Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not running, just eating M&M's

I've been enjoying taking a little time off from running since Boston. My quads were in agony the rest of the week after the race. I did quite a bit of walking around the city on Tuesday and Wednesday after race which didn't help my legs feel any better. Any time I walked up and down stairs, I had to hold onto the handrail for support and walk very slowly. It was sort of a foreshadowing of what my life might be like when I'm 90 years old. Finally on Friday the 24th when we left Boston, my quads didn't ache with every step I took. If I could have done things differently, I think I would have gotten a wheelchair and had Suzanne push me around Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday and my legs probably would have recovered a little quicker.

Last Saturday my legs were feeling great so I decided to go out for a run mid-afternoon. As I headed out the door, I thought I probably could do 6 miles, but I was just going to run to the park, do one lap and then head home which was about 3.5 miles. It only took a couple minutes into my run to realize that my legs hadn't recovered as much as I had thought. They were still heavy but I figured I'd just run nice and easy. My first mile took me about 8:30 and my quads were definitely sore. 10:00 into my run, I decided to turn around and head back home because my legs were so sore. I didn't feel the need to keep going and strain something and end up more injured or needing to take extra time off. Halfway back home at 15:00 into the run, my legs hurt so much I stopped and just walked the rest of the way home. I figure I ran for about 1.75 miles and then walked for between .5 and .75 miles.

Later Saturday we went to Costco and I got a 56 oz bag of peanut M&M's. They had a $2.50 off coupon so I got this huge bag for about $7 or something like that. It rained a lot on Monday and Tuesday so instead of running I just stayed home and munched on M&M's instead while I visualized running fast. I thought about running yesterday, but it was kind of warm out and I decided to stay home and eat more M&M's instead. If Sean took 8 weeks off, I figure it won't hurt me to take 1.5 or 2 weeks off to finish my giant bag of peanut M&M's before I start running again. In case anybody might be wondering what kind of present they should get me for my birthday or July 4th or Earth Day or any other special occasion you think of, Peanut M&M's is always a great idea ;)

I may try to go running this evening. It depends on whether I'm motivated enough to get out the door before I sit down on the couch and start snacking when I get home.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More on Boston

What a race.  The atmosphere was unbelievable and it was definitely the hardest race I'd ever run.  Here's a couple pre-race tips:  If it is cold at the athlete's village at the start, go to the pre-race massage and you can stay inside a heated gym for almost an hour instead of waiting out in the cold.  Take care of business at the port-o-potties early on.  When we first arrived, there was practically no wait at most of the port-o-potties.  An hour before the start, it was probably at least a 20 minute wait if not longer.  Wear a dark garbage bag and take a large empty gatorade bottle to the start corrals so you can avoid the long lines.

I started near the back of the first corral because I didn't want to take off too quickly in the excitement of my first Boston marathon.    The temperature at the start was just about ideal - in the low to mid 40's, but it was windy at times.  The forecast had called for about 10 mph winds at the start and increasing to 15+ by the finish and unfortunately we were running into a headwind the entire race.

I've never run a race where it has still been so crowded after the first couple of miles.  The first 4 miles have quite a bit of downhill so I just relaxed and ran nice and easy and hit my first 5K in 19:46.  There were water stops every mile but I decided to try to grab something to drink every 2 or 3 miles.  The second 5k was rather uneventful as well.  The pace felt very easy, but I knew that it should.  I went through the 10k in 39:27 for a 5k split of 19:41.  Somewhere between mile 6 and 8, my right hamstring started becoming sore.  If it were a normal training run I would have stopped and stretched it out, but I didn't want to lose any time and it wasn't bothering me enough that I felt like it was slowing me down.  There was still a solid line of runners basically as far ahead as I could see.  Every town we went through was packed with cheering crowds which was pretty cool.  I hit 15k in 59:16 for a 5k split of 19:35.  I still felt like I was running easy and relaxed and my heartrate was only in the mid 170's which was a good sign.  Six miles into the Houston marathon, my HR had been over 180 which was too high that early in the race.  I didn't want to get over 180 until somewhere in the 2nd half of the race.  I would pass a couple people here or there, but for the most part I was still running with the same basic group of people.  It was kind of amusing looking ahead and watching the shape of the pack as everybody was trying to stay in the pack and let the people ahead block the wind.  As we approached the water stops, there would be almost a synchronized movement as the pack shifted over to one side of the road to grab water.  Mile 12 was one of the cooler places on the course.  I'd heard about the Wellesley girls who would line the course and cheer, but experiencing it was unlike anything else.  As we approached it, you could just hear the screaming girls in the distance.  They had to be lined up for close to half mile along the course screaming their heads off and cheering.  I high fived a few as I ran by with my gross sweaty gloves, but they seemed to love it.  Several girls had signs that said, "Kiss me, I'm a senior!" and one guy actually stopped to kiss one.  I went through 20k in 1:19:01 for a 19:45 5k...right on pace.  Shortly after that I hit the halfway point at 1:23:15.  It was a little slower than I had planned, but I was happy with where I was at.  I definitely wasn't going out too quick and I felt like I could really pick up the pace.  I'd rather be a minute slow but feeling strong than a minute quick and worried about how I'd be able to finish.

Once I hit the halfway point, I mentally divided up the race into 3 sections.  The next 3 - 4 miles would be easy relatively flat miles, then I had about 5 miles of the Newton hills and then 5 more easy miles to cruise into the finish.  The flat miles went by pretty easily and I was feeling really good going into the hills.  I hit 25K at 1:38:23 for a 19:22 5K split I had a tube of icy hot with me because of my hamstring so I put some on my quads and hamstrings in mile 16 just before the start of the hills.  Unfortunately I accidentally dropped the tube when I was trying to stick it back in my pocket so I wouldn't have it it I wanted more for the last few miles of the race.  I started picking up my effort at this point since I was feeling good.  I knew my wife had ridden the green line subway out to near mile 17 to see me.  As I got near mile 17, the crowds were really big and I didn't know if I'd see her or not, but fortunately she got a really good spot and stepped out a bit to get a couple of pictures of me and I gave her a thumbs up as I went by.  At this point I thought that I had a really good shot of hitting 2:45 because I was feeling so strong.  The hills were tough, but nothing that I wasn't ready for.  I ran relaxed up the hills and then really pushed myself after I crested the hill and I started passing quite a few people.  I hit 30k at 1:58:05 for a 19:42 split.  I was still right on the pace I wanted to be at and feeling great.  As I went through the hills and kept passing people, I felt stronger and stronger.  By the time I got to heartbreak hill I was cranking as hard as I could go since I knew the end was in sight.  One guy passed me going up heartbreak hill, but I probably passed at least 30 other people.  I was exactly where I wanted to be pace-wise at the end of heartbreak hill and I started the decent.  Unfortunately my quads decided to start screaming in agony on the downhill.  I think I needed to run just under 6:00 pace for the last 5+ miles into the finish and I had thought I would be able to do it, but I was hovering right around 6:00 pace on the downhill and my legs didn't feel like they could go any quicker.  If I couldn't do 5:40 pace going down the hill at that point, I knew that 2:45 wasn't going to happen.  I hit the 35k at 2:18:04 for a 19:59 split.  I stayed under 20 minutes going through some of the toughest hills, but my legs were just toast.  At 35k I was right around 21.75 miles and I had 4.5 to go.  If I ran 6:00 pace, I would have covered the last 4.5 miles in 27 minutes which would have been right at 2:45.

When you look at the elevation map for the last 5 miles, it looks relatively flat, but any little hill in the last few miles feels like a mountain.  It's like the end of the Houston marathon is downhill from Memorial Park to downtown, but the hills on Allen Parkway are brutal and that's how the finish felt.  Every step I took was painful, but i was determined to keep pushing and get in under 2:50 without completely blowing up the last four miles.  I passed a couple of guys who were walking in with 2 - 3 miles to go but I was determined not to join them.  At this point I was really wishing I still had my icy-hot with me to put on my quads to try to make the pain subside a bit.  With about 2 miles to go, I stopped briefly at a medical station to ask them if they had any bengay or icy hot.  One guy had a spray bottle of some sort of numbing spray and he sprayed it on my quads and hamstrings.  I probably lost about 25  seconds while I stopped, but I don't know if I made up any of the time, but it definitely soothed the legs a little bit.  I hit 40k at 2:39:11 which was a 21:07 split.  The last few miles of the course were just completely packed with cheering crowds that were 5 or 6 deep in some places.  I don't really remember a whole lot of the last few miles other than the cheering crowds and the pain in my legs.  When I hit mile 25, I could see the giant Citgo sign marking 1 mile to go just ahead and I was pushing as hard as I could go into the finish.  Once we finally turned onto Boylston I could see the finish line ahead in the distance and I sprinted (term used loosely) into the finish as hard as I could go. 

I crossed the finish line in 2:48:29 and was thrilled with my finish.  My quads were in pain for the next couple of days after the race and walking all of Boston and up and down the stairs at all the subway stations probably didn't help much.  Boston is a really cool city.  We had never been there before and spent the rest of the week hanging out being tourists and we caught a Red Sox game while we were out there.  I'll try to get some pictures from the race posted in the next couple of days.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boston - 2:48:29 - 393rd overall

That is probably the hardest, most painful race I've ever run. I was a few minutes off my 2:45 goal, but I ran the race exactly how I wanted to run it and I'm thrilled with the results. I was just about 1 minute off of my PR from Houston in 2008, but considering the hills and wind, this was definitely a better race. I'll give a more detailed mile by mile description at a later date and put up some pictures after we get back to Houston, but I wanted to hit the highlights here. I started out reasonably easy and made sure I didn't get caught up in the excitement, adrenaline rush, and big downhill the first 4 miles and go out too hard. I was shocked at how big a pack there was. I've seen the marathon in tv in Houston when the main pack starts going by the cameras where it is just a wall to wall sea of runners, but I've always been ahead of the main pack. Today I got to experience the thrill of being right in the middle of the pack for the first 5 or 6 miles. We had a pretty good headwind the entire race, but it picked up as we got closer to the finish and the pack thinned out. The weather forecast yesterday was predicting it to be about 10 mph at the start and 15 mph by the time I finished and that seems pretty reasonable to me. The temperature was in the low to mid 40's the entire race which was perfect for racing, other than the wind.

Early on the pack was big enough, there were people ahead blocking the wind, but after Heartbreak Hill at mile 21 it had thinned out pretty significantly and we got to battle the full force of the wind. I hit the halfway point in 1:23:15 which was 30 seconds - 1 minute slower than what I was thinking of doing before the race, but I was happy with how I felt. My hamstring was sore, but nothing that was slowing me down and I felt really relaxed and strong at that point. I had my small tube of icy hot with me and I put a bunch on my hamstrings and quads in mile 16 before we started up the Newton Hills. I felt really strong through the Newton Hills and was passing people left at right. My goal had been to get to mile 21 past Heartbreak Hill and be able to break 2:45 if I could run 6:00 even pace the last 5 miles. I was right there on my goal and I think I needed to run 5:59 pace and I felt so good going up Heartbreak Hill I thought I was going to do it.

Then I went down the hill and my legs just felt like jello and it hit me that there was no way I was going to do 6:00 pace over the last 5 miles. I slowed down quite a bit over the last 5 miles and stopped for about 25 seconds at a medical tent to get some more icy hot since I had accidentally dropped my tube after I put it on the first time. I don't know if I made up the time by being able to run faster or if I wasted 25 seconds, but my legs definitely felt better the last couple miles coming in. Boston is definitely a great experience. The crowds were awesome and there were almost wall-to-wall crowds lining the sidewalk the last 4 miles of the race. I can't retire from marathon running yet since I still haven't achieved my quest for the elusive 2:45 marathon. It was an awesome experience and I will definitely want to do it again. I will note that I was closer to my PR than Ryan Hall was to his, so I think in a handicapped race I would have won today. Haha. And Robert Cheruiyot, the defending champ DNF'd so technically I beat him too. Ryan Hall had an impressive 3rd place finish and Kara Goucher finished 3rd in the women's race, only 9 seconds behind the winner. She was leading a pack of 3 in the last mile or 2 but unfortunately just couldn't quite hang over the last stretch.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

6 miles easy

I ran a nice leisurely 6.1 miles around the lake in 43:50 today.  It was about 70 and sunny out and felt really nice out.  I just took it nice and easy and concentrated on keeping good form.  After today, I won't be doing any runs over 3.5 miles until the race.  We are flying up to Boston on Saturday.  I just checked the weather and now they are only predicting a high of 45 so it might be a little cool.  That's fine by me though.  I'd rather it be a little cooler because it's a lot easier to put on gloves or sleeves if its cold and be warm enough than run while I'm carrying a portable air conditioner to stay cool if it is too warm out.  Maybe tomorrow I'll post my running equipment packing list to show you how ridiculous it is the stuff I need for the race in various running conditions.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee Day

I figured since this was an easy week and we finally got enough people willing to play, I'd play a game of ultimate frisbee for my workout.  It's a little over 3/4 of a mile to the field I play at so I got 1.5 miles in plus however much I ran around the field for.  The weather was great and it was a lot of fun.  It's nice to get a break from the run and some of the sprints up and down the field are like doing strides.

Monday, April 13, 2009

1 week to Boston

Only 7 days left until the big race. I'm just trying to stay healthy and not get sick this week. The temperature looks like it is going to be ideal and I hope it isn't windy. I can live fine with rain, but wind could slow me down. Fortunately my work load is pretty light this week so I shouldn't have any long days and I'll have plenty of time to get runs in. I think one of my biggest challenges will be having too much energy. I will only be doing about 25 miles this week leading up to the race and I'll be getting plenty of sleep so I'll have to make sure I don't get too excited out on my runs this week since I'm trying to be as fresh as possible next Monday. I'm also trying to eat healthy - no fast food, Cokes or desserts this week. I can make up for my sacrifices the week after the race :)

I ran 8.25 miles today and did 3 x 1 mile at near goal marathon pace. My splits weren't exactly right on, but they were in the ballpark. I did a 3 mile warm up, then ran the 3 x 1 mile with a 1/4 mile run at a slightly easier pace and then did a 1.75 mile cooldown. My mile splits were 6:14, 6:12, 6:09 and my 1/4 miles between were 1:42 and 1:38. The total time for the 8.25 miles was 55:15. The purpose of the workout was another workout to try to get used to running at marathon pace. I'm not sure if this workout will really be all that beneficial since the weather conditions today were dramatically different from what I'll be running in and my effort to hit the pace today will be much different than the effort to hit the pace in Boston. It was in the mid-70's and sunny out while it looks like Boston will be somewhere in the mid-40's and cloudy (Boston weather subject to change). I was already starting to get a little jittery and feel some pre-race nerves during my workout today. I seem to find that I do pretty well in races where I am nervous and get good adrenaline surge. I just need to make sure I stay calm and don't run the first 4 downhill miles at a 5:30 pace and ruin the rest of the race. If my goal race pace is 6:15, I think I am going to shoot for about around 6:10 pace over the first four miles. I might go a little quicker, but I really don't want anything under 6:05 pace over that section. I'm sure I'll be getting passed left and right but I have always done better when I run negative splits and it should be pretty easy to hit those times without much effort. There is quite a bit of elevation drop and I should be able to relax and keep my HR pretty low. It should be a good warmup and leave me a little fresher for the later parts of the race. I'm hoping that my legs have enough left in the tank to avg 6:00 pace or better after Heartbreak hill.

I found a race pace calculator that gives mile by mile adjusted splits to account for the elevation changes throughout the course- Boston Pace Predictor which will help me have an idea of how I am doing relative to my target race pace. The course has an overall elevation drop of about 450' so I'm ready to go out there and PR.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

13 miles easy

I asked Sean before the run if I should make up the workout I missed earlier in the week with 10 miles at marathon pace but he told me to skip it and just run for 90 minutes easy. I was a couple minutes late getting to the start this morning and the group I usually run with had taken off already and I wasn't going to catch them running at an easy pace. I caught up with a guy named Monty who's running Boston next week and another guy named Gary who had tried to qualify for Boston in the Austin marathon but didn't make it because of bad weather conditions that day. They were running about 7:30 pace and I decided to run with them since it was more enjoyable having somebody to run with than running by myself. I don't know if I've done a run with such a low heartrate in a while. I averaged 143 bpm for the 13 miles at 7:34 pace.

My splits and HR were-

1- 7:31, 153
2- 7:18, 145
3- 7:17, 145
4- 7:24, 144
5- 7:30, 145
6- 7:31, 145
7- 7:38, 142
8- 7:47, 139
9- 7:41, 141
10- 7:40, 138
11- 7:39, 139
12- 7:37, 143
13- 7:40, 143

One thing I've noticed a few times is that the first mile sometimes has a high heartrate. I don't know if it has to do with not being warmed up and starting running being a stress on my body and then once I get more warmed up my HR drops. This isn't the first time it's happened. I usually only wear my HR monitor on my longer runs, but I wonder how often this happens on my other runs. When I ran the Houston marathon, my HR was really high the first mile and it never really came down much either and it was so high that it was impossible to run my goal time.

Only 9 days to Boston! I checked the 10 day forecast for Boston and it looks like it could be good running weather. It's still quite a long ways out, but Monday and every day leading up has a high temp in the mid-50's. Hopefully it won't be really windy. I will be tapering and having quite an easy week of running coming up this week. Happy Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday - 7.6 miles

I guess I wasn't the only person with Good Friday off. I went running at the park at 11:00 and the park was pretty crowded. I forgot my watch and didn't feel like going upstairs to get it so I didn't time the run. It was pretty warm out ~80 degrees and I felt like i was moving at a pretty good pace. I felt pretty good on the run.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Another 6 miles easy

This morning I was planning on attempting to do 12 miles with the last 10 at marathon pace, but as soon as I got out the door I knew that my body wasn't going to cooperate with it. My body still felt pretty tired and I knew that I would really have to work hard to hit the pace and this workout wasn't supposed to be a really hard workout. It was supposed to be a medium effort workout that helps me get used to the pace and effort I'll need to be running at Boston. I just did an easy 6 instead and I'll try to do this workout on Saturday morning instead. I ran the 6 miles in about 44 minutes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

6 miles easy

I ran a nice leisurely 6.1 miles around Lake Woodlands at lunch in 44:30. My first mile was about 7:50 pace, but I gradually picked the pace up. My legs were pretty tired from Tuesday's hill workout but it was nice to get a nice relaxing run in. My work had been so hectic the past few days, this was a nice little stress reliever.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hill workout - 8.5 miles total

I pushed back my hill workout by one day to Tuesday and decided to do a treadmill hill workout again. I would have preferred to have done a workout on the TC Jester bridge, but the treadmill workout was more out of necessity due to my work schedule. The workout was 8 sets of 90 seconds at 6:15 pace with a 6% incline, 1 minute recovery jog, 60 seconds at 6:15 pace with a 7% incline, 2 minute recovery jog.

I did a two mile warmup and then started the workout. For whatever reason, the workout seemed a lot tougher today than when I did it about a week ago. Last time I had the treadmill set at 9.5 mph (6:18 pace) and this time I did 9.6 mph (6:15 pace) but I don't think that would really make that big a difference. I was defniitely struggling more this time and my recovery jogs were much slower. I would have thought that taking Sunday and Monday off would have given me enough recovery that I would be faster and feel stronger today than I did last week. At one point I thought I might need to stop the workout after 4 or 6 sets, but I was determined to keep going and I made it through all 8 sets. I did a one mile cooldown at the end of the workout and did about 8.5 miles total.

I'm definitely getting pumped up about Boston and I can't believe it's less than 2 weeks away. I'm definitely feeling more confident about my fitness and mental toughness after last weekend's race. Time to go start working on my packing list.

Days off - Sunday & Monday

I unintentionally took two days in a row off due to my poor planning. I didn't take any running clothes with me up to Dallas for our quick trip and I planned on doing a run Sunday afternoon, but we didn't get back until about 7:00 pm and I was planning on running hills Monday morning so I figured I'd just take Sunday off. I was lazy on Monday morning and decided I'd run at lunch or after work, but I had a crazy busy day and worked through lunch and didn't get home until about 8:00 pm and was too wiped out for a late evening run. Oh least I'm starting to taper and cut myu mileage back this week so an extra day off shouldn't really hurt anything

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Four the Park - 1st overall - 21:00.0

I went into the race hoping to do well, but not really having any idea of what to expect. I wanted to try to go for 5:15 pace, but I didn't know if my legs would be fresh enough for it or if I would be able to hold that pace long enough. I knew I could run that pace for a 5k, but this was almost an extra mile longer. I let myself sleep in some and got up a few minutes before 7:00. Usually I try to get up 2 hrs before a race, but I had just really been exhausted and decided I could sleep in - if you call 7:00 sleeping in. I wasn't feeling particularly fast on my warmup. I ran from my house over to the start/finish area to see exactly where the start line and finish line was. It's about 3/4 of a mile from my house to that point so I jogged over and then ran the first part of the course and looped back around to my house. This was a great race since I could use the restroom at my house instead of having to stand in line at the port-a-potties. After my warmup I stretched my calves and hamstrings for a while and decided to go with my new asics hyperspeed3 flats which I'd never worn before. I figured they would probably give me a little more cushioning and be better for my legs than my lightweight adidas flats. I put them on, changed into my singlet and headed back to the park about 12 minutes before the start of the race. As I was jogging over I saw my neighbor Matt from two houses down and he told me to go out and win the race so I told him I'd see what I could do. I got to the starting area while they were singing the Star Spangled Banner. When they finished I went up to the line and looked around to scope out the competition. I didn't recognize anybody that I knew was definitely faster than me and so I started to think that I might have a chance at winning the race. I didn't want to get too overconfident and I was just waiting to see somebody quick run over to the starting line a minute before the gun went off. Nobody else showed up at the line and as I looked around there were only two people up near the front that I didn't recognize that I thought might have a chance at winning. One of the guys was a high school age looking asian guy and the other was a guy who looked like he was in his upper 30's.

When the gun went off, a guy with an iPod and headphones and fairly long shorts took off in the lead. I didn't worry about him too much because I was pretty certain nobody wearing an iPod was going to beat me. The asian guy took off on his heels and the other guy who I thought might give me some competition was shoulder to shoulder with me. The guy with the headphones kept up a sub-5:30 pace for about half a mile and then I decided to take the lead. The asian guy had dropped off 1/3 of a mile in and the other guy was close, but a little behind me. Once I took the lead I was fairly confident that I was going to win the race unless I got injured or something happened that would make me drop off the pace. The race basically turned into a time trial at that point and I just followed the pace truck that was leading the race. The first mile marker was set up short of a mile and I passed it at about 4:55, but my Garmin told me I hit mile 1 in 5:15. I really liked the course as it wound through some of the neighborhoods and went back down to Memorial Dr. There are some multi-million dollar homes along the course, but I didn't really have any time to take in the scenery. Once I got down to Memorial Dr they had 1-1/2 lanes blocked off to run in and I cruised towards the park. My Garmin said I hit 5:15 for my second mile as well, but I don't remember what the time on the clock said at mile 2. It was fun running along the road next to the trail as a bunch of people who were out for their Saturday morning run would cheer me on when I went by. There was a small dip where Memorial Dr dips down and then comes back up, but I didn't even notice it. Somewhere in this mile I was trying to change screens on my Garmin but I hit the wrong button and somehow got into a setup mode and lost my splits for the last couple of miles. I remember seeing 15:37 on the clock at the mile 3 marker, but I don't remember if that was before I got to the marker or if it is when I actually passed it. When I turned right onto the road that goes around the loop I had about a mile to go and I couldn't see the 2nd place guy behind me when I turned. I was just going for time at this point and trying to get as close to 21:00 as possible. I've run the park so many times, I know exactly where the qtr mile markers are even though I was running on the road and couldn't see them. I was just trying to focus on a qtr at a time and not slow down. I got to the lone port-a-potty and knew I had about 3/4 to go. I kept on pushing and passed the tree that was at 1/2 mile to go. I tried to pick up the pace at this point, but I don't know if I sped up at all. When I got to 1/4 to go, I just gave it all I had left and kicked it in. I guess I should have given it a little more because if I'd run 1/10th of a second faster I would have broken 21:00. Oh well. 21:00.0 is a pretty cool time and it's easy to figure out my average pace. That's a 4 mile PR for me. I don't think I've ever run a 4 mile race before, but I enjoyed the distance. I think this is the first race that I have won since I've been in college. I'm excited about the shape I'm in and I hope I can find a good half marathon somewhere this year because I think I'm in shape to have a chance at breaking 1:15 and I'd love to do that.

My neighbor saw me finish and told me that he had just been joking about the "win the race" comment and he didn't know that I was that fast. I told him that I was just doing what he had told me to do. Maybe I should have him come out to every race I run. It had been quite a while since I'd run a regular race and i was glad to get out there and get a good race under my belt. I'm starting to taper for Boston this week and I'll definitely enjoy starting to ease up on the mileage a bit. It was a great race setup and a lot of fun and they had a great post-race party. I happened to run into a couple that had run on my college cross country team my freshman year when they were both seniors. They live in Houston now and ran the race and heard my name announced as the winner and recognized it and came over and talked to me. They had one booth giving away tons of fruit so I got a nice fresh pineapple to take home as my victory trophy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Victory!!! 4 in the Park - 1st overall

1st overall in 21:00. I was pleased with how I ran. More details to follow later. I'm about to leave to head up to Dallas and don't have time to post more now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

5 miles easy

I did a nice leisurely 5 miles today. I didn't wear a watch because I knew I'd be running slow and I just wanted to enjoy a nice slow run and not worry about pace. I think it took me about 39 or 40 minutes based on the clock inside that I glanced at before I left and when I got back. The weather was great out. I wish I was outside all afternoon instead of being cooped up in the office. When I was in the locker room one guy asked me if I ran outside or if I just lifted today since I wasn't sweating. I told him I ran outside, but he didn't seem to believe me. I told him I just ran slow and easy today.

I'm planning on running the inaugural "4 the park" 4 mile race at Memorial Park tomorrow assuming that they haven't hit the cap of 2500 runners and they still let me register this evening. I'm debating on wearing my new Asics racing flats that I got for 5 mile to half marathon races that I have never worn before or wearing my Adidas super lightweight flats that I wear for 5k's. The newer shoes probably have a little more cushioning to them, but I've never worn them before. I've also never worn my 5k flats for more than a 5k since they are so light. I don't think I've run a 4 mile race before either. It's kind of an awkward distance and I'm not sure what pace to go for. I think my goal is to go for sub 5:20 pace for a 4 mile race and hope that I don't go out too fast and blow up in the last mile. I had a dream last week that I was running down Memorial Drive in the middle of the race and I was leading the race. That dream could be shattered though depending on who shows up for this race and who runs the Bellaire Trolley Run tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

6 miles recovery - 44 minutes

My legs were pretty tired today. I ran at lunch with a guy from work who'd been on the Texas Independence Relay team with me. It was pretty breezy out with some tough wind gusts. The run wasn't too eventful other than trying to avoid getting hit by a big tent that started blowing away that was being set up for an art festival this weekend. I probably would have gone a little slower if I were by myself, but it was nice to have somebody to run with.

Funny story: while we were running, this guy tells me that Usain Bolt, the 100m gold medalist was going to rabbit the Boston marathon for 15 miles. I told the guy he must have gotten the names mixed up but he swore it was true and that I should check I asked him what day he had seen it and he said "yesterday." [April 1] I asked him what "yesterday" was and he thought about it for a second and then got kind of quiet.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

8 mile tempo run, 11.5 miles total

I have to give myself mad props for this workout as it was one of the best workouts I've done all year. The weather was really nice out - 67 degrees, humidity was below 40%, though it was a little breezy at times. My schedule called for 13 miles today, but I had to run before work or at lunch and I didn't have time to do more than 11.5 at lunch. I could have run in the morning, but I typically don't hit great times when I start my run before 6:00 am unless I do an extended warmup so I ran at lunch. I did a 2.5 mile warmup then started my tempo run. I ran on a 3.25 mile loop that had 1/4 mile markers every quarter. My total time for the 8 miles was 46:02 which is a 5:45 average pace. That is a faster pace than I ran for the 10 mile 10 for Texas race in November and I definitely had enough in the tank today that I could have kept going longer at the end of the workout. I ran 57:45 in the 10 for Texas race which worked out to a 5:47 pace. If I had knocked out two more 5:50 miles, I would have had a 10 mile PR during a training run wearing regular running shoes. Oh well, maybe some other day.

My splits today were 5:54, 5:52, 5:47, 5:46, 5:44, 5:40, 5:39, 5:38. I went into the workout wanting to average 5:50 or better and I wanted to keep the workout as a tempo workout and not start hammering it out as fast as I can go. One way I can judge on whether I am running a tempo pace is monitoring my breathing and making sure that my breathing is under control and I'm not just gasping for air because I'm running too hard. I felt controlled the whole run and could have run at least one more mile at the same pace. I was tempted to hammer the last mile because I was feeling good and see if I could get close to 5:20, but that wouldn't really serve much of a purpose and it would just wear me out more. I'm planning on running the 4 mile race at Memorial Park this weekend and I don't need to wear myself out any more for it. After the workout was over, I did a 1 mile cooldown. One thing I noticed during the run is that I must have been running the wrong way around the loop. Whenever the breeze picked up, it was always a headwind blowing in my face and I noticed it when I was running both east and west at different points and for some reason I never seemed to feel a tailwind. Maybe I was just running so quick I'm making my own headwind and outrunning the wind so I don't get a tail wind at my back.

I feel really good about the shape I'm in right now. I feel like I'm running faster and having better workouts now than I did before the Houston marathon. I've lost about 4 lbs this spring since the Houston marathon and I'm within about 5 lbs of what I weighed when I was running in college. Carrying less weight is definitely an advantage in marathon running. I'm not intentionally trying to lose weight, but with the high mileage and cutting back on some of my unhealthy habits, it has gradually been happening. I'm drinking a lot fewer cokes than I was last year and I'm working on eating healthier snacks whenever I get the munchies. I feel good about Boston and I'm hoping to run the race smart enough where I have something left in the tank to pick up the pace and run low 6:00 pace or better the last 4 or 5 miles after Heartbreak Hill.