Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saturday 2/27/10 - 22 miles

Friday night I was pretty exhausted and I think I fell asleep on the couch watching the Olympics between 8:30 and 9:00. Sometime around 10:00 or 10:30 my wife dragged me up to the bedroom to head to bed. I set the alarm for 4:35 wishing I had an excuse to not get up that early, but I knew that I really needed to head up to Conroe for a long run. I had to stop by my office on the way to the run to get my shoes with orthotics and my hamstring sleeve because I knew I would probably be in trouble without them. I got my bag with them and made it to the start right about 6:00 before everyone took off. I think I was probably the fastest person up there on Saturday, but there were a couple of guys running at a pretty good clip to start so I was glad that I didn't end up running the entire workout by myself. I ran with a couple of guys named Richard and Andreas. We weren't going to fast the first few miles, but everyone was tired and it was dark out to start and there were a few monster hills to start the workout. We park at a church on League Line Rd and then run out to the Marina and then head back. Then we ran off on a side road to where it dead ends and then back to League Line road. As we were going down the road I told the guys that last year when we were running on this road somebody had warned us about some loose dogs down near the end. As we crested a hill and could see the end of the road less a couple hundred yards away I start hearing this barking and see 3 large dogs come running towards us at full speed. The two guys I was running with turn around and start to take off and I told them not to run away because it would probably encourage the dogs to keep coming after us. We started yelling at the dogs and when they got to within about 30 to 40 yards I guess we scared them off and they finally turned around and headed back home. Next time I'm running in Conroe I think that I will avoid that road. Then we headed down another road and down a pretty steep hill that I knew would be a ton of fun to come back up. After about 10 miles we picked up the pace some and were averaging closer to 7:00 pace until mile 16. When we got to mile 16 I told the guys I was running with I was going to pick up the pace and try to get down into the 6:20/mile range for the last 6 miles. I didn't quite make 6:20 pace, but I did average 6:30 pace which I was pleased with considering some of the hills in the last 6 miles. If we had been running in Houston where it was flat as a pancake, I'm sure that I would have been down around 6:15 pace for the last 6 miles. I averaged 7:12 pace over the entire run and finished the 22.1 miles in 2:39. It was tough on the legs, but a good workout that I really needed. My splits were as follows:

1 - 8:03 - rolling hills, dark, and still half asleep
2 - 7:40
3 - 7:59 - coming up steep hill from Marina
4 - 7:19 - downhill mile
5 - 8:15 - stopped for a bit when dogs were running at us and didn't stop watch
6 - 7:39 - still coming uphill
7 - 7:18 - going downhill
8 - 7:21 - one of the flatter miles
9 - 7:26
10 - 7:45 - coming up steep hill
11 - 7:16 - rolling hills
12 - 7:07 - more down than up
13 - 7:08
14 - 7:02
15 - 7:11
16 - 7:05
17 - 6:25
18 - 6:32 - some tough hills in this mile
19 - 6:32 - another tough mile
20 - 6:26 - a little easier with some downhill, but uphill at the end
21 - 6:34 - toughest mile of the day - two steep uphills and downhills within 3/4 of a mile
22 - 6:30 - Another tough uphill in first 1/2 of this mile. I wanted to take it easy and I thought about saying that 5 hard miles was enough, but I needed to push through it to finish strong
22.1 - 6:10 pace - just cruising the last 0.1 miles into the finish.

I survived the run without any major issues. My hamstring felt good for a 22 mile run. My sleeve started to slide down my leg and I had to take it off and put it back on around mile 14, but my hamstring felt strong and didn't bother me at all during the last 6 miles. I haven't been using my Ben-Gay either to treat my sore hamstrings. I think the extra stretching and lifting I've been doing is making a difference.

I got a massage Saturday afternoon and it was kind of painful, but my legs felt really good afterwards. The massage therapist told me she can tell my hamstring is doing better than it was before the Houston marathon.

Friday - 2/26/10 - 6.5 miles

Friday afternoon I made it out for a couple of laps at the park. I had left my bag with my hamstring wrap and orthotics at the office so I didn't have them with me. I didn't wear a watch, but I ran it fairly easy since I was going to head up to Conroe for a tough run early Saturday morning. It was really windy out and there were some pretty fierce headwinds in some parts of the park. I'd guess I was doing 7:30 - 7:40 pace on average, but since I didn't have a watch I didn't know for sure. Without my hamstring sleeve I could feel my hamstring a little more near the end of the run, but it wasn't too bad.

Thursday 2/25/10 - 6 miles

I went for an easy 6.1 mile loop in 46 minutes. Not too eventful, but my legs felt ok which was good.

Wednesday 2/24/10 - 7.5 miles

I didn't get home from work as early as I would have liked and I didn't get out the door to start the run until about 7:30. My goal was to do about 9 miles including 6 miles tempo pace, but the workout didn't go quite as well as I planned. Between my hill workout Monday and the 9 miles Tuesday, my hamstring was feeling a little more sore than usual. I don't know if I tweaked something on the hill workout, but I could feel it a little more than usual. After the last two days, my legs felt a little tired too and I struggled to get my first mile below 6:15 pace and my goal had been to start at around 6:00 pace and drop to ~5:40 pace by the end of the 6 miles. Between my legs being tired and running late in the evening when it was darker out I felt like I was stumbling all over the place and after the first mile I decided not to do the hard workout and just do a regular run. I think it is more important for me to get my mileage up and stay healthy than get multiple speed workouts in each week. The rest of the workout at an easier pace felt fine.

Tuesday 2/23/10 - 9 miles

At lunch I went out for a solo 9 mile run. I was feeling pretty good and cruised at about 7:05 - 7:10 pace and finished the 9 miles in 64:20. It was another good day of weather for running when I went out. It was in the 40's and I managed to beat the rain by about 15 minutes. After I showered and was heading back to the office I saw that the rain was starting to come down so I'm glad I didn't have to run in mid 40's and raining weather.

Monday 2/22/10 - Hill Workout

Since i was still feeling a little under the weather I didn't get up to run the Kenyan Way workout in the morning, but I did a hill workout on the treadmill in the evening after work. I ran a 2 mile warmup and then did a 4 mile brutal workout on the treadmill. I chose the "hill workout" and selected level 13 out of 20 and then I set the pace at about 7:30 pace. The workout started at a 3% incline and then every minute the incline would increase and then drop back down for a minute to 3%. It basically went 3%, 4%, 3%, 5%, 3%, 6% etc, until it got up over 9%. Then it would drop back down to 6% and repeat back up to 9%. At a 7:30 pace, I was just about to fall off the back of the treadmill by the end of the 4 miles. I don't really like running on the treadmill, but at least doing hills breaks up some of the monotony. After a 1 mile cooldown, I stretched and jump roped for 5 minutes and lifted weights for 20 minutes.

Sunday 2/21/10 - still sick, no run

I felt pretty miserable all day Sunday and took the day off from running.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2/20/10 - 6.5 miles

I was still battling a cold and 6.5 miles was as far as I made it. I was so wiped out Friday night I had already decided I was going to sleep in and try to get my rest and recover instead of getting up early. I slept over 11 hrs Friday night and was just wiped out. I went out Saturday afternoon for a run thinking I'd try to get about 9 miles in, but I was so wiped out and struggling I stopped short at about 6.5 miles in 49 minutes. I averaged about 7:30 pace for most of the run, but just felt exhausted and fell down to 8:00 pace at the end so I headed back home instead of doing another lap.

2/19/10 - 8.4 miles

Still had a cold, but feeling a little better. I ran 8.4 miles in 1 hr. I was pretty consistent in hitting 7:05 - 7:10 pace most of the run. My nose was running quite a bit and I was farmer blowing a lot, but didn't feel too bad.

2/18/10 - Sick - day off

Feeling under the weather today and didn't go out for a run.

2/17/10 - 7 miles

I ran a 7+ mile loop in 52 minutes at lunch by myself on Wednesday. The weather was nice out - upper 50's, not too cold, not too hot. My legs were a little tired from the lifting on Tuesday, but felt pretty good other than that. I was starting to feel a little on the edge of being sick, but felt ok during the run.

2/16/10 - 5.5 miles + weights

I went down to the gym planning just to lift weights and run in the evening after work, but I saw one of my coworkers who was about to go out and run 5 miles so I did that with him and then had a good lifting session. I thought about doing a 2nd run in the evening to get another 4 miles in, but I was tired after the weights and I had run 43 miles in 4 days before today and I really didn't want to push my mileage too high too quickly. I think the weights are definitely helping my legs out as my hamstring gets stronger and continues to recover.

2/15/10 - 10 miles w/Hills

Late Monday afternoon I did 10 miles including 5 miles of tempo-paced hill repeats at the cloverleafs. My hamstring was feeling pretty good and this was the first real hard workout that I had really done since the marathon. I did 5 laps and each lap was 0.97 miles. It was windy out and it seemed like I was running into a head win 75% of the time. My splits on the hills were 6:06, 5:55, 5:49, 5:45, 5:37. I was happy I was able to pick up the pace on each lap and I think that the wind probably added 5 seconds to each lap. I did an easy 2.5 mile cooldown and was happy to have a strong workout under my belt. I ran into Sam who was showing up for the evening workout right as I left and I ran about a mile with him while he warmed up and I was cooling down.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2/14/10 - 4 miles

I ran an easy 4 miles at 7:40 pace Sunday afternoon. It warmed up quite a bit Sunday afternoon and was 67 degrees went I went running. The park was packed with people in the nice weather on Valentine's day and it almost seemed like a Saturday out there. I felt really good for the day after a long run and had a good run. I would have run a little farther, but I had dinner plans with my wife and didn't have time for a longer run.

2/13/10 - 20.3 miles

I had originally planned to go up to Conroe, but I got to bed late and my hamstring had been kind of sore Friday night. I really didn't want to get up at 4:40 and go up to Conroe and risk only making it through 10 or 12 miles. My hamstring really hasn't been bothering me during the runs, but seems to flare up sometimes in the evenings or at night. I ended up sleeping and and set out to do the run by myself. Sean's email had said that if you were training for Boston and couldn't make it up to Conroe you should try to do 30% of the run on the cloverleaf hills. It was cold Saturday morning and that added to my motivation to sleep in. I finally made it out the door around 10:00 and it was up to about 39 degrees but the windchill was in the low 30's. I decided to wear my orthotics for the run which was more than twice as long as the longest run I had worn them on. I headed to the park and did a loop through the park out to North Post Oak on Memorial and down to Woodway and back through the park. I warmed up enough that I didn't need my gloves anymore so I stopped by the house to drop them off after about 6 miles. I wasn't going particularly fast, but I was feeling pretty decent and my hamstring was feeling fine.

I headed down to Blossom and over to the Cloverleaf hills and ran 4 laps. My Garmin was showing that each lap - up two hills and down two hills - was 0.97 - 0.98 miles. I definitely picked up the pace some on the hills and got down to around 7:00 pace. I noticed that my shoe looked kind of bloody from one of my toes bleeding, but it didn't really hurt or bother me that much. I think that my shorter middle toe occasionally digs into my 2nd toe and on some of the longer run cuts it open a little bit. Here are a couple pictures for your enjoyment.

After the four laps on the hills I headed around the bayou and then got back to the
cloverleaf hills with about 4.5 miles to go. My goal for the run was to pick up the pace and try to run the last 5 miles at 6:15 pace. I started picking up the pace when I hit 15 miles for the run and gradually picked up my pace. Without really doing much speedwork since the marathon it's harder than you'd think to run a fast 5 miles at the end, especially on hilly terrain. I was dropping the pace each of the first 4 miles, but near the end of the 4th mile I had to stop and wait for traffic for about 45 seconds to cross Shepherd and that pretty much ended the speed portion of the workout. I had about 30 seconds to go in the 4th mile and stopping that long was just too hard to recover from and get moving quick again. I struggled to get back down to pace and decided just to cool down and run easy the rest of the way back home.

All in all I was pleased with the run. My legs felt strong, I was able to knock out 20+ miles by myself and my hamstring didn't bother me during the run. I wore my hamstring compression sleeve like usual and it really has been helping me a lot.

My splits are as follows:

2:05 - 0.3 miles

Quick update

Training has been going well lately. I'll try to post a better update with some pictures tonight after work, but I didn't want to leave all my loyal followers in suspense of my training. I ran 20.3 miles on Saturday and had a solid workout with a good chunk of the mileage going up and down hills at the cloverleaf. Sunday I got in an easy 4 miles and Monday I ran 10 with 5 miles at tempo pace on the cloverleaf hills for 43 miles in 4 days. My hamstring has been starting to feel better and I've been fairly consistent about getting to the weight room and lifting twice a week and I've spent extra time stretching which seems to help out a lot too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

2/12/10 - 9.1 miles

I had the day off from work so I ran a little over 9 miles at Memorial park today. It was rather chilly out. When I went out the temperature was in the upper 30's and the windchill was 29. I wore shorts, a long sleeve shirt and gloves and felt pretty good. The park wasn't real crowded and I had a nice fairly easy run and finished the 9.1 miles in 65:30. Most of my miles were around 7:15 pace, but I had a few just below 7:00 pace near the end. I'm planning on heading up to Conroe tomorrow morning to try ~20 miles in the hills as I get ready for Boston.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2/11/10 - 5 miles on treadmill

I ran 5 miles at 6:50 avg pace. I despise running on treadmills, but it was 39 degrees and raining and I'm not sure what the windchill was, but it was chilly out. I would have done more, but I was bored out of my mind and took some extra time to jump rope, foam roll and stretch for a while when I was done.

2/10/10 - Day off

I was ready for a day off and my legs were really tired and a little sore.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2/9/10 - 7 miles easy + weights

I had a good lifting session at lunch and spent quite a bit of time focusing on my legs. After work I did 7 miles @ 7:25 avg pace. It was a bit cool out, but once I got going I felt good. I didn't have my hamstring sleeve, but I wore my orthotics and didn't have any real issues with my hamstring.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2/8/10 - 9 miles - progressive/tempo run

I wasn't able to run with the Kenyan Way group this morning because I needed to be in relatively early to work, but Sean had suggested last week I stick to progressive or tempo runs for some of my harder workouts while I work on getting my mileage back up and recuperating my hamstring. I set out at lunch to do an 8 mile progressive run with a 1 mile cool down starting at 7:30 pace and dropping 15 seconds per mile and seeing if I could close at 5:45. If my leg started bothering me, I would shut it down a little early. I started out a little quicker than I had planned and hit my first two miles in 7:20 and 6:55. The next two were 6:35 and 6:15. My leg was feeling ok, so I decided to take it down to 6:00 pace. I was having to work a little at 6:00 pace and my hamstring was feeling alright, but I decided that was a quick enough pace for the day so I cruised the next 4 miles at 6:00 pace. I ran the run with my orthotics and my hamstring sleeve which has helped quite a bit. I did an easy 8:00 mile for a cooldown for a total of 9 miles in just under 1 hr.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

2/7//10 - 6.1 miles - 41 minutes

I ran just over 6 miles on Sunday afternoon with my orthotics and hamstrings sleeve and felt pretty good on the run. I did a loop from my house through the park over to Post Oak lane, down to Woodway and back through the park and back home. I was in a hurry to finish the run and get to a Super Bowl party so I decided to pick up the pace some in the middle of the run. I knocked out a couple of 6:15 miles, but I was kind of disappointed by how much effort those miles seemed to take. I thought those should be a piece of cake, but I was working harder than I thought I should be. I did about 49 miles in the past week which I was happy with for my first week back to running. It may just be that my body is getting used to the mileage again and that is why I've been feeling a little slow the last few days. I have a 4 day weekend next weekend so I'm hoping to be able to get a 18 - 20 mile long run in if my legs are doing ok and get my weekly mileage into the 55 - 60 range. I'm planning on taking next Wednesday off since I'll be traveling for work so we'll see how my legs do and if I can increase my mileage on a 6 day week.

2/6/10 - 12 miles

I was so exhausted Friday night I decided I'd just run on my own instead of setting the alarm for the crack of dawn to get up and run with the Kenyan Way group. The weather was great out and I ran from my house around the bayou, back to Memorial Park for a loop and then back home. I didn't have my Garmin since I forgot to charge it, but I know the route I ran is about 12 miles and I finished in in 1:29. I didn't wear my orthotics for this long a run, but I wore my hamstring compression sleeve which really seems to be helping me. I really haven't had any hamstring pain while I've been running. It's still kind of tender when I stretch it, but for the most part that is the only time it really bothers me at all. I'm not sure if it was the lifting or if my legs are just tired after this week of running after taking a couple weeks off, but my legs felt a little sluggish and tired again.

2/5/10 - 7.5 miles

I went out for a 7.5 mile run Friday evening after work and wore my orthotics. The run was a little long for the new orthotics and my feet were a little uncomfortable by the end. My legs felt a little sluggish during the run and I only averaged about 7:40 pace for the run. It was getting dark by the end of the run and I had to slow down some because the path wasn't always well lit and it was hard to see where I was going.

When I finished running I spent about 40 minutes stretching and lifting. When I do hamstring curls, I do each leg individually to make sure that my dominant leg isn't doing all the work. When I was doing the curls with my right leg (not my sore hamstring), I had to stop after a couple and cut the weight back quite a bit because of some pain in my knee. Last weekend I was skiing and I wiped out on a run in a lot of powder and my binding didn't release and I twisted my knee. It was kind of sore and I took it easy for a couple of days and it seemed to feel better after a day or two and I haven't felt it at all while running. I guess whatever I did still hasn't completely healed and I'll have to be careful with it for a while. This is probably another good reason for not racing anytime soon.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

2/4/10 - 4 miles with new orthotics

I got my new orthotics today and I also had my hamstring compression sleeve I had picked up last night so I tried them both out today and the combo seemed to work pretty good. I only did an easy 4 because I didn't want to overdo it with the new orthotics on the first day since my feet aren't used to them yet. The last thing I want is a bruised arch or something else that requires extra time off.

The orthotics have some serious arch support in them, but I think that is what I really need. I had orthotics that I wore the last couple of years of high school and my first couple of years of college but I stopped wearing them. They were basically made of a hard foam material and over time they just got beaten down and I didn't know if they were effective anymore or not since they lost a decent amount of the arch support. They were pretty big and bulky and I would train with them, but I would never race with them. They were too big to fit in my racing flats and they were pretty heavy and would add a decent amount of weight. Eventually I stopped wearing them after a season or two and my junior and senior years of college I battled injuries and I never felt like I lived up to my potential those years.

It will definitely take a little while to get used to the new orthotics, but they are very lightweight and don't seem that much heavier than the shoe insoles. The support is made of carbon fiber and they are light enough that I will be able to wear them when I race as well as when I train which is probably important. I also wore this new compression wrap on my hamstring and it seemed to work well. The one real difference I could tell is my legs and the tendons or ligaments across the back of my knees didn't bug me at all. When I run on uneven surfaces like grass or hit uneven spots on the path at the park, the awkward steps sometimes give me the disconcerting twinges as I think something bad is about to happen to the back of my knee. I hit a few of the spots today where I expected to feel something, but everything seemed very stable which was good news. My goal for tomorrow is doing 7 - 8 easy and then try for ~2 hrs easy Saturday morning which should get me 16 - 17 miles. While I'm working on ramping up my mileage, I'm going to try to concentrate more on total running time on my long runs instead of being fixated on mileage. Sometimes when I have a set mileage in my head, I may run too fast just to get it over with and if I'm not so concerned about hitting a certain number of miles, I can just relax and run for time whether I'm doing 6:40 pace or 7:30 pace.

2/3/10 - 7 miles - 50 minutes

Ran another fairly easy run and tried to concentrate on my form. I was able to run a route where I was running on grass/dirt for about 3 out of the 7 miles and it was good to be on a softer surface for a while. I averaged about 7:10 pace with a few sub-7:00's in the middle. My legs felt pretty good during the run and I spent quite a while stretching afterwards.

I registered for the Kenyan Way spring program and Sean talked me out of running the Buffalo Wallow 6k this weekend. It's probably the smart thing to do. The course will be really nasty on Saturday with all the rain we've gotten the last couple of days and there is just more opportunity to tweak something and prolong the injured hamstrings. He said I should just concentrate the next few weeks on building mileage, stretching and lifting and not doing anything too strenuous that could aggravate my hamstring. I picked up a hamstring compression wrap and I'll try that out on some of my easy runs. I had contemplated getting it before the marathon, but it had some pretty serious compression and I wasn't comfortable trying it in the marathon without having been able to train with it. Now that I've got plenty of time for training I'll see if it helps out or not.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2/2/10 - 6.2 miles

Ran at lunch and spent half the run trying to chase down a co-worker who had left a minute before me. Total run was ~44 minutes. I felt good and again my legs didn't bother me during the run, but were kind of sore while stretching. They felt good the rest of the day which was a good sign. I did a good job at keeping good form up until I caught my friend, but after I caught him I spent more time talking with him than concentrating on my form. I found out my orthotics should be here Thursday. If the rest of my week goes well, I think that I will run the Buffalo Wallow 6k. I always loved XC races in high school and college and I like this race a lot.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Finally back to running

After a couple of weeks off, I finally made it out running again today. I was trying to give my hamstring some extra time to recover before I start ramping up mileage again in preparation for Boston. I did a 6.1 mile loop in 42:20 which is a little under 7:00 avg pace. I spent almost the entire run concentrating on my form. When I get tired, my legs tend to flail from side to side and I think good form keeps my hamstrings from hurting so much. I felt fresh and well rested and didn't have any hamstring pain or issues during the run. I stretched afterwards and my hamstring was definitely still sore, but I only felt it while stretching and I haven't felt it anymore the rest of the day.

I got fitted for orthotics right before the marathon and they should be in this week. I'm hoping that they will help me out with my form and my nagging hamstring issues. I'm also contemplating running the Buffalo Wallow 6k this coming weekend. I was out of town this weekend so I didn't get a chance to try to defend my 2nd place finish from last year's Rockets 5k.

In my marathon recap post a couple weeks ago, I neglected to mention that my dad ran the 1/2 marathon and won his age group (60 - 64) in 1:36:57. He qualified for the Boston marathon back in November and we will both be running Boston in April.