Thursday, August 30, 2007

Easy Pregame Run

7.73 miles, 1:08:14, 8:49 pace, Avg HR = 136, Max HR = 158

One of the drawbacks to marathon training is the sheer time required to put in the miles required to get into shape. As I mentioned, the LSU Fighting Tigers take kick off the college football season tonight, and I'm scheduled for an hour of easy running. The immovable wall meets the unstoppable force . . . what's going to give? The only solution was to run this morning before work AND watch the game this evening.

So I got up at 4AM to start the brisket, and again at 5AM to start running. I'm on the trail by 5:10 AM and I'm going to be the only crazy person out there, right? Well apparently I missed the memo, because dozens of people were running/walking around Rice at that hour. Who would have known!? Add another item to the long list of things this newbie runner has learned over these past few months.

Today's run was difficult because I've put in some hard miles over the past two days, and my legs haven't had a chance to recoup, particularly considering the fact that I ran three last night and another 7+ less than 12 hours later this morning. Friday's rest day will be well appreciated.

I usually try to run negative splits, but today I knew I didn't want to run too fast so I focused on a constant pace instead.

8:58, 8:48, 8:51, 8:54, 8:45, 8:44, 8:42, 4:19 (8:39 pace)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kenyan Way Speed #4 - Three Mile Threshold Run

3.0 miles, 20:51, 6:57 pace, Avg HR = 162, Max = 175

Today was the fourth session of Kenyan Way Speed Workouts, which occur every Wednesday until the Houston Marathon. The workout was a simple three mile threshold run. The theories behind threshold runs are too complex for me to try to convey my understanding in this forum, but you can read about them here and here and here.

My goal pace according to my Kenyan Way training schedule was 7:15 per mile, but according to those articles that I just hyperlinked I should have concentrated on running at 90% of my max heart rate instead of pace. By that measure I was below my "threshold" for all but the last 3:46. (My max HR is 191, so 90% of my max is 172 BPM.) Oh well, I guess I'll know better next time.

Tomorrow the college football season kicks off with a match up between my Fightin' Tigers of LSU and the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. You can watch the game at 7PM central daylight time on ESPN. Because of that event, I won't be able to run tomorrow evening for my scheduled hour. I'm going to try to get those miles in at an obscenely early hour tomorrow before work. Getting up early will also enable me to cook the brisket for the pre-game meal. Geaux Tigers!

mile splits:
6:55, 7:04, 6:52

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Running in Place

7.4 Miles, 1:00:34, 8:11 pace, Avg HR = 137, Max HR = 175

Julie picked me up from work today with the intention of us going on a run together. Unfortunately the blinding rain storms had their say, so we went to the apartment gym and hit the treadmills. Runner's world claims that a 1% incline simulates a "real" run. The elevation offsets the lack of wind resistance. I remembered this tidbit about .25 into the run and changed the elevation to 1%. I didn't notice much of a difference, so I upped it to 1.5% another mile later for the remainder of the run.

I prefer running outside, but a treadmill has its advantages. It's great on the body from an impact perspective, and it's easy to monitor your pace. In today's case, I wanted to run negative splits. You can't really argue with the treadmill's speed unless you want to end up like this guy. I was also able to monitor my cadence under controlled conditions, and I ran 180 paces per minute. That's supposed to be a good thing. Any less means you're over-striding and slowing yourself down by placing your foot too far in front of you (think of a pole vault.) Any more and you're supposed to be wasting energy through unnecessary motion. This applies to all runners, regardless of height or speed.

One other treadmill benefit is the ability to watch yourself in the mirror. Some people look silly when they run, and you can determine if you fall into that category if you watch yourself running. But even if you don't look "silly", you can check for unnecessary movement. It's amazing how effortless the elite runner look while they're running their 5:20 miles. Their heads barely move with each step, which is an effect of their efficient style. Looking at the mirror helps me to focus on that small aspect of conserving energy.

8:59, 8:39, 8:31, 8:25, 8:17, 8:01, 7:13, 2:29 (6:12 pace over .4 miles)

Administrative note: I need to post a correction to a prior post. After closer study it appears as if my weekly mileage last week was only 37 miles, not 40 as reported. The 1:50 miles I "ran" on 8/19/07 were accidentally recorded while I was driving. But 37 miles is still my longest to date.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Kenyan Way Hills #4 – Four Hills

4.61 miles, 16:13, 8:43 pace

Warm-up (1.15), four hills for 10 minutes (1.14), 5 minute rest, four hills for 10 minutes (1.23), warm-down (1.09)

Hill Laps:
2:38, 2:23, 2:22, 2:20, 0:20 (partial), Avg HR = 148, Max HR = 159, avg pace = 8:49
2:14, 2:09, 2:13, 2:13, 1:14 (partial), Avg HR = 157, Max HR = 171, avg pace = 8:12

Today was a good workout. I joined the morning session of Kenyan Way, and not too surprisingly it was very dark outside. Sean trained his headlights on the course, and the cones were accompanied by flashing lights so we knew where to go. Being admittedly overly-cautious, it bothered me to be running without being able to see my footing. Stepping into a hole could cause a serious knee or ankle injury. But Sean is a professional, and maps out the course to be free of those worries. Regardless, I better get used to it because the days are going to get shorter until the winter solstice in late December. By then I will have my marathon behind me.

Back to the workout: We ran up four hills on a .27 mile course -- up fast and down easy. I took the first set easy, and tried to work it very hard on the second set. I ended up running 37 seconds per mile faster on the second set. That was good enough to place me at #5 among the approximately 100 people there this morning.

For some strange reason it's a great feeling to have weak legs for the rest of the day. I guess it's a constant reminder that I kicked butt at 6AM this morning while everyone else was still in bed. But it's also a reminder that I already put in my miles for the day and I can cruise for the rest of the day.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hello World

Welcome to my first blog entry. I know that might be confusing because there are at least 50 posts already, but I pulled a fast one and posted all of those today and backdated the entries. I've been keeping a personal log and wasn't sure if I'd ever publish it, but I finally made the decision to put it online.

Why Now?

Today I signed up for the Dallas White Rock Marathon on December 7, 2007! It's official, I'm going to run a marathon for the first time.

172 days ago I became a runner. I ran a bit over the course of my life but I never enjoyed it and running was just a way to get in shape for other sports. But on March 7, 2007 I took the plunge and joined Power in Motion. My wife (Julie) and I moved to Houston in January of 2007, and after three years of me going to school followed by two years of Julie going to school we found ourselves with some free time. I suggested an Italian class in preparation for our eventual trip to Italy, but Julie wasn't the least bit interested in entering a classroom any time soon. So I signed us up for Power in Motion, a beginner's running program. She's a lifelong runner, and I figured I could put up with ten weeks of running and angle for the Italian class afterwards.

In short, I got hooked. The first week was a mile time trial which assigned us into groups based on our speed. I was in the group that could run a mile, but not three. I stuck with the training schedule even though I was terrible and hated life after mile two. I found myself getting better each successive week, and I moved up at least one group every Wednesday. When I ended up in the fastest group, I was hooked. I had become a runner. After years of joking about runners, I joined their ranks and became someone who enjoys running for its own sake.

At the risk of becoming long-winded, I'll go ahead and call it a night. But this blog will be about my motivations and goals, successes and failures, as well as my training log and anything else that's on my mind.

I hope you find something that interests you, and I encourage you to post any comments you may have.

Incidentally, "Hello World" is a computer reference, and yes, I'm a recovering engineer.


Recovery Run around Hermann Park

3.29 miles, 29:14, 8:53 pace, Avg HR = 132, Max HR = 145

I ran around Hermann Park with Julie this morning before church. We could both feel the soreness of the prior day's run, and we started out at a very slow pace. To our suprise we ended up at a sub-9 minute average pace, thanks in part to working out some of the kinks and stiffness after mile 1. It's nice to run with Julie, and I wish our schedules worked out so we could do it more often.

We ran by the "gym" twice . . . an outside exercise area with areas for push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc and even a shower! It's always humorous to see the locals meet there in groups, and the leaders conduct their sessions.

Mile splits:
9:32, 8:56, 8:22

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kenyan Way Long Run #3 - Strong Showing

12.16 miles, 1:39:48, 8:12 pace, Avg HR = 146, Max HR = 162

After last week's collapse trying to keep up with the 3:15 marathon group, I was uneasy about attempting 12 with them. Couple that with a late Friday night (with a few beers), and I certainly didn't feel up to it. But alas, I gave it a go, and I felt great over the course of the run. There was never a point where I thought I was in over my head, and I probably could have easily run another 1-2 miles without any problems at the same pace.

This was particularly assuring, because I've never run so far at such a quick pace. It boosted my confidence, and I'm excited about next week's long run.

Mile splits:
8:21, 8:19, 8:18, 8:24, 8:05, 8:15, 8:01, 7:54, 8:01, 8:04, 7:52, 7:43

Check out the mostly negative splits:

Weekly Summary (40 Miles is a new high for me for a week):

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An Easy Run that was Easy

1:04:04, 7.73 miles, 1:04:04, 8:17 Pace, Avg HR = 146, Max HR = 170

Sometimes (ok, perhaps "often") my easy runs aren't quite as easy as they should be. That being said, today I had a great easy run on what has become my Tuesday/Thursday route. I run from my parking lot to Rice, around Rice twice, and back home for about 7 3/4 miles. It has been taking me close to 1 hour, which is my target so it works out well for me.

The unusual thing about this run is that my pace was faster even though my heart rate was lower and my pickup at the end wasn't as dramatic as the other three times I've run this route. I'm getting better at these long runs, but I was also healthier today after battling a run-in with poison ivy which must've infected a lymph node.

8:38, 8:07, 8:25, 8:26, 8:13, 8:17, 8:19, 5:39 (for .73 miles for 7:47 pace)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kenyan Way Speed #3 - 800,1600,800

1x800, 4 minutes rest, 1x1600, 4 minutes rest, 1x800, Max HR = 180

Today's speed workout was a bit daunting because of the goal times:
800's at 3:00-3:04
1600 at 6:26-6:30

times: 2:56, 6:21, 2:58

I had to really kick it in hard during the last 200 in order to meet my target. Even though each of the three legs of the workout was hard, I recovered quickly and could have run another 3 miles. But instead Julie and I enjoyed some outdoor dining at Jax Grill.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Easy Run Around Rice (x2)

7.69 miles, 1:04:51, 8:25 pace, Avg HR = 149, Max HR = 161

8:35, 8:17, 8:16, 8:38, 8:21, 8:40, 8:33, 5:56 for .69 miles (8:21 pace)

My shoulders felt very tired. I'm not sure of the cause, but it's likely related to the light weightlifting I did for the first time yesterday . . . nothing too difficult -- 3 reps 20 lifts of 55# on the push-out machine (not sure the name of this, but simulates pushups while sitting up.) I also did some leg exercises, but my legs felt fine.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kenyan Way Hills #3

3.6 miles, Max HR = 178

Three Hills on the course, up hard, down easy. Warmup, 10 minutes of hills, 5 minute rest, 10 more minutes of hills, warmdown.

Laps (.25 each)
2:04, 1:56, 1:58, 1:55, 1:58
2:04, 2:07, 2:10, 2:06, 1:58

I averaged 7 seconds slower per lap on round two. I clearly went out too fast on the first set and couldn't maintain the pace over the second set.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Easy Run Around Memorial

4.04 miles, 36:02, 8:55 pace, Avg HR = 143, Max HR = 160

9:14, 8:52, 9:02, 8:38

I ran this one during the heat of the day with Julie. There is a suprising amount of direct sun at Memorial Park, especially as compared to Rice.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kenyan Way Long Run #2 - Toughing it out with the 3:15 group

10.14 miles, 1:24:53, 8:22 pace, Avg HR = 152, Max HR = 165

I ran with the 3:30 (marathon finish time) group two weeks ago, and I left them behind that day because they were too slow for me. So I decided to run with the 3:15 pace group today. They dropped me somewhere before the 8th mile, but it was a good experience. I think I'll be able to train with them after a few weeks.

8:19, 8:01, 7:54, 8:11, 8:05, 7:56, 8:08, 8:33, 8:58, 8:54

63% in Zone 4, 33% in Zone 3

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rest Day

I spent the day with my sister Laura and her finacee Scott. It's nice to work a 9/80 schedule and have every other Friday off.

Easy Run with Sprint at End

7.69 Miles, 1:04:22, 8:22 pace, Avg HR = 148, Max HR = 175

The rain made today's run a bit soggy. The precipitation passed through already, but my feet were soaking wet early on. I ran around Rice at night (8PM), and it's not well lit, so I stepped into a lot of puddles. My body is feeling good, but it will be nice to have a day off tomorrow.

8:45, 8:54 (10 sec equipment failure - shoe laces), 8:32, 8:35, 8:25, 8:21, 8:07, 4:43 (6:50 pace)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Kenyan Way Speed #2 - 6x800

6x800 with 3 minute rest, Max HR = 177

This was a tough workout -- maybe the toughest I've ever run. I couldn't keep my pace up. The third 200 of each 800 seemed to be my slowest. I was tired by then, but too far to see the finish line and kick it in.

goal: 3:05-3:11
reps: 3:07, 3:02, 3:06, 3:10, 3:13, 3:11

My HR returned to an average of about 112 BPM (59% max) after each 3 minute rest.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Negative Split Medium Length Run

7.94 Miles, 1:06:52, 8:23 pace, Avg HR = 151, Max HR = 176

It felt good to run "fast" after feeling so slow over the past few days. I only hope my legs aren't too tired for the speed work tomorrow.

9:00, 8:38, 8:38, 8:36, 8:25, 8:00, 8:13, 7:10 (7:37 pace)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kenyan Way Hills #2

3.8 Miles total
warmup, 2x10 min, 5 minute rest, warmdown

Laps for set 1:
1:51, 1:53, 1:53, 1:54, 1:58, 0:49 partial
Laps for set 2:
1:56, 1:54, 1:57, 1:59, 1:59, 0:15 partial

I didn't get any heart rate information because I didn't bring my chest strap.

Drove home and ran a very fast 1/2 mile on the treadmill (about 5:45 pace) and did some leg exercises.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Race, (Short) Long Run, Fun Run all in one day

This weekend was a running getaway coupled with a chance to catch up with an old friend who I seldom see these days. He's been running for several years now, so we decided to run a 2 mile race together on Saturday morning in Baton Rouge, a "long" run to Louies for breakfast, and a pub run in New Orleans that evening.

"3.2km" Race
I ran the BREC Up, Up, and Away 3.2km race today. The course was short -- 1.83 miles according to the Garmin. My time was 11:50.

Even though this places my pace at 6:28, an improvement over my last 5k pace of 6:43, I'm disappointed with my race. I wanted to run 6 minute miles, or at least very near that speed.

But I'm still trying to kick off my sickness, and I coughed up fluid all night before the race and the morning of the race as well. Couple that with the hottest day of the year, and Baton Rouge humidity that put Houston to shame, and I didn't get where I wanted to be.

And although these circumstances were somewhat beyond my control, I'm still unhappy with my time because I feel like I wimped out. Quite simply, I didn't run as hard as I could have. I started out great, but gave up on a great time about 1/2 mile into the race. And I started my kick too late, for a lackluster finish. That being said, I pulled out a second place finish in my age group, and I was 13th overall. It was a small race.

Pace for each 1/4 mile:
5:24, 6:36, 6:44, 6:40, 6:52, 6:47, 6:15 (final .32)

"Long" Run
5.45 Miles, 1:02:54 (not icluding a few breaks), 9:42 pace, Avg HR = 148, Max HR = 166

After the race I ran with Paul to Louie's. The run was nice and slow, but still difficult because of the heat (it was eventually 104 degrees that day) and I'm not used to running a long distance after I run a race.

Pub Run
I had a blast with Dave and Paul. I could feel the effects of the morning miles on my legs, but we seldom ran more than 1 mile on a leg before propping on on a bar stool for way too much beer. All in all a this was a fantastic experience and I look forward to it next year.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Kenyan Way Speed #1 - 200s and an 800

16 x 200 w/ 30sr @ 0:44 - 0:46
800m @ 3:06 - 3:10

0:44, 0:43, 0:42, 0:43, 0:43, 0:42, 0:42, 0:45, 0:44, 0:43, 0:41, 0:44, 0:43, 0:45, 0:45, 0:42, 3:17

Max HR = 176

Tough workout. I couldn't have run these much faster if I tried, although I thought my 800 goal was 3:24 prior to running it.

Easy Run (that wasn't easy enough)

6.19 mi, 50:20 , 8:08 pace, Avg HR = 154 Max HR = 169

I'm a little antsy with the 2 mile race coming up, given the fact that I've been sick over the past couple of days and couldn't train as hard as I wanted. So I ran faster today than prescribed since tomorrow is the last day I'll run before my race. I feel like I'm behind the ball.

8:10, 7:56, 8:06, 8:24, 8:12, 8:06, 1:50 (7:58 pace)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Kenyan Way Hills #1

total 3.89 miles, Max HR = 174

Loop of gradual incline, medium up, down slow. 2x10 minutes with 5 minute rest.

warmup - .83 miles,

1st set of laps:
1:19, 1:17, 1:15, 1:18, 1:17, 1:14, 1:14, 1:12 (7:53 pace)
2nd set of laps:
1:15, 1:15, 1:17, 1:18, 1:16, 1:18, 1:15, 1:08
(7:50 pace)

warm down - .52 miles

Monday, August 6, 2007

Very Easy Run

4.54 Miles, 47:27, 10:27 pace, Avg HR = 127, Max HR = 140

Sinus Infection . . . felt bad so I took it slower than I've run in months.

10:21, 10:32, 10:27, 10:39, 5:02 (half mile)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Kenyan Way Long Run #1

10.07 miles, 1:26:56, 8:37 pace, Avg HR = 147, Max HR = 167

Today was my first Kenyan Way long run session. After running Kenyan Nights over the summer, I decided that I'd like to train with Sean Wade's group through the fall and run a marathon. Since I've never run before, I took a stab at my anticipated finish time. I figure that I can run an 8:00 mile pace for a marathon, after I've trained for a few months. At that pace I'll finish in 3:30.

So I took off with the 3:30 group this morning. After four miles I dropped them to pick up the pace. Also they were only running 8, and I wanted to get in 10 miles. You can see the difference in pace after the fourth mile. You can also see the slowdown at mile 9 and 10. I'm not a distance runner yet, but that should come in time.

All in all this was a really fun time, and I look forward to running more long runs with KW.

9:11, 9:23, 9:01, 8:44, 8:08, 8:08, 8:10, 8:19, 8:30, 8:20

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I haven't posted in a while . . . not because I haven't been running, but because I had doubts as to whether or not I wanted to keep a blog. Every post written before this one originally private, and not necessarily intended for public consumption. So I let the entire month of July pass by and I didn't blog any of it.

In short:
July 4 - New PR for 5k at Run Wild Uptown Run, 20:54!
July 7 - 7.23 miles, 1:03:57, 8:50 pace long run to Coco Crepes to meet Julie. Tough run
July 10 - ran through the streets around the neighborhood. The museum district really has some character and it was nice to run with Julie riding the bike alongside of me.
July 14 - Starting to think I can do some distance runs, so I ran four loops around Rice from home, for a total of 13.32 miles. I guess I can run a half marathon without stopping. 2:01:10, 13.32 miles, 9:05 pace
July 19 - I was a bit tired of running Rice, so I changed the scenery and ran through the medical district. Other than the cars, it was a nice run
July 21 - Shenandoah trails. I had to use the mapping capabilities of my watch so I didn't get lost.
July 22 - Spillway Classic 3 mile run in Norco, LA. Ran this with Julie and Dave -- what a blast!
July 25 - Final time trial at Kenyan Nights. Course was long, but my pace was 6:04.
July 28 - Ran with Stephanie's group for 13.75 miles, my longest to date. 13.75 miles, 2:08:53, 9:22 pace, Avg HR = 139, Max HR = 157. Six long water breaks.
July 29 - Ran with Jeff through Hermann Park. He's a marathoner that's getting back into running shape.
August 1 - Ran a tempo run with Cory. I performed well on this one. 4.04 miles, 29:33, 7:18 pace