Monday, December 28, 2009

training 12/28-1/3

12/28- Lakeshore 6.5 with temps in the upper 30s. That's likely the temp for Mercedes so I better be used to it. Sore lower legs again. Pace was a steady 7:40 for the first 4.5 then had to work for an 8:00 pace over the final 2 and finished with an average pace of 7:46. Average performance but a modest improvement over yesterday. Volume will be fairly light early in the week followed by a monster run on New Year's Day.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=6.5

12/29- The mini-slump is over. Strong 5 mile tempo today on Lakeshore. I opted for this instead of Johnny's speed session partly because of the weather. Intervals with temps in the 30s isn't all that appealing. Solid effort all around and a pretty even pace (16:53-17:03) with the 2nd half slightly uphill. Finished in 33:56 (32 off my PR) and that's an average pace of 6:47. Easy tomorrow, rest Thursday, MONSTER on Friday then we'll see over the weekend.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.5

12/30- Trak Shak run with Adam and one immature post-collegiate runner. Adam ran a faster pace than I intended but I was not about to wuss out on him. 5 miles @ 7:20. Very sore. Decent performance.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/31- Scheduled rest day. When you read about my New Year's day run, you'll know why I rested. I'll be going to bed early. Finished the year with 1993 miles (38.2/week). My goal was 2009. My average weekly GPA was 2.95 and my goal was 3.00. It was still a good year overall.

1/1- 2nd annual New Year's Marathon time trial. Time was 3:35:32 (8:12 average pace) and an unofficial PR. I was trying but this was not an all out effort. I think I had sub-3:30 stuff but that will wait until race day. 1st half: 1:45:58, 2nd half: 1:49:34. I think that's the most even splits I've run in a 26.2. Full splits:
7:49-8:01-8:01-8:06-8:08-8:10-8:04 (1st quarter: 52:44)
8:11-8:05-8:06-8:02-8:10-8:04 (2nd quarter: 53:14)
8:08-8:10-8:07-8:11-8:16-8:13-8:21 (3rd quarter: 53:47), 20 M- 2:42:33
Again, I really didn't care about my time. I just wanted to finish with as little discomfort as possible. That said, I would not allow my pace to go above 9. This was the best last 10K that I've done in any 26.2 run.
8:23-8:26-8:29-8:42-8:39-8:43-1:47 (7:10 pace for .25). Last 10K- 52:59, 4th quarter-55:47. I am now unofficially within 54 seconds per mile of a BQ.
Grade:A/3 credits/distance=26.5

1/2- 3 mile recovery jog on the 'mill. Why? Because I could. Time was 25:24 (8:28 pace). That's fine. The fact that I was able to run the day after running the marathon distance proves two things. 1) my fitness has improved significantly since last year and 2) I clearly left several minutes out there yesterday. I will shoot for 3:29 at Mercedes, which is probably good for a 3:24 on a level course. If I can do that, a Fall BQ attempt may happen in Tucson. Otherwise, I'll just try for 3:20 in Huntsville.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0

1/3- Trak Shak 8 untimed. Garmin didn't work. Is the 305 broken again? I'm glad I got the 405 for Christmas but will that be any more reliable? Too hard today. I must rest tomorrow no matter how I feel. The right quad is VERY sore. I feel more sore today than yesterday. Edit: I got the Garmin working again.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=8.5

Weekly summary:
I feel good about this week overall. Next week may suffer because of this weekend. I still have no doubt that I will be fully recovered in 3 weeks when it's time to race in Texas. The next time I go 26.2 whether in training or in a race, there will be a rest day within the next 2 days.
Distance=55.0/Weekly GPA= 30.4/9= 3.38

Monday, December 21, 2009

training 12/21-27 (slack)

12/21- Lakeshore 11.5 @ 7:55. I happened to run into Adam and Jason who were running 6.5 and I got suckered into running at their pace, which was 7:45. I did back off in the final 5. I got warned several times by the 3:20 group on RWOL that I am training too fast and yes, I was thinking about that. I could have done sub-7:45 easily. Added a .5 cool down at garbage pace. Strong. Back to back to back double digit runs for the first time ever.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=12.0

12/22-Strong again. Make it 4 double digit runs in a row. I took off at near BQ pace (7:23 first mile) then wisely dialed it back to finish the run at an average pace of 7:45 for 10 miles. My knees and groin are a bit sore but I'm not too worried about it.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=10.0

12/23- Outstanding performance. Trak Shak 5. Ran the first 1.3 with a sub-17 5K man. I was forced to let him go after that but my pace never really slacked except on the hills and turns.
Finished at 33:26 (6:42 pace= to my 10K race pace). I'm sure that I could improve on that 10K now. Splits: 6:36-6:35-6:54-6:56-6:25. 2 mile cool down on the 'mill. I am in the best shape of my life and I think I've got a shot at 1:30 in Texas next month.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=7.0

12/24- Signed up for the 3M in Austin, Texas one month from today and I'm already registered for the marathon at Mercedes. Also received my AG plaque from Red Stick. Today broke my string of "A" workouts. I never run well the morning of a weekday but the early morning was my only chance to run today. 3 mile recovery jog on the 'mill. I ran the planned pace (upper 8s) without too much discomfort but it was not a stroll in the park either.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=3.0

12/25- Planned rest day for Christmas.

12/26- Squeezed in 5 miles on Jefferson trail. Empty stomach and out of routine so I wasn't expecting much. Performance was average at best. I needed a fast finish to end up below 7:30. I'm only 3 away from 40 on the week so that's all I wanted out of this week.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/27- late night run on the 'mill. 3 miles worth of junk timed in 23:33 (7:51 pace). This probably will make little difference but it was enough to hit the mileage quota. I had some abnormal pain in the lower leg but I'm not too worried about it. This was a travel day so I wasn't expecting much.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
Great start to the week. Not such a great finish. I did hit 40 on the week so that's not bad considering my busy schedule and the fact that I was out of town for half the week.
Distance=40.0/ GPA= 29.8/9= 3.31

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Reflections on 2009/looking forward to '10

First, I want to say thank you to all of my readers who have supported me. I have a few more miles to run in training but all of my races and time trials are in the books for 2009. Here are the results at the 6 major distances:
400 m: 61.22 Goal: 59.9
1 Mile: Improved from 5:30 to 5:22 Goal: 5:15
5K: 19:58 to 19:27 (10/mile) Goal: 19:00
10K 42:43 to 41:43 (10/mile) Goal: 40:00
Half 1:42:38 to 1:32:57 (44/mile) Goal: 1:30:00
Full 3:56:03 to 3:43:22 (29/mile) Goal: 3:10:59
Overall, I can say that 2009 was a good running year for me. Perhaps my greatest triumph came in an unrelated matter when I got a new job in Birmingham in spite of a hiring freeze.
Year in review:
-Post high school PRs at 400, Mile and 5K.
-All time PRs at 10K, Half and Full.
-Room for improvement at every distance if conditions were optimal (flat course, close competition, ideal weather).
-2 significant rough periods, one in early Spring, one in early Fall.
-Avoided a major running injury for the third straight year.
-11 races (6 local, 5 out of town). 4 5Ks, 1 8K, 3 10Ks, 2 Halves, 1 Full.
-3 top 10 finishes, 4 age group awards.
Biggest surprise: the 400. I never thought my speed would come back the way it has (thank you Johnny).
Most proud of : the half marathon. Before the energy crash in 2005, a 7:05 pace would have been a PR for 10K. Now, I can maintain it for more than twice that distance.
Training: I was hoping to run 2000 miles this year and it looks like I will fall just short. My average weekly mileage was in the upper 30s. Edit: I totaled 1993 miles (38.2/wk) and finished with an average weekly GPA of 2.95. That’s fine for a 10K and it’ll do for a half marathon but not for a full. When symptom free, I can run 50+ with relative ease and have twice hit 60. The key is consistency.
I want to stay in the range of 9-12 races per year. More than 1 race per month is too much in my opinion. If I can get close competition, I may enter an open track meet to take a shot at the Mile and/or 400 goal. I plan on doing fewer 5-10Ks, more half marathons but will not run more than 2 marathons per year. My marathon PR really stands out as soft (almost 1:30/mile slower than my half) so I expect that this is where I will show my greatest improvement.
2010 plans (all Lord willing)
The first third of the year will be primarily high volume in preparation for these races.
Jan- 3M Austin, TX half
Feb- Mercedes Marathon (full)
Mar- ING Atlanta, GA half
Apr- Country Music half
After that, I will shift to more speed work as the Alabama summer heats up. Racing will be limited to local 5Ks and maybe one or two open track meets. I believe that my lifetime goals in the 400, Mile and 5K are achievable in my current condition and Johnny agrees. After it cools down, the focus will shift back to marathon training. If my chemistry is closer to balance and I can train at 55-60 MPW, I believe that I can run a 3:10 and qualify for Boston by December.
If this is the year that I meet my goals, I will keep training and racing but there will be no obsession with taking my running to the next level (sub-3 marathon, sub-5 Mile) by running 80-100 miles per week. That type of volume is more likely to result in burnout than shaving a few seconds per mile off my times. Let's say that I get all of my numbers in balance and train at 60 MPW but it's not enough to reach my goals because of talent limitations, that's fine. I will not get bent out of shape over it and am counting on certain people to call me out if I do.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

training 12/13-12/20

12/13- Nothing short of amazing today after my best 20 miler ever. Trak Shak 8.4 @ 7:38. On a hilly route, that's a course PR. I followed this with a 1.6 mile cool down. It's a new weekend mileage record of 30. I predict a 3:10 marathon by Fall 2010 if I can stay healthy enough to train at this level. This effort could cost me dearly tomorrow but I'll worry about that later and yes, I will slow down.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=10.0

12/14- Easy 6.5 @ 7:50 on Lakeshore. Pretty even pace with almost no effort. Absolutely no ill-effects from the monster weekend. That's roughly a quarter marathon at 3:25 pace with no effort after running 30 miles in the previous 2 days. Even I am surprised by this. I could beat my soft marathon PR now without even pushing. I'm still 50/50 on a 5K this weekend. January will be 3M Austin or Red Nose (local 10 miler).
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.5

12/15- Johnny's workout. Long warm up and cool down. Workout was 4x400 in 74-75, 2x800 in 2:40, 2x200 in 30. I got challenged by Clay in the 800 and but held him off. This was a good but not great workout. I need longer intervals for marathon training. Neither course is ideal for a 5K PR. Meadowbrook is a rolling course through an upscale neighborhood and probably similar to Elvis in terms of difficulty. Pell City will have very few entrants and thus a high probability of ending up in no man's land. I'm still not sure what to do.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=6.0

12/16- Trak Shak 5 @tempo effort. I was sore so I dialed it back a notch from last week. I ran with Adam's group and turned in a 7:03 pace with a 6:39 last mile. I think I will go with 3 taurine and zero SBF. Will that work next week let alone next month? Saturday's weather could be iffy. I am leaning towards a time trial instead.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=6.5

12/17- A bit of a downer today. I was abnormally sore and had unexplained anxiety. I need more GABA and less taurine and must take the GABA with the taurine. Yes, it's complicated. This was a planned recovery jog anyway so I picked a good day to be off form. It was a weak performance but not a debacle. 5 miles @ 8:51 and yes that's acceptable on a recovery day. It was not much of a struggle but not effortless either. Chance of racing is 20% but tomorrow will be rest no matter what. Chance of time trial is 60%.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/18- Rainy day so I picked a good one to rest. I felt quite sore when I woke up but got better by the afternoon because I didn't take the normal morning taurine. The weather tomorrow will be cloudy, cold and windy so that in addition to my uncertain health means no race tomorrow. I may still run the time trial. That way, if I get to 1.5 M and realize that I won't PR, I can still salvage a workout. I'm ready for Spring already and it's not even officially winter yet.

12/19- Good call on the no go. The time trial was a debacle. I knew that I would suck when I warmed up. It only took 200 meters to know that I would not sniff a PR so I would go long and easy instead and I couldn't even do that. I ended up doing the 5K time trial as originally planned and my time was a pitiful 24:55 (7:50-7:59-8:08-58). I am starting to get angry.
Grade:D/2 credits/distance=4.0
PM-Trak Shak 10 on a new course that was relatively flat. Even pace with good closing speed. Still a little stiffness and inflammation but my breathing was much better. The AM run ended around 10 and the PM started at 2:30 so all it took was 4.5 hours to go from awful to "good." For my new readers, this is nothing new for me. Time was 74:24 (37:13-37:11, 7:24 pace). This pace was too fast for a long run so I did not run the full planned distance. I did a 1 mile cool down to take me up to 49 for the past 7 days.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=11.0

12/20- BTC End of the year social run at Oak Mountain Park. As the Oak Mountain name implies, it was a hilly route. I managed to keep every mile below 7:45 despite the fact that 2 of the miles were nearly all uphill. I was the fastest one there so much of the run was alone and I finished at 11 mile with an average pace of 7:27. I still have some stiffness and inflammation but this was still a strong performance.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=11.0

Weekly summary:
Up and down week that turned out to be pretty solid overall. I've got a slack week ahead over Christmas then let the 2010 season begin. I will send in my medical test tomorrow. *Note: The distance was over an 8 day week. My 7 day average was a still good 52.5. From now on, my mileage will be reported Monday-Sunday so that way if I can't go long on Saturday, I can run it Sunday and it won't skew the mileage.
Distance=60.0(7/8)=52.5/GPA= 42.3/14=3.02

Sunday, December 6, 2009

training 12/6-12/12

12/6- Easy 4 as a recovery run. Even pace with a time of 31:35 (7:54 pace). This might seem a little fast but I felt fine. I had a little foot pain but I didn't wear orthotics on race day. I'm not worried. No complaints about my run.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=4.0

12/7- Lakeshore MLR. I am amazed by my body's resilience. Sometimes, a hard workout will hit you hard 2 days later plus I did a lot of driving last weekend. No struggle at all. This was almost effortless. 10.5 @ 7:53. Every mile was 7:45-8:00. I can do 13.1 in about 1:43 in training and it feels easy. I should break 3:30 easily at Mercedes. I think I'll shoot for a 3:23. My only gripe was that my joints were just a tad sore otherwise this would be a solid A. I've got almost 10 weeks to go and I'm actually a little afraid of peaking too soon. I will have a slack week over Christmas and may race in January so it won't all be high mileage. I e-mailed the RD today and got a quick response. My AG plaque will be shipped before the end of the year. Yes!
Grade:A-/2 credits/ distance=10.5

12/8- High flying optimism was dealt a serious blow today. Planned to run an easy 6-8 but it ended up as a 4 mile recovery jog and I struggled to finish that. The reason is that I missed a dose of taurine. I could not remember whether or not I took it. I'm getting old, LOL. This was my worst day since mid-October. I was struggling at work as well. I am not on solid ground yet.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=4.0

12/9- Punishment for yesterday's pathetic display of running. Trak Shak 5 at "hard tempo" pace, but not quite 100% effort. Time was 34:10 (6:50 pace). That's about 10 secs. per mile short of my PR. Splits were 6:56-6:48-6:54-7:01(dang)-6:30. Felt strong. I needed 3 taurine pills. WTH? If I produce in my workouts and races, I won't complain. I may try a cautious SBF reintroduction to target the thyroid. If days like yesterday come once or twice a month, I can deal with that so I'm not angry... yet.
Completed my punishment with a 3.5 mile cooldown at recovery jog pace. I was not completely spent. I hope the weather isn't too awful this weekend. A 20 miler indoors will SUCK!
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=8.5

12/10- Strong. Lakeshore 7 with temps in the 30s. Average pace was 7:46 including a moderate pick up in the last mile (7:12-BQ pace). I could hit 60 this week if I run tomorrow but I will likely rest instead. I did take 1 SBF and less taurine and was fine. I will hold off on sending in the medical test until the end of the month.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

12/11- Planned rest day. Went to the mall and did some Christmas shopping.

12/12- First 20 miler of this cycle. Time was 2:39:53 (7:59 pace). Even pace with quarter splits of 39:53-40:04-40:10-39:46 and Miles 1-19 were all 7:55-8:05. This is the first time that I have run 20 @ sub-8 pace. I felt a little sluggish early but was fine once I warmed up. Final .25 was 1:41 (6:44 pace) so I was not completely spent. Even if I hit the wall and slowed to 10:00 pace over the last 10K, I would have beaten my old full mary PR. I feel like I can do better than this but I've got to be pleased.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=20.0

Weekly summary:
Another good week. Next weekend will be my last chance in '09 for a new 5K PR. I may run Meadowbrook or Pell City. It will be a "game time decision" based on the weather conditions and how I feel that morning. I've got some slack time ahead over Christmas so I may be better off doing a long run. I can run in the 50s with relative ease. Can I average 60 next cycle for a BQ attempt? I think I can do it on 60 MPW.
Distance=54.0 GPA= 30.2/9=3.36

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baton Rouge Beach Half RR

I bounced back from a rough early Fall with a very strong November. I averaged 52 miles/wk on my non-race weeks with many quality sessions. This was one of the few training cycles in which I felt like I did everything right and almost all of my training went according to plan. After a fast and controlled track session on Tuesday, I began to feel a bit "wired/tired" then woke up on Wednesday morning feeling flat out awful. Fortunately, I knew what was wrong. All I needed was some more taurine and I felt better within hours. Would I be in PR shape on race day? I was uncertain.

Pre-race adventures:
Let's just say it's usually interesting when I race out of town. I decided to go halfway on Thusday evening and take a mix of interstate and country roads and take in some scenery in "Miss'Sippy" and "Loosiana." I was surprised by the hills even in south MS. The terrain was rolling most of the way with lots of pine trees. Hattiesburg looks to be a nice college town (Southern Miss) and Natchez was a pretty cool small town overlooking the river. Outside of that, there was not a whole lot to see. When I got to south Louisiana, the terrain flattened so I expected the course to be level as advertised. Baton Rouge seemed to have a pretty nice downtown area but I would not be racing there. I did stop at the State Capitol, where I ordered a "Shrimp Po Boy" sandwich. Cajun country proved to be a bit of culture shock. In a couple of cases, I could barely understand the speech. That said, if I travelled even about 1-2 hours north, I would have felt right at home. I went a few miles west on I-10 and it looked to be mostly swamp land but still interesting nontheless. It had been raining since early afternoon and now some sleet was beginning to mix in. Okay, let's get to hotel now and forget about going out to dinner in that mess. I had to settle for an overpriced burger and fries at the hotel lounge. Baton Rouge sees measurably snow about once a decade and as luck would have it, it came the day before the race. We got little more than a dusting and it had cleared by the morning.

Race morning:
I woke up without an alarm at 4:30 and took the shuttle from the hotel to the starting line where I had a nice conversation with a young man from north Louisiana. The weather turned out to be clear with little wind and temps in the low-mid 30s. Some people prefer this type of weather for long races but I like it about 15-20 degrees warmer. I figured that it could be worse. I opted for pants and a long sleeve tech shirt and I was fine was the sun came out and I got loosened up.

Let's say that there were a few curious events. Because of the weather issues, some of the roads were closed, causing some of the runners to miss the start so rather than delay it a half hour, the RD called for 2 separate starts, one at 7 AM and another at 7:30. They didn't even fire a gun or give us any warning, The call was simply "Go." There were timing mats at the finish but not at the start. That cost me a few precious seconds. Johnny had told me to go out at 7:00 pace and hang on so that's exactly what I would do. In the second mile, my Garmin, which had been fully charged, inexplicably cut off. I was pretty much in the groove by then so it did not hurt me too much. I turned it back on a few minutes later and it cut off again but the third time was the charm. From mile 4 to the end, it worked. There was only one clock on the course at the mid point so I was never sure how fast I was going. That would hurt me in the end. It was a nice course, partly around a lake, the LSU campus and some upscale residential areas. It was not pancake flat but significantly easier than Mercedes (I say 3 out of 10 in terms of difficulty). There were really only 2 significant hills (one in the 4th mile and one in the 9th). The rest of the hills were barely noticeable. My pace was in the mid 6s early and it felt easy but I knew that I could not hold it so I wisely dialed it back and hit the mile on target. I estimate that the next few miles were all 7:00-7:10. My only complaint was that by the 3rd mile, a group of runners were pulling away from me. Not knowing the pace, I ran by feel and decided to let the pack go ahead of me. It was probably the right call but it left me in "no mans land" for another 2+ miles. Fortunately, the course was well marked with volunteers at the turns. However, a marathon would be awfully lonely in the 2nd loop with a chance to get lost without the volunteers so I would not recommend the full for this race. Running a low-7 pace, I felt good in the early stages. Finally, a runner from the lead pack came back to me in Mile 6 and I would pass him on the next small hill. These flat landers were obviously not used to hills and I made up a lot of ground on every climb. I saw a guy in red about 15 seconds in front. At Mercedes, I made my move with about 5 miles to go and I decided to do the same here so I got out my harpoon and started to reel in a couple of slowing runners. By Mile 10, I had pulled even with the runner that I had been targeting most of the race. I heard that the split time at Mile 10 was between 70 and 71 minutes so a PR was mine. Unfortunately, I made my move too soon and the lead pack pulled away from me again. My legs had gone dead around Mile 11 so I tried some energy chews, which had little effect. I was back in no mans land and for those last 2 miles, I just had to buckle down and shift into survival mode. Uncharacteristically, a younger runner blew by me with a quarter mile to go and by the time I started my all out kick, I was too far behind. Again, I didn't know my exact time heading into to the home stretch because of the Garmin malfunctions. Too bad. I knew that I was under 1:34 but I didn't know how fast I was. It looked like I fell just short of breaking 1:33. Oh well. It's still a 3+ minute PR and an "A" performance. Update: According to the official results, my time was 1:32:57, good for 3rd in my age group and 16th overall. Make it an A+ on the day.

9:29 (7:01 pace for 1.35)
11:45 (7:09 pace for 1.65)
2:17 (7:07 pace for .32)
7:34 (slightly long)
:34 (5:26 pace for .10)

Garmin time: 1:28:30 for 12.45


It was too cold so I opted to get back on the bus and head back to the hotel quickly. I took a hot bath and checked out. The trip home was smooth.