Posted on 30-04-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Brian at St. Anthony'sThis picture has nothing to do with today’s post.  Kate found it in the St. Anthony’s triathalon photos.  It’s me in the race I didn’t run.  LOL.

Yesterday, I hit the treadmill for 4 miles, then did an upper body and core strength training session.  After work, I did 3.5 easy miles with Alice.  This morning, I did an interval session.  The plan called for 4×200 m in 42 seconds with 200 m jogging recoveries, 3×1000 m in 3:51 with 2 minute jogging recoveries and 2×400 m in 86 seconds with 400 m jogging recoveries.  Here’s how it went:

200 m in 34 s

200 m in 37 s

200 m in 39 s

200 m in 36 s

I did jogging recoveries between all 200 m intervals, then walked 200 meters before the next set:

1000 m in 3:48

1000 m in 3:51

600 m in 2:22 —>doh!

I did 2 minute walking rests in between the 1000 m intervals and just died during the last one.  I walked for 2 minutes and continued:

400 m in 79 s

400 m in 84 s

I jogged in between 400 m intervals and walked for a couple of minutes before cooling down for about 1200 m at my easy pace.  In total, the workout was 6 miles in 49:42.  I was really beat by the end.  It wasn’t horrible considering I’ve gone up 3 VDOT levels in the course of about 3 weeks.  The paces are bound to effect me somewhat.  I definitely was moving fast during some of those 200’s and probably blew myself up for the rest of the workout.  My legs were damned sore the rest of the day and I was really worried about my 4 miles with Alice.  After about a half mile, they loosened up a bit and I was okay.  I’m certainly looking forward to taking it easy for a few weeks after the Miles for Moffitt race next weekend.

(7) Comments   
Posted on 28-04-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Yesterday, I hit the bike for 6 miles and did a full body strength training session for the first time in a few weeks.  I’ve been laying off the legs because of the races.  No race this week means strength training on the legs.  I took (now professional strongman) Elliot’s advice and went for the full squat this week.  I could instantly tell what I was missing.  It clearly ripped my quads like I hadn’t before and worked my butt, which wasn’t feeling anything from stopping the squat with my thighs parallel to the floor.  Most runners underestimate the importance of the glutes in generating power on each stride, so I know this will make me faster.  After work, I did 3.5 miles with Alice.

And…holy crap, my thighs and butt were sore this morning.  I had a tempo run planned (1 mile warmup, 4.25 at 6:54 min/mile pace and 1 mile cooldown).  I just headed out the door and started running.  I felt alright, all things considered.  After my warmup, I pulled off 2 miles at 6:45 min/mile pace then gave myself a 2 minute rest.  After that, I did 4 half mile intervals at 6:40 min/mile pace with 1 minute rests.  Then, finished with my cooldown for a total of 6 miles in 45:57.  Mentally speaking, my focus for longer distances is not what it was in January when I ran the half marathon.  I’ve definitely got to work on the longer runs over the summer.  Still, I got some good threshhold training in, so I’m not horribly disappointed.  After work, I hit 4 easy miles with Alice.  We’ll see how I feel in the morning.  There’s definitely some lactic acid in the thighs.  I like it, though.  I know I’m getting stronger.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 26-04-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

So, I made it ten miles yesterday without walking or anything!  It seems silly to be saying that, but I haven’t been doing much longish stuff lately and though I’ve been awfully speedy in the short distances, I’ve definitely lost some endurance over the past few months.  So, I headed out for 4 miles with Alice, dropped her by the house and continued on for 6 more miles.  I ran my 6 at just over 8 minutes per mile, finishing the full ten at an 8:48 pace.

Today, I ran downtown to cheer an old friend on in the St. Anthony’s triathlon.  I was Kate’s homecoming date in high school and I haven’t seen her in 5 years or so.  I caught her at the end of her 25 mile bike ride and yelled “Go Kate!”.  She turned, instantly spotted me, smiled and said, “Hi Brian!” as though she had just encountered me at a cocktail party.

I instantly ran past the transition area to the other side and cheered again, slapping her hand.  She thanked me for showing up, as though she had seen the last of me.  Ha!

I jogged ahead and cheered again.  Then, jogged ahead and cheered again.

“Are you going to do this for the entire 6 miles?” she asked.  I was thinking it might not be a bad idea.  I hadn’t been able to give a monetary donation to her Team in Training cause, and I couldn’t bring a large, multi-person cheering section.  So, I figured why not one person in multiple locations?

I ran ahead of her several times through the 1.5 mile mark and then let her go for a run in peace.  On her way back, I cheered some more, then joined her on the course.  We chatted a bit through the last mile or so as I ran “rogue”.  I peeled off just before the finishing chute and met her at the finish.  It was kind of fun.  I will say that I’ve never felt so fresh at the end of a race.  After chatting some more, I ran back home.  All told, I did 9 miles today!  So, to recap the week:

Monday: 3 miles easy

Tuesday AM: 8 mile fartlek(ish) run

Tuesday PM: 3 miles easy

Wednesday AM: 2 miles Easy + upper body and core strength training

Wednesday PM: 3 miles easy

Thursday: 3 miles easy

Friday: Off

Saturday: 10 miles

Sunday: 9 miles (on and off)

(9) Comments   
Posted on 23-04-2009
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

Patrick over at my new life on the run inadvertently started a a new meme about embarrassing songs on your ipod or mp3 player.  While he sort of wussed out and didn’t admit to his own embarrassing songs, he did hint that he has mmmbop by Hanson on his Ipod.  I figure this calls for a meme, so here goes:

I don’t often listen to music while I run.  I’m a purist and enjoy the sounds of nature, the city and my own breathing while I’m running.  A couple of times a week, however, I hit the treadmill before strength training at the gym.  It is then that I make use of my Sansa MP3 player, crank the volume and zone out.  I’ve been hitting the Flogging Molly pretty hard lately, but there are a few songs on my running playlist that I don’t readily admit to:

1)  I’ll make a man out of you – Donnie Osmond (The Mulan Soundtrack)

2)  Gimmie!  Gimme!  Gimme! (a man after midnight) – cast (Mama Mia!  Soundtrack)

3)  See You Again – Hannah Montana (Hannah Montana 2 Miley Cyrus)

4)  Pop Princess – The Click Five (Greetings from Imrie House)

5)  Rush – Aly & A.J. (Into the Rush)

and only slightly less embarrassing:

1)  Holding out for a hero – Bonnie Tyler (Footloose Soundtrack)

2)  Hips don’t lie – Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean (Oral fixation vol 2)

3)  Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna (Good girl gone bad; reloaded)

4)  Piece of Me – Britney Spears (Piece of Me Remixes)

5)  Kiss me fool – Fefe Dobson (Fefe Dobson)

So, there it is.  No obscure clues – I’ve just laid it out on the line.  Since Patrick started this, he must now share his most embarrassing songs.  I’m also going to tag Lindsay, Jess, Glenn, Amy, Aron, and Jay.

On the running note, I took the collective advice and skipped my quality workout this morning (it was the weird “I” pace one with 30 second recoveries, so it wasn’t hard to convince myself).  Instead I did yoga with my wife in the morning.  I still did my 3 mile run with Alice in the afternoon.  She complained the whole way, but I felt quite good.

(12) Comments   
Posted on 21-04-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I have to admit that it’s been pretty hard to do my morning workouts lately.  I slept extremely well last night, but still it was hard to get out of bed.  I managed to get myself out the door.  The plan was for a one mile warmup, 5.75 mile tempo run at 6:58 pace and a 1.25 mile cooldown.  It didn’t go so well.  It turned into more of a series of 1-2 mile intervals at marathon pace (low to mid 7’s).  I was disappointed that the workout didn’t go as planned, but comforted somewhat that I got the mileage in.

After work , I did 3 miles with Alice.  We threw in a few fartleks.  I’m trying to ease her into more formal speedwork.  I think this will be her last week at 16 miles.  I’ll move her up to 20 miles next week with a 5 mile long run.  Then, I’ll put in a couple of weeks of speedwork before a race in early May.  I think she’ll probably PR that race, which will be good for her confidence through the long summer of training.

(9) Comments   
Posted on 18-04-2009
Filed Under (Races) by Brian

I’ve been more relaxed the past few days than I was before the Seminole Stampede last week.  Having broken 20 minutes took quite a bit of the pressure off.  I felt good this morning, so I calculated my splits based on a 19:30 finish time and decided to just go for it.

The field is about 300 strong and I line up near the front.  I’m not right on the line this time like I was last week and there are a few people up there who don’t belong there.  I scoot up right behind a fast looking high school runner and wait for the start.  We stand at the start line for several minutes and they don’t want us to cross the mats, so we can’t really run any strides off the front.  It’s not a big deal since I’ve gone through a pretty solid warmup already.  The temperature is cooler than last week, but it’s warming quickly now that the sun has risen.

The timer gives us a 15 second warning, then “on your marks” and the horn blows about a nanosecond after that.  Last year at this race, I didn’t hear any of the warnings and was actually facing backward when the horn went off.  This year, I’m surprised, but I’m ready.  As expected, the young man in front of me flies off the line and I squirt out right behind him, putting me instantly ahead of some of the slower runners in the front of the start.

I’m running about fifth place as we jet down a long straightaway along Tampa Bay.  It’s funny to be running along Tampa Bay on Bayshore Drive.  I did that in the Gasparilla 5K in February – only that was in Tampa.  Same bay.  Same street name.  Opposite shore.  As we approach a right hand turn, I check my pace on the Garmin: 4:38 min/mile.  I was shocked last week when it read in the low 5’s.  Today, I’m not sure what to think.  I back off quite a bit to what feels like a pretty easy pace.  I glance down again and I’m running about 5:20 min/mile.  Still too fast.  We round the corner and face something rare in Florida races – a hill.

I’ve mentally prepared for the hill.  Short steps, quick cadence and all that.  It’s not incredibly steep, but it runs the course of about 5 city blocks.  That translates to more than a quarter mile.  I slow again, now at my planned pace of 6:16 min/mile, relax and focus on my breathing.  A few people pass me on the way up, but I’m determined not to blow myself up on the hill.  At the top we round a hairpin and instantly head back down.  Here, we pass the one mile mark.  I’m through in 6:00 flat.

A pretty stiff headwind blows off the bay as we head back down toward it, so the downhill portion of the run isn’t as much of a relief as I had expected.  I’m starting to really feel the pace now and it’s still relatively early, so that’s not good.  On the way down, I hear a “Go Daddy!” come from the other side of the course.  It’s not a domain name registrar commercial, it’s my daughter running up the hill.  I’m almost 2 minutes ahead of her.

I reach the bottom of the hill and slow the pace slightly.  I need to recover a bit and I’ve got 16 seconds in the bank.  I soon hear breathing coming up on my left shoulder.  I press the pace again as we round a turn.  The runner on my left shoulder sticks with me and we both start to close on the runner in front as we round a turn – part of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  We’re going quite a bit slower than the Indycars.

We round another hairpin turn and hit the two mile mark.  I’m through in 12:12.  It’s a slower mile than my first, but I’ve still put another 4 seconds in the bank on the 19:30 goal.  I allow myself to slow just slightly and the runner on my shoulder runs by.  I’m sucking serious wind, but I’m on Bayshore drive and I just have to follow this road back to the finish.  The wind is blowing hard off the bay as we round the curve that leads to the final straightaway.  Suddenly, I notice the runners in front of me taking a sharp right turn.  The cones lead them there.  The course goes right?  This wasn’t on the map!  So much for my “straight to the finish” mantra.

I take the right hand turn, unnerved by the change in plan.  The wind has died down, but my breathing is all over the place.  I make another hairpin, see someone on the other side starting to catch me from behind again, then make another sharp right back onto Bayshore Drive.  That’s when the stitch develops.  It’s fairly low on my right side.  It’s not the worst location.  The high ones are harder to get rid of, but this one is rapidly growing in painful intensity.  I slow significantly.  I contemplate walking it out, but I hold onto a 7:30ish pace.  I focus on deep, even breaths in time with my steps.  I forcefully blow the air out of my lungs, clenching my abs, then breathe in with my belly, stretching my diaphragm.  I can hear the breathing behind me grow louder.  The image of a car dying at a high rate of speed enters my head.  It’s still moving forward, but slowing and I’m frantically turning the key in the ignition to get it started again…



Breathing behind is growing louder now.


Footsteps are fast approaching.


Vrrrrooooom.  Just as the runner behind reaches my shoulder, the sharp, stabbing pain of the stitch dissipates into something much duller and far less painful.  I breathe deep, lengthen my stride and accelerate like I was just baiting him to get closer so I could run away from him again.  He’s clearly not expecting this (quite frankly, neither am I) and he cannot counter.  I quickly leave him behind with 800 m to go.

Now I’m counting down in my head.  I’m hurting, but the allure of the finish has taken over:

“The faster you run, the quicker you’re done” is my new mantra and I’m laying it all out now.  In the distance, I can see the clock ticking away the seconds.  I’ve lost a lot of time in the last mile, but 19:30 is still possible.  I push hard, surging forward and watching each second tick off the clock.  I know I’m going fast because the distance between me and the runner in front of me is rapidly shrinking.  Somehow, the finish line seems to be getting further away, though.  It’s going to be very close.  I push my legs as hard as they’ll go, but cross the finish line in 19:34.

Afterward, I loop back around to see Alice finish.  She passes by a few minutes later and crosses the line in 24:48 -not quite a PR, but under her goal of 25:00 for the race.  I feel like crap.  My head is pounding and every so often, I feel a little nauseous.  After several minutes, I begin to feel better and I check out the results.

I finished 10th overall out of about 300 runners.  I was 1st of 14 in my age division.  Alice (a 6th grader)  finished 2nd in her age group – behind a 4th grader from her own school.  That’ll likely have a motivating effect in the coming weeks.  When I originally scheduled the race, I targeted 19:45 as my goal.  So, I did beat that and shaved 20 seconds off last week’s time.  I do think I’m still well on target to break 19:15 in the Miles for Moffit race on May 9th.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 17-04-2009
Filed Under (Digital Running) by Brian

I know there are quite a few of you out there who use heart rate based training methods.  Since my methods are based primarily on race performance and prescribed paces, I’m a little clueless about how you plan and log runs:

1)  How do you plan your runs?  Do you try to stay between some minimum and maximum heart rate?

2)  When doing tempo runs or intervals, do you plan a warmup in a certain zone, then intervals in another zone with recoveries in another zone?

3)  When you log your runs, what do you record?  Min heart rate?  Avg heart rate?  Max heart rate?

4)  Do you prefer to log heart rate information for each phase of your run?

I think that’s all I’ve got for now.  The more responses, the better.  Thanks.

(4) Comments   
Posted on 15-04-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Yesterday, my run with Alice got rained out.  Actually, we were going to run in the rain but on the way to the park, we saw some wicked lightening, so we decided to call it.  I was slow to get out of bed this morning, but managed to roll out.  The plan called for a fun set of intervals:  4×1000 m at T pace (6:51 min/mile or 4:14) + 6×200 m at R pace (5:45 min/mile or 43 s) + 2 mile acceleration run.  Here’s how it went:

1000 m in 4:07

1000 m in 4:02

1000 m in 4:14

1000 m in 4:02

200 m in 41 s

200 m in 43 s

200 m in 44 s

200 m in 42 s

200 m in 42 s

200 m in 39 s

2 miles in 14:30

It went very well.  It was interesting to keep switching things up.  That made it a little easier.  The 2 mile acceleration run involved starting at 7:30 min/mile and increasing the pace by 5 sec/mile every 400 m (like I have that kind of control).  I pulled it off all right.  I was faster than I should have been at some points and slower at other points.  Overall, I think I ran in the spirit of the plan.  The full workout was 9 miles in 1:11:06.

My run with Alice this afternoon went well too.  I was tired, of course, but it was an easy run and I think it was good to shake out the soreness from the morning run.

(8) Comments   
Posted on 13-04-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I was supposed to do 3 miles at my new T pace (6:51 min/mile) + a set of 4 200m intervals at R pace (5:45 min/mile).  It didn’t got that way at all.  I got about a half mile at my T pace, then called it off and just did a 3 mile easy run.  My legs were like stone.  I figured having yesterday off would help, but apparently it only made things worse.  Oh well.  This is kind of a short week anyway.  If things work out like last week, I’ll be happy I guess.  Although, I could do without the intestinal problems and the butt pain.

After work, I picked Alice up from school for another 3 miles.

“Daddy, can we go fast today,” she asked”.

“No”, I replied.

“Well, I want to practice for the race.”

“I think you should go slow all week.  That way you’ll save your speed for the race”  (I had my own reasons for going slow too).

So, I hit the start button on my Garmin and she took off.  She had a 15 foot gap on me before we were off the school grounds.  My calves were sore and my thighs were burning.  I had figured I had at least 2 years before this happened.  Once I got warmed up, I caught up to her and found a rhythm.  I let her decide the pace and just simply followed behind.  It was a silent run.  I made note of our mile splits, but didn’t tell her what they were.   I got comfortable at our pace and wondered how long she would hold on.  I  could tell in the last mile that she was feeling it, but she kept going.  I heard her groan in the last mile and finally let her know she was killing the pace and she may as well push for the last 800 m.  She did, and finished with a 3 mile time of 25:21 – her fastest time of the last 3 weeks.

“How am I going to run that fast in the race?” she asked

“Well, you know you can do it, because you did it today”, I replied.

“But I felt like I was going to die”.

I just laughed and told her to focus on catching her breath.  I think she’ll take it easy the rest of the week.

(2) Comments   
Posted on 11-04-2009
Filed Under (Races) by Brian

After my intervals on Wednesday, the next few days were dicey.  I took Thursday morning off and had a relaxing bath.  Thursday afternoon, I experienced some intestinal problems during my 4 miles with Alice.  Of course, she was feeling fast that day and finished the last 400 m at sub 7:00 min/mile pace.  I made the 4 miles, was very chagrined to see there wasn’t a bathroom near where we parked, then drove home very quickly.  I went to bed early that night, slept in a little on Friday morning, then just hit the stationary bike for 6 miles on Friday morning.  The intestinal problems seemed behind me, but I’d also developed a stinging pain in my right buttock (just like Forrest Gump).  I did a quick 2 miles with Alice, throwing in a few strides to get myself up to planned race pace.  The pain flared up, so I just massaged it all night.

When I arrived at the park for the Seminole Stampede this morning, I could tell the tightness was still there.  I checked in, pinned on the number and attached the chip, then hit the road for some warmup.  During my warmup strides, I could  feel the pain there.  So, I headed back to the car and applied some biofreeze.  I’m not sure what biofreeze does exactly.  Probably nothing.  I think it just makes you tingle enough that you don’t notice pain so much.  I’d never use it for a training run, but for a race – it’s just the ticket.

I headed for the starting line and did a few more strides before the start.  A look at past results told me that I’d be able to finish fairly high in the standings if I managed my goal of 20 minutes, so I headed straight for the front.

I’m surrounded by a few people right at the starting line.  Some are sprinting out.  I notice two solid looking high school guys and an older guy who looks like he’s been a solid runner for about 20 years.  He’s doing push ups with his shirt off about 20 yards off the start.  The national anthem is sung and a three minute warning is given.  I take a last stride out about 40 yards, take a look at the first turn, then jog back to the starting line.  For the first time in my short running career, I’m literally toeing the line.  With a 15 second warning given, I get into my best “ready” pose.  The air horn goes off and so do we.

I’m flying out behind the two high school guys.  It’s a little strange to see only two people in front of me.  As we approach the first turn, I glance down at the Garmin.  My pace reads 5:07 min/mile.  Yow!  I back off and let the high schoolers go.  I can feel some runners bearing down on me.  I look back at the Garmin.  It reads 5:37 min/mile now.  Still way too fast.  I back off again.  The push up guy passes me.  We round a corner and another older guy passes me.  I try to grab onto his coattails.  The push up guy has basically caught the high schoolers and they’ve opened a sizable gap on the older guy in front of me.  I trail him by about 5 feet.  I’m not sure who’s behind me, but I can hear breathing.

We roll off the paved trail and onto some grass, heading for a road.  I pass the 1 mile mark in 6:09.  I’ve got 18 seconds in the bank.  It’s definitely a faster start than I wanted, but I just relax and try to fall into my planned pace.  The older guy is pulling away, but I let him go.  We pull off the road and back onto a paved trail through the woods.  The breathing behind me is gone.

I’m about 15 feet behind now and the trail winds through the trees.  One moment, I’m all alone, then next I catch a glimpse of the back side of the guy in front of me.  He continues to gain ground on me.  Every so often, I pass out of the trees and a small group of volunteers cheers me on.

Just before the 2 mile mark, I emerge from the trees and I’ve got a good look at the race in front of me.  The guy immediately in front of me has almost caught one of the high schoolers.  He’s about 20 feet in front of me and 5 feet behind the high schooler.  I can’t see the other high schooler or the push up guy.  It’s a few seconds before I hear cheering behind me, so I know I’ve got a decent lead on whoever trails me.

I pass a water station, and the two mile mark in 12:36.  I’ve still got 18 seconds in the bank, so I know I’ve done a good job running the second mile right on pace.  It’s been difficult, though and I’m definitely feeling it.  I run up the trail and out ofthe park where the trail runs along the north side of the park.  I’ve gained a little ground on the two in front of me.  The older guy has now passed the high school and I’m only about 10 feet back of the high schooler now.

The trail turns left back into the park.  The race director waits there ,telling me I’m in 5th with two runners right in front of me.  He then jumps on his bike and zooms by.

“I wish I could run with you guys,” he says.

“I wish I was riding your bike”, I reply as he zooms to the finish.

Both the high schooler and the older guy are in reach if I really push the last half mile.  I know I’ve got 20 minutes if I just keep moving at my current pace.  I quickly become content with that.  I pass the 3 mile mark in 19:11 – 10 seconds in the bank.  I’ve slowed over the last mile, but I’ve clearly got my goal.  I let the high schooler slip further away, but I spot the finish and coast across the line in 19:55.

Finally, the 20 minute barrier is broken.  I’ve been chasing it for a year (though I did take quite a bit of time away to run longer races).  I’m not sure how many runners there were total, but I finished 5th overall and 1st in my age group.  The age group victory was also a first for me.  My time places me at a 50 VDOT now.  I’ve got another race next week.  I’ll just be trying to beat today’s time.

Update: There were 185 total runners and 9 in my age division.  Push up guy won the race in 17:29.  High schooler #1 was second in 18:46.  The guy I chased most of the way was 3rd in 19:39.  High scholler #2 was 4th in 19:45.

(11) Comments   
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