Monday, November 17, 2008

This Is Over

Trindon Holliday taking it to Ole Miss:



My Tigers are down this year, relative to recent seasons. But I can promise you they will be rocking this weekend as we take on the University of Mississippi. Colonel Rebel is shaking in his boots.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekly Totals

M - Nothing (total rest & recovery from Achilles injury)
Tu - Nothing (signed up for UT Medical School gym)
W - 15 minutes aqua jogging in the outdoor pool (interrupted by the weather), 45 minutes on the bike, 10 minutes getting acclimated to weights
Th - 60 on the bike (pool still closed due to weather), 20 minutes of weights
F - 60 minutes aqua jogging, 20 minutes weights
Sa - 60 minutes aqua jogging, 30 minutes weights
Su - 90 minutes aqua jogging, 60 minutes bike, 0 weights
Totals - 3:45 aqua jogging, 2:45 bike, 1:20 weights

Minute Totals:
M - 0 minutes
Tu - 0
W - 70
Th - 80
F - 80
Sa - 90
Su - 150
Total - 7 hours, 50 minutes

Notes:
1) I figured out that wearing shoes in the pool increases resistance and helps get my heart rate up a bit higher
2) The best I can do (and sustain) is about a 130-135 heart rate on the bike an din the pool. My body might be getting a good workout, but my cardio is lacking.
3) I got sunburned on Sunday. I must be the only bonehead in the contiguous 48 to get a sunburn in the middle of November.
4) I'm using the weights to concentrate on my stomach, my hips (which never get a good workout but are always sore after a long run), and my legs (leg curls and leg extensions.)

It's difficult for me to follow this routine because there is no immediate feedback. I can't see what my time was on the last split, and I can't compare it to prior runs. So, being a numbers junkie, I'm having a hard time coping. I tried to count calories but that got old quickly.

W - 1803 calories, 31g fat, 349g carbs, 40g protein, B+
Th - 1156 calories, 15g fat, 200g carbs, 49g protein, A-
F - 2561 calories, 76g fat, 405g carbs, 45g protein,A-

http://caloriecount.about.com is helpful in tracking caloric and nutritional intake if you have the patience to enter your meals. It has lots of common food and serving sizes, plus it allows you to enter custom food. It will grade your diet and give you a nutrition report. Over those three days, plus half of Saturday, my ratios were:

18.0% fat
9.2% protein
72.7% carbohydrates

Looks like I need a little more protein in my diet. This web site recommends a ratio of:
Carbs = 40-60%
Fat = 20-30%
Protein = 10-15%

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

25K Fallout

25K - 15.58 miles according the watch, 1:41:11, 6:29 pace, Max HR about 170 Zone 4.9(bad data at the beginning), Avg HR after dropping first three miles = 157 Zone 4.2
6:23, 6:27, 6:31, 6:15 (mistake to run this fast), 6:36, 6:23, 6:15 (another mistake), 6:30, 6:28, 6:38, 6:35, 6:23, 6:38, 6:42, 6:37, 6:17 for final .58

Typically I like to give a detailed race report, but I won't be doing that this time. I ran this race in a zone and I was more internally focused than any other race I've ever run. I paid close attention to form, stride length, breathing, drafting, endurance, cardiothoracic activity, and running the tangents. Because of that, I was rarely outside of the zone and didn't make any mental notes about my surroundings. I guess that makes for a boring race report.

A fellow runner wrote me about Lea Carruther's performance -- here was my reply:
I ran with Lea for about 6 miles. During that time we had about a 6:26 pace. Jeff Eisele was holding her back, telling her to take the first two easy and hammer the third. But as we rounded the first lap (five miles), Jeff dropped his watch and had to go back to pick it up*. The small group never saw him again. I guess Lea figured it was her get out of jail free card at that time because she started inching forward afterwards. I couldn't hold on (and didn't want to) and she left me in her dust. There was some confusion as to whether she was in first or not -- at least two girls were ahead of us but we weren't sure if they were in the relay or not. I guess they weren't, because I don't recall passing any girls after the first loop**.

Regardless, I don't know what she did to reduce her overall pace to 6:05 after running with me so long, but I wish I could have watched her surge. I'm sure it was a sight to see. I wonder if she was pushing to catch up with a phantom girl ahead of her.

Diana passed me right after we turned around at Shepherd for the last time. I was feeling pretty low at that point and made no point to hold on. My last five were run at 6:35 average -- not much a finishing kick.

As for my time -- I'm pretty happy. I hoped to be no slower than a 6:30 pace, but my 6:31 is good enough to put me where I want to be. Unfortunately my splits were mostly positive, making me think that it will get worse over longer distances. I'll have to be really smart about not going out too fast.
Edits --
* - Jeff was sick that day and it affected his performance. He's on top of his game, and regularly gives me a butt-kicking. He ran a 1:22:34 (6:18 pace) at the Koala/Luke's Half.
** - As it turns out she was in second at that point, behind the person who would eventually finish as the first masters woman.

The big news about the 25K, which isn't so pretty, is that my left Achilles tendon is now seriously injured. I've been feeling some discomfort, so I didn't run at all for the four days prior to the 25K race. I felt good at the starting line, and it didn't bother me much during the race. But after about 20 minutes of inactivity I started on a cool-down run and couldn't take a step without pain.

After referencing my blog for the last time I had issues with my Achilles, I determined that it took four weeks of just about no running before the other leg healed. This time I can tell it's injured a little worse. Hopefully four weeks is enough recovery time, though.

Loosely following the RICE theory (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), I medicated with ibuprofen, rested, elevated and iced my leg several times over the past couple of days.

Obviously with the Houston Marathon 67 days away, I can't sit idle while I lose all of my conditioning. So I joined the UT Medical School Recreational center to stay in shape.

Yesterday I did 15 minutes of aqua jogging (before they closed the pool due to weather), 45 minutes on a cardio arm cranking machine, and about 10 minutes of weights. Today the pool was closed again, so I did 30 minutes on a bike, 15 minutes on the arm crank, another 15 minutes on the bike, and 20 minutes on weights. I'll keep posting about my workouts, and I'd appreciate any feedback from those of you who may have been in a similar boat.

Comments:
10/30/08 - Viva la Vida -
bill said: 100 miles in a week? I'd have to say you are definitely hard core. I think you will probably reap some good benefits if your body holds up. Are you training for the marathon?
How prophetic . . . "if your body holds up". I was dumb to run 100 miles in a week, but even dumber to run it sandwiched between some 70 mile weeks. That's why I'm in this situation, and I'm wondering if I'll be able to bounce back in time for the Houston Marathon. It's just like the blog entry -- one day you're on top of the world, and the next day you're nursing an injury. I guess I flew too close to the sun. Check out Bill's blog at: http://bigrunningengine.blogspot.com. He ran a 1:19:06 at the Koala/Luke's Houston Half Marathon late last month.

Anonymous said: Don't worry, buddy. You've got quite a few years before you wake up with that horrible realization.
LOL. I suppose you're right about the age thing, but I wasn't just talking about age. It's about the inevitable downward spiral, and the relatively small amount of time during our peaks even when we're on the upside. You can't always be on top of your game.


11/9/08 - 2008 HMSA 25K -
kayry said - Very nice race Jonathan - quite an improvement since a year ago.
Thanks! I knew an improvement was in the works. I ran that race last year on only eight months of running from scratch. Hopefully I can knock off another 10-20 seconds per mile next year, but that might be too ambitious. Check out John's blog at http://kayry-john.blogspot.com/. Interestingly enough, I was searching for some Houston Marathon routes on motionbased a few weeks ago and stumbled across your id there -- before I even knew about your blog. A few days later I found the blog and I've become a fan. Keep up the excellent work.


I don't know what I did to get a couple of speed demons to read my blog -- certainly not because of my speed, and I can't imagine it's because of my skill with the pen . . .errr, keyboard. But thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

2008 HMSA 25K

25K, 1:41:08, 6:31/mi pace, 23rd overall, 5th in 30-34M

video

Thanks to my friends and teammates who cheered me on. This race as much more difficult than I expected, but they lifted me.

This time puts me in line with where I need to be in order to break a 3 hour Houston Marathon.

Jack Daniels vdot projection:
VDOT = 54.94, 2:56:05

Runner's World Projection: 2:59:16

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PIM Speed Work

10.16M, 1:29:22, 8:47 pace, includes 4x800

Today started off poorly from a training perspective. I found myself awake and alert at about 1AM, with no chance to go back to sleep. I fooled around on the computer (running stuff) and watched some TV. Suddenly it was 3:30AM. As you can imagine, my planned ten miles at 5AM turned into a snooze fest.

Today's PIM session was a challenging one. 4x800 on the black top track at Memorial Park. I've emphasized to my PIMsters that running on a track is the "real deal". Perhaps that's just my take on it, but I certainly get motivated when I'm running the oval.

1M warmup
3:00 800
3:11 jogging 400 for rest
3:25 800
3:12 jogging 400 for rest
3:30 800
3:07 jogging 400 for rest
3:32 800
appx 2M warm down.

I tried to engage my PIMsters throughout the run, dispensing motivational advice and trying to help through the kick. I try to be careful because that sort of feedback quickly becomes aggrivating when you're doing speed work.

After PIM I went out for a little more than a lap with Jack at about 7:50 pace. He keeps me up-to-date on the local events. I always try to get an update on Diana's progress (she kicked butt in the half this weekend) and other Tornado runners. Our club is looking really strong this year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Viva la Vida

by Coldplay


"I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemies eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
'Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!'

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt, and pillars of sand"

---

I was taken by this Cold Play song the first time I ever heard it. The message I take from this song is that you're on top of the world one moment, and it's all gone before you get a chance to realize what happened. I believe this message is pertinent to all of us, regardless of where we fall on the continuum. Dealing with our success and eventual downfall is part of life.

A young person thinks they are invincible. In their prime they are unbeatable and victory comes easily. PRs fall, barriers are broken, enemies are defeated, gambles are taken and won. The world revolves around them, and their achievements and potential open the doors to another life.

And then it happens. One day they wake up hurting a little more than normal. The adversary who used to trail them is on their heels and then passing them. An exponential amount of work goes into producing a new PR, yet their body fails them under the extra workload. Their day has come and gone.

If they are lucky they can point to a single moment where they were on top of the world -- a paradoxical combination of their crowning achievement and the coup de grace for their career. The first place finish, the course record, the medal. They think about the days when people chased them -- when they left strangers effortlessly in their shadow -- when people wanted to BE them. Now those people have taken their throne and the associated brashness in exchange for fading memories and humility. The old king is dead, long live the new king.

-----

Although I wish I had taken to running in high school, I appreciate the fact that I found my passion in my early 30s. I will never be able to perform at the level I could have achieved during high school and college. I am disappointed by this realization because I'll never know what I could have achieved. But I'm currently riding the wave of continuous improvement as I approach the cusp of middle age. The ability to recognize and appreciate the cycle of achievement on the upside is the gift I've been given. It affords me the maturity to relish in my potential yet concurrently be acutely aware of the shelf life of my capabilities. One day soon improvements will cease, and I'll be looking at PRs in the rear view mirror. Fully appreciating the downside makes the upside that much sweeter.

-----

10/26/08 - 7.82M, 1:01:00, 7:48 pace This was a quick trail run around Julie's parents' neighborhood before mass. This link was famous for a day as it became a top Google hit for "Baton Rouge Trail Runs". My sister-in-law stumbled across it and let me know. Almost every half mile split was negative, and I hammered out the last 1.3M at 6:32 and felt like I could have carried that five more miles.
10/27/08 - 4.01M, 36:05, 8:58 pace, Avg HR = 118 (Zone 2.2) Wanted to run 6 but I gave in and only finished four since I got a late start. No PM run.
10/28/08 - AM10.08M, 1:13:35, 7:17 pace, no HR. I averaged 6:39 on the last four miles, and could have run another few with no problems. This isn't supposed to be happening based on the miles I have on my legs, but the weather provides great uplift. PMTour de Bayou final stage (4), 3.80M, 25:54, 6:49 pace, no HR. I finished third overall in this stage, and first overall for the cumulative open mens division. I finished the series races in 1st, 2nd, 4th, 3rd. This race wasn't particularly challenging, although I did kick it up a notch toward the end and put some distance between me and the 4th place finisher. My mile splits were: 6:53, 6:49, 6:54, and 5:13 for .8 (6:31 pace).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

105.21M

Su - 21.42
M - 10.11
Tu - 16.47M
W - 16.39M (6.14M AM, 6.07 before PIM, 4.18M after PIM)
Th - 10.04M AM, 10+M PM (no record because my watch died)
F - Rest
Sa - 20.78M AM

Weekly total = 105.21M

-----

I always wanted to see what it was like to run 100 miles in one week, and this week seemed like my best opportunity. It's a while before my next race, giving me plenty of chance to recover in case something happens. I'm in top form, based on recent races, my heart rate during training runs, and the general feeling I have about my fitness level. So I gave it a go, and it wasn't that hard.

The negative stuff first:
1) I should qualify that this is sort of cheating, because I ran my long run on Sunday, and the next long run on Saturday, thereby squeezing two long runs into one week.
2) Top athletes regularly run 140M per week, so I'm under no illusions that I'm doing anything special.
3) This is very time consuming. It took me 14 hours, 43 minutes, 33 seconds to run all of these miles.
4) Most of my easy runs started out REALLY slow for the first mile (9-10 minute miles)

The positive stuff:
1) I felt great. In fact there was never a moment where I was overly tired or slightly injured. In fact, the only thing I had going against me was the unwise decision to descend 58 flights of stairs on Monday, thanks to the fire alarm at my office. This caused burning in my quads at the beginning of runs until Wednesday night.
2) My body could handle this for multiple weeks in a row, although I doubt my schedule could do so. If I did manage to find time, I'd have to dispense with one of my two speed sessions like I did this week. Typically I run fast on Thursdays, but that was out the door.
3) Speaking of speed work, I managed to squeeze a race into the the week (Tuesday's Tour de Bayou)
4) Once upon a time, not so long ago, a "run" meant three miles -- and it wasn't hard but it wasn't easy. Then that three moved to six before I really felt like I was doing a run and felt challenged. Now that's ten. I can run ten miles non-stop at any time now, limited only by my schedule and not by my fitness or fatigue.
5) I actually managed to squeeze a rest day (Friday) into the mix.
6) I was really concerned about doing my Saturday long run on tired legs, but the combination of Friday's rest and my general endurance make Saturday's workout a cake walk, despite finishing the last fourteen at an easy 7:19 pace with only one brief stop.

This week I'll come back down from those heights and post about 50 or 60 miles total. I was originally going to run a 30K race in Dallas on 11/16, but I think that's going to change in lieu of the 25K on 11/9. The 52-38 thrashing of LSU by UGA convinced me not to drive into Baton Rouge for the Alabama game on 11/8, leaving me free to run the HMSA 25K on 11/9. If all goes well it will be my last proving ground before the Houston Marathon.

Health note -- I briefly complained about my right foot. A tendon running from my big toe to the heel has a small bump on it, causing it to be sore to the touch but not painful when running. It also causes symptoms similar to plantar fasciitis, but I'm ok once I stretch my feet out in bed before I get up. I'll monitor this over the next couple of weeks, but I have a strong suspicion that it's because of my shoes. I'm cycling through about five pairs of shoes right now -- none have less than 300 miles and some have more than 500 miles on them.

Totals:
105.21M, 14:43:33, under 8:30 pace overall

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Comments

I appreciate the fact that people take time to read this blog, and to comment. I've done a poor job replying to the comments, so I want to take the opportunity to reply to some of those comments in this post. A shortcoming of this blogging tool is that you have to click the comments section after each blog in order to read the comments. I'd prefer the comments to be displayed by default, so if anyone knows how to do that I'd appreciate it.

8/30/2007 Regarding Race, (Short) Long Run, Fun Run all in one day:
Kevin said...
What you failed to mention is that the "pub run" was the New Orleans Hash House Harriers Red Dress Run. Were you wearing a red dress? How about some pictures?

Guilty as charged. Pictures -- I don't think so.

10/11/2007 Regarding The Threshold of Motivation
Kevin said...
Nuthin' hang in there. You are doing awsome. My fat ass certainly could not keep up with you right now.
Suggestion for hydration: get a 1 liter Nalgene bottle and fill it with water in the morning. Work hard to drink it before lunch, even if you have to chug it right before lunch. Then fill it up after lunch and drink it all before you leave work. Finally fill it a third time when you get home and work to drink it before you go to bed. Yes you will pee a bunch but that is a good thing. Any way, keep up the good work.

Water sucks. I can't bring myself to hydrate throughout the day on just water. So now I drink G2 Gatorade with some frequency. It only has 100 calories (1 mile of running) per quart.

11/3/07 Regarding Sweet Home Alabama
Cory said...
Great run, Jonathan!

I've found that gloves are essential in cooler temperatures. For me, gloves seem to be the most important cold weather gear. If my hands are warm, it seems that the rest of my body is usually okay. I picked up a $5 "disposable" pair at a running store before the marathon with the intention of tossing them to the side during the run. However, I ended up keeping them on until the end even almost every other runner had taken their's off by the end. I'm glad that I had them and I'm happy that I kept them. They've come in handy on a few runs since then.

The thermometer already dipped to 60 degrees this fall, and I'm going to wear gloves each and every time it's that "cold", even if I'm running without a shirt. I don't understand how my hands can sweat and be numb from cold at the same time. Maybe I need wicking gloves.


11/11/07 Regarding More Race Info
Cory said...
While training this past summer, I wondered how temperature and humidity impact times. I found a few different ideas. The one that seems to be close to accurate for me is:
For every degree over 60, add 1 second per mile to pace.
Looking back at my long runs and even shorter tempo runs, this adjustment for temperature works fairly well.
Of course, this doesn't account for humidity. I found a suggested formula that uses heat index (which of course considers temperature and humidity) but didn't find that it translated well for me and it can only be used when temperatures exceed 80.

The dork in me wants to gather a bunch of data and fit it into a multivariable equation to spit out the predictor adder to any temperature/humidity combination. I can't believe something like that isn't out there. It seems like a relatively simple exercise.

3/8/2008 Regarding Bayou City Classic 10K
Gaslight ;-) said...
I think I beat you in the beer drinking, but it's okay because I'm not in your age group.
HAHAHHAHAHAHA

I accept your challenge (or at least I misinterpreted it as a challenge). Let's take this up at the beer mile or next year's Bayou City Classic 10K.

4/26/2008 Regarding 2008 Festival International 5K
elf said...
Congratulations on the new PR! Sounds like an outstanding race! Hope you had fun at Jazz Fest--watch out for the Hand Grenades... :)

I used to enjoy Hand Grenades until I drank one before I got drunk. Under that scenario it doesn't take long to realize that it's not exactly top shelf liquor.

4/27/08 Regarding Three Miles, Two Dogs, One Race
mccainiac said...
Very funny and well written! Whose dogs were they?

My mother has two mutts which are primarily labs. They're loyal, but they like to measure their affection in terms of gallons of saliva.

5/20/08 Regarding Morning Full Moon Run
Kevin said...
As long as you don't handle the bugs by screaming at a high pitch and waving your arms wildly, you should be OK.

I won't be doing that, but it wouldn't be too out of place in my neighborhood.

5/29/08 Regarding Late Evening Ten+
RTL said...
Hi. I leave downtown to go running at Memorial Park or with Kenyan Way each evening - so let me know if ever need a ride.

It's a very kind offer, but I don't know who you are. Your blog, Run Travel Live, is pretty cool. Even though I drive these days, I still like to carpool so maybe I can take you up on that offer at some point.

6/8/08 Regarding Mostly Alone Long(ish) Run
Anonymous said...
Jonathan,
Thanks for the nice comments. I also like to tour neighbborhoods, and hate the Memorial stretch. To miss it, when you leave River Oaks, cross Shepherd bridge, then cross Memorial, turn left toward the park then a quick right, up the hill on Sandman beside Depelchin. Go about 4-5 blocks north, then and take a left down Blossom to the park. There is a trail from Crestwood into the park that will get your new shoes dirty. It was nice meeting you, one of the fun things about our sport.
Kathy

Whenever possible I take that route these days, but I usually don't run through the crestwood trail because of the constant ankle-deep mud that you referenced.

6/16/08 Regarding Will's Hills 22 - 200 Meter Relays
Cory said...
The high school guys are fast. But my general observation is that they rarely have a concept of pacing nor do they exhibit strong endurance.
Having said that I'll acknowledge that they're still faster than I am!
I recognize their flaws because I was exactly like that when I ran XC in high school ... many, many moons ago.

It was that exact thought that made me think that I'd finish second (not fourth) at the last Tour de Bayou. But those two kids dropped the hammer in the second half instead of faded. They both ran a strong race.

6/30/08 Regarding Massage Run, Bug Eating and Passing Etiquette
Anonymous said...
Most of the time, it's some three mile warrior out doing his one loop. I just keep my own pace and wait for them to burn out on the new pace that they won't handle, anyway. But if I'm in a nasty and playful mood. I like to run up next to them and pretend I'm giving it all I've got, then try to lure them into going even faster and ruining their run. It's fun - try that next time.

These last few days I've been running some really easy recovery miles (9-10:30) and I'm getting passed quite a bit. It piques my competitive spirit, but not nearly like when I'm going fast and get passed. That happened when Lea Carruthers passed me last Thursday, but I didn't have anything in the tank to accept her challenge.

7/1/08 Regarding Controversy
Kevin said...
As one of the the three readers of your blog, you should do a post every once in a while with the Google Analytic stats for the "Run for Speed" website. I love Google Analystics.

Absolutely. I've been meaning to do so.

7/2/08 Regarding A Tale of Two Runs
Lucho said...
Jonathon- Hydration has a profound effect on how you feel. Performance and the numbers aside. Hydrating well ups your energy and lowers your HR and BP. I have found with most of my athletes that they drink roughly 1/3 what they should be when they're training hard in the summer. The 1 liter before every run still probably isn't enough! It can take days to rehydrate after becoming dehydrated.
Have you considered having blood testing done to find your AeT? AeT is your physiological marathon limit and is the point that your blood lactate levels are at 2.0mmol.. Training at this intensity produces great results.
Keep up the good fight!

Hydration is a battle for me because I actively dislike drinking water. But I'm going to take it more seriously going forward because I can feel the difference.
Regarding the AeT test, the first time I read your email I incorrectly assumed it was a static measurement of my marathon potnetial. I didn't wan't to know that, becuse it would be akin to knowing when you're going to die. Who wants to know their wall, because the incentive to push past that goes away? But of course the measurement isn't static and you talk about how to train in the right zone to increase your AeT.
My problem is that I'm cheap, and I don't want to pay for the blood tests. I've read of ways to plot heart rate against pace and determine when the relationship ceases to be linear. That inflection point tells you something, but I can't remember what it is and I can't find that online anywhere.
Any ideas for a cheap guy like me who wants to find his AeT?


8/4/08 Regarding Twelve Mile Monday
Kevin said...
I think TDLY stoppage is OK since you are starting to get to a point where you were actually running pretty good. May be throw one in about once ever two weeks for reference.

I dropped TDLY (This Day Last Year) like a bad habit and never reconsidered. It took too much time and added too little value.

8/10/08 Regarding 18M Tornado Long Run
RunColo said...
Your Avg. Heart Rate is low, good sign.
Good luck with you goal to break 3. I did last year for the first time at Denver Marathon.
Looks like your training is right on.

Thanks for your encouragement. It's always nice to get a shout out from a stranger, particularly one who knows what it takes to break the three hour barrier. I know you're disappointed with your 2:57:34 Denver Marathon PR three days ago. I'm upset every time I race even if it's the race of my life. There is something about running that draws me irrestibly to the light: no matter how good I do, I still could have done better. Best wishes.

8/11/08 Regarding Cerebral Run
Gaslight ;-) said...
I thought you were from BR, but idn't know that you did time in Norcross!
Before I moved to TX in 1981, I went to school (and church) here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Atlanta_Christian_School (their real website appears to be down)

rw said...
Jon- Rockin' through '92! Go (Geaux) Blue Devils! I cannot believe I've come across your blog. I hope you're doing well - sounds like your running life is. Somehow we'll have to reconnect. I'm no blogger nor facebooker just good ol' email. It's been way too long... Randall W., NHS '92

Chad Moore said...
Chad Moore, here! Randall sent me an email about your blog. Never had seen that video, but still love "Forever Young" by Alphaville! You introduced me to that song. It brings back good memories from high School. It had been a long time since I had heard it - thanks for taking me back. I might have to post that video on Facebook, which I recently joined. I had searched for you about a week ago, but no sign of you on facebook. Would be cool to see you on there, and you can feed in your current blog, etc. If you are ever near Tulsa, OK...better let me know - and you have a place to stay. Really enjoyed reading your blog, too! And I am very pleased that you are doing so well. I sincerely hope we can catch up.
-Chad
P.S. I can do a marathon in under 3! ;)
(3 days, that is!)
(Come to think of it, that would be like over 8 miles a day! Yikes! Forget that! Make it 3 weeks, and I am pretty sure I could do it...so long as I could take some long breaks, eat, sleep, etc...)

Gaslight -- I'm pretty sure I competed against GACS in something (Math Team, Quiz Bowl, Swimming?). I drove by the school often but never really knew anybody there.

Randall -- Good to hear from you! Get my email address from Chad and drop me a line so I have your address. (That way you don't have to post it here for spammers to snag.) Some of my more vivid memories in High School are related to the OSS (Old South Society) and tailgating up for our high school football games. Do you remember the time the vice principal "busted" us for tailgating and forced us to pour out our iced tea? Yea, we were real trouble-causers. No telling what direction we would have headed in life without his intervention. How's your tennis game these days?

Chad -- I'm a facebook wimp. At one point I discovered that someone opened up a facebook (or maybe myspace) account with my email address, but set it up for the actor Jonathan Bennett. I'll try to get up to Tulsa. You've visited me a couple of times and I never returned the favor. Maybe I can try the Tulsa marathon. I'll shoot for 3 days and you can shoot for three hours.


8/23/08 Regarding Hood to Coast, Leg 9
Gaslight ;-) said...
I had no idea that you were running HTC-who was on your team? I reminisced about the event and its weather fondly during setup for Party in the Park on Saturday.


I got lucky. My best friend runs on a corporate team who needed someone. So he was the only person I knoew, and everyone was from Oregon. Their team is guaranteed a spot, and all runner are guaranteed to be included on the team so long as they don't skip a year. After experiencing HTC, especially with this team, they are going to have a hard time getting rid of me.

8/27/08 Regarding Vibram Five Fingers
Kevin said...
Nice feet! Can you still wear a toe ring with those shoes?
I would think that the bottom of your feet will have to adapt to the rocks and such but I would take some time and some sore feet to be able to do it.

Cory said...
I've had my eye on these for some time. Even talked to Randy and Christina about them the last time I saw you in Conroe.
Same concept as "Sasha" wearing Crocs to run. He actually graduated to 5 Fingers and has over 500 miles on them. From that, I suspect you'll get your money's worth.
Keep me posted on how they're doing for you.

Cruisinaltitude said...
I have a pair and love them. It is funny that they make a shoe to feel like you are running barefooted. Why not just run barefooted? hehe...

Melanie said...
Wow, these are ridiculously crazy! I wonder what Forrest Gump would say. . . .


Kevin -- yes, my feet are nice. I haven't tried to wear a toe ring concurrently, but the thought has crossed my mind.

Cory -- so far so good. I even raced a Tour de Bayou race in them. But other than that I haven't logged many miles and I think I'm going to put them down until the Houston marathon is over.

Crusin -- Thanks for reading! Good point, particularly since my feet tend to get hot in these shoes. I LOVE your customer service blog.

Melanie -- You pointed out one of the main reasons why I bought these shoes -- because people think they're crazy. Incidentally, my reference to Vibram Five Fingers gets plenty of google hits.



8/30/08 Regarding Bad Start for the Weekend
Kevin said...
http://frayedlaces.blogspot.com/2008/07/nathan-pritikin-diet-for-runners.html
A runner's diet book review that you might find interesting.
You might schelude yourself a two or three day down time.
We certainly missed you at the game, there was a good turn out at the game for being a 10AM with a storm heading our way. Good luck, my mileage took a dive but i am going to be getting back on it.

KCWoodhead said...
I UNDERSTAND!!! I don't feel like doing anything right now! This morning did help put a pep back in my step though with the humidity so far down at a beautiful 70%.

To both of you: YES, the weather change has put a spring in my step, and I'm feeling re-energized. Keep up the good fight with the training!


9/6/08 Regarding Week in Review
Randall W said...
Jon, I hope you and your family are doing well through Ike and its damage. Houston looks like it was roughed up a bit. That was a nasty storm. You may be running over debris for a months. You and your whole community are in our thoughts and prayers.

Gaslight ;-) said...
Dude, where ARE you? Are you saying that your lights are still out? Bring on the juice!

Randall--We were extremely lucky. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Gaslight--Blogging via my cell phone wasn't an option. But Comcast got the boot and now I'm flying high with AT&T.



9/29/08 Regarding Quick Update
Kevin said...
It is about time you got back to posting. I know how it is, I have actually not had time to even check my personal emails due to work getting in the way.

Anonymous said...
Do you know what I have had to read since September 6th? The news!?! Don't ever let this happen again, mister.

It's nice to be appreciated, even if I'm considered a diversion to reality. Does anyone know a place where I could work that would be difficult for me to check my work emails with my personal life getting in the way?

10/12/08 Regarding 10M Lakeshore Run Race
Kevin said...
Hey great race and great re-cap of the race. It was actually just the right lenght and kept me interested through out the whole article. I usually glaze over some of the blog that I read.
I might actually wait around at Houston this year to see you finish at 3:00. I am shooting for 1:45 in the half this year.
Cajun Cup 10K November 8th, you could hit it on the way to see the Tigers play.
I all ways feel like I am in the presence of greatness whenever I am around Kevin Castille. When I first started running, I took a running class at Red's. Guess who was teaching it? Yep, Kevin. He is an amazing runner and a heck of a nice guy. He certainly makes it look easy. He spend some time in Stork's hood running when he was trying to qualify for the Olympics.
Anywho, keep up the good work.

RTL said...
Ditch heavy socks (and tape) strategies for avoiding blisters. On race day all you need to do is always apply Vaseline to entire clean foot and use usual clean lightweight runners socks. (You already apply it to other parts that rub…). You will never get blisters with this trick, and no - feet don't slide around out of control! Also - everyone I know, and from own experience, regret compromising shoe weight in a marathon. A lot of my training is on trails and soft ground so I have to build up in last few month to survive pounding of running on concrete for 26.2 miles. So I need a more substantial ASIC with gel in forefoot which I'm landing on each stride. I think you'd have to do all training on concrete to get away with a racing flat for a marathon - and few can do that training program without injury. Or some inserts in a racing flat may be a compromise.

Anonymous said...
Great race and read. Jenny mentioned the blog tonight and thx for the props. I hope to be with you and other Sub3 come Houston. You're right on track. I'm a pronator and need the extra motion control. Their is some truth to the mental part. I chalk it up to it being the right day and being prepared. Announcing your goals works well. I'd always downplayed my race goals and settled for reaching attainable goals. RunBayou alias Chip Tyme got me to announce that if breaking 3 was my goal that I should say it proudly. The great thing about running is that there is positive feedback when you're times get lower. The better your time the more willing you are to train harder.
Good luck.
Avi Moss

Kevin -- I welcome the extra pressure of you waiting for me at the Hoston Marathon. One more reason to stay on track when I'm lagging at mile 22. And knowing that about Kevin Castille, I'm going to make a more concerted effort to engage him in conversation next time I see him.

RTL -- Thanks for the advice. Actually I don't use any sort of lubricant for any part of my body, so lubing up the toes would be a first. I decided on a 30K in Dallas (Nov 16) as a test ground for my shoes. If they pass, I'll wear them for the marathon. If not, I'll run with trainers.

Avi -- I use fear of failure as a motivating factor, so the fear is amplified when my goal is announced. (Even though nobody out there really cares if I hit the goal.) I'll be in Baton Rouge this weekend looking to do 20. If you get this in time, join me. I'm hoping to run seven before the organized tailgate run of 13.1, which means I'll start a bit more than an hour before their start time from the Baton Rouge Beach.



9/13/08 Regarding 6 Miles in the Neighborhood
KCWoodhead said...
Check out this: http://kcwoodhead.blogspot.com/2008/01/full-of-wisdom.html
And then this:
http://liamoconnell.blogspot.com/2008/02/mental-or-physical-mental.html

Anonymous said...
Okay, Jonathan, this whole "how fast can you run a mile all-out" is really eating at you, isn't it? Just hold it for six months...track season's coming!

KCWoodhead -- EXCELLENT reads. This just goes to confirm an adage of running. No matter how unique it seems to you, another more experienced runner has been down that path. I just wish there was more research and training methods on mental training.

Anonymous -- LOL. I'm seriously considering dumping marathon training for 1M-13M races after this marathon is over.


10/19/08 - If A Tree Falls in the Woods
Cory said...
Jonathan -
What plan are you following for your marathon training cycle? It seems a bit "anything goes" but knowing you there's got to be at least a framework that it's built on.

Nope . . . it's pretty much anything goes these days. I'm running by feel. More miles if I'm feeling good, less if I'm not. Faster/Slower depending on feel. I do have a loose framework of speed work on Tuesday evenings (typically 800s) and Tempo Runs on Thursdays (typically 3-4 miles). But everything has been in flux since the hurricane, and I haven't been sticking to my schedule like I'd like. Over the next two weeks I'll tally up a bunch of miles before tapering prior to a 30K race on Nov 16. After that I'll tighten the regimen and go by the book.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tour de Bayou (Practice) 3

AM
6.15M, 56:59, 9:15 pace, Max HR = 126, Avg HR = 113

PM
1.76M Warm Up for Tour de Bayou 3
Tour de Bayou 3, 4.31M, 29:03, 6:43 pace, Max HR = 168, Avg HR = 154, 64% Z4, 33% Z3
4.25M Warm Down for Tour de Bayou 3

The morning run was slow on purpose to recover from a string of high mileage days and to save my energy for the race later that day.

The race went well. I saw Joe at the starting line (he won stage 2), and he told me he'd be taking it easy today because of his upcoming Marine Corps Marathon this weekend. I already had my plans to take it easy because I'm tired, and because of a certain incident at work on Monday.

The fire alarm went off, disabling the elevators and trapping me 58 flights above a lunch date with my wife. I took the stairs down. It was easy while I was doing it, but I felt it in the quads all day today. They were screaming during the warm up but managed to be replaced by a general feeling of weakness by the time the race started.

Even so, I ran a good race. I came in fourth overall, behind a man and his two (high school aged?) sons. The family kicked my butt, but I'm still pretty happy with my work today. The out-and-back course was somewhat hilly, but the overall elevation gain on the out was only about 15 feet. So this gives me the opportunity to compare my out split with my back split.

Out:
2.16M in 14:44 (6:49 pace)

Back:
2.15M in 14:14 (6:37 pace)

So I managed to pick up the pace in the second lap. I'm not sure if I'm happy or upset that I kept my heart rate out of zone five. I didn't enter the race wanting to hurt -- I'm trying to save my legs. But to give less than a zone five effort on a race is disappointing. I just need to remember this isn't the goal race -- just a speed workout for the goal race.

Notes:
1) Jon Warren's group was doing their workout along our course, so it was nice to hear their cheers. Thanks to Jeff, Shon and Matt for the encouragement. At one point I merged with Katherine as she did her speed work, and running with her helped me to pick up my pace. Otherwise I ran pretty much by myself after the first mile. Thanks to Katherine for her post-race encouragement as well.
2) This is the longest Tour de Bayou race I've ever run.
3) The course that most closely corresponds to the second TDB race I did in the Spring. My pace was the same, although today I ran an extra .8M and my heart rate was significantly lower. I guess that qualifies as improvement. This is the blog entry from that race.
4) The post-run warm-down was a beating. I ran out of energy (similar to my PM run on this blog entry). I get to a point that I feel like I desperately need food and can't run another step. I'm a little lightheaded as well. My kingdom for a Gatorade! I mustered myself and trotted back to the car, but I absolutely have to do a better job of taking some calories before workouts. We shall see how this breakdown affects tomorrow's planned 6M morning run, and PM PIM session.
5) I ran most of the final 2/3 of the run with a feeling that there was a stick or rock in my right shoe. Mid-way through the warm down I finally decided to investigate it, and discovered a bloody sock thanks to an untrimmed toe nail. I hope I learn my lesson -- you can do all the preparation in the world for a marathon, but if you forget the simple detail of cutting your toe nails before the race then your goal can be sacrificed. I added a "clip toenails" reminder to my outlook calendar set for 24 hours before the marathon.

And if you're wondering why I'm sharing all of these gory details, you should know that I'm wondering why you're reading them!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Easy 10 With Some Friends

10.11M, 1:27:51, 8:41 pace, Max HR = 135, Avg HR = 119

This was a nice, easy run with Jackie (first Memorial Park loop) and Ilya (first and second loop). I totally invited myself, because I know Jackie doesn't like to run with other people. And even though I end up talking with Ilya before and and after runs, I've never run with him. The conversation was great -- Ilya could talk the bark off of a tree. I think he knows everyone in the park, and he joked that he is the "Mayor of Memorial Park." He has my vote.

I ran the remaining four miles by myself. My heart rate stayed low as did my pace. I was a bit concerned because I have a small bump on the bottom of the arch of my right foot. It's sore to the touch, but doesn't hurt otherwise.

This week I'm going to try to do so something that's a little foolish. But I'm not going to tell you what it is until the end of the week. And I promise I'll tell, regardless of whether I succeed or fail.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

If A Tree Falls in the Woods

21.42M, 2:44:47 (including 46 seconds spent on two breaks),7:41 pace, Max HR = 153, Avg HR = 136, 1% Z4, 55% Z3, 43% Z2

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If I run an extra mile and a half but forget to turn on the watch in the middle of the run, did I really run those miles?

That's what happened today. I stopped my watch for a 30 second water break at the Sabine bridge and forgot to turn it on until about 1.5 miles later. Motionbased did a straight-line approximation of my distance and time, so it's relatively accurate and conservative since it doesn't pick up any turns. But my watch doesn't make those calculations on a real-time basis. So I ran until my watch said 20 miles, not knowing how much I over-ran, but knowing it wouldn't be an "official" 20 unless the watch said so.

This was a great run for me. My last 11 miles were run at a sub-seven pace, and my heart rate never got above zone 3. I averaged 136 BPM, and the sum of my breaks over the entire run was less than a minute. I feel pretty certain that I could have run the entire 20 miles at a sub-seven pace. As a point of reference, my goal marathon pace is 6:52.

It's nice to be "in the zone", but it's not hard for me to forget the time's I've been on the flip side of the coin. So I'll just appreciate the situation and hope it continues. And I'll also give credit to the weather which averaged 61 degrees with 80% humidity. It was cold enough for me to run with gloves until the final 3 miles. As I've mentioned before, my hands get really cold while running, and I've been know to run without a shirt but with gloves.

1) I ran mile two through seven with Jack and Diana. (Avg 8:35 through 7) Diana is just off of a women's overall victory in the 10M Warm Up Series Race. I haven't seen her in a few months, and she's looking like she's in top form. I'm pretty sure she will soar to great heights at the California International Marathon (CIM) on Dec 7,2008.
2) Afterwards I tried my best to catch up to Alejandro and Daniel at the front of the Tornado pack. I ran a 6:48 pace for a mile and a half to catch up.
3) Then I forgot to set my watch for the fastest 1.5M of the day. I know this because I tried to keep up with Daniel who was reeling off something in the low sixes.
4) I ran back to mile 0 at the park and did two more laps to make the watch read 20.
5) I wore a new pair of shorts today (with a zipper on the side) which I'll use for the marathon. The zipper gives easy access as opposed to my "famous" orange shorts with the zipper in the back. I can never get to that pocket unless I slow down or stop.
6) I also tried a new skin-tight Zoot top with a zipper in the front for ventilation. It also has two pockets for gels. It felt constricting at first, but I liked the fact that it didn't flop around on me like running singlets tend to do. I hope to run with this shirt as well.
7) With a plethora of pockets, I practiced my in-run fueling today by popping shot blocks every once in a while.
8) I wonder if the heart rate monitor was accurate today, given my low readings. It would be great if I could trust it. In the car before the run it read as low as 45 BPM for my resting rate. I know my heart goes slower when I'm sleeping, but I've never seen it this low while I was awake.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back with Steph's Crew

13.27M, 1:45:42 moving time, 7:58 pace, Max HR = 151, Avg HR = 118, 8% Z3, 85% Z2, 5% Z1

It's always good to run with Steph's crew. They're recently back from the St. George Marathon, where they all kicked butt despite adverse weather conditions.

Today's run was easy thanks to the weather front that pushed through. The average temperature was 59 degrees with 85% humidity. It was almost too cold for me, and I wish I had brought some gloves along. I don't know how it happens, but my hands get cold and sweaty at the same time. Why are they sweating if I'm cold? I've been known to run without a shit but with gloves. This would have been one of those days if I remembered the gloves. One of the reasons why I think I stayed cold today was because I get cold during the breaks. Today I took 20 minutes of breaks over spread out over two hours.

This week's total mileage was 63M. My plan over the next couple of weeks is:
70M
70M
50-55M
30-35M -- Race week (30K)

If the 30K on Nov 16 goes well then I won't race again until the Marathon.

Friday, October 17, 2008

You don't see THAT every day . . .

AM 6.02M, 57:29, 9:32 pace, Max HR = 138, Avg HR = 119
PM 4.02M, 36:12, 9:00 pace, Max HR = 132, Avg HR = 118

. . . unless perhaps you have the pay-per view channels. And even then you don't see it in person.

I got up obscenely early today to get a 6M run in before arriving at the office early to do a last-minute emergency project. So there I was, taking it easy and enjoying the serenity when I notice someone in the distance near the red sculpture along White Oak Bayou. I try to make it a point to say hello to everyone on that trail because, in my opinion, people aren't friendly enough when they are out on that path and I want to change that one person at a time.

So I see what appears to be a homeless man waking up, and I prepare to tell him "good morning" as I pass. But as I get closer it becomes apparent that this is not a homeless man, and he isn't alone. He and his female companion were in an intimate horizontal "hug" (if you get my drift), oblivious to the world.

Now I've always thought that a city skyline can be a romantic sight. Do you remember the scene from Urban Cowboy where the scarlet lady seduces the hero? She takes him into her spacious loft with a great view of the 1980 Houston skyline.

Perhaps our enamoured couple were discussing how great that scene was. One thing led to another, and . . .


-----
Today's morning run was a massage run, so named because it has the effect of a massage by gently utilizing the muscles to get the blood flowing. My pace was really slow, but enjoyable. My heart rate stayed really low, and I felt no ill effects from yesterday's hard four miles.

My PM run was a bit tougher. I've been limiting my caloric intake trying to slowly drop down to race weight (135#). At about 140 I don't really have far to go. But the caloric deficit caught up with me at about mile two or three, and I felt the bottomless pit of hunger hit me. This happened twice before -- once at the White Rock Marathon and once during the Texas Independence Relay. So I cut my run short by two miles and kicked a 7:51 mile home and scarfed down a couple of bowls of cereal and some mashed potatoes. When Julie came home I had a great bowl of Vietnamese noodles at Mai's, Houston's first Vietnamese restaurant. I wanted to reload my carbohydrate supplies for tomorrow's long run.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A PR for a Threshold

2.04M Warm Up at 8:49 pace
4.01M Threshold, 25:03, 6:14 pace, Max HR = 173, Avg HR = 164, 5% Z4, 85% Z4
3.09M Warm Down at 7:49

This is the fastest I've ever run a threshold run before, and I have to give credit to the change in the weather. It was 70 degrees with 78% humidity. It doesn't sound ideal, but it was the first cooler evening we've had this fall. During my last 3/4 of a mile I was passed by a girl in the Tornados. I was introduced to her but I've since forgotten her name. I won't make that mistake again. She's awesome. She ran for Arkansas, and I think she recently graduated. It will be fun to compete and train with her. Go Tornados!

I finished up with a 7:49 pace warm down (with a 7:21 final mile), and some tough core exercises 3x25 pushups, 100 bicycles and 4 minutes of planks (two side, one normal, and one backwards) with leg lifts. I probably need to push myself a bit further in the core department and add some time and repetitions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PIM 400s

7M with 4x100

I was proud of my PIMsters this week, and I we did some true speed-work for the first time in the program. I ran with the fastest group and Coach Yong brought up the rear, but all of our times were great and all of our efforts were maximized.

My times:
1:42
1:27
1:22
1:19

Afterwards we met at Luke's Locker for a social and sale. It took every ounce of effort to decline the pizza and beer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tour de Bayou (Practice) 2

Warm Up
2.73M, 19:52, 7:16 pace, Max HR = 178, Avg HR = 165, 32% Z5, 58% Z4
Warm Down

This course, run around the bowl of Spotts Park, is by far the hilliest of the series. Roger structured the course as two reps of an out-and-back course. Prior to the start I was given the yellow lei, signifying that I had the overall men's open lead. I've never run a race with a target on my back.

I went out easy hoping someone else would take the lead -- it's a common strategy for me to follow since there is always someone faster than me and going out faster than them would be foolish. But nobody took the bait this time so I had to go out mostly by myself. One guy stayed with me, and we alternated leads through the first quarter of the race. I settled in behind him right after the quarter mark of the race and waited to see what would happen.

Five minutes later, at the halfway point, I found out what would happen. The guy dropped the hammer and opened up a lead that I'd never challenge. Once he did a lap, he was done with me. He must have won by at least thirty seconds. I think he was using me as a guide for the course, which is a wise strategy since it's not too hard to lose the trail like Alejandro did in the first race. In fact, on the way back during the first lap I did miss a turn and the guy yelled at me before I got too far off track.

I introduced myself to the guy afterwards. His name is Joe and he's from the Houston area, although he just returned home after getting his degree at UT. I don't mean to imply that I'm a formidable challenger, but the way he disposed of me makes me think he could clean up at a bunch of area races, particularly in his age group. The people who just graduated from college seem to prioritize place late nights and beer far above PRs. I certainly did.

I was really happy with my race effort. My heart rate was high, indicating that I didn't slack off, and I knocked off 30 seconds from the time I posted last time on this course. (Actually more than 30, but this course was a bit shorter so I scaled up my current time to 20:13 to be able to compare it to the 2.78M course I ran in 20:44 on April 1 earlier this year.)

4:58 out
5:00 back
5:04 out
4:51 back

so, Lap 1 = 9:58 and lap 2 = 9:55.

Great consistency considering I didn't look at my watch and I was doing everything I could do to survive. What's even more encouraging to me is that I ran a hard 10M race just 2.5 days ago and didn't have any problem running this race.

I ran this race with my Vibram Five Fingers, and they felt great. Feeling the ground with your toes makes me feel like I have a good grip, even though Gaslight swears that cross country spikes would improve my time. And speaking of Gaslight, I was treated to the opportunity to run the warm down with her.

Monday, October 13, 2008

6 Miles in the Neighborhood

6.15 Miles, 49:11, 8:00 pace, Max HR = 142, Avg HR = 133, 59% Z3, 39% Z2

I don't have a lot to say about this run, with the exception that my legs were a tad heavy based on yesterday's race. I recovered well, giving me more reason to think the flats are ok (at least for 10 miles at a time). I ate a big dinner thirty minutes before running, which is sub-optimal. But unfortunately life often gets in the way of my running. I could run as soon as I get home from work, but then I'd miss dinner and time with Julie since she goes to bed early for work.

I think the best way to catch up on my missed entries, which I feel compelled to do, is to include an extra run or two every time I create new blog entries for the next couple of days or weeks. I'll start this next time since it's already late and I'm tired.

But if you want to read something of quality and substance today, please take the opportunity to read Tim Luchinske's entry on Mental Strength.

From what I can tell, I am somewhat unique in my belief that the mental aspect of running is more important than the physical aspect in regards to performance. Given the opportunity to improve only my mental or my physical conditioning, I truly believe that more is gained by improving the mental state. Our minds are so often the constraining element -- during a race or during life in general. In my humble, unscientific opinion, this is supported by multiple observations:
1) Confidence yields success, which yields more confidence. It's a positive feedback cycle. Confidence can quantify victory even in defeat. A new lesson learned, an alternate metric, greater future resolve -- even through failure confidence uncovers success.
2) Visualization has been demonstrated to work in lieu of physical practice. This goes for your race, your commute to work, your presentation . . . just about anything.
3) Massive breakthroughs are tough to explain through physical conditioning alone. If we were to depend solely upon physical conditioning, it makes sense that improvements in personal records (and world records for that matter) would be incremental, marginal developments. Massive breakthroughs would be impossible without major advances in our mental states. How can you set a PR one week and then blow the doors off a few weeks later? I assure you it's not the extra 100 miles you ran during that time, it's your ability to further tap into your capabilities by removing mental restrictions.

There are more reasons why I believe that the mental state is our primary wall, but I'll leave you with my simplest and most childish thought experiment:

What is the absolute fastest mile you could run right now? Think about it.

Seriously.

Now, could you shave 5% off of that if your life depended on it?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

10M Lakeshore Run Race

10M, 1:04:00, Max HR = 175, Avg HR = 168, 10M Personal Record

Julie and I drove home to Baton Rouge this weekend, meaning I had to forgo the first race of the Warm-Up Series in Houston. I missed running with my fellow Tornados and the Dynegy Running club, but I did manage to find a 10M race in New Orleans so I could run "in spirit" with my buddies. If I did well I could gloat, and if I didn't I could cower in obscurity. Unlike my financial portfolio over the past week, the gloat/cower strategy had no downside.

I want to use the warm-up series to gauge my fitness level, specifically as it relates to my goal of a three hour marathon in January. I decided, somewhat scientifically, that a 65 minute ten miler would equate to 3hr marathon conditioning. You can type "race equivalent calculator" in Google to find some online tools to make this calculation. I prefer the Jack Daniels vdot method, and this site breaks down your vdot number with decimals. The more popular spot, especially for Houston Runners, is found at http://www.runbayou.com/jackd.htm. But my engineering background craves more significant digits (even if they are bogus), and Runbayou only gives a whole number vdot. The moral of this paragraph is that I wanted to keep a 6:30 pace, and I figured it was right on the cusp of my ability.

The race was a 10M or 3M race -- your option. I know what some of you are thinking -- given that choice what sane person wouldn't pick the shorter distance. Ummm . . . I have no response for that.

So I busted out with the lead pack of about 15 people. I knew I was going too fast, but it was a calculated move. Now that I'm just a tad faster than middle-of-the-pack, I'm starting to appreciate and really enjoy the strategic aspect of racing. I wanted to use this group for two reasons -- 1) to shield myself from the headwind, 2) to pull me through the first three miles since I figured it would be the only time I was running with a group. This was a smaller race, so I wanted to take advantage of the company for as long as possible. And based on the group's rabbit pace, it was obvious they were running the 3M route.

Mile 1 = 6:09, HR = 154 avg, into the wind, tied for my fastest mile

The course was structured as a 1.5M out and back, and then a 3.5M out and back along the same course. All of the "outs" were into a fierce headwind, which averaged 14.39782 MPH according to the weather station at the New Orleans Lakefront Airport a few miles away. (I threw in some significant digits for the other engineers out there.) I relinquished my position in the pack after about mile one, knowing I only had to go another .5 mile on my own before turning around the first time. I reasoned that a half mile into the wind alone would be a wise decision as compared to holding onto this group and burning out early. Let them kick it out for their 3M race and I'll laugh at them as I circle back to pick up another seven. I'll settle into my pace for the rest of the race.

Mile 2 = 6:26, HR = 164 avg, first half into the wind, second half wind-aided.

As I approached the starting point/3M finish point/turnaround point for the 10M, the rabbits got the last laugh after all. Yep, they were going the distance after all, and they were indeed kicking my butt. From the 3M mark onward, I'd end up running mostly by myself. Turning around at the 3M mark was the scariest point of the race for me, knowing I had to run 3.5M into the wind and hoping that I wouldn't fade and lose my 6:30 pace. I had visions of the White Rock Marathon when I ran into a hard wind on and off for 8+ miles around the lake. But this wind was harder, and directly into my face.

Mile 3 = 6:15, HR = 166 avg, wind-aided

During the next 3.5 miles I hit two bridges. I thought this race would be flat! I watch as my overall pace declines, but I'm on the verge of 90% of my max heart rate so I don't want to pick up the pace for fear of burning out. I'm trying like crazy to run the tangents, and I'm reeling in a guy ahead of me (runner A). As I'm about five or ten seconds behind him, I get passed by another runner (runner B). Based on my heart rate and the way I'm feeling, I'm unwilling to keep up with runner B, but it will only be about one or two minutes until I pass runner A. I'm not happy with it, but at least my place remains neutral. And maybe runner B isn't holding back for the wind-aided return like I am. But alas, Runner A doesn't like being passed by Runner B, and they hold on together and pick up the pace. Damn. This developed over a long time and distance, and now we're almost to the turnaround point. I vow to pass them both on the way back.

Mile 4 = 6:44, HR = 171 avg, into the wind

Mile 5 = 6:43, HR = 171 avg, into the wind

Mile 6 = 6:22, HR = 171 avg, into the wind, but it died down a bit for about a quarter of a mile through a residential area with trees.

Just before I reach the turnaround at the 6.5 mile mark I pick up my pace and focus on bringing it home. For the last 3.5 miles into the wind I've averaged a 6:35 pace, which dragged my overall average up to 6:26. But I'm very enthusiastic because I'm feeling strong and I know the hardest part of the race is behind me. Negative splits are almost a given on the wind-aided return, and I never eclipsed 6:30 as an overall average. I'm now thinking about how far under 65 minutes I'll get, and not whether I'll be able to hit 65 minutes.

Joy of joys, I pass runner A and B from above. I'm feeling strong like I could reel off a sub-6 mile. This is fun and I want to run a fast mile just for the heck of it. But I don't want to get cocky and make any mistakes, so I reign in the urge and continue to run just at 90% of my max heart rate for the remainder of the race. I'm by myself, although there is someone about 20 seconds ahead. I gained on him until the last mile, and his lead remained constant thereafter. He picked up his pace at that point.

Mile 7 = 6:27, HR = 170 avg, first half into the wind, second half wind-aided. My slowest mile.

Mile 8 = 6:18, HR = 171 avg, wind-aided

Mile 9 = 6:17, HR = 171 avg, wind-aided

Mile 10 = 6:09, HR = 171 avg, wind-aided, tied for my fastest mile.

Notes:
1) Fastest miles were the first and last, at 6:09
2) The pace difference between my 3.5M out and 3.5M back was 20 seconds per mile (6:35 vs. 6:15)
3) I finished in 13th overall.
4) Positive Note -- I felt as though I could have held the overall pace for another three miles to complete a half marathon.
5) Flip side of #5 -- I should have run this faster. I should have kicked out a 5:50 mile at the end and laid it on the line. But I'm not taking it too hard because it was a technically challenging race, and I'm still a very inexperienced runner. I don't know myself and I don't know how to race. Also, I felt no pain after the race and a hard mile would definitely have caused some significant discomfort for at least the next day. This is a race, but a training race. The goal is Houston and I don't need to take any chances before I get there.
6) The winner, Kevin Castille, turned in a blazing 52:37. I cheered him on at one point and he returned the favor later on. He's an elite runner, probably the finest in Louisiana, and was the first American to finish at last year's Crescent City Classic with a 30:32. He ran in the 2004 10K Olympic Trials race in Sacramento, and ran a 14:18.08 5K earlier this year. I knew Lafayette had a stellar runner, but I've never seen or met him before and didn't even know his name. But his performance today, which was probably only a workout, made it plain that this was said runner. I talked to him briefly after the race and he seemed extremely humble.
7) New Orleans is a very nepotistic running community. I think everyone knows each other. Houston is very similar, but since it's larger it has a little more diversity. Julie watched all of the top finishers cross the line, and the announcer called out everybody's name because he knew them. When he got to me he said "I don't know this guy". I thought that was pretty funny. Maybe I'll wear my name on my shirt next time.
8) Incidentally, I wore my Tornados singlet and met someone who spent some time in Houston and trained with us (before I joined.)
9) Congrats to Avi Moss who turned in a strong race. I've been running with Avi ever since I met him on New Years day in Baton Rouge. He's a member of the Bayou City Roadrunners, and is temporarily located in Baton Rouge for work.
10) This is 5:30 faster than my 10M PR in Chalmette last year. Do you think it's possible for me to break 60 minutes next year?

-----

Racing Flats
Thanks to Jenny Peters from Varsity Sports in Baton Rouge for her patience fitting me with racing flats. I want to run the marathon in some light shoes, and I figured the 10 miler would be a good proving ground for longer races. The Nike Lunar Racers planted a seed in my mind that I don't necessarily need to wear ten pound cotton blocks around each foot. The Lunar racers are a light weight marathon distance shoe, so I decided to investigate a lighter racer.

As it turns out, I already might not be in the right shoe. I've been through thousands of miles since I started running last year, but every shoe salesman I've ever had must have been fitting me in the same type of shoe I already had, without ever taking time to investigate my foot. I've been in a stability shoe, which has a reinforced sole that prevents the shoe from torquing as it lands. I guess it's for people who overpronate. I don't know if that's right so don't quote me. I just know Jenny was confused with the conflicting data I was giving her (my shoe history, wear pattern, a foot examination). The reason why I was in that shoe type to begin with is that I got a deal on a pair at DSW. It's disappointing that so many people have led me astray, but I will take the blame. I'm hardheaded, and if someone was trying to steer me the other direction it's likely that I didn't pick up on the signal. Ultimately the salesmen aim to satisfy, and if I was unwilling to listen to them then I can't place the blame on the salesmen.

I told Jenny that I've never had any significant foot or leg pain. As it turns out, that's not completely true. I don't know how I could have let this slip my mind, but my feet hurt just about every morning when I wake up. It's symptomatic of plantar fasciitis, but it's not exactly that. It's more like a tired arch muscle and some localized soreness.

After trying multiple times to fit me in some lightweight trainers for the marathon, Jenny recommended the Brooks Racer T5. This was my hard-headedness at work. She wanted to put me in something with a little more substance, and I wouldn't listen. I reasoned that I could always use the flats for 5Ks if the 10M didn't feel work. So I bought the T5s and laced them up for this race with more than a little trepidation.





From the Brooks website:
"Note As this shoe is a very lightweight, minimal support racing flat, the vast majority of runners will not find it 'enough shoe' for a full marathon. If you have a light frame and a biomechanically efficient stride, however, you may be able to get away with it. We suggest you work up to it in several half marathon-plus races beforehand to see how it works for you before running in it for a full marathon."


Would I have to pull out of this race? Was I driving a Indy class car with Pinto class skills? Would this be too much for me? I had to chuckle when I saw Kevin Castille at the starting line with the same shoes. What had I done?

You already know the results of the race. I honestly can't say how much credit to give to the shoe. I didn't finish in Kevin's shadow, so apparently shoes don't run themselves. But it's got to help when you wear shoes that 6.2 ounces vs. 12.7 ounces for the Brooks Trance 7 that I would have worn otherwise.

But the weight, the look, the reason . . . none of that matters if I had foot pain during, immediately after the race, or the next morning after the race. And the verdict: Other than a blister on the right toe next to the pinky, these shoes felt better than my normal training shoes. They are designed for a neutral strike with minimal to no pronation. I think that's me. The Trance 7 and Asics 2120s are stability are for pronaters (I think) and I don't think that is me. So maybe I'm in the wrong shoe.

I think I'm going to run one more distance race in these (25K hopefully) and see how they treat me. But right now I'm thinking the marathon is a strong possibility. But I'll use thicker socks that cost more than $6 for a dozen pair so I won't blister.

I know this was a tough read due to the length, so thanks for sticking around. I promise to catch up my blog over the next few days since I finally have internet access at home, no thanks to Comcast.

Incidentally, if you have any feedback regarding anything in this post, please don't be too shy to comment. I can use your advice on racing, the wind, the shoes, the flats . . . whatever. Thanks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Quick Update

Frankly I'm shocked, but apparently there is a small minority of people who read this blog and are curious why I haven't posted anything in a while.

Hurricane Ike didn't cause any trouble for me with the exception that I'm without Internet access. I usually blog from home, but I've been known to post an item or two from work. But, horror of horrors, work has been too busy for me to post.

Couple that with the fact that the further behind I get, the more intense the effort becomes to "catch up".

I'll make my running update quick for now, and try to fill in the blanks at some other time:

* I went to Portland (along with Julie) and had a blast. It was a running, biking and hiking vacation for me, which was nice. I came back to Houston wondering what Ike did to my home, and I walked into an untouched house with power. As I mentioned, the only inconvenience I had (and continue to have) was no Internet.

* My company had people work from home for a week while downtown was cleared of debris. Having no Internet essentially transformed my week into a vacation. Having this break on the heels of a running vacation in Portland made me think I was a professional runner. It gave me time to run when I wanted to run, and how much I wanted to run. During one week I logged 80 miles and wished I ran more.

* I went back to work with an overfull slate of tasks, and I've been sleeping in on mornings. In other words, the last week has been woeful for me in terms of training. I'm hoping to rectify that starting tonight with a good run.

* I promise that I'll give some more color to all of those points. But for the time being, thanks for reading and I hope you're doing well.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Week in Review

Once again I've allowed myself to get behind in blogging, and once again I'll bore you with a summary of my runs over the past week.

8/31/08 - 17.8 miles, 2:18:17, 7:46 pace. I showed up to the park for my Sunday long run with the Tornados, and I noticed that the Nike Human Race is taking place today. It's a 10K race, run in cities around the world. I'm not into the whole marketing thing, but I did get a free shirt out of it and a chance to run with my friend Cory. I took a long break after the 10K and ran almost 12 afterwards. I'm not going to lie -- it was tough and I wanted to quit a few times. Daniel joined me -- I met him about a month ago when he joined us for a Tornado long run. He's a good runner and a nice guy -- hopefully he'll continue to run with us and join the Tornados.

9/1/08 - Will's Hills Warm Up. Will's Hills Relays. Category 2 Hurricane Gustav made landfall on Labor Day, sparing New Orleans but ripping up Baton Rouge unlike any storm in history. Thankfully my family and friends are all ok, but without power. After a long hiatus I ran with Will's Hills today. Holiday runs are always festive with that group, and I've been missing running with them. It's always a challenging workout, although I entered the workout with the attitude that I would take it easy. We ran two man relays of appx 200M each, and of course I ran them too fast. I didn't want to let my partner, Phil, down, and I floored it. Pablo and I blistered the last 200 of the first set and had a nail biter finish. I ran that one at a 4:05 pace. I just looked that lap up and it surprised me -- that was in the twilight, on grass, with my Vibram Five Fingers, and it was my tenth one with 45 seconds of rest between. The shoes were a hit, by the way, but the most curious feedback I got was from a girl that told me I had a lot of confidence to wear those. I'm not sure what that means, but she said it with a smile.

9/2/08 - 8.01M Morning run, 1:03:32, 7:55 pace. Tornado PM Speed Work (400s). We usually run speed work for time instead of distance so everyone starts and stops at the same time. So my 1:30 runs (with 2MR) were run at paces of: 5:21, 5:34, 5:49, 5:33, 5:18, 5:17. It was tough to run 200s yesterday, 8M this morning below a 8 minute pace, and then 400s today in 93 degree weather. But who said speed work was supposed to be "easy"!?


9/3/08 - 5.16M Morning Heights Run, 44:03, 8:32 pace. I've been avoiding running along White Oak Bayou since I inhaled more than my fair share of swarms of white bugs. I've never been real excited about running the Heights Boulevard trail, but I've warmed up to it lately. I'm doing my best to run all of my scheduled runs this week, and this one was difficult given my soreness from the last couple of days. 5.04 After-work Run to PIM Happy Hour, 41:01, 8:07 pace. The happy hour was great -- The owners of Anita's Bar and Grille are PIMsters, and I enjoyed talking to them. The downer of this run was that my left knee acted up as a result of too much speed work over the past couple of days.

9/4/08 - I rested my knee and my body, and Julie and I went to Discovery Green downtown to watch the Iguanas. They're based out of New Orleans, and the show had a strong Tejano influence. It was a good time, particularly since the weather has recently changed to a (dare I say it?) Autumn-esque feeling. Since I didn't run today I had to run my threshold on Friday morning -- alone. I slept uneasily on this day, wondering how my knee and my psyche will hold up.

9/5/08 - 9.23 as 3M Warm Up, 3M Threshold, 3M Warm Down, 1:18:15. 6:39, 6:53, 6:48. These are about 20 seconds slower than I should run, and 30 seconds slower than I want to run. But I'm giving myself a break since I've beat myself into the ground this week and I have 18M to run tomorrow.

9/6/08 - 18.08M, 2:28:53, 8:13 pace, Max HR = 149, Avg HR = 133, 36% Zone 3, 64% Z2, 78 degrees, 59% humidity. I was happy with this run, despite the fact that I started to experience some cardiac drift at about mile 13. Prior to that my heart rate was at about 128 the whole run. After mile 13 my heart rate rose even though my pace was flat to slightly faster. I suspect it was a combination of fatigue, the rising temperature, and dehydration. Running 18M by myself at a respectable pace was a confidence builder.

Summary:
Last Week = 73.44M, 10:02:45, 8:12 pace
August = 249.73M, 33:12:55, 7:59 pace, avg 8.06M per day (64 minutes 19 seconds per day)

The Houston Marathon is 19 weeks away, and I'm happy with my training to date, but it's time to get busy. I've been hitting the core exercises after almost run. 20 push ups were difficult at first but now I can do three sets of 25 without much of a struggle. After a six month break from core, I'm pretty weak in the upper body but hopefully I'll show some rapid improvement.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bad Start for the Weekend

8.09 miles, 1:03:39, 7:52 pace, no HR info

I'm supposed to be in Baton Rouge right now, enjoying the post-game tailgate. But Hurricane Gustav altered my plans. The idea was to drive back for the game on Saturday morning after my long run, and to drive back on Monday or Tuesday. But the game was moved up from 4PM to 10AM, making a Saturday morning drive all but impossible. Plus, interstate contra-flow is scheduled for Sunday so there is no guarantee I'd be able to drive back home if I did manage to get to Baton Rouge.

So this opened up the opportunity to join Stephanie's group for their 20M long run. Unfortunately I pulled my normal bone-headed move and forgot to turn on my alarm clock after setting it for 4:15AM. So it was another long run alone for me.

I planned on running for two hours, but I gave up and walked home about 3 miles after I hit the eight mile mark. I'm not sure what's wrong with me. Maybe I still haven't recovered completely from Hood to Coast, maybe I'm just TIRED, maybe my diet is out of whack, or maybe I'm just lazy. But I haven't been able to get going lately and I've been giving into my thoughts to sleep in, and cut my runs short. This is not a good sign. I'm resolving to make September a good month, and to get back onto my regular schedule of running. No complaints, no excuses. Oh, and I better start back on my core exercises in September.

Congratulations to the Fighting Tigers of LSU who handily disposed of the DI-AA champions, Appalachian State, by a score of 41-13. It's hard to read too much into these types of games, so I won't try to extrapolate this result and make any predictions for the season. However, I DO feel like it's going to be a long fall for my Ponies of SMU, as they were blown out by Rice on Friday night. Maybe June Jones is the answer, but getting thrashed by Rice certainly raises a lot of questions.

Jeers to Mississippi State for embarrassing the SEC by losing to Louisiana Tech. There is a reason why we (LSU) scheduled Miss St. for our homecoming.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Neglecting Life

4.06 miles, 32:59, 8:07 pace, Max HR = 147, Avg HR = 136

Things that I've been neglecting due to running (in no particular order, except for the last is the most important):
1) Cutting my grass
2) Cleaning up my mess around the house
3) Sleep
4) Blogging about the wonderful time I had when Melanie and Adora (my beautiful Godchild/Niece) visited.
5) Blogging about the fantastic experience and great team I had during the Hood to Coast relay
6) Replying back to some old friends that recently caught up with me
7) Getting mentally prepared for another college football season
8) Changing the light in my bathroom
9) Tending the foliage around the house
10) Reading
11) My wife

In a few days I will follow Julie to Portland for a conference. Hopefully I can find some inner peace by taking care of some things on this list during my down time.

-----
Today's run was difficult, coming off of a longish prior night run. My heart rate was a bit elevated due to general physical fatigue and being sleep deprived. The sleep is going to continue to go on the back burner. I'll be up late tonight and up at 3:45 to run on Saturday morning so I can drive to Baton Rouge for the LSU game. Maybe I can catch some winks during the car ride.

Revolutionary Vibram Five Fingers Ad

This is an old Saturday Night Live skit. It's from season 31 -- 2005 to 2006. I think it was before Vibram started making Five Fingers.

video

I found the video on this guy's blog

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eine Kleine Nachtlaufen

8.55 miles, 1:11:36, 8:22 pace, no HR info

The only thing I want to say about this run is that I'm glad it's over and I'm tired of running long distances by myself in the dark.

I think the title of this blog entry translates to "Another Night Run", although I don't know German. I stole the idea from Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

Backlog

I've been busy and I failed to blog most of my runs for the past few weeks. My sister and niece visited for a week, I went to Portland and things have been getting exciting at work -- all of which cut into the leisure time that I use to blog. So this will be a boring post that serves only to satisfy my compulsion to put all of my runs on "paper". Feel free to skip over it, dear reader(s), but you might want to check out the link to my flights to and from Portland. I turned my Garmin on during the flight and uploaded it to motionbased.

8/12/08 - 7.59 miles, WU, 6x800 with 2 minutes rest, WD, Max HR = 179
2:57, 2:56, 2:59, 2:56, 3:11 (ouch), 2:56

8/13/08 - 11.60 miles, 1:37:58, 8:26 pace, Max HR = 147, Avg HR = 135
Twisted my ankle but ran through it. Ran without water until about mile 8 or 9.

8/15/08 - 9.10 miles, 1:14:59, Max HR = 163, Avg HR = 138Neighborhood Run.

8/16/08 - 15.34 Miles, 2:00:07, 7:49 pace, Max HR = 157, Avg HR = 131, 1025 feet of elevation
I mowed down the Conroe Hills with Sim and kept the heart rate at bay.

8/17/08 - 12.04 miles, 1:27:05, 7:13 pace, Max HR = 162, Avg HR = 141.
Tornado Long Run. Pedal to the medal.

8/18/08 - 4.01 miles, 34:37, 8:37 pace, No HR info
Tapering for Hood to Coast.

8/19/08 - 4.03 miles, 34:41, 8:36 pace, no HR info
Tapering for Hood to Coast

8/20/08 - rest
8/21/08 - rest (Plane Trip to Portland)

8/22/08 and 8/23/08 -- Hood to Coast -- I blogged about these runs.

8/24/08 and 8/25/08 -- Recovery and Rest and trip back to Houston.

8/26/08 - AM 10.64 Miles, 1:25:48, 8:03 pace, No HR info
Finally running again. I got up early in the morning to run and took this easy.
8/26/08 - PM 4.02 miles, 32:32, 8:05 pace, no HR info
Took a run after wring my blog entry about Cody after his visitation. It seemed like the right thing to do.

8/27/08 - Vibram 5 Finger Run that I already blogged about.

8/28/08 - I slept through my morning run, and now it's 8:34PM and I'm stuffed to the gills from a big Italian dinner and I'm watching college football on television. Will I make it out today? Given the fact that I've been lazy lately, and the fact that my weekend is going to be very busy, I'm going to try to run even if it ends up being very late before I start.