Thursday, January 31, 2008

Strollin' In Tha Hood

5.02 miles, 37:06, 7:23 pace, no HR info, Avg Cadence = 180

I came across two cool things today during my run. 1) There is a 24 hour Mexican restaurant about a half mile from my house. 2) My footpod can record cadence while the GPS mode is active. I'm not sure which makes me happier.

Everyone needs a late night diner close to their house. I ran by it twice and it smelled REALLY good, and that's coming from a person who is only marginally interested in Mexican food. I really like my neighborhood. It has an eclectic mix of people and stores, and I find something new just about any time I go out. Now if I could only find some furniture for the house.

As for the footpod, I read something today that told me the footpod would record and display your cadence while in GPS mode. I was under the impression that the footpod would only work when the GPS was turned off, like when you run on a treadmill. Now the geek in me has yet another metric to measure. Since the foot pod is worn on only one foot, the average was really 90 which I doubled to get to steps per minute. It's hard to believe that you can take three steps in one second, but it's not really that hard. I think I'll display real-time cadence on my watch from now on in at attempt to stem off the natural inclination to reduce my cadence as I fatigue. For example, my half mile splits have average cadences of: 91, 92, 92, 91, 90, 90, 89, 89, 90, 87.

4:01, 3:44, 3:35, 3:32, 3:41, 3:43, 3:45, 3:49, 3:44, 3:24

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So this is Speed Work

1 mile warm up, 4.02 miles threshold, 26:48, 6:40 pace, Max HR = 179, Avg HR = 170, 1 mile warm down

I entered some specs at the runner's world website to generate a training plan for the next nine weeks prior to the Crescent City Classic 10K. I used my PR 5k (19:18), and chose the "Very Hard" option. Today's run was a 4 mile threshold run at 6:42. I didn't know if I could do this since it's been so long since I had any speed work, and I KNOW I'm not in the kind of shape necessary to run another 19:18 5K. Regardless, I pushed forward and suprised myself. After a crappy 12 hour work day and even crapier food and hydration, I dragged myself out to Memorial Park and completed the threshold just below the target pace.

My shoe came untied one mile into the run, and I had to fight against the desire to quit. The shoe, the cramp, the fact that I'm out of shape and should be running slower and shorter, the long day at work, only seeing my wife for 10 minutes today . . . everthing was telling me to stop and go home. At the risk of scaring off any potential future runners, continuing to run even though you have a thousand reasons to quit is a constant challenge for elites as well as beginners (and me, somewhere between beginning and elite). But fighting through adversity builds character -- whatever form your adversity takes. This is one of the reasons why running makes me a better person.

6:28, 6:54, 6:44, 6:38

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Runnus Interruptus

2.31 miles, 17:09, 7:25 pace, Avg HR = 156

The good news: I felt great and I could have run my planned five miles without breaking a sweat.
The bad news: The PPM caught up with me like in a previous run, and I had to cut my run in half. Getting back home was tough, but thanks to the Garmin 305 watch's mapping capability I was able to take the most direct route back home.

I suppose it's all for the best, since I'll be doing my first post-marathon speed work tomorrow and it wouldn't hurt to take an easy day.

As a bit of an explanation for my long blogging absence, I should say that I've been in the middle of a move to my new house. I've also been pretty busy at work and I didn't have time to blog at work. But I finally got Internet service at my new house today, so I should be blogging more. It's an exciting time for me because I'm shifting gears from training for a marathon to training for my goal race -- the Crescent City Classic 10K. I'd love to break 40 minutes at that one, but I have a lot of work ahead of me. It's less than nine weeks away.

health check from 1/27/08:
151#, 11% body fat (up on both counts since I went on a bit on an eating binge over the past few weeks after the marathon.) 145# and 10% seems to be my best weight.

half mile splits:
3:45, 3:39, 3:39, 3:41, 2:22 (.31 miles, 7:38 pace)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Long Layoff

As a few of you have pointed out, I haven't been blogging lately. As it turns out, I haven't really been running much lately either . . . at least not since the Houston Marathon.

The Houston Marathon was both disappointing and fulfilling at the same time. I suspected early on (mile 15 or 16) that this wouldn't be my day to qualify for Boston, but I kept on pace through about 20 or 21 miles before trotting down Allen Parkway to a 3:14:00 finish. I'm proud of my time and my training effort over these past several months. But the reality is that I wasn't capable of running two fast marathons only six weeks apart, with only ten months of running under my belt. I didn't have enough time to recouperate after the Dallas Marathon, and the break I did take only served to lessen my physical conditioning prior to the Houston Marathon. But I enjoyed the race. I supposed I'll try to write a post-race blog within the next few days and elaborate, but I really enjoyed it even though I missed my goal time by a wide margin.

So after stumbling through the finishing gate on January 13 I decided to take two weeks off from any kind of running or cross training. I felt beat up, slightly injured, and I wanted to pamper myself for a while. I think I needed a mental break from running as much as I needed the physical break.

One week into my "exile" from running I broke down and ran a bit with Julie. I wasn't really excited about running, but I figured I needed to get back to it because I wanted to run the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras Mambo 10k on 1/26/08. If I posted a sub 45 minute time I could qualify for a chip for the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans, and qualifying races are in short supply. A chip is the only way you can win a poster for a top 500 finish, and my goal after finishing the Classic last year was to get a poster this year.

So I set out for a run with Julie on January 20. A familiar pain cropped up less than a mile into the run. I had a strange upper leg pain though the entire second half of the marathon which caused me to have difficulty pulling my right leg forward and taking a full stride. The upper leg irritation resurfaced on my run with Julie, and I limped to the finish with a 8:39 pace over 4.03 miles (34:55).

I didn't run again until the Mardi Gras Mambo 10K in an attempt to let it heal. I'll try to post a race report for the marathon and the 10K within the next couple of days.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Treadmill Easy Run

Treadmill: 5.13 miles, 45:00, 8:46 pace, Max HR = 141, Avg HR = 135

I ran this on the treadmill at a very easy pace while watching Kansas play Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. As an LSU fan, I’m pulling for our competition – Virginia Tech. But as an entrant into a football bowl pool, a Kansas victory puts me in a position to win a small piece of change. In another pool it boils down to the LSU vs. Ohio State game, and an LSU victory puts me in the money. As bad as it sounds, I’m considering placing a bet on Ohio State to hedge my pool and win money regardless of the outcome.

I haven't talked about my Tigers in quite some time, but I'm very proud of them. A long, difficult season culminated in an invitation to the BCS championship game to play for their third national championship. I went to the last championship we won in football and baseball. Regrettably I wasn't interested in track until very recently, and missed my chance to see any of the prior 30 national championships won by the indoor and outdoor, men's and women's teams. During the time I was in school, LSU was in the process of winning 11 straight women's outdoor championships, and in 1988 and 1989 LSU swept the men's and women's outdoor championships. This information can be verified at But, the glory days are not yet over, as the women's team is ranked a preseason #1 (the men are #5). The closest they compete is in Austin. I might have to make a road trip. I did watch Julie's cousin in a cross country meet in late September. It was inspiring.

My Garmin foot pod came in today, and I was excited about using it on the treadmill today in order to record mileage and pace without having access to GPS satellites. But for whatever reason, the treadmill read an 8:46 pace (which I used above since it felt like an 8:46 pace run) while the watch read a 9:56. You’re supposed to calibrate the foot pod for the most accuracy, but it should be better than this right out of the box. I guess I’ll calibrate it tomorrow around a track since I have the day off.

As I am finished up this post I'm watching on as Kansas sealed a victory over VaTech in the Orange Bowl. As long as Tulsa and Ohio State don't both win, I'll win first place in a pool with 127 people in it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Last Hard Workout before Houston

1.00 Mile warm up, 8:21, Max HR = 142, Avg HR = 133
1.00 Mile Speed, 6:06, Max HR = 169, Avg HR = 162, 1:06 rest
1.00 Mile Speed, 6:18, Max HR = 175, Avg HR = 168, 4:47 rest
.50 Mile Speed, 3:04, Max HR = 168, Avg HR = 155, 1:20 rest
.50 Mile Speed, 3:07, Max HR = 171, Avg HR = 162, 3:58 rest
.50 Mile Speed, 3:06, Max HR = 168, Avg HR = 155, 1:37 rest
.50 Mile Speed, 2:58, Max HR = 172, Avg HR = 164

goal: 2 x mile w/ 1mr @ 6:05 - 6:11, 4 X 800M w/ 1mr @ 3:02 - 3:06, 5mr b/t sets

I hit most of my times today. My second mile was a bit slow, and my rest breaks were a bit long. I always do better when I run my speed work with a group, but I ran alone today in the darkness of Rice.

The keys to this run is that 1) it's the last hard run that I have before the marathon and 2) no pain whatsoever. Now, I confess that I wanted to quit almost every step of the way, but that's pretty common for me when I'm running that hard. Like I said, it's so much easier when you're with a group who constantly pushes you.

Taper time! Unlike the taper before Dallas, I'm looking forward to the rest yet I remain highly motivated. Before Dallas I had to force myself off of the couch for a two mile run. I didn't WANT to run at all -- a marathon or a training run. The subtle difference now is that I'm really anxious to get my training runs in and I'm excited about Houston, but I appreciate the lack of intensity and opportunity to rest.

Side note -- my last half mile was the fastest for two reasons. 1) b/c my last interval is usually the fastest since my workout is over and 2) b/c I ran it on concrete/pavement on the way back home as opposed to the crushed granite for the rest of my intervals.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Resolution Run with Baton Rouge Club South Runners

5.97 miles, 48:55, 8:11 pace, HR Info skewed.

I'm driving back to Houston today to go to work tomorrow, but I had a chance to join the Baton Rouge Club South Runners for their annual New Year's Resolution Run today. It was good to meet Sarah? and Avi during the run. Sarah ran the mile for LSU until she graduated a few years ago, and Avi recognized my Kenyan Way shirt as he just moved from Houston to Baton Rouge. I think perhaps he moved to BR less than a week ago. Avi was a member of the Bayou City Road Runners in Houston, and gave me some good information about that group. They have a slew of 3:00 - 3:15 marathon runners in that group, which will be good for me when Kenyan Way ends next week. Avi himself has broken the three hour barrier. I'll probably join them for at least a run or two, and perhaps as a full member.

A good blogger would put a bit more thought into what I'm about to do, but I'm just going to wing it, without regard to reality:

New Year Running Resolutions/Goals:
1) Qualify for Boston at the 2008 Houston Marathon
2) Break 19:00 in a 5k
3) Win a poster at the Crescent City Classic
4) Break 40:00 in a 10k
5) Break 3:00 in a December marathon
6) Run 100 miles in one week
7) Introduce weight training to my regimen
8) Run more trail runs and consider entering Sunmart 50k race
9) Investigate an Ironman

What are your resolutions/goals?