Archive for January, 2007

Felt great today …

Last nights 4 miler (making it my first double day in about 20 years) went well. It felt easy and relaxed. Dark out again, but just a different feel doing a run at the end of the day. I felt like a runner again what with doing two a days. Anyway, after the run I was curious to see how I would feel for todays 14 miler. Not to worry. I felt great.

This morning I left a bit later for my run after getting up early to do some work. I am getting tired of running in the dark so I decided to shake things up with early morning work and running in the bright light of the day! Spring can’t come soon enough. Well, anyway, I started off at about 7:15 and decided that I would keep my HR between 140 and 150 – pushing it a little harder than I usually do. I ran very strong the whole way and felt exceptional. Each mile zipped by and I did not feel any fatigue.

Here is how it went:

Mile Time Dist. Avg Max
HR HR
1 8:08 1.00 136 145
2 8:07 1.00 143 149
3 8:03 1.00 142 149
4 7:58 1.00 144 150
5 7:55 1.00 146 154
6 7:55 1.00 145 152
7 7:46 1.00 148 154
8 7:48 1.00 147 151
9 7:43 1.00 147 154
10 7:47 1.00 147 155
11 7:36 1.00 149 156
12 7:51 1.00 149 155
13 8:04 1.00 148 155
14 7:45 1.00 149 155

As you can see, I managed to keep my avg HR under 150 and managed to run most of the miles under 7:55 pace. I was very pleased with this workout.

I am thinking about running a race in two Sundays. It is the Stew’s 15K in Lynn, MA. I have a scheduled 20 miler that day but figure I can do the race, some warmup miles, and then five after the race and that would be a pretty good effort for the day. I am itching to see how my training will translate into racing.

1/30/07 4.2 miles/35:26/8:30 pace/131 HR (second run of day)

1/31/07 14.0 miles/1:50:51/7:54 pace/145 HR

Month total for January – 281.1 miles

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Today, I played the role of …

slow old man.

Two runs are scheduled for today; both are labeled “recovery” runs. The first one, I took to heart. Six miles in 53:37. That’s a smokin’ 8:53 pace at a 134 HR. Recovery runs are meant to be slow right? Right? If I say it enough I will convince myself. I have read enough to know that many of the “experts” say that we run our hard runs too hard and our slow runs not slow enough. So, I can’t believe this recovery run was too fast. My question is, is it too slow? I don’t know. I will let you know how slow the pm run turns out – all 1 or 2 of you (and sometimes the zero of you – if a blog posts and nobody hears it does it exist?).

* * *

On to something different –

Duncan Larkin over at Roads, Mills, Laps has been showing his artistic side lately. Today’s piece is nice, but it’s his diatribe after that really sparkles. Go check it out as I sit here, not in Walter Reed Hospital or never having been there. But, I think his point is a good one – I wonder if any of my representatives or senators, who voted for the war visited Walter Reed. Most likely not.

On the same war vein, I was listening to an NPR podcast this morning called Rough Cuts with Michel Martin. The episode I caught was entitled “Powerful Voices.” I wanted to briefly mention an interview Ms. Martin had with an Iraqi woman – Mishkat Al Moumin. Ms. Al Moumin made two comments that stuck with me and made me wonder if our leaders think of how to deal with the Iraq “problem” as its now being called.*

The two comments were this:

  1. When the power goes out in Iraq it has a cultural ripple effect. Since it is warm in this desert area (not a big surprise, eh?), the air conditioners don’t run because people don’t have back up generators. So, instead of staying in their homes watching tv, reading, or playing with the computer, Iraqui’s go to the nearest mosque because they have backup generators and air conditioning. The price for this air conditioning, she said, was that they have to listen to the jihadist preachings at the mosque. So, for the lack of electricity, there is indoctrination. Can’t we just get the electricty to work?
  2. She noted that a general or some other commander type of a unit undertook a study to figure out where his men were being attacked the most. His information told him this – where there is no trash pick up. Her take on this was that it was easy to hide roadside bombs, or whatever it is that is used to blow up the american boys, in piles of trash. How can you tell if a pile of trash contains a bomb. So, one immediate thing (and I don’t know how simple this would be) to do, apart from also giving our boys the proper equipment they have lacked, is to pick up the trash.

These were two comments that made me think. I’ve never heard this kind of analysis of how to deal with the issues over in Iraq. Does the president hear this kind of stuff? I doubt it.

Anyway, you should check out Duncan’s site and the npr podcast Rough Cuts.

1/29/07 Off

1/30/07 6.0 miles/53:37/8:53 pace/134 HR

* Isn’t it really a joke that Iraq is a problem (that’s how the president described it on 1/10/07 in this link, and I quote “Our enemies throughout the Middle East are trying to defeat us in Iraq. If we step back now, the problems in Iraq will become more lethal, and make our troops fight an uglier battle than we are seeing today.”)?

It’s not a problem. It’s a fiasco, a complete mess, a horrible decision supported by our president, his adminstration, most of our representatives and senators, and most of the country at the outset. It was based on lies. It has killed thousands of our young boys and girls. It makes me mad when I see the pictures of dead people (both Americans and Iraqis) on the front page of the NY Times. It’s not a problem and to call it such minimizes what has happened. End of rant.

Big weekend mileage …

I last published on Friday after running 8 miles instead of the 11 planned.  I decided to flip flop my Friday and Saturday runs because of the cold weather and my lack of preparedness for it.  So Saturday was an 11 mile run with 10 x 100 meter strides at the end followed on Sunday by a 21 miler.  Here is how it went.

Saturday’s run went well.  I ended up doing 12.1 miles because I didn’t really figure in the strides at the end of the run – that adds about another mile to the run.  I ran most of the run at 8:00-8:15 pace and the HR was mid 140s.  I, surprisingly, felt easy and strong.  This time I had a ski mask on, two pairs of running pants, two layers of gloves for my hands and two long sleeve layers under my Asics all weather top.  I was nice and warm – the temperature was about 9 degrees so still cold, but not as cold as Friday.  I was a bit tired by the end but managed to run the strides strong – they were more than I thought they would be.  But, as I’ve said before, I think they are important for being able to get my legs into a different gear when the harder lactate threshold runs show up in the next few weeks.

Later that day, I went with my son to the Reebok Boston Indoor meet.  It was amazing.  I will post separately on that and see if any of the pictures I took are decent enough to upload – I am not much of a photographer.  But, sitting in the stands for three hours didn’t do much for my legs.

After Saturdays run and sitting in the stands of the Reggie Lewis Center, I was a bit worried about how I would hold up for the long Sunday run.  I am happy to report it went well.  I ran the Boston course – out 10.5 miles from my house and then back (my 10.5 miles put me at the top of the first hill just after you go over route 128 so I ran the last three hills).  This ended up being a pretty good uphill start because the down from the top of heartbreak hill is pretty good, so when I went out in 8:20-8:40 pace for the first six miles I was not too concerned.  I ran easy with a HR in the high 130s to low 140s (the sixth mile was pretty much uphill so my 145 avg HR was not that big of a deal).

I managed to then keep the next five miles at 8:00-8:15 with a 142-144 HR.  That put me at the turn around and I picked it up a bit.  I know that as the mileage gets up there on the run I just can’t keep the HR under 150 – hey the body is working and it requires more pumping.  The next 10 miles went like this (with the first 4 including the three hills on that stretch of the course):

  1. 8:11/148
  2. 8:01/151
  3. 8:05/153
  4. 8:14/154
  5. 7:49/155
  6. 7:57/153
  7. 7:57/155
  8. 8:00/160
  9. 7:49/160
  10. 7:32/163

I felt very good and finished strong.   I was not totally spent at the end and felt like I could have kept that pace up pretty easily for another five miles.

I am very pleased with how the week ended.  Today is an off day of recovery and Tuesday is a double (the first one of the schedule) but listed as recovery – 6 in the AM and 4 in the PM.  I will try to run the PM run by running home from work.  We will see how that goes since I have not run in the evening in quite some time; I rarely start a run later than 9 am and I wonder how my body will react to running in the evening – something I used to do a lot of in high school when I lived in Florida.  In Florida, you’d wait until the sun went down during the summer so that it was a bit cooler.  Even at night, the humidity and heat were tough.  Those days seem forever ago when I run in 9 degree weather.

1/27/07  12.1 miles/1:38:35/8:08 pace/147 HR  with 10 x 100 mete strides

1/28/07  21.1 miles/2:52:21/8:10 pace/147 HR

Week total:  71.6 miles

Coldest day in two years …

Wow, it was really cold this morning. I had loaded up and thought I would be warm but I went out without a ski mask or something to put over my face. That ended up being my demise. I planned on an 11 miler this morning. I had to get up early because I was driving the kids to school at 7:25 am. I hit the road at 5:15 am and managed 2.5 miles into the wind. It was 4 degrees when I left and with the windchill I imagine it was 10 below. My face was really freezing and my legs were also getting cold (I had on only a pair if Hind stretchy pants) when I turned around and headed for the treadmill. I figured that the 2.5 more miles into the wind that I had planned might lead to frostbite on my face. I dont’ know if this was an overreaction but it was really cold and I hadn’t fully prepared. So, I headed by home and did 3 more miles on the treadmill at 8:00 pace with 2% incline. I didn’t have a HR monitor because I was wearing the Garmin and I don’t think it works if there is no satellite signal – I could be wrong on that.

Due to time constraints I lowered my 11 to 8 and will do 11 tomorrow instead of the plannned 8. Sunday will be a 21 miler. I expect I will feel some good fatigue on Sunday. The weather should be in the 20s tomorrow and 30s on Sunday. Better.

Wednesday was a 14 miler that went well. I felt good with a bit of fatigue in the hips the last two miles. Thursday was very easy recovery run of 5 miles at 8:45-8:50 pace.

__________________________

I have been listening to podcasts on my way to work and have stumbled upon Phedippidations at this site. Episode 80 was very interesting with a discussion about how George Sheehan influenced and inspired Steve to run. It was a great listen and inspiring. Check it out.

On another podcast front, I used Garageband (I have a mac at home) to record a project for my daughter. We read a scene from Aristophanes, The Frogs in both Greek (my wife was a classics major so she helped with the pronunciation of the original greek that I found on the web) and English. The kids were pretty excited about the project. My point is that the process was really simple. Maybe I will get into podcasting. I don’t know, though, what my focus would be – running, the law, baseball, music, etc. I will see how this blog goes before I try to expand. For whatever it is worth, though, Garageband is pretty cool and accessible.

1/24/07 14.4 miles/2:00:05/8:20 pace/151 HR

1/25/07 5.3 miles/47:07/8:53 pace/129 HR

1/26/07 8.25 miles/1:07:06/8:08 pace/HR unknown

Slippery running …

It’s hard to believe that we had our first snow of the year on January 22. It wasn’t much, but there was snow on the running path that made traction difficult. At least, that is the excuse I am using for not being able to run at 6:50 pace for my 5 mile pickup.

Today’s run was a 10 miler with 5 miles at 15k to half marathon pace. This should come in at between 6:50 and 7:00 pace. Needless to say I couldn’t do that at a 165 HR.   The 5 mile pick up went like this – 7:18 (160), 7:13 (163, 7:08 (165), 6:59 (167), and 7:08 (168).  That is not what I was anticipating for a result for this workout.

This surprises me but as our long ago Partiot Coach Bill Parcell’s would say “You are what you are.” And I guess that means I am not as fast as I’d hoped. I really thought I would be able to run faster at this pace but I guess I am fooling myself. I need more of a base to be able to drop my marathon time from 3:17 to 3:05. I might not even have enough to get to 3:10. This may be my own obstinancy. I used to run fast and I should be able to get back there in a year. Nah. It’s gonna take longer then that and I’d just better get used to that reality. Enjoy making progress and don’t expect too much to come back all at once. That should be what I focus on.

Maybe I will run a race soon, just to see where I am at. One race can’t hurt. It isn’t like the whole training program will get out of whack. I need to get real and stop worrying about how fast I can run Boston and just focus on staying healthy and getting better.

1/23/07 10.5 miles/1:22:06/7:49 pace/151 HR

Relationship between distances …

I reviewed the Hadd article again and read the section about how you should have a good relationship between distances. The article talks about how when you double distance your pace should increase 15-17 seconds (approx). The point is not precision but getting a general sense about your relationship and your aerobic conditioning.

When I look at my times from the last year it shows that I still need to work on my aerobic conditioning.

5k – 20:00/6:26 pace
10k – 41:11/6:37 pace/should be 6:42 pace
Half -1:32:48/7:04 pace/should be about 7:00 pace
Marathon – 3:17:52/7:32 pace/should be about 7:18 pace

So, this makes me think that I still have some aerobic base building to do. That doesn’t come as a great shock since I’ve only been running again for about a year. This does make me think though that a 7:10 pace marathon may be too ambitious.

I guess, though, that doing some racing will give me some new fitness points for evaluation. I think I can do a faster half and I do think my 3:17 at Cape Cod was on a rough day.

Races

In terms of planning some races I note that Pfitzinger has 3 races scheduled – Week 6 to go, Week 4 to go, and Week 2 to go. It is interesting that he schedules races on Saturdays and then no recovery but straight into long runs (18, 18, and 17). Most races are on Sundays for some reason, but I have found 2 races for two of the Saturdays. I may, though, just switch the long run to Saturday and race on Sunday – not resting at all for the New Bedford Half.

Here are the races:

Sat, March 3 – Quonset Point 10 miler in North Kingston, RI

Sat, March 17 – Holyoke St. Patrick’s Road Race (10k) in Holyoke, MA
or
Sun, March 18 – New Bedford Half Marathon

Sun, April 1 – Cohasset Rotary 10k

I am leaning toward the New Bedford Half just because I like the distance and the next week is a 10k.

Recovery week ends …

Sunday’s run was a medium long run that ended a week of recovery. I feel pretty good but I do feel as if my HR is up. Anyway, I ran 7 miles out and back on the Boston Marathon course. I figure that since I live in Boston I might as well take advantage of my ability to become familiar with the course.

The run out was into the wind and uphill – I ran between 8:10-8:25 pace which was high 130s to low 140s. I turned around at was just shy of mile 20 of the course, which is where the last serious hill on the course is – heartbreak hill. This, though, is not the last hill on the course. I think that some of the slight upgrades (particularly right at mile 25 when you cross over the Massachusetts Turnpike) will exact their toll.

The last seven miles of the run were 8:12, 7:43, 7:38, 7:44, 7:33, 7:39, and 7:58. Most of these were in the high 140s which was probably harding then I should have been running. The downhill, though, just pulled me along.

I do wonder about the HR training. Should I still be focusing on staying around 140? In the Hadd article (which I don’t think the link to it works anymore), the training schedule for “Joe” his easy days ranged from 140 to 155 HR. Is this because Joe is younger than I am? If so should my days be 135-150? If that is true then I should be running more runs in the high 140s which is what I have started to do. “Joe’s” schedule though rarely called for runs over 160; that is not the case for me when I run Pfitzinger’s 15k to Half marathon pace – that is in the mid 160 to low 170 range.

This gets me confused. I want to make sure I am running hard enough but not too hard, and easy enough but not too easy; brilliant thinking there, right?

Anyway, I think I am going to try to keep things around 140 and then not worry too much about ending in the low 150s on longer runs. I think, though, my recovery runs of 5 miles should be in the mid 130s – that seems easy but not silly.

Today is an off day.

1/21/07 14.3 miles/1:54:08/7:54 pace/147 HR

Week total:  56.8 miles


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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