September
29
Posted on 29-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I woke this morning at around 6:00 am.  I made my way to the kitchen and flipped on the TV.  It was still dark outside, but the TV said the temperature was already 78 degrees.  I walked outside and everything was still.  No breeze at all.  As I made my way through my warmup, my shirt quickly became wet with sweat.  The humidity was high and there was little hope it would evaporate during my run.

We’re housesitting for friends, so my route is slightly different this week.  My warmup route covers a busier road, and the traffic is somewhate frightening.  As I pass closer to my normal route, I slip into a job and begin my five miles. 

The first part of the run lacks sidewalks, so I’m running on the street.  The streets are designed to slope down sharply on the sides to gutters that quickly drain water from the torrential downpours we often have in the summer.  Right now, that makes it difficult to run on the side of the road.  My ankles get a good workout stabilizing my body on the uneven terrain.

I pass the one mile mark in 10:20.  My goal pace is 10:00, so I’m pretty happy with that.  If all goes well, I’ll be able to increase my pace at the end of the run.  I jog across a bridge and head into the bayside park.  I hit 2 miles in 20:12.  I’m starting to feel slightly tired, so I decide to run to my usual water fountain and take a 1 minute walk break.

The water fountain is not quite 3 miles into the run and I reach it in 29:00.  I start my walk and pass the 3 mile mark in 30:40.  Jogging again, I know my mission is to average 9:40 over the next 2 miles.  I fall into a steady rhythm.  By the time I hit the 4 mile mark, I’ve gained back 25 seconds.  I pass it in 40:15.  I want to take another walking break, but I know that in doing so, I’ll lose grasp of my goal pace.

I slow my pace slightly, knowing I don’t have to run the final mile as fast I ran the previous.  Again, I fall into a steady rhythym, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.  As I grow closer to the finish, my pace quickens.  I reach the 5 mile mark in 49:41. 

Planned workout

1 mile warmup

5 miles at 10:00 pace

1 mile cool down

Actual workout

1 mile warmup

5 miles at 9:56 pace

2 miles cool down

I would have liked to have run this the whole way, but it was a good run.  Ideally in the marathon, my goal is to stop for water roughly every 3 miles.  Today’s experience was on par with that goal, and I accomplished my goal pace.  Next week, things step up again.  The long run will be 9 miles and should involve 3 walking breaks.  I think I’ve go my water stops strategically planned.

I any case, 3 weeks of the Hal Higdon program are down.  15 left.

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September
26
Posted on 26-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I woke this morning feeling very, very tired.  I think I slept pretty well, but I was wiped out.  I made it to the gym and felt fine during my warmup.  As soon as I started running, I knew it wasn’t going to be fun.  I had to take frequent deep breaths.  I had no rhythm.  My legs were sore.  I had to take a walk break at 1.5 miles.  Then another at 2.25 miles.  Finally, I hit the cool down button on the treadmill at 2.68 miles.  Pretty disappointing.

Planned workout

8 minutes warm up

3 miles at 9:00 pace

5 minutes cool down

Actual workout

8 minutes warmup

2.68 miles at 9:04 pace

5 minutes cool down

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September
25
Posted on 25-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

When I woke this morning, the thought of grinding out 4 miles on the treadmill was unappealing.  It was cloudy and there was a nice breeze outside, so I decided to take run to the park.

Planned workout

8 minutes warmup

4 miles at 9:15 pace

5 minutes cool down

Actual Workout

8 minutes warmup

4 miles at 9:12 pace

8 minutes cooldown

It was cool and breezy when I started to run.  My goal was to run the first mile at about 9:30 or 9:45 pace, but everytime I glanced down at my Garmin, it seemed like I was running at 8:30 or 7:30 pace.  I kept slowing myself down, which is better for morale than telling myself I need to speed up I guess.  I completed the first mile in almost exactly 9:15.  That was when I reached the park.  Running around the lake, there were fewer interuptions for traffic, so I was able to quicken my pace.  I started to get tired during the third mile and took a 1 minute walk break when I passed the 3 mile mark.  The final mile went pretty smoothly, but with a quarter mile left, I developed a pretty painful stitch.  Knowing that I was so close to finishing with my goal pace,I gutted it out despite the pain.  I knew the stitch wouldn’t result in any lasting injuries, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. 

Tomorrow, it’s another 3 miler.

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September
24
Posted on 24-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Most of my Monday runs will be 3 miles.  In fact, even at the peak of my training, the Monday run will only be 5 miles.  So, Mondays are perfect days to play around with the pace a little bit.  This particular week is a “step back” week.  That means that my long run will actually be shorter than last week.  I’ll be running only 5 miles this weekend.  These “step back” weeks happen every three weeks.  The Tuesday run, however, jumps to 4 miles this week.  It seems a little confusing, but it’s really not so hard to work out.

Planned workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 9:00 pace

5 minutes cool down

Actual workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 8:49 pace

5 minutes cool down

I hopped on the treadmills and dialed up an 8:55 pace.  I found the crack in the curb out in the parking lot and stared it down for 2.25 miles.  I was definately feeling the run at that point, but I felt I had enough to make it through to 3 miles.  I cranked up the speed in the last quarter mile and finished strong.

On the injury front, the bit of pain I felt on the top of my foot Saturday did not linger, and I felt no ill effects during my run today.  Given my relatively short run this coming Saturday, I’m pretty confident it won’t be a problem.

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September
22
Posted on 22-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

At some point, the power went out last night.  It was around 3:00 am.  I was a little worried I wouldn’t be up for my run, but I still managed to be out of bed at 6:00 and out the door before 7:00.  We had gotten our power back, but much of the rest of the street hadn’t.  Without the street lights, It was very dark and I couldn’t see much as I started my warmup.  I could hear random voices, though and I suddenly got worried about being mugged on my own street.

As I made my way through the neighborhood, I found that the street lights were out, and the grocery store was closed.  It was pitch black until I made my way to the start of my run.  Suddenly, I had street lights again.  With my sunglasses in my hand, I pressed start on my Garmin and started with a slow jog.

My plan this morning is to start off slowly to see if I can get through 7 miles with only two walks breaks.  I glance at my Garmin under every streetlight in the first mile and keep myself at a pretty steady pace in the high 10’s.  I pass the 1 mile mark in 10:52 – about a minute slower than last week, but about as I’ve planned.  My heart rate is still in the high 140s and I’m feeling like I could continue at thispace forever. 

I cruise through the neighborhood and over a bridge.  I’m running along the water now and there’s a stiff headwind coming off the bay.  At first I’m a bit digruntled, but I tell myself that this will be a tailwind on the way back and then focus on putting one foot in front of the other.  I round a corner and run along a road.  A line of trees stands between me and the bay and they block the wind.  I pass the two mile mark in 22:15. 

By the time I reach the water fountain, I’m still feeling very good.  I don’t feel like I need a break, but this is the planned location, so I stop for water and walk for a minute.  My heart rate lowers down to 138 during the walk and I start to jog again.  I pass the 3 mile mark in 32:30.  My pace has started to pick up and I still feel good.

The turnaround at 3.5 miles comes pretty quickly.  I look at my Garmin, immediately turn and continue jogging.  I reach the 4 mile mark in 42:22.  I’m starting to gain back some of the time I’ve lost by starting out slowly.  I reach the water fountain again, take a drink and walk for another minute.  So far, so good.

I continue running along the other side ofthe bayfront park on a paved trail.  Now, I’m right on the water and the strong crosswind makes life a little difficult.  My pace had pciked up again.  I’m averaging about 9:30 at this point.  I tell myself to slow down, but I can see a left turn ahead that will turn this crosswind into a tailwind and getting there quickly is sounding pretty nice.  I reach the turn and slow my pace, but now the wind is actually pushing me forward.  That’s a good thing.  I reach the 5 mile mark in 52:25.

I cross the bridge and back into the shelter of tall trees in the neighborhood.  I’m still running at a steady pace and not struggling at all.  I have begin to notice that the top of my foot is hurting.  That’s a scary thought, but I remember that it usually hurts more when I’m walking, so I just keep running.  I figure if I’ve injured it, I’m already screwed so I may as well get home as fast as possible – and that means running.  I’m pretty sure that’s bad logic, but it seems to work for the moment.  I pass the 6 mile mark in 62:25.

I know I’m going to make the whole distance without another break now.  I still feel good and I’ve only got a mile to go.  I’m still running about 9:30 now.  When I run another half mile, I pick the pace up a bit.  Once I can see the finish, I crank up the pace, running at 7:45 pace.  I hit 7 miles in 72:33.

Planned workout

1 mile warmup

7 miles at 10:05 pace

 1 mile cool down

Actual workout

1 mile warmup

7 miles at 10:21 pace

1 mile cool down

The strategy was different this week, but the pace was about the same.  I was 3 seconds per  mile slower this week compared to last week.  Still given that my past runs have been heavy pn walk breaks near the end, one could argue that that strategy would have led to an extra walk break in this week’s extra mile.  In any case, this week’s run sure felt a lot better.

 16 weeks to go.

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September
20
Posted on 20-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

My current favorite shoulder exercise is the shoulder shrug using a dumbbell in each hand. Below is the best video I could find, but it doesn’t quite show how I perform the exercise. I tend to move much more slowly and I roll my shoulders in a circular motion (forward, up, backward, down) instead of just going straight up and down. Still, this will give you the basic idea:

Today’s workout:

10 minutes warmup on the stationary bike

2 sets Hammer strength decline press

2 sets hammer strength wide grip press

2 sets shoulder shrugs

2 sets on lat pulldown machine

2 sets of pectoral fly

2 sets tricep pulldown

2 sets of incline dumbbell curls

2 sets of oblique curls

1 set of abdominal curls

1 60 second plank

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September
19
Posted on 19-09-2007
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

Today, I had a short (the shortest ever) meeting with my Ph.D. advisor. Basically, he told me to make some cosmetic changes and submit my dissertation to my committee members. That basically means I’m finished. I just have to complete the oral defense and hope none of the committee members have changes for me. If all goes well, I’ll be Dr. Brian in December. I’ve been working on this since I finished my masters degree in 2001. Although I won’t really be using my Ph.D. in oceanography in the foreseeable future, it willcertainly feel nice to finish. The last couple of years have been marked by a long, slow steady (sometimes 20 minutes a night) effort to finish this particular beast. Now, I feel like the finish line is in sight and I can finally sprint to the finish.

Planned workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 9:15 pace

5 minutes cool down

Actual workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 9:06

8 minutes cool down.

I was getting ready to leave for the gym and I realized it was unseasonably cool outside. So, I just laced up my shoes, grabbed my hat and ran out the front door. I ran a mile to a local park, ran around the lake there (another mile) and then ran home. I was cruising along at 8:30 pace early on, but I slowed down later in the run. I didn’t have any real walking breaks, but there were a few times I had to stop for a few seconds waiting for traffic. I finished strong for the third day in a row, ultimately completing 3 miles in 27:20 – 3 seconds better than yesterday.

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September
18
Posted on 18-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I felt pretty crumby this morning. I was tired. I was stressed out. I just wanted to go back to sleep. I took my time checking my email and checking about anything else on the internet that I might find even remotely interesting. Finally, I took a deep breath, told myself that nobody ever achieved anything great without some kind of adversity to overcome and I headed out to the gym.

Planned workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 9:15

5 minutes cool down

Actual workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 9:07

5 miles cool down

I just started running. I found myself on a treadmill directly across from that little crack in the curb of the parking lot. I stared at that crack and let my mind wander. I told myself I wouldn’t look at the treadmill console until two songs on my mp3 player were over. When that happened, I went for another song, then another and another. Five songs later, I looked down and I had run 2.5 miles. I kept going, increasing my pace with a quarter mile left. Once again, I hit 6:35 pace in the last tenth of a mile. I finished without taking a walking break. It felt really, really good. It set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

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September
17
Posted on 17-09-2007
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

This week is another 3 x 3 week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are three mile runs. Thursday is a cross training day and Saturday will be a 7 mile run. So, it was back to the treadmill today.

Planned workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 9:15 pace

5 minutes cool down

Actual workout

8 minutes warmup

3 miles at 9:15 pace

5 minutes cool down

I felt absolutely fantastic at the beginning of the run. The first mile was completely effortless. The second mile felt good too. I imagined myself putting in a punishing pace in the marathon – much like one of Lance Armstrong’s domestiques used to do in the early portions of a mountain stage during the Tour de France. By the end of the second mile, I was growing pretty tired and I took a walk break at 2.25 miles. I walked for a minute and ran at an ever increasing pace to the 3 mile mark. By the last tenth of a mile, I was running at 6:35 pace. I finished exactly at 27:45…perfectly on my planned average pace.

There was no foot pain, no knee pain, no pain at all. It just felt good.

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September
15
Posted on 15-09-2007
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

When I head out for my weekend runs, I cover some fairly diverse terrain. There are concrete sidewalks, cobblestones, sandy gravel parking lots, asphalt, small patches of grass, etc. In addition, we’re restricted in the dates and times we can water lawns here in St. Petersburg, so it works out that I run during a watering time. My ankles tend to get little spritzes here and there as I traverse the neighborhoods.

By the time I arrive home, I typically find my ankles to be covered with various pieces of these landscapes. I think that’s really cool. It’s something I don’t get when I run on the treadmill. It’s a little memento of conquering each piece of terrain. It may sound crazy, but it’s an inspiration for me.

Planned workout

1 mile warmup

6 miles at 10:05 pace

1 mile cool down

Actual workout

1 mile warmup

6 miles at 10:18 pace

1 mile cool down

I make it out of the house at about 6:30 am. It’s still dark outside and I carry my sunglasses in my hand. I walk my mile warmup and start my run. It’s still dark, so it’s hard to monitor my pace. I take glances at my Garmin under streetlights. I wind my way through some residential streets and past a golf course. I pass the 1 mile mark in 9:48, comfortable with my pace.

I cross a bridge and continue running across the waterfront. I’m maintaining a pretty good pace and my plan is to stop at a water fountain around the 2.75 mile mark for a 1 minute water/walking break. The sun is rising over Tampa Bay as I pass the 2 mile mark in 19:42. I reach the water fountain and take a few gulps before walking on my course. I start running again and reach the 3 mile mark in just over 30 minutes.

I quickly turn and run back to the fountain. I take another 2 gulps and walk another minute. I’m a little more tired at this point than I had hoped to be. My quads feel weak. I start running again and make it to the 4 mile mark in about 40:30. I take another walk break, this time walking for 1:30 before running again.

I start running again,vowing to make the 5.25 mile mark. I cruise along the waterfront and come back to the bridge. The incline up the bridge kills my quads and I wonder what the two overpasses after the 20 mile mark of the marathon are going to feel like. I stumble down the other side of the bridge, and wait for a car before crossing the street. Now that I’ve stopped, I can’t convince myself to run again, so I walk across the street and give myself another 1 minute walk break. I start running again and make the 5.25 mile mark.

I walk for 1:30 and then run my way to 6 miles, focusing on putting 1 foot in front of the other to the end. I cross the 6 mile mark in 61:53.

I took a few more walk breaks than I wanted to, but I was pretty happy with the run. My foot felt good and so did my knees. I’d much rather be tired than injured.

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