Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dig

I run through parts of Sabino Canyon at least four days a week, and I've seen some of the devastating damage the summer flooding has caused. Here's a story on the latest public forum regarding the canyon's future as a recreation site. Until recently there was a 3.7 mile paved road that climbed through the canyon, and visitors could either walk or take a tram along this arterial to enjoy the area. Now that much of the road has been severely damaged, the big question seems to be whether or not to rebuild the road. Most of the trails in the area have been reopened, with the exception of Phoneline, which is my favorite. Personally I could take or leave the road, but since I see so many older folks walking on it I wonder whether they would take to the trails if the road ceased to exist or if they would just stay home.

This morning the forest service asked for volunteers to bring their own shovels and spend the morning removing invading non-native plants and dig out picnic benches, restrooms and such. I had forgotten about this until I ran past the parking lot and saw every space taken. While on the open portions of road in the canyon I saw more than 100 people gathered around rangers at various locations, workgloves on and shovels in hand. I felt a little guilty running by them, since here I was enjoying the facility without contributing to its well-being. Still, there were miles to run and a day at work ahead of me so on I ran. I was happy to see such a good turnout though, and if they decide to do this again on a Sunday I'll make a point of joining them, as some of those restrooms have saved my life.

The run today was an easy six, and the legs felt even better than yesterday. Hopefully I'll be fresh for the race, I'll let you know how it went on Monday. I'm glad to hear that both Angie and Phil will be toeing the line along with me.

Training: 6 miles, 43:16, 7:13 pace

Friday, September 29, 2006

As it Should Be


Finn is feeling much better, here we are at Haiden's party this past weekend just before he took ill.

Both kids slept through the night for the first time in quite a while, and everyone woke up happy. Eight easy miles in and around Sabino Canyon in cool morning temperatures followed, though I resisted the temptation of going far enough up the road to gawk at the latest road kill. When I talk about Sabino Canyon to some of the people who stop by where I work, I mention that I take our daughter in the jogging stroller up the main road on occasion. Those petrified by too many viewings of "When Animals Attack" look at me with contempt when I say this, as if I'm dousing Haiden with gravy and leaving her by the side of the road on a giant plate with a side of breadsticks. I've always said that the mountain lions stay away from the main road, but now I guess I have some egg on my face.

I feel great after getting more rest than usual, and the easy effort today will be followed by a similar jaunt tomorrow. Have a good day.

Training: 8 miles, 1:00:00, 7:30 pace

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mike & Ikes

I'm finally putting together the pattern of self-destruction. Too much refined sugar equals severe GI distress during the next morning's run. A leftover cupcake or two from Haiden's birthday party brings it on without fail, and a box of Mike & Ikes yesterday nearly put me over the edge this morning.

I ran 9 miles before Lucas showed up this morning, and the last mile had me suffering in a bad way. Luckily, things calmed down from that point on and Lucas and I headed out for the next 11 miles. It's strange tackling a long run mid-week, but since I'll be racing Sunday this was my best opportunity to get in this kind of training stimulus before a few easy pre-race runs. Lucas had been over-doing it himself, so we were both feeling pretty tired for the whole run. While we eventually got the pace down to a 7 minute average, the conversation was kept to a minimum as we trudged along with eyes squinting from the sun.

All in all it was good to get in 20 miles, and while the legs are a little tired they feel much better than they have after the workout-type long runs with marathon pace tagged on at the end. With some luck I'll recover soon and I'll find myself ready to fight on Sunday.

Speaking of fighting, Finn finally has a sickness that responds to medication. Up to now he's suffered from either colds or viruses, and medicine really wasn't of much help. This particular fever is due to an ear infection, and hopefully with enough amoxicillin he'll be right as rain soon enough. He only woke up once last night so he seems to be on the mend already. With luck the whole family may make it out to the race, which would be fun. The thought of taking Haiden in the stroller for a cool-down after the race makes me smile.

Training: 20 miles, 2:19:13, 6:58 pace

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Certain Doom

Well, maybe that's a tad dramatic, but it pretty well summarizes how I'm feeling about the 8K race this Sunday. After emailing my coach/advisor yesterday, a short time trial was prescribed instead of the usual seven miles of marathon pace. This would hopefully put some snap into my legs, though by the end of the run I was left with some doubts.

During my six mile warm up, I noticed that I was slowing down a little instead of speeding up. Usually almost all of my runs, except for the really easy ones have me finishing a fair amount faster than I started. Here my average pace was going backwards, though before it could bother me I was accelerating up to 5:30 pace for the two mile time trial. My feet were sticking to the ground, my breathing was labored, and even the upper body was tight. I can blame the last part on installing a metal loft inside the garage yesterday, but after running easily yesterday I figured I would be ready for this workout. At two miles I powered down and saw that I had averaged 5:29 pace. Normally this would be fine, but my course this time was a net downhill (in an effort to get the legs moving), so I had expected faster. As I was jogging two miles to cool down I asked myself if I had another three miles at that pace in me. The answer, at least this morning was no.

My PR at 8K is 27:10, or 5:27 pace. This record was set two years ago, and it's the only personal best I still haven't improved on since starting Lydiard-based training last summer. Last year I came into this race tired and ran about 12 seconds slower than my best, as it was my tenth week of conditioning and one week after my first ever win at a 10K where I had really laid it out. This year I skipped the 10K and just focused on training, but I'm a little nervous about trying to run an 8K at a pace I haven't hit at all since May.

I just need to get used to putting up with the kind of hurt 5 and 10K's produce. Lung-searing intervals, where the legs feel strangled by what the lungs can't deliver brings on this kind of discomfort, and also gets the neuromuscular pathways in synch enough to run fast while staying smooth. Intervals, both short and long are in the cards for me, but not until about a month from now when I start devoting time to anaerobic work. Speed, or what speed I have comes around fairly quickly for me, and once I start doing this training I usually can't wait to race. But now, as I sit deeply entrenched in endurance and stamina training, it's with a deep feeling of unpreparedness that I regretfully take the line. It's the last call to the stage as the spotlights illuminate, and I'm being pulled off a stool in the dressing room while still in my underwear.

Still, what's the worst that can happen? Even unprepared, racing is still fun. And if you can't enjoy racing while out of shape once in awhile, it's hard to appreciate those days when you're at the line completely prepared, wrestling the starter to fire the pistol so you can be on your way.

Training: 10 miles, 1:06:04, 6:36 pace, with a 2 mile time trial at 5:29 pace. Dead legs

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Enough with the Numbers Already

Marc, who is running the Wineglass marathon this weekend asked me this yesterday-"What is your plan/methodology for this conditioning phase? Just wondering how you determine the mileage for the faster paces embedded in the daily runs." I guess now is as good a time as any to write about it, since I'm starting my last of eight weeks of this training before moving on to a three week hill phase next week.

While I've been trying hard to follow Arthur Lydiard's training framework, I've also been listening to a Lydiard-inspired coach about overall mileage, training paces, and specific training paces for set intervals within certain runs. As far as the overall mileage goes, since I'm trying to raise the volume slowly throughout the entire 17 week program, I've started in the 80's and worked my way up to the low to mid-90's. I've kind of been going by feel here, trying to run more on days when I feel good and a little less when I don't. We're guessing that I can fully recover from an average pace of 6:45 or so, and the combined paces for the week usually end up averaging about that. I'm trying to run two days at around 6:30 pace, two days with some marathon pace (around 6 minute pace), and the rest of the days around 7 minute pace or better. Sadly, total mileage has probably more to do with the family schedule (who is sick, who needs to be where and when) than my own determined design.

The 6:30 pace days are intervals of pretty much my own making, though generally it's been one day of 8-10 miles plus a warm-up (usually) and a cool down, and one day with a two to three mile time trial to track my recovery. I try to keep in mind that Lydiard's boys weren't just jogging slowly, and these runs are definitely a step up from an easy, slow run in the park.

The marathon pace durations probably aren't as important for me as is when they are scheduled, which in my case is back to back. The reason for this is to dig into the specific muscle fibers and metabolic systems that are forced to work towards the end of the marathon. By running seven or so miles at marathon pace Friday, then running five more miles at that pace towards the end of a long run on Saturday, hopefully these neglected systems get worked the same way they do during a longer marathon pace run, but without the potential breakdowns and longer recoveries a single, long pace run presents. The miles at pace on the second day will keep increasing weekly, hopefully in line with my ability to run them! I started with three miles three weeks ago, four miles two weeks ago, and five last week. This is all the coach's idea, though I'm a fan of it since it seems to address one of my major shortcomings.

Hopefully that sort of answers the question. Any more specific and this blog would get even more boring than it already is. At least going on about training paces keeps me from writing too much about "Finn B", who is still feeling pretty bad.

Sadly, the mysterious boost of energy present yesterday was nowhere to be found during today's 12 miles. Perhaps cleaning out the garage in 95 degree temperatures yesterday afternoon did me in a bit, especially when combined with another poor night of sleep where Finn woke to cry every hour or so. I'm planning on a low-key evening after work today in an effort to make tomorrow's first game of the weekly double-header (10 miles with 7 at 6:04 pace) easier. I'm tackling these workouts earlier in the week to make room for the 8K race this weekend.

Training: 12 miles, 1:23:41, 6:58 pace

Monday, September 25, 2006

Speaking in Code


I'm getting tired of writing about it, but since it keeps happening I figure this new system will work. From now on it goes like this-
Finn A= Happy-go-lucky 15-month-old boy. Joy to be around, good sleeper and a ray of sunshine
Finn B=Sick Finn, with lots of vomit, 100+ degree fever, cruel waking cycle at night, sad boy

It's Finn B again, starting around midnight last night. He was great all through sister Haiden's 4th birthday double-party, though perhaps an overzealous father holding the boy while bouncing off the walls in an inflatable jumping castle didn't help with the vomit later on.

After an uneventful and slow run on Sunday to end the week, we spent half of the day at a park with 20 or so of Haiden's closest friends, then the other half of the day at our house where we celebrated Haiden's, my dad's, and Kiera's stepdad's birthdays with a second celebration. It was a great day, but the whole family was thouroughly exhausted by the end of it.

When Finn started getting sick a long day turned into a longer night, and after finally getting through it and drinking a cup of coffee at 6 I could hear that Finn had finally fallen asleep again. I took this opportunity to crash on the couch for another hour and didn't get out for a run until after 7.

When I did finally get out, I still had a headache from the long night and sporadic sleep, and I didn't expect much from the run. In a perfect world, I'd planned on 10 miles with 8 at 6:30 pace, but as I headed out I was prepared to just run easy if I had any trouble. Strangely enough, the legs ended up feeling much better than the rest of me, and I was running under 6:30 pace on what was supposed to be a slow, uphill warm up mile. I took the body's hint and just continued along, eventually getting to the 8 mile mark at 6:21 pace, which shocked me. Two slow miles home and back into the hot zone for the second day of my weekend. I still don't know how I pulled the run off given the circumstances, but I'll certainly take it.

Here's how last week went down:
9/24, 12.5 miles, 1:30:50, 7:14 pace, easy with Lucas
9/23, 17 miles, 1:51:51, 6:34 pace, w/10 at 6:44 pace, 5 at 6:03 pace. Hard work
9/22, 10 miles, 1:03:35, 6:21 pace, with 7 miles at 6:04. Felt good
9/21, 10 miles, 1:08:29, 6:51 pace
9/20, 16.30 miles, 1:55:01, 7:06 pace. Slow trails for the last part
9/19, 10 miles, 1:05:13, 6:31 pace, w/2.66 mile time trial at 5:29 pace. Bailed workout
9/18, 11.65 miles, 1:18:29, 6:44 pace, 6 miles at 6:24 pace. Felt very good
Total miles: 90.5 in 7 sessions

I'm into the last of 8 weeks of conditioning, and the end of the week features a tough 8K race. Next comes a three week hill phase. Things should start getting interesting soon.

Training: Today, 10 miles, 1:04:22, 6:26 pace, with 8 miles at 6:21 pace
Yesterday, 12.5 miles, 1:30:50, 7:15 pace

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bottom of the 9th

It came down to the wire, but I was able to finish what I started today. I've spoken about the weekly double-header I've recently taken up in my training before, but here's a quick refresher for anyone who cares. On Fridays I'm running 10 miles with 7 of them around my marathon pace, or close to 6 minute pace. I follow this workout on Saturdays with a (usually) alternating pattern of a standard, easy long run of 20 miles or so one week followed by a workout like today's effort the next week.

After a one mile warm up I set about running 10 miles at a planned 6:45 pace. This really didn't feel too bad, and if I didn't have 5 miles of marathon pace to worry about tagging on afterwards I would have probably just enjoyed the run. Unfortunately, as the miles wore on and I turned around at about 8.5 miles on the Rillito River Path, I knew that the last 5 miles would not be easy.

The weather is beautiful here this time of year, especially the early mornings. I passed three different high school cross country teams running on the path and probably encountered about 20 cyclists. Countless other walkers and runners moved along in both directions as well, making things a bit crowded. Better Than Ever and TNT were of doing their long runs for the marathons here and in Phoenix this winter on this morning too, which added to the confusion. As I pushed on the gas pedal after 10 miles of 6:44 pace I knew immediately that everyone I'd passed on the way out would now see me with an entirely different expression on the way back.

The lungs seemed fine, though my breathing was heavier than it was for yesterday's effort, but the legs simply did not want to go. Each time I descended into an underpass it was harder to climb back out and stay on pace. By one mile into the effort I was certain I was going to bail. At two miles into the effort I was certain I was going to bail. Do you see a pattern emerging here? Finally I looked down at the watch to see I was at 2.8 miles, which left me with less to do than I'd already done. Here I made the decision that even though I was clearly past any kind of marathon training zone and cruising well into a tempo effort, I would somehow stick it out. I thought of the 5 mile race next weekend and how the last two miles of it always crush me. I knew l'd be running faster than I was at that point, but having the knowledge that I stuck out these five miles after already running 11 would make the 5 miles of pain next weekend easier to endure.

The five miles ended after some pushing through deep sand, jumping over construction debris and running in loose tractor tracks for the last 1/2 mile, leaving me with 5 miles covered at 6:03 pace.

I know, I know, "Train don't strain" and all that. This is the one workout of the week that hits me where I live, and the last miles at marathon pace the day after spending 7 miles at the same pace is like being airlifted to mile 18 of my upcoming marathon. It honestly feels that specific, and since that's where I've had the most difficulty I can't help but think it's doing some good.

Tomorrow is Haiden's 4th birthday party, so I'll be saving up my strength for it today. Hello Kitty cake, jumping castle, Kiera's famous scones...and a first aid kit. Hopefully we won't need that last item. Have a good weekend.

Training: 17 miles, 1:51:51, 6:34 pace, with 10 miles at 6:44 followed by 5 miles at 6:03. Tough at the end

Friday, September 22, 2006

As Advertised

A nice run this morning with 7 miles at 6:04 on the nose. During my warm up I could tell the lungs were working, and after about 4 miles of the effort my legs finally started to cooperate. It was a strange feeling to have the body just relax at this point, and all of the sudden I could actually contemplate running another marathon around this effort or faster. If I feel this way tomorrow after my long run maybe I'll be getting somewhere, and I'll know I've kicked whatever sickness I've been suffering from.

Aside from dealing with the daily travails of living in a hot-zone, I'm getting more and more excited about the marathon in December. While I'm certainly not race-ready for the 8K I'll suffer through next weekend, I'm getting a little more confident about my program this time around. Looking back at the old training log, I'm noticing that aside from a few races and a few shorter time trials, I didn't spend very much time running close to marathon pace. Three runs for each build just don't seem like enough to me, even though some of them were fairly long. There is some satisfaction of getting out a few times a week and getting into marathon mode. Mile 4 onward today was a good example of getting "in the pocket", where the feet, breathing and heart rate fall into an unmistakable polyrhythm that serves as a two hour plus soundtrack on race day. On days like this I believe.

Training: 10 miles, 1:03:35, 6:21 pace, with 7 miles at 6:04 pace

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Stop With the Whining

An uneventful 10 miles this morning, which was exactly what I was hoping for. The weather is amazing this time of the year, with morning temperatures in the mid-60's. I got a late start after both Finn and Haiden woke up ridiculously early. Believe it or not Finn has a temperature again, but he's in good spirits so we're not too worried at ths point.

A relaxing evening and a good night's sleep found me feeling a bit stronger today, and without any thoughts of pace I managed to still keep things under 7 minute pace. I think whatever has been squeezing my lungs and throat over the past two days has quietly slithered away, and if I still feel good tomorrow I'll be tackling the double header as planned. I'm going to run the 7 miles of pace work at 6:04 instead of 5:54, which will hopefully make running 5 miles of pace work on Saturday that much easier. This is an area where having someone checking on my progress really helps. I would be more inclined to keep trying to fire away at 5:54 pace (as I mentioned here), but the coach who has been helping me along seems confident that those extra seconds will come down naturally with the addition of speedwork. He's been right so far so why argue.

Training: 10 miles, 1:08:29, 6:51 pace

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stop Shaking the Freaking Ladder!

I should know by now that you can't just climb up, up, up the ladder of fitness at a steady rate. Invariably things come along and you stall for awhile, and sometimes you need to go down a few steps before heading back up. I was admittedly moving along at a fast rate for the past few weeks, and I began this week thinking I could stay on the same trajectory. Hell, I even wanted to pour on more miles to compensate for a planned easing of my marathon pace efforts.

Unfortunately, just when I had one hand and the opposite foot off the ladder in an effort to move up, something started shaking it and I've managed to bang my chin on the rung in front of me while sliding down a peg or two.

I'm just going to hold on this week, and hopefully in the process I'll soak up a little more of what I've been doing for the past 5 weeks or so. I made up my mind as I lay sprawled out on the couch during the break between taking Haiden to school and heading off to work. Kiera mercifully packed a lunch for me so I could rest for 20 minutes instead of 10.

I had woken up extra early to get in 5 miles before Lucas showed up to run 11 with me, which was a challenge. If I felt good I was planning on adding another 4 or so at the end, but the first 5 miles left me with the cold, nasty sweat you get when you're generally not well so I wasn't optimistic. Doug, another friend who is in the neighborhood ran up behind us after about half a mile, and he decided to join us for the run. We worked the pace down slowly, and I was feeling pretty good until we decided to run some trails for the last two miles. While it's normally fun to run on trails, these were pretty slow going with steep turns every 10 feet or so, which made things a little tough at the end. We were also being stalked by a coyote for awhile, which was very unsettling. After zipping along behind and criss-crossing our tracks while eyeing us, he suddenly dashed ahead and crossed our path again. After enough yelling and loud clapping he was finally on his way, but the encounter made us a little nervous. Coyotes generally leave people alone, but if they're rabid they can be a little unpredictable.

The run ended with about a mile of road, and at this point both Lucas and I were pretty spent. While in the driveway I contemplated going back out to make it an even 20, but in my state it really seemed that it would do more harm than good. After all, I still have my "real" long run scheduled for Saturday.

Kiera is feeling a little better after taking enough Tylenol cold medicine, and I've decided to follow suit in hopes of a quicker recovery. Haiden seems almost 100% now, and Finn, while sleeping well, is coughing pretty bad. It's always something.

I'm skipping the evening run at the shop and I'm planning an easy day for tomorrow in hopes of getting back to even by the start of the weekly double-header workout on Friday. Certainly no speed records or mileage peaks in the works this week, but maybe with some care I can hold steady and end the week at least where I started.

Training: 16.25 miles, 1:55:01, 7:06 pace

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Host Family

The Salkowski clan is hosting a mean bronchial malady, and I for one am sick of it. It started with Haiden coughing and getting hoarse, and has rapidly spread through the household. It seemed that Finn was going to get to sit this one out, but now he's coughing and his nose is constantly running so we've all got it. Here are the race results as they stand right now-

1st place, Haiden- Almost better, still has a dry cough and plenty of reasons to stick her fingers in her nose
2nd place, Kiera- Migraine headache, shortness of breath and very sore throat. Bad day to be a mom, she's in the thick of it.
3rd place, Me- Yesterday the throat was pretty scratchy and I noticed very shallow breathing towards the end of the run. Today was much worse (see below)
4th place, Finn- Last to pick up the sickness, and probably last to be cured. He's waking up several times again crying, which is about as fun for us as you might imagine.

I'll let you know how the race to Wellsville pans out, though I predict no switching of places before the finish.

Today called for a time trial, and since I went fairly easy yesterday I figured I would try for three miles around 5:30 pace instead of the two I've been doing most weeks. I noticed my breathing was shallow on the four mile warm up, especially on the hills in Sabino Canyon, but I figured is was just due to some leftover phlegm from the night before. The first two miles went well enough at 5:28 pace, so I pressed on into the downhill portion of mile three. The legs felt good but the throat felt to be closing a bit, much like I imagine athsma would feel like. As I progressed halfway through the uphill portion of mile three I turned onto Sabino Canyon Road and suddenly found myself unable to suck enough air down my throat. I've never had this problem, at least to this extent, as it felt like the air just couldn't make it down to my lungs. In that instant the workout changed from a high-end tempo run to a full on oxygen debt. I ran off the road and onto the dirt at 2.66 miles and called it a workout.

After about two minutes of easy running my breathing was back to normal, and I continued on with a cool down through the neighborhoods east of our house. The shortness of breath only came into my consciousness when I was heading up a hill, and when it did I backed off a little.

My only thought is that something in this sickness is causing my throat to get irritated, and running very hard probably makes it worse. Tomorrow is a longer run, and since the effort will be around 7 minute pace I don't expect a repeat of today's episode. Still, I'm planning on staying closer to my house and running a number of loops, just in case I have to crawl home on all fours while gasping for air. Actually, I'm just hoping to be better by then.

Training: 10 miles, 1:05:13, 6:31 pace, with a 2.66 mile time trial at 5:29 pace.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Week 6

Week six of eight weeks of conditioning is now in the books. Here's how it went down-
9/17, 12.6 miles, 1:27:46, 6:58 pace
9/16, 16 miles, 1:44:57, 6:34 pace, w/10 at 6:40 pace, 4 at 5:58 pace. Tired
9/15, 10 miles, 1:03:44, 6:23 pace, 7 MP at 5:54 pace
9/14, 8 miles, 56:16, 7:02 pace, legs a little heavy
9/13 pm., 6.2 miles, 7:12 pace, easy with the Running Shop gang
9/13 am., 16 miles, 1:45:56, 6:37 pace, good pace for this length
9/12, 9 miles, 59:15, 6:35 pace, w/2 mile time trial at 5:29 pace
9/11, 12.25 miles, 1:20:17, 6:33 pace, 10 miles at 6:21 pace, good day
Total miles: 90 in 8 sessions

This was a good week for me, so much so that I'm planning on keeping a similar schedule this week with a few slight tweaks. Something about the spacing of the efforts has kept me feeling fairly fresh, so I won't mess with a good thing. Yesterday's run to end the week was fairly relaxed, and though I probably should have stopped at 10 miles to ensure some recovery from Friday and Saturday, I had getting to 90 miles in my head and I couldn't let it go.

Today I was able to run with Lucas for the first time in awhile, and since he was coming off a strong 2nd place finish in a 10K yesterday we ran 6 miles at 6:24 pace (instead of the 10 at 6:30 I had planned). It was a good compromise; A little more than he needed and a little less than I had planned. I'm hoping by easing a little I can make tomorrow's time trial three miles instead of 2, and still be fresh for a fairly long run Wednesday. We ended up finishing the run at a good pace, and it was nice to catch up with him a bit.

On the homefront, Finn is actually the most well of all of us for a change. Haiden, Kiera and I are all suffering from some general cruddiness in the lungs and back of the throat, though hopefully we'll all bounce back in time for Haiden's 4th birthday party this weekend. After all, a jumping castle is no fun with a sore throat.

Training: Today, 11.65 miles, 1:18:29, 6:44 pace, with 6 miles at 6:24 pace

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Can I Have That Minute Back?

"I'm glad that's over" is the first thing that came to mind after finishing the run this morning. 16 miles, with ten miles at 6:40 and 4 miles at 5:58, plus one mile of warm up and one mile of cool down. A few days earlier I was looking at my schedule and thinking that perhaps I should increase the amount of time at marathon pace at the end of the run, which seems comical now since I couldn't wait to be done with the four assigned miles.

Marathon pace felt strangely like tempo pace again today, and I blame it on starting the workout "in debt" from the 7 miles of marathon pace yesterday. This is the point of these back to back days, with yesterday's run helping to dial in the first 10K of the marathon and today's run acting as a rehearsal for the last 10K of the big race. I have to admit it shakes the confidence a bit to look at today's workout (and the effort it took to complete it) by itself, but with yesterday's run in mind it makes a little more sense for me to feel a bit spent.

As I tried to hold pace during the second uphill mile of the pacework today, I couldn't help but think that running 6:40's during the 10 mile lead-in (instead of the planned 6:45's) cost me a bit. I probably should have taken advantage of the luxury of theat extra minute (50 seconds really) to relax more before the four mile pace effort, but for some reason the legs just felt like running that pace. I usually take this as a good sign, but there is a danger of running faster daily paces than I can recover from.

As I've started to look ahead to the anaerobic phase and the taper for the upcoming marathon in December I'm trying to focus more on recovery. Looking at my old logs, I'm exploring the possibility that I went into each of my last two marathons a little tired. While it's easy to blame the anaerobic work I did towards the end of the programs, I'm starting to think that perhaps saving most of my marathon pace work for those last six weeks did me in a bit. The long, marathon pace time trials (I'm talking about the 12-18 milers here) might have started too abruptly. Moreover, I worry that perhaps I didn't fully recover from the longest efforts (15-18 miles) at a cellular level, and the body couldn't bounce back enough to get the necessary supercompensation I was looking for from these efforts.

Keeping this in mind makes me more confident about working in more specific pace work early, and gradually upping the amount of marathon pace at a level that I can hopefully bounce back from. I feel this type of running is probably closer to what Arthur Lydiard was talking about during the marathon conditioning phase, and while I'd like to be running a little more now, I'm leaving myself some room to up the volume as the program continues.

The best part about being done with the "double-header" today is that I can go into the weekend without the stress of a long run or an effort on Sunday. Instead, I'll be finishing off the week with a recovery run, which will give me time to get home early so Kiera and Angie can hit the trails for their own run. I'll no doubt be spending the rest of the weekend painting and trying to convince my daughter that she really doesn't want to go back to Chuck E. Cheese.

Good weekend and good running to you all.

Training: 16 miles, 1:44:57, 6:34 pace, with 10 miles at 6:40 followed by 4 miles at 5:58. Last 4 were taxing

Friday, September 15, 2006

Now to Make it Feel Easy

First game of the weekly double-header this morning, meaning 10 miles with 7 at 6 minute pace or under. This is my 6th week in a row with this type of workout, and the results have looked like this-
8/7, 6 miles at 5:58 (felt like grim death, but ran off of a taper for the 1/2 marathon that never happened)
8/15, 7 miles at 6:14
8/23, 8 miles at 6:06
8/29, 7 miles at 5:58 (felt good)
9/8, 7 miles at 5:58 (felt like a bag of poop, probably due to race a few days earlier)

Today I finally hit the pace I've been working towards for this workout by running 7 miles at 5:54 pace. The first mile went by at about 6 minutes even and each mile got just a little faster, until my cumulative pace clicked down to 5:54 about mid-way through my last mile. As has become custom, I did most of this run on my one mile "up and down" loop, and I noticed that while I was laboring a bit on the up, I was able to relax and get well under control on the down. All in all I'm happy with the workout, but it's the second game of the double-header that I should be worried about.

Tomorrow calls for 10 miles at 6:45 pace, followed by 4 more miles at marathon pace. Since this is serving as a long run, I'll probably add a warm up of 2 miles or so just to make it at least 16 miles. I tried this workout two weeks ago with three miles of marathon pace tagged on to a 10 miler, and it really took some effort to keep the pace up at the end. I'm hoping I don't pay too dearly tomorrow for what I did today.

I'll keep doing the workout I did today in the coming weeks, but I'm hoping it feels easier and easier with each passing week. This reminds me a little more of what Jack Daniels preaches with his VDOT tables. If you haven't seen these, they're in the back of his Daniels' Running Formula book, and act as pacing guidelines for training runs over shorter and longer distances. These guidelines are established by averaging out your racing times, which gives you your "VDOT number" and its correspoding training paces. Instead of running repeats faster and faster weekly, Daniels advocates that once you are hitting the correct times, to work instead on making the efforts feel easier and more efficient at the same speeds. He says to only move up to faster times on his VDOT scale after your race results indicate you need to move up. Good stuff.

Speaking of good coaches, I enjoyed reading this update on Dathan Ritzenhein's training for the New York City marathon under coach Brad Hudson. Dathan has had great success at the middle distances, and people often make the mistake of believing that once a runner starts "marathon conditioning", his days traveling at faster speeds on the track are over. Nobby Hashizume and the coach I've been getting advice from dispute this, as does the 10K PR I set two weeks after my marathon in January.

In the article Brad Hudson says, "Arthur Lydiard's whole philosophy is to develop your anaerobic threshold, and that's all the marathon is. It helps many people. Part of the problem is when people go to the marathon, there are huge financial incentives and then they forget some of the skills in the shorter events and that prevents them from moving back down. You can improve a lot in the shorter distances after running a marathon."

Of Dathan's training Brad says, "One of the things I've seen is that now he's out of school, and so he can devote to his job (running) 100 percent. So there's a difference in how he's recovering, and I think one of the things the marathon does is if you look at athletes who've gone into the marathon, Paula Radcliffe has improved her track times. Jen Rhines has improved her track times. It teaches not only what we're trying to accomplish with a huge base, but it teaches you things for training for some other events, because it is very taxing and tiring. He (Dathan) can take a lot of discomfort for a long time, and that's kind of what the marathon is.

I think this all comes back to stamina, and the quote from Lydiard from two days ago. Of course Arthur wasn't talking about Dathan here, but he might as well have been. "He is actually trying to develop sufficient stamina to maintain the necessary speed over the full distance attempted."

Training: 10 miles, 1:03:44, 6:23 pace, with 7 miles at 5:54 pace

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Easy Day, Short Post

Spent a little too much time on my newly-repaired laptop this morning when I should have been running. As a result, my 8 mile self-imposed recovery run was pushed back until after our son woke up. I missed seeing both kids last night by meeting the Running Shop gang for 10K after work, so my absense during the "waking" hours of the morning was not appreciated.

I think putting in 22 miles total yesterday tired me out a bit, as I really enjoyed running slowly today. I tried to soak up some recovery, as tomorrow calls for 7 miles at marathon pace, followed by a tough long run on Saturday. I covered my "slow down" loop, which moves through various neighborhoods as well as some of the open sections of Sabino Canyon. It felt nice to pad along on the trails a bit. Not much else to report today, so I'll just wish you all good running.

Training: Today, 8 miles, 56:16, 7:02 pace, legs a little heavy
Yesterday pm., 6.2 miles, 7:12 pace

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Words to Live By

"Also top runners, marathon training, don't jog around, they run at a pace from 5 minutes, 15 sec. to 6 minutes per mile in their training runs."

"When training is to begin for middle and distance running, it is advisable for the athlete to think deeply about his event and try to understand what he is evdeavoring to acheive, so as to eliminate from his mind any confusion regarding various types of running and training, and go about his training with the confidence so necessary to become a champion. He is actually trying to develop sufficient stamina to maintain the necessary speed over the full distance attempted."

These quotes are from a 1970 book of training schedules by Arthur Lydiard, so kindly emailed to me by the mystery coach who has been helping me along. I wish I had added this to yesterday's post, as it definitely pertains to correct long run pacing and training paces in general. I think there really is some value in keeping the training paces up, as long as the body can recover between workouts. Evan kindly added a comment with a link to this great article by Kevin Beck that extols the values of training more often and faster. I especially liked his take on pace for recovery runs. "If you're in a period of training without immediate racing goals, you can run as fast as you want to every day as long as your rate of recovery, on the whole, outstrips your rate of breakdown."

I'm gradually coming around to believing that Arthur's boys were running much harder on a daily basis than I previously thought. It's probably a good thing, in hindsight, to figure this out a year into my serious training, as I might have actually done myself some damage if I had tried running my first weeks at higher mileage any faster than I did. All the times Nobby Hashizume said "be patient, the times will come down" are now starting to make sense, it's just taken longer than I realized it would.

Today was just a distance day for me, on the heels of a 2 mile time trial yesterday and a ten mile moderate/strong effort on Monday. I had in mind a day spent at 6:45 to 6:50 pace, but was genuinely surprised to find myself progressing down to an average 6:37 pace by the end of 16 miles. Only the last mile took any effort, and I attribute that to meeting up with a friend on the last mile. Trying to hold a conversation brought my breathing up in the last 5 minutes, but it was a nice way to end the run. Looking at this week and last week, and watching the speeds increase without any real rise in effort makes me think of the magic Eric experienced a few months back, where every few days I would check his blog and be amazed by how much faster he was running. I'm not there yet, but things are improving.

Training: 16 miles, 1:45:56, 6:37 pace

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

28 Percent

After being threatened with having a collection agency thrown at me, I paid my $19.99 for my temporarily suspended Runner's World subscription. Two issues arrived yesterday, and after the kids went to bed I spied the teaser headline on the 40th anniversary issue, which read "Long Runs: Here's Your Perfect Pace!" Geez, all this obsessing on my part about this, when all I really had to do was open to page 61. After getting past the ads for Land Rover and "Dean-feed" organic cereal, I read the article, which they also posted online here.

Amby Burfoot consulted famed coach Jack Daniels for the article, but it was a study done by Jason Carp, running coach and Ph.D. candidate (who needs a better website as well as a tailor for that suit) that got my attention. He gave questionnaires to American qualifiers for the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials and figured out that as a group they averaged roughly 28 percent of their weekly miles at marathon pace or faster.

I was feeling pretty good about my training paces for last week so I thought I would compare my results. If I count the 8 mile hilly race, which I ran at 6:01 pace, I ran a whopping 15 miles at marathon pace, which comes out to around 16% of my weekly miles. Makes a guy think.

I also figure it's safe to assume that most of the runners who qualified for trials in the marathon were averaging over 100 miles per week, which means they are running around 30 miles a week at marathon pace or faster. There's an old saying that your true marathon pace is the fastest 26.2 miles you ran during a week of training, and this would be proven right by Carp's data.

Online and real-life running guru Greg McMillan describes his take on long runs and correct pacing in the article, though he expands on it a bit more here. Looking at my training, I'm doing things a little more his way, which includes a long, easy run one week followed by a harder run with marathon pace or faster during the second half the following week. I'm kind of compounding things by running 7 miles at marathon pace the day before these long runs, but that's another story.

Looking at this article brings to light the uncomfortable idea that marathon pace really shouldn't be that...uncomfortable, and that doing more of it shouldn't beat me down too much. It also makes me feel better about running at daily paces that are faster than what I'm used to. After all, I was running much of the time at 7 minute pace when I ran a 2:47, so why should I still be running that pace when I'm trying to run 10 minutes faster?

As for today, I experimented by putting a 2 mile time trial the day after yesterday's 10 mile moderate effort. The legs were just a little tender on the surface, but I was able to hold 5:29 pace for the two miles on my rolling course with more ease than usual. I skipped this workout last week with the race, but it feels good to move the legs again, if only briefly. The breathing was back to normal after about a minute, which I also took as a good sign.

I had to cut the run at 9 miles in order to get home for Finn's appointment with a pediatric infectious disease specialist. As expected, he's completely healthy now and our $40 co-pay bought us assurances that his "thermostat is just set a bit high." I'll take this as good news.

Training: 9 miles, 59:15, 6:35 pace, with a 2 mile time trial at 5:29 pace. Sore at the beginning, fine by the end

Monday, September 11, 2006

Everyone But Me

I had a great time on Sunday reading the race reports from Duncan, who PR'd at a half marathon, Thomas, who had a breakthrough and a PR at the half marathon distance, and Andrew, who PR'd and was the overall winner at a 5K. I have to think my linking to them Saturday gave them some luck, since it's all about me.

A good week in the books for me, with 93 miles covered. Here's how it went down-
9/10, 12.75 miles, 1:28:45, 7:00 pace
9/9, 20 miles, 2:15:19, 6:46 pace
9/8, 10 miles, 1:04:05, 6:24 pace, w/7 miles at 5:58 pace
9/7 pm., 5 miles, 34:50, 6:58 pace
9/7 am., 5 miles, 33:15, 6:39 pace
9/6 pm., 6.2 miles, easy (7:20-7:30)
9/6 am., 10 miles, 6:23 pace
9/5, 13 miles, 1:33:11, 7:10 pace
9/4, 11 miles, w/8 mile race, 48:14, 8th place, 5:40, 5:31, 5:40, 6:12, 6:58, 6:13, 5:56

Yesterday was a nice 12.75 with Lucas and Bill, and while we started very slow (8 minute pace), we worked it down to 7 minute pace even by the end. I was glad to not fall apart after the two days of running beforehand. Today was another attempt at 10 miles or so at 6:30 pace. For some reason my body fell into a nice groove and I was able to run the effort at 6:21 pace. I'm having trouble believing how well the run went, so I'm going to leave off here. Have a great day, I'm off to pick up a repaired guitar and drop off a broken laptop.

Training: Today, 12.25 miles, 1:20:17, 6:33 pace. 1 mile warm up, 10 miles at 6:21, 1.25 mile cool down. Good day
Yesterday, 12.75 miles, 1:28:45, 7:00 pace

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Turn

While my long runs have generally been limping along, neither very far nor very fast, I've enjoyed reading as other runners have tackled their long runs with wild abandon. Downeast Andrew has been putting me to shame in the Lydiard long run department, regularly rolling off 22 milers with a mid-week 18 to boot. Greg, with a few exceptions due to some unexpected circumstances, has reliably gotten out for 20 mile plus jaunts without (much) complaint. Duncan's log has some nice longer progression runs as well as some 30 mile expeditions. Thomas has been cursing Pete Pfitzinger's schedules a bit, but has still managed some great long runs, some with negative splits. Eric, my favorite "fast long run with an even faster progression" guy also ruled in this department before lifting a television while running on a treadmill. He's training for the Giro D'Italia right now but will be back pounding the pavement soon as a proper runner.

For some reason I've sort of fallen out of this club as of late, as my log shows more runs in the 16-18 mile range. While they've been getting a little faster, they've still been fairly tough, even at these shorter distances. I'm guessing the added intensity of covering a greater percentage of my miles at a quicker pace (sub 7) has been a factor, but it's been worrisome nonetheless.

I'm happy to report that today I was back in the fold with the "good" long run boys. I ran the first 12 miles this morning at 6:53 pace, then eased into the run a little more and ended up with a 6:46 average pace for 20 miles. It was nice to run the second half of the run faster than the first, and by the end I was probably moving along at around 6:30 pace without too much trouble. While the run wasn't "easy" by any means, it didn't saddle me with any soul-crushing hurt either.

This run was also the second part of my weekly "double-whammy". During this second half of my conditioning phase I'm trying to follow a suggestion made by the coach who is helping me in my effort to gain more marathon-specific stamina. This involves running 7 miles or so at marathon pace during a 10 miler, then following it the next day with either a standard long run (like today), or a more specific long run that starts with 10 miles or so at 6:45 then drops down to marathon pace or faster for the remaining 5-12 miles. If it sounds a little tough to you I agree right now, though hopefully the first day at marathon pace will continue to feel easier (though the opposite happened this week). Hopefully by going into the second run a little depleted, I can work more in that hazy zone where the lights dim a little and the body starts feeling like it's running a marathon. I'm trying to train the body to perform better after the half-time show. The trick to this is no doubt to replenish and recover after these two-day blocks, as failing to do so could certainly break me down.

On the family front, Finn made it through the night without waking, and his fever continues to drop more and more after doses of ibuprofin. He's walking around again, eating better, and he even danced a bit when forced to watch some of a DVD of his dad's band. Poor little guy.

Training: 20 miles, 2:15:18, 6:46 pace

Friday, September 08, 2006

Vanity


A view from the camera on the computer at home right now. With a sick Finn it's good to be at work.

I made the mistake of running those 5 extra miles after work yesterday, mostly to be able to put a higher number in the "miles traveled" column of the log. The miles didn't do diddly for my endurance, as I was only out for 35 minutes. The run didn't aid my recovery, as I was stressed before, during and after the run because of time constraints (my wife needed to leave as soon as I got back and I had the kids to myself). At 7 minute pace, I ran just fast enough to keep any benefits of the run as a "shakeout" for my tired muscles to an absolute minimum. Never mind having raced over the weekend, never mind a few poor nights of sleep and the added stresses a sick child brings, never mind making your wife spend yet another 35 minutes without any help.

These were stupid vanity miles, and I should be smart enough by now to know it.

I paid the price for this run, the run earlier in the week in the 6:20's, and the race on Monday during the workout today. Remember last week how I glided through 7 miles at marathon pace? There was something about padding along quickly in my race shoes, my breath barely registering on the effort scale if I'm remembering correctly. Today I attempted this same run, in trainers this time, and it felt like I was dragging a bag of bricks behind me the whole way.

The two mile warm up should have been a sign, when I had trouble getting down to even 7:15 pace. I thought about calling an audible at this point and doing the workout tomorrow, but I decided instead to just muck through it. At about two miles in I started making deals, saying to myself that surely I would warm up and the legs would empty out and start behaving after a few more minutes. At 5 miles it took some will to get through the last 12 minutes or so, and the last mile took an eternity. All that being said, I did manage 7 miles at an average 5:58 pace.

I feel I'm at a tipping point, as hard races tend to either lead to training breakthroughs or weary malaise. I've been banking on the former, but perhaps I've been a little too gregarious this week in trying to force what will only come naturally in time. I've taken a page from the coach I've been listening to and started to pay attention to my overall training pace for the week. I'm at 63 miles right now at an overall 6:45 pace, which is right on the edge of what it seems I can recover from.

Speaking of recovering, Finn only woke once in the middle of the night and once at 4:30 after I'd already gotten up and poured some coffee. He's still quite miserable, and while his fever is down to 99-100 degrees, he's still lethargic. He's starting to eat a little more, which is certainly helping. I'm hoping he'll be fully recovered by the time we take him back to the doctor on Tuesday. Thanks as always for rooting for him, he's a tough little guy. I was asleep by 9 last night, and while I'm still feeling pretty fried I enjoyed getting a little more rest than what has become "the usual".

Training: Today, 10 miles, 1:04:05, 6:24 pace, with 7 miles at 5:58 pace
Yesterday pm., 5 miles, 34:50, 6:58 pace

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Comfortable?

An even tougher night for the Salkowski clan, as sick Finn was even more miserable than the night before. After waking up at 11 and midnight, he simply refused to go down in his crib after his third waking around 1. I think Haiden woke once during this period of time but I was honestly so tired I can't recall for certain. A little after one we brought the boy into our bed to keep him from waking his sister, and after much sobbing and crawling around he finally fell asleep right on top of my quadriceps. As you might imagine, this was pretty similar to trying to sleep with a bowling ball resting on top of your legs. Still, everyone was so exhausted at this point that we managed to sleep from about 2-5.

When I awoke it was to to the sound of thunder and sideways rain. Lightning flashes illuminated the sky as the sun started to break over the horizon. If I wasn't thinking about running in the deluge it would have looked quite beautiful. Haiden woke with the storm, and soon the whole family was up. We headed out for bagels together, since I wasn't looking forward to running through what must be the worst of the storm. We got home as the wind, lightning and thunder cleared, though the rain showed no signs of easing. Instead of the 10 I had planned I had to settle for 5 in order to get home in time for Haiden to go to school while Finn napped. After getting soaked to the bone during the first 5 minutes the run was actually cool and pleasant, though I had to watch my step as several baby toads seemed to be migrating en masse across the roads around Sabino Canyon.

All told things are going well considering the lack of sleep during the past two nights, Finn's illness and the sudden sucker-punch the weather delivered. If I can manage another 5 miles this evening before Kiera goes out I'll be even on mileage, which will be good at this point in the week. I did get in a second run last evening of a little over 6 miles with the Running Shop gang, though I didn't get a time on it. I figure we were running around 7:20-7:30 pace.

That's it for now as the gears in my brain are frozen up due to lack of rest. Finn's fever did seem to break a little last night, so hopefully tonight will be a little easier.

Training: Today, 5 miles, 33:15, 6:39 pace
Yesterday pm., 6 miles, probably 7:20-7:30 pace

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Again? So Soon? Really??

It started when we noticed him sitting quietly with a glassy-eyed stare from his highchair at dinner. Our fears were confirmed when he refused to eat. Our 16-month-old boy is much like a dog in this way; We know he's really sick when he doesn't want to eat. The thermometer read 103, and after a sad evening spent slumping in laps he went down for what would surely be a difficult night.

When Finn is sick no one is happy, and two wake-up calls (one involving a full change of bedding) made for a difficult night. Our daughter Haiden, not to be outdone, also got up once but mercifully stayed in bed once put back into it. Times like these are tough, and I feel very badly for Finn, who is so easily pinned to the mat by the various bugs brought home from school by his big sister.

Needless to say, at some point I shut off the automatic coffee maker and alarm and let nature wake me up. Nature in this case was a shrieking Finn, who managed to get his leg stuck between rungs of the crib since his vomiting had necessitated the removal of the soft, protective "bumper" that normally keeps this from happening. Poor guy.

Kiera was kind enough to handle all the morning duties so I could get out on my run, and somehow in my bleary-eyed state I was able to get in 10 good miles. The plan was to run 6:30 pace for the duration, though I was worried about how it would go so soon after the race. While I could really feel the soreness in my glutes during the first mile (from the downhills in the race no doubt), I was able to get the pace down fairly quickly. Since the flatter main roads were jammed with school buses and parents driving children to school at this point (it was later than usual), I stayed on my 1(ish) mile time trial course through the neighborhood bordering mine. While it gets monotonous, the rolling nature of the loop will hopefully get me used to the rolling hills in the marathon this December.

I tried to convince myself I was running 7 minute pace, and things actually felt this way until about 7 miles in. The last three were a bit of a chore, but I was able to nail a 6:23 cumulative pace for the effort. I'm glad to have this one in the books. The high point of the morning came in the form of some of Kiera's famous fresh-baked scones, which I was able to enjoy after the run.

I brought along my clothes to do an easy 6 in the evening with the Running Shop gang, but if it's been a tough day at home for Kiera with a sick kid I'll just head home and bag it. Last thing- I've updated the Starcrunch blog with a second tune from the show. Speaking of looking at my ugly mug, here's what I looked like 7.5 miles into the 8 mile race. Results are now posted.

Training: 10 miles, 1:03:50, 6:23 pace

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Grudge


This photo of the race was taken in the first mile. My teammate Dan is towards the front on the left (#2), Bill is obscured just behind the lead runner, and Lucas and I are somewhere in the middle in white singlets (looks like I'm biting my lip).

My body usually holds a bit of a grudge after a race like yesterday. The day immediately following it usually has me feeling tired, but it's not until the second day that the soreness kicks in. I'd rather run on tired legs than sore legs any day, so I got up early to get in 13 miles under overcast skies. I didn't pay too much attention to the pace, as the way I was feeling pretty much necessitated a slow run.

I'm half-way through my 8 weeks of conditioning, and it feels like I'm starting to come to life a little bit. I think I'll skip the El Tour 10K I ran last year around this time in an effort to keep the pressure on with the training. I'm already feeling a little guilty for taking it easy during the two days before this last race, and I think I can make some bigger gains if I just focus on training for awhile. My next race will be the 8K Run and Roll on October 1. This is the only distance I haven't PR'd at since training with Arthur Lydiard's methods, so I'll be shooting for a good result.

On the homefront, I'm still painting closet doors, and my wife Kiera is turning into quite the trail runner after her recent run with Angie. This is my last real "easy" week at work, as I'll start working real hours again beginning tomorrow. Finn is now starting to talk a bit more, and Haiden is becoming a fan of my band (at least she likes watching us on the computer).

Training: 13 miles, 1:33:11, 7:10 pace, tired legs

Monday, September 04, 2006

Saguaro National Monument 8 Mile Race


This race was tough. 48:14 (approx.), 8th place (maybe). Splits of 5:40, 5:31, 5:40, 6:12, 6:58, 6:13, 5:56 make a little more sense when looking at the course profile. I'm happy because I ran a personal best by 45 seconds, and I finished a minute earlier than I did last year. What was missing was the grit, determination and desire to absolutely kill myself during the last two miles in an effort to catch two runners ahead of me. On the one hand I definitely don't have that "extra gear" at this point in my training, but in retrospect we owe ourselves as well the races themselves our best effort. I'm talking about crawling across the line, hyperventilating and bug-eyed here. This is hard to do in early September when training for a race in December, but I can't honestly say I left every ounce on the course.

Don't get me wrong here, as I did kill myself to get to the end of mile 6, but I simply could not turn up the heat any more beyond this point, even when the runner I had clawed my way up to and stayed with during and beyond the big hill began to pull away. I've absolutely refused to be broken at times in the past, and I've drawn strength from memories of that moment of triumph, when you stare at the back of that sweaty singlet in front of you and know in your heart that you will die on the course before he beats you. Those times have come when I've been in racing shape though, and today that jersey (as well as the one 15 seconds up the road) crossed the line unchallenged.

The good part is that hopefully I can recover from this race quickly, and that I can up the mileage a bit from last week. Yesterday was a long-overdue muffin run with Haiden in the jog-stroller for 4 miles, then 4 more by myself. That made two shorter 8 mile days in a row to end the week. Here's how it went-

Mo: 11 miles, 6:58 pace
Tu: 10 miles, 6:19 pace with 7 miles under 6 minute pace
We, am: 13 miles, 10 at 6:45 pace, 3 at 6:03 pace
We, pm: 6 miles very slow
Th: 10 miles, 6:57 pace
Fr: 16 miles, all but one at 6:53 pace
Sa: 8 miles, 6:50 pace
Su: 8 miles, 6:56 pace
Total: 82 miles

Miles were down with the two easy days before the race, but hopefully this week will get me back on track.

Training: Today 10 miles, w/8 mile race
Yesterday: 8 miles, 6:56 pace

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Wanna' Rock and Roll All Night


...And run everyday. OK, so that last bit is changed from how I felt 10 years ago. I'll be updating the Starcrunch band blog with this same concert footage, and hopefully from my page on Youtube you will be able to watch more of the performance (if you're into this sort of thing).

The show last night has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past few weeks, but after a short practice early Friday evening (a few hours before the show) it was apparent that we were as ready as we were going to get. It was time to just go out on stage and have fun. It really was a great night for me, the rest of the band, and all of our families, and it helped me realize just how connected I still am to my "last great hobby" before running. I just may have to find a way to do more of this music thing. Many great folks from the running world showed up, including Angie, Lucas and Dan from the Running Shop (thanks for the beer Dan), Mike, and a few of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, including Randy and Tia. My wife Kiera was able to see the show, as was my mom, my brother (thanks for the video), and Kiera's step-dad. I couldn't have asked for more support.

As you might expect, this morning was difficult after such a long night. I probably hit the pillow around 1, and at 3:30 when I woke by chance I gave in and turned off the coffee maker so I wouldn't have to get up at 4:30. My mom had spent the night since she drove in from out of town, and it was nice to sleep until 6 and spend some time with her, Kiera, and the kids after being gone all of yesterday at work and the show. Finally at 8 I made it out for 8 miles, though the legs were pretty worn out from the stress of the show. Something about being onstage makes me tense every muscle. I'm glad to have gotten the run in, and I'm looking forward to a good night's rest tonight in anticipation of the race on Monday. Here's a look at the course profile. Scary.

Training: 8 miles, 54:40, 6:50 pace. Rubber legs

Friday, September 01, 2006

Chuck

Damn that Chuck E. Cheese. I took my daughter, who is fairly mellow and hasn't been exposed to much in the way of "theme park atmosphere" to his restaurant about a month ago. Predictably, she completely freaked out when the giant mouse appeared from behind the service counter and started doing a dance in front of one of the token machines. The jig concluded with Chuck throwing a pile of skee-ball tickets into the air, which all the little kids fought over-save for my little girl, who was cowering in fear behind me while clutching my leg in terror. She didn't want to go on the climber, the "wack-a-mole" game and it's necessary violence left her wide-eyed with fear, and the only ride I could coax her onto was short-lived as she cried to get off after about 30 seconds. The pizza was "too spicy", and the animatronic band of Chuck and pals made her very nervous (they are creepy you know, especially those eyes).

You know what comes next-she's been asking to go back ever since.

Last night she was begging at bedtime to go to Chuck E. Cheese again, and I told her we could when my weekend arrives on Sunday. She told me she was going to dream about him (Chuck) and I said fine. 3am and Haiden wanders into our room, asking of course to go to Chuck E. Cheese. This lasted until 4. I hate that rat.

When the coffee was ready at 4:30 I wasn't, but I got up anyway. Today was an abbreviated long run, hopefully long enough to do some good but short enough to recover fully for the race on Monday. I ended up with 16 miles for the day, with 14.5 at a steady clip (6:53) and 1.5 miles in the middle where I slowed down after running into the friend I traveled with to the San Diego race and his family. It was nice catching up with them, though getting back on pace for the rest of the run (especially the uphills) was difficult.

I have all my gear for the big gig tonight at Club Congress at 9pm (last plug I promise) with me in the gallery, and I'll be heading downtown right after work for one more short practice before the main event. I'm hoping it's a good show, and I'm looking forward to seeing the other acts playing tonight as well.

Training: 16 miles, 1:53:20, 7:05 pace, with first 5.5 at 6:51, 1.5 mile slow, 9 miles at 6:53