runs in preparation for a 10K on Sunday. Should be very nice.

Hope your week is going well.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where's my Walker

Thanks for the help yesterday (and today). I’ve rearranged my calendar to accommodate your recommendations as follows:

Mon – Rest
Tue – 10 miles, easy
Wed – 18 miles, long
Thr – 5 miles, recovery
Fri – 6 miles recovery w/strides, recovery
Sat – Rest
Sunday – 10K race (at 7:10/mi)

This is plan will cut my total mileage for the week down to the 50 mile range, but should allow me to get in all the runs I need to do and give me a fighting chance on making a show of it on Sunday. I’ll add a few miles to my long run next week to get up to 20 again.

The 10 miler this morning was actually a recovery/easy combo. I had some trouble getting the legs moving at 5:00 AM, passing the first mile mark just under 10:00. Shortly thereafter, I stepped off the curb, caught the front of my right foot on the asphalt and did a passable shoulder roll back up on my feet. It took a few seconds to gather my wits (and look around for my walker) before I continued the slow shuffle down the street. I actually had a car slowly roll by to check out the old guy. I assume they were prepared to help should I have failed to right myself. I did scrape up the outside of my right knee a little; fortunately it’s nothing serious.

I felt my pace picking up after 2 miles and by the time I’d got past the 3 mile marker, I was back up to speed. I completed the first 5 mile lap without further incident and managed to get around the 2nd 5 mile lap without falling again. Once I got home and actually computed the pace based on my splits, I realized how sluggish I was at first. Regardless of the pace however, the nice thing about increasing my running volume is that I can now go out and run 10 miles without thinking about it (aside from stepping off curbs ... I need to practice that move some more). That wouldn't have happened 6 months ago.

Splits for this morning:

Miles 1-5 Average Pace: 9:27/mi
Miles 6 – 10 Average Pace: 8:59/mi

Thanks again for your kind responses. Hope all is going well with your running this week.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest (very much needed)
Tue – 10 miles, recovery/easy – 9:12/mi avg pace

Monday, November 06, 2006

Help wanted

I need some more help (so what's new?)
I have a 10k on Sunday, but the Pfitzinger Plan has me running a 20 miler on the same day. Since a won't give up a long run, I need to rearrange my schedule and could use your sage advice.

The plan for this week is:
Tue - 6 miles, recovery
Wed - 12 miles, Medium-long
Thr - Rest
Fri - 11 miles w/ 6 miles at 7:40/mi
Sat - 5 miles, recovery
Sun - 20 miles, long

II thought that I'd rearrange the week as follows:
Tue - 6 miles, recovery
Wed - 12 miles, medium-long
Thr - 20 miles, long
Fri - 5 miles, recover
Sat - Rest
Sun - 11 miles w/10k at 7:10/mi pace

Any thoughts?


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pfitz gets serious

For an inexplicable reason, the fire alarm in my house went off last night at 2:15 AM. That’s one sound that will really get your heart pumping fast. After checking every room in the house and verifying that every smoke detector was still showing green, I turned the darn alarm off and went back to bed and actually managed to get back to sleep after tossing around for 20 minutes.

I had to get up at 6:15 this morning because to give me time to get my 19 year-old to the Phoenix-Tucson shuttle (at the Phoenix Airport) by 7:15. Once I got her dropped off safely, I raced back home changed into my running gear, put all the dogs outside, scarfed down a quick breakfast and got back in the car to pick up my 14 year-old at a sleep over. She had to be at soccer clinic by 8:45. Her club team was acting as the example team during a coaches clinic our soccer club hosted this morning. Since the clinic was 3 hours, I had a perfect opportunity to run my 18 miler.

I ran the first 9.5 miles as an out and back heading north on the bike path that runs along the 51 Freeway from Cactus Road past Union Hills. The bike path is really nice and usually deserted. And although the total elevation rise on the north bound section is only 200’, I got a chance to kick it into high gear to make it up and over the bridges that cross each of the major surface streets. My average pace for the first 9.5 miles was right at 9:00/mi.

I stuck close to the park where my daughter was practicing for the second half of the run. The temperature was well over 80 by the time I got back to my car to pick up a Gatorade bottle. Since I needed to be back at the park no later than noon, the last thing I wanted to have happened was to have a complete melt down 4 or 5 miles away and have to walk all the way back. Fortunately, there are a number of streets in the area with bike lanes and low traffic volume.

Although the first 1/2 of the run went well, I had my first pangs of doubt as to why I was doing this at all on mile 11. I’d picked up the pace a little on the 2nd half, running mile 10 in 9:50/mi. On mile 11, my breathing got irregular and all of a sudden 7 more miles just seemed to be oh soooooo far down the road. I gutted it out and got things back under control on mile 12. Miles 13, 14, 15 and 16 sailed by without issue, but once again on mile 17 my breathing got irregular and for the first time, my legs started feeling heavy and my right foot started to hurt. Nothing serious, just one of those pains that comes and goes. But I wasn’t about to stop at this point and continued stumbling down the road until the Garmin beep at 18 miles.

Total average pace for the 2nd half was 8:52/mi

All in all, I had a pretty good week. This was the first week on the Pfitzinger Plan were things actually got tough. I hit my highest ever weekly mileage (55.5 miles); had my first mid-week medium long run (11.0 miles & MP) and ran my first long run under 9:00/mi (18 miles @ 8:52/mi). Tomorrow is a rest day and I will be doing just that. I hope your week went as well.

Total Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 10.3 miles, w/ 5 miles @ 7:41/mi, 8:41/mi avg pace
Wed – 4.1 miles, recovery, 9:18/mi avg pace
Thr – 11.0 miles, medium-long, 8:28/mi avg
Fri – 5.1 miles, recovery, 8:54/mi avg pace
Sat – 7.2 miles, easy w/8 strides, 8:40 avg pace
Sun – 18.0 miles, long, 8:56/mi avg pace

Total mileage for the week: 55.5

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Run like a bird

The door bell rang at 2:30 this morning. We’d been TeePee’d again. The culprets were friends of my 14 year old daughter and only lived 1/2 mile from our house. Fortunately, my 19 year old is home from the U of A this weekend so they both got up, pulled as much toilette paper off the trees as they could and took a little drive over to the other house and deposited the mess on their front lawn. I got to go back to sleep.

I rolled out of bed at 7:30 this morning for my Saturday run; a 7 miler with 8 strides thrown in for fun. I’m getting far to comfortable with sleeping in late … this is a luxury that will stop on Tuesday, but for this weekend, its nothing but pleasant morning runs.

The first 2 miles this morning were killer. I just couldn’t get into the grove. My breathing was labored and I felt as if my feet were slapping the pavement on every step . I kind of looked like a gooney bird waddling down the street. I waited until I got past 2 miles before I started the strides. I could feel my right calf tightening up and my left hamstring let me know it was working over time. Fortunately there was no pain, just that uncomfortable feeling you get when your running mechanics are out of whack. I pushed through 3 strides on mile 3, three more on mile 4 and finished out the last two on mile 5; including the 8th going up hill. It wasn’t pretty.

Things finally settled down on the miles 6 and 7 and I finally felt as if I was getting into some sort of rhythm. Since I’ve got 18 to do on Sunday, I ran back to the house after 7 and didn’t try to extend this run out beyond what I was required to accomplish. After I figured out my average pace I was pretty happy with the result:

Run Summary:

Miles 1 through 5 > 8:41/mi avg pace
Miles 6 through 7 > 8:39/mi avg pace

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 10.3 miles, w/ 5 miles @ 7:41/mi, 8:41/mi avg pace
Wed – 4.1 miles, recovery, 9:18/mi avg pace
Thr – 11.0 miles, medium-long, 8:28/mi avg
Fri – 5.1 miles, recovery, 8:54/mi avg pace
Sat – 7.2 miles, easy w/8 strides, 8:40 avg pace

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sleepy time

I took today off as a vacation to burn up some unused vacation time which meant I didn’t need to get up as early as usual. Instead, I set my alarm to 6:30, got my youngest daughter out of bed, took her to school, came home, laid down on the bed and talked with my wife as she was getting ready to head to California for the weekend and fell asleep. I finally got up at 9:30 and went out for an easy 5 mile recovery run. It certainly is nice running mid-morning during the week.

On a non-running note, my youngest daughter made her high school’s varsity soccer team today as a freshman.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 10.3 miles, w/ 5 miles @ 7:41/mi, 8:41/mi avg pace
Wed – 4.1 miles, recovery, 9:18/mi avg pace
Thr – 11.0 miles, medium-long, 8:28/mi avg
Fri – 5.1 miles, recovery, 8:54/mi avg pace

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's a beautiful morning

It is simply amazing what one can do when the temperature is an ideal 55F (13C). This morning I set out, with my dog Cooper, to run 11 miles somewhere between 9:10 and 9:15/mi. I left my Garmin and HR monitor at home, choosing instead to run with a simply sports watch.

With a relaxing rest day yesterday and near perfect weather (at least as near perfection as you can get at 5:00 AM) this morning, every thing just came together. When I got to the end of the first mile at 9:03, I knew I’d be running this course a little faster than usual. Of course Evil Phil woke up on mile 2 and told me to take it easy. 9:10 was the target and there was no sense over doing it when we still had 10 miles to go. But I didn’t feel like I was pushing anything, I was just running. So I continued to ignore him. My right foot started to hurt under the middle toe to which Evil Phil started yammering about taking it easy; but my experience has been that this pain is a result of an awkward gait at slower speeds. So I sped up a little.

I picked up more confidence when I passed the end of mile 2 at 17:xx (couldn’t see the seconds). At mile 3 my watch read 26:xx (I really need to wear my glasses when I run) so I knew I was somewhere under 9:00/mi. I don’t know where mile 4 ends, so I wouldn’t get another time hack for another 2 miles.

I pushed the “lap” button as I past the end of mile 5. Time was now 42:xx or at least 2 minutes ahead of a 9:00/mi pace. The legs were still feeling good and my breathing was under control, even after running up the hill on mile 5. I still didn’t feel as if I was over doing it as I started my second lap around the 5 mile loop. The next time I looked at my watch was at the end of mile 8. The watch read 1:08:xx. I run most of my 8 milers in the 1:12:xx region, so I knew I was probably somewhere between 8:30/mi and 8:45/mi at this point. Hard to tell; but, the legs were still feeling strong and pace was relaxed.

Mile 9 flew by and I headed up the hill on Mile 10 determined to keep the pace up. My breathing got a little shallow as I approach the top of the first hill but quickly got under control as I ran down the other side. I hit the lap button at the end of mile 10 - 1:24:xx. I ran the math in my somewhat dazed brain … 1:24, round up to 1:25, that equals 85 minutes, divide by 10, you get 8.5 minutes per mile, which is 8:30/mi. Holly crap; I’d just run 10 miles at MP; maybe I was going too fast.

As I approached the only Traffic Signal on the last mile, the light of course turned RED; however, I’d be damned if I was going to stop now, so I turned left off my measured course into the unknown. Only one more mile to go; but where was a mile? Why had I left my Garmin at home? I just kept running straight down the street for 4 minutes and then zig zagged through the local neighborhood back to the offending Traffic Light before I stopped; praying that I’d made it to 11 miles, which I did (barely)

Run Summary:

Miles 1 – 5: 8:37/mi avg
Miles 6 – 10: 8:22/mi avg
Mile 11 – 7:57/mi avg

The only thing I regret is not applying lubricant to certain delicate areas that tend to chafe after an hour or so on the road. Oh well, next time. I did ice down my hamstrings afterwards, but I haven’t had any residual soreness. I find this amazing. The last time I’d run 11 miles this fast was in a ½ marathon this past February. My average pace for the ½ marathon was 8:23/mi. My average pace this morning on a relaxed long run was 8:28/mi. Instead of feeling like I got run over by a train as I did at the end of the ½ marathon, my legs felt as if I’d been out for an easy 4 mile recovery jog.

It is days like this that make running fun. I hope your week is going as well.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 10.3 miles, w/ 5 miles @ 7:41/mi, 8:41/mi avg pace
Wed – 4.1 miles, recovery, 9:18/mi avg pace
Thr – 11.0 miles, medium-long, 8:28/mi avg

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

No Cheating

I picked up my youngest daughter at a Halloween party last night and didn’t get home until nearly 11PM, so I didn’t get as much sleep as I’d like; but, that’s life. On the plus side, I didn’t wake up sore this morning as I had expected to after my tempo run yesterday. I didn’t exactly leap out of bed, but everything seemed to be working ok.

I was very thankful that I had to run no more than 4 miles this morning. Although Mike has suggested that I cheat and add mileage when I shouldn’t, this morning, I was a good boy and stuck with the plan; just 4 uneventful miles. I didn’t have to leap over any dogs, nor did I bounce off any trucks. I just jogged around a simple 4 mile route, minding my own business.

In case you haven’t already done so, you might want to swing by Thomas’s blog and read his race report from the Dublin Marathon. Thomas PR’d in the event, taking almost 30 minutes off his previous PR and finishing in 3:28:42. He ran a great race.

Hope your week is going well:

Training for this week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 10.3 miles, w/ 5 miles @ 7:41/mi, 8:41/mi avg pace
Wed – 4.1 miles, recovery, 9:18/mi avg pace