Monday, December 31, 2007

Where has the time gone?

Wow . . . I just realized that it's been more than two weeks since I posted anything. I have been running, but I haven't been giving my full attention to blogging about it. The family events of the Christmas season, the closing on our new house (yea!), finishing up the year at work, and my sister's upcoming wedding have all taken precedence over my blog.

So I'll try to catch up today and write a little bit about each run.

12/17/07 -- Hills at Kenyan Way. Warm up, Hills, Warm down. It seems like I haven't run hills with KW in quite some time. For the first time ever I was the fastest one in the group, after passing someone about eight minutes into the run. 3.75 miles total. 2.56 of Hills run at a 7:50 pace for 20 minutes.

12/18/07 -- Rice Run. 6.06 miles, 46:28, 7:39 pace, Avg HR = 148, Max HR = 164. Last mile in 7:04 -- starting to feel like I'm back 100%.

12/19/07 - 12/21/07 -- I'm not back to 100%. My knee is nagging me, and I decided to take three days off before attempting my 22 mile long run on 12/22/07. I'm hitting the Omega-3 fatty acids pretty hard (mostly in the form of fortified eggs) hoping the pain will go away. It's not too bad, and I don't mind running through the pain, but I'm worried about permanent damage and not being on top of my game for Houston so I think it's good to rest. That being said, I'm starting to worry that my recovery break between the two marathons will be so long that my fitness level will decline. We shall see how I feel after my three day break (the longest since I started running, I think). The 22 miler is somewhat of a make or break from a confidence perspective.

12/22/07 -- 19.02 miles, 2:31:52, 7:59 pace, Avg HR = 150, Max HR = 159. I wanted to run 22 miles at an 8:00 pace. I hate running that far by myself, especially since I'm on unfamiliar turf in Baton Rouge, visiting the family for the Christmas vacation. But establishing a pain-free 8:00 pace over that distance would prove to myself that I was back to my peak performance. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do so, casting further doubt into my mind about my ability to qualify for Boston during the Houston marathon. My knee pain started almost immediately -- a bad sign. But it went away after a few miles so I pushed forward. This is a tale of two runs. I did a loop of the lakes with Julie and then meandered through LSU's campus to the Mississippi River levee for about 7.5 miles -- average pace = 7:39. Then I took the levee down river over big rocks and a bit of mud. The rocks really punished my feet and made the run miserable. In addition, I was almost completely alone, without water, and unshielded from the wind since the levee is the highest ground around. I really started to hate it -- average pace over those 8.5 miles = 8:03. After I got off of the levee my feet were hurting, my knee was hurting and I wasn't enjoying life. I managed two more miles at an 8:58 pace and decided to cut my run off before I hurt myself and before my average pace rose above 8:00. Overall I finished this run with a feeling of worry that I'm running out of time to heal, yet be in top form for Houston.

12/23/07 -- 1.54 Miles, 13:55, 9:00 pace, Max HR = 152, Avg HR = 132. I ran with Julie through a painful knee along the neighborhood route she's been running for years. I tacked on an additional hundred feet or so in order to get my average pace under 9:00. The only good thing that came out of this run was a chance to run with Julie.

12/24/07 -- 5.52 miles, 44:46, 8:06 pace, Max HR = 169, Avg HR = 145. Julie and I around my mother's neighborhood today. The knee bothered me most of the run, but went away after about three miles. I'm still worrying about healing in time, but I'm not figuring that I'll put in my miles as scheduled and use the last week of taper to heal. I ran the last mile in 6:47, and the last half at a 6:24 pace. The highlight of this run was a tour of the homes around the area. It's fun to get decorating and remodeling ideas now that we own a house. After the run I did a few hard minutes of core exercises.

12/25/07 -- Merry Christmas! No running today, but I managed to keep the diet in check and not gorge myself. I spent about six hours in the car today driving from New Orleans to Houston.

12/26/07 -- 5.02 miles total, structured as 1.01 warm up, 3.01 threshold (6:32 pace), and 1.00 warm-down. The threshold run was supposed to go on for five miles, but I gave up early knowing I couldn't maintain the pace, and generally feeling out of shape. I came to the conclusion that my recovery period coupled with my knee injury has taken me way off of my game. It's a disappointment, but I had hoped to use this threshold run as proof to myself that I was close to my top form. I proved the opposite, and I'm feeling pretty down about this run. Threshold miles = 6:32, 6:40, 6:26

12/27/07 -- Treadmill run (2 miles at 8:20 pace and 2% incline), Max HR = 156, Avg HR = 146, Stationary bike for 30 minutes with HIGH turnover (90-110), medium to high resistance (7?), 9.2 miles, Max HR = 159, Avg HR = 146. I wanted to run 45 minutes on the treadmill today, but I was feeling too tired to run. I don't know if it was real fatigue or just mental weakness, but I got off of the treadmill and immediately hopped on the bike. I didn't want to let myself off the hook so easily, given my early exit yesterday as well, so I pushed as hard as I've ever pushed on the bike before.

12/28/07 -- 5.04 miles, 39:37, 7:51 pace, Max HR = 166, Avg HR = 151. I wanted to run my Rice route today to see how I felt. My time wasn't too bad, and I felt pretty good. The knee didn't really bother me, so I was pretty happy in general. But I checked out my heart rate later on and compared it to some of the other times I've run the same route. For the same distance and speed my, my heart rate was higher for today's run than prior runs. I think this is absolute proof that I've lost my fitness level. It's disappointing because I still want to use the Houston Marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. If that happens, it will have to lean more heavily on guts and less on my fitness. But this run felt easy, so I'm feeling confident that qualifying is possible. Miles = 8:22, 8:06, 7:50, 7:42, 7:24

12/29/07 -- 12.02 miles, 1:28:26, 7:21 pace, HR info skewed but averaged about 160 and peaked at 170. I viewed this as my last chance to prove myself before the Houston Run. I wanted an 8:00 pace and no pain from my knee. If I could do that, it would be two solid runs in a row. I ran back in Baton Rouge because I went home for my sister's wedding. But this time I was able to meet up with the group from Varsity Sports. They only wanted to run an 8 mile route and they seemed to be reluctant to run 8:00 miles, preferring something around 8:30. But I decided that it would be better than running along, so we set out together. I don't know if it was because of me, but we ran the eight at a 7:27 pace. I didn't really want to run that fast, but I felt GREAT for the first time in days and I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. I was talking and joking, we weren't stopping for water, and I felt like I could run forever at that speed (which is only slightly slower than my marathon pace.) I was nervous about running the final four miles by myself, but I didn't figure it would be much of a problem. In fact, I ran the final four at a 7:02 pace and I still felt great. This is exactly the confidence booster that I needed. I finished up the run with some core exercises and a work down with my Christmas present -- a massage stick. I've been using it every day since Christmas, and it makes a world of difference in terms of reduction in next-day muscle soreness.

12/30/07 -- 4.09 miles, 35:34, 8:41 pace, Max HR = 147, Avg HR = 136. I ran the big LSU lake with Julie today. We took it easy, which is a good recovery day from my run yesterday. The pelicans are in town, and I joked that they were following us the whole way. There aren't as many as I remember in years past, but it's still a beautiful sight.

12/31/07 -- 1.03 hill warm up, 2.39 miles of hills, 20:11, 8:27 pace, Max HR = 166, Avg HR = 152. Today is my sister Laura's wedding day. Thoughts of my speech dominate my mind, and a hill workout is a good way to clear the mind. Julie and I went out to Highland Park and found a hill loop. I didn't hit this as hard as I do sometimes, but I'm supposed to be tapering so it didn't bother me to let up a bit.

So that's the last 2+ weeks in a single blogging session. It's dull reading, I know, but it gives an accurate picture of the lows of knee pain and self-doubt, and the highs of a strong long run and the apparent end of knee pain. I think I'm ready to kick butt at the Houston Marathon.

As this is the last entry of 2007, here are some totals since I started tracking my outdoor miles with the Garmin on 3/29/07:

1188.36 miles
8 days, 1 hours, 32 minutes, 41 seconds
8:53 pace
Avg HR = 141

* The number of miles I ran is equal to running from Houston to Baton Rouge 4.4 times.
* I ran two miles at an 8:04 pace on March 29, my first tracked run, and my heart rate got up to 180 BPM. I ran those two miles as fast as I could as a baseline. Now I run my easy distance runs at that pace and wouldn't hit that high of a heart rate even if I ran a marathon at that pace.
* I ran an average of 4.25 miles per day (including days that I didn't run at all).
* On average I ran 2.9% of every every hour of every day since 3/29/07.

I can't measure it, but my quality of life has improved more than I could describe. Running isn't for everyone, but it is for me. And even if something should happen that makes it impossible for me to continue running, I'll always be a runner at heart.


Cory said...

Good update, Jonathan.

You had me on an emotional roller coaster with how you were feeling about things. Glad to know that the knee and fitness issues are behind you!

Okay ... I wanted The Stick for Christmas but apparently wasn't "good" enough for Santa to bring one! It sounds like it's working well for you. If you give your full endorsement, I'm going out to get one as soon as I can.

What are you doing for lunch Friday? Do you have time to meet?


Kevin said...

I have been checking daily for the "Run for Speed" updates and what glad to see that you are still alive and running.
I got Jennifer one of the massage sticks for Christmas and all three of us (Grayson included) have been using it and if feels great.
See you at Houston.