Posted on 31-07-2009
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Brian

I often talk about how flat Florida can be, but I rarely talk about how buggy it can be sometimes. Monday afternoon was one of those times. So, I’ll illustrate with a photo Friday:


(7) Comments   
Posted on 29-07-2009
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

I really enjoyed John L. Parker Jr’s Once a Runner so I eagerly requested the sequel, Again to Carthage from my local library.  I guess with such high expectations I set myself up for disappointment.  I don’t want to say that the book was bad.  It certainly had its moments – for example, when Cassidy easily outruns a group of spoiled brats in a 4×400 m relay.

Even moreso than Once a Runner, Again to Carthage is a series of vignettes.  It takes place over the course of a few years after Cassidy has graduated from law school and integrated into society as a “normal” person.  After losing friends and family members for a variety of reasons, Cassidy begins to question his life and realizes that he’s not done running, but he’s running out of time.

He retreats to his family’s land in the North Carolina mountains, enlists the help of his old friend, Bruce Denton and sets out to qualify for the 1980 olympics in the marathon.  The training is interesting, but the book’s climatic moments are somewhat more unrealistic and unbelievable than the original.

It’s definitely worth a read, but don’t expect to enjoy it as much as Once a Runner.

(4) Comments   
Posted on 28-07-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Richie and I both have children who go to the same private school.  Richie has figured out how to slide past the maintenance shed, into the woods and around the fence that surrounds that school’s track – thereby bypassing the locked gate.  This made me a little nervous and I guess that’s why I’m a computer programmer by trade and Richie is a private investigator.  Nobody noticed us sneaking in and the football coach came and opened the gate while we were working out without saying anything to us.  So, I guess they weren’t all that concerned.

It was my first track workout ever.  The plan called for 12×400 m in 86 s with 400m recvoery jogs.  Here’s how it went:

400 m in 82 s

400 m in 83 s

400 m in 83 s

400 m in 83 s

400 m in 84 s

400 m in 84 s

400 m in 87 s

400 m in 85 s

I called it after 8 intervals.  I was beat.  I really woke up in a bad mood this morning and it carried over a little into the workout.  I did manage a pretty good jog in between all intervals except the 7th.  I walked 200 m after the 7th.

For his part, Richie did 8×400 with 200m at easy pace in between, essentially doing 5K in about 18:30.  After 1200 m cooldown with me, he didn’t feel “quite right” about the workout.  So, I played cheerleader while he ripped off a 5:33 mile.  It was all about the cheerleading – ha!

(8) Comments   
Posted on 26-07-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Another week is in the books.  With both Alice and Richie out of town this week, I ran all my runs solo and at my own pace – although Richie was still in town on Monday and offered some encouragement during my treadmill intervals.  Here’s how the week went:

Monday AM: 200 and 800 m intervals on the treadmill for total 7.5 miles

Tuesday AM: 8 miles at 8:08 pace

Wednesday AM: 4 miles Easy + 2.5 miles sub 7:00 + .5 miles easy + 1 mile in 6:44 + .25 miles easy + .25 miles in 1:35 + Easy to total 10 miles

Thursday AM: 3 miles at 8:20 pace

Thursday PM: 4 miles at 7:58 pace

Friday AM: 3 miles at 7:51 pace

Friday PM: 4 miles at 7:57 pace

Saturday AM: 14 miles at 8:23 pace

Total 53.5 miles.

All in all, it was a good week.  There were a couple of milestones.  In the same short run on Friday evening, I passed 1000 miles for the year and 500 miles in my second pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence.  Luckily, I stopped by the store earlier in the week to pick up my fourth pair so the second pair can be safely retired now.

On another note, my Wednesday threshold run did not go quite as planned.  I was supposed to get 5 miles at 7:03, but I only got halfway there before having to recover.  The threshold pace runs are my main training weakness right now and I think it’s largely mental.  I think if I can breakthrough on these workouts, then I’m in store for a series of very good races between September and February.  If anybody has any psychology advice, let me know.

It’s up to 60 miles next week!

(7) Comments   
Posted on 20-07-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Today’s interval plan called for 4x(200 m R pace + 200 m jog + 200 m R pace + 400m jog + 800m R pace + 400m jog).  I was having trouble figuring out the best way to do this on my normal 1.1 mile park loop and had pretty much convinced myself to do them on the treadmill.  When I woke up to thunder and lightning this morning, the deal was sealed.

I got the the gym and ran into Richie in the locker room.  He was a little surprised I was doing my intervals on the treadmill.  I’ve been giving him some crap about doing long and quality runs on the treadmill.  I referred to him as a “treadmill warrior”.  This was before I read about Lindsay’s epic 18 miler on the treadmill.  Anyway, he threw the nickname back at me.  I lined up on a treadmill next to him and hit it.  Here’s how it went:

1 mile warmup

200 m  43 s

200 m 43 s

800 m 2:52

200 m in 43 s

200 m 43 s

800 m 2:52

200 m 43 s

200 m 43 s

800 m 2:52

200 m 43 s

200 m 43 s

800 m 2:52

Cool down.

You have to give it to the treadmill for the remarklable consistency.  I jogged between all the intervals at 10 min/mile pace and gave myself a 1 minute walk between sets.  After the third 800, I walked the 400 m instead of jogging, but that was the only one.  So, I’m certainly improving in that area.  In total, the workout was 7.5 miles.  I wore my racing shoes, which helped a little I think.

(6) Comments   
Posted on 19-07-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I was quite fatigued this week.  After Monday’s intervals, my legs were sore for pretty much the rest of the week.  I developed a series of sore spots.  My left shin, my right ankle, my left foot, my right knee.  I spent some quality time with ice.  This was especially true on Friday night.  While the muscle soreness had faded by then, my left foot and shin were not in good shape.  I was having serious reservations about the long run on Saturday.  While lying in bed watching The Usual Suspects, I iced the shin and the foot.  The pain went away, but I couldn’t tell if that was just because my whole lower leg was numb from the cold.

The long run started out pretty easy.  Richie had done a hard series of intervals on the treadmill the day before, so he wasn’t really pushing the pace in the beginning.  After a mile, he stopped to stretch.  We ran on pretty comfortably on a trail with several overpasses (Florida hills).  At some point, Richie convinced me to go 14 miles instead of just 13.  When we hit the 7 mile point in just under an hour, Richie wanted a full hour so we ran on for a couple minutes.

Once we turned around, we ratcheted up the pace.  We covered the next 5 miles in about 38 minutes.  Richie was on a roll.  If I had let him, he’d have sped back to the car at 7:00 min/mile pace.  Instead, I needed a brief walk at the 12 mile point.  He downed a gel and was pretty much toast after that.  One might argue that I stopped to walk just to break his groove so I could out jog him in the cooldown.  That’s it.  Yeah.

Here’s how the week went down:

Monday AM: Interval session (5:45 pace 200’s,400’s and an 800) for 7.5 miles

Monday PM: Intervals with Alice totalling 4 miles

Tuesday AM: 6 miles stationary bike + upper strength

Tuesday PM: 3 miles easy with Alice at 9:32 pace

Wednesday AM: Failed threshold run.  5 miles at 8:53 pace

Wednesday PM: 4 miles at 7:33 pace

Thursday AM: 2 miles treadmill at 8:21 pace

Thursday PM: 3 miles with Alice at 9:16 pace

Friday AM: 3 miles at 8:00 pace

Friday PM: 3 miles with Alice at 9:07 pace

Saturday AM: 14 miles with Richie at 8:30 avg pace

Sunday AM: 6 miles with Alice at 10:10 pace

Total: 54.5 miles

I was slightly over my planned mileage again.  I’ll be shooting for 53 again next week.  Alice is with her grandparents for 3 weeks, so I may do fewer 2 workout days with some longer morning runs.  We’ll see how that goes.  I’m feeling good.  I’ll be focusing more on my diet this week to help with recovery on the hard days.  I’m trying green tea and (gasp) spinach salad.

As a side note, my most popular post (73 comments) was almost exactly 2 years ago.  Check it out.  You can bypass all the detailed description about the Disney marathon course and go directly to the bottom where I describe my workout.  There I was all proud of my ability to “zone out” for 2 miles.  It’s been a fairly long road, but I’ve chipped away at it one step at a time.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 16-07-2009
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Brian

No.  I”m not running it.

I did receive word, however, that the Fresh Air fund is still looking for runners and sponsors to join the Fresh Air fund racers for the New York City half marathon on August 16th.  Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer experiences in the country to almost 2 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend Fresh Air Fund camps.

If you’d like to run through the city so that a city kid can run through the country, you can learn more at http://www.freshair.org/half-marathon.aspx.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

(1) Comment   
Posted on 15-07-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Today, the plan called for 3×12 minutes at my Threshold pace (currently 6:45) with 2 minute rests in between.  On the surface, this seemed a lot less intimidating than the typical big block o’ time at threshold pace.  Unfortunately, I woke with sore legs.

You know, when the legs are sore and you’re still in bed, it’s not a good sign.  I rolled out of bed, went through the pre-run routine and headed out for my run.  The one mile warmup at easy pace didn’t alleviate anything.  Holding 8:30 pace felt like a struggle.  Still, when I hit the park, I valiently upped the pace to 6:45.  It wasn’t so bad.  I even accelerated past another runner at one point.  About 8 minutes in, I started to really feel it.  I counted the seconds until 12 minutes and slowed to a walk.  I hit that 12 minutes (1.81 miles) at 6:37 pace.  Hey, not bad – 1 down, 2 to go.

Of course, the 2 minute walk seemed like about 15 seconds and I started off on the second interval.  I lasted about 2 and half minutes this time.  I slowed to walk and cursed myself.  Eventually, I got mad enough to induce a little bit of an adrenaline rush, but even this was insufficient to speed me up to even my easy pace.  Finally, I saw a high school cross country team approaching from the distance and I managed to get up to easy pace and finish off 5 miles.

My legs still felt stiff in the afternoon for my 4 mile run (without Alice since she’s sick).  Before I knew it, however, I was running at 6:30 pace.  Explain that.  I eased back and finished the 4 miles in 30:11.  So, that made me feel a little better about the morning run – but not much.

(2) Comments   
Posted on 13-07-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Today was another interval Monday.  Always mixing things up, Wily Jack Daniels had me running the ole pyramid today.  The plan called for 4x200m + 2x400m + 1x800m + 2x400m + 4x200m.  The goal was 43 s for the 200’s, 86 s for the 400’s and 2:52 for the 800.  Here’s how it went:

200m in 42 s

200m in 47 s

200 m in 46 s

200 m in 44 s

400 m in 82 s

400 m in 78 s

800 m in 2:52

400 m in 84 s

400 m in 86 s

200 m in 44 s

200 m in 40 s

200 m in 44 s

200 m in 45 s

Strangely, I missed my time on the majority of the 200’s but was spot on or a little fast on the longer intervals.  I guess it took me a while to accelerate and the 200’s were just too short for my fast pace to make up for the slower pace in the beginning.  I went a little better today as far as recoveries go.  I got through the first set of 200’s and the first 400 with complete jogging recoveries.  After that, I did walk a little after each interval, but only for about 50 m before resuming the jog.

I very nearly threw up after the 800.  I had 3 dry heaves, but no puke show for the others at the park today!  Overall, it wasn’t bad.  I followed it up with an afternoon set of 400’s with Alice at roughly 7:00 pace.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 12-07-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

This week brought an increase in mileage and intensity.  It brought me back to speedwork and brought me over 50 miles for the first time since December.  Here’s how it went:

Monday AM: 10×400 m intervals in 82-88 s.  Total: 7.5 miles

Monday PM: 400 m intervals with Alice.  Total: 4 miles

Tuesday AM: 6 miles stationary bike + upper and core strength

Tuesday PM: 3 miles easy with Alice (9:45 pace)

Wednesday AM: Tempo with Richie (7:02 pace for tempo) Total: 8.25 miles

Wednesday PM: 200 m intervals with Alice.  Total: 3 miles

Thursday AM: 2 miles Easy treadmill at 8:21 pace + upper strength

Friday AM: 3.5 miles at 8:05 pace

Friday PM: 4 miles with Alice at 10:03 pace

Saturday AM: 12.37 miles with Richie at 8:15 pace

Sunday AM: 6 miles with Alice at 9:53 pace

Total: 53.62

Not a bad week at all.  I actually got a little discouraged after the tempo run on Wednesday.  The pace was very hard for me and felt like a race.  On top of that, I only did 30 minutes at T pace instead of the prescribed 40.  I started to question whether I was capable of going sub 18 in a 5K (and therefore sub 36 in a 10K).  When Richie said he wanted to run low 8’s for the 12 miler on Saturday, I was afraid of being in some serious discomfort the whole way.  As it turned out, we averaged 8:15 for more than 12 miles and that includes a couple of water stops.  We turned in a few miles at 7:30 and 7:45 pace.  I felt a nice rhythm in the last 2 or 3 miles and finished quite comfortably.  I did actually feel I was starting to run out of energy after about 11.5 miles, so I’ll be conscious of fueling a little better next time, but fitness-wise, I think I could probably PR a half marathon with a 1-2 week taper.

I’m not just running now.  I’m training.  It’s good to be back.

(5) Comments   
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