Tuesday, July 31, 2007

41:12 :: 5.5 miles (3x800)

Sharp speed workout. 3x800 hard with 1:30 recovery. Definitely more mentally challenging than physically. The anticipation was the hardest part!

I did my 1200m loop, starting and ending at the same point with a 100m jog back to the start. The GPS showed 811m, 812m, 821m for the three reps, so I must have been running wide of what I laid out. Time isn't really relevant, though it is a nice bit of mental candy floss.

2:16.90(165), 2:19.23(171), 2:19.22(171)

I definitely charged in, head first. I was relieved that I had gotten under 2:20, which relaxed me a lot (rather than freaking out about going too fast). The first was the easiest of the three, then the second and third were very tough--very strong, deep vents, constantly fighting to relax, trying not to allow the rigging up to pull the form apart. The only difference between the last two was that I was able to change gears in the last 150 on the third one.

I'm sure I have run that hard before, but I don't remember it. Today was something else. Excellent workout!

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Monday, July 30, 2007

57:36 :: 7.5 miles

Recovery run. Really slow this morning, although I wouldn't say tired. For whatever reason, just didn't feel like I could run much faster.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

1:04:27 :: 9 miles

Easy run. Also did 13 miles on the bike later in the afternoon. Very hot today.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

1:26:18 :: 13.5 miles

Easy run. Checking out the half marathon course.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

1:10:15 :: 10+ miles (10x1000m)

The workout this morning went very well. After yesterday's miscalculation, Mystery Coach asked me to try the workout again with closer to 3:20 for the reps. Fortunately, I quit yesterday before getting too much volume in, and I was ready for the workout this morning. No problem getting 10 reps, with the majority holding back slightly to 3:18-3:19, and a few relaxed at 3:13-3:14. The faster pace came easily, and the slower pace felt, well, slow and heavy. Recovery was excellent.

3:19(152-:50) | 3:19(158-:42) | 3:14(159-:52) | 3:18(159-:49)
3:18(160-:47) | 3:19(161-:51) | 3:13(162-:64) | 3:18(162-:62)
3:19(162-:64) | 3:14(164-:54)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

35:32 :: 5 miles (4x1000m)

Busted speed workout. Instructions for 5-10x1000m on 5:00 from the coach didn't include a time for the 1000s, so I guessed around 3:03-3:05, or about 5K goal pace. I guessed wrong. This should have been a volume workout, around 3:15-3:20 for the reps. I found that out later. Anyway, here is the workout:

3:00.8(164-:58) | 3:01.6(166-1:22) | 3:06.5(166-1:20) | 3:09.9(166-1:22)

The first two felt good, and then the wheels fell off one at a time. I briefly considered waiting a few minutes and then doing a few more at 3:05-3:10, but ended up jogging off the last recovery and calling it a day.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'll Be Here All Week, Folks...

The weather has been like this for four or five days now, long enough for me to get excited about running in -20F weather again. I honestly do like the cold much better. At least I can dress for it.

Once the dew point gets to 70F, the air temperature really doesn't matter anymore because the sweat can't evaporate very efficiently. It's really more like basting. This morning and yesterday morning temps were already in the mid-70s with a 70F+ dewpoint. Hostile. Fortunately, this only tends to happen for a couple of weeks each summer before fading to run of the mill warm and humid days. Fun.

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No Run

Excruciating back and neck pain. Took the day off, as I can barely walk today, let alone run. Hopefully things will loosen up by tomorrow morning, as the worst of it usually passes in a couple of days.

First zero in a while. Disappointed that it is such a stupid thing as a muscle spasm in a non-running related area, but happy that it is not a running injury. Things are gong well enough, so I've no real concerns about missing a day right now.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

52:12 :: 8 miles

Easy at the beginning, then sub 6:20s by the end, all very comfortable. Having some really bad back pain for the first four miles or so. Very muggy, hot, and humid--76F with a 71F dewpoint at 5:00am, with highs in the mid-90s. I love the Continental climate.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

1:29:53 :: 13.11 miles

Easy run. Out putting the finishing touches on a half-marathon course that will be used for a race in town next month. High 70s with some humidity and breezy. Felt good.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

1:35:15 :: 13.75 miles

Easy run. Putting together a half-marathon course, so I went out trying to scrape some bits together that will make an enjoyable run. Right now it's about 70% bike path near the river, and 30% residential, some of which passes by pretty cool, old, craftsman style bungalows and foursquares. We are also very fortunate to have a lot of 80-100 year old American Elm trees throughout the city, which arch over the roadways, providing plenty of shade for the course.

Feeling totally fine from yesterday's 16x400.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

1:17:00 :: 10 miles (16x400)

Mystery Coach's assignment: 16x400 in 72-73 with 200-400m jog recovery, go on recovering to <125HR. Workout went well. Some confusion as to how fast/slow to jog recovery. I was supposed to stop if I reached 400m of recovery jog and the HR did not get below 125. That very nearly happened on the 8th rep (402m at 124HR). I was running at 6:00-6:15 per km for the recoveries prior to that, and then switched to 7:00+ per km for the next few and was suddenly recovering in 250m. If I had maintained the former pace, I would have been done at nine, but by slowing the recovery, but still recovering for about the same amount of time, I was able to get to the sub-125HR. Kind of like law and politics (it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is, or some such logical parsing). Not sure what the right thing was to do. I guess what I consider important is that the workout was not stressful physically, so the pace was right or even a touch slow, and the recovery from a 'feel' standpoint was quick--I felt ready to go again in 1:00-1:15 for every rep, though the HR was still in the high 130s at that point.

I ran these on an out and back grass course rather than a track. There was about a 6-8 mph wind, in my face for the out, and at my back for the return. I did my last rep on the road, and there was no significant difference in time for the effort--I suspect I lost .5 a second per rep due to the grass surface, but my legs felt much better. There was about a 1 second difference per rep depending on the wind.

72.5(151-1:32|210m) | 73.3(158-1:52|270m)
74.6(158-1:44|270m) | 73.6(159-2:06|340m)
74.7(159-2:08|340m) | 73.6(158-2:14|370m)
74.1(159-2:24|390m) | 72.6(159-2:24|400m)
73.1(158-2:00|260m) | 73.2(156-1:44|240m)
74.4(160-1:52|250m) | 73.2(160-2:20|310m)
73.4(159-2:22|320m) | 71.9(159-2:14|360m)
73.0(161-2:28|370m) | 72.2(161-2:17|390m)

That's enough for now. Maybe some thoughts later. Lots to do over the next several days, and I am taking a couple of days off work to do it. Fun, fun, fun! Later.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

1:20:46 :: 12.36 miles

Easy run with a few moderate paced miles. HR averaged 140 for the run, so a bit more up tempo overall than what I have been doing lately. I'm anticipating a speed workout in the next two days, so I didn't want to go too crazy. I had a little bit of a tight IT band on the right side, but otherwise felt pretty good.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

56:00 :: 8 miles

Easy run. HR was 53 standing around before the run, but averaged 137 for the run, which is 4-5 bpm higher than normal for the pace. Legs felt really good this morning.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

15:44.1 :: Prairie Rose State Games 5K

Good run. Weather was perfect--60F, no wind, sunny, but shaded for the most part, and just slightly humid. The course was certified, and was flat for the most part. Two gradual and slight uphills during mile two, one short, sharp uphill, and one gradual and slight downhill near the start. Lindenwood is a nice park, and there were a good number of spectators there cheering us on.

Unfortunately this was a down year for the State Games, and though the turnout was good, the competition was just not there. Joel Rovang, local stud runner, was running, but went for the 10K. Second place in the 5K was just over 18:00. I was well-prepared for the possibility of running alone following my two mile workout on Wednesday. Mentally, I was able to push myself through the fatigue well, and physically, I was really feeling the positive effects of the 12x400 workout from eight days ago.

I got a quick e-mail from the Mystery Coach on Saturday night:

It looks like sub 15:50 is on tap for this weekend (actually to be exact 15:44.7 (ha ha)) with some good competition and weather

So, of course as I approach the line and see 15:43...15:44...I wanted to bust out laughing! Of course, I was breathing too hard to laugh at the time. It's uncanny how his knowledge and experience can combine to consistently pull off these predictions. Coupling that with the fact that nobody really knows who he is makes it all the more fun.

Anyway, the nuts and bolts of the race:
5:02.15(168) | 5:05.94(175) | 5:04.03(178) | 33.77(180)

3:06(156) | 3:10(174) | 3:08(175) | 3:11(176) | 3:05(178) | :06(180)
(The GPS shows the course as long, and it probably is due to certification, hence the extra few seconds at the end.)

The GPS had me at 3.12 miles with a time of 15:45.96, and the last segment is a couple seconds long from not stopping the watch until I was five meters into the finish. Also, you'll see in the official results that no matter what the timer got you at, your time is rounded up to the next second for the official record. Hrmmmph. Certified road courses steal enough time the way it is! =)

The legs felt very strong, and, again, the lungs seemed to be holding me back somewhat. Breathing was extremely heavy from 3000m on, but I handled that discomfort much more easily than during the 10K on the 4th. My brain has apparently re-learned how to deal with oxygen debt. A few more weeks of speed training, and there *may* be some 12-year old PRs going down. It's a big leap, and those are track PRs, but still...I have the sense it is possible in the next few weeks, and it will be a hell of a lot of fun to try. Cheers.

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15:44.1. Race report to follow.

15:44.1. Race report to follow.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

1:25:20 :: 13 miles

Easy run. A bit faster than easy runs of the last several weeks, but still at an average HR of just 138. Ran the first four miles at just over 7:00 pace average, then did the last nine in 57 minutes or so and as a progression run down to 5:55 for the last mile.

Standing around HR was a steady 48, which is nearly as low as it goes. I should be in good position going in to the race on Sunday. The legs feel strong and fresh, and the workouts lately definitely seem to be sharpening me up quickly. Good stuff!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

1:06:00 :: 10 miles (Hard 2mi)

Easy miles with hard two mile run. Today was the second of a pair of speed workouts given to me by Mystery Coach over the last week. Today's two mile was to be run with a first mile of 5:00, then an all-out final mile. I'm preparing for a 5K this weekend, and these two workouts seem to be the ticket to getting my short distance race mentality back online.

Didn't feel the greatest after an easy two mile warmup, which is often a good sign. A couple of 5:00 pace strides during the last mile felt fairly smooth, which was encouraging. Using the first two miles of the 10K course I just ran, I jogged out another minute after the warmup just to set myself up mentally, and I stepped to the line. bang.

4:59.10(168) | 4:54.31(177)

9:53.41. Pretty cool. I haven't run a two mile under ten minutes since the fall of 1995, and I just last week ran my first sub-5 minute mile in seven or eight years. I had a good amount of fear going in to this workout that I wouldn't be able to negative split, but I did, and I actually came out a few seconds faster than I had expected. The first mile went down as expected--relaxed, but hard and definitely stressful. Going in to the second mile, I put in a brief surge to remind myself that this was the part of the workout that counted. About 1/3 of a mile in, there was a short sharp incline that I was concerned about, but it turned out to be a non-factor. I was already venting heavily, and 100 meters later it was the same. At 1.5 miles, there was a significant change in breathing. I went from the familiar very hard breathing to the acidic, metallic breathing of deep oxygen debt. I was very excited to then feel the gears change on demand, and still be able to move powerfully through the last half-mile. Over the last couple of hundred meters, I actually felt my forearms rig up! I always secretly enjoyed that feeling--a kind of confirmation that you have pushed yourself hard enough.

Based on the feeling of the second mile, I guessed I'd hit a 4:57. It felt like I was able to pick up the pace and change gears a couple of times, but usually that feeling is deceptive and I end up just holding steady. I was pretty happy to see that I was able to speed up somewhat after all.

The recovery was a nice surprise also. I recovered from a max of 178 to 130 in 1:10, to 120 in 1:27, and to 110 in 1:47. Finished with another 6 miles at 6:40-7:00 pace.

Overall, I think it was a good run. Although it felt like a race effort, it's hard for me to believe that I couldn't run ten seconds faster than that right now. That confuses me a little bit, and makes me wonder where that race day boost comes from. I'm going in to Sunday's 5K with a boost of confidence, and an increasing amount of speed tolerance. It should be a good race, and hopefully one with some competition.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

35:32 :: 5 miles

Not much running going on today. I started off outside, but quickly ran back to the house to escape 40-45 mph gusting winds and rain. Another four miles on the treadmill was all I could stand (how far I've fallen from my 28 miler on the mill). Chalked it up to a tough day mentally, and took the opportunity to revel in the freedom of a rest day. No sense feeling guilty about it.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

1:15:19 :: 10 miles

Recovery run. Very slow and easy this morning, and it felt just right. 59F with a 58F dewpoint isn't as nice as it sounds, but it's better than it has been the past few days. Standing around HR got as low as 50, but was steady at 53, so I'll go with that. Recovery from the quarters seemed to be taken care of, but the legs felt a bit heavy today, and the slow pace felt good. Overall HR average for the run was 122, which has to be my lowest ever for a fairly long run. Maximum was 140, which I hit going up a hill at the end of the run.

Spent some time exploring and piecing together a course for a half-marathon that is coming up next month. So far, I have a too long version and a too short version. It's a point to point course with a large loop in the middle, so it's tough to come up with edits. It's going to be a nice course when it's done, though. Ten miles of riverside asphalt bike paths through the city's greenway, then three plus miles down a long, stretch of road shaded with 50 foot high American Elm trees. Makes me want to go for a run just thinking about it.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

1:41:34 :: 15 miles

Long(er) run. Heart rate was up to mid-60s just standing around, so I did the first 9 miles around 7:00 pace (6:55 to 7:15 range) averaging 132HR, then gradually increased the effort to 6:35-6:45 (138HR) pace for four miles, then did the last two at a comfortable, strong tempo, in 6:15(149) and 5:29(163).

Legs felt great the whole run, and the last couple of miles felt another step above that. Perceived effort was similar to marathon pace, stride was fluid, etc. I found myself thinking about 5:30 as the 'new' marathon pace. If training goes well over the next year, I think that is a reasonable goal. Crazy to think now, but later, maybe not such a wild thought.

I have been wearing racing flats more often lately and on longer runs. One reason, I want to make a transition to a more minimal shoe, to strengthen my feet and legs as well as get some ounces off the ends of the levers. Another reason is I need to find a much less expensive shoe or a shoe that will last longer. Money is going to be tight over the next four years, and my plans include running more, not less, so I need to figure something out. Lydiard had some pretty strong opinions about the need for two inches of fluff strapped to the bottom of your foot (you don't need it), and I've read enough on the internet to know that most of the shoes on the market today generally make your foot less stable than it would be without shoes.

My $45 Asics 2080s are out of stock. Time to move on.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

51:13 :: 8 miles (12x400m)

Track workout. First one of these in a looonnnnnnggggg time. It was fun, and it seemed to go well. The pain was unfamiliar, but not too terrible, especially after 6 or 7 reps. It never got any easier, just more familiar. The wind was blowing about 10-12mph from the south, so I oriented myself on the track to have the wind in my face on the first straight, and at my back to finish. Yes, that was a comfort accomodation, and yes, I sometimes put an icebag between my legs after workouts (not sure if that is a regional joke or not--anyone else use that?). Temps weren't too bad, about 68F at the start and 77F at the end with a good bit of humidity. Bad for a long, hard run, but good for short intervals.

The prescription was 10-12x400 around 70 about every 3:30, with a 400m jog as recovery. I was hitting the 400s at 70 and taking 1:55-2:00 to do the 400 recovery, so most reps were done on 3:10-3:20. On number eight, I recognized the value of the extra ten seconds rest, as after taking a ten second walk break, I went from feeling like I was falling off the pace to feeling as good as I did at rep four or five. Rep six was the hardest--the form faltered a bit--and rep seven was the slowest. Outside of those two reps, the rest were roughly equal, with the first four feeling more fluid and strong than the last four. That was probably obvious. I was able to really get over my hips and stride out well through the first five. After that, the power seemed to drop out, and I felt a bit of a brownout in the lower legs--not as much toe off, stride frequency dropped, some over striding was noticed, and the lift of the quads and the pull through of the hamstrings were noticeably less powerful. Lactic acid burn was not noticed through about five reps, then it showed up consistently with 100-120m to go. Breathing was about the same, pretty heavy with 150m to go, until the seventh rep, and then it gradually started earlier and earlier to about 220m to go. The last two I made an effort to relax (face, arms, etc.) through the last 100m, maintain stride frequency, get over my hips, and do the whole 'lift and pull' thing. It was harder, and required a good amount of focus, but it seemed to work. Here are the numbers:

10 minute warmup.

Key: 400m rep(400m rep avgHR-400m recovery jog time)
68.71(141-2:14) | 69.12(161-2:01) | 69.21(160-1:59)
69.99(164-2:11) | 69.65(161-1:59) | 69.67(164-1:59)
70.02(165-2:06) | 69.57(164-2:02) | 69.17(165-2:02)
69.42(166-1:59) | 68.55(169-1:58) | 68.00(170-x:xx)

5 minute cooldown.

One final note. Here in the United States, we treat runners like criminals. All of our publicly funded tracks are locked up like prisons, (literally--the track I was at this morning had an 8-foot outside fence, and a second four-foot fence inside that surrounding the track, both of which had to be gotten around to get on the track.) and anyone who is caught using a track behind an invariably locked gate is, at a minimum, asked to leave, and at worst, reported to the police. It's utterly ridiculous. We have three tracks in a metro area (yes, I think it's funny to call it that, too, but it's the correct term) of 70,000 people, and every frickin' one of the tracks is locked up 98% percent of the year, and probably because it is assumed that they will be vandalized. What a waste.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

1:03:51 :: 10 miles

Easy run with two miles of MP. Standing around HR was 53 and I was feeling pretty good and sick of the 130HR running I've been doing lately, so after a couple of miles warmup, I dropped down into the 6:15-6:20 range, and followed with about 4k at marathon pace. Easy two miles to cool down. Felt fine, but I'm still a bit frustrated to be feeling 'stuck' around this 5:40 pace. I need another pace breakthrough.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

1:05:44 :: 9+ miles

Recovery run. Standing around HR was 55, and the legs felt great. Still, grabbed the iPod and went for a slow run. Averaged 126HR and 7:12 pace, and felt pretty good doing it.

I realized this morning that yesterday's race was better than I gave it credit. I was able to put down a very strong first half, and during the second half of the race, I was able to put in a couple of effective surges. I'm happy I was able to use that tactic without falling apart. I ended up 11 seconds behind a guy that ran 31:20 just this past May, and we were exchanging the lead off and on through 85% of the race.

That was only my second race since the marathon, and it's quite a different animal. It took me a long time to deal with marathon type pain for long periods of time, and now I need to get back to dealing with a marathon's worth of pain in a much shorter race.
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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Firecracker 10K :: 33:17 - 2nd Place

Tough race. Got out well, but then the heat took a toll. Race time temperature was 77F with a dewpoint of 62F making cooling a problem. Full sun beating down on the asphalt increased the 'baking' sensation. Through the 5k in 16:13, then started to wilt. Offered a couple of decent surges in the second 5k, but the writing was on the wall.

3:06.6(165) | 3:09.6(176) | 3:15.8(177) |
3:21.8(176) | 3:19.9(174) | 3:30.5(176) |
3:21.4(177) | 3:29.8(176) | 3:27.5(175) |

It looks like I relaxed for 8K and 9K when I should have been holding on to Lee and setting up for the kick. Lee, the winner, gapped me for good around this time. I can't say that I felt I could have responded during the race, but the data tells me that I needed to be a bit tougher. If I had some guts, I could have cracked 33 today. Hit a maxHR of 180, which I believe is legit. Between the effort and the heat, I'm pretty sure I got a laboratory-quality test today. Recovery to 120 in 2:25. Nothing to compare it to, but I recorded it anyway. Legs feel very good a few hours later, which lends some validity to my whinging about not running with enough guts late in the race.

While the 5:00 first mile was too fast, I think I needed to do it to get out of this marathon mentality. I still am not racing in the way I think I am capable, although the first 5K today was a step in the right direction. Now if I can maintain that intensity and stretch it out to a full 10K, I'll be on to something.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

44:00 :: 6.5 miles

Easy run with a couple of strides.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

55:04 :: 8 miles

Easy run. Ridiculously low heart rate, averaged 127 for the run at 6:53 pace, and 132 for three miles at 6:41 pace. However, it was oddly uncomfortable and I felt heavy and tired. My energy level just seems off. I'm sure I could run faster, but I'm not compelled to like I was before the marathon. Rather than holding back from running to o fast, I seem to feel like holding off on increasing the pace.

Maybe I'm just irritated by the bugs, humidity, heat, and bugs, and smell around here lately. Even at 4am, the humidity and heat is too much, and the bugs flying in your eyes and mouth are just disgusting. I'm going to label this post 'summer running sucks' to remind me why training through a North Dakota winter isn't as tough as it sounds. I got frustrated sometimes, but never like I did today.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

1:30:04 :: 13+ miles

Easy run with a couple of pick-ups (.25 and .5 mile). Mostly in the 7:00-7:10 pace range. Everything feeling good today, but slower mileage felt right.

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