Saturday, March 31, 2007

Who turned up the heat

I was tied up this morning and wasn’t able to get in my 4 mile recovery run before the sun came up. Instead, I waited until this afternoon … big mistake. The temperature is well over 80F (27C) and I was sweating up a storm by the time I got back to the house after 4 miles. Of course, I elected to run in the hills in my neighborhood instead of running on the flats. That could have had something to do with the amount of energy it took to finish.

On a happy note, our BLOGing friend Hilda is back up and running. She’s found a new place in the Dominican Republic and I think she’s has a more reliable internet connection. Stop by and leave her a comment if you get a chance. Any non-native English speaker that can maintain a blog in this language is well worth reading.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles w/10x100m strides; 9:01/mi avg pace; HR-142
WED: 5.0 Miles, recovery; 9:06/mi avg pace; HR - 145
THR: 5.2 Miles, recovery; 9:25/mi avg pace; HR - 135
THR: 10.1 Miles, medium-long; 8:54/mi avg pace; HR - 148
FRI: Rest Day
SAT: 4.1 Miles, Recovery; 9:36/mi avg pace

Shots Fired

Friday is a rest day (thank god), but Thursday was pretty busy. I had planned to get up at 4:45, run 10 miles and get to my office in north Phoenix by 7:00 AM. I got up at 4:45 and was on the road for my 10 miler before 5:15; however, after 3 miles I knew 10 miles wasn’t in the cards. I was trudging along at a 9:30/mi pace and my heart wasn’t in the run. I finished a couple of more miles and went home.

My daughter had soccer practice on Thursday night which offered me another opportunity to get in the 10 miler. Her practice field is near a trail that runs along the AZ 51 Freeway. The trail has bridges over all cross streets so there is no traffic for miles and miles. The trail dumps into a desert park at the far north end which offers more miles of running of dirt trails. A dropped my daughter off at practice, ran over to the trail and headed north. It was dark by the time I started; fortunately, I remembered to bring my head lamp.

I reached the park after 3 miles and headed into the dark desert. Running in the desert at night is definitely creepy and it’s the rattle snakes that freak me out. I’ve seen plenty of them while running in this area when it’s light and I can see clearly, but the thought of seeing a 6 foot long snake with its tail rattling suddenly coming into view directly in front of me kept me on edge. Of course, I made it to the turn-around point and started the 5 miles back to my car without seeing anything and only hearing small animals rustling in the bushes as I passed.

Everything was going well on the return and I was actually starting to relax when I heard what sounded like a shot-gun go off a little way up the trail in front of me. Oh great, here I am worrying about a random snake and some idiot is out shooting up the desert in front of me. Hearing gun fire in Arizona isn’t that unusual. We’ve got plenty of guns in the state; in fact, it’s legal for anyone to walk around with a gun as long as it isn’t concealed. However, I still didn’t feel like getting shot.

Of course, I was cruising along feeling pretty good and wasn’t about to stop. Just before I got to the end of the dirt trail and rejoined the path along the freeway, I heard another blast and then voices. As I turned the last corner, I saw three kids scurrying up the path in front me. I quickly caught up with these guys and passed them; they were probably 13 or 14 years old. After I passed them, I realized all they were doing was lighting large fire crackers under the freeway overpass. The last thing they expected to see was some maniac quickly heading towards them with a bright lamp attached to his forehead. I’d run too if saw me.

The run was pretty good. 9:01/mi avg pace on the outbound and 8:41/mi avg pace on the return. I pushed the last couple of miles harder than I should and pushed my HR well about 150. My right foot went numb again on mile 4, but completely cleared up by mile end of mile 5. All in all, a great day. It’s been a long time since I ran a double.

Have a great weekend.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles w/10x100m strides; 9:01/mi avg pace; HR-142
WED: 5.0 Miles, recovery; 9:06/mi avg pace; HR - 145
THR: 5.2 Miles, recovery; 9:25/mi avg pace; HR - 135
THR: 10.1 Miles, medium-long; 8:54/mi avg pace; HR - 148
FRI: Rest Day

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Surf's Up

I ran 5 more miles along the coast in Carlsbad this morning. Fortunately, the horrific winds of Tuesday had died down completely, the skies were clear and the temperature was a perfect 49F (9C); perfect running weather.. My wife wanted to get in her morning walk along the beach, so instead of starting my run at my sister-in-laws place, we drove down to the beach and started from the sand. Since this was a “recovery” run and I really didn’t care too much about pace I brought along my camera for a few parting shots before heading back to Arizona. I took all of the pictures on the first 3 miles, so my splits were all over the map: 9:29, 9:22, 9:17, 8:48, and 8:34.

I don’t know why BLOGGER decided to leave off the link to post comments yesterday. I hope this post doesn’t get hit with the same fate.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles w/10x100m strides; 9:01/mi avg pace; HR-142
WED: 5.0 Miles, recovery; 9:06/mi avg pace; HR - 145

A few more pictures from this morning



My wife leaving for her walk.



Trail along the bluffs ... note the crowds this time of year



Looking north towards "down town" Carlsbad. The smoke stack is part of the power plant immediately south of town.



Fellow runner holding up fence along the bluffs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's a Breeze

I ran 8 miles this morning in Carlsbad, California. The wind was howling all night long and nothing had changed by the time I got started at 7:00 AM. My sister-in-law was nice enough to allow us to crash at her place just 3 miles south of the down-town Carlsbad. All I had to do was run a mile to the ocean then got to cruise three miles north along the coast to town, turn around and head back to her place. The wind was blowing strong out of the north-west and I mean strong. To give you an idea of how strong the wind was blowing, my outbound splits were: 9:23, 9:15, 9:18, 9:25 - average out-bound pace - 9:20. My splits coming back were: 9:07, 8:24, 8:44, 8:28 - average returning pace - 8:41. Both ways, I kept my HR at 142. However, the worst day running along the ocean is better the best day running most other places I visit … so I have no complaints.

My wife, daughter and I spent the day at the San Diego Zoo (hence the picture). The wind was blowing so hard all day that the animals were plenty agitated. The first time I saw the flamingos in the picture above they were running back and forth in their enclosure in a tight little group. An impressive display, but you had to feel sorry for the birds.

Have a great week.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles w/10x100m strides; 9:01/mi avg pace; HR-142

Monday, March 26, 2007

More Great Race Reports

No running today, so I actually slept in until 8:30. I did have time to catch up on many of your blogs tonight and realized that I missed a whole lot of great race reports:

Bab - Ran the Mercer Island Half Marathon faster than he thought he could. The weather was lousy, but his pace was fantastic.
Lana is one of the toughest runners anywhere. You'll enjoy her race report on her 2nd place age group finish in this 15K trail run ... especially the shower scene at the end.
Nicole - Ran a nice 8K in Chigago. Not her best finish, but a good finish none-the-less
Mike - Ran a 27:27 8K in Tucson this weekend. Although he thought he should have done better, he still ran this wicked fast. Great race report and cute picture of his little boy.
Neese - Broke 35 minutes in a 5K run in Greenville, South Carolina. She keeps plugging away at getting below 30.

Great racing guys, I hope to get back out there and join you soon.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

On the Road Again

OK, I got in my 14 miler this morning in Ontario, California. I had set my alarm for 4:00AM, but woke up on my own at 3:15. Instead of getting up, immediately, I lounged around until my alarm went off, got up, put on my running gear and headed out the door. I was staying in a hotel next to the Ontario Mill Mall, and like any shopping mall in US suburbia, this one had a road ringing the huge complex and most of the parking lot. At this time on a Sunday morning there wasn’t a car in sight and there certainly wasn’t anyone else running and although this wasn’t the most interesting run I’ve every done, there was a certain peacefulness associated with running around and around the mall in the dark. And as if by magic, after 4 laps, my Garmin read 6.99 miles; as if I was intended to run this course for 14 miles. 2:07:31 after starting, I was done.

Soccer Tournament Update: For those of you that asked, the tournament was held at the massive San Bernardino Soccer Complex in San Bernardino, California. Although the fields are nice, the location sucks. There isn’t a decent hotel within 20 miles, there are few places to eat near the fields and not much to do between games except take the long drive back to the hotel. Although our team played with more energy today, we again lost both games. Four games, four loses. Not our best effort.

Travel Update: I realize I said that my wife and I were heading back to Phoenix tonight, but we realized during lunch today that our daughter was on “spring break” this week and hence there really wasn’t any need to rush home. Instead of driving back to Phoenix, we drove down to Carlsbad, California to visit with my sister-in-law for a few days. Now I’ve got another week on the road and need to figure out how to get in all my runs for this week on the Pfitz plan.

Today's Shout Outs -- Lots of distance racing this weekend:
Renee - Ran the More Half Marathon in New York City under less than ideal conditions. Sounded like there were way too many walkers.
Dawn - Ran the More Marathon in NYC. Dawn is a true marathon maniac. She would run one every weekend if her schedule allowed it.
Sub - Ran a very wet half marathon on Mercer Island in Seattle. This guy can really move.


Training for the week:

MON: Rest Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles with 4 miles @ 7:52/mi; HR - 141
WED: 4.1 Miles, Recovery, 9:22/mi; HR - 136
THR: Travel Day
FRI: 10.2 Miles, Medium Long; 9:11/mi; HR - 147
SAT: 5.0 Miles, Recovery; 9:12/mi; HR - 147
SUN: 14.0 Miles, Medium Long; 9:08/mi; HR - 142

Total Distance for the Week: 41.3 Miles

Saturday, March 24, 2007

California Dreaming

This will be another short message. I survived the drive across the desert from Phoenix, Arizona to Ontario, California without incident. Traffic was moving pretty good the whole way and I made the trip 360 mile trip in just over 5 hours (Speed limit? What speed limit?). I managed to get a decent dinner at one of the local chain restaurants that litter our towns now. I'm not a big fan of the chain places, but it was within walking distance and I didn’t feel like doing any more traveling. Besides, the place let me order sides of vegetables along with a seared salmon appitizer. Just goes to show that you can eat low fat at these places if you're willing to be a bit creative. That and 2 22oz beers made a most pleasent dinner.

I had to get up at 5:30AM this morning in order to get to the soccer complex in time to check in the team for the tournament and there was no way I was going to get up any earlier to get in my 5 miler this morning. We only had two games today and the second one was early enough in the afternoon to allow me time to run 5 miles on a treadmill at the hotel before dinner. My wife even volunteered to use the eliptical while I ran (that was a first)

I know I’ve said this before, but, I don’t understand how some of you put in so many miles on a treadmill. 5 miles was pure agony this afternoon. I watched a soccer game on the TV above the machine and listened to tunes on my MP3 player, but I just couldn't wait for each mile to click by. Sweat started pouring off my head before I’d completed the first mile and my HR shot up over 150 before I’d completed the 2nd mile. I know some of this has to do with dehydration, but earlier this week, I was cruising along the Sammamish River at 8:05/mi with my HR at 151 and this afternoon I was sweating like a ‘70s style Richard Simmons video running a “hill” course at 9:10/mi at the same HR. It wasn’t the best run I’ve ever had, but I got it done.

That only leaves a 14 miler for Sunday morning. I should be able to do it. Our first game on Sunday is at 10:30AM, which should leave me plenty of time to run 14 miles, have breakfast, take a shower, load up the car and drive to the fields in time for the girls to warm up before the game. We’ll see how well that works.

Training for the week:

MON: Rest Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles with 4 miles @ 7:52/mi; HR - 141
WED: 4.1 Miles, Recovery, 9:22/mi; HR - 136
THR: Travel Day
FRI: 10.2 Miles, Medium Long; 9:11/mi; HR - 147
SAT: 5.0 Miles, Recovery; 9:12/mi; HR - 147

Tournament news:

The tournament isn’t going that well. We’re playing up a year so most of the girls on the opposing teams are 16; however, that isn’t a good excuse for losing two games today (0-1 and 1-2). We controlled the ball well, but we just couldn’t get the ball in the goal. With two loses already, we’ll play our final game in our bracket on Sunday morning and then play a consolation game against a team from another bracket in the afternoon. We do have a lot of girls sick or hurt. Our starting center back is out for the season with an ACL tear, one of our starting mid-fielders (and back up keeper) is out for another month with a less severe knee injury and our best forward is out with mono; however, we just aren’t playing with the intensity we need to play with in order to win. I’m sure they’ll play better on Sunday.

I do have a couple of pictures however:



This is my daughter stripping the ball in the first game.



My daughter again moving to the ball in mid-field in the 2nd game.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Trials and Tribulations

This will be a real short post (I promise). I arrived home at 4:10 AM this morning, 12 hours after I left my office in Redmond, Washington. The trip is usually closer to 6 hours, but this time, I decided to go through Las Vegas instead of flying direct from Seattle to Phoenix. The change saved me almost $100, but I lost a whole lot of sleep as a result; but it could have be worse I guess.

My plane out of Seattle on Alaska Airlines was delayed by two hours waiting on a flight crew (the pilots) to arrive to fly the plane to Las Vegas. This was a bit nerve racking because my layover in Las Vegas was (you guessed it) two hours. While the plane was taxiing to the gate in Las Vegas, I called US Air and found out that my flight to Phoenix was delayed by an hour and wouldn’t be departing until mid-night. I was flying on a split ticket, so I couldn’t check in for the US Air flight in Seattle and needed some time to get to the US Air check-in counter. After a bit of shucking and jiving to get over the fact the auto-check-in Kiosk wouldn’t check me in because the flight was already scheduled to have departed, I managed to get to the head of the line and get a boarding pass. With 15 minutes to spare, I breezed through security and found my way to the gate; only to discover that the airplane was now scheduled to depart at 12:30 … this became 12:45 … and then 1:00 AM. We finally got off the ground at 2:10 AM.

The bad thing about this was that it wasn’t until nearly 1:00 AM that I discovered that the airport in Las Vegas had free internet service. I spent about 30 minutes catching up on your blogs, but wasn’t able to get to everyone before I had to board the flight to Phoenix.

I finally got to bed at 4:30 AM this morning and got up at 8:30 for my 10 miler. Nothing much to report on the 10 miler; my HR was higher than I’d like, most likely due to dehydration from the long flight back from Seattle. But I did get the run in.

I’m heading to California this weekend for a soccer tournament and still have a 5 miler and a 14 miler to run. The 5 miler shouldn’t be a problem, but finding the time to get in the 14 miler may be a challenge. We’ll see.

If you get the chance, go visit Mike's blog. Mike is the fastest guy I've ever met and has a great video of his kids that is just too cute. I only wish I was half the father he is when my kids were young.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Road Rash

4 mile recovery; that's all I had this evening. Cognizant that I had invited all my friends in Seattle to dinner at 8PM, I started to worry when I was still sitting at work at 6:45. So I hurried back to hotel, tossed on my running gear and head out the door again. Instead of heading down to the Sammamish River trail, I opted for a simpler route, running 1.2 mile laps around the hotel neighborhood .

The first lap went pretty well, but as I started the second loop I tripped on a manhole cover sticking up ½ inch above the sidewalk. I immediately went down on all fours and scrapped my left knee on the rough side walk. I picked myself up and started up again. On the 3rd lap my right foot started to feel numb, but never went completely numb (thank God).

When I got back to my hotel room there was blood dripping down my left leg and blood had splattered on my right leg as well. I look like I’d been in a knife fight with a kick boxer. I didn’t feel any pain, but there was plenty of blood, with more slowly oozing out. I cleaned up the wound and headed off to dinner.

Before I went to dinner I looked at my blog and realized that no one from Seattle had read my post from the previous evening, so I’d be dining alone again. However, I still had a great meal. I had more salmon sashimi and a huge plate of stir-fried vegetables. Great eats. Nothing like raw salmon with plenty of wasabi!

Hope your week is going well. I still have to figure out how to fit in a 10 miler, 5 miler and 14 miler between now and Sunday. In between I need to work all day Thursday (starting at 7AM), fly to Phoenix, drive 350 miles to Ontario, California and drive back to Phoenix. I wonder how many laps I’d need to do up and down the aisle of an MD80 to get to 10 miles?

Shout Outs - It seems like nearly everyone was out racing this weekend with some excellent race reports. If you get a chance and haven't read these blogs, take a look.

Rose - Ran a great 14K in San Franscisco.
Eric and Olga - 50K (yes, 36 miles!) in Washington - having lots of fun in the mud
Lisa and Pat - half marathon in Tucson, Arizona. Lisa's race report will remind you why we run.
Tesso - half marathon in Queensland Australia. Finished in 1:40.56! Holy crap, that's fast.
Michele and David - Half Marathon in Nashville, TN ... real nice run and great race reports.



TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: Rest Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles with 4 miles @ 7:52/mi; HR - 141
WED: 4.1 Miles, Recovery, 9:22/mi; HR - 136

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sammamish River Trail

I made my way to Redmond, Washington this morning. Another day, another airport. I don’t expect any sympathy from anyone out there with my next statement, but it’s my BLOG and I have to say it … I HATE NOT HAVING ELITE STATUS ON ANY AIRLINE! In days gone by, before I had to pinch every travel penny, I flew on two Airlines. America West (now US AIR) for most domestic travel and American for all travel to Europe. Consequently, I always had Silver Status (25000 miles/year) on America West and either Platinum (50,000 miles/year) or Executive Platinum (100,000 miles/year) on American Airlines. Oh, those were the days. No waiting in long lines for security, use of the Airline Clubs whenever I had a long lay over, first class upgrades on most every flight, etc, etc, etc.

We’ll pilgrim, those days are long gone. Now, I’m pond scum everywhere I go. American one day, Delta the next. US Air for a leg, United the next; maybe a flight on Alaska or Air Canada for some variety. This morning was typical. I got to the Phoenix airport at 6:00 AM for a 7:30 AM flight and stood in the security line for 45 minutes … at 6:00 AM!

Thanks for listening, I feel better now. I'm still pond scum, but I'm calm pond scum.

Since I had to be at the airport at 6:00 AM this morning, there was no way I was going get in the prescribed 8 miler with 4 @ half-marathon pace before my flight. Anyway, I was looking forward to getting back out on the Sammamish River trail in Redmond for an hour of peaceful running with no cars to deal with or the idiots driving them.

I got off of work at 5:30, checked into my hotel, quickly changed into my running gear and drove down to the trail by 6:30. It was 41F (5C), overcast with light rain when I got started; perfect running weather. I only wore a long-sleeved top with shorts and gloves figuring it just wasn’t cold enough to warrant a second shirt or tights. I questioned that logic for the first few minutes, but quickly warmed up and found myself humming along at 8:45/mi on the first mile. Faster than I’d like, but my HR was staying well below 135, so I slowed up a little, but kept the pace right around 9 for the first 4 miles.

After running north for 4 miles, I turned around and accelerated to my ½ marathon pace (around 8:15/mi). It’s been a long time since I’ve run any faster than 9:00/mi miles, so I was hesitant to really crank it up. I ran the first mile in 8:12 and my HR stayed close to 150 for most of the mile. I pushed a little harder and finished the second mile in 8:05 and my HR stayed at 151 which is close to 85% HRmax. I was still feeling pretty good and not breathing too hard. The third mile went by in 8:03 and the HR stayed at 151. With everything under control, I fully expect to finish out the last mile at 8:00/mi and run the workout as Pfitzinger envisioned, until I saw my prey.

Two joggers a 1/4 mile in front, running with a dog. I couldn’t resist. I only had one mile to go and I’d done so well sticking to a reasonable HR. I accelerated and quickly over took the pair. I exchanged pleasantries with the joggers as I blew by them and then looked down at my Garmen. I’d covered the first half mile in 3:25 (6:50/mi pace). That is most definitely NOT my half marathon pace, it’s faster than my 5K pace. I slowed up a little and finished out the last mile in 7:08. Of course my HR surged to 161 in the process, but a guy has to have a little fun.

It really felt good running fast again (or at least as fast as I can run). Hope your week is going as well.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK

MON: Rest Day
TUE: 8.0 Mile with 4@7:52/mi avg HR - 141

PS – Anyone in the Seattle area that wants to join me for dinner is welcome to come to the Bento Box (Japanese Cuisine) in Redmond. I’ll be there at 8PM (I’m not an early eater). I ate there tonight and had the salmon sashimi appetizer. I didn’t need all that meat, but it was exquisite.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Re-hydration

After my sluggish performance yesterday, I paid more attention to my hydration needs and ran a pretty good 13 miler this morning as a result. I ran the same “hill” course as I did last Sunday and finished 4+ minutes faster; however, I was definitely dragging over the last 3 miles.

All in all, it was a pretty good week. I got in 4 runs while traveling from Phoenix to South Bend to Phoenix to Toronto to Phoenix and finished the week with 37.8 miles. Next week should be about the same. I need to be in Redmond Washington on Tuesday afternoon and San Bernardino, California on Friday afternoon. After that, I hope to stay home for a week or two.

If you get a chance, go check out Michele’s Blog and David’s Blog. They ran together in the Tom King Half Marathon in Nashville yesterday and finished well under two hours

Have a great week.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.5 miles; Aerobic w/10x100m strides; 9:08 avg pace
WED: Travel Day
THR: 5.0 Miles; Aerobic; 9:14 avg pace
FRI: Travel Day
SAT: 11.2 miles; medium long; 9:48 avg pace
SUN: 13.1 miles; medium long; 9:17 avg pace

Total Mileage for the week: 37.8 miles

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dehydration

I made it back from Toronto with little difficulty yesterday. And to be totally honest, I had a pleasant flight on Air Canada. I no I swore that I’d never book another flight on Air Canada after the shabby treatment I experienced following two back-to-back flight cancellation, but the lure of low air-fare was too much for this penny-pinching runner and I book another flight. Unlike last time, the plane actually boarded on time and had an uneventful departure.

The cabin crew were great. One of the cabin attendants made me a pot of decaf coffee after I asked for it even though I was the only person drinking decaf on the small plane. Since no else was drinking decaf, they kept my cup full. The in-flight entertain system crapped out mid-flight (not an unusual occurrence) and the cabin attendant working the equipment personally apologized for the inconvenience. I’ve never heard an airline employee take personal responsibility for equipment before and since I actually know a thing or two about this technology, I can attest that there was nothing he could have done to make the equipment run any better.

When I booked the flights I hadn’t paid too much attention to the flight connection in Denver. As it turned out, I only had 40 minutes between flights which can get eaten easily up by any issues at either end of the flight. Although the flight from Toronto landed on time at Denver, the original gate assigned wasn’t available and United (code shares with Air Canada) had difficulty matching up an empty gate, a ground crew, and a Jetway operator for the flight. We taxied over to the United Terminal and sat for 5 minutes; made a u turn and taxied towards the north end of the terminal and sat for another 10 minutes before we finally got an open gate. All the while my watch is ticking down. My youngest daughter was sick at home in Phoenix alone. My wife is in California, my middle daughter is in Hawaii and my oldest daughter, who had come up from Tucson with her boy friend during her Spring Break to care for her younger sister while I was in Toronto had already left for Tucson. I really needed to make this connection.

I got off the Airplane with less than 20 minutes before my next flight was scheduled to depart only to find the plane one gate from the north end of the terminal with the Phoenix flight sitting at last gate on the south end of the terminal. I started hustling through the terminal and quickly caught up with and passed two fellow passengers from Toronto. I was surprised 5 minutes later to find them still on my tail. Neither looked like they were in good shape and I was motoring. To add to the tension, the PA system started announcing the immediate departure of my flight; however, I had a hunch that United was just trying to light a fire under the passengers from the Toronto flight. I got to the gate first; however I forgot to stop my watch, so I never got my official time in the United Terminal Sprint. The other two guys got on immediately after me … the door closed and we pushed back. Who says you need to pay big bucks for a good foot race?

This morning I had a 10 miler scheduled, but slept in until 7:30 so I didn’t get out on the road until 8:00 AM. The sun was well over the horizon by now (no Daylight Saving Time here) and the temperature was already over 80F (27C) in the cloudless sky. Not wanting to temp fate with my first 80F run of the season, I picked a relatively flight course for this morning. As I walked down to the starting point, my Garmin turned itself off. The battery was completely dead which was weird because I had charged it after I got back from South Bend mid-week and hadn’t used it while in Toronto. At least I still had the timer on my HR monitor; however, I didn’t have a clue where the mile marks were on this course nor did I really know how long it was … however, I estimated that it was around 11 miles. So with only minimum equipment, my dog and I headed east into the rising sun.

The first couple of miles went by slowly. My HR stayed under 140 until I turned north and started running up a gradual incline on miles 2 and 3. By the time I turned west on mile 4 my HR was holding steady at 145; much higher than I wanted, but running any slower just didn’t feel comfortable and I didn’t feel tired.

On mile 7 I was crossing another main street when a sedan failed to look right on a right hand turn and proceeded through the crosswalk directly into my path. I pulled up as fast as I could and bounced of the passenger’s door, hitting the right rearview mirror with my right hand. I bounced off the right rear fender, lost my balance (I’m soooooooo graceful) and rolled onto the ground as the car past. To my utter amazement the car stopped! I quickly got up, thanked the guy for stopping and continued on my way. I’m sure the driver thought I was crazy. He kept yelling to me asking if I was OK. If you’re going to get hit, you might as well get hit by a nice person.

The altercation with the car did me in. Although I wasn’t hurt, the adrenaline rush pushed my HR up to 157 and only slowly recovered to 153 by the mile 8; however, that was as low as it would go. Over the next 30 minutes it continued to climb. When I was about 1 mile from my house my HR hit 163. That was enough. This was supposed to be a general aerobic run and I was cruising along slowly at 94% HRmax and wasn’t doing myself any good. I knew I was out beyond 10 miles (11.2 actually) so I stopped running and walked the rest of the way home.

Yes, I know this is symptomatic of dehydration. I’d brought a pint of water with me on the run but I’d lost a net of 4 lbs of water during the run (5 including the pint I drank). I think it’s getting to be too hot set off on 2 hour runs without considering my hydration needs.

Hope your weekend is going great. If you get a chance, go over to and congratulate Dusty for a great 5K this morning.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK

MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.5 miles; Aerobic w/10x100m strides; 9:08 avg pace
WED: Travel Day
THR: 5.0 Miles; Aerobic; 9:14 avg pace
FRI: Travel Day
SAT: 11.2 miles; medium long; 9:48 avg pace


PICTURES ... WE'VE GOT PICTURES



Near the shore of Lake Huron (Canadian Side). Looks a little cold down there.



DEN ... Looking west into the setting sun



People with more money than sense build very large house near the airport.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

À Toronto

I find myself in Toronto, Ontario this evening and there’s not much to report. I’m staying at the Renaissance Hotel by the airport because for $200 Canadian you get a nice room, a great gym, free Internet and several decent restaurants within walking distance. This hotel is 26 km from our facility; however, I find it much convenient to stay closer to the city and drive out to the suburbs in the morning than to stay out in the sticks somewhere and have to drive around looking for a place to eat.

The weather outside is mild by Toronto standards; -4C (25F) but there really isn’t where to run around here, so I headed down the gym after a couple of tele-cons for a 5 miler on the tread mile. Other than admiring those of you that are able to put in 10 or 15 miles on these things, I simply slogged through 5 miles on a “hill” course increasing the pace from 10/mi to 8:12/mi over the distance. HR stayed between 135 and 145 through most of the “run”

For the third night in 4 days I ate sitting at the bar in a restuarant. This isn’t good behavior if you’re trying to loose weight, but it is a great way to mingle with the locals. I also called up a good friend of mine that lives in the area hoping for a chance for some good dinner conversation, but she wasn’t answering her phone, so I ate alone.

Tomorrow it’s back to Phoenix and I don’t have to go anywhere else until next Tuesday.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fear in South Bend

It was 48F (9C)in the pre-dawn Tuesday morning when I headed out from the South Bend Marriott for an 8 miler along the St. Joseph River. It’s hard to believe it snowed 14 inches when I was here 6 weeks ago. The run was uneventful (which is good I guess). 2 miles south to the end of the river trail, 6 miles north to Sacred Heart University and 2 miles back to the hotel. My HR stayed around 138 for the entire run and but my pace was all over the place (9:31, 9:18, 8:56, 9:29, 9:23, 9:18, 9:09, 8:21). In addition, as is often the case with great public works, there was virtually no one using the trail. I passed one other runner over the entire run and he looked surprised to see me.

What happened later that afternoon explained reason the hotel gym was packed and the trails were deserted. After a day at my office in South Bend, I got back to the hotel at 7:00 PM and raced up to my room to grab my camera (might as well document the trip). When I got back to the elevator for my ride to lobby there was a fellow dressed in running gear waiting on my floor. I asked him if he was going out for a run and when he responded affirmative, I recommended the river trail. He told me that he was actually going to the hotel gym to use the treadmill. I ribbed him a little for running inside when the weather outside was absoulutely beautiful. What he said next really took me aback. “Is it safe”, he asked.

Is it safe? What could that mean … then it hit me … was this 6' tall lily white dude (kinda of looked like me, but bigger) really worried about the fine people of South Bend, Indiana? I’ve heard the same crap from the locals concering "down town". Like the locals I can only imagine that he was mindlessly worried about the black folks who are, for some reason, are allowed to move freely around town without police escorts. Just where was this guy from? Is it safe? Sure buddy … the black folks are hiding behind the tress along the trail waiting to beat your silly white ass to a bloody pulp and make off with your ASICS’. Is it safe? Hell yes it’s safe, it’s flipping South Bend Indiana for god’s sake. Not exactly the murder capital of North America. Is it safe? Remarkable.

I ran into two guys in a local bar later that night who were in town for a Hummer seminar (the AMG Hummer is built in South Bend). One was from Philidelphia and the other from Queens; both found the story extremely funny, and interestingly, neither of these guys felt threatened walking around town. I guess they didn't get the memo either.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.5 miles; Aerobic w/10x100m strides; 9:08 avg pace

A few pictures from the road:



Arizonan running wild in South Bend




East Bank Trail along the St. Joseph River (looking south)



Man-made White Water Rafting Run. Who knew this was in South Bend?



Unsavory elements lurking about the river. This couple were the only people to exchange any pleasantry during my photo excursion.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Early morning bliss

I finally got in a real run this morning, completing 13.1 miles in 2:03. Leaving the house 4:50AM, well before sun-up I headed back over to my new favorite area to run in the northern part of Phoenix; around Lookout Mountain. After spending the first couple of miles on the flats, I ran up to the water tower on the north side of the hill to get the blood moving and then started a clock-wise rotation on the roads around the hill. As you can imagine, this course just rolls mile after mile with no single climb over 100’. Although there is only one steep hill (>10% grade) on the course, the hills keep coming; working my hamstrings on the way up and quads on the way down.

The weather was, again, a perfect 50F (10C) without a cloud in the sky to block out the waning moon light. I kept my pace down and my HR held steady between the climbs at 135, about 10 points lower than my “easy” runs earlier in the week. I felt strong through the first 10 miles but started to drag as I completed the loop and headed back up to the water tower on mile 11, so I had to gut out the last two miles.

Nothing exciting happened. Traffic was extremely light and I didn’t run into any coyote’s or bicycle riders trying to walk dogs. There were a ton of birds chirping as the eastern sky brightened around 6:30AM, but for the most part, it was just a slow comfortable Sunday morning run.

I’m on my way to South Bend, Indiana on Monday and then I’m off to Toronto, Ontario on Thursday, so my blogging might be rather light this week. None-the-less, I hope you all have a great week.

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.0 miles w/10x100m strides; 9:08/mi; avg HR - 144
Wed: X-train; yoga
Thr: 9.3 miles; aerobic; 9;15/mi; avg HR - 144
Fri: X-train; yoga
Sat: 4.1 miles; recovery; 9:16/mi; avg HR - 143
Sun: 13.1 miles; medium-long; 9:38/mi; avg HR - 138

Total for the week: 33.5 miles

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mid-Week Update

The nice thing about a leisurely 9 miler in the morning is that you have plenty of time to explore. I’m still investigating the hilly roads on the lower reaches of Look Out Mountain in north Phoenix looking for good routings and I did plenty of loops this morning while trying to figure out how the smaller side streets tie together. I realize a map would be a whole lot easier, but it’s difficult to get a feel for a place unless you have a chance to get your feet on the asphalt. Temperatures at 5:00 AM were a perfect 56F (13C). It was a great morning; however, I was out the door too early to watch the sun come up before I got back to the house and too rushed to take any pictures.

Not much else to report this morning. I saw a beautiful Husky running around loose, but he wouldn’t let me get close enough to see if he had tags. I also passed an idiot riding a bike (with no helmet) while trying to “walk” two rather large dogs on leashes. This part of town seems to breed crazy dog people. It must be something in the water.

Have a great week.

Training for the Week:

Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.0 miles w/10x100m strides; 9:08/mi; avg HR - 144
Wed: X-Train: Yoga
Thr: 9.3 miles; aerobic; 9;15/mi; avg HR - 144

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Sun also Rises

This morning was my first day back on the Pfitzinger 18W/55 MPW plan and taking a page from Thomas’s play book, I decided add much hillier routes to my training regime than my usual run on the flats. As I’ve complained about many times since my quads feel apart near the end of the Carlsbad Marathon, I need to do something on this go-around to build up my ability to handle hills; both running up and running down hills. Wishing more muscular quads wasn’t getting me anywhere and I’ll never have the attention span and discipline needed to build them up in the gym, so the only other option is to actually put the work in and run up and down hills.

The only “hill” of any size is about two miles south of me (see picture below). This is the same hill were I evidently encountered the self-proclaimed “king of the mountain” on Sunday. However, this morning, I kept off the trails and stuck with the streets nestled along the lower reaches of the hill. This gave me two 150’ climbs over 0.5 miles (5.6% Grade) plus several more 100’ climbs over 7 miles route. It really worked my quads and didn’t really slow me down all that much; although my HR did take a beating on the up-hill sections. All in all, a great run.

In addition to the great hill run, I also got to see the sun rise over the eastern horizon just as I topped the last of the hills this morning. It was so nice to see the sun again in the early morning, and please remind me of this moment when I’m complaining of the stifling heat in July when the sky is getting bright before 5 AM.

Hope your week is going well.

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

Mon: Rest Day
Tue: 7.0 miles; General Aerobic w/ 10x100m strides; 9:08/mi; avg HR - 144



Lookout Mountain - This is the view out of my home office. The water tower in the left of the picture is as high as I got on the hill this morning.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

There are idiots ….

… and then there are complete morons. Remember when you where a little child and your parents taught you how to walk a dog. What did they teach you? 1) always keep the dog on your left; 2) move to the left when approaching another person with a dog. And why do we do this class? Because it keeps the dogs separated. Correct (at least this is correct in North America; I’ll admit that I don’t have a clue what is correct on other continents). Now fast forward to this morning.

I decided that root cause of the significant problems I experienced with my quads during the Carlsbad Marathon were due to lack of hill training. I run almost exclusively on flat terrain, with only 50’ to 100’ elevation change. Therefore, running in hillier terrain should be my ticket to overcoming severe thigh burn (or burn out). So this morning I headed over to the only hill on of any significance that I can reach by foot. Running the 2 miles over to the hill was uneventful (although I did get to chase down a slow jogger) but my trouble soon begin once I left the pavement and hit the trails.

First, you need to keep in mind that trail running in the hills around Phoenix really means running on very narrow, loose rock strewn paths cutting through the desert. The loose rocks make the footing difficult and it is necessary to step off the path to pass someone or to let another runner / walker pass as they approach.

3 miles into my run, I’m feeling pretty good and my black lab is picking his way through the rocks and only banging into me every 30 seconds or so when I saw a couple (about my age) each walking a large dog and approaching me on the narrow path. As I got within 20 feet of them, I stepped to the left off the trail to let them pass. At the same time, the man (you knew it would be the guy) step to his right dragging his dog directly into the middle of the trail. I dodged to the right to avoid running over the dude and our dog’s leashes became entangled.

Instead of apologizing for being a complete moron, this idiot starts yelling at me (using language I won’t repeat). Now there was really no harm done. His Golden Retriever was about as docile as my Black Lab and each simply waited for me to untangle the leashes. The moron continued his verbal onslaught and didn’t even bother to loosen his grip on his Golden’s leash. I quickly untangled the dogs and calmly statred to explain why I moved to the left and why I expected him to do the same. Needless to say, my inner peace didn’t sooth his savage nerves and he only ratcheted up the verbal abuse. I turned and looked at his wife. The poor women was staring a hole into the ground and avoiding, at all cost, direct eye contact. The moron must have realized that he wasn’t going to get me to react and commanded his wife to get moving. Remarkably, I ran across several other dog walkers who seemed to understand the rules of the trail and didn’t getting into any more verbal jousts.

Overall, this was a much better week than last week. I got in 5 runs of 5, 5, 4, 10 and 6 miles for a total of 30.7 miles for the week. Monday is a rest day and then I start back into the Pfitz training schedule with a 7 miler on Tuesday.

I hoppe your week goes well.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

10 Miles or Bust

I finally got out beyond 10 miles this morning. The last time I ran further than 10 miles on a training run was 14 January 07 when I ran 12 miles at an 9:03/mi avg pace. With my allergies still acting up, I slept in until 7 this morning and headed out under near perfect Arizona conditions; temperature around 48F (9C), sun shining brightly and not a cloud anywhere. I had a choice to run either 6 or 10 miles this morning and over the first 3 miles, 6 looked liked it would be the magic number. I was very tight and just couldn’t get in the groove and relax. I was also very mindful of the disastrous attempt I had last weekend in Benson when I completely broke down on mile 8.

Fortunately, everything started coming together on mile 4. I was just taking it easy and wasn’t paying any attention to pace; however, it felt like was running somewhere between 9:00 and 9:30. My HR was hovering around 145; higher than I wanted, but not as bad as last weekend.

I passed the 5 mile point and decided to go for 10. Heck, I was already half-way to 10 miles and everything was feeling good. My black lab looked up at me as we passed our street, perhaps wondering where we were going next, but didn’t put up a fight as we ventured on down the road.

On mile 7, the wind picked up and smacked me in the face. Don’t know where it came from, but the palm trees were really swaying in the breeze and discarded wrappers and cups from fast-food joints were blowing by me. My HR shot up 5 points and I trudged on knowing I only had 2 miles before I’d turn a corner and have a nice tail wind on the home-bound leg. And the down-wind section did feel great. More remarkable was my feet. Altough I did have a slight twinge on the outside of the right ankle on mile 8, my right foot did not go numb. This is the first run over 6 miles that my right foot has held up since early January. Better yet, I'm starting to get feeling back in the toe pads of my 2nd and 3rd toe on the same foot. They've both been numb since Carlsbad.

Total distance 10.2 miles; 9:15/mi avg pace.

On a non-running note, my youngest daughter has decided to rejoin her soccer team and will start practicing again on Monday. I think the injuries that the girls on her team have suffered recently have been too much for her. The team has two girls out with ACL injuries (they won’t be back this year), one with a severe ankle sprain, one with a pulled quad muscle and our best forward out for 4 to 6 weeks with mononucleosis. What started out as a team with 18 girls has quickly whittled down to 12. With her returning to the game, I made reservations for our next two out-of-state tournaments today. The first is in San Bernardino, CA at the end of March and second at Rutgers University over Memorial Day weekend. Adding this to my own work related travel, it looks like I’ll be training for the San Diego R&R Marathon while literally on the road.

Have a great weekend

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Morning Moon

Did anyone else catch the full moon setting over the horizon this morning? I was running west this morning and got to watch the moon slowly turn from bright white to dull orange as it sank lower on the western horizon and finally disappeared behind the White Tank Mountains. Each minute it got darker and darker as more and more smog obscured its light. Although it was a pretty sight, it was also a very visible reminder of what we have to run through each day.

My allergies are kicking into high gear as we enter March. This is usually a tough month for breathing; however, with my long lay off, I’m actually running much better this week than any week since the Carlsbad Marathon. Yesterday, I had planned on a 5 mile recovery run, but had to cut it short in order to get home in time to take my youngest daughter to school (in other words, I over slept). I pushed harder yesterday and managed to keep up a 9:00/mi pace over 4 miles. Nothing to brag about, but it sure felt better than the 10:00/mi pace I was running last weekend in Benson.

This morning I backed off and just went out for an easy run without regards for pace and I got up in time to get in the full 5 miles, so I had no excuses. After 2 miles, my HR stabilized at 145 and stayed there until the hills on mile 5. There was marked improvement on the last mile also. Were as my HR had spiked near 160 last week on the same set of hills, it never exceeded 151 this morning. This is still much higher than I’d like, but a ton better than 160. Average pace this morning: 9:15/mi.

I've got two more runs scheduled for this weekend before I start the endurance build up phase in preparation for my next marathon. I hope you all have a great weekend.