Friday, January 7, 2011

Did a 10k time trial this morning to see where I'm at 6 weeks before the marathon.
56:27... so clearly, by McMillan, I'm ready for a 4:24 marathon on ~33 miles per week of training even though I've missed about 1/3 of my runs in the last two weeks due to allergies :-)

All my training paces have been focused on a 5:00 or better marathon, and if by some miracle my allergies aren't bad on race day I still think I can do it, but I'll be happy with finishing at this point.
Finishing my first 20 miler last weekend and not feeling terrible while doing it helps my confidence. Hopefully a couple more will build my endurance and I'll have a nice, boring race report for ya'll soon.

That's the funny thing about running... when it's going well, it's actually quite boring.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lower 50's, overcast, slight breeze... absolutely perfect running weather for me. 17.5 miles all right on my chosen pace for the day. The last mile or two was definitely more work than the first couple, but a shot block and a few swigs of water every 3 miles or so as I made each lap of the neighborhood and I was good all morning. Running up and down the stairs to get the house ready for a party tonight is not exactly fun now, but not impossible. Next weekend is a cutback to just 12 miles but after that I'll start my prerace ritual of a bagel before setting out for long runs and try the flavor of Gatorade they'll provide on the race course. Sometime soon I also need to try a long run that incorporates some of the uphill segments from the marathon. I just don't have a route in the neighborhood that has that much sustained climbing (some of my streets are steeper than the race course, but they're only for 1/2 mile at a time or so, and hill repeats are not the same thing as going uphill for an hour.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today I am NOT a runner...

... and I'm kinda OK with that. Because last night I was too busy just being a dad to sleep. Our son has been fighting some allergies for a few days and the drainage was enough last night that he got sick to his stomach.
Three times
At 2AM
In the upstairs hallway
On the carpet
Right outside the bathroom

This is a very frustrating thing for me, because, also suffering from allergies, I hadn't been sleeping too well before that, and I had plans to wake up early to run. Running on 6 hours of sleep in the pre-dawn darkness when it's cold is not always kind to me, so I really wanted to get those 6 hours of sleep, but I didn't. I had about 3 hours in when I heard a door open upstairs. It's not entirely out of the ordinary for this to happen, because (thank God!) my son is fully capable of waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, wash his hands, and go back to bed all without a fuss. (Why he can't do this as quickly when we're in a hurry to leave for school in the morning is one of those great mysteries of the universe.) I also heard him coughing, which isn't that weird since we've all been coughing this week and waking up never seems to help.
So I simply turned over and tried to find a way to lie down that didn't hurt (I mysteriously injured my back by waking up last week and it's been a lingering problem.) until I heard a curious noise... the sound of someone puking isn't something you hear alot (unless you're in college... or perhaps a grade school teacher) so it always takes me a few seconds to put it together... it's like coughing, but more wet.
My wife is a gifted sleeper. She can sleep through a great many things, and that's a good thing in this case since she's an accomplished puker as well. Just thinking about somebody else eating some bread that's a bit old might just be enough to give her dry heaves. Combining these two superpowers, legend has it that she once puked in the middle of the night and turned over to sleep on the clean side of the better, having never awoken! (Her other great superpower is the ability to tighten the lids on jars beyond her ability to reopen them, but that's not important right now :-) Her magical puking powers mean I'm the one to clean up any puke in the house, lest the puke be magnified by her puking when attempting to deal with it. So it should be evident that if I wanted to have a puke-free bed to sleep in, I needed to quiet down the action upstairs very quickly!
I hustled upstairs just in time to see that our son was pretty much done emptying his stomach onto the hallway, but I rushed him into the bathroom just in case there was any more in there.
I got him cleaned up and in fresh PJ's...gave him a few minutes of wavering on his feet to make sure he was done, and let him go back to bed.
I wondered for a moment at the joy that he'd managed to get out of his room before popping, and then fell into a moment of sorrow that he'd decided to wander into the hall instead of just staying the bathroom. Because the bathroom has a tile floor. The hall has cheap carpet that stains if you look at it funny. And there was a foot-wide swath of puke-colored puke spots spattered over it for several feet. And I was standing in one :-(

I reached around the bathroom doorway to grab some kleenex and got my feet clean enough to walk back downstairs and grab a stack of cleaning towels and the carpet cleaner spray.
I then spend at least half an hour converting the stack of clean towels to a stack of not-so-clean towels and generally being not too happy. Amazing how corn looks exactly the same after being chewed up and digested for half the night. At least our son has finally learned to chew his food... if I didn't know we had burgers for dinner I don't think I would have guessed that's what most of the other stuff was. Somewhere around 3 AM I finally hauled a bag of disgusting downstairs to the kitchen, where I could rinse the chunky disgusting out of the cleaning towels and into the garbage disposal. By 4 AM I had gotten things to a state where I would not want to blow chunks myself when dealing with it later and stumbled back to bed.

Now if I were REALLY a runner, I'd have gotten up again at 5 and gotten my miles in. But today, I'm just a tired dad. And I'm OK with that.

(A sure sign of the coming apocalypse (or at least being really busy) another back-dated blog post, sorry)

Since the great puke incident of November, things have been well. I've logged all my planned miles and am on my second pair of running shoes for the year, with a third planned before the marathon. I have bought running gloves and a running hat and survived sleet, wind, and cold. I have "eaten" Gu on the run and been on runs so long I had to visit some discreet bushes along the side of the road to get rid of the water I would have sweated out in the summer.
This weekend: my first 17-mile run! This will be my first 40-mile week!
Next weekend: a "rest", cutting back to just a 12-mile Saturday run.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wind is not my friend

Saturday was my longest run ever: 13 miles. It was also my first run with my shiny new cheap $20 windbreaker from Target (well worth the price!). In open areas the wind was gusting 12 to 20 MPH according to intellicast... early on it was just a giant wakeup call that left me feeling cold so I ran a bit fast to stay warm... bad idea. On my third lap of the neighborhood I was definitely feeling the extra effort. I don't keep a real close eye on pace in long runs but even a glance at the minute hand was enough to tell me I was fading and on the final uphill I had lost at least a couple minutes but after a couple hours I was no longer sure what time I had started or even what the previous split had been. The route I had chosen takes me up a road of increasing steepness, ending at a corner that I then realized turned directly into the wind. I made it to the top in a full run but hitting the wind just dropped me to a walk immediately. The extra effort, wind, and Friday's marathon pace run all combined with no breakfast and no calories added up to walking for a few minutes. Even downhill the headwind kept me dropping to a walk on the last mile at times.
Maybe this weekend I'll try out that sports Gu I've had sitting in the pantry for a couple months, since I suspect it will be just as windy.
Hopefully I'll improve over the next few months, but if it's windy on race day right now I'll be glad to finish at any pace!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a difference a day makes...

I've finally settled on my last training plan. Honest... only 2 weeks into it, even!

It's basically Higdon's Intermediate II plan with minor adjustments to accommodate life.
Saturday was the first time I did a long run the day after doing a faster run (the orange boxes are days the plan calls for marathon-pace runs, with everything else at an easy pace a good minute or more slower than marathon pace). 5 miles in I could tell it's certainly different from doing a long run after a rest day. I was totally comfortable with the effort, but my legs definitely felt the difference. Being a few degrees colder and a little windy but without thicker clothes probably made a difference too, but I wasn't really feeling that after a couple miles. The biggest difference was running down slopes, but that could have been cold legs as well. I had been thinking of pushing to 10 miles instead of the 8 in the plan to make up for lost time due to my lack of deciding on the plan until over a week into it, but that thought ended at mile 6 after climbing the steepest hill in the neighborhood.

Sunday was a rest day and Monday was supposed to be an easy 3 miles but I went a bit too fast trying to stay warm. Tuesday I went too fast the whole 6 miles trying to stay warm. Today I finally got it (or got tired of aching legs) and almost held back to the easy pace.

These short mile days really mess with me. I spend half the run just warming up and alot of time aching. Running slow just feels like pounding the pavement instead of enjoying a natural stride. Hopefully a day off and a faster run Friday will put me in the right mood for my longest run yet: 13 miles on Saturday to cap off my highest-mileage week yet!

Still checking the Austin Marathon website 3X a day hoping they'll publish the final route :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010

When is an easy 5 miles not easy?

When you spent most of yesterday out in the sun moving tables and doing other work at the neighborhood Halloween party and then stayed up late trick-or-treating. Definitely didn't want to roll out of bed this muggy morning but after a mile or so I was glad I did. I was glad to wake up anyway since I was having a weird dream where Harry Potter goes to prison. Hey, I said it was weird!

In better news, I tried something new Saturday morning. I got up at 6 and got in about 5 miles on the road waiting for the sun to come up and then got to hit the trails for the first time in months. A bit slow going at first since it was still pretty dark but got to pick up the pace on the way back. I do need to look into some actual cold weather gear real soon now, though!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Livestrong 5K Race Report

I'll call my first-ever race a success, even though I was a bit disappointed with a few things.
Finished in 29:37 or so by the timer in my phone. I hadn't intended to run with my phone (or car keys, or extra safety pins) but the bag check I expected wasn't there. Luckily I did have my phone since there was no race clock and I don't have a working watch other than my big heavy Tag that I didn't want to run with.
I learned that when they don't have start corrals or other guidance, if you care about time, you get in line early, but the team I was running with were busy taking pictures and chatting and being the new guy I didn't want to press the issue.
Getting down to the race:
We crossed the start line about 8 minutes after the start, and had some trouble getting around the folks walking (and even pushing strollers!) until we got past the chute and could run on the other side of the road to pass people. Once I broke out I pretty much ran as fast as I could until we hit the first hill and I eased up to about what I thought was my target pace.
With no mile or km markers on course my only feedback was passing the water station, which I guessed was half distance and I did it about 30 seconds after half my target time. So I guessed I was running a bit behind but not being used to speed work anymore I was fighting a side stitch at that point and just went as fast as I could without making it worse.
Heading toward the finish, we were blessed with a bit of a down slope so I got my breath back and once I saw the tall buildings of downtown and came upon some thicker crowds I figured it was time to go back to full speed. I put my head down and more or less sprinted what I guess is the last half mile. I hoped to cross the line in a sprint but heading up the slope of the bridge where start/finish was and the narrowed course I had to back off a bit. The last 100 meters I felt like puking and decided to just go as hard as I could and hope not to yak on any brave cancer survivors!

The joy of finishing and relief of dropping to a walking pace was enough to bring it back together, and a light sprinkle from the clouds cooled everyone off nicely. Good thing since I was coming into the finish too fast to go through the misters or get a cool towel!

So, thanks to $480 in donations my goal time was 28 minutes (I did a gag where I'd take a second off the pace for every dollar donated, starting at a conservative 36 minutes :-) and I ended up missing it by 97 seconds.

A bit disappointing but I learned alot from the experience and have a good start to training for the marathon. If everything goes well, I should be able to beat 5 hours, and if I ever do another organized short race, I'll either pick one that takes timing more seriously or get there earlier (or at least not spend all my free time chatting!).

One of the highlights of the morning had to be seeing Fatty in person. It's not too often you get to yell "Hi Fatty" at someone and have them smile back!