Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 comes to an end

The last 20 miler of this training cycle is now in the bank. It certainly wasn’t my best run, but at least it’s behind me. I got started at 7:00 AM this morning, well before sun-up. The temperature was 40F(4C) and for some reason I decided to take off wearing only a long sleeve jersey over my short sleeve shirt and shorts. After 100m I realized, of course, that gloves would have come in handy this morning. But I tucked my numb fingers into my jersey and kept running around the 5 mile loop waiting for the sun to come up and warm up the air a little.

I completed the first 5 mile loop at an average pace of 9:05/mi, but starting to warm up in my long sleeve jersey, so I ran by my house and dropped off my black lab and the long sleeve shirt; but forgot about the gloves again, which I regreted after 100m of running in the cool morning air. Oh well.

I had fully intended to pick up the pace on the 2nd loop to bring my average down to the 9:00/mi. Miles 6 and 7 went by fairly well, running a little below 9:00/mi, but I started to fad on mile 8 and finished up the 2nd loop at an average pace of 9:07/mi.

At the start of the 3rd loop, I knew I wasn’t going to increase the pace any time soon and just tried to hang on at a 9:10/mi pace. I kept up a running dialog with myself about my lack of ability to accelerate. I know it’s all mental. It wasn’t as if I was cruising along at a VO2max pace and trying to push harder. I was just running at a comfortable general aerobic pace, but I couldn’t convince the legs to put out any more power. At one point, the various fibers in my legs got in an argument concerning which ones weren’t pulling there weight. After a few miles of argueing, they all went silent and I just plodded down the road.

Finally, on mile 20, another runner turned onto the same street as me about 200m in front. After nearly 3 hours on the road, I finally had someone to chase. As always, the poor woman in front of me had no idea that she had instantly become my muse, and mysteriously, the legs started moving faster and I quickly closed the gap between us. Where was this goddess an hour ago? At least I had someone to run with for 3 minutes. It didn’t do much for my overall time, but at least I knew I had some life left in the legs.

5 mile loop avg paces: 9:05/mi, 9:09/mi, 9:14/mi, 9:19/mi

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 5.0 miles w/6x100m strides; 9:05/mi avg pace
Wed - 10.6 miles w/4x1200m @7:00/mi pace
Thr – Slacker Day
Fri – 11.0 miles, medium-long; 8:56/mi avg pace
Sat – 4.1 miles, recovery, 8:42/mi avg pace (too fast)
Sun – 20.1 miles, long, 9:12/mi avg pace

Total Mileage for the week: 51.0 miles
Total Mileage for the month: 237.8 miles
Total Mileage for the year: 1,860.5 miles

2006 in Review:

In terms of running, I hit PRs in every imaginable catagory in 2006 (thanks in no small part to you folks). I accomplished very little otherwise, but the running was great!

Highest Mileage PRs – Week (53.9), Month (237.8), Year (1,860.5)
Race PRs – 5K (21:36), 8K (35:41), 10K (44:40), 10M (1:23:20), ½ Marathon (1:49:52), 30K (2:33:46)

2007 Goals

My goals for 2007 are straight forward:

- Dramatically improve my flexibility (if I get any tighter I won’t be able to walk down stairs by the end of 2007)
- Run 2000 miles (need to stay in shape)
- Improve general aerobic pace to 8:30/mi (need to continue to improve core conditioning)
- Run 2 marathons (look at me, I haven’t even completed one and I’m setting objectives to run two)
- Lower ½ marathon PR to 1:45:00 (Current PR was set before I started blogging)
- Lower 10K PR to 44:00 (this will take some work)
- Stop using the phrase – “at my age” (simply sounds stupid)
- Improve financial investment performance (I left way too much money on the table in 2006. With two kids in college and an other starting up in 3 years, I need to start paying attention to my investments again.)
- Keep the checkbook balance (personal problem)
- Improve French proficiency (Je suis suck! I could really use some help from a few of you that speak French. Since I don’t go to France more than once or twice a year now, I’ve lost whatever proficiency I once had. If any of you are interested in writing in French, let me know. It won’t be pretty, but it will be lively)
- Begin basic Spanish (It’s incredible that I live within 200 miles of the Mexican border and can’t speak a word of Spanish … again, anyone interested in helping me learn Spanish, let me know)

I wish you all a very happy New Year and all the best in 2007. Thanks for all the help this year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Cool Morning in Moon Valley

After raining most of the night, the weather was very cool and humid this morning. I opted for a long sleeve running shirt and shorts; just a few degrees too cold for short sleeves. My black lab and I set out for a general aerobic 10 miler and headed over to Moon Valley for a loop around the golf course. It's been several years since I've run in this neighborhood. Moon Valley a typical "master planned" area with wide streets and wide "bike" lanes and no traffic lights.

The first 6 miles felt strong, but my pace started to falter soon thereafter. Most likely, I was starting to dehydrate but I didn’t have too much further to run so I just kept pushing forward. I took a detour on the way home to avoid stopping for a traffic light and instantaneously added an additional mile to run. The detour also added an extra hill to this mostly flat course which was just what I needed.

Hope you have a great weekend. Mine will be fairly straight forward: 4 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. This should be fun.

Training for the week:


Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 5.0 miles w/6x100m strides; 9:05/mi avg pace
Wed - 10.6 miles w/4x1200m @7:00/mi pace
Thr – Slacker Day
Fri – 11.0 miles, medium-long; 8:56/mi avg pace

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Well, the weather weenies missed the boat on the rain, but is was mostly cloudy and cool. Todays agenda call for 10 miles w/4x1200m at 5K pace, so I was thankful for the cool weather. I ran an uneventful 6.5 mile warm up but had to take a short break to drive my youngest daughter to a friend’s house over in Scottsdale. On the way back, I stopped at the Paradise Valley Community College track to run the 4x1200m intervals.

Some group was hosting a pole vaulting workshop for high school kids at the track, so there were people everywhere, but no one else running and for the most part, the kids stayed out of the #1 lane. My goal was to run these intervals at a 7:00/mi pace or 5:14 per 1200m. I started out the first interval a little fast, but finished strong. The 2nd interval started ok, but I started breathing hard near the end. The 3rd interval was a struggle and I had to really push it on the last lap to come in near my 5:14 goal. The 4th was more a less a repeat of the 3rd. I was 2 seconds behind after 400m and 4 seconds behind after 800m. I had to give it my all on the last lap to get close.

Actual Interval Splits: 5:08, 5:10, 5:16, 5:17

This was the first successful workout in over a week. I think my cold is more or less behind me. Enjoy your week.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 5.0 miles w/6x100m strides; 9:05/mi avg pace
Wed - 10.6 miles w/4x1200m @7:00/mi pace

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Phoenix Recovery

After driving 960 miles over 3 days, I’m back in Phoenix and I think I’m finally recovering from what ever kind of “cold” I had. I’m still a little congested, but at least my ears no longer sound like a timpani on every step. Fortunately, all I had to run today was a quick 5 mile recovery with 6x100m strides. There’s nothing much to report on the run. The traffic was lighter than usual which isn’t too surprising on the day after Christmas and 5 miles is 5 miles.

The fun begins tomorrow. Pfitz has planned 10 miles w/4x1200 repeats at 5K pace. My game plan is to run the repeats a real 5K pace and not the slow jog from last Friday. With any luck, I can stay below a 7:00/mi pace. Now that should be fun. Of course, the weather weenies are predicting rain, so I'm expecting bright sun-shine and 70F temperatures.

Hope your week is going well.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 5.0 miles w/6x100m strides; 9:05/mi avg pace

Monday, December 25, 2006

The lost miles

I wish a Merry Christmas to all those celebrating today and a great day of running to those who are not. I had considered simply skipping over this post describing the last two days of running. After all, there is nothing that is compelling me to describe my failures; but then again, this wouldn’t be an honest journal if it were only filled with happy talk.

I was lucky enough to spend Friday and Saturday in Carlsbad, California (USA). I had two runs to do while in California. First, I needed to get in a 5K at race pace on Friday and follow that with a 17 mile long run on Saturday. You couldn’t ask for a better area to do either. Carlsbad is a lovely place nestled against the Pacific Ocean with beautiful vista from its many hill tops (now mostly covered with houses). The skies were a vivid blue and the day-time temperatures floated around 60F (16C). These are just perfect running conditions. The only thing going against me was a lingering cold that I’m having a heck of time shaking. But I'm tough (yeh .. right).

Late Friday afternoon (after driving 400 miles from Phoenix) I ran up to the top of the one of the hills looking for a pseudo-flat spot to run my requisite 5K. Without too much of a sense of irony, I found a hill top that some developer has sheered off and walked off a 600m course in a conch spiral. All I needed to do was run out and back 4 times + 200m and I’d have a home made 5K.

As soon as I took off, I knew I was in for trouble. The soft dirt was littered with ruts from the heavy machinery used to “develop” this hill top, making the footing rather tricky. Plus I was having a hard time breathing and trying to run all out was, to say the least, difficult. The final results were equally disappointing – 23:05 (average pace 7:26). Since my best 5K pace is sub 7:00/mi, I don’t know if I really did what Pfitz intended, but it was the best 5K I was going to run on Friday afternoon.

Saturday’s 17 miler yielded similar results. Since I never get to run real hills in Phoenix, I mapped out a 5.5 mile loop course around Palomar Airport that I knew had one 300 foot climb. What I didn’t know was that it actually had two substantial hills over the 5.5 mile loop. I ran 1.5 miles up to the start of the loop and stashed a water bottle by the side of the road. I got up the first climb at a decent pace and was feeling pretty good until the road started to fall away sharply (see graphic below). After running down a steep grade for nearly a mile, I knew I was in trouble. I literally had to climb out of a hole and run back to the top of the hill and then down again to complete the first lap. Still, I was feeling OK – not great, but still OK – of course, I’d only run 7 miles after the first loop and I’d better be feeling fresh.

The first hill on the 2nd loop was slower than I hoped, but my legs and lungs were still working; however, I just couldn’t get any speed while running DOWN the steep incline that followed. I think my pace going down hill was over 10:00/mi. My hamstrings just weren’t letting me go anywhere quickly. Once I got to the bottom and started up the 2nd hill, I think I actually sped up; at least I felt a lot better going up hill than I did running down. When I reached the top however, I was completely spent and again couldn’t generate any speed running back down to the start of the loop.

I’d signed up for three laps and bravely jog out to start the 3rd set, but, 1 mile up the hill, the legs just stopped moving. After less than 14 miles I was completely spent! I stood there by the side of road for a minute looking up the hill and started jogging up again, only to stop after 2 or 3 steps. My body just wasn’t going up any more hills on Saturday. Since I forgot to pack any spare mojo, I turned around and limped back to my sister-in-laws apartment. Total distance for the run: 16.2 miles; average pace: 9:32/mi. Not my best effort - certiainly the hilliest course I'd ever attempted.

On Sunday, my wife and I headed for Tucson (440 miles) to go to church with my oldest daughter on Christmas Eve and then headed back to Phoenix (130 miles) - getting home at 1:30 AM in Christmas morning. No running today.

I hope you all have a great week ahead of you. I have the last week of Pfitz's "race prep" Mesocycle to complete this week, it should be interesting. The sniffles have subsided and I think I'm close to healthy; altough several pounds heavier than I'd like to be.

Running for the week:

Mon- Rest Day
Tue – 8.5 miles w/5x600m @ 6:36/mi pace
Wed – 11.0 miles, general aerobic, 9:32/mi avg pace
Thr - 4.0 miles, recovery w/6x100m strides, 8:47 avg pace
Fri – 7.8 miles w/5K @ 7:26/mi
Sat – 16.2 miles, long w/hills, 9:32/mi avg pace




The Hills of Carlsbad - this was one hill course. The peak of the 1st and 3rd hills is around 350'

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Partial Recovery

It’s no fun being sick … yeh, so what’s new. My noise is still clogged, I’m a bit light headed and my muscles are achy, but overall, I’m not doing too bad; at least I felt well enough to get in the required 4 mile Recovery run with 6x100m strides this afternoon. Nothing much to report (just how much can happen on a 4 miler?). Although I think I finally understand a little of the logic related to requiring strides on a Recovery run. Whereas, the first two miles were pure hell, once I started the strides on mile 3 my legs actually relaxed and I really enjoyed the last two miles, even with the head cold

Training for the week:
Mon- Rest Day
Tue – 8.5 miles w/5x600m @ 6:36/mi pace
Wed – 11.0 miles, general aerobic, 9:32/mi avg pace
Thr - 4.0 miles, recovery w/6x100m strides, 8:47 avg pace


I hope you all have a marvelous week. I’m heading out to California for a couple of days on Friday and probably won’t be doing a whole lot of blogging; however, I did want to leave you with a couple of more pictures



I took this picture last spring in the same area as I was running yesterday. You can see the loose rock on trail to the right. The rocks make running fun while trying to maintain your footing and they're also a joy while trying to make sure that you don't step down on a sharp one mid-foot while wearing running shoes.

Merry Christmas



You all know that I have a large black lab that runs with me on most days. I also have an Italian Greyhound mix that my wife likes to dress up this time of year. This is Jean-Pierre and his ginger-bread friends.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Running on empty

One would have thought that after 51 years I would have learned most of life’s basic lessons, but evidently not. With overnight temperatures approaching freezing and clear sunny weather predicted for Thursday afternoon, I decided to sleep in this morning instead of hoping out of bed at 5:00AM to get in an 11 miler before my day started. My wife has been sick for the past several days and it appears that I may have caught a little bit of whatever she has. I awoke with a soar throat and runny noise, but otherwise I felt OK. After dropping my youngest off at her High School, I took my wife to her office and stayed to help her with a project (since I’m on vacation, I might as well do something worthwhile). The project stretched through 1 PM and was followed by a trip to the central Post Office in Phoenix and another errand or two. We didn’t get home until 3:30 and I still needed to get the 11 miler in. I was worried about running out of light and, of course, I hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast; but what the heck, who needs fuel anyway?

I drove over to the Christiansen Trail in north Phoenix with the intent to run 11 miles through the rough and rocky trails between North Mountain and Shaw Butte. This is a real peaceful area of town, protected from land developers and still in its natural state. The real challenge is that the trails are a virtual rock-fest. I spent the first 4 miles carefully picking my way through the rocks while running up and down hills (see graph below). My ankles hurt, my right foot was throbbing from a hard landing on a sharp rock and my left foot was getting all tingly. And my pace. I’d call it slow, but that doesn’t really describe it. I was worn out from all the high-stepping but wasn’t moving fast enough to really stretch out my legs.

I left the trails on mile 5 and headed back onto the street, running down hill to Thunderbird Road along 7th Street and then chugging up the 200’ hill during the next mile get over the pass separating the Moon Valley area of Phoenix from the main central valley. I ran down the south side of the hill weaving through the neighborhoods before starting the 250’ climb up the south side of the hill. Although my ankles no longer hurt and the tingling sensation in my feet had gone away, my pace was still gut-wrenchingly slow. I just trudged up the hills and plodded down the hills and never really got moving through the entire run.

Fortunately, tomorrow is another day. Hope yours is going better. I know I will at least eat before I try running any kind of distance tomorrow.

Training for the week:

Mon- Rest Day

Tue – 8.5 miles w/5x600m @ 6:36/mi pace
Wed – 11.0 miles, general aerobic, 9:32/mi avg pace


Hill Course:


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The morning after the morning after

8 miles with 5x600m at 5K pace. Boy, I was happy to see that I “only” needed to do 600m repeats instead of the 1000s lung-busters from last week and I wasn’t all too sure I’d be able to get much speed in at all after running a 30K two days ago; but it Pfitzinger say run, I run.

After a 5 mile warm up, I dropped Cooper off at the house and headed over to PVCC for the fun part of the work out. There were a couple of other people jogging around the track, so at least I had someone to chase. Although the local weather loonies had predicted rain for this morning, the sun was out and the temperature was around 48F (9C). I just couldn’t ask for better weather … now if I just had the legs to run the repeats.


I was under 48 seconds at the 200m mark on the first lap, so I knew I was doing OK speed wise, but I wasn't very comfortable. My legs felt like lead and I was already breathing hard with 400m to go. Fortunately, one of the other runners was 200m in front of me, so I chased him down and finished the first 600 in a respectable 2:24 and jogged around to the start line for the next interval.

Intervals 2 through 4 were successive exercises in futility as I struggled more and more to keep up the pace. I let it all hang out on the 4th interval and was able to push the time back down to something respectable, but I was totally gassed. It was all I could do to finish up with an 800m cool down before slithering off the track.

600 Splits for those of you who like this stuff:

2:24, 2:27, 2:29, 2:31, 2:27

Hope your week is going great. I still have a lot of shopping to do, so I’m in all out panic mode.

Training for the week:

Mon- Rest Day (lounged around the house – did nothing)
Tue – 8.5 miles w/5x600m @ 6:36/mi pace

None Running Info – Although it is December and night-time temperatures are approaching freezing; our roses don’t seem to have a clue. These are blooming on our front steps.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

30K PR

I finally broke through the half-marathon distance barrier, completing the ARR 30K Desert Classic this morning in 2:33:46 (according to my watch). I had a 17 miler with 14 miles @ MP scheduled for this morning, so a small 30K was just the ticket I needed to actually keep up a MP run for 14 miles since I know I just don’t have the internal fortitude to run that far at 8:30/mi (my MP) on my own. Somehow I also managed to come in 2nd for my age group.

The race started at 8:00 AM and I got to the registration area around 7:40; plenty of time to fret about my “race” strategy. The temperature wasn’t all that cold, probably around 42F, but the wind was blowing at 10-15 MPH out of the west. The course is an out and back heading west first and rising 350’ slowly throughout most of the outbound leg. Through last year, this race had always been a 10K/30K combo; however, this year the Arizona Road Racers dropped the 10K and added a 30K relay race. The relay was run as a series of 5K out-and-back legs on the first 1.55 miles of the 30K course; so once we got out past the 2 mile marker, it was just folks running the 30K.

My game plan was to warm up at 9:00-9:10 pace through mile 3, pick up the pace to 8:30-8:35 through the turn around point; increase the pace to 8:25-8:30 on the down hill through mile 17 and kick in the last 1.6 miles

I almost executed this plan. Shortly after the gun went off, a fellow racer, David, caught up with me and we got talking about running, training, kids, etc. Although he is a few years younger than me and a much better runner, he stuck with me all the way up the hill. I kept the pace around 9:00 for the first two miles per plan, but took it down to the 8:30 range on mile 3 instead of waiting for mile 4. We kept up this pace all the way out; however, my new friend’s right calf muscle started cramping as we approach the turn point.

Immediately after turning the corner, you would have thought we had entered Nirvana. The wind was now at our backs and the road was distinctly down hill. I pushed the pace down under 8:20 per plan on mile 10 (ok .. faster than plan), but David started struggling, so I slowed back to 8:30 on mile 11 to give his calves a chance to loosen up. Unfortunately, things only got worse so he told me to go on to give him a chance to walk it off.

Feeling pretty good, I pulled the pace down to the 8:10 range for miles 12, 13 and 14 and started closing in on the next runner in front of me. Once I was out past 14 miles, I completely tossed my race plan and started a game of “chase down that runner”. Mile 15 passed by under 8:00 and Mile 16 near 7:45. I was closing in on and catching runners who were sticking to their race plans and running a nice consistent race. One runner, about my age, I passed was thoroughly irritated with my cheerful “how are you doing?” as I blew by him and let out a frustrated “shit” in reply. Some people evidently weren’t enjoying the race.

I ran mile 17 under 7:30 and threw caution to the wind with only 1.6 miles to go. By this time, I was back on the course used for the 30K relay and was shocked to see more runners than I could count. I just couldn’t believe I was ahead of any of the relay teams. Of course, this vastly increased the number of people I had to chase. I pushed mile 18 down to 7:10 and started my sprint for the finish, improving the pace over the last 0.6 miles down to 7:02. Yes, I know 7:02 isn’t anywhere near 8:30; but what’s a runner to do? It made sense at the time and sure was a lot of fun.

The best part of the morning was finally being able to meet Carmen (photo follows). She has run in several large races with me but we have never been able to find each other. This wasn’t a problem this morning. As you would expect, she is as nice in person as she is on her blog. She ran a very good race, finishing under 3:30. She was looking strong at the finish and considering this was the first time she had every run 18 miles non-stop, it was just an amazing performance.
Hope your weekend went well.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

Mon: Rest day
Tue: 8.0 miles, easy, 9:00/mi avg pace
Wed: 9.9 miles w/5x1000m @6:47/mi
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 12.0 miles, easy, 8:49/mi avg pace
Sat: 5.3 miles, recovery, 9:07/mi avg pace
Sun: 18.6 miles, 30K race, 8:15/mi avg pace

Total Mileage for the week: 53.9 miles
RACE PICTURES:

The Start Line. Although everyone is bundled up in this picture, the course was actually very comfortable. I wore my usual no-sleave top and shorts.

Mile 1 heading out around the north side of the White Tank Mountains west of Phoenix.

Carmen running strong at the 18 mile mark! The guy in the distance is completely gassed.


Carmen and me after the race. Hard to believe that Carmen had just finished a 30K seconds earlier.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Coyote Playground

I ran my 12 miler in the Reach 11 Recreational Park, home of my friends the coyotes; and I was not disappointed. Along mile 5, three of them came out to play. My black lab, Cooper, took off after one before I had a chance to figure out what was going on, with a second coyote in hot pursuit. They quickly disappeared into a wash and I completely lost track of my dumb dog. I ran through the wash for a few minutes but couldn't see or hear any of them. Then, I thought that I heard coyotes howling off to the west, so I got back up on the main trail and continued running, calling for the my dog. Within a minute, Cooper came roaring down the trail from behind me (so much for my sense of direction) completely gassed, but no worse for wear. He dragged along behind me for a couple of miles before he finally caught his breath and assumed his usually position jogging in front of me.

I steered clear of the coyote stronghold for the rest of the run, running 2.5 miles laps around the west side of the park. Since I was feeling pretty good I picked up the pace on the last 4 miles, keeping in mind that I have a 30K on Sunday. Cooper doesn’t like running fast, so he dropped behind me again but never lost contact.

Despite the heart stopping incident early on in the run, it turned out pretty well. There’s nothing like running in the middle of the day in perfect weather. We wait all year for this type of weather, so I might as well enjoy it.

Have a great weekend!

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest day
Tue: 8.0 miles, easy, 9:00/mi avg pace
Wed: 9.9 miles w/5x1000m @6:47/mi
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 12.0 miles, easy, 8:49/mi avg pace

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Longer Intervals

Today’s interval workout extended the interval distance to 1000m from 600m only two weeks ago; and as happens every week, I learned something new. Today’s lesson: When the program calls for 5x1000m at 5K race pace, run them at a 5K race pace.

I got to the track at 9:30 this morning after a 5 mile warm up. When I got there, a 20 something in baggy gang-banger shorts and a loose sweat shirt was stretching and looking cool with his iPod ear-buds plug in and the tunes cranked up. He didn’t acknowledge me as I ran around the track a couple of times to make sure I was good and warm before starting the 1000m repeats. As I came around the second turn on my last lap, the kid was jogging about 100m in front of me in Lane 1 – ah, fresh meat.

I crossed the start line and took off, closing the 100m gap within the first 200m. I blew by him so close that I didn’t even bother to move all the way into lane two. I finished the first 400m in 1:30 which is way too fast and I knew I’d pay for my foolishness later, but it was worth it. As I headed down the back stretch towards the 1000m mark, the kid walked off the track. 8 minutes of stretching and a 800m jog was all he had in him this morning. Unfortunately, his departure meant I was all alone on the track with no one to chase.

I slowed down on the 2nd interval and finally got near my 5K PR pace (6:58/mi) on the 3rd interval. By the time I finished the 4th interval I was gassed and breathing pretty hard during the 2 minute jog between the 4th and 5th interval; but I was determined that I would run all 5 faster than 6:58/mi and I already had 4 in the bank.

On the 5th interval, I was only 1 second ahead at 400m but 2 seconds behind at 800m. I sprinted as fast as I could on the back stretch and made up 5 seconds to finish up all 5 intervals under 6:58/mi.

1000m Splits:

1 – 4:03 – 6:32/mi pace
2 – 4:12 – 6:46/mi pace
3 – 4 :14 – 6 :49/mi pace
4 – 4 :17 – 6 :54/mi pace
5 – 4 :17 – 6 :54/mi pace

Not a bad morning. I’m technically on vacation until 02 Jan 07; however, I already got one phone call and need to make a second as soon as I get this posted (I’ve got my priorities straight) – so I’ve got plenty of time to sleep in and run in the sun again. Hope your week is going as well.

Special note to BETA Bloggers: For some reason, I can't post comments on any blog that has converted over to the BETA Version of Blogger. I’m still reading your blogs, but I haven’t been able to post any comments for two days. One way or another, I'll get the problem figured out. Is anyone else having a problem?

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest day
Tue: 8.0 miles, easy, 9:00/mi avg pace
Wed: 9.9 miles, easy w/ 5x1000m @6:47/mi

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Nice and Easy

After a well needed rest day, I rolled out of bed to a cold dark morning; well, cold by central Arizona standards. 8 miles at 9:00/mi. Nothing too exciting. Just easy, simple miles.

Have a great week.

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest day
Tue: 8.0 miles, easy, 9:00/mi avg pace

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This is tough

Holy crap Batman. I thought last week was tough, but it was a stroll through the park compared to this week. Who in their right mind runs an 18 Miler the day after hitting a 10K PR? Evidently, anyone following le Marquis de Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning program. I've always taking either a rest day or a light recovery run the day after a 10K; so trying to go out and do a long run is yet another new experience for me on this program.

The weather was again perfect this morning with temperatures just below 50F when I headed out for what was suppose to be a 17 miler. Instead of running my usual 5 mile loop course, I decided to run towards Scottsdale and do more of an out and back instead. The first 5 miles went very well and I was able to hold a pace just under 9:00/mi. After the first 5 miles, I went off road and started an 8 mile loop along the dirt trails of the Reach 11 Rec Area. I ran clear out to Scottsdale Road and by the time I hit the turn-around point, I'd already gone 9 miles and was really starting to drag. Running on the soft dirt trails within the park was tough. I thought that it would be easier on my feet and reduce the pounding, but the uneven surface and areas of soft sand actually made it more difficult to run and my pace dropped down to the 9:15+ range.

Once I got out of the park and back on solid asphalt, my pace started to pick up, but really never recovered. After 15 miles, this run definitely had lost its romance. I just wanted to get home and stop running. It's a good thing that I have a rest day on Monday because I don't think I could run another mile right now.

If you get a chance, stop by and congratulate Lana. She ran the Las Vegas Marathon on Sunday and finished in 4:08.

Have a great week.

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.7 miles w/5x600m @ 6:31/mi pace
Wed: 11.2 miles, medium long, 8:58/mi avg pace
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 4.2 miles w/ 6x100m strides, 8:28/mi avg pace
Sat: 10K Race, 7:12/mi avg pace + 5.6K warm up/cool down
Sun: 18.0 miles, long, 9:10/mi avg pace

Total Mileage for the week: 50.7

Saturday, December 09, 2006

North Phoenix 10K Invitational Report


The crowds were underwhelming this morning for the start of the North Phoenix 10K Invitational; however, the competition was fierce. It was me and another fellow (pictured below) who I don’t believe understood that he was actually competing. He pulled out of the race after a couple of miles and scored a DNF for the event.

You couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for a race. Not a cloud in the sky and temperatures hovering just below 50F (10C) as the sun came up over the track at Paradise Valley Community College. Although I didn’t have anyone to pace me, I really needed to treat this as a real event in order to derive the required benefit from the run, so I went through my standard race day antics and wore the my usual race outfit (short sleeve blue top, black shorts) and did my best to act as if I was preparing to run in an official race.. After a 2 mile warm up, I even milled around for a few minutes getting psyched up to run this 10K under 45 minutes. Last month was the first time I’d ever run a 10K under 45:00, so I figured if I could squeeze another under 45:00, I could count this as a full out effort.

The first lap was right at 1:47, so I had the pace correct from the start. Of course, with only one other person on the track, I didn’t need to spend the first ½ mile sorting through traffic. The only question was whether I could string together 24 more laps at or under 1:48.

I don’t have much more to report for the first 3 miles, I just cruised around the track holding my pace as well as I could. I employed the rubber band idea that Dusty suggested yesterday to keep track of the laps and I would have been totally lost otherwise. Even using the Dusty’s lap counting technique, I really had little idea where I was for most of the run. I couldn’t really count the rubber bands on my left wrist as I transferred each one to my right wrist every other lap. I just had to get in the groove and hang on. I also had my simple sports watch set up to give me each lap’s split, so I was never fretting about how long I’d been running nor did I really worry about pace since I didn’t have my Garmin screaming out any particular Min/Mile rate. I just tried to cross the 400m line at 1:48 over and over and over. This strategy seemed to work really well. Although my breathing became labored from time to time, I was always able to get things back under control and hit the 400m splits within +/- 2 seconds on nearly every lap.

As I got down to the last 6 laps, my legs were starting to wane a little; but I’d be damned if I was going to slow down. I only had 3 more bands to transfer and I knew that I was either right on time or slightly ahead. I did my best to keep my shoulders relaxed, shortened my stride and started to drive my arms harder. My pace picked up again and by the time I was on the 25th lap, I pretty much knew I had a sub-45 in the bag. A big kick (for me) on the last 400m shaved another 10 seconds off my time and left me with a new PR of 44:40; an 11 second improvement over last month.

Split information for the terminally obsessed runners:

1600m Splits: 7:08, 7:06, 7:13, 7:13, 7:15, 7:08
Mile Paces: 7:11, 7:09, 7:16, 7:16, 7:18, 7:11, 6:31 (last 400m)
400m Splits: 1:47, 1:48, 1:46, 1:47, 1:48, 1:45, 1:49, 1:46, 1:48, 1:48, 1:48, 1:49, 1:48, 1:48, 1:49, 1:48, 1:48, 1:48, 1:50, 1:49, 1:50, 1:47, 1:46, 1:45, 1:37

Training for the week:


Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.7 miles w/5x600m @ 6:31/mi pace
Wed: 11.2 miles, medium long, 8:58/mi avg pace
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 4.2 miles, easy, 8:28/mi avg pace
Sat: 10K Race, 7:12/mi avg pace + 5.6K warm up/cool down

RACE PHOTOS



PVCC Track just before sunrise



Your author with a serious game face before the start of the race.



The competition! You wouldn't know that this guy (about my age) was on the same track at the same time. He was wearing what appeared to be a parka with a hood, long pants, and gloves. Really folks, it wasn't anywhere close to snowing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

North Phoenix 10K Invitational

The Pfitzinger plan calls for a 8-15K tune up race on Saturday (as in tomorrow); however, there really isn’t anything going on in the valley and I don’t feel like driving down to Tucson again to pick up the Tucson ½ marathon. Therefore, I’m christening the North Phoenix 10K Invitational and invite anyone interested in running with me to come on out. I’m holding the event at the Paradise Valley Community College track. Why a track you ask? 1) Why not, I’ve never run a 10K on a track; 2) Track surface is easy on the feet; 3) Wicked fast.

This is a totally unsupported event. There is no fee, no tee shirts, no water stations, no timing chips, no officials, no lap counters, no nothing - just me and who ever wants to join me for a good time.

Location: PVCC – South East corner of 32nd Street and Union Hills Road
Parking: See link to SITE MAP – Use lot on the South West part of campus
Time: Warm Up at 7:00 ish – Racing starts at 7:30 AM
Entrance Fee - $0
Prize Money - $0
Finisher Awards – None
Timing – Each runner provides self timing – if you tell me you ran a 36 minute 10K and finish 5 minutes after me that is what I’ll report.
Results – Official results will be posted on my blog on Saturday afternoon

Note to Tony – My goal is to run a sub 45:00 10K. I know you want to go under 45 minutes and I’d be happy to pace you.

Note to faster runners – Come on out and see how many times you can lap me
Note to slower runners – I’ll stay and cheer you on until you finish

Running for today: Simple 4 miler with 6x100m srtide outs. Not to exciting and nothing to report other than I did it.

Training for the week:


Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.7 miles w/5x600m @ 6:31/mi pace
Wed: 11.2 miles, medium long, 8:58/mi avg pace
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 4.2 miles, easy, 8:28/mi avg pace

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Early morning

Unlike yesterday, I didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in this morning and running in the late afternoon, so I rolled out of bed at 5 AM for an easy 11 miler. It wasn’t all that cold outside (46F/8C), but I still bundled up in my long sleeve running shirt, gloves and tights and headed out the door with Cooper in tow. I spent the first two miles warming up but just couldn't get my pace to increase after the warm up. I finished the first 5 miles right at 9:00/mi average and than ran a short 1 mile loop before starting the 2nd 5 mile segment.

The 2nd 5 mile loop was pretty much a repeat of the first, only the traffic had increased considerabley now that I’d been on the road for over an hour. On mile 9 I had a car roll through a stop sign on a usually calm intersection and forced me to stop in the middle of the cross walk so as to avoid having my toes run over. In addition, I felt like crap on miles 10 and 11. The good news is that I didn’t feel like stopping, my legs just felt dead. I guess yesterday's interval workout took more out of me than I expected.

Tomorrow is a rest day, which is good since I need to be clear across town at 7:30 tomorrow morning. During the first 10 weeks of the Pfitzinger plan I snuck in an extra 8 to 10 miles on rest days; however, I stopped that foolishness last week when the weekly load went through the over-head. If Pfitz says I should take two rest days, I’m taking two rest days.

Hope your week is going great.

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.7 miles w/5x600m @ 6:31/mi pace
Wed: 11.2 miles, medium long, 8:58/mi avg pace

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Big Chicken

I just couldn’t get myself out of bed this morning and out for my run. I’ve got a ton of things to get done before the end of the year (which is hurtling towards us) and I knew if I stepped out that door it would be 8AM before I could start to get down to business. In the end, I slept in until 6, slipped on my sweats, worked for an hour, dropped my youngest off at high school and then glued my butt to my chair until 4:30 this afternoon, changed into my running gear and headed out the door.

I will admit that I stepped out onto the street for a 5 mile warm up with a certain amount of trepidation. I’d just run a hard 20 miles on Sunday and here I was on Tuesday warming up for set of 5x600s. The last time I’d run 600’s I’d ran consistent 2:30 splits so I’d already set the bar pretty high for this work out.

I have to say that running in the afternoon is down right strange. It seem to take forever to get to one mile mark, but when I look down at my watch, I was right at 9:00. I could have read half of Les Misérables on mile 2, but my watch claimed my time was under 18:00. Things sort of continued this way all through the warm up. I ened up with an average 8:45/mi pace over 5 miles.

I dropped off my black lab at home and headed over to Paradise Valley Community College to run intervals on their track. After a couple of confidence building laps around the track, I put on my head lamp (it gets dark early) and started the first interval. I felt really good through 200m and was still running a nice steady pace at 400m. I rounded the curve again and headed down the far side of the track trying to keep my hands low and my shoulders relaxed. In the glow of the head-lamp my watch read 2:24 – 6 seconds faster than my target. I then jogged around to the start line and ran in circles until I completed the requisite 90 second break before the 2nd interval.

The second and third intervals were more or less repeats of the first. However, on the 4th interval, the grounds keeper came by to lock up the track for the night. I passed by him 300m into the interval and although I was running as fast as I could, I tried to act real nonchalant when I asked him if I could have 3 more minutes to complete one more interval. Of course, I’d just signed up to run my 5th interval with no recovery jog. I passed the 600m point on the 4th interval and continued running. Having an audience (even an audience that could only see a dim headlamp bouncing in the darkness) helped me keep going. I finally got around to the finish line hit the stop button on my watch and walked off the track.

I didn’t even look at the time. I was pretty sure I’d lost a lot of time on the 4th chatting with the grounds keeper and the 5th couldn’t have been all that good with no rest. I also felt rather humbled thinking about the fact that I just run a 1200m somewhere around a 6:30/mi pace and was ready for a break when many of you that read this blog have a marathon paces considerably faster. Boy, it really puts your accomplishments in perspective.

In the end, the splits weren’t too bad: 2:24, 2:26, 2:26, 2:25, 2:27. That translates to an average pace of 6:31/mi.

Have a great week running.

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.7 miles w/5x600m @ 6:31/mi pace

Sunday, December 03, 2006

20 Miles across the U of A

Who would have thought you could run 20 miles and stay on the U of A campus. Somehow I managed to do it. I left the Marriott just off Campus at 6:55 AM with a cup of decaf in hand and walked over to campus using the coffee to take some of the morning chill out of the air. I think the morning low was around 40F but I was still dressed as if the temperature was closer to 30F (I’m a real wimp when it comes to cold weather). Once I got the coffee in me, I start off jogging around the same course used for the Jim Click, Rock ‘n Run 8K this past October. I ran the course backward so the few times I had to run on real streets, I could keep myself facing what little traffic was out on Sunday morning.

The first 10 miles sailed by without issue, but shortly thereafter, the wind picked up. In a matter of minutes what was a cool but calm morning turned into a wind tunnel. The wind was blowing so hard that the flags were standing straight out, dead palm fronds were blowing out of trees and trash was sailing down the street. Real “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas weather”. The funniest thing I saw blowing down the street was an empty 12 pack of “bud light”. The box wasn’t tumbling, it was just sailing inches above the asphalt. Don’t know why I thought this was funny, but it seem to be emblematic of a college town.

Running definitely got harder in the wind. Running into the wind felt like I was trudging up a 6% grade. At one point, a gust hit me so hard that I actually stopped and felt as if I was going backwards (I think I was still moving forward). When I was running across the wind, I got blown every which way and my legs knocked into each other while I was trying to keep my balance. But, running down wind was a blast. Talk about flying down the street.

I wore my Garmin this morning and measured the course afterwards using the Course Measurement function in RunningAhead. The Garmin measure 20 miles exactly. RunningAhead put the course at 20.44. So, the average pace was either 8:56/mi or 8:45/mi. Either way, this was my fastest 20 mile to date.

If you have chance, go over and congratulate Mike and Michele. Both had marathon PR performances this weekend.

Training for the week:

TRAINING 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
Wed: Travel Day
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 12.3 miles w/7 miles @ 7:39/mi, 8:18/mi avg pace
Sat: 5.1 miles, recovery, 9:08/mi avg pace
Sun: 20.4 miles, long, 8:45/mi avg pace

Mileage for the week: 56.0 miles

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Recovery

Took in a slow (very slow) 5 mile recovery run this morning. It was about all I was up for after yesterday's LT. Best of luck to everyone running marathons on Sunday, including Michele (Memphis)
and Mike (California International).

I'll be in Tucson over the weekend without my PC, so I'll catch up on the results and the rest of your blogs on Sunday night. Have a great weekend.

TRAINING 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
Wed: Travel Day
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 12.3 miles w/7 miles @ 7:39/mi, 8:18/mi avg pace
Sat: 5.1 miles, recovery, 9:08/mi avg pace

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cool Running

Phoenix cooled off this week. While not as cold as Redmond by any stretch of the imagination, it was still in the mid-30F this morning at 4:00AM when I dragged myself out of bed for my run. I pulled on my tights, long sleeve top and gloves and headed out with my black lab, Cooper, for a 12 miler with 7 at 15K pace. I dropped off Cooper after 2 miles and ran another mile just to make sure I was good and warm before starting 7 miles at 7:40/mi. I used my measured 2 mile loop and left my Garmin at home. This forced me get a feel for a steady pace without looking down at the Garmin’s pace window every 3 seconds.

The first mile was a bit slow (7:46), so I picked it up on the 2nd mile and improved to 7:37. Thereafter, I settled down and did a decent job holding pace for the next 5 miles. Once I got out past 4 miles I was truly amazed that I was still moving smoothly at this pace. Intellectually, I know I can run faster under race conditions, but to continue pushing forward in the dark with no one around to pace is another matter all together.

Tempo Splits: 7:46, 7:37, 7:44, 7:32, 7:36, 7:34, 7:46

After 7 miles at tempo, I ran two more miles to fill out the required 12. This was a pretty good effort for me. The average tempo pace was 7:39/mi. This translates to a 47:32 10K. Last year, that was a very good 10K. This year, the bar is much higher. I’ve got all of you out there to thank for that.

Have a great weekend.

Training 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
Wed: Travel Day
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 12.3 miles w/7 miles @ 7:39/mi, 8:18/mi avg pace

None running input – a week or so ago, I mentioned that one of my folks in Redmond had a cabin north of Seattle that he was having trouble reaching due to a road washout. I didn’t realize how severe the problem was until he showed me this picture. And you thought you had problems.