October
28
Posted on 28-10-2009
Filed Under (Races) by Brian

A few weeks ago, I was impressed by Lindsay’s ability to agree to run on a relay team with a bunch of people she didn’t know.

“That crazy Lindsay,” I thought. “I certainly wouldn’t do that!”

Unfortunately, Lindsay got sick and was unable to run the relay. I had been looking forward to the report of her zany adventure and so I was saddened that I wouldn’t be able to live vicariously through her.

As luck would have it, I received notification through a Facebook message to Raffi about a Ragnar Relay team who had lost a couple of runners and were in somewhat desperate need of runners to fill those slots. At first, I was skeptical, but the more I thought about it, the more excited I got about it. So, I showed up to their team meeting. They all seemed like decent (dare I say, downright fun) people so I quickly agreed to join their team and run the toughest leg of the relay!

Thus, on the weekend before Thanksgiving I’ll be running/traveling by slow moving van from Clearwater to Daytona Beach as a proud member of Team Twisted Blister. Check out the course map. I’m runner #11.

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October
27
Posted on 27-10-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I haven’t really run fast since the Race for the Taste 10K. I haven’t felt too bad about that. I thought it was a good race and I had some injury stuff to work through and heck that marathon is a whole 17 weeks away.

I did 7 miles with Richie yesterday and felt pretty good, though my cardio fitness seemed a little off. After 5 days cold turkey with little to no exercise, I just wrote it off to rust. The foot held up well and that was the important part. During the day at work, I started to feel the beginnings of the tendinitis, but it was hard to tell if it was really coming back or if I was just thinking about it too much. I decided to be overly cautious and skip my afternoon run. As soon as I removed my shoes and put on my slippers, the inkling of tendinitis was gone.

This morning, I woke up groggy and wanting to stay in bed but I headed over to the park for my first quality run of the week. The plan called for 2 miles easy + 3 miles Threshold pace + 2 miles easy. Here’s how it went:

2 miles in 16:02 (8:01 pace)
3 miles in 19:46 (6:34 pace)
2 miles in 18:48 (9:26 pace)

The third mile at threshold pace seemed harder than it should have considering I ran 6.2 miles at basically the same pace two weeks ago. Really, my threshold pace is more like 6:45, though so I’m happy I completed the workout a little faster than planned. The final 2 miles were more of a cool down with a couple of water breaks worked in.

It was pouring rain when I got home from work today, so I skipped my afternoon workout again. My legs are a little sore from this morning’s workout, but I’ve got about 30-35 minutes of pretty easy running with Richie in the morning (he’s in full taper mode for NYC), so that should help flush things out. The tendinitis has not reared it’s ugly head and the corns/warts are healing pretty nicely so hopefully my feet are out of the woods.

It feels good to be back in the swing of things, but Thursday’s quality run will be tougher I think.

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October
26
Posted on 26-10-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

This week marked week 1 of my 18 week marathon training plan. It didn’t go so hot.

I talked a little bit last week about some tendinitis in my left foot, but that’s not quite the whole story. For the last two months or so, I’ve had a bump on the bottom of each foot. My doctor diagnosed them as corns last month and promptly froze them. Personally, I think they’re plantar warts but that doesn’t matter so much as the treatment is the same either way. In any case, I believe the pain of the corns/warts changed my stride resulting in the tendinitis. I ran a pretty decent run with Richie on Tuesday, but the tendinitis flared up and so I did 30 miles on the stationary bike Wednesday.

On Thursday, I went back to the doctor to go over my blood work and we revisited the corns/warts. He froze them (and a third one on my right pinky toe) again, this time getting really, really deep. They all turned purple and hurt like hell. Thursday afternoon, I managed to hobble around Alice’s cross country meet pretty well (she won with a time of 23:18, by the way!) and I continue to pare down the corns/warts with my handy dandy paring tool. They seem to be getting better and the tendinitis hasn’t bothered me for a few days so I think I’m on the mend. I did go cold turkey on running for five days, though. I figure I’d rather do that and have 17 good weeks of training, rather than try to fight some tendinitis for 18 weeks.

Anyway, here’s how the week went:

Monday AM: 18 miles stationary bike
Monday PM: 4 miles with Richie at 8:05 pace
Tuesday AM: 10 miles (6 with Richie) at 8:15 pace
Wednesday AM: 30 miles stationary bike

Total: 14 miles running, 48 miles biking (guess I should be a cyclist)

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October
21
Posted on 21-10-2009
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

With colder temperatures creeping (or in some cases thundering) into our daily lives, the folks over at WomensThermalUnderwear.com have launched a site devoted to aggregating the best thermal underwear and technical base layers specifically for the ladies.

“But Brian,” I can hear you thinking, “you’re a guy and you live in Florida.”

This is indeed true, but the site is offering a contest for bloggers – all bloggers. Use your blog to spread the word about WomensThermalUnderwear.com and you could win a $50 gift card to TheNorthFace.com, AltrecOutdoors.com, or SierraTradingPost.com. You don’t have to use the gift card for ladies thermal underwear either. You can use it for anything those stores offer – even a pair of Men’s Saucony trail running shoes or a killer long sleeve Brooks zip neck podium shirt!

All you have to do is follow the link in the button below, sign up and let everyone know about it in a blog post:

The best place to Buy Women’s Thermal Underwear

Full disclosure: I coded the back end of the web site and am therefore ineligible to win the $50 gift certificate. So, that’s one less person you have to compete against in the random drawing!

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October
20
Posted on 20-10-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Following my goal race, last week was a bit of a transition week. The 18th marked 18 weeks from my 2nd date with a marathon and marathon training officially began yesterday. Last week was spent doing a lot of cross training both to help myself mentally and to help Richie get back in the saddle after his calf injury. By the end of the week, both goals were accomplished. Here’s how it went:

Monday AM: 30 minutes stair master + 40 minutes stationary bike + upper body strength
Monday PM: 4 miles with Alice at 10:17 pace
Tuesday AM: 7.79 miles with Richie at 8:41 pace
Wednesday AM: 20 minutes stationary bike + 45 minutes stair master
Friday AM: 45 minutes stair master
Saturday AM: 15 miles with Richie at 7:58 pace

Total: 26.79 miles running + cross training

Not a bad week all things considered. The stairmaster is a tough workout. It’s the one that actually looks like stairs and works like climbing the down escalator. That definitely got the heart rate up. The temperature has finally cooled down here and the 15 mile run on Saturday morning felt great. Unfortunately, when I stepped out of the shower afterward, I seem to have developed a little tendinitis on the side of my left foot. It’s not horrible, but I think I’m better off giving it a few days to heal completely rather than fighting it for the next 18 weeks. Looks like I might be hitting the bike for 30 miles tomorrow!

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October
19
Posted on 19-10-2009
Filed Under (Races) by Brian

Yes, this race report is long overdue.  The last week has been very, very busy and it’s gone by in a blur.  The good news is that since I delayed my posting of the race report, I can now include pictures.  Try to contain your excitement.

We arrived at Walt Disney World at about 1:00 PM on Friday and checked into our hotel.  We beat Alice’s team’s bus, so we headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to ride Tower of Terror before heading over to Disney’s Wide World of Sports for the cross country meet.  Alice’s time from the previous week’s meet was better than the time of one of the varsity runners on the same course.  A few days before the Disney meet, one of the other varsity runners rolled her ankle and decided to run JV.  So, Alice was elevated to the varsity team for the Disney meet.

The temperature at her race time was 98 degrees with a 103 heat index.  I was probably more nervous than she was.  I did my best to keep her cool and told her to take it easy and go out slow in the beginning.  She managed to heed my advice in the first mile, though I was having my own doubts at the 1200 meter mark.  She was about 20 seconds behind her closest teammate at that point.  Then, the disappeared into the woods and would not emerge until just after the 2 mile mark.  She emerged strong and held a 15 meter lead over one of her teammates.  I told her to push hard to the finish and she responded, passing several runners in the last mile.  She finished in 6th on her team, only 1.5 seconds behind the #5 runner on the team and more than 40 seconds ahead of the #7 finisher.  She was 83rd overall.

We went out to dinner at Paradiso 37 Friday night, then hung out at the Epcot food and wine festival all day Saturday.  It was hot and I had to remain disciplined.  I only had one small glass of Riesling in Germany and drank plenty of water throughout the day.  I had a brief evening swim before retiring to bed at about 10 PM.

I woke at 5:00 am Sunday morning and caught a bus to Disney’s Wide World of Sports.  I ate dry frosted flakes on the bus, washed down with my traditional orange juice.  The staging area for the race was in a grass parking lot with asphalt loops so I warmed up by jogging the loops.  After about a mile of light jogging, I stretched and then did some strides at increasingly faster paces.  I then grabbed a quick cup of water and arrived in the starting corral 10 minuted before start time.

I lined up only slightly further forward than I had for the same race the previous year.  My plan was to run the first mile in 6:40 and see how things felt from there.  While I was standing in the corral, I was relaxed – maybe a bit too relaxed.  I felt a little like I did before the Midnight run in July, so that was discouraging.  I listened to the national anthem, watched the wheelchair start and then counted down my own start as fireworks launched from the starting gate.

When the countdown reaches 1, I start of relaxed just like the previous week’s race.  People are passing me left and right, but I’m not worried.  I know I’ll catch them.  I had been surprised to see an older grey haired woman toeing the line with the faster guys.  I chuckled at that, thinking she had no business being there.  She has taken off fast and is out of view.  I forget about her for a while.  Right now I’m focused on a guy who sprinted off the line like he was running a 100 m race.  He’s about 6’2″ tall and has a healthy belly.  He’s wearing long shorts and a tank top that was covered in sweat even before the race started.  He carries his ipod in his right hand.  We’re less than half a mile into the race, but he’s already dead.  He falls off his pace quickly and I pass him easily.  He’s cursing himself.  30 seconds later, he’s practically sprinting again.  That lasts about 100 m before he’s gasping for breath and cursing himself again.  Without changing my pace, I pass him again – this time for good.

We’ve made our way out of Disney’s Wide World of Sports and on to the Osceola Parkway.  A guy who (from behind) reminds me of former Buccaneers quarterback, Jeff Garcia passes me.  He short and shirtless and seems to be traveling at about the pace I’m looking for so I tag onto his back and pass a few runners.  We’re approaching the 1 mile mark and things are settling down now.  I pass 1 mile in 6:37 – a good pace and it seems to have come quickly.  So, that’s a good sign.  I follow Jeff Garcia and we pass a few more runners.  He gets a little quick for me, so I back off a little and let him go.

I’ve got dry mouth just like last week.  I know the first water station is just ahead, so I make my plans to grab a cup.  We head down an exit ramp, then make a very sharp hairpin turn and head back underneath the Osceola Parkway.  The water station is under the overpass and I focus in on a volunteer, make a quick grab and snag a cup of water.   I take two small drinks, then swish some water around in my mouth before tossing the half empty cup into the concrete wall of the overpass.  I’m still feeling good and I focus on maintaining my pace as we pass the two mile mark and head into Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The course starts to twist and turn quite a bit now.  I’m pretty familiar with the turns so I plot out the apexes pretty well, squeezing past a few runners as we enter a backstage area of the studios.  I’m pretty much in no man’s land as we enter the Light’s, Motors, Action stunt show.  It works out nicely as I’m all by myself on the jumbo tron, though I don’t spare much time to admire myself.

We exit the attraction quickly and run up New York Street, making a quick left and passing the 3 mile mark.  So far, so good.  I’m through 3 miles in just under 20 minutes.  I’ve held true to my 6:40 pace and I’m feeling pretty good.  I start to think about speeding up a little.

studiosWe pass the ABC commissary and the Great Movie Ride, making a loop around the giant Sorcerer Mickey hat in the middle of the park.  I’ve caught Jeff Garcia and I run with him for a while around a lake and down Hollwywood Blvd to the park’s main entrance.  We make a quick left into a back stage area just before exiting the park and I pass Jeff Garcia, along with another runner with a quick acceleration.  I quickly work my way up to a group of five runners, but promptly get boxed into the group as we make a left turn onto a narrow pathway headed for the Boardwalk resort area.  There’s no way out without going seriously out of my way and the group has unfortunately slowed down quite a bit.  I have to run in the middle of it for about a minute before I can get away.

With another quick acceleration, I work my way up to a pair of friends running together.  One of then slows immediately to a walk and tells the other to go on without him.  I tag on behind the other for a quarter mile before he turns to me just before the 4 mile mark and says,

“If you’ve got the speed go for it.”

“Actually”, I think, “I’m rather enjoying using you right now.”  I recover for a few more seconds then make another acceleration past him.

“Go get ’em,” he says.  I thank him as I pass him holding my acceleration for about 30 seconds, making sure he’s not coming with me.  I head past the boardwalk resort and over a bridge, passing a talk lanky guy in biker shorts in the process.  I catch a fast looking young lady and tag onto her back to recover.  Tall lanky guy pass both of us on the downhill and together, we chase him down over the boardwalk, which is quite rickety.  We pass the tall lanky guy in front of the Yacht Club and I immediately accelerate, losing the young lady as I approach the Beach Club.

Runners ahead are slowing up quite a bit now.  I’m still feeling good so I breeze past two or three other people.  Finally, I spot the grey haired lady about 25 meters ahead.  Where are we?  Almost 5 miles in?  She’s got my respect.  I catch her quickly, then run with her over a bridge and past the International Gateway to Epcot.  We enter a backstage area, make a right turn pat a water station and into Epcot.  Neither of us take water, but I put in a good acceleration as we enter the park and pass the grey haired lady.  I take no pride in doing so.

I stride comfortably though Great Britain and hit the bridge to France.

“You’re in Epcot,” I tell myself, “This is it.”

germanyI catch and immediately pass a guy on the bridge, then set my sights on the next pair of runners about 100 m ahead.  They battle through France and Morocco.  One finally drops the other in Japan and I pounce quickly, passing him.  I accelerate through America and Italy, finally catching him as we exit Germany.  I’m starting to feel a little winded, s I run with him over the bridge through China and finally pass him in Norway.  The next two runners are easily 200 m ahead and I’m pretty sure I’ve got no chance of catching them with only a half mile to go, so I focus on holding off the guy behind me.  I recover slightly through Mexico, then focus on hitting the turn into Future World as smoothly as possible.

finishI accelerate through the curve and the full fledged view of Spaceship Earth gives me an adrenaline rush.  I can still hear the guy behind me, so I push it hard past the future world fountain.  I’m even gaining some significant ground on the guy in front of me.  I pass Spaceship earth, veer right slightly then into a backstage area where I pass the 6 mile mark in 39:50.  I’m trying to calculate if I can make 0.2 miles is 1:10 as I pass into the fenced in finishing chute where I can hear the announcer and the crowd noise.  I quickly dispense with my calculation and decide just to run as hard as I can.  The seconds are ticking away toward 41 minutes as I straighten up and sprint as hard as I can through the finish.  My clock time is 41:06, with a chip time of 41:02.  I hard to hold down the puke, but I manage after about 4 or 5 heaves.  I have  to swallow down some recycled OJ, but there will be no public display of spewing today!

Having finished 4th in my age group last year with a 44:55 and missing third place by only 20 seconds, I figured I was assured of an age group award this year.  As it turns out, I was 8th in my age group and missed out on the coveted crystal plate by almost 2 minutes.  Still, I was 32nd out of over 4000 runners.  So, that’s cool. Here’s a bonus video of the finish.

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October
12
Posted on 12-10-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

This week was pretty boring for the most part.  My quality run wasn’t the best and I took most of the week easy in preparation for the “goal race” on Sunday.  The race itself went pretty well (and a race report with be forthcoming in the next few days).  Here’s how the week went:

Monday AM: 6 miles easy treadmill + upper body strengh training

Tuesday AM: 1200 m repeats aborted halfway 2.13 miles total

Wednesday AM: 8 miles easy at 8:47 pace

Thursday AM: 3 miles easy with Raffi at 11:49 pace

Friday AM: 6 miles easy at 8:38 pace

Saturday AM: 2 mils easy at 8:46 pace

Sunday AM: 1.27 miles warmup + 10K race

Total: 36.5 miles

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October
06
Posted on 06-10-2009
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Brian

This week was a race week so the mileage was intentionally a little low.  Still, there were a few missed workouts do to some pain the my groin area and life got in the way with some car trouble on Monday so the mileage ended up even lower than planned.  Here’s how it went:

Tuesday AM: 6 miles easy treadmill + lower body strength

Tuesday PM: 4 miles easy

Wednesday AM: 4x1mile + 6x200m + 1 mile (10 miles total)

Thursday AM: 4 miles easy treadmill

Friday AM: 2.5 miles easy

Saturday: 10K Race + warmup = 7 miles

Sunday: 60 minutes (20.5 miles) stationary bike

Total: 33.5 miles

Here are a couple pictures from the race for the cure on Saturday:

group

Me, Alice, Raffi and Denise (rundmt) before the race

Mid-race photo by Denise as we passed each other

Mid-race photo by Denise as we passed each other

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October
04
Posted on 04-10-2009
Filed Under (Races) by Brian

After another great quality workout this week, which I apologetically failed to blog, I was feeling a little tenderness in the groin area.  I cut my easy run on Thursday to 4 miles and my 6 mile course preview on Friday morning was cut to 2.5 miles.  I couldn’t really pin point an exact area for the pain.  It seemed to be in my groin when I was just walking around, then it would be in my thigh and finally migrate to my knee.  Based on that, I assumed that nothing major was wrong and that some of my muscles were squeezing the sciatic nerve.

I spent Friday jogging around the course at the flrunners cross country meet watching Alice and her teammates (Alice came in 23rd in the JV race with a time of 24:18).  I felt pretty good there.  When I arrived at the Race for the Cure with Raffi and Alice, we immediately ran into Denise (rundmt) outside the parking garage.  After a quick picture, we headed to the starting line.  I jogged for about a mile and then did some quick stretching as they were making announcements.

After my 5K meltdown in early September, my plan for this race was to go out intentionally slow.  My mantra was “Not a second faster than 7” for the first mile.  So, I found my place next to the “7 min/mile” sign in the starting area.  During the national anthem, I spotted Drew, with whom I had run a long run during June before his bout with shin splints.  It was good to see him at the start.  After the anthem, I wished him luck and we chatted for a few seconds before I retreated to my slower starting area.  As I was walking, a maniac flew out of nowhere, slapped my butt and gave me a hearty pat on the head.  His name is Richie and I run with him every week.

I was surprised to see Richie there.  He’s been burning up the local races lately, no doubt, but he was experiencing some calf pain earlier in the week and I thought he might take it easy this weekend.  I wished him luck too and he took his place near the front with Drew.

The gun goes off and I jog out of the gate.  I let runners pass me, confident I’ll see them again later.  After a quarter mile, I glance at my watch and see a 6:15 pace.  I back off immediately even though it feels like I’m going slow.  We run down bayshore drive along the waterfront and make a left turn onto St. Petersburg’s iconic pier.  The dust is beginning to settle and I cruise comfortably along, my legs light and my breathing easy.  I miss the 1 mile mark, but glance down at my watch shortly after where I think it should have been.  My watch reads 7:09.  Close enough, I think.

We round the end of the pier and start back down the other side.  I’m parched.  As my late grandma Betty would have said, “I’m spittin’ cotton”.  I find a group of about 5 runners and comfortably tuck into the back.  So far, so good.

At the end of the pier, we make a left back onto Bayshore.  A water station lies ahead.  I slow my pace slightly, fall into line behind 3 other guys and carefully plot my water grab.  The one I’m eying is grabbed by someone in front of me, so I shift my gaze a little further down and grab.  I’ve got it.  Now to get it down without choking.  I ring my hand around the back of the cup and pour slowly into my mouth, shifting my breathing temporarily to my nose.  I swish it around a little in my mouth and swallow.  I take another small swig and throw the cup aside.

I’ve reached the 2 mile mark in 14:07.  We take a right turn onto 1st Ave S.  The next mile is entirely uphill – a rarity in Florida.  I’ve run this section of road many times so I’m prepared for the incline.  I passed my previous group of runners at the water station, so I set my sites on the next group.  As we work our way up 1st Ave S toward Tropicana Field, I slowly reel them in.  It takes me about 4 blocks and I tuck into the back of this group of 4.  I’m still feeling great so I glance down at my watch.  7:15 min/mile.  Well, that won’t do.  I pull out to the right of the group and gradually increase my pace as I pass them.

The next group is pretty far ahead so I’m running basically solo for a while.  I pass through an intersection with some enthusiastic cheerleaders and then hit the 3 mile mark in 21:12.  I’m surprised I’ve lost 12 seconds on the 7 minute mile pace, but I feel so good that I’m not really worried about it.  There’s another water station, but I run right through.  I can see other runners coming back the other way now.  It’s not long before I see Richie.  I clap and yell out encouragement to him – so good do I feel.  Drew is about 10 yards behind him.  I do the same for him and he yells back at me.

I pass another runner just before the turn around with a burst of speed.  I tell myself to back off a little once I turn around and I do – but not for long.  We’re on a slight downhill for the next mile now and it’s time to start thinking about loosening the slack on my reigns.  I’m careful about it, only increasing my pace slightly.  I know I’ve still got about 3 miles to go and I don’t want a burnout repeat.  As I’m setting my sights on another group in front, I hear someone yell “Go Brian!”  Somewhat surprised, I look over to the other side of the course to see Denise shooting a picture of me.  I fumble to wave at the camera and yell “Go Denise” at the same time.  I’m sure the photo doesn’t look pretty.

Just before the bottom of the hill, I hit the 4 mile mark in 28:01.  That’s right.  I’m bringing some time back now.  I’m still feeling fabulous.  I let loose a little more on the reigns and focus in on the group ahead.  There are two guys wearing the same jersey, a woman with headphones and two other guys hanging on.  A guy in a white shirt is the first to fall off the back.  He’s toast and I gobble him up quickly.  The woman with the headphones is next.  I catch her and stick with her for a while.  We run side by side for about a half mile.  I finally pick up my pace and pass her just before crossing the 5 mile mark in 34:48.

Now the reigns are off.  It’s time to go get the rest of them.  I slowly pull closer to them as we run up beach drive.  We pass the television cameras and I’m only about 5 yards off the back.  The  course turns right and I go inside, passing one of the stragglers.  I’m running with the two guys in the same jersey now.  We take another right turn and one of them looks back at me.  “He’s done,” I think.  The other encourages him to kick it up, but he tells him to go ahead.

I pass him quickly and set my sights on chasing down the other, but he’s got a pretty good kick himself.  He’s about 10 yards ahead as I pass the 6 mile mark.  He’s chased down a runner ahead and we make a left to the finishing chute.  They both take off in a full sprint and I follow suit.  I pull within 5 yards as they cross the finish line.  I cross immediately after in 42:34.  The sprint induces a few little dry heaves, but nothing comes up and I’m soon feeling quite elated at running the race exactly as planned.

Although I could have run it faster, the time is a 2:21 PR for a 10K.  I’ve now got a much better idea of what pace I needs to go out in next week at Disney World.  After finishing, Alice ran up to me, high fived me and told me I beat Richie.

“Uh oh,” I said, “I didn’t pass Richie and he was well ahead of me at the 3 mile mark”.  I found Drew who finished in 38 minutes and change.  He told me that he saw Richie pull up around 4 miles.  We waited for Denise to finish (and she did so enthusiastically), then went to grab some food.  I eventually ran into Richie who said his calf wasn’t feeling right so he decided not to risk it.  He made his way to the massage tent and had it massaged.  It doesn’t sound like a major problem and he’s still got 4 weeks until New York, so hopefully it won’t derail him there.

For my part, I finished 17th overall.  There were no age group awards, but I did get a colorful plastic medal.

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