Posted on 31-05-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

This week was a good comeback from the previous week. In order to facilitate my gradual rise to 100+ miles per week, I need to be in the 30’s by now:

Monday: Still at the beach
Tuesday PM: 4.75 miles with Alice
Wednesday AM: 3 miles Easy on the treadmill
Wednesday PM: 4 miles with Alice
Thursday AM: 7.25 miles Easy
Thursday PM: 4 miles with Alice
Friday AM: 3 miles Easy on the treadmill
Friday PM: 4 miles with Alice
Saturday AM: 400 m intervals with Alice (3 miles total)

Weekly total: 33 miles

I’m headed to Orlando next weekend for Raffi’s birthday, so I’ve only got Monday-Thursday to work with this week. On top of that, my afternoon running partner (Alice) is in St. Louis for 16 days, so I’ll either have to cram all my mileage into morning workouts, or go it alone in the afternoon. I’m going to shoot for 38 miles this week.

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Posted on 27-05-2009
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

Hey, it’s two weeks in a row! It’s amazing what some time at the beach and time away from running can do for one’s ability to read. Well, I suppose that’s misleading. It’s not like if you’re illiterate, you can take some time off from running and hang out at the beach and hope to suddenly be able to read…Of course, if you’re illiterate, you’re probably not reading this right now anyway.

What I mean to say is that I’ve actually had time to read over the last few weeks and I put another book in the bag. I requested Again to Carthage (the sequel to Once a Runner) from the library and it did not arrive in time for the weekend.  Instead, I checked out Duel in the Sun by John Brandt.

Duel in the Sun is the story of the 1982 Boston marathon.  Some Many would call it the greatest marathon in history.  This, I knew.  What I didn’t know was that the two main players, Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar, essentially fell apart after the marathon.  The book progresses pretty nicely, weaving the post marathon trials and tribulations (Salazar’s depression and Beardsley’s drug addiction).  Sometimes it even loosely ties said trials and tribulations with the physical equivalents during the actual race.

The book certainly wasn’t the page turner that Once a Runner was, but it did keep my attention.  I do think that Brant went a bit overboard trying to postulate that the 1982 Boston marathon itself was the cause for the downfall of both runners.  While both runners certainly pushed their bodies past their limits during the marathon, I doubt that Salazar’s asthma was solely the result of that race.  More likely, it was spurned by years of high intensity (over) training.  After all, Salazar did win the New York City marathon the following year (albeit in a significantly slower time).  Likewise, Beardsley continued racing hard without adequate recovery following Boston and drove himself into the ground.  What is evident is that the 1982 Boston marathon was the pinnacle of the careers of both men.

For my part, I did 3 easy miles on the treadmill this morning at the gym.  I followed that up with some stretching and an extra long shower.  I did 4 miles in the unrelenting sun with Alice this afternoon.  She was sore from yesterday’s run, so I finally know that I’m doing some good.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 26-05-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I think I reached the peak of my little 4 week rest period this week. We were stuck with a low pressure system for much of the week and that made for some much needed rain across the Florida peninsula. It also made for a convenient excuse to stay in bed a couple of mornings. Remember when I said that if I didn’t feel like running that I wouldn’t? I held true to that:

Monday AM: 9 miles stationary bike, full body strength
Monday PM: 4 miles Easy with Alice
Tuesday PM: 2 miles Easy with Alice
Wednesday AM: 9 miles stationary bike, full body strength
Wednesday PM: 4 miles Easy with Alice
Thursday: Rainy, so I put Alice through a strength workout
Friday: Off to the beach
Saturday: Lying on beach drinking margaritas
Sunday: ditto

Total mileage: 10 miles!

I think I ran more than ten miles during the week I took off for spring break. That’s okay, though. I’m mentally pretty refreshed on the running front (if completely drained on other fronts). Physically, all of my aches and pains are gone, though I’m feeling somewhat sluggish. I’m sure that will pass once I get into regular workouts again.

I skipped running again on Monday thanks to the holiday. My parents are in town for two weeks at the beach, so we’ve been spending the weekends with them. Today, I took Alice for a 5 mile run (1 mile for each day since her last run). She complained the whole way, but took about 3 minutes off her only other 5 mile run. I’m thinking about putting her through some speedwork on Saturday morning before she hops on the plane with my parents for two weeks in St. Louis.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 20-05-2009
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

I’ve never participated in Literary Wednesday and I’m so glad to be able to this week.  When I received the most recent issue of Runners World, I was intrigued to find out that there was actually a fictional novel about running.  I’ve read instructional books and non fiction, but a novel?  Now that’s cool.  I read the synopsis and it sounded just like what I was in the mood for.  Then, I received a Border’s gift card in the mail and I was off to the store.

Most of the reviews you’ll find about Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr. are very, very positive.  I fall into that group.  I thought it was an excellent book.  I was thoroughly entertained and inspired.  That’s not to say the book is perfect.  The literary snobs will certainly find a few flaws.  For one, the story is a little disjointed.  It’s presented as a series of vignettes that are roughly in chronological order.  Certainly with a little more filler between vignettes, the story would be longer, but more boring I think.  Yes, every race and every training run could have been described, but I think Parker struck a nice balance between details and pace.

I read one review on that described the book as “dated” and “chauvinistic”.  It is dated I guess, but only in the same way that American Graffiti or Grease is dated.  The book takes place in the early 70’s at a southern university (based on the University of Florida).  That’s an historical setting that has an effect on the characters of the book.  Is it chauvinistic?  Perhaps.  There are few (if any) strong female characters in the book.  Still, I think this is simply a reflection of the book’s time frame.  I don’t think the book advocates it, nor do I think it is central to the plot.  In fact, the most chauvinistic  and racist characters are the “villains” of the book.

Others complained that the book looks down on recreational runners.  I don’t think that is quite true either.  One passage reads,

“When they occasionally blew by a huffing fatty or an aging road runner, the automatically  toned down the banter to avoid overwhelming, to preclude the appearance of showboating (not that they slowed in the slightest).  They in fact respected these distant cousins of the spirit, who among all people, had some modicum of insight into their own milieu.”

I found Once a Runner to be a real page turner.  The climax of the book actually had my heart racing as though I was running alongside the main characters.  Is it a literary masterpiece?  Probably not, but it was thoroughly entertaining, thought provoking and inspiring.  That combination makes for a great book in my opinion.

My second favorite passage is this:

“A runner is a miser, spending the pennies of his energy with great stinginess, constantly wanting to know how much he has spent and how much longer he will be expected to pay.  He wants to be broke at precisely the moment he no longer needs his coin.”

I can’t reveal my favorite passage without ruining the book, but I highly recommend Once a Runner.  I’m very curious, however, to know if the female readers enjoy it as much as I do.  Though the main characters are male, I don’t think it’s too male focused.  I think a woman ought to be able to identify with the training and racing aspects of the book.  I’d love to hear your opinions, though.  It would make for great fireside discussion at running camp next year :).

On the training note, I skipped Tuesday morning because I felt like it. It was raining pretty hard when I got Alice from school and she was cold. So, we headed to the Sports Authority and picked up a long sleeved tech shirt on clearance for $11. We also got nylon socks, sunglasses and a wrist stopwatch for her. By the time we were done shopping ,we were right near the Pinellas Trail, so we took a two mile run on the trail. This portion of the trail contains two overpasses, so we were able to get some hill work in as well.

Today, I hit the gym for 9 miles on the bike, followed by a full body strength training session. In the afternoon, it was raining again, but Alice and I put in 4 miles anyway. Her new long sleeved shirt kept her warm and she finished the 4 miles in 39:25.

(10) Comments   
Posted on 18-05-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

This is my first attempt to regularly recap my weeks with the same level of organization as Jess and Lindsay.  I’ve been sporadic in my weekly recaps and that’s not good.  In the next nine months, I’ll be putting myself through some pretty intense training and I want to document it.  Why?  I don’t know really.  I guess it helps me to reflect on my workouts.

Monday AM: 5 miles easy (39:15)

Monday PM: 4 mile easy with Alice (42:51)

Tuesday AM: 9 miles stationary bike + full body strength

Tuesday PM: 4 miles easy with Alice (39:40)

Wednesday AM: 3 miles easy (23:01)

Wednesday PM: 4 miles easy with Alice (41:07)

Thursday AM: 9 miles stationary bike + full body strength

Thursday PM: 2 mile fartlek with Alice (19:08)

Friday AM: 2 miles easy with Alice (19:52)

Total mileage: 24 miles

Then, I took the weekend off.  Friday and Saturday were spent at Walt Disney World and Sunday was spent lying on the beach reading Once a Runner (review coming Wednesday).   My runs have all been pleasant and I’m getting amped to start ramping up the mileage.  That’ll wait for a few more weeks, though.

Today was rainy all day, but that didn’t affect my 9 miles on the stationary bike and full body weight training at the gym.  It was drizzling when I did my 4 miles with Alice this afternoon, but I think we both enjoyed that better than the unrelenting sun.

(7) Comments   
Posted on 13-05-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

This week has been pretty fun.  Monday morning I went out for a 4 mile run.  I felt pretty good, so I ran five.  Later, I ran 4 very slow miles with Alice.  Tuesday, I did 9 miles on the stationary bike then did a full body strength training session.  It was the first time I went full bore on the legs in over a month and I was definitely feeling it during my 4 miles with Alice that afternoon.  Of course, she was feeling good and didn’t complain much.  That was nice.  I was busy dealing with my own soreness and wasn’t in the mood to deal with hers too.

That night, we were up kind of late since we all went to the community center to watch my other daughter, Wendy, test for her orange belt in karate.  She nailed it and is well on her way to being able to kick all of our asses.

This morning, the soreness had really kicked in.  I went out for a four mile run, but was feeling quite stiff so I shortened it to 3 miles.  I did do it at 7:40 pace, which felt nice.  I still felt like the tin man when I started my 4 miles with Alice this afternoon and she had a blister.  She was complaining.  I asked her if she was injured.

“No, it’s just a blister,” she said.

“Then run through it and we’ll tape it tomorrow,” I replied.  She whimpered some more, but eventually dialed it in in the final two miles and ended up at a pretty good pace.  I was proud of her for persisting and even kicking it up at the end.  Clearly, she saw the power in daddy’s duct tape blister cure.

So, nothing too exciting here.  I’m certainly feeling more relaxed then last week.  I’m enjoying my runs and getting excited about getting back to a structured training plan.  I’m totally cool with taking it easy for another 3 and a half weeks, though.

(7) Comments   
Posted on 09-05-2009
Filed Under (Races) by Brian

Well, not much to report here.  It started off as an exciting morning.  It was all smiles for Alice and Raffi as we left the house for our 45 minute drive to the race:

Alice and Raffi

We witnessed a beautfiul sunrise as we crossed the bay:


But, a few minutes later…

Changing tire

We got the spare on in time and headed back out for the race (although at a slower speed).  The spare was making a horrible noise, and we were worried it was wobbling on us.  Once we got off the bridge, we stopped again and reset the spare.  By the time we were finished, we didn’t have enough time to reach the race before the start.  So, we turned around and headed back home.

I’m definitely disappointed.  I planned the whole spring training around this race.  I actually felt like I might be able to break 19 minutes this morning.  On the other hand, it was just a benchmark of my end of spring fitness.  I’m relieved to have some time over the next few weeks just running at easy pace.  No waking up to scary speed workouts.  I’ve got family coming in town over the next 3 weekends.  Then, the kids are out of town for a while.  Essentially, the next 4 weekends will be devoid of running…and I’m kind of excited about that.

It will be difficult to increase my mileage without the weekends in play, so I’ll just be hanging out with 20-30 mile weeks.  I probably won’t really set a number.  I’ll just run how I feel.  If I wake up and don’t feel like running, I won’t.  After that, I’ll throw some speedwork back into the mix in preparation for Disney’s Race for the Taste in October.  I’ll also be working my mileage up to 100 miles per week by that date, which is why I won’t feel guilty at all about skipping a few workouts in the next few weeks.

The spring’s speedwork has paid off, though.  I lowered my 5K PR from 22:30 to 19:34 (and would have likely lowered it more today).  Sub 18 is certainly possible by the fall.  I’ll probably trey to schedule a 5K in the summer for my own peace of mind and to get Alice one more race before cross country season starts.

(11) Comments   
Posted on 05-05-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Yesterday, I had a photo shoot in the morning, so I didn’t run.  I did 4 miles in the afternoon with Alice.

This morning, I headed out the door for my last speed workout for a few weeks.  I have to admit that that fact certainly helped to get me out the door.  The plan called for 4 x 1200m in 5:01 + 4×200 m in 0:42.  Here’s how it went:

1200 m in 4:48

1200 m in 5:03

1200 m in 4:56

1200 m in 4:52

200 m in 0:36

200 m in 0:39

200 m in 0:42

200 m in 0:37

With warmup and cooldown, the workout was 7 miles in 57:45.  Once again, there were walking rests where there should have been jogging recoveries, but I’m getting there with the new paces.  The heat has been killer lately too.  I’ve been coming home drenched in sweat and have to change clothes just to stretch so that I don’t end up laying in a puddle of my own sweat.  Even if the race this weekend dictates going up a VDOT, I’m going to stick here for a while.

On another note, I’ve had this weird desire lately to rent a house in the mountains and just run.  Imagine getting up in the morning for a run, maybe taking a nap, then another run in the late afternoon followed by a great dinner and shooting the breeze.  I could go for a few weeks of that.  Who’s with me?  LOL.

(9) Comments   
Posted on 03-05-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Today’s plan called for 9 miles worth of speedwork to round out a 48 mile week.  It was a repeat of a workout I did quite well a few weeks ago, although all the intervals are now at the new fast paces that are still a bit of a struggle for me.  As planned, the workout was 4x1000m in 3:51, 6x200m in 0:42, followed by a 2 mile “acceleration run”.

I felt pretty good on my warmup mile comfortably completing it in 8:09 and went right into my 1000 m intervals:

1000 m in 3:49

1000 m in 3:53

1000 m in 4:02

400 m in 1:45 –>at least I completed 3 this time (though I only hit the time on the first one).

I walked for about 600 m, then upped to a jog before hitting the 200 m intervals:

200 m in 0:34

200 m in 0:41

200 m in 0:40

200 m in 0:41

200 m in 0:40

200 m in 0:39

I wasn’t quite able to hold onto a jog in between the 200 m intervals, so I walked to catch my breath, then jogged the rest of the way.  I gave up on the acceleration run at the end and just finished off with 3 easy miles to round out the 9 mile run.  It was pretty hot and windy and I was pretty dehydrated.  Not the greatest workout, but I got through it.  Only one more speed workout left before the end of my 5K “season”!  I’m really looking forward to just piling on some easy miles for a while.

(6) Comments   
Posted on 01-05-2009
Filed Under (Blogroll) by Brian

I don’t have anything good to report, other than I’m about to eat dinner, watch a movie and go to bed.  I just wanted to wish a few of my faithful readers good luck in their races this weekend:

Glenn is racing the the PCRF Cinco de Mayo half marathon.

Amy is racing the Flying Pig 10K.

Aron is racing the Eugene marathon.

Good luck all!  I look forward to the race reports.

(2) Comments   
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