Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday 11/28 - 21.75 miles - 2:40

Since i hadn't run a 20+ long run in 3 weeks, I forced myself to get a 20+ run in this weekend. My legs were still feeling it from the race on Thursday so I was planning on just taking it easy and hoping to run about 7:30 pace. I pulled off my usual get the parking lot as the group is taking off, but since they were headed my direction I knew that I could catch them at Feagan and Jackson Hill and join the group for the run. I got out to the corner and looked over and saw this giant pack of runners bearing down on me and I wondered if I had missed my usual group. I joined in and saw Bill and John who are usually in my group along with the next group. I was happy to not push the long run and not run it by myself. I enjoyed having a nice relaxing run and chatting with some people that I don't normally talk to as much. My splits varied some in the middle of the run as I ran with a few different people at different paces for a couple miles here or there. The last 8 miles or so of the run I ran on my own as I added on miles at the park and then ran back to the base with a couple miles to finish on the cloverleaf hills.

We ran a new route on a road north of Woodway and ran through a residential neighborhood I hadn't been in before. It was nice doing something a little different. My splits were 8:17, 7:44, 7:36, 7:25, 7:45, 7:35, 7:24, 7:25, 7:24, 7:11, 7:14, 7:39, 7:40, 7:35, 7:21, 7:10, 7:09, 7:09, 7:06, 6:57, 6:30, 6:25 pace for 3/4 mile.

After the run my legs felt pretty good for a 22 mile run. I put some Ben Gay on my hamstrings and calves at mile 17. They were still a little sore and I probably would have been fine without it, but it helps my legs feel better so I decided to put some on at a water stop. The weather was great with the temperature in the 50's.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday 11/27 - 7.5 painful miles - 56 minutes

I went out for a 7.5 mile run on Friday morning and my legs were in lots of pain after Thursday's run. I ran out along the I-20 frontage road out near Weatherford. It's a nice stretch of rolling hills and almost no traffic. Usually after the first couple of miles my legs will start feeling better, but they felt pretty sore the entire run. I spent quite a while stretching and foam rolling after my run. It was good to get out and run and the weather was nice again on Friday. The muscles in my feet were kind of sore after my run Friday. I hadn't worn my flats that I wore for the race too often and I had a new pair of trainers I started running in on Friday. Saturday has a 22 mile long run coming up since I hadn't gone long in 3 weeks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ft. Worth Turkey Trot 10k - 33:26, "official" winner

This race was definitely a post-college 10k PR and might have been an all time 10k PR. I ran a handful of 10k cross country races in college, but I can't recall what my best time was. I was up in Ft. Worth visiting my sister so I decided to run a 10k turkey trot they were holding. I finished the race thinking I had finished 2nd, but somebody told me that the winner didn't run with a chip so he wasn't officially timed or eligible to win so I found out that technically I actually won the race. Coming into the race, my goal was to break 34:00. Last night I was plugging my recent 5k times and my half marathon from last month into a race predictor calculator and they were predicting I would run a 34:20 - 34:40 based on those times so I started to wonder if 34:00 was a realistic goal. 34:00 for a 10k is about 5:27 pace so I planned to try to go out at 5:30 or so and stay in the 5:25 - 5:30 range and see what happened. I hadn't seen the course beforehand other than on a map so I didn't know if it was flat or hilly, but I did know that there were a lot of turns as we ran through a few neighborhoods.

The race started and the pack took off. I didn't think too many of them looked like they should be running that pace, but some of them held it longer than I expected. I looked down at my Garmin midway through the first mile and saw that my instantaneous pace was about 5:20, but I figured I wasn't really going that fast. When I hit mile 1, I was in about 12th place and had run a 5:20. The guy who beat me had passed me about 1/2 a mile in and was up in the front of the pack. The were a few short hills in the first couple of miles and I realized that this wasn't going to be as flat a course as some of the ones I'm used to running in Houston. I actually liked the hills because they weren't too long or steep, but I could be running at sub 5:00 pace on the downhills and not feel like it was too much effort. I picked a few people off between mile 1 and 2 and I was trying not to lose contact with the pack ahead of me. I passed the mile 2 marker and hit 5:21 for mile 2. I started to wonder if I had gone out too quick and would blow up at the end, but I was still feeling pretty good.

Mile 3 had the most hills out of any mile and the pack ahead of me started to break up and I was picking people off and I was up into 6th place by the end of mile 3. The guy who really won was in the lead by himself and there were a couple guys a few seconds behind him and then a couple more guys who were in my sights and slowing down. I hit 5:19 for mile 3 and was feeling pretty good, but I thought I probably had started too fast. I passed the two guys in front of me and moved into 4th and set my sights on the two guys ahead of me. Mile 4 was probably the hardest of the race for me. I had passed the 2 guys right after the mile 3 marker and there was a decent gap to the next two guys. I could tell they were slowing down some, but it was hard to keep pushing to try to close the gap and not settle into an easier pace and just stay the same distance back. I hit mile 4 in 5:24, but had narrowed the gap significantly and had the guys in my sights.

With a little more than 2 miles to go, I knew that I had a legitimate shot at breaking 34:00 and I was pretty certain that I could take the two guys in front of me. I caught the first one at about 4.25 miles and we were about 3 or 4 seconds behind the guy in front of us. The first guy I caught didn't hang with me so I put in a surge and caught the other guy. He hung with me for a little bit but I put in a surge as we went up a hill to try to drop him and put some distance between us. I didn't want to settle into a slower pace and then have him just hang on me and end up passing me back near the end. Mile 5 was my slowest at 5:31 but I hadn't completely blown up and there were a few hills in it as well. I looked at my watch and saw I was right at 27:00 and calculated if I could run 5:40 and then 1:20 for the last 1/4 I would break 34:00. When I hit mile 5 I decided to treat mile 6 like the last mile of a hard interval workout and just keep pushing hard since I was almost done. I could see the guy in front of me occasionally but he was about 30 seconds ahead and I knew I wouldn't be catching him. I broke the last mile down into 1/4's and kept pushing trying to extend the gap between me and 3rd place.

My sister and brother-in-law and mom were cheering near the 6 mile marker and once I turned the corner I was kicking it as hard as I could. I didn't look at my watch until after I finished but I had run a 5:19 for mile 6 which was my fastest of the race and the last 1/4 mile in was at 4:50 pace according to my Garmin.

After I finished the race a guy came over and asked to take my picture and started interviewing me. I was wondering why they were spending so much time interviewing the 2nd place finisher and when I mentioned finishing 2nd the guy told me that the person ahead of me didn't have a chip so basically he didn't count and I was the winner. I felt kind of bad since this guy beat me by 20 - 30 seconds. I was off cooling down, but I guess they gave out the overall winner awards and I got a nice plaque and a frozen fully cooked smoked turkey. I guess I'll be eating plenty of turkey over the next couple of weeks. I was just happy with running a good time and hoping to win my age group.

My approximate splits were 5:20, 5:21, 5:19, 5:24, 5:31, 5:19, 72. I'll try to get back to updating my blog with my workouts more regularly. Lately my life has seemed like it is pretty much work, run, eat, sleep, repeat but work should be easing up some in the next week or two.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

11/14 Long run - 15 miles

The weather was nice and cool and Sam and Bill were both out for the Kenyan way long run. After the first water stop our group of 6 dropped down to 4 with Bill, Sam, Katrina and myself. The workout was just an out and back up TC Jester past 610 along the bike path. For some reason when Bill, Sam and I get together for a long run, we always seem to run a bit quicker. We were moving at pretty good pace at the turnaround and then picked it up even more on the way back and got back to the base with a couple of sub 6:00 miles. At base I was at about 14.25 miles so I ran an easy 3/4 to get to 15 for the day. Splits were 7:52, 7:13, 7:10, 7:00? - left time running at water stop, 6:46, 6:55, 6:38, 6:35, 6:25, 6:23, 6:30, 6:13, 5:51, 5:50, 7:20. We definitely negative split the run though I'm not sure that we needed to after being under 6:40 by the turnaround.

Friday 11/13 - 7.6 miles

Went to the park and ran 2+ loops in 58 minutes on friday evening. Took it pretty easy with a long run coming up in less than 12 hours and still feeling a little tired from the hard workout on Wednesday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tattoo Ideas

Sometimes I tell my wife that she can get me a tattoo for a birthday or Christmas present, but she says she has to approve it before i could get one so it doesn't seem real likely I'll get one anytime in the near future. Sometimes when I'm watching basketball games, I'll point out some of the more no-so-subtle tattoos and tell her I'd like to get one like those. I ran across this article a couple days ago which details some of the more interesting tattoos some athletes are sporting. I'm sure I can find some good inspirations here.

Thursday 11/12 - 5 mile recovery run

I went out for a nice short easy recovery day after Wednesday's hard workout. I think I figured out that my foot pain from Monday is definitely shoe related and doesn't appear to be an overuse injury. I hadn't worn the shoes since Monday that I was wearing when my foot started hurting, but since I was only doing an easy 5 miles on the dirt path at the park I decided to wear them and see how they felt. I got about 2 blocks into my run when I started feeling discomfort in the same spot in my foot. I noticed that one of the plastic adidas stripes was putting pressure on the foot right there. I walked the 2 blocks back home, changed shoes and ran the 5 miles with no problems. I'm surprised that I've worn the shoes for so long and only now is the shoe causing me issues with that spot on my foot. I ran 20 miles on Saturday in those shoes with no problems. The worst part is that I had really liked that model and was planning on getting another pair to wear for the Houston Marathon. Now i need to figure out if I can actually do that or if I need to find a different shoe to try out and wear.

I ran the 5 miles at about 7:40 pace and I was surprised that my legs felt as good as they did after the Wednesday workout. Sometimes my legs are just toast and really dragging, but they felt surprisingly strong.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday 11/10 - Sean type workout

Sean had told me Saturday after the long run he was going to give Sam and me some tougher workouts for Wednesdays to run for our marathon training. I got an email on Monday with the workout 3 x 5k with 5 minutes recovery in between at marathon pace, marathon pace - 15 seconds and marathon pace - 30 seconds. I was looking forward to it with a combination of dread and anticipation. 3 x 5k just seems like a really long workout. I wanted to nail it, but I was dreading hitting the wall on the last one. Yesterday after my workout I did about 10 minutes of weights to work on strengthening my quads and hamstrings. I didn't think it was that much but I could definitely tell I had lifted yesterday.

I ran a 2 mile warmup in 14:30 and then started the workout. My goal mile pace for the 3 5ks were 6:10, 5:55, 5:40. My splits the first 5k were 6:07, 6:06, 6:06, 35 for a total of 18:54. It really didn't feel that hard though my legs felt a little tired. The second 5k was a little quicker, but still wasn't that hard and I really didn't feel like I had to push it until the last mile. My splits were 5:52, 5:55, 5:52, 33 for 18:12. I felt decent, but I knew that it might be hard to do 5:40's for the last 5k. I started out a little quick, but got into a groove and hit 5:35, 5:37, 5:35, 31 for a 17:18 closing 5k.

I didn't have any foot problems and ran the route on an asphalt trail in my regular trainers. I felt really good hitting all the times and having a good last 5k after already running two at decent speeds. Off to bed to try to recover for tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Signed up for Boston

My dad ran a 3:50 marathon this past weekend and made his Boston qualifying time by 10 minutes and we will be running Boston in April. Unfortunately it doesn't look like I am going to get a killer deal at the Four Seasons hotel like last year. Room rates there are $400/night more than what we paid last year.

Tuesday 11/10, 7.5 miles - no foot pain

I was a bit apprehensive about my run today and how my foot was going to feel. I was contemplating waiting until the evening to run when I came home so I could run at the park and do the majority of the run on the dirt path, but with my work schedule I was concerned that I might get home late and find and excuse to skip the run. I have two different pairs of shoes that I train in - a lightweight trainer that I wear for hills and speed workouts and various other runs and another normal weight shoe and I tend to alternate between them. I've been planning on wearing the lightweight trainer model for my upcoming marathons and I've run my last couple of long runs in them to try to work out a good sock/shoe combo. I didn't have any foot pain or problems on my 20 mile long run on Saturday. I've had the other shoes for a little longer, but I'm not sure if one pair has more mileage on it than the other. I brought my heavier shoes for the run and I decided I try to go for a run outside. If my foot hurt, I'd know that it wasn't an issue with my other shoes and I'd head back to our gym and ride a bike or workout on the elliptical or something like that.

I chose a route where I knew that I could actually run the majority of the route on grass or dirt along the edge of the sidewalks or roads. Running on the grass along the roads has its own set of hazards. I have to watch out for various dangers like uneven terrain, fire ant hills, muddy ground, snakes, unexploded land mines, tree roots, and bugs among other things. Fortunately it hadn't rained up here and so running on the grass was actually feasible today. I ran 7.5 miles in 52 minutes and never felt any pain in my foot although I was almost certain I would feel a sharp pain once I was at the farthest point from the office about 3.5 miles away. This afternoon I've wondered if I am feeling some tenderness in my foot every once in a while or if I'm just imagining things since I'm paranoid about an overuse injury. Tomorrow I'm supposed to run my first "What Sean would run if he were training for the marathon right now" workout. I think I'll try running it in the morning at the park and wear my heavier shoes since they seem to have more cushioning and running on the dirt doesn't seem to bother my foot, but if my foot starts to hurt I'll cut the workout short and spend a few days cross training and try to avoid a long layoff from running.

Monday - 11/9 - Hills and foot pain

Monday morning I headed out and began my usual 2.5 mile warmup from my house to the Kenyan Way hill workout. About 1 - 1.5 miles in to my warmup I started feeling some pain in my foot in one of the metatarsals. I wasn't sure if my shoe was just a little too tight and it was discomfort from the pressure of that or if I was starting to see the initial signs of an overuse injury. I'd done 44 miles in the previous 4 days which is probably the highest 4 day total I've done recently so I don't think an overuse injury is out of the question. I stopped to adjust my laces and it didn't bother me at all while I was walking, but it was still irritating me some while I was running. I got to the workout and talked to Sean and he suggested that I try jogging one of the circuits on the grass and see how that felt. I could still feel some slight discomfort on the 1st hill, but it seemed to fade away after that. I ended up doing 3 miles of hills at a medium to medium hard effort and then ran a 1/2 mile cooldown on the grass. Fortunately my wife was at the morning workout and was able to give me a ride back home so I didn't have to do a 2.5 mile cooldown on asphalt and concrete streets and sidewalks. I'm still not certain if it was just something to do with the shoe I was wearing or if I'm on the verge of having an overuse injury.

Sunday - 11/8 - 7.6 miles

Sunday evening I went out for a run at the park and ran 7.6 miles in 59 minutes. My legs felt a little sluggish from Saturday's run. The first mile was pretty slow and my hamstrings felt pretty tight, but I loosened up and felt decent the rest of the way. Sunday evenings at the park are pretty lonely, especially with the time change. I started my run about 6:30 pm and it's so dark it feels like it is 9:00 pm out. The run was pretty uneventful, but after the first mile I was happy with how my legs felt and I made it through my entire planned run.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

11/7 - Kenyan Way Long Run - 20 miles

For the first time in who knows how long I actually made it to the start of the run on time and was standing around by the fence waiting to start. Usually I'm trying to catch up with everyone as I'm a couple minutes late. It's also nice being able to get a halfway decent parking space. I looked at my schedule last night and saw it actually called for 22 instead of 20, but my longest run to date this year was about 18.5 miles and Sean has recommended not adding more than 2 miles per week to the long run so I decided to go for 20 this week. The run today called for running 11 miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. I was contemplating whether I really wanted to do this and I didn't see Sam out there shortly before we were going to start. My legs were a little tired from Thursday's progressive run and running last night so I thought that I would just run with a couple of the other guys who were going to do 11 miles at 6:45 or 6:50 pace. About 30 seconds before we start Sam shows up and said he was planning on doing the 11 miles at marathon pace so I decided that I'd give it a try. We did the first 6 miles at a comfortable pace and hit the water stop at 6 miles coming out of downtown. Sam had said he was going to go for about 6:10 pace. I had been thinking of doing 6:15 pace, but I decided I'd give 6:10 a shot for as long as I could. The first mile we were right on pace at 6:10 and then Sam took off and shot ahead. I was content to stay around 6:10 pace and let him go. I skipped the next water stop 3 miles into the hard part and thought maybe I'd catch up to Sam at the water stop, but he grabbed such a quick drink and took off I never quite caught up. I could see him the whole way until the next water stop, but he was gradually pulling away a little bit. I had expected the next water stop to be around 6 miles into our marathon pace effort, but I didn't hit it until about 6.5. I knew I was going to catch Sam so I took an extra 30 seconds to take my energy gel and have a couple of cups of water to chase it. I was running really strong the first 7 miles and then slipped a little between miles 7 - 9, but was still close to 6:15 pace. The last 2 miles I was struggling and slipped down to mid 6:20's. That got me to 17 miles and then I headed back to the base and added on some to get to 20 miles. I was pretty happy with the workout and I stayed tough and kept pushing even when I was getting tired. Sam is in good shape and I'm going to have my work cut out trying to catch back up to him for the Houston marathon. My splits were - 7:48, 7:24, 7:31, 7:12, 7:02, 7:08, 6:10, 6:12, 6:09, 6:18, 6:07, 6:06, 6:10, 6:17, 6:17, 6:35, 6:26, 8:06, 7:20, 7:11. Total run time - 2:15

I may end up running the Boston marathon again in April. My dad is running the Ft. Worth marathon to try to qualify tomorrow and if he hits the qualifying time I'll sign up for Boston and run it in April. He was planning on trying to qualify at Houston, but the registration for Boston is well ahead of last year's pace when it closed less than a week after Houston. Somebody at the BAA told him on Tuesday if he didn't run a qualifying time this month he wouldn't be able to get into the 2010 race and would have to wait until 2011. He found the Ft. Worth marathon and instead of a 20 mile long run he'll be doing a 26 mile long run this weekend. His qualifying time is 4:00 and I think he should be able to qualify.

BCS rant

After last week's college football games (10/31) I was looking at the BCS standings and I'm trying to figure out why the computer rankings get 1/3 of the weight in the BCS standings. Boise St. was undefeated and beat Oregon head to head the first game of the year. Neither team has lost since then, but Oregon is ahead of Boise St. in all but 1 of the computer rankings and at least 4 places ahead in 2 of the computer rankings. One computer has undefeated Texas 9th - 5 spots behind one loss Oregon and only 1 spot ahead of two loss USC who was destroyed last week. I'm pretty certain we'll see the eventual SEC champ and Texas in the National Championship game as long as they win out. The computers had Iowa ranked 2nd (granted before their loss today) but it was fairly obvious to everyone with common sense that Iowa isn't as good as some of the real contenders. Unfortunately you can't program common sense into the computers.

Friday 11/6 - 8 miles

I could have run in the morning before I went into work, but since I'm a habitual procrastinator I put it off and decided to run in the afternoon. Eventually I made it out the door at 5:30 pm and ran 8 miles in 1 hour at 7:30 pace. I was intentionally taking it easy with a 20 mile run on the schedule 12 hours later. Weather was in the mid-70's and felt fairly nice out.

Thursday 11/5 - Progressive run - 8.5 miles

I had to get up at 5:00 to get out the door and get my workout in to be up at a meeting in the middle of The Woodlands by 8:00. The original workout was 2 x 1 mile and 2 x 800, but I knew that I would run bad times that early in the morning so I just decided to do a progressive run instead. The run went ok, but I didn't feel very smooth and I was stumbling quite a bit and my form felt pretty sloppy. My splits were 7:05, 6:40, 6:29, 6:15, 5:59, 5:48, 5:35. I had planned on finishing with a 5:30 mile and then doing a 1.5 mile cooldown. I never felt like I was pushing it that hard and I probably could have dropped down into the 5:20's if I had more time.

Wednesday 11/4 - day off

Will do hard workout Thursday A.M

Tuesday 11/3 - 5 miles

Didn't have much time for a run today so did an easy 5 miles at 7:30 pace.

Monday 11/2 - Hill workout

I had a strong hill workout today. I ran a 2.5 mile warmup and got there right as the workout was starting. We were doing loops on the cloverleafs where we ran hard up 2 and hard down 2 hills each lap and jogged easy across the overpasses. We were supposed to run for about 30 minutes and I got 5 laps in 30:30. My first lap was about 6:15, the 2nd was 6:10, and then the last 3 were all about 6:00. I think each lap was about 0.9 miles so I did about 4.5 miles during the workout. I did a 2.5 mile cooldown for a total of 9.5 miles.

Sunday 11/1 - 7 miles - 56 minutes

We went up to San Antonio for a quick overnight trip and I ran in the evening when we got back into town. With daylight savings time, it gets dark early. We had walked around at the Alamo and the Riverwalk for about 3 hours and then sat in the car for 3 hrs on the way back so my legs weren't feeling all that great. I had wanted to do 8 - 9 , but I was running at 8:00 pace and decided that 7 was enough with a hill workout coming Monday morning.

Saturday - 10/31 - 12 miles

After running 9 miles at sub-7:00 pace the day before, I was planning on just cruising an easy 12 miles. Since I had a shorter run on the schedule this week and good weather I decided to take advantage of that to sleep in and run later in the morning. I was feeling pretty good and just started cruising and ended up getting down into the 6:20's before deciding to slow it down the last few miles. My legs felt tired and I didn't want to strain or pull something. My splits were 7:35, 7:06, 6:58, 6:47, 6:41, 6:33, 6:33, 6:25, 6:38, 7:07, 7:01, 7:19. Total run time was 1:23.