Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Numbers

Hearing the wind buffeting against the side of the house this morning was a bit unsettling, but nonetheless I drove out to my usual parking spot at the strip mall to get my track workout in. Today the plan included a 2000 meter effort, hopefully run with even splits around 75, then the same distance at an easy pace. Finally, I would finish the workout with 4-6 x 200 strides, with a 200 jog in-between.

The wind was pushing across the track at an angle, and after warming up for an easy 4 miles it was apparent that conditions just weren't going to get better. I pushed on the gas and breezed through the first 200 at 36, and since I was out of the wind for much of it I felt great. However, as I got halfway through the second turn the wind really became apparent. This is where I messed up. I kept pushing harder towards the line in hopes of making the split, even though it meant forcing things harder than I should have. I was right on pace with a 75, and soon enough I was out of the wind again and cruising down the backstretch. When I hit the wind a second time I actually felt a little weakened, but instead of focusing on running relaxed again I pushed through and got my stupid 75. On the third lap I started regretting this wasn't an 800, and I could feel my forearms tingling from clenching my fists so tight (score one for Abadabajev here). I wasn't relaxed, and a 38 at the 200 showed I was slowing down. A third push into the wind in hopes of getting back on pace cost me as my breathing got ahead of me, and the high 1:16 showed I was falling off pace. I finally tried to put myself more upright in an effort to get the legs centered under me, but midway through the fourth lap I could feel the muscles start to burn, and I started thinking about having to survive the last 400. When I hit the split I was at 5:05 for four laps, and the 1:17 here was a bit depressing. The last lap in 1:16 found me flailing a bit for the last 150, but it was over.

On a windy day like today I should have focused on just running fast and relaxed instead of gunning for goal time. It's hard though, as there is definitely a psychological edge from the resulting confidence of running fast workouts. Running the three 800's earlier last week at 4:50 pace helped me believe that I could hold 5:08 pace for 5000 meters. I think what I need to focus on instead is how relaxed I can make myself feel while doing these reps while still covering ground quickly.

After jogging for another 2K I had a second chance with the 6x200 strides, and I took the opportunity to run them on the side of the track that gave me most of the wind at my back. I slowly accelerated to full speed, tried to bring my legs under me, and pushed off forcefully with each stride while trying hard to stay relaxed all the while. I thought about the 3000 meter race I had watched the night before on tape of the USATF indoor championship. I was rooting for Matt Tegenkamp, mostly because at 6'2" and 150 pounds he looked like a fish out of water when compared to the rest of the whippets on the starting line. When the race started to heat up he made a move to the front and simply would not let up. Watching a guy with that big a frame tap along, all the while looking very relaxed at the front of the group with a championship on the line was inspiring. When the commentators started to speculate about whether Tagenkamp or Jonathon Riley (who was right behind in second place) would win, they didn't speak of PR's or leg speed. Instead they talked about how much more relaxed Tagenkamp looked while cruising at speed. Needless to say, Tagenkamp won the championship. Here he talks about his 13:04 5K PR race a few weeks before, where he finished second to Bernard Lagat.

While I wish I had been able to run faster this morning, I know I won't get there by muscling my way to hitting splits. I have a few weeks to get used to running fast and relaxed before the meet, and hopefully I can learn to focus more on those elements during that time. I think the coach is following a good pattern by starting me out with shorter reps, as it's much easier to learn to run relaxed if you end the interval before digging yourself into too much of an anaerobic hole. The 2K today proved that I still have some work to do at staying cool when things start to burn.

Training: 10 miles, w/2K at 75, 75, 76, 77, 76 (2K), then 6x200 accelerations around 35-36 seconds

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lapped

"Belated congrats on the 5k PR. Great work. If you want to take it down some more, and not worry about course certification, have you thought about getting onto the track? You live in a college town (of sorts), so I'm sure there's some 5000s that you could run unattached in. Add up all the benefits of the track (spikes, elevation change=0, extra distance < on the roads) and you're looking at 10-20 seconds."

Evan made this comment after reading about how I was suspect of the actual distance of the last 5K I raced. Evan, there's one word that comes to mind when I think about stepping back on the track to race: Chuckie.

The year was 1988, and after suffering through the Divisionals I had earned my ticket to run the 2 mile at the Arizona high school State meet. I was a junior, and this would be my last high school race. Between editing the high school newspaper and the rock band I was now in, I knew I was going to be busy enough that I would pass on all sports except soccer for my senior year. I remember feeling a bit wistful during the warm up, but that feeling quickly turned to abject terror after being called to the line and listening to the race instructions. The official shouted something to the tune of "Any and all lapped runners will be pulled from the race."

The tallest runner in the field by far was a kid from Westwood high named Chuckie. He was a Native American who lived on the reservation, and the combination of his tall stature, very mature features and incredibly fast running led to rumors that he was at least 19 years old. The kid barely spoke a word during dual meets, but he systematically crushed every runner he came across on his way to winning every 1 and 2 mile race he ran. No one else in the state was anywhere near this kid's level. He tore through cross-country races in the same manner, and I had the misfortune once of listening to my dad's advice when he suggested I just go out hard right alongside the runner. I distincly remember running off the front of the entire field, shoulder to shoulder with Chuckie. He kept looking over at me, not saying a word, but smiling all the while and appearing to be ready to laugh. I was at an all out sprint to keep up with him through the first mile, and when he finally broke me soon after I suffered through what was at the time the worst two miles of my life as I crawled to the finish.

Now I was sharing the line with this goliath again, and my race plan of even splits and a strong finish was instantly changed to a simple goal- to finish my last race without getting pulled from the field. It's been so long I don't remember my exact times, but somewhere around 10:30 was probably my best. Chuckie was at least a minute faster, so it would be close. After the gun sounded and we had been running for a few minutes my heart sank as it seemed he was already 50 meters ahead of the field after only a few laps. Still, I continued on, trying not to pay attention to the sound of my dad cheering in the stands. This wasn't running my best effort, this was running as fast as I could to avoid being given the equivalent of a wedgie in front of my dad, the rest of my competitors, and the half-full bleachers. I was running to avoid embarrassment.

I finish lap 6 and I spy Chuckie about 200 meters behind me (or 200 meters ahead). I'm like that dumb zebra at the waterhole, legs seizing up with fear as everyone else runs away furiously. I should be OK, he can't possibly make up that much ground, even if I am already tying up. The track has slowly emptied as other runners are pulled from the field, and it's now down to about 10 of us strung out at various points behind the frontrunner. I hear the bell for the leader as I'm midway through the first straight of my 7th lap. He's fast but he's not that fast. I start into the far turn and I can see an official walking across the track at the end of the turn, his eyes on me as the runner a bit in front of me passes him. Chuckie is still at least 100 meters away, I should be good, but sure enough the official locks eyes with me and waves me off. I was devastated.

After yelling at the official for pulling me he explains they wanted to clear the last 100 for the winner. It makes no sense, I would have started on my bell lap at least 12 seconds before Chuckie hit the tape, but it isn't my decision. I'm in tears as I sit below the bleachers, and needless to say I feel like a complete and total failure.

18 years have passed since then, and I'm getting ready to possibly get lapped again. Take a look here. Judging by last year's results I might end up in the first half of finishers, but I'll finish with a smile on my face this time. Here's the link to this year's meet, I've entered to run the 5000 meters at 9:50pm on March 16 along with the fast college kids.

Training: 10 miles, 1:04:00, 6:24 pace

Monday, February 26, 2007

Pretty Good Timing

The allergies seem to be making a comeback, but thankfully they didn't appear until sometime Sunday afternoon. I didn't want to jinx things by saying anything, but going into the race yesterday the body was about as happy as it's been before a competition. No aches or pains to speak of, no residual fatigue, and no allergy or breathing issues. I guess a scratchy throat afterwards is a small price to pay at the end of the day.

This morning Doug ran past my street just as I was getting set to run out to meet Lucas in Sabino Canyon for a recovery run, and I was glad to hear he was game for joining us. After meeting Lucas we ended up cruising around the Canyon and different neighborhoods nearby for a little over an hour. After Lucas and Doug both headed home I continued on for awhile, just relaxing and enjoying the weather. My daydreaming somehow short-circuited my math skills though, so I ended up putting in a few extra miles. Nice run.

13 miles, 1:29:34, 6:53 pace

Sunday, February 25, 2007

5-ish K


The kids' race is getting serious now

Third place at Dave's 5K Run for ALS, and for the first time ever I slipped under 16 minutes with a 15:56. Unfortunately, as the title of the post suggests the exact length of the course isn't clear. Since it isn't certified and I have a feeling it's a little short, I guess I'll keep the sidebar "PR's" where they are for now.

This is Kiera's "Resevoir Dogs" shot of me and the gang discussing the course

No big race report today, but suffice it to say I tried to run my best. The course was three loops around an outlet mall parking lot, with the third loop veering off at the end to hopefully give us the full distance. The winner of the Sun Run was on the line, and he mentioned to a few people that he hoped to take the first mile out in 4:55. A friend asked me where I was planning to run, and I told him 15:58. Yes, I'm an optimist. With the sound of the gun we were off, and in fairly short order Mr. Sun Run (his name is Carlos and he's a very nice guy) took off and grabbed a decent gap on the field. Surprisingly, even though I got off to a quick start I found myself behind a line of about six runners. For a small race in a parking lot this seemed like a pretty quick field. I made a quick decision to stay on the tail end of this group, even though they seemed to be running just above where I wanted to be for the first mile. Yes, this is where I got on the bus. There was a pretty stiff wind on the second half of each loop, and I knew that tucking in would save me some energy. With first and second place out of frame, here's me tucking in after hitting the split for the first mile-

I'm the handsome, tall guy poking out from the middle. Mile two was the crusher, as the pack I was in started to shake itself out. First place was out of reach, but now second place was dangling in front of us. Shane and Greg started to make a move from the pack, and I knew both of these runners were smart and fast enough to make it stick. I loosed myself from the rest of the pack and started towards them. As we curved back into the wind, Greg had come even with the second place runner and I was gaining on Shane behind him.

What a difference a mile makes (lap 2)

Just before the second mile mark passed Shane and moved into fourth place, though he stuck close behind me. Again I hit the split and started thinking about how much I had left. With Greg running in third just a step behind second place I started thinking about how to catch them. The breathing was really heavy and this point, but the legs were still turning over. I knew I wasn't going to slow down, but I didn't know just how much I could speed up and hold it to the finish. I was maybe 8 seconds behind the guys as we turned into the wind, and I guessed we had about 800 meters left. I thought about the 800's I ran earlier in the week, and how while they did hurt they also eventually ended. I started pushing off harder and bent my head into the wind. Greg was leaving behind his companion now and I was closing in. I could feel Shane coming back behind me now too, which made my chase all the more urgent. When we turned off the loop and started towards the finish (with perhaps 300 to go) I made one more long, hard acceleration. The road was bouncing now, I was getting ugly, but I passed number three and heard Shane's footsteps fading along with his. An eternal right hand bend revealed the clock. 15:5(rest covered by someone thoughtlessly standing in front of it). Instead of using my final breaths to curse the clock-watcher I dug in to the last strides and made it home in 15:56.

Today was a ton of fun, and it was nice to feel stronger than I did last week. Kiera and the kids were out watching (and taking hundreds of blog-worthy pics), and Haiden enjoyed the kids' race.

Special thanks to Mystery Coach for helping me see the right side of 16 minutes, short or not.

For anyone interested, Kiera posted a nice album of photos from the race here.

Training: 7 miles, w/5K in 15:56, mile 1 in 5:09, mile 2 in 5:18, mile 3(+.1?) in 5:29

Friday, February 23, 2007

Flip of the Switch

I threaded the needle and made it out of the vortex early this morning while everyone was still asleep. I stepped out into the dark, dragged the trash can to the curb and headed off down the road at an easy pace. The race was on my mind as I eased slowly into the run, and while the legs weren't exactly humming I felt pretty relaxed and looked forward to getting to the track for five laps of sharpening work, which included running 300 steady and sprinting the last 100 of each lap. The sprints came easy, and I enjoyed having 300 to recover this week as opposed to the 100 on, 100 off pattern I ran last week.

It was when I stepped off the track and started running back into the neighborhood that I felt it. Any and all cobwebs from being out so early vanished, I had a nice light sweat, and the legs just felt weightless. I could feel the pace coming down with each step, and the body felt like it was working the right way.

I turned off the engine at 8 miles with a smile on my face.

Training: 8 miles, 54:08, 6:46 pace

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Save it for Later

Not much to report today, as I just took it easy for 8 miles of my Slow Down Loop. The legs were a little tired, probably from the 800's yesterday and possibly from the slow 10K I ran in the evening with the Running Shop gang. Tomorrow is a sharpening day with a handful of 100's, then one more easy day before the race.

I think this Sunday's race has the potential to be fairly fast. Again, much will depend on who will show up, but it should afford a great opportunity to try to take down my 5K PR of 16:07.

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Webb, Mottram and Mike

According to my wife I escaped being dragged into the vortex by mere seconds this morning. Apparently our son Finn roared to life just as I started my drive to the parking lot of the strip mall, which is about as close as I can get to the high school track without a parking permit. An easy two miles out and back, then a change of the shoes and I'm off for a last mile of warm up before reaching the track. The high school team was just finishing up (must have been a quick one as it was only 6:45), so I amused them with some skips, butt kicks and strides on the infield while they cooled down. Eventually they started to scatter and I took to the track for my first of three 800's.

I did this same workout last week and hit 2:27, 2:27 and 2:26, and I was hoping to be a little faster this time. In an email from Mystery Coach he wrote "...with good weather you'll probably find yourself in the 2:25 range with less effort than last week but remember relaxation first. Let your legs carry you to the faster times don't muscle your way to them (Think Mottram not Webb)."

Maybe it was the good result from Sunday rattling in my brain, or perhaps it was the nice run I had yesterday, but for whatever reason I took off like a shot. The problem is, this is supposed to be a building-type of workout where my last repeat is the fastest and hopefully the most relaxed, so starting this fast would probably cost me. 36 at the turn, 72 at 400, then stop the watch at 2:23. I don't think I've ever run an 800 this fast, and it would be hard for me to top. I guess running the second 400 of it with one shoe untied must have helped. An easy 800 jog found me at the line for number two, and this time I could feel the legs start to fill at about 300 meters. Seeing 73 at the halfway mark validated my thinking that I had slowed a little, so I really concentrated during the second lap on just tapping the ground and pushing off again quickly. 2:24.

I was back to walking now for the first 50 as I tried to catch my breath, and then I continued on with my recovery 800. As I neared the line this time I decided to take advantage of an extra lap of jogging, as it seemed I could use it and the coach had mentioned using anywhere from 800-1600 for the recovery if need be. I spent the next lap trying to relax and clear my mind of any anxiety over hitting a specific pace, though I really wanted to dig my way back to 2:23. With a push on the watch I was off again, and by the first 200 I was starting to feel it. After getting around in 72 I once again pushed through the first turn, but by the time I made it out onto the straightaway the limbs started to tingle, the legs got heavy, and I just couldn't stay as smooth as I had for the first two. I started muscling through it, like Alan Webb (plus 18 seconds a quarter), and a surge through the last 100 landed me again at 2:24. I wish I would have eased into the workout more, but hopefully I'll get it right next time and finish faster.

Three slow laps on the dirt around the ballfields on campus and a jog back to the car gave me 10 miles on the day, and also revealed a little tweak to the left hamstring. I blame the skipping, that stuff will kill you. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about, though I'll monitor it tonight during 6 easy miles with the Running Shop gang.

The rest of the morning was perfect, as Kiera had timed it so that my waffle came out of the iron just after I arrived home. Afterwards she got her run in, Haiden and I had time for a bicycle ride to school, and everyone lived happily ever after. Yes, I'm feeling good.

Training: 10 miles, w/3x800 in 2:23 (800), 2:24 (800), 2:24 (800)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Vortex

If I get up early enough I can get out on the roads before anyone in the house wakes up. It's a Mission Impossible-type exercise though, which entails a very particular chain of events falling into place with the choreography of a John Woo film.

It all hinges on the coffee maker. I set it the evening before to start brewing exactly three minutes before I set my alarm to go off. I leave the bedroom door open when we go to bed, so we can hear the kids and also so I can hear the coffee start in time to cancel my alarm, which allows Kiera to keep sleeping (the watch wakes her up but the coffee maker percolating doesn't for some reason). Next comes the silent creeping, out of bed and into the kitchen. I close the door behind me, open my laptop on the desk off the kitchen, then race to the coffee maker where I try to find the golden moment to turn it off between when the last drop falls into the carafe and when the five annoying beeps sound, announcing the completion of the brewing cycle. I turn it off just in time, pour myself a mugful along with a glass of water and check the computer while sitting silently in the dark. I even try to dampen the sound of my keystrokes. A quick clothes change, then tiptoe past their doors in my running socks. Only when I close the garage door behind me do I know I've made it.

You have to understand that while I love them dearly, the kids are ticking timebombs of diaper changes, damp sheets, waffles-syrup-cheerios on the floor, sippy cups, stories and baby wipes, and the slightest sound could set them off. Negotiations between what clothes are clean and which are dirty, what can and can't be worn to school, and wondering aloud just why a 20-month-old still wants to eat his shoes are only the beginning of what happens when the house comes to life.

Sometimes I get it just right and miss it all. I return from my run and my wife is still waiting for five minutes of privacy for a shower, and the kids are fed/scrubbed/dressed. Often I skip the game entirely and get the kids going with breakfast and clothes before Kiera even wakes up. During the few times where it's imperative that I get out early I usually end up blowing it by sleeping through the start of the coffee and not being able to find my beeping watch on the floor next to the bed, or catching the end of the brewing cycle a bit too late and sounding the "COFFEE IS DONE!!!" alarm, which creeps under doors and into childrens' ears. A stray clink of the coffee mug, a sneeze, anything I do can wake up the kids.

Today I did about ten things wrong, so I fully expected to get sucked into the vortex that is the family morning routine. The blender blowing out while making a "special milkshake" for me and Haiden yesterday found me turning off the power to the kitchen, which threw off the time on the coffee maker. It sounded at 2:30 this morning instead of 5:30. It just got worse from here. Suffice it to say I was nowhere near ready to go when the kids awoke, and my planned 12 miles was quickly cut to 10 along with a quick negotiation with Haiden where I traded a muffin with her and Finn at the grocery store on the way to school for the bike ride to school I had promised. This way I could handle both kids while Kiera went for a run and I could still get to work on time. It never works the way I plan it, but things usually get done and that's enough.

The run went quite well this morning. In fact it might have gone a little too well. I was set to take it relatively easy for a second day after the race in preparation for a workout tomorrow, but for some reason the idle was set a bit high and I got moving early. By the time I first checked the pace at 4 miles I was already at 6:40, and I decided from this point I would just try to keep easing into the run mile by mile, ignoring the pace until the end. At just under nine miles I started to tire a bit, but I kept the pressure up and finished off the run at a pretty good clip. Hopefully I'll feel this good tomorrow.

Training: 10 miles, 1:03:38, 6:22 pace

Monday, February 19, 2007

Don't Mess With a Good Thing

My thanks go out to everyone for the kind comments on the race I ran this weekend, I really enjoyed reading them. The race and the report brought back memories of one of my first posts ever, after I won my first running race. I think back then Andrew was my only reader, and when I didn't get a single comment after a victory I felt like starting a running blog was probably a mistake. Lucky for you my ego demanded I continue obsessing publicly over my running.

The coach is planning another "race" week, in much the same mold as last week. I'm to push back the anaerobic and sharpening to Wednesday and Friday instead of Tuesday and Thursday in an effort to recover fully from the race, but otherwise things should stay pretty much the same. Part of me feels that I'm already recovering well from the race and that I'd rather jump back into a workout tomorrow in order to have two easy days before the race, but since I've proven in the past that I'm incapable of effectively judging my own recovery I'll happily bow to Mystery Coach's experience here. I'm sure I'll get more out of the mid-week workout by doing it Wednesday and not tomorrow, and hopefully Friday's workout will be short enough that I feel ready come Sunday.

Today I met up with Lucas for 10 miles of running in and around Sabino Canyon. We eased into the run slowly, but along the route we started to gradually pick up the pace. We tackled enough hills to keep us from really moving along, which was probably for the best after his long run yesterday and my race. The legs are feeling good aside fro a little soreness in the quads, and I'm hoping that they'll continue to come around for Sunday's appointment.

Training: 10 miles, 1:08:00, 6:51 pace

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dog Has Day


I seem to have rules for nearly everything, and even though I can count on one hand the overall victories I've been fortunate enough to snatch between running and road cycling, I have nonetheless come up with one rule for when the dice land my way:

Never apologize for a win.

Yes, you could fill a small boat with local runners who could normally clean my clock at the 5K distance I raced this morning, but at the end of the day you have to train, you have to show up, and you have to perform in order to win the goodie bag filled with free oil changes, video rentals and bookstore giftcards. For some reason they included a large magnet in the same bag, which probably erased whatever amounts were on said giftcards. Oh well, it's the thought that counts. By apologizing I mean saying "I didn't run very fast" or "none of the fast guys showed up", which is a slap in the face to all the others in the race who also trained, showed up, performed and would have loved to have beaten you. That being said, today belonged to the 35 year old with crows feet and greying hair, with his wonderful wife cheering at the finish line and snapping photos, perched behind a jogging stroller weighed down with their smiling daughter and son. Today was my day and I enjoyed every second of it.

I ended up clocking 16:43 on a half dirt, half road, out and back course with miles of 5:17, 5:32 and 5:32. After running the course early with Lucas (who didn't race) I laced up the racing shoes and headed to the line. The plan was to keep the leaders close and to take any opportunity that presented itself, so when the gun sounded I was a bit dumbfounded to find no one to key off. I knew I didn't get out of the gate at supersonic speed, so I took the absence of any runners taking control early as the opportunity I was waiting for. Who would have thought it would present itself during the first 200 meters?

As I pushed downhill with the wind at my back I approached Randy (friend and President of my club), who was spectating while pushing his newborn in a stroller. "You're first, Dave (friend and fellow Dragon) is second, and Paula is third. You'd better win this." At this point we hopped off the road and onto a dirt path along the Rillito River. The path just received a dumping of dirt and decomposed granite, so the Asics were sinking with every step. At the mile I heard the split called at 5:15 or so and hit the watch a second or two later. The marker was right after a sharp turn that led to a bridge crossing. I had enough of an angle to see my chasers here without turning my head and looking obvious, and it seemd I had a good gap of at least 10-15 seconds. A quick turn and it was back into the wind, down and up an underpass, then a quick skid around the turnaround cones on the loose gravel. I was now facing the rest of the race.

With half of the run over I was still feeling in control, and much like I did during my last 5K time trial a few weeks ago. I could see a different runner, who looked young and fit (high-school young) coming towards me ahead of the other chasers. Obviously he had passed both of the runners I had seen at the one mile mark, and he had done so over the course of less than half a mile. The guy was catching up.

I hate to say it, but the feelings of cool confidence I imagined I'd have while leading the pack were nowhere to be found. Clouds of doubt rolled in here, and I remember thinking "What if this guy passes me?" Soon enough these thoughts were interrupted by various shouts of encouragement from the other runners heading towards me. "Way to go" from one guy, "You're flying!" from the next. At first I responded with a thumbs up, but otherwise continued with my thousand-mile-stare, but soon enough I was making eye contact, smiling and nodding along with giving them the magic thumb. If you can't enjoy the suffering, at least a little bit, why do it? A click of the watch marked mile number two, and careful listening revealed that the shouts for the number two runner were now getting further and further back. It was time to stop thinking about how not to lose, and time to start thinking about how to win. Push forward hard off the balls of the feet, snap the leg up behind, fix the goofy "jimmy hand". Off the trail and back on the road, pushing uphill and into a cross-wind. Randy again, this time shouting "Just 80 more seconds, then you're done". No mention of number two. If he was close Randy would let me know. Smiling now, clicking the watch on mile three and pumping the fist once for the race photographer there. You're damn right I'm going to pump my fist, I want to make it obvious just how much I'm enjoying this. Closing in on the line (where Kiera took the shot above), a few more fist pumps and a big, gap-toothed smile. The wife and kids see it all and I'm grateful. You never know when you've won your last race, and having them all here for this ensures they all get to see me do this once.

Results are posted here

Running: 10 miles on the day with warm up and cool down. Got to push Haiden and Finn for the latter.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Chicago it is

I covered six easy miles this morning and made it home just before Angie came over to run with my wife Kiera. She brought along her son Ash, who Haiden and Finn both enjoy playing with, and I spent the morning playing a prevent-style defense against the three of them.

While I was ducking flying objects I sat down with a few preliminary training plans that Mystery Coach emailed along. After weighing the options and considering the different timetables, I've decided to follow my original plan of concentrating on speed and shorter races through the spring, then doing a full build for the Chicago Marathon in October. This means no Fargo and no Sugarlof (sorry guys). While skipping a spring marathon is hard, I'm really enjoying the focus on faster racing and the training it requires. I never really felt like my body was able to fully process the anaerobic work and sharpening efforts I've done in the past, so spending more time through the spring with these kinds of efforts will hopefully get the body used to the unique stresses that running faster presents. There are plenty of goals to shoot for in the near future, like squeaking under 16 for the 5K and under 34 for a legitimate 10K.

As far as tomorrow's race goes, I'll try to put myself in the best position to do well. Depending on who shows up I might have a legitimate chance of running top five, which means with some luck I could have a shot at the win. When it's this kind of race I ignore the watch and just try to run smart. I plan to follow the same advice I give anyone who has a shot at first place-

Give yourself a chance to win the race.

Training: 6 miles, 42:18, 7:03 pace

Friday, February 16, 2007

Take That!

For the first time in memory I emerged the victor after fighting another round on the rock hard track yesterday. Usually I spend the day after a track workout at the junior high complaining about a sore back, sore hips and sore quads, but today it was all good. Amazingly enough, a sharpening workout actually left me feeling sharp.

My only goal was to stay out for 6-8 easy miles this morning as I'm presently easing off for a 5K on Sunday. After about 10 minutes I checked the watch expecting to be at 7:20 pace and I was already down to 6:50 per mile. When the legs are moving faster than I want to (all too rare) I've taken to either dragging them up a few hills or concentrating on form to slow them down. Today I did both by veering off up the hilliest version of the Slow Down Loop and then focusing on proper form. Awhile back Mystery Coach sent me an email where he mentioned a switch that efficient runners make where they go from running "with" their legs to running "on" their legs. He suggested watching the footage of Ryan Hall breaking the American half marathon record here as a good example of this. In my case, I'm working on rotating the bottom of my pelvis forward (imagine tucking your butt in) in an effort to bring my legs more in line with my center of gravity, and then landing on slightly bent legs instead of pounding hard into the ground on my outside heel with leg extended almost straight. For the pelvis thing the coach sent me an old article by Bill Bowerman where he suggested standing up straight with your back against a wall, then working on trying to flatten out your back by rotating the bottom of the pelvis inward. It was hard to visualize until I got up from the computer and tried standing against the wall, but now I can usually feel when I've got it right while running (pelvic thrust anyone?).

Anyway, it was a nice run and it was great to feel like I was forcing myself to run slowly two days before a race.

Training: 8 miles, 53:43, 6:43 pace

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sharpening

Today marked my second shorter "sharpening" workout for the week in anticipation of my two upcoming 5K races. Anyone who who has read Arthur Lydiard's texts is probably familiar with these workouts, either as 50-sprints, 50-floats or 100-sprints, 100-jogs. The coach had me down for 5 laps of the latter, and I headed out to my old nemesis, the rock hard junior high track to get it done. Every time I step off this track I swear I will never visit it again, but for short workouts like these it seems like a waste of time and gas to drive out to a more suitable track. I like the whole "sprint the straights, jog the turns" thing too, much more than staring blankly up the road and trying these workouts without any markers.

Generally when I'm feeling good I can hold about two miles of these types of workouts at about my 10K pace, so I was curious about where I would find myself pace-wise over a short five laps. When I got to the track after a slow four miles of warm up the infield was filled with kids playing soccer. Some temporary goals had been dragged onto lanes 1-4, and kids who weren't kicking the ball around were slowly jogging in groups on the inner lanes, swerving at the last minute around the goals then carving back to the rail in an obvious effort to cover as little ground as possible. I did the whole workout in lane 5 to stay clear of the melee, knowing that at any time I would probably be asked to leave. All in all the workout went well, and while the jogs got a little slower after about three laps I was at 5:13 pace for roughly a mile and held it to the end. Another five miles or so through Sabino Canyon and some neighborhoods found me back at the house after 10 miles.

I'll admit I really didn't like these workouts during my marathon program, but I'm guessing after doing enough of these types of workouts I'm starting to enjoy them. I try to visualize the muscles slowly filling up with waste during the efforts, then emptying out again during the jogs. All in all it was a good day.

Training: 10 miles, 1:06:33, 6:39 pace, w/1.4 miles at 5:07 pace (5 laps of 100 sprint/100 jog)

Kicking Things Around

Winter bit back (well at least winter in Tucson, Arizona) yesterday morning with temperatures in the mid-30's and an unrelenting bitter cold rain. Lucas and I slogged through 10 miles with heads bent down, and it seemed the wind drove the rain into us regardless of which direction we ran. The soggy conditions made me think about how thankful I am that this isn't the norm, as it seems to be for Thomas or Andrew much of the year.

It was nice to get done, especially when we returned to chocolate-chocolate chip muffins (Kiera's Valentine's Day special). I kept trying to get to the computer all day, but things like actual work and an evening run of 6 miles with the Running Shop gang got in the way. Besides wanting to post about my dreary run, I've been trying to look at a few emails from Mystery Coach regarding possible marathon builds. The other day the coach asked in passing if I had considered doing a spring marathon like Fargo with Eric (well, I'd be at least 5 minutes behind Eric but I'd see him at the start). This put some ideas into my head. While I have been thinking about running through the spring and just focusing on shorter races (5K to the half-marathon) and then doing a monster-long build for Chicago in October, I have been encouraged by my daily paces recently as well as the results of my last two weeks of back to back runs. With some planning I could possibly do a late-spring marathon as an "end" to my season, then do a full build starting when I recover and work towards a December marathon like the California International Marathon or Rocket City.

The coach sent along two preliminary plans, one for Chicago and one for a spring and winter marathon. I have to say that after looking at the second plan and then my log I am encouraged by where my paces and conditioning are at now when compared to the same point in my California build last fall. What's a guy to do?

Training: Yesterday morning, 10 miles, 1:07 or so, 6:40ish pace
Yesterday evening, 6.2 miles, 43:14, around 7 minute pace

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Short, Fast and Out of Control

I'm thinking now that what I've been calling a sinus infection is really just an allergy issue, possibly brought on by the recent warm weather. The throat isn't sore, just really constricted, and while I feel pretty good during the middle of the day it's a bear at night through the early morning with the congestion, coughing and (now) sneezing.

I headed out early today to the track for a quick sharpening workout. Mystery Coach prescribed 3x800 with as long a recovery as I needed (he suggested anywhere from 800-1600). I think his words on the speed were to run "...at a good sharp pace (imagine you are running a 1.5 - 2 mile race (I'm guessing 2:27 Maybe faster but the first two should be the slowest of the lot)."

With this in mind I hit the track after three miles easy and a few strides. A nice cross-wind during my warm up lap convinced me to focus on speed for the first and third 200's of each interval and to work on maintaining momentum for the second and fourth 200. The effort to get to 200 at 37 seconds surprised me a bit during the first interval, and for most of the 2 minutes and 27 seconds it took to complete the 800 meters I felt like I was running much faster than usual. Honestly I don't think I've spent more than 5 minutes total under five minute mile pace over the past 6 months. After walking the first 50 of the recovery I got back to jogging, and by the time I'd run a slow 800 I was ready to go again. This time around the first 400 felt easier, but the last 200 into the wind really worked me as I crossed the line again in 2:27. I tried the same recovery scheme, and by 800 meters of jogging I knew I wouldn't feel any better even if I ran another mile before the last interval, so again I hit the "lap" button and accelerated. For the final 800 I never looked at the watch as I focused instead on trying to keep my breathing under control while pushing off strong with good extension and immediately picking my legs up behind me with each stride. 2:26.

I still feel like a bull in a china shop while wrestling through the final 200 on workouts like these. I imagine part of it comes from not feeling these paces often, and hopefully with some time I'll improve. I remember when running an 800 at 2:34 had me feeling like the wheels needed balancing, though now at that pace I feel fairly smooth. Thursday's workout of 5 laps of 100 sprints-100 floats should hopefully help me in this regard as well.

On the work/homefront, the tension is easing after a final bout of late-night painting packing. After Saturday I'll get my weekends back, and hopefully I'll be celebrating my first day off in quite a while with a good 5K.

Training: 8 miles, w/3x800 (800 recovery) in 2:27, 2:27, 2:26

Monday, February 12, 2007

Making Progress

Apparently I picked up a sinus infection from reading Eric's recent posts. I didn't want to mention it since its first appearance on Friday evening, but since today it felt like I was breathing through a straw for 12 miles I can't really help but write about it a little.

In spite of all the hacking en route I managed a nice progression run today, starting with a 7:15 mile and gradually dropping the pace to end with two miles between 6 and 6:10 pace. The legs got a bit tired and I was sucking air towards the end, but with the perfect weather I really can't complain. I'm looking forward to a good week.

Training: 12 miles, 1:19:36, 6:38 pace

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"Daddy, How can we do Everything?"

Our 4-year-old daughter Haiden posed this question to me a few minutes ago while I was trying to close her door after saying good-night. This is part of her normal routine of stalling me long enough to get a few more words in before the day is over. "Can we go to Chuck E. Cheese tomorrow", "Is tomorrow a Haiden day (our code for my days off), or "Can we get a muffin tomorrow" are the other usual questions, but tonight's exchange about "everything" got me thinking about my training/life last week.

My grand plans of big miles, more doubles and solid workouts never fully materialized, and while while a tough week at work didn't make things any easier it isn't the reason I didn't run as much or as well as I'd originally hoped. I should be smart enough to realize that one week will not make or break me, and thinking of last week as a "comeback" after being sick and next week as a time to fine-tune before the upcoming 5K left we with the faulty idea that this was my ONE GOOD WEEK to train hard enough to be ready.

I can't do everything, not in a week. Trying to stuff every component of training into seven days is pointless. Effectively balancing months of training is the goal, and I should know that thinking in the framework of months and years is the only way to really "do everything". I think Mystery Coach gives me a little rope when I start thinking too much about the short term. The other week I emailed him my thoughts on following the same pattern during the seven days before my decent performances at 8K and 10 miles last fall in an effort to peak a bit for the 5K's coming up. I'm sure the coach chuckled at this, but instead of correcting me right away he let me come to the following conclusion on my own: Instead of looking at the seven days before these races, I should pay attention to what I was doing for the seven weeks leading up to them.

Enough drama about the "super week that wasn't", here's how it went down-

Mo: 10 miles, 1:06:25, 6:38 pace (second recovery day, feeling good)
Tu: 10 miles, 1:05:28, 6:33 pace, w/3 miles of 3/4 mile efforts at 5:55, 5:30, 6:00 and 5:15 pace
We: 13 miles, 1:30:20, 6:59 pace, quite hilly up into Sabino Canyon & back
Th: 8 miles, 52:28, 6:33 pace (short on time, poor planning)
Fr: 10 miles, 1:04:08, 625 pace, w/7 miles at 6:08 pace
Sa: 15 miles, 1:38:45, 6:34 pace, w/10 miles at 6:41 and 4 at 6:05 (added 1 mile to MP effort, good finish)
Su: 6 measly miles, 41:31, 6:59 pace, started slow
Total miles: 72 in 7 sessions

The bad: I was hoping for 90 miles, but missing out on two planned doubles and cutting the run short today hurt me.
The good: I'm starting to move along quicker on most days, the exchange workout and the back to back workouts all went very well and faster than planned. Hmm, think the "bad" made the "good" possible?

Again, one week isn't going to save me, make me or break me. The real cost of actually having to work serious hours is missing hanging out with the family. This morning Haiden awoke at 5:45 while I was drinking coffee and getting ready to run. I asked, "Don't you want to sleep some more?" "No, I just want to sit with you and talk," she answered. We sat in the dimly lit family room and I made up a story about a little girl and her younger brother riding all the animals at the zoo. By the time the rest of the family got up it was time for the three of them to head off to the fun run at the Valentine's Day race I had to miss (working again). Kiera and the kids placed high up in the double-jogging-stroller division.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Salkowski Plans for a Marathon

I'm finally ready to put the feet up and watch some bad TV with a beer in hand, so this will be brief. This blog will return to its usual format by next Wednesday at the latest, and in the meantime I'll mostly just be typing out my training. No more complaining about work, but suffice it to say I'm thankful for how easy and pleasant my job is the vast majority of the time.

Today was day one of back to back marathon pace-ish workouts, with 7 miles at 6:10 pace. Mystery Coach had cautioned against running much faster even if I was feeling great, and I tried my best to follow his advice. Better to be a little more fresh for next week's race than to blow it early by having to recover for half the week after beating myself up today and tomorrow. By now I've worn a groove into the road for this workout, and while the legs felt a little sluggish after moving along a bit yesterday I was anxious to repeat the circuit. I started a bit fast, and when I saw I was at 6 minute flat pace after two miles I started trying to relax more in an effort to hit the times the coach prescribed. I was now on my one mile course, so it was just a matter of slowly easing the pace back two seconds per mile. The rest of the workout went by quickly, and I felt worlds better than I did while running 6:18 pace a week ago. I ended up averaging 6:08 for the seven miles, and a check of the heart rate afterwards found me at a measly 144. At one minute I was at 104, so I jogged it in for an even 10 miles.

The most interesting news for me today came in the form of a phone call from my wife Kiera. Apparently she and Angie have been talking about running and dating (though perhaps not in that order). Together they've cooked up a plan.

Training: 10 miles, 1:04:08, 625 pace, w/7 miles at 6:08 pace

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Another Rush Job

I ended up getting out a bit later than planned this morning, which unfortunately doesn't mesh with going in to work early all week. I know it seems like I'm milking this "busy at work" thing but it's pretty much all-consuming until Tuesday or so when things will calm down. I'm bummed to miss the second race of the local Grand Prix series since I'm working through the Valentine's Day 5 miler this Sunday, but that's life. It will probably mean I'll have to run the Tucson half marathon in order to have a chance at winning the overall series (I was second last year).

Anyway, when I finally got out the door I had less than an hour, so I focused on getting in 10x150 meters of accelerations as per the coach's instructions. I felt a little beat up from the hills yesterday, but I was able to get through the efforts over the first 5 miles of the run without too much trouble. I did notice I was breathing a little heavy after the first half of the run, but overall things went fairly well over the measly 8 miles I was able to fit in. Any hopes of a short run this evening were dashed after getting stuck at the gallery well after closing time, but hopefully by not doing the double today I'll be fresher for the back to back workouts that start tomorrow. The coach suggested changing the 6:20 pace for 7 miles I ran last week to 6:10, and hopefully the body will be ready for it.

8 miles, 52:28, 6:33 pace

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More of the Minimum

I made three or four attempts at a post while at work today, but it's simply too busy at work for me to put much thought into writing about running. In fact, just running and surviving the work week is challenging enough so again this will be a short one. I made it out for 13 miles of hilly fun this morning by running the paved road that cuts through Sabino Canyon up to where it dead ends. While I still feel guilty about running in 50 degree temperatures at 6:30, it was tempered today by 10 or so creek crossings (5 up and the same 5 back) through fast-moving, ankle-deep snow melt from the Catalina mountains. I kept a steady but not grinding pace, and by the time I was out of the canyon and running the last three miles through the neighborhoods by my house I was ready to be done.

It's Kiera's birthday today, and she celebrated by making waffles with a new waffle iron, bacon, and muffins. So much for any hope of a caloric debt.

Training: 13 miles, 1:30:20, 6:59 pace, hilly

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Better Exchange Rate

Warm morning temperatures and two kids sleeping until 6 this morning made for a great 10 miles today. When I'm well-fed and rested I honestly can't wait to run on these days, so I was looking forward to my second attempt at the same exchange workout the coach prescribed last week. The goal was a three mile effort broken up into four 3/4 mile sections, with the first and third run at 6 minute pace and the second and fourth run at 5:30 or faster (as fast as I could run while relaxed). After warming up for 6 miles or so I changed shoes and headed out to my one mile course to run the workout. The first 3/4 felt good at 5:55 pace, and when I hit the lap button I ran the next 3/4 mile by feel and ended up at 5:28 pace with some heavy breathing towards the end. With another click of the watch it was back to 6:00 pace for another 3/4, then it was on to the last effort. This time I did look at the watch, and I tried to run as fast as I could while still under control. I ended up averaging 5:15 pace, and when I checked my pulse afterwards I had finally made it up into the low 160's.

All in all I was fairly happy with the workout, especially when comparing it to my attempt at the same workload last week. Not having a 10K in the legs definitely made a big difference.

Work is nuts, so back to it.

10 miles, 1:05:28, 6:33 pace, w/3 miles of 3/4 mile efforts at 5:55, 5:30, 6:00 and 5:15 pace

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Minimum

I'm glad the coach has taken up the slack on the blog over the last few days since I've found myself quite short on time. The art gallery I work for has a show of 350 paintings this week, so look for short updates until then from me. I ended last week with 15 miles on Saturday, including 10 at 6:39 pace and three at 6:09 pace. Sunday was recovery slog in 75 degree afternoon temperatures, which gave me 86 miles for the week.

Today I was about two miles into my run when I realized I was famished. Yesterday's run was at 2pm in 75 degree temps, and I followed it with only a glass of gatorade. For dinner I split one slice of pizza with Haiden and a little cheese bread (like I needed more cheese), and I left the house with my usual cup of coffee this morning and nothing else. It seems to me I should have added another meal in there somewhere. Since the stomach was growling I put in a progression run in an effort to get things done quickly, starting around 7:15 pace and finishing with an average pace of 6:38. While the legs were feeling good, I could definitely feel I was running low on fuel.

Tomorrow is my second go at the "exchange workout", where I'll split 3 miles into 3/4 mile segments alternating between 6 minute and 5:30 pace. Hopefully with some food and a bit more sleep things will go well.

Training: Today, 10 miles, 1:06:25, 6:38 pace
Yesterday, 10 miles, 1:09:19, 6:56 pace
Saturday, 15 miles, 1:39:04, 6:36 pace, w/10 miles at 6:39 and 3 miles at 6:09 pace, felt good.
Total miles for last week: 86 miles in 8 sessions

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Activating and Conditioning

"The adaptation of any given muscle to endurance activity is likely to be proportional to how much that muscle is used. To ensure that as many fibers as possible within a muscle are used, there must be an adequate combination of intensity and duration."

Peter Snell PhD

So exactly what is the adequate combination of intensity and duration?

Let's look at the two ways almost all the fibers in a muscle can be activated. One way is to do a very high load activity such as sprinting all out up a very short steep hill. To generate the force to get up the hill all the fibers have to activated. A second method would be running a 50 mile run that recruits a few fibers and keep going until they fatigue and the next set of fibers take over until they fatigue and continuing until all the fibers have been used. These are the two extremes of getting to all the fibers. Between those two points are a number of paces and distances that will get to all the fibers. Let's look at a representative profile of an average 2:47 marathoner (From Peter Janssen M.D.'s Lactate Tables):

7:00 mile pace 1.5mM lactate 91% Marathon Pace
6:36 2.0mM lactate 97% Marathon Pace
6:22 2.5mM lactate 100% Marathon Pace
6:10 3.0mM lactate 103% Marathon Pace
6:00 4.0mM lactate 106% Marathon Pace


The exact paces and lactate levels are not the important point here, the rate of change is the critical point. Note that decreasing your pace by 24 seconds (from 7:00 to 6:36) raises your lactate by .5mM yet dropping it 10 seconds (from 6:10 to 6:00) raises it 1.0mM. The very next step (6:00 to 5:50) might find it raised by 2.0mM. At some point between 7:00 - 6:36 pace is what Arthur called the maximum steady state. When Arthur referred to "Marathon" training it had as much to do with this pace of running (91%-97% marathon pace) as it did with the length of the runs (20 plus miles). His greatest pupil Peter Snell ran his 10 - 22 mile runs in this pace range (91%-97% marathon pace). This pace in this range is where the mitochondria can process lactate at a high rate with out diffusing it into the blood.

Why is this pace and duration important? As pointed out in the two ways to activate fibers you could do it by running 50 miles slowly (a method that the Japanese marathoners employ) but it is going to take you 6-7 hours of running which is fine if you are a professional runner. A 2 hour run in this pace rage (91%-97) will get to almost all the fibers like the 50 mile run will.

A quick look at the model at this point:


E.........12
D.........11
C.......9...10
B.....6...7...8
A...1..2..3..4..5


Let's say you want to run that 2:47 marathon where do you start? Pace or distance first. This is where the model will help you visualize on how to balance between pace and distance. If you have been running a work out like 6-7 miles at 6:22 pace (marathon pace)it will get the early fibers (1-5) in great condition (with big mitochondria which process lactate efficiently for fuel) but is not long enough to get to fibers 6-12. Adding an easy longer and longer run is one way to activate the later fibers but the only way to maximize their condition (so they develop big mitochondria and process lactate) is to gradually bring down that pace of the long run toward marathon pace. It is not enough to run repeat miles at marathon pace and just add a 3 hour easy run. What you have done there is conditioned fibers 1-5 (good processing rate) and activated fibers 6-12 but not improved their processing rate and efficiency.

As you activate fibers either through speed or distance they are conditioned in the method that you activate them. Run intervals hard to activate all the fibers they become very good at high energy output but not efficient with fuel. Activate them by running very long (and slow) they become very efficient with fuel but not good at high energy output and lactate processing. Arthur figured out by trial and error that running around marathon pace for long periods is the most effective in activating and conditioning.

In real world training how do you evaluate what is going on? A single day evaluation falls into the old saying "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." A single workout or test can give misleading results. The runner gets psyched up for one day and gives an inflated result. This is where the back to back evaluations come in. First a steady 7 mile run at about marathon pace ( the present condition not the goal, starting about 60 second slower than 5K pace) then the next day a progressive run of 10 miles at 91% marathon pace then 3 or more miles at marathon pace. If you can not run under control with the back to backs it indicates your pace is too fast. The next week must be slower (add 15 seconds per mile). As fibers become more efficient the load becomes easier the second day and you will be able to run further and faster with less stress.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day

Back in 1993 Bill Murray stared in a movie titled "Groundhog Day" where patterns happen over and over again until he realizes he cannot escape Groundhog Day. Many runners live "Groundhog Day" and repeat the same training over and over again because they do not evaluate their training and create a method of progression. Many coaches recognize this, read this quote by Renato Canova:

"But when you already are a marathoner for two or three years, and you continue with the same system, this is not a stimulus, so you cannot be ready. So problem was, you are prepared for 35 kilometers, you have fuel for 35 kilometers, because there is a mistake in training.You can improve many years if you have motivation, but you must find what can yet stimulate your body. And if you continue with the same type of training, no more stimulus. So one of the big mistakes of people, in America I think, is that when you are able to follow one type of training, and this training produce good results, you continue.

No, this is the time to change, not to continue!

Because if you continue, you cannot stimulate your body. The overall concept can stay the same, but you must change something — volume or intensity, more modulation, something different, because we need stimulus."

Now think about the Arthur Lydiard system and his original schedule;

12 weeks X-country schedule
6 weeks Road Racing (2 mile schedule)
10 weeks Marathon conditioning
6 weeks hills
10 weeks Track Schedule
4 - 6 weeks track racing
2- 4 weeks off training

Even the 12 week X-country schedule, and 10 week Track Schedule were broken into halves of lower intensity and higher intensity. The training was constantly changing (not caught in "Groundhog Day")

Yesterday Mark asked about evaluating his training regarding loading, it is a very important question. Evaluating your training and changing the load are the keys to running better. Arthur's system had a good method of changing and moving on to progress. Tomorrow's post will cover how to evaluate your condition and how to train to condition all the fibers.

Remember it is only six more weeks to spring.

Back to the Usual

Today marked my return to back-to-back weekend workouts, and while the moderate paces assigned by the coach should have put today and tomorrow in the "workout-lite" category I found myself working fairly hard this morning. For many weeks during my last marathon build I repeated a workout of seven miles at 6:04 pace or thereabouts depending on how I was recovering. Today the same seven miles were set for 6:20 pace, and while I was able to get the work done the result was tempered by feeling pretty labored through the middle of the workout. I could feel my breathing creeping up on me at just after three miles, and after three fairly good runs in a row I was pretty bummed at the effort it took to hold pace and continue. Just before five miles the legs and lungs finally got the message the brain was delivering: I'm finishing the workout regardless of the size of the anchor I'm dragging. After this epiphany things actually improved.

I'm guessing the legs are just biting back a little bit after a few days of decent mileage, so I shouldn't be too upset. Tomorrow I'm set for 10 at 6:45 pace followed by three miles at the same 6:20. Hopefully I'll lose the anchor by then.

Training: 10 miles, 1:05:31, 6:33 pace, w/7 miles at 6:17 pace

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Soggy

After getting rained on for a little over 6 miles last evening while on a slow jog with the Running Shop gang, I awoke to find it still raining this morning. I could feel the 20 miles in the legs from yesterday, and as I pulled on the shorts I looked out the window in the bathroom in vain for any sign of a let up in the weather. If I wanted to get back in time to take Haiden to school I had to leave now.

Today it was just a matter of getting the work in. The miles clicked by as I ran around my down-and-up course, and I got to work quickly on putting in the 7x150 meters of accelerations I skipped yesterday. I've given up on doing these on the dirt road near the house because I feel I just can't get enough grip with my feet to push off with force quickly, which is much of the purpose of these exercises. I run faster and I feel faster when I do these on the roads, but the challenge is finding 150-200 meters on any of my courses without a fair amount of rise or descent. By cramming all seven in over the first 4 miles it can be done on either flat of slight downhill, so that's how it went down.

All in all it was a decent run, and I finished feeling stronger than when I started. With each step the rain seemed to increase, so that by the end it was pretty much pouring. With this weather it's no wonder the pace for the second half of the run was 10 seconds per mile faster than the first half. I couldn't wait to get done and get dry.

Training: 12 miles, 1:21:06, 6:46 pace