Sunday, January 30, 2011


I ran 20 miles today. 
Let me repeat. I ran twenty miles today!
Sure, I've done it a lot over the years, but I never get tired of that sentence, because it is so clearly BA that any one who hears it can't help but be impressed. It's possible I may brag a little to non-runners tomorrow, just for some ego stroking. I'm not above it.

So anyway, let me tell you about it. My plan was to try and run relaxed and keep the first 6 miles close to 9 minute pace. I usually am itching to go faster by then, so I planned to allow a little more speed and do the next ten at no faster than 8:30. The last 4 miles I am usually fading or hanging on, so today my plan was to keep the foot on the gas and maintain or increase speed, so my goal was to go no SLOWER than 8:30 for the last 4. Practicing a decent pace on tired legs.

Weather was excellent. Our midwinter heat wave left and the high today was low 50's. Probably high 40's while I ran. Overcast and some showers, but not much wind. I was worried I would hit some nasty winds on the last 9 mile stretch at the beach, but it seemed to turn and be at my back both ways! Usually it is the other way around. I got rained on for about 3 miles, but it was pleasant.

Also today, I carried my new water bottle and took drinks every mile - just like race day. I also brought 3 GUs for the first time. And for the first time, I didn't really enjoy taking them. Blech. Maybe because I was still running. In fact I only stopped twice the whole time to refill my bottle. Normally I would have stopped 8 or 9 times at water fountains.

So without further ado, here are some numbers:
First 6: 9:06, 8:55, 8:54, 8:51, 8:49, 9:13. Avg - 8:58

Next 10: 8:35, 8:43, 8:30, 8:33, 8:32, 8:41, 8:20, 8:29, 8:33, 8:35. Avg - 8:33

Last 4: 8:27, 8:32, 8:29, 8:18 Avg - 8:27

20 miles in 2:53
plus 0.3 at 9:40 for a total of 20.3 - avg 8:40

So, mission accomplished! My last mile was my fastest.! Those last 4 were tough. I would drop to 8:20 or so, and then tire and fade back. I had enough energy to put a little more into that last one. I'm also quite proud of not having 'frequent' stopping for water, as that is a big change for me. Only two pauses of 20 seconds or so in 3 hours!

After the waves of pain and endorphins battled it out for an hour, I rewarded myself with an In N Out triple cheeseburger. Delicious!

Now an easy week ahead before a 10K on Sunday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Speed Work Wednesday

I am trying to push my boundaries a little more this year, so last night I set out to do three 2-mile intervals at 7:30 pace with 1/2 mile jogs in between. Add in one mile before and after and that's 9 total miles! After a work day! My 10K PR pace is 7:15, so this one would be a good challenge. I was actually nervous all day thinking about it - almost like race day nervous!

First mile warmup - 8:39 A little fast, but I felt OK and started speeding up early. Decided to run these progressively faster. So 7:40 for the first 2, 7:30 for the next two, and 7:20 (if possible!) for the last two.

First two - Had some trouble finding the right pace, since I am used to shorter, faster intervals. Too fast at first, then I eased off too much and was close to 8. But with the constant help of G, I eventually dialed it in. First mile 7:47. Second mile 7:25. Avg: 7:36

1/2 mile @9:24 pace

Next two - Jumped right in and found 7:30 pace. Felt pretty good. Comfortably fast, but not too hard. Glad when it was over though! 7:32 and 7:28 Avg 7:30

1/2 mile @ 9:35 Enjoying the trot, but ready to get going again after 1/4 mile!

Last two - Felt so good I started too fast, close to 7, and had to dial it back. Then I started to tire and 7:20 seemed too hard. Legs starting to get heavy. But in the last mile I found a little adrenaline and knowing the end was near, pushed it a little harder. 7:28, and 7:20. Avg 7:24

Mile cooldown in 9:36. Phew!
Felt pretty tired, but not bad, considering all the work! Total average speed miles - exactly 7:30!

I had enough energy to do a little banana dance for the wife when I got home. (Oh stop it) Now I plan to take it easy until Sunday's 20 miler, and then get ready for the 10K next week. I'm thinking maybe 7:10 pace is do-able. PR is going down!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pikermi Sunday

Another beautiful day in Sunny Southern California. Highs in the 70's. So I tried to get going early and miss the heat. Todays plan was 13 miles, first 3 warming up and the last ten at marathon pace of 8:05.

At the beginning I was feeling the effects of Friday night's speed work - legs were a little tight, not much pep in them. But I cruised along and hoped they would loosen up.
First three: 8:57, 8:30, 8:31. It takes me about three miles to feel comfortable and the pace usually starts dropping at that point. Today was no different. Mile 4 was 8:13 and mile 5 was 7:57! Uh oh. Generally once I speed up it is hard to pull back. The rest of the run I had to restrain myself or the pace would keep going sub 8. Mile 6 was 8:11, but that included a big hill. The rest would be flat and fast.

My legs were tired most of the way, but I maintained right around 8 minute pace and took it one mile at a time. By mile 11 the pace started to creep up to 8:10 so I had to give a little more effort to stay on track. By the end, I still had enough to give it a push and stay fast up the last hill.

Miles 7-13: 7:59, 7:56, 7:57, 8:05, 8:03, 7:55, 7:58
Total time for 13.1 miles 1:46:55, or 8:10 pace. Last ten at 8:02, and last 7 at 7:59! Woo Hoo!

All I have to do is do that twice and I'm on my way to Boston! Ha! Not having tired legs should help.

I felt a little nipple chafing by mile 12 so I pulled my shirt off and ran topless. In January. Temps were near 70 by then. At the finish I felt like celebrating with a topless ShaunP jumping pump, but what is the point without witnesses? So I got DW to get the camera and we recreated the end of my run.

I love the shadow.
Now it is time to watch DVR football playoffs for 5 hours or so.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A little break can help

Last week I burned myself out a bit. 40 miles for the week was a new high but I was on tired legs for the last 3 runs. So I decided this (past) week I would take it down just a notch. Instead of 4 runs, I would do 3 (Hey, I still have to stay somewhat on track! I got a marathon in 8 weeks!) Tuesday I did my usual group run, but I took it easy and averaged 9:05. Still, my legs were tired and I felt like . So I took off Wednesday and Thursday and by Friday I was optimistic - my legs were showing signs of life. When I am running up the stairs in my house involuntarily, it is a good sign. So I guess I deserved a little break. This was the first time I had gone 2 days without running in 4 weeks!

So Friday night I planned speedwork! Because I was well rested! So 4 x 1 at 10K pace - total of 8 miles. I figured 7:15 pace, but knew I could probably do better than that. From the first steps of the run I knew I felt a lot better - the zip was back! After a 1.3 mile warmup I jumped into #1. It took a little while to find the pace, but I did, and by the 2nd half I was under pace and feeling good. First mile 7:10. 1/2 mile cooldown and then #2 was 7:08.

The weather was perfect for a 6:30PM run - cool but not cold, no wind, about 55 degrees. 3rd repeat I felt even better and finished in 7:00. During my next cooldown a guy passed me and acted all cocky with his perfect form and football player body. Or maybe I was projecting my feelings. Anyway I almost said "Catch you later", knowing full well I would be burning by him in a few minutes, but I restrained myself. So then I start #4, pass the dude, and then check my watch for pace - 6:23! Oops! Better take it down a little. It's nice when 7 minute pace feels like I am holding back. Get to the end and put a little burst on to finish in 6:58. So a total avg of 7:04. Very encouraging, mainly because I wasn't really working that hard and felt good. I am looking forward to a 10K in 2 weeks because I think I can take down my and sfschas' PR from last year.

So a rest day today, and then I'm looking at 13 miles tomorrow, with the last 7 at Marathon pace (8:05).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mind Over Miles

Well, the good times couldn't last forever. For the last few months everything has been going great. I am ramping up the mileage in marathon training, and doing solid speed work. Feeling fast and strong.
Well, this past week I had scheduled myself for a 40 mile week - my longest in maybe 30 years! Tuesday was an awesome 7 miler, as noted in my last blog (HADOHNM). But then Thursday I was sluggish, and did 5.8 miles pretty slowly. Then Friday I did 8.4 and again felt like poo, and just survived the run. That left me with a 19 miler for Sunday. My legs felt pretty dead but I just hoped a day off would help.
Saturday we hosted a big Christmas party at our house (Yes, I know it is January, but we always do it in January because December is just too busy for everyone) Anyway, it was a fun party with about 30 people in our house. But that meant lots of time on my feet prepping and partying, so by the time I got to bed about 12:30, I was pretty tired. I had a long list of reasons not to do 19 miles the next day:
  • Tired legs
  • Not enough sleep
  • Feels like I'm getting a cold - congested and sniffly
  • Heat wave! 80 degrees! (I know - don't hate me)
  • At least I didn't drink any alcohol at the party, so I had that going for me
I was hoping to be up at 6:30 and out the door by 7 to avoid some of the heat, but I didn't sleep real well, so I "snoozed" until 7:30. But after a little coffee and a snack, I decided to start running and see how it went. I figured I would cut it short if I felt bad. So, out the door at 8:30. Shorts and a tank top, and I am bringing my new water bottle/fanny pack for the first time!

So instead of the normal mostly flat beach run, I decide to not only hit a new record long run for this year, but to do it on my hilliest course - up to Palos Verdes. And did I mention the heat? It wasn't too bad at the start - maybe 58 - but by the end it was 76.

First mile - I feel terrible. Even stopped for a breather when I was short of breath! Unheard of! Second mile, even slower! I am negotiating with myself on how far to work this travesty. Six miles sounds good, maybe 10 if I don't get worse. After three miles I get to the 2 mile long hill that defines this run, and head up it. I get chicked! Twice! Not only that, but these two ladies are cruising up this really steep hill, passing me and chatting the whole way up! So I feel old, slow and pathetic. Yet, I keep going.

Part of marathon training is training the will to JUST KEEP GOING when your body really doesn't want to. Today was that day. I had plenty of chances to turn around, and plenty of reasons, but I kept plugging and putting off that decision, and guess what, it never came! Oddly, I started to feel better in mile 5 as I was climbing the mountain. By the time I reached the top, I knew I would do the whole 19. Sure I was moving a little slower but I felt better and found a rhythym and was starting to have fun.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and this run goes along the top of a cliff over the Pacific, along a street with beautiful mansions. I was thinking about the coming Loopfest, and if people were looking for a cool place to run, I would take them here. There are some dirt trails, and the views are amazing.

So anyway, I kept plugging all the way to the turnaround at 9.5 miles, and headed back. It got tougher. My feet were hurting, my hips and back got stiff, but I kept going. I practiced my drinking on the run with my water bottle, and that worked out fine. The last three miles got to be pretty tough, but I didn't fade too much, and considering the heat and the tired legs, I'm calling it a success.

Splits: 8:49, 9:10, 8:48, 9:29(up), 9:19(up), 8:34, 8:30, 8:58, 8:30, 8:42, 8:40, 8:24, 8:50, 9:20(up), 8:18(down) and then Garmin died but I think I finished the last 4 under 9 minute pace (barely)

So a good workout for the psyche and the endurance. I hope it pays off and I feel better in 2 weeks when I do my first 20.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Yasso's? Yassir!

Saturday was Speed and Endurance Day. I needed to get in another speed workout, but also wanted to keep building on my endurance. So I decided on 800s and not "just" 8 this time, but ten!
Last time I did 8 at about 3:18 and it was quite tough. I thought I would take it a tiny bit easier and shoot for 3:20 to 3:30 range and be sure to do ten, with 1/4 mile jogging recoveries. With the run to and from the track I would get in ten miles.
Another perfect day in the 50's, overcast skies. I get to the track and there is a girl's soccer game going on the field. About 10 year olds I guess. Nobody else is running, but there are maybe 150 parents in the stands, and other teams hanging around, some on the track. No problem! The barriers for lanes1 and 2 are not in place, so I just hop right into interval number one. Other than occasional moves into lane 2 in the straights, I had the track to myself!
First 800 was 3:26. Perfect. Didn't feel too hard. Good hard effort, but not killing myself. Kept it up through 5 and decided to take a water break and an extra jogging lap before launching into the second 5. This workout was not easy, but I took them one at a time and tried not to think about how many were left. Kind of like doing a long run. Just keep plugging.
By the time I got through 8 I felt pretty good! I knew I was going to make it and it gave me a little extra adrenaline to finish. Good enough to push a little harder on the last two.
Here are my ten splits:
3:26, 3:23, 3:26, 3:26, 3:23, 3:26, 3:30, 3:29, 3:26, 3:15
Total average 3:25
Felt good to still have a little speed left at the end, even though my legs were feeling pretty fatigued midway through the workout. Occasionally I would hear a cheer from the parents and pretend it was for me. But not one person said anything to me the whole time. I was just some wierdo doing 30 laps on the track.
So I'm feeling confident. Yasso theory says i should be able to do a sub 3:30 marathon, so I'll take that. Today I have been using my "stick" that I got for Christmas. Sweet, sweet pain! Knocked off 5.3 miles with the dog today. My body is accepting all the increased miles without much complaint. 38 miles scheduled for next week. Ten weeks to the marathon. It's all good.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A WTF/BA Pre-dawn run

Went out last night with business folk - two glasses of wine with dinner. Then on to a blues club for a beer, which became two, then three, then four. Back in my hotel bed about midnight. Still pondering whether I can get my run in the next day. Logically I had about given up, thinking "oh, what's the big deal if you skip one easy run". But I've been kind of focused on getting 4 runs a week in and was still thinking I could get up early and hit the treadmill here in the hotel in Indianapolis.
So I wake up at 3 and pee, and then again at 4:30. Because 4 beers is a lot of fluid. 4:40 - I'm not falling back to sleep. 4:50 - I say, oh WTF, and I get out of bed, join the Wacky Town Footracers, and start getting dressed. And to heck with this treadmill nonsense. I always hate it, and the weather is nothing too horrible. It's just kind of cold - about 25. So I gear up in my cotton sweatshirt and head outside at 5:30 (affter loop time). The sun is not even thinking about dawn yet. I had mapped out a run on mapmyrun through some mostly residential areas near the hotel. I step outside expecting bitter cold - but it doesn't feel bad! Not bad at all! Lack of wind really helps. So off I go.
It was fun! 5 miles at 8:25 pace! I was going faster than normal, I guess the cold motivated me to move quicker. Mostly no traffic, just quiet, dark and peaceful. I thought about Mr. Bacon and his regular pre-dawn runs, and thought, well, maybe I could do this once in a while.
So now I get to pack up, work a bit, then head to the airport for 2 flights home. It looks like it will be 21 hours from waking up to bedtime, but I predict some airplane napping ahead. So I got my 2 Indy runs in and I can still use BA to spell Bangle.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Californian Exploring Indiana in Winter

So I am here in Indianapolis for work. Alone. Plenty of time to get a run in since work was done by 4 and the sun is still up past 5:30. I have a car and a GPS so I go to mapmyrun and look for places to run. Find one called the canal towpath that looks interesting so off I go to check it out.
Weather is reasonable but quite a change for me. About 29 degrees, light winds. Sadly there is no snow on the ground. I have no winter running gear, because I'm cheap and I don't need it where I live. So I'm running old school. Cotton t-shirt, cotton sweatshirt, no hood, cotton gloves from target (75 cents!) and cotton pants that are a short step up from sweatpants. It turns out to be just fine, although my ears got a little numb. I warmed up pretty quick and had a really great time!
The canal towpath is a great trail along a canal. Trees block the wind, and you are away from  cars so it is a little respite from the city. After about two miles I found a little park that included a lake with a rugged trail that went around it - very natural. Bumped into a couple with their dogs that had to ford a stream to continue their walk. The guy was barefoot and putting his shoes back on! I could only guess that he carried his wife on his back across the maybe 8 foot wide creek!
Then I climbed a hill and discovered the Indianapolis Museum of Art which is a beautiful campus of many very nice buildings. Lots of trails around them, so I am just running around checking it out. Nobody is around. It was awesome! It is part of what they call 100 Acre park - lots of trails. Who knew? I felt like I lucked out finding this little treasure on my first try.
Beautiful sunset, but then it got chillier real quick and I hurried back to my car before it got too dark. No cooldown, no water, just hop in, and drive back to the hotel.
Now I may have to do the treadmill Thursday since my only time left open is early Thursday AM and I don't fancy a run in the dark and cold around airport hotels. But I want to get my 4 runs in this week. Already thinking about doing 5x1 mile on Saturday!
And how about that Stanford victory?! Dang, that was impressive! I am a proud alum.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

26.2, I'm coming for you!

Today was another long run day. Moving up to 18 miles after 16.5 two weeks ago, and 15 two weeks before that. Weather was cold and cloudy (for SoCal), so almost perfect for running. About 48 degrees with chance of rain. I wore shorts and a tech t and chuckled at all the other runners in full cold weather clothing that they probably got for Christmas. Today's plan was to take it easy and put in the distance, but I did want to go under 8:30 for the 2nd half at least, and maybe approach goal pace of 8:10.
First 5 miles I was cruising along, cold, but felt OK. Reined in the speed a little bit to keep it over 8:30. I didn't want to burn out early. By 5 miles my hands and arms stopped being cold. I headed over to the beach for the last 12 miles. Started to get a little drizzle, but it was merely refreshing. By mile 8 the speed had picked up to close to 8 minute pace. Still felt good, so I decided to keep it there the rest of the way.
On the way back, the rain came back pretty heavy for the last 6 miles, and the wind picked up, but it was bearable. I was tired, but still able to push the pace a little and stay on track. By the end I still had some energy and felt pretty darn good! 18.2 miles done, and I had the feeling that 26.2 was not really that far away! Much better than I felt last year at this time when I ran 18 and bonked hard.
Splits: 8:59, 8:50, 8:45, 8:37, 8:25, 8:36, 8:24, 8:18 - First 8 miles averaged 8:37
7:54, 8:02, 8:08, 8:10, 8:09, 8:20, 8:08, 8:14, 8:15, 8:11 - Last ten averaged 8:09!
Total - 18.2 miles at 8:22 pace

Afterward, the pain came with very creaky joints and muscles, not to mention chafing, but after a glorious hot shower, some food, ibuprofen and rest, I'm feeling a whole lot better. My mileage chart is ahead of last year, my pacing is better, all systems are go!
Now I have to go to Indianapolis tomorrow for 4 days, which will make it tough to stay on track with my 4 runs a week goal. I figure I will need to run twice in the cold and dark (or maybe a hotel treadmill  - God forbid).