Wednesday, November 29, 2006

That's all folks!

It's been awhile since I last posted and since I last ran. I got sick and I took some time off. That means I did not run the Rothman 8k, which I had been training for. The thought of coughing and worse in a crowd of hundreds of runners was just not appealing to me.

Met up with the Tuesday night group yesterday evening, at first catching up with a Wednesday nighter who showed up with this group for the first time and then ended up running about 3 and a half miles out and back with Jamie. We became quite engaged in our conversation and before you know it, she went longer than she had first planned and I decided to turn around with her to continue talking. One of those runs that just flew by because of stimulating companionship. We push each other enough to get a good workout, but keep it easy enough to keep communicating. I need more of those types of runs. It just doesn't feel like work at all.

Over the prior three weeks, I have worked, started a little consulting job, got my car fixed after a fender bender, did chores around the house, cooked a Thanksgiving dinner, saw family, caught up on sleep and successfully weathered a common infection. I know that has nothing to do with running, but it is my life. And after much resistance, I have finally accepted that's the type of runner I am. It has to take a back seat to a variety of other things.

Consequently, I am signing off.

I will still read and gain needed inspiration and motivation from many other runner's blogs that I will continue to visit. I will still thrill at all of your accomplishments, rejoice and cheer for your prs, and eagerly read and vicariously accompany you on each and every lbrr (long boring race report-but as us runners know, they're not boring at all). I want to give a shout out, in reverse order, to a few that have sustained me.

Susie good luck on your upcoming half marathon. I know you will rock it.
Jim hope to see your yellow shorts out there real soon. Heal that leg.
John congratulations on qualifying for Boston. Although it's in passing, always enjoy the Heys!
Charlie, it sounds like you ran an awesome marathon in Philly. I was dissappointed that I could not be there to cheer you on and finally meet you.
Ian, you have alot of prs still ahead of you. Hope you never stop entertaining us and making us laugh and smile with your blog.
Seebo, there's a sense there is a huge PR coming this weekend. You have earned each and every one of them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Free radicals

Made it out to Kelly Drive last night about 6:30 after work. My body was ready for a warm bed, instead it got a warm night to run. As I was working out the stiffness in my legs along Boathouse Row, a bunch of runners zoomed by me. Thought it was going to be a busy night, but didn't see many more after that. Planned to work down to tempo pace and hold it for as long as I could. Never quite got to the desired pace, but it was definitely tempo effort for 2 and a half miles. Recovered by jogging a little, and then gradually turned it up over the last two miles. In total 5.5 miles.

Been trying to eat as many antioxidants as possible. Don't know if it's because I want to run better or just have better overall health. Yeah right? Found out last night that prunes (oh sorry, the sunsweet correct term is dried plums) have more antioxidants per ounce than blueberries. Fruits and veggies that are red, blue and purple are the best bets. I guess they're a politically neutral health benefit.

And to think, I used to be a free radical.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Race Pace

30 minutes at race pace at Lawrence Road Park tonight after work. 5 miles in 46:53.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Seasonal affective workout

This and the height of the summer are the only times that I wish I was more disciplined to wake up early and get my runs in before work. After an unexpected DNR yesterday, I wanted to get some speed work in today. Went to the Lawrence Road park to run twice around at 8k pace with one lap jogs. That amounts to 944 meters with a 472 meter jog between.

There were two football teams practicing, so they had brought in these movable lighting systems to provide light. After a two lap warmup, I wanted to ease into the race pace, figuring if it wasn't fast enough I could blame seasonal affective disorder and adjust the pace on subsequent 944s.

First 944 - 4 seconds fast.
Barely slowed down for the jog as it seemed pretty easy and my body was adjusting well to the faster pace.
Second 944 - 8 seconds fast.
Slightly more of a slowdown.
Third 944 - 10 seconds fast. This one was the first one where it felt like work.
Slower jog.
Fourth 944 - 12 seconds fast. Stomach feeling queasy. This was work, but I knew I could do two more.
Slow jog.
Fifth 944 - 13 seconds fast. Afterwards continued sprint to bathroom for 15 minute break. By the time my intestines settled down, my legs had stiffened somewhat and I felt the chill through the sweat soaked shirt. So I cooled down and headed home.

Throughout the runs, I had to consciously slow down my body. It wanted to run faster. I don't know why. Confident that without the stomach problems, I had a sixth one in me.

Total 5 miles. All in all - another successful speedwork session.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New route sense

I love to run new routes. Since today's was from my house, the chance of getting lost was nil. And I have probably driven most of the roads at one time or another, but somehow leaving the house with only a vague idea of where I am running keeps it interesting. I typically start out along some known route then just start turning down roads that look interesting. Passed through my 'hood, then into Merion, then into Bala Cynwyd to Belmont Ave. and then turned around and headed back.

When I am in decent running shape, my body pretty much knows how long I'm going. I had wanted to do about 6 and I ended up with 250 meters over that. Thought about running either up or down Belmont Ave, but my youngest grandson was at home napping, so that will have to wait for another day. Kathe was home, by the way. This is today's route.

Last night I doubled up and did an hour of spinning class after work. It was a lot of cardio. And in fact, a lot of interval work. Running intervals in the morning and stationary bike intervals at night. Biking really does help my legs recover.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I love the smell of the track in the morning

The choice between pain or joy.

Now for most people this would be a no brainer. But I bet a couple of the few regular readers of this blog thought I was wimping out. It’s not that runners necessarily enjoy pain, at least I don’t, but I know that pain is the touchstone of all running growth.

Although I’m not particularly big on rigid training plans, I have over the last week searched the web for some guidance on training for the 8k. It's quite possible that there may be people who know a lot more about this than myself. After entering in the pertinent information into Runner’s World Smart Coach, and chosing hard for the question “How hard do you want to train?”, I was quite surprised that my relatively lightweight ideas about training were still harder than they suggested. So I upped the mileage a bit and chose Very Hard for the above question and got about what I had outlined in my mind.

I then found Hal Higdon's advanced 8k training plan, and saw that he had three speed workouts a week scheduled. I know I won’t be able to do a tempo run followed directly the next day by a track workout, but I figured I could work both into a week. Last night's planned excursion to the track was sidelined by an errand, a delicious homemade meal by Kathe and general fatigue. But I got to bed early and decided to have a go of it this morning.

Made it to St. Joe’s track about 6:15 and after a half mile warmup, I took off. My plan was to do 4 to 10 400 meters at 8k pace with a 200 meter jog. Why the big range? I was giving myself an opportunity to be successful after last week's struggle with race pace. The first one went by 15 seconds faster than I had planned. So I backed off a little and just ran loose and free. The second, 9 seconds fast. And the next six went by between 9 and 11 seconds fast. I had found a groove.

On the ninth, by legs began to resist, so rather than push my now tiring body too hard, I stayed loose and came in 3 seconds fast. On the final one, I went out at about the speed of the prior, but hammered it over the last 150 meters or so to finish 14 seconds below pace. Cooled down pretty quickly because it was about 40 degrees out, went home and showered.

The thing about it was, I wasn’t in pain during but was pretty ecstatic after. I learned several things about myself and my running this morning. One, that I really need my rest, in terms of sleep, and especially in terms of running, to perform at optimum. Two, sometimes the responsibilities of a normal day leave me too tired to maximize my running, so I need to be flexible enough to adapt the schedule according to my general energy level. Three, that I, like Ryan am a better cold weather runner. And four, that a slightly slower, but more lengthy speedwork is probably better for me.

Continuing with point 4, today’s intervals were slower than my 400s I did a year a half ago, but I was very consistent today and I did a lot more. They were way below my current 5k pace, and much more in line with the pace of my 5k pr. And I definitely don’t feel nearly as wiped out as I did. Nor was it as intimidating as before. In fact, it was quite joyful.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Return to the scene of the crime

I got to the Wednesday night group about 20 minutes early and rather than hang out, I decided to head out and add an extra mile or so before I had to get home, get showered and head out for another Wednesday evening commitment. Leaving early and alone allowed me to experience this run, the "bus loop" that I have run many times before, in the fading light rather than the dark. There was a beautiful cloudy, pink sky framing a group of girls and then boys practicing their soccer drills in a large field in Haverford. It made me realize just how many resources, playgrounds, walking paths, schools, colleges, private schools, this small community has.

Took it free and easy out to the usual turnaround, then added an extension up the bus road and back through a street I never knew existed, hoping that this would get me to a total of six miles. As I headed back the usual route passing the clusters of Bryn Mawr runners, I thought I might be a little short so I decided to extend the run via the path of my legs' mutiny during a 5k two Saturdays ago. Just as I passed the last group of "slow" runners that I struggle to hang with, I veered left onto the Haverford College nature trail. By this time it was pretty dark but there were other runners and dog walkers out. As the path led to the "evil incline” I thought about picking up the pace and powering through this section to teach it a lesson. But I didn't. Not because I didn't want to or because I couldn't have, but because it would not help me to achieve my goal.

My internal running debate is not with being an aging, 25 mile per week, not very fast runner. That I can accept. It is whether I should just go out, run easy and regularly experience the “joy of running”, or whether I should regularly test myself by pushing my running limits. Faster and longer often involves some degree of pain. Pain or joy, hmmm. Stay tuned.

6.5 easy miles. The miles seem to be coming a lot easier lately.