Archive for December, 2006

Back from the holidays

The last entry I made was on December 22. Since then, I’ve had some good runs.

December 23 was a recovery run from the nice 9 mile effort the day before. The run was very easy and relaxed, as all the recovery runs have seemed so far. I really see how I need these short easy runs to deal with the effort the Pfitzinger program requires.

The 24th was a long run of 17 miles. It felt really good and I was strong. The only problem was that I had whacked my knee the day before and it was a bit swollen. I have this thing called Osgood Schlater’s disease (don’t ask me what it is – I do know it had something to do with my bone growth when I was younger). It doesn’t really bother me unless I whack it good. I did the other day. I was putting the bird’s nest (we don’t use a star) on the Christmas tree and the wobbly chair I was on gave way and I fell, landing on both knees. It really hurt. I was afraid this run would have to be altered but the knee felt fine and the run was a good one. In the end the run was 17.5 miles in 2:20:10. I felt very strong the whole way.

Monday was Christmas day and a scheduled day off. It was needed and appreciated.

I realized that Tuesday was a pretty hard day – a 9 mile general aerobic run with 4 miles at 15k to half marathon pace. The day was cool and misty; hard to believe that on December 26 I could run in shorts but I did. I ran in the middle part of the state and there are more hills there than in Boston. It was a nice change. I forgot my heart rate monitor so the run was just a pace based thing. It went like this:

8:39, 7:52, 7:38, then the 4 mile pick up began with the first two miles pretty much uphill – 7:10, 6:56, 6:35, 6:38, and then the last four back to a general aerobic pace – 8:15, 8:02.

It was a good workout and a good effort. I felt it, though, and my lungs had a little of that post race burn feeling.

I thought today was supposed to be a recovery day but when I looked at the book I saw 13 miles. Whoa. I guess this is a relatively hard week with a moderate long run after a hard tempo run to stress the body a bit and run when fatigued. I managed it and felt good. The whole run was 135-145 HR and the pace was 8:05 down to 7:50. I did feel it the last three but also sense that it was important to run fatigued. Tomorrow is a recovery run and then Friday is another medium run of 11.

If you don’t read the Running with Lydiard blog, I recommend you do. An interesting entry today about how muscles are used and the Lydiard method.

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Running by effort

My Garmin Forerunner 305 ran out of battery just short of a mile into my run, so for the first time in a while I had to run by feel. I probably ended up running too fast but it felt moderate – like there was a lot more in the tank.  I felt good and in control, actually passing a few people along the way. 

Work has been busy of late and I am feeling some stress over some pending filings.  I don’t know how that will effect my running.  Increased heart rate?  Leg fatigue?  Mental fatigue?  What kind of effects does stress have on people?

I recall a time in law school when I was still running a little.  I had just completed my final exam after two weeks of really intense studying.  I figured I was all done so I went for what I planned would be a six or seven mile run.  No way – about two miles into the run my body completely shut down and I had to walk home.  Even walking I almost didn’t make it back to my apartment.  It was quite a run and I have kept that in my memory ever since.  Your body can put off a lot but eventually, it will tell you “No mas.”  I hope to never experience that again because it was really frightening.

Tomorrow is a recovery 5 mile run and then Sunday is a 17 miler.  I will need to get up early to get my runs in, what with all the holiday obligations cropping up.

12/22  9.0 miles/1:08:00 (approximation on time and mileage due to no HRM or watch)

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A Christmas Carol …

Watched the Patrick Stewart rendition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol last night. I always like watching A Christmas Carol and Its A Wonderful Life at this time of year, but I had never seen the Stewart version before. It was very good; not just because the story is timeless but also because the acting was top notch. I have always liked Stewart’s work – he seems very professional and prepared. Now, I just need to get my Its A Wonderful Life fix. And, then, if I could only put those principles into practice – that’s the hard part.

Run this morning was a little over 5 miles at recovery pace (8:30-8:50 pace). It felt smooth and easy. I’ve got to focus on losing those extra pounds. If I can do that it can only help.

On a separate topic, I replaced the battery on my iPod mini. Now, instead of less than an hour of play time, I am back up to just over four hours. Yea. The replacement was not that difficult but it did leave the top of the mini a bit dinged up. A small price to pay for longer battery life. I got the battery from the batteryship website. No complaints from me. The battery came quickly in the mail and the site had directions that I printed out and followed. The included tools were good but the small plastic flat head screwdriver used for prying the top off the mini didn’t work very well for me. I had to use a small thin metal one of my own to get the top off. That was the hardest part. Everything else was pretty easy. If you do decide to do this make sure you read the directions all the way through beforehand. Good luck.

12/21 5.4 miles/47:02

Busy, busy, busy …

I have been busy with work (finishing up one brief and starting another) , pre-vacation break school stuff to attend with the kids, and other family related matters.  Somehow the time slipped away and I have not posted since the 14th.  Wow.  It doesn’t seem that long.

This week went by well with the running.  Here are the facts:

12/15  9.1 miles/1:10:22

This was meant to be a moderate effort run and it worked out well.  I averaged 7:40 pace with a 151 HR average.  If I recall the middle miles were in the 7:20-7:40 range and the last mile and the first mile were mid 8:00’s.  Overall, a good effort that didn’t take a lot out of me.

12/16  5.3 miles/43:57  recovery day

I ran very easy, averaging 8:38 pace with HR at 134.  I am taking heed of these easy days and of the off days.

12/17  15.6 miles/2:08:18

A long run that averaged 8:18 pace at 146 HR.  I ran very easy to start, maintaining mid 130s HR for the first five and then going to 140-145 for the next five and finishing with the last five in 145-152.  I don’t know if I should be picking up the last third like this but I read an article somewhere where somebody (isn’t that beautiful writing?) indicated that his best races were done where he did a 15 mile workout with a progressive pickup – starting slow, getting into marathon pace and then finishing a bit faster than marathon pace.  I am not up to that but I figure I should pick it up a bit and I like the feel of a good progression run.  We’ll see.

12/18 Off

12/19 8.3 miles/1:05:38

Again, ran at a moderate pace but I started out faster than usual.  I was able to run most of the run from 7:30-7:50 at HR 150-153.  It felt like a good effort that was not taxing.

12/20 12.0/1:41:05

I had to get up early to get this longer run in.  Out the door at 4:45 am.  I kept the HR at 138-142 the whole way and the pace was 8:10-8:20 throughout.  An evenly paced run that felt good and getting in the miles.   Week 18 is done and now I am into week 17.  The mid week run increases in distance and the Sunday run is up to 17 miles.  I remember when I started in March that runs over 14 seemed very long – now, they seem very doable.  I felt like I could do this pace I was at today for a long, long time.  I feel like I may be able to run much faster this April then I did at Cape Cod.  With any luck in the training and staying healthy part, a sub 3:10 is attainable and maybe even a sub 3:05.  That will make the sub 3:00 barrier the next goal – be it fall 2007 or spring 2008.

I need to start planning my racing schedule for this training session.  I don’t know if I should run the New Bedford Half Marathon on March 18 or the Derry 16 mile Boston tune up on January 21.  I saw on the coolrunning website that there is a new half marathon in Newmarket, NH but it is only two weeks before Boston.  I would love to run that since I grew up in Durham and some of the run is on roads I ran on in high school – forever ago.

If anyone is reading this and has an opinion about either or the two races I mentioned above feel free to chime in.  I guess I could do both but for some reason I have shorter races in mind earlier and then a longer tune up closer to Boston.  I guess that would mean that I should do the New Bedford Half.  Maybe, I will do both and use the Derry 16 miler as a training/tempo run.  I will have to see where the fit on the 18 week Pfitzinger schedule.

Starting to feel some change …

Now that I am in the swing of the Pfitzinger 18 week program (for me a 19 week program since I can’t count and started a week early), I can already feel that the longer runs at a slightly faster pace then I have been running, followed up by very easy recovery runs are making a difference.  I can’t quantify it but I just feel it.  That doesn’t sound very scientific but this whole process of marathon training for the long term is a leap of faith to some degree.

Yesterday was an 11.4 mile run at a heart rate ranging from 140-150.  The pace was 7:50-8:10 and felt comfortable.  I am still feeling a little sick but have avoided a full fledged cold – Nyquil seems to have helped a bit.  Today was an easy recovery run of 5.3 miles at a 129 average heart rate; a very easy run.  I think these very easy runs are important because I do feel the longer sustained tempo runs – I am tired after them.  One of these longer, general aerobic runs comes up tomorrow and then a recovery day on Saturday.

With the holiday season coming up, we are confronted with tons of religious images, talk, and opinion (much of it mumbo jumbo to me).  Duncan Larkin has an interesting essay about his time in the armed services.  His brief essay is entitled “Hail and Farewell” and ranges far and wide, but includes a brief snippet of how intolerant many of these religious zealots can be.

Duncan is irreverant, cynical and runs around with a chip on his shoulder, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I like his blog because it is so personal, so him (not that I know him).  He also covers many different topics.  His blog ranges far and wide – from this one I have mentioned to his posting of the Van Halen “Hot for Teacher” video.  Quite a range.  Take a look.   I would hope though, that he gets back to talking about his running.   He has been laid up with a sprained ankle but appears to have overcome that and has begun running again.  His 2:29 mantra is a good read.

11/13 – 11.4 miles/1:32:35

11/14 – 5.3 miles/46:53

Catching up a bit …

Life got busy and I was not able to post for the past few days.

Friday was a moderately hard day – 9.2 miles at a moderate pace.  I ran everything at or under 8:00 minute pace and felt strong.  Saturday was a recovery day – 5.4 miles in 46:41.   I am running a bit harder than I did for the Cape Cod marathon but I am feeling pretty good.  The recovery days are very helpful and are much needed.

Sunday was a long run.  I got up early due to other commitments during the day.  15.2 miles in 2:04:58.  It felt very easy and I felt strong.  Monday was a day off.  I needed that because I felt like I was coming down with a cold and I had a slight cough.

Tuesday was a brisk day.  Another moderate run and the Pftiztinger 18 week schedule kicks in for real.  I ran 8.1 miles in 1:03:09 for a 7:49 pace.  Things felt very easy and I felt surprisingly good despite the lingering worries of a cold.  It will be interesting to see how this harder running works out and if my 43 year old body is able to maintain it.

I think things will settle down a bit now.  I have had some pretty busy work days and that has me bringing some work home at night.  Also, the Christmas season has hit and there are so many things to deal with that it takes up the time I would have at night or earlier in the morning for blogging.

12/8 – 9.2 miles/1:13:28

12/9 – 5.4 miles/46:41

12/10 – 15.2 miles/2:04:58

12/11 – off

12/12 – 8.1 miles/1:03:09

The sudden arrival of winter …

was shocking this morning; and, I couldn’t find my high tech pullover so I was forced to revert to days of old – a long sleeve race shirt from the Leaf Peeper’s Half Marathon and an old, paint splattered Nike sweatshirt.  Surprisingly, it worked.   Gee, this is how I used to run back in college before super micro fiber tech smell absorbing fabric was invented.   In all that time, the essence of running hasn’t changed much – just the attire has.

I have decided that I am a vampire runner.  My 5 AM departure time means that the sun has not risen by the time I get back.  My entire run is done in the dark.  It is weird to think about.  For some reason, this dark and wintry morning got me thinking of poetry – I don’t know why, perhaps the darkness of a cold, windy morning run imparts a mood that befits poetry.  With that in mind, here is an excerpt from a winter poem that fits my mood:

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

From Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind by William Shakespeare.

I don’t know why I am focused on man’s ingratitude today, but I am.  Perhaps it is the nature of my work; perhaps the nature of human interaction in general these days (or my own sorry excuse for interaction with others); perhaps my own ingratitude.   Whatever it is, I told myself I was going to look at life through a more optimistic lens.  I did that with my running but I have fallen short of that outside of my running.  That will be my focus and new year’s resolution – whatever those are worth.

Back to running.

Cold run today.  I felt pretty good this morning but that was not the case yesterday morning.   Yesterday I felt sluggish and slow at the start of my five mile recovery run.  By the end, after running very slow (8:45-9:15 pace) I felt much better.   Then, this morning, all of that bad juice in my body was gone and I was able to run harder without much effort; effort was required today because the wind was in my face for the first half of the run, but the effort was not a strenuous, oh-I-don’t-want-to-be-here effort.  It was a solid, I can do this effort.  If that makes any sense.

I kept the heartrate at 148-155 and managed paces from 7:46-8:08 for 9 miles.  This may not seem fast but there was a strong wind and I did feel very controlled the whole time.  It felt like a moderate effort and that is what was called for today.  Overall, I feel pretty good and I am pleased that the recovery did exactly that – allowed me to recover.

Tomorrow is another recovery run and then a long 15 mile jaunt awaits on Sunday.

Thursday – Recovery run 5.4 miles/46:25

Friday – General Aerobic 9.2 miles/1:13:28


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What I am reading:

Again to Carthage, Robert L. Parker

Music I am listening to:

LCD Soundsystem, This Happens Gorillaz, Plastic Beach