Wednesday, April 30, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 9

2.90 Miles, Continuous Run with one water break in the middle, 33:34, 11:37 pace

Today we were scheduled for a 2.5 mile Indian Run. That's running in a single file line, and having the person in the back run to the front and say something about themselves as they're passing everyone. But our Batons have a wide variety of paces, so an Indian Run didn't seem feasible since the entire group has to run at about the same pace.

We opted for a trip around the park instead. For most of the Batons this was their first time to circumnavigate Memorial Park! The 5K goal race is this weekend, so this was a tremendous confidence builder.

On a personal note, I went to Will's Hills this morning, and my right Achilles still hasn't gotten any better. With the impending marathon, I've decided to take a solid week of rest in order to take the opportunity to heal. This will negatively affect my fitness level, but the possible side-effect of running through this pain is a long term injury. I can handle the pain, but I don't want to even think about sitting out 3-6 months because I was too dumb to take a break and heal.

TDLY (This Day Last Year)- 3.39 miles, 29:35, 8:43 pace, Max HR = 174, Avg HR = 155. The bottom dropped out of the sky shortly into this run, and my MP3 player got so wet it quit working. I decided to take the opportunity to run inside of the Hermann Park golf course since nobody was golfing in the rain.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tour de Bayou 5 - Multiple Memorial Park Trails

Just less than 4 miles, 30:26?, no watch = no measurements

Today was the fifth and final session of the 2008 Spring Tour de Bayou. I had a strong showing, perhaps my best today, and finished eighth overall. I'll have to wait a few days to see my overall ranking, but I'm pretty sure it placed me as #3 in the open men's division. But at least a couple of the men in the masters division are faster than me, so I'm probably sixth overall without age grading or age divisions. My finishing positions over the past five races have been: 10, 9, 9, 9, 8.

Despite my long run yesterday and soreness that never seemed to pass from my Saturday 5K, I felt good when toeing the line this evening. I followed Jeff Eisele for the entire race today. He is faster than me, so I usually try to hang onto him as long as I can and then watch him pull away. He was a bit fatigued today, so that worked to my advantage. I passed him with about 800M to go, but I knew it wouldn't last. Maybe I could have pushed harder to maintain my lead, but my top end speed would not have been sufficient to put him away. He passed me back with about 100M to go.

The course was challenging, with plenty of exposed roots, dead logs, low-hanging branches, fallen trees, some significant ditches and very tight curves with narrow passings. I think it was my favorite course of the bunch, and I managed to escape without any ankle tweaks or othe injuries.

Post-Race core exercises -- I pumped the keg of Blue Moon for a few others and myself.

TDLY (This day last year) - Rest

Monday, April 28, 2008

Long Run in Baton Rouge

18.19 miles, 2:31:36, 8:19 pace, Max HR = 138, Avg HR = 129, 92% Zone 2, 7% Zone 3

1) Forgot to set auto lap, so I had one 18.19 mile lap and no splits.
2) 56 degrees! and 85% humidity
3) Ran for about two to three miles into a stiff wind along the Mississippi River Levee. Although the Mississippi is off it's maximum height this year, it's still higher than I've ever seen it.
4) I took this really slow because I'm still a bit sore from my 5K race on Saturday and I was one a one man mission to eat and drink my body weight over the past two days and two festivals.

I'm ready for the Ogden Marathon. I hope and expect Cory is as well, although he's been struggling with some health issues and had to walk the last portion of the Striders 30K that he ran this weekend along a similar course as the Ogden Marathon.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Three Miles, Two Dogs, One Race

3.03 miles, 25:30, 8:25 pace, Max HR = 143, Avg HR = 130

The course was set . . . a half-mile out and back for a mile round trip. The three competitors were:

Sammy Joe -- First up to bat. Male, mixed-breed dog. Known for his quick bursts of energy and affinity to chase squirrels. Entered the race as the favorite with youth on his side.

Samantha -- Second runner. Female, mixed-breed primarily Black Lab. Known for her massive body size and protective nature. Expected to use maturity to her benefit during this race.

Jonathan -- Last runner. Male, human. Known for his fierce competitiveness. Expected to face significant difficulties during this race related to only having two legs. Has a slight advantage because he was the only competitor that studied the course map beforehand.

The Race:
Sammy Joe -- 9:23 (1.03 miles, 9:06 pace). Nearly overcome by an overwhelming desire to sniff, but felt strong over the course and refused to break away from a walk into a trot.
Samantha -- 8:53 (0.97 miles, 9:09 pace). Used her maturity as her strength, and ran the tangents on the course. No attempts at a bathroom break or interest in squirrels.
Jonathan -- 7:15 (1.00 miles). Didn't elicit the crowd response of the other two runners as the passer-by dogs, cheering from their respective yards, didn't seem to be interested in his smell.

The Results:
Jonathan -- Disqualified because he passed up the finish line in an compulsive attempt to run exactly one mile.
Samantha -- First Place. She might have been breathing the hardest of all the competitors and her leash almost slipped off of her head from being tugged. But the numbers don't lie. Her time was the fastest even if her pace was not.
Sammy Joe -- Still wondering why he went out for a walk and never got to poop.

Jonathan, upset that he was DQ'ed, registered a protest because the race shirt had room for four legs, and he clearly indicated "human" on his entry form. He further protested the race by skipping the post-race party and heading directly to Jazz Fest in New Orleans.
The dogs were glad to participate in the competition, and considered themselves both winners because any day on the outside is a good day.

(5/11/08 EDIT -- OOPS, just found out Sammy Joe is a female. From my vantage point of tugging her the whole way, it wasn't immdiately obvious.)

TDLY - rest

Saturday, April 26, 2008

2008 Festival International 5K

5K, 18:32.4, 5:59 pace, Max HR = 182, Avg HR = 168, 43% Zone 5, 50% Zone 4
Official Results at

I set a new PR (Personal Record) for a 5K today. My time of 18:32.4 means I ran a sub-6 minute average pace. That was my next barrier to break, but I had no idea that I'd be ready for this so quickly on the heels of my recent PR at the Trinity Lutheran Step by Step 5k.

My new PR wasn't planned or expected, and I entered this race without a goal except to have fun. I figured a good time was off the table due to the 93% humidity, 70 degree temperature and the winding race course.

But I followed my Step-by-Step 5K strategy of surging to the front and hanging on with the leaders, just to enjoy being in the race for as long I could. After everything was sorted out after a quarter mile, I found myself in sixth place.

Running against other runners as opposed to against the clock takes my focus away from monitoring my pace, and I cruised through the first mile in about 5:45 (not sure if the mile markers were accurate). I could hear footsteps for a good portion of the the last part of first mile, so I pushed extra hard not to give up my sixth position and the footsteps faded as I approached the first mile marker.

My cumulative time for the second mile was 12:00, meaning I slowed down to about 6:15 on this one. I didn't know I was slowing down, but I was holding steady in sixth place and started to think I could improve my position in the last mile since I wanted to push hard for the last third of the race.

Last year when I ran this race with Kevin, I caught up with him at about the second mile marker, and we ran the rest together. He pushed me to achieve what I still consider to be my best race, where I managed to run 2/3 of the race in zone 5 and set my all-time highest heart rate of 191.

Entering the last mile I wanted to give a similar effort to last year, so I picked up the pace and ran a 5:55 pace over the last 1.1. Early in the last mile I moved into fifth place and I thought that was the best I could do for the day. But ever so slowly over that last mile I noticed my gap behind the fourth place runner was decreasing. During the final quarter mile I realized he was within striking distance. I pushed to pass him and pushed even harder when I did pass him. With only 100 yards left, I didn't want to relinquish my new fourth place position. I finished really strong and ended up putting nine seconds on my competitor.

My fourth place overall finish was good enough for first place in my age group (30-39), and I won a metal as a result. But my biggest accomplishment was putting a 25 second beat-down on my time from two weeks ago, and showing the heart to run faster than I though was possible for me. My improvement over last year was 4:32.4.

Kudos to Julie, Dorothy and Kevin who ran as well. Kevin set a new PR of 22:37.2, an improvement of 27.2 seconds over last year. Congratulations to management of the race, the Cajun Road Runners Club, who hosted a great event which started on time, tabulated accurate results quickly, had a great post-race party, and posted the results to the web well before the weekend was over. I think I'm of the opinion that chip timing is subject to more errors than benefits for races this size (322 people).

I'll spend the rest of the weekend at the LafayetteFestival International and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, eating and drinking too much.

TDLY - (4/25/07) - PIM Warm Up, PIM Ladders 400,800,1200,800,400, Max HR = 183
(4/26/07 = rest)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

5k Thresold Run

3.11 Miles, 20:04, 6:27 pace, Max HR = 173, Avg HR = 153, 3% Zone 5, 51% Zone 4, 37% Zone 3, 1 mile warm down, 7:35 pace

Originally I was going to run a quick pace over an hour, but after a mile I decided I was pressed for time (needed to go to company happy hour) and I decided to do a 5k instead with a warm down. I finally found my heart rate monitor strap so I used it for the first time in a while. Tough run, but not too bad.

mile splits:
6:31, 6:35, 6:21, 0:34 for .11 miles (5:09 pace)

Most of the running blogs I read are better/more entertaining than mine, and many of them don't talk as much as I do about running. They're funny or interesting or at least engaging, which I admit I fail to do with most of my posts. But the other blogs tend to offer a little insight into the person off of the track. So today I'll bore you with something other than a running diatribe.

The Harvard Business Review sent me my final issue today. I've been a subscriber for a few years, and I initially devoured the magazines but that has subsided over the past year or so. I might read an issue cover-to-cover here or there, but usually I don't get past unwrapping the plastic cover.

This wouldn't be an issue except for the fact that it's not cheap. So why do I continue to get it? The hope that I'll spontaneously reengage? The "elitist" factor of subscribing? Not wanting to end my continuous streak of subscription? (I'm funny like that.) I don't know.

What I do know is that I decided to let it expire because it seems to be a waste of my money since I don't read it. But I did thumb through it this month, and found a slew of great articles.

1) "Leadership's Online Labs" about companies that experiment in online spaces like Second Life. I don't "do" those worlds (mine is already almost too much to handle), but I really dig the economic and sociological laboratory that these other "worlds" provide. It's a great place to perform economic analysis.
2) "The Science of Thinking Smarter" about an expert in neuroscience who believe he knows ways to improve productivity. I've been fascinated with the physical structure of the brain and the way it works ever since my Neural Networking class in the undergrad days. If I could find a way to get paid designing neural networks that mimic the brain then I'd jump on it.
3) "When Winning is Everything" about irrational thought processes (and the resulting decisions) that occur in intense competition. I'm going to make a mental note to refer this article to a friend who's company is currently involved in a highly competitive situation involving M&A.
4) "Even the Poorest Can Be a Thriving Market" about governments, corporations and NGOs that provide capital for business via micro-loans and assistance in order to build market share and make money. Like most Americans, I'm enamored with socially conscious businesses but I secretly wonder if the models are sustainable since it might just be "in" right now.

So, time to wake up again. Hope you enjoyed your nap!

TDLY - Rest

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 8


Running ten straight minutes with a one minute break, followed by running another ten minutes is an impressive task for those who have only recently started running. But even more impressive is that I could tell our group could have skipped the walk break and run twenty straight minutes. At 2x(10R/1W), I think the only barrier to continuous running is psychological.

Good Job Batons!

Will's Hills 13 - 2x12 minutes of hills with 2 minutes rest

4.09 miles including warm up, 2x3 laps of hills which ran about 12 minutes per set, about two minutes between sets.

I joined Cory and the rest of the group for core exercises afterwards.

Laps (each one was about .5 miles)
4:29 (following leader to make sure I know the course)
reverse direction
4:18 (tired)
4:20 (tired)
3:58 (thank goodness this is over)

TDLY - rest

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tour de Bayou 4 - Ho Chi Minh Trails

3.27 miles, 26:21, 8:03 pace, no HR info, 9th overall

I had a fairly good race today, although things could have gone better. I finished in ninth place overall, which is right in the neighborhood of where I finished for the other three prior legs.

This was my first experience with the Ho Chi Minh Trails, although I've run the Cambodia trail with Coach Audrey from PIM before. What can I say . . . these trails are tough. The elevation change, sharp turns, logs, roots and low-lying branches come together for a very challenging race course. I seriously fought the urge to walk, especially when I got that sick-to-my-stomach feeling that happens when I exert myself for an extended time.

I certainly didn't help myself with my pre-race preparation tactics. I failed to hydrate properly and ate foolishly, I didn't focus my mental capacities on this race, and I showed up with no time to warm up since I couldn't get out of work early enough. It might sound strange, but the mental and dietary preparation during the 24 hours prior to a race is almost as much of a contributing factor to my success (or lack thereof) as the weeks of hard training prior to the race.

But I still did fairly well. The big story is that I didn't have any problems with my right leg, although I did a pretty good job twisting my left ankle about half way into the course. I took a second or two to stop and check out my ankle, and then jogged tenderly for about twenty seconds to make sure I'd be ok. I want to do well at any individual race, but I don't want to sacrifice my opportunity to do well for the next several weeks by failing to quit when I get injured. I gave up a few spots by monitoring my ankle, but I think I gained them back . . . except . . .

After I stopped to nurse my ankle, I followed two girls and a guy for a mile or more. At the end I made my move and passed all three of them over the course of a quarter mile or so. As we cleared the trail I saw the finish line about fifty yards away. I thought I gathered an insurmountable lead, so I picked up the paced but didn't top it out. I was surprised when I was passed with less than five feet to go. The Cisco Kid, as he introduced himself to me after the race when I offered my congratulations, slid by me in a moment of absent-mindedness to take 8th place from me. I can guarantee that won't happen again. If someone outkicks me, it will be because they're faster than me -- not because I didn't notice them in my rear view mirror.

Overall, I had a blast. I love these trail races, and I'll try to do more after the marathon. Gas Light is a trail runner and a HARRA "trustee", so I've been leaning on her advice for each of the legs. Check out her take on the race. She's a competitor.

A note on my pace -- I wouldn't be surprised if I ran an 8:03 pace, but I'm more likely to believe that the Garmin short-changed the route as it tends to do with twisty courses (rounds off corners) and dense brush. The course was probably longer, and my pace was probably a bit quicker.

Mile splits:
7:15, 8:59 (break to check my ankle), 8:19, 1:43 for .26 miles (6:36 pace)

TDLY - Mile Warm Up, 2x1M with a 2:45 rest between @7:18 and 8:01, Max HR = 174 (26% in zone 5, 63% in zone 4), 13 minutes rest, Final 1M, (1.02M), 7:54, 7:44 pace, Max HR = 171, Avg HR = 171. Julie thought it would be a good idea to do mile repeats. I remember hating this workout, and now I can see why. I went out way too fast on the first one, and it was 80 degrees.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

White Oak Bayou with Jeff

2.14 miles, 25:48, 12:02 pace

Jeff is passing through town on his way to San Antonio for a conference, and we hit the White Oak Bayou Trail this morning after a visit to the local coffee shop. The weather was great and I enjoyed the company. We took a slight detour on the West end of the trail and passed by the baseball field, and a slight detour on the East end to pass through the wooded trail I ran on at the last Tour de Bayou.

4/20 My return to Buffalo Bayou (downtown portion), 2.05 miles, 18:08, 8:50 pace, Max HR = 173, Avg HR = 157. This route contained steps and hills, and I ran with Julie at 4:30 PM hoping to avoid the direct sun since it was 78 degrees.

4/20 11 mile Bike Ride to run errands. This was my first time to use my watch on something other than running.

4/212.08 miles White Oak Bayou Trail - 19:30, 9:22 pace, Max HR = 175, Avg HR = 153. This was my first time to run the White Oak Bayou Trail. I remember having a terrible experience . . . the hills killed me. I didn't think I'd ever come back.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

League Line Road Long Run with Cory

9.53 miles, 1:14:40, 7:50 pace, Max HR = 146, Avg HR = 133

League Line Road Elevation

I've been told that League Line Road is where Houston runners go to get their long hills. I get plenty of hill workouts with Will's Hills, but the hills are short and steep. At League Line Road the hills are longer and more gradual. Many local runners use this route for their Boston Marathon training which has some challenging rolling hills during the latter stages of the course.

Today Cory and I made the 45 minute trek out to League Line Road in preparation for the upcoming Ogden Marathon which has an overall drop of about 1100 feet. It's always a pleasure to chat with Cory, and the conversation always seems particularly fluid when it occurs during a long run. And while today's run wasn't particularly long, the shorter "long run" worked out well for both of us since we both have a bit of recovering to do. Cory has been battling knee and ankle problems, whereas my right ankle/Achilles/leg has been acting up.

I'm not really sure what my problem is, but at this stage I'm fairly certain it's not my Achilles. After our run today I could feel a slight burning sensation and sensitivity midway up my Achilles. Hopefully I can get Dr. Bob from PIM to look at it and give me some advice. For now I'm going to take it easy on Sunday and Monday so I don't miss my streak of consecutive Tour De Bayou contests.

But back to League Line Road -- it was a good experience. I had hoped for more challenging hills. Despite a relatively aggressive sub-8 minute pace, my heart rate stayed very low (52% Zone 3, 45% Zone 2) and I never felt affected by the grade. After visiting Austin last weekend and seeing some monster hills, I guess I was expecting and hoping for a bit more. Running along Teaswood was nicer than League Line Road since we didn't have to contend with any traffic. The weather was great (49 degrees average) which contributed to our healty pace. Overall I think I'm in good shape to handle the Ogden course on May 17, with the obvious unknown variable of elevation. I'll tackle that issue when I get there.

This is Cory's account of today's run.

Mile Splits:
8:39, 7:35, 7:48, 7:54, 7:58, 7:48, 7:46, 7:45, 7:45, 3:32 (.52 miles, 6:47 pace)

TDLY - Rice Loop, pi miles (3.14), 28:22, 9:09 pace, Max HR = 159, Avg HR = 150, 52% zone 4, 43% zone 3. This was actually only 3.10 miles, but the reference to pi seemd appropriate given the fact that it was run around Rice University.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Afternoon Run with Julie

2.29 miles, 19:34, 8:33 pace

I picked Julie up from work and we went for a quick run around the neighborhood. The Heights is in bloom, and it was nice to take in the sights and smells while running at a time other than pre-dawn.

Julie wore the Garmin today, so the heart rate readings are hers.

mile splits:
2:22 (.28 miles, 8:27 pace)

Complaints and Rationalizations

7.36 miles, 1:02:16, 8:27 pace, Max HR about 145, Avg HR = 192

I jumped out of bed this morning and hit the street at 4:04 AM, the earliest I've ever run before. The trail by my house is slightly wooded, and I think the animals have an unspoken agreement that they own the trail by night while we own it during the day. I got the impression that I stirred up some commotion by running this early. I saw a possuum scurry to cover, and a gigantic bullfrog hop across the path in front of me, heading toward the bayou. This bullfrog probably ate people for breakfast. It was BIG. I'm talking Calaveras County big.

Two days ago I blogged to my PIMsters about sucking it up and pushing forward when you want to stop. I think today's run was my test to see if I practice what I preach.

What transpires is a flow of consciousness in my mind:

Ugh -- it's early (but at least I'm not tired because I went to bed early last night.)
Ugh -- it's hot for this early (but it started misting so that cooled me off.)
Ugh -- the mist turned into rain (but at least there aren't a lot of puddles.)
Ugh -- it's really coming down now. I can feel the sting of the rain and I'm more than ankle deep in water in some spots (but at least the lightning is far away.)
Ugh -- I need a restroom break (so I'll use this as an excuse to pick up the pace toward home.)
Ugh -- I'm home, but I'm soaking wet (but I'm finally home and I can do the three S's. It sure is nice to take a shhhhhh. . .ower.)

mile splits:
9:00, 8:44, 8:43, 8:29, 8:19, 8:09, 8:09, 2:35 (.36 miles, 7:10 pace)

TDLY - PIM lap around Memorial Park with track session of 400s.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Negative Splits around the Neighborhood

7.3 miles, 1:00:11, 8:14 pace, Max HR = 148, Avg HR = 129, 34% Zone 3, 61% Zone 2, balance below

I've been taking a page out of Kyle's book, and many of my runs have been for time instead of distance. My goal was to run an hour this morning and let the pace fall where it may. But it's never that simple. The first mile is usually slow for me, especially early in the morning when my muscles haven't caught up to my desire to run. By the middle of the run I'm where I want to be, but my cumulative pace isn't looking too pretty on the Garmin. So I usually pick it up at the end to get my pace below where I want it to be. That results in negative splits, but never so pronounced as it was today in this graph of half mile splits:

Mile Splits:
9:20, 8:58, 8:45, 8:15, 7:57, 7:29, 7:18, 2:02 (0.3 miles, 6:46 pace)

TDLY - Rest

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 7

3x(5R/1W), 23:34, 11:36 pace

My group of Batons is dwindling somewhat, which is disappointing, but I'd rather accentuate the positive. The remaining members are progressing by leaps and bounds and I'm just about ready to push them out of the nest, figuratively speaking.

They're still doing the run/walk combination, and we are scheduled to continue various R/W combinations until April 30. But I believe most of them are ready to make the transition to running a complete mile or two non-stop RIGHT NOW! I'm not so sure they agree with me, but I can see through their doubt and I BELIEVE in their ability.

The human body is capable of so much more than we can imagine, and we are frequently limited by our subconsious. While I believe it's prudent to follow the sage advice of Dr. Bob and all of the other coaches at PIM who preach moderation, I also believe there are times when you need to lay it on the line and suck up the discomfort along the lines of Jack's recent email about "sandbagging". By extending yourself outside of your comfort zone, you will develop new boundaries of comfort.

The key is knowing the difference between discomfort (which lies in the brain) and pain (which lies in the joints, muscles and cardiovascular system). As a new runner I'm not sure I'm even qualified to tell that difference in my own body. And I'd never go so far as to tell one of my Batons if they were experiencing discomfort instead of pain. It's up to each person to arm themselves with knowledge, and make that decision themselves. Running legend, Dr. George Sheehan, put it best:
"Life is the great experiment. Each of us is an experiment of one-observer and subject-making choices, living with them, recording the effects."

So my Batons, follow this recipe: Soak in advice and knowlege, and season that with your individual experiences. Let that bake in your head, and it will rise to levels you never imagined.

On another related note, I listen to a podcast called Phedippidations. The host, Steve Runner, is a self professed "goofy, middle-of-the-pack runner" who shares his experiences and expertise about running in a very entertaining and personal way. He is truly a champion of the common runner -- that's you and me -- and nearly every episode has at least a few touching moments.

I've listened to all 150+ episodes, and I'd like to share my favorite with you. It's an inspirational tear jerker about Terry Fox, a Legend of Running. Whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself about being tired or uncomfortable while running, I think of Terry Fox. I hope you can dedicate a little more than an hour to listen to the whole show. If not, please consider listening to 29 minutes of the show that are specifically about Terry Fox.

You can find this show by going to and clicking the "Listen" button on the left side. Scroll to episode #46. You can also subscribe to the podcast through any aggregator. Email me if you need help.

parts about Terry Fox specifically:
0:00 - 2:30
4:45 - 27:15
31:45 - 36:00

There's a little Terry Fox in all of us.

This Day Last Year (TDLY) - 2.79 miles, 26:14, 9:24 pace, Max HR = 148, Avg HR = 138.

Will's Hills 12 - 4x1Mile

Warm Up, 4x1Mile with 1000 meter recover, Warm Down

Four miles at near top speed was intimidating, but I gutted it out. Kevin, Lee, one other guy (forgot his name) and I took turns leading portions of the workout. As a result I think I pushed myself much harder than I would have if I ran these alone. I'm not sure if I run faster when I'm trying to keep up with someone, or if I'm in the lead trying to keep a good pace for the rest of the crew.

Miles splits(actually measured .95 and .96 on the Garmin):
5:52, 5:52, 5:51, 5:55 (slow start but strong finish on my last mile)

Looking at those times I'd like to say I wish I had a slightly better pace. But I have to remind myself that the elevation change, uneven terrain and darkeness makes this more difficult than a street or track run. Also, I wonder if the painted mile marker is more accurate than my Garmin, meaning I might really be running sub-6 repeats.

I had no Achilles concerns, but I'm not ready to write this off yet. I think I'll talk to my friend from H-Town Runner to get her feedback since she suffered through this injury last year.

TDLY - Easy run around Hermann Park, 2.79 miles, 26:14, 9:24 Pace, Max HR = 148, Avg HR = 138

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tour de Bayou 3

3.48 miles, 23:38, 6:47 pace, Max HR = 180, Avg HR = 164, 22% Zone 5, 66% Zone 4, 9th place overall

I'm really satisfied with this performance because it's the hardest I've ever run in quite some time, including my recent 5K PR this past Saturday. My race strategy was to stay with the lead group as long as I could, and then push really hard at the end. The lead group took it easy over the first mile and then lowered the boom and left me after that.

In general I've been noticing that my average and maximum heart rates over a run have been declining as my times also decline. This is good and bad. It's good because it means my cardiovascular system has adapted and allows me to run more efficiently. It takes less heart pumping for me to go faster than before. But the fact that my max and average heart rate is declining is bad because it means that I'm not trying as hard as I have in the past. I believe heart rate is the best measure of effort. So I'm sad to say that my effort during races has decreased since my early days of running.

With that in mind, I wanted to lay it all out there on the race course today and not allow myself the luxury of coasting. I think I succeeded . . . at least by the heart rate measure. I ran the last half mile in zone 5, which is reserved for maximum intensity. During this time I passed two people. The first finished in the top two last week, but the course destroyed him today and he was walking. The second person I passed took significantly more effort. I trailed him by a long way for at least a mile, but I reeled him in and gutted it out to slide past him with less than 20 yards to go.

(I use my Festival International 5K as a benchmark of effort, because it's the hardest I ever ran as measured by heart rate. 66% of the time was in zone 5, and 31% was in zone 4.)

Back to today: The course was on White Oak Bayou, which is where I run many of my neighborhood miles. But the twist to today's route is that we were ran through wooded trails that caused you to duck under branches and hop over obstacles, interspersed with a fair dosage of hills. It was a challenging and fun course.

And the BEST part is that Julie joined me for this race. She was nervous about the course difficulty, but looked and performed like a champion.

I was worried about my right Achilles tendon since it felt a bit funny, but I didn't notice anything unusual during or after the run. Maybe yesterday's break was all I needed to ward off injury. As mundane as this sounds, I'll probably keep reporting on this for the next few days until I'm sure this is behind me.

TDLY - Two laps of Memorial Park, 6.08 miles, 54:59, 9:02 pace, Max HR = 173, Avg HR = 156.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bike Ride to Cross Train and Tour de Bayou Standings

14.73 mile bike ride, 1:13:20, 4:58 pace, Max HR = 136, Avg HR = 108, 33% in zone 2, balance below

It's not easy for me to get a good workout while riding the bike. I think I'm working hard, and my legs are burning (sometimes), but my heart rate doesn't get very high and I find myself slacking off since it's possible to coast. If you coast while you run then you will earn yourself a face full of gravel.

I took today off from running in order to give my right achilles a rest. I want to be able to run stage three of the Tour de Bayou tomorrow, and hills are stressful for the achilles. After two stages I'm in sixth place overall, prior to the age-grading adjustment that this series uses.

Person Total Diff
Mark Holland 41:12
Matt Nicol 41:15 0:03
Jorge Alvarado 41:53 0:41
Joe Schwieterman 42:17 1:05
Francisco Garza 43:36 2:24
Jonathan Bennett 44:18 3:06
Nira Flavio 45:18 4:06
Helen Grant 46:17 5:05
Mark Fraser 46:40 5:28
Greg Duvall 46:40 5:28
Phillip Hollacher 47:24 6:12
Jody Berry Rico 47:39 6:27

TDLY - Rest Day

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Relatively Fast Long Run before Mass, and Run with Julie after lunch

17.18 miles, 2:02:48, 7:08 pace, Max HR = 155, Avg HR = 143, 97% zone 3 and below, zone 4 was final push

I got up early to get this long run in before Julie, her parents and I headed to the new Catholic Cathedral for a 9:30 mass. I wanted to run for two hours regardless of pace. The weather was perfect today (63-67 during my run), which probably won't happen again until the fall. I worried about my legs a bit since I ran hard yesterday and followed that up by being cramped in a car to/from Austin. The first mile was slow, but the rest were under 7:30.
7:56, 7:29, 7:18, 7:11, 7:16,
7:24, 7:23, 7:04, 7:07, 7:01,
6:40, 6:50, 7:05, 7:01, 6:57,
6:55, 6:49, 1:06 (.16 miles, 6:52 pace)

1) I hammered the hills (up and down, in preparation for the Ogden Marathon). That's why you see some sub seven miles.)
2) I ran the Houston marathon route in reverse from my house, to the start. I still get giddy when I see that blue line painted on the street.
3) Post-run smoothie (banana, pineapple, blueberry, yogurt, orange juice). I'm getting pretty good at making these. I'm going to start adding some flax seed (high in omega-3 fatty acid) and whey protein that I bought at Central Market today. I hope it doesn't affect the taste in a negative way.

2.88 mile run with Julie, 24:47, 2.88 miles, 8:35 pace, Max HR = 142, Avg HR = 127

After lunch I joined Julie for a lap around Rice. She almost left me in her dust during the last mile, but I was determined not to lose her so I could provide her with her pace which would come from my watch as long as I kept up. It was during this time that I felt a very slight weakness in my right achilles tendon, which I'll have to monitor very closely to make sure it doesn't develop into anything serious.

Rice is the best running loop in the city from a shade perspective, and by the afternoon it turned a bit warm. Just watch out for the roots or you'll be taking a mouthful of crushed granite.

TDLY - 3.01 miles, 25:30, 8:27 pace, Max HR = 175, Avg HR = 161. I drove to Baton Rouge after work, and ran along the levee and through campus. I met Jeff for a beer afterwards. I remember pushing this pretty hard and having a tough time on the slight inclines through LSU.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trinity Lutheran Step by Step 5K

5K, 18:57 official, 6:06 pace

I achieved a new PR today at the 5000 meter distance! It came as a slight surprise because I've been running a lot of miles over the past three weeks (including lots of hills, speed work and races) and I'm running on tired legs.

4/7/08-4/11/08 32.49 (so far this week)
3/31/08-4/6/08 55.60
3/24/08-3/30/08 58.74
3/17/08-3/23/08 18.28
3/10/08-3/16/08 31.16
3/3/08-3/9/08 17.18

This is a small race without chip timing or a certified course, and I probably wouldn't have even know about it except that this is one of the races that the Dynegy Running Club supports. Knowing it would be a smaller race, I thought I could perhaps score an age group top five finish, which is something that hardly ever happens for me.

I looked at the starting line and decided I'd use this race to practice my strategy. I wanted to run with the lead pack for as long as possible, even if it meant going out too early, just to be a part of the lead. When the gun sounded, dozens of kids took off and I tried to make sure I didn't trip on any of them. I remembered my lesson from the CCC10K (where an 8ish year old boy beat me), and wanted to make sure none of those kids built up too much of a lead. Within a quarter mile the rabbit appeared to be a lady who was doing her best to distance herself from the rest of the pack. She looked strong and fit. Since I spotted the likely winner, I pushed forward to run with her for as long as I could.

I caught up to her at the half mile mark as we went up the hill of an overpass. I own hills (or at least I tell myself that) so I used those 50 yards to catch up with her. I briefly toyed with the idea of running just enough behind her that she couldn't see my shadow and wouldn't know I was on her tail. But I saw my chance to pass her on this hill and I took the lead. One sixth of the way into the race, for the first time in my life, I was in the lead of a distance race.

My pace was faster than I believed I could maintain, but I thought to myself that having the lead for a few moments was better than never having a lead at all, so I pushed through. One mile into the race, at the water stop, I was still in the lead. I started to entertain crazy thoughts that I could win this thing, although I assumed one of the stronger runners was picking their moment to blow my doors off as they passed me.

At this point I hadn't looked behind me up, so I didn't know if someone was 10 feet away or 50. Since I can't hear well, I couldn't depend on hearing footsteps to know. I looked for shadows since the sun was on my back, but that would only tell me if someone was 5 or 6 feet away. The one clue I had that I was opening a lead was that the crowd would stop cheering as I passed. I interpreted that to mean that nobody was immediately behind me.

At the turnaround point, half way into the race, I tried my best to do a quick 180 degree turn so I could size up my lead. To my surprise, I think it was about 15-20 yards at this point. At this point I thought this race was mine to win as long as I was willing to work for it. I wanted to crush the person behind me with a quick burst so they would concentrate on taking second instead of thinking they could take first.

I pushed for at least a tenth of a mile, and then again when I hit the two mile mark after being buoyed by the cheers of my fellow Dynegy runners and the people at the water stop for mile two. With one mile left to go, I was feeling good from a cardio perspective. But it was here that I felt weakness in my legs for the first time. I wasn't going to let pain hold me back.

The last mile was difficult, but exciting at the same time. Each step brought me closer to the finish, but I didn't have any idea if my bursts were working or if I was being closely followed. In my mind, to look back would either signal weakness or perhaps pompousness. Either way, it would encourage whoever was behind me. Instead I concentrated on running hard and preparing myself for a huge kick at the end if it became necessary. I had enough left in the tank that I could really impress anyone who wanted to take away my lead.

With a little less than a half mile left, I picked up the pace to about a 5:50 mile. Now I was thinking about trying to break 19 minutes as well as win. With about a quarter mile to go my breathing became extremely labored, with two breaths in for every one out (as opposed to my normal aerobic threshold of 2/2). I knew this wasn't sustainable, but I also knew it didn't need to last more than two more minutes. I stole my one and only glance back for the briefest of seconds to see if anyone would challenge me for the finish, and I didn't see anyone. I looked forward and saw that the start line was gone and I had no idea where the finish line was. The pace car was gone now, and I didn't see any race personnel to guide me. But as I got closer I noticed the final turn, and the finish was only 25 yards away.

I crossed the finish line for a new PR and a first place overall finish.

Surreal moments/thoughts:
1) Not having anyone to follow. The only thing in front of me was the pace car, and at times it was a bit too far ahead for my comfort. I had to ask at two intersections which way the turn was because the last thing I wanted to do was lose because I took a wrong turn.
2) Having people cheer for me at the water stop and along the course as the first place runner. It just felt funny that their cheers were "fresh", that nobody had passed before me.
3) Telling my wife and in-laws that I won when they asked me how I did.
4) Thanks to Lynette, Bernard and Ravi, my fellow "Dyners", for cheering me along during the course. I used your support as motivation not to let you down by fading at the end.
5) A heartfelt apology goes out to the race administrators and volunteers because I could not attend the award ceremony. I realized it was poor form not to attend. But my in-laws came into town in order to drive to Austin for the wild flowers, and I had to hit the road as soon as I finished the race.
6) As I mentioned, this was a small race (maybe 100 people?). Most of the better athletes in Houston were either taking a break from a recently taxing race schedule, running other 5Ks that day, or riding in the MS150, a bike ride from Houston to Austin aimed at raising money for multiple sclerosis. So the field wasn't exactly stacked. But I still take pride in setting my personal record at this distance and it's exciting to wonder if I'll ever be able to contest any larger races as I continue to improve.

Garmin 1/2 mile splits:
2:57 (push to catch up to the lead runner)
3:04 (settle in and try not to die too early)
3:03 (at the 1.5 mile mark is where I saw to magnitude of my lead for the first time)
2:59 (my push to gain separation from my fellow runners)
3:06 (hills on Memorial slowed me down a bit and I'm feeling my leg fatigue)
2:58 (tried to finish this thing off with a strong finish)
0:48 (for .14 miles on the Garmin, 5:42 pace, didn't have to kick as hard as I was prepared to do)

TDLY - 2.65 miles, 22:24, 8:27 pace, Max HR = 171, Avg HR = 157. From the apartment to the outer loop of Hermann Park.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Will's Hills 11 - 500s, 700s, 1200s

Warm Up, 700, 500, 1200, 700, 500, 1200, 700, 500, Max HR = 170

This was a good workout. We ran around a 1200M course along the bayou, broken into a 500M stretch and a 700M stretch. So at the end we ran five laps. I followed Kevin the whole way. He looked strong and it's easier to do speed work with another person. We averaged around a 6:00/mi pace for all legs. We probably could have gone faster, but we were running on the uneven footing of hills, dirt and potholes in the dark, so you have to be cautions. After my set I ran with Monica for her last 700 and 500. She looked strong during that stretch.

Afterwards I stayed around for core exercises and biked home since it was my 9/80 Friday off. The rest of the day was spent running errands and preparing the house for Julie's parents' visit. By the way, raking, edging (manual edger), and sweeping the driveway qualify as a great upper body workout.

TDLY - 2.92 mile PIM Run, 27:52, Max HR = 158, Avg HR = 150 followed by the 3.89 mile LP run, 34:20, 8:50 pace, Max HR = 183, Avg HR = 167, 15 laps and change

Thursday, April 10, 2008

An Hour in the 'Hood

7.28 miles, 1:00:27, 8:17 pace, Max HR = 149, Min HR = 131

No matter how many times you run the same route, you never know what might happen to make the experience unique that time.

I got out of bed and hit the road by 5:33 AM with the intent of running for an hour at no particular pace. I've been trying to run in the morning so I can spend my evenings with Julie. When I run after work, it pushes back her dinner or we don't get to eat together. Plus, I usually end up eating a lot more at dinner time, and sometimes it's difficult for me to come back down and get to sleep.

So, as I'm running I start to feel the accumulation of lots of training over the past few days and I'm TIRED and ready to call it quits. But as I listen to my iPod, I hear the story about Billy Mills and his historic 10K at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. I'm going to dedicate a post to that subject in the near future for my PIMsters, but I went from spent to exhilarated over a span of about 20 seconds while listening to a recording of his performance. I ended up completing my run and picking up the pace to boot. He transported me to a place of champions, and for one fleeting second I was able to pretend I was running for glory as he did in 1964.

(It's a pity I had no split information because I'd like to compare the before and after of my podcast moment.)

TDLY - Rest

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 6


Today a portion of our Baton group went with Coach Lisa and Coach Ian to watch and/or compete with LP Run. I ran with the Memorial Park group. And when I say "ran", that's exactly what I mean. I'm seeing a fantastic transition among our Batons . . . people who could only run small distances prior to PIM are now able to run 80% of the time for 20 minutes (4 sets of 4 Run/1 Walk). The 4:1 ratio is the most we've done to this point, and everyone looked great. In fact, I believe that almost everyone in the group could have run 20 straight minutes if called upon to do so. I saw smiles of pride and enjoyment, and it's personally very rewarding to see their measurable progress.

TDLY - Rest

Will's Hills 10 - 25 Minutes of Hills

Warm Up, 25 minutes of hills, Warm Down, Max HR = 166

Cory joined me for this workout, as he did last Wednesday and hopes to do for subsequent Wednesdays. He recounts his experience here. If I can plagiarize, errrr, quote him:

Easy run from the YWCA to warm up
25 minutes of hills over a course he laid out (5 ups and downs over xx miles)
4 x slightly downhill strides approx. 35 yards; run backwards uphill then repeat
Easy run back to YWCA to cool down
Core exercises

That pretty much wraps it up for the exercise. He tweaked his ankle. I took it pretty easy, especially for the first couple of laps since my legs are beat and my right knee bothered me a bit. It usually gets better after a bit, and it did, so I pushed the last couple of laps a bit more.

These hill workouts have really made a big difference for me as far as toughening up my mental approach to running. I'm not sure if I'm physically better than most people on hills, or if it's just in my mind because of the placebo affect of doing so many hill workouts. But I tend to pass a lot of people during races if there are any hills. I see them as a strength, and I push forward while many others stall out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tour de Bayou 2 plus Neighborhood Run

3.51 miles, 23:36, 6:43 pace, Max HR = 176, Avg HR = 164, 9th place overall

I really had a blast during this race, and it may very well be the best technically run race that I've ever had. I went out strong but conservatively, and did my best to hold my pace the entire time. My splits for out-back were almost identical.

I stayed with the lead pack for about a half mile and they slowly pulled away. I followed a girl for the next half mile before making my move to pass her. On the turnaround I reeled in another runner over the course of more than a half mile, and really pushed hard to the finish after I passed him. I finished with nothing left, and it was a gratifying feeling to leave it out there on the relatively difficult course. I finished in ninth place overall. After the race I hung out with several of the Bayou City Road Runners. I like their club . . . the people are very friendly and their Wednesday runs end up at the Valhalla Pub.

Notes on the course -- the hills were at the very beginning and the very end, which made for a difficult final quarter mile. We passed through a wooded section I didn't even know about, and about half way through the 200 yards of woods I was overcome by the smell of onions. On my return through I looked around and found the large wild onion patch. I know I said this last week, but as much as I like running and racing in general, nothing so far compares to the enjoyment I've gotten from running cross country courses.

4.25 miles, 33:42, 7:56 pace, Max HR = 149, Avg HR = 137

Last week I ran when I got back home after the Tour de Bayou because I was feeling motivated from my tenth place finish, and I also wanted it to be a high mileage week. This week I also ran after the race for the same reason. But I had another motivating factor that all runners can understand -- new shoes! Finally after more than three months running on old shoes (one pair was a year old!), I finally have new shoes. I went back to ASICS 2120, the first pair I ever purchased when I started running. I've been through three pairs of Brooks and one ASICS in twelve months and 1600 miles. So I'm averaging 400 miles per pair. My ASICS 2120 and Brooks Trance 7 were my favorites, and carried the most miles. I'll file my two pairs of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7 under the "you get what you pay for" category. They were cheaper ($100 plus 15% discount) than the Trance ($135 plus 15% discount), but the same price as the ASICS 2120 when they first came out ($95). I can't complain about the Adrenaline because they got me through the Dallas and Houston marathon, but they feel as though they wore out quicker than my other pairs. Since my ASICS are no longer manufactured, I scoured the web and bought two pairs before they are gone forever. SO . . . today's post-race run was mainly done because I wanted to try out my new ASICS (which only cost $60 each since they're last year's model). They did not disappoint.

I'm sure plenty of us have a "new shoes" story. I remember my grandfather bought me a pair of Nike shoes in 1988. I was in eighth grade and I needed a pair of athletic shoes for my gym class. This was a HUGE deal for me to have Nikes (I think they were "Air") because we weren't particularly affluent and they were really too expensive for me to own. I made it a point to try not to ask for very much, and I can't remember why I broke down and asked for these. Regardless, after owning them for less than a week, I left them in the locker room for about an hour. By the time I returned, they were gone. I spent the rest of the year using my regular boat shoes for gym because I knew I couldn't ask for another pair. The gym teacher would dock points off of your grade if you didn't have shoes/shirt/shorts/etc, but he turned a blind eye on me because he knew my family's situation. Anyway, every time I buy a pair of shoes I think about that time in my life, and I try to suppress the guilt of paying $100+ for a pair of shoes when other people are going without.

TDLY - 3.25 mile Shenandoah trail run with Julie, 31:09, 9:35 pace, Max HR = 166, Avg HR = 149. I got turned around at least once and used my watch's map guidance capability for the first time.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Will's Hills 9 - 6 minutes x 4 Hills in a Cross

Warm up, 6 min x 4 of hills with a 2 minute break, strides, warm down, max HR = 171

This was a nice workout. Will is taking a scheduled break from leading his hill and speed sessions, and Lee led us today in an "informal" training session. Apparently he has an affinity for this workout, where we run four hills in a cross formation from a common starting point. (Start at center of cross, run up and back down hill to north, up and down hill to west, up and down hill to south, up and down hill to east, and then north again to repeat.)

Lee took the lead today, and I managed to keep up with him for the whole workout. I can feel my endurance increasing and consequently I'm able to stay strong and pick up the pace over the course of these hill workouts.

TDLY - 2007 CCC10K, 53:17, 8:36 pace, Max HR = 182, Avg HR = 161

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Minot Long Run

Part 1
13.59 miles, 1:48:03, 7:57 pace, Max HR = 167, Avg HR = 139 (85% zone 3, balance below), 19 degrees, 75% humidity, elevation gain = 1,025, elevation loss = 822

Part 2
9.57 miles, 1:13:46, 7:42 pace, Max HR = 149, Avg HR = 135 (72% zone 3, 27% zone 2), 25 degrees, 70% humidity, elevation gain = 348, elevation loss = 551

I managed 23.16 miles of hills in sub-freezing temperatures at a respectable pace and I really enjoyed it. I didn't want to spend most of the middle part of my day running so I could spend more time with Adora and my family, so I got out of the house at 7:10 AM and tried to pick up a few miles before meeting up with the Magic City Striders to complete my run. By the time I hit the YMCA to meet them, I'd already run twelve miles and I was ten minutes early, so I grabbed a mouthful of water and ran a bit more before meeting them.

I met the Striders and found out they were gunning for 20 miles. They asked me to join them, but these tired legs weren't going to carry me that far. Since I already logged 13+ miles, I could only go out three miles with them before I had to head back and run home.

1) My hands were cold, and it wasn't long before I couldn't feel my fingers at all. As a result I couldn't really shake the Striders' hands. Also, my face was so cold that I couldn't talk very well. My lips wouldn't work, so I'm not sure how much they understood of my talking. Thanks to Jake for providing some running pants, which felt great. My two shirt system also worked well, but next time I'll have to have a bit better protection for my mouth and hands.

2) The hills hills were steep and long by Houston standards, but they didn't bother me that much. I enjoyed the view from the top.

3) less than 6 ounces of water, and no nourisment during the entire run. Not good, but the cold temperature minimized sweat. The cold weather also minimized joint pains, and I didn't need any of my normal tricks such as an ice bath, NSAIDs or a nap.

People often ask me what I think about during long runs. I usually don't have an answer for them because my thoughts are fleeting and I don't really remember much after I'm done. For tempo runs I think about survival, and I try to convince myself to keep going. But on LSD runs (long slow distance) I generally achieve a stream of consciousness state where anything can and does pop into my mind. Today I got to see mother nature's creation gently adapted for human use -- beautiul rolling hills of farm land. I also thought a lot of my running form, particularly as I ran down the hills since my upcoming marathon with Cory is run almost exclustively downhill.

But most of all I thought of Adora, my neice, at home. Tomorrow at Adora's baptism Julie and I will become Adora's Godparents, and I could not be more honored.

8:22, 7:45, 8:08, 8:15, 8:35, 7:49, 7:42, 7:24, 7:52, 7:41, 8:12, 7:50, 7:54, 4:23 (.58 miles, 7:33 pace)
7:29, 7:32, 7:21, 7:12, 7:27, 8:05, 8:19, 8:12, 4:41 (.58 miles, 8:04 pace)

TDLY - Rest

Friday, April 4, 2008

Minot Oak Park Run

3.41 miles, 29:53, 8:46 pace, Cadence = 85, 39 degrees, 45% humidity

My sister and brother-in-law live very close to Oak Park, so Julie and I suited up and went for a neighborhood acclimation run. It was a pleasant park with black squirrels and Canadian Geese, something we don't see too often in Houston. The trail winds through a Girl Scout camp. Another thing we don't see in Houston is frozen lakes and rivers. I thought the snow piles and frozen waterways would be history this far into spring, but obviously not! Despite the cold, it felt great when we were running, and all I wore was a long sleeve and short sleeve technical shirt, a pair of shorts, and a skull cap.

Friday is my normal rest day, so I took it easy today in preparation of a long run tomorrow. I'm not sure how long I'm going to run or where I'm going to go, but Minot is small enough that I can't really get lost. The perimeter of the city is probably around 50 miles, so it shouldn't be too hard to zigzag around and pick up some mileage. There are plenty of landmarks and the city is divided into quadrants with street and avenue numbers, so you can almost navigate by Cartesian coordinates. I'm also going to try to meet up with the Magic City Striders who do their long runs as a group on Saturdays.

TDLY - Pre-PIM Run of 3.01 miles, 28:51, 9:35 pace, Max HR = 163, Avg HR = 142, PIM Loop of Memorial and Speed Work on Track

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Easy 11 Before Vacation

10.97 miles, 1:37:40, Max HR = 136, Min HR = 128, pace = 8:54

I wanted to get in about 1 hr and 30 mins of running this morning before heading out of town to visit my sister, her husband, and my NEW Niece! Hopefully I'll be able to upload some pictures from Minot, ND!

I didn't set the watch to record each .5 mile "lap", so I don't have any split information. But I'm pretty sure I ran this very consistently as it was my goal to take it very easy today. And I succeedd, at least in terms of heart rate. I've never run so far and put so little strain on my heart . . . 90% zone 2, 6% zone 3, 4% zone 1.

I'm resting up for a long run in Minot, and I have a lot of mileage this week (plus two races), so I'm glad I was able to reign in the horses and take it easy. (I didn't look at my watch until I was an hour into my run.)

3.00 miles, 27:42, 9:14 pace, no HR info.

I remember that run like it was yesterday. It was my first time to run along Buffalo Bayou, and it was really hot (5PM, 82 degrees.) We ran by the Waugh Bridge and it stunk to high heaven. At the time I thought it was the smell of homeless peoples' urine, but I found out later a bat colony lives there. I have to be honest -- this run almost broke me. I hated ever second of it and I wanted to quit and never run again.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

PIM - Batons - Week 5


The other day a brave soul posted a message to the power in motion yahoo groups email forum. Anyone can subscribe by sending an email to .

It's been many many years since,I've ran. The last few years any
excercise I did was either workout dvd's, some basic weights, and some
cardio on an elliptical or treadmill. I found this to be very
challenging and harder than I thought. It's been tough to keep on
track. I am extremely disappointed in how poorly I have been doing.
There is a part of me that screams at myself, not to quit or give up,
to keep going at it even if it's at my snail-like speed. Then I'm not
sure whether to continue for my own fear of failing. I have not been
really keeping up with the homework and i feel like I'm failing myself
but more so failing the PIM's as a group.
I'm not really sure what if anything I'm looking for, but I just wanted
to share.

Even champions at the the top of their respective games have self doubt from time to time. I really identified with this PIMster's email because I have my fair share of self doubt. So I sent the following reply to the group:
The most important thing I ever gained from running is self-discovery.

True, I gained many of the physical benefits normally associated with increased activity, but my stronger awareness of my emotional, physical and spiritual self is by far my greatest accomplishment as a runner. I'm not sure how or why it happened, and I certainly didn't set out with this in mind. It's quite likely that nobody else feels the same way I do. But I have a hunch that the challenges you are experiencing place you well on your patch to self-discovery.

It was extremely difficult for me last year when I started PIM. Much like you, I had self doubt. And just like you, I refused to quit.

We learn more about ourselves when presented with adversity than we would ever learn by taking the path of least resistance. By seeking challenges you explore your limits. By exploring your limits you expand them, and grow as a person.

If you have a moment, read the blog entry I wrote on the eve of the Texas Independence Relay, a relay race covering 204 miles that I ran with eleven other people. In the blog entry I discuss my fear of failure. Fearing failure doesn’t mean you WILL fail unless you allow the fear to stop you from making an attempt. I guess this is my way of telling you that you aren’t alone, and I commend you for sharing your thoughts with us. Keep at it. Adapt your goals if necessary and continue to reach out for help as you did in your email. When all is said and done, our ability to adapt and interact are some of the things that makes us most human.

Run strong,

Will's Hills 8 - 2x1M plus 5 W's

Warm Up, .49 Miles
2x1M, 2.53 miles, Max HR = 174, Avg HR (with recovery jog) = 151
5Ws, 1.83 miles, 15:27, 8:26 pace, Max HR = 165, Avg HR = 154
Warm Down

Cory joined me this morning for Will's Hills. This was one of the tougher workouts I've had with Will's Hills because it combined speed work (2x1M) with a hill workout afterwards. He said it worked out well for him, so hopefully we can do this more often. Knowing he is meeting me there will lessen my chance of hitting snooze and blowing off the workout.

My mile repeats went well. I went out hard on the first one and worried I wouldn't be able to keep up the pace on the second on, but my time for the second was almost identical. (The course registered as .95 on the Garmin). I spent 4% in zone 5, 50% in zone 4 and the rest in zone 3 and below.
5:47.04 - 6:05 pace, 5:33 jogging recovery
5:47.63 - 6:06 pace

The "W's" are hills in the shape of a "W". You make three declines and three inclines on one lap. I lost count and did it six times instead of five. I have a hard time doing simple things (like counting) when I'm running hard. I probably didn't give myself enough rest after the last mile repeat (1:20 rest). I spent 61% in zone 4, and the balance in Zone 3.
lap 1 - 2:37
lap 2 - 2:38
lap 3&4 - 5:16 (2:38 average)
lap 5 - 2:31
lap 6 - 2:26

Rest day

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tour de Bayou 1 plus Neighborhood Run

Tour de Bayou Race:
2.78 miles, 20:43, 7:28 pace, Max HR = 177, Avg HR = 164, 10th overall

Neighborhood Run 45 minutes later:
4.11 miles, 32:41, 7:57 pace, Max HR = 153, Avg HR = 143

The Houston Area Road Runner's Association (HARRA) hosts a series of five cross country races on five consecutive Tuesdays along the bayou during the spring, and I ran in the first race today. I had a blast running my first cross country race ever. The hills were crazy (at Spotts park where I train with Will's Hills) and the rain over the past couple of days added to the excitement in the form of mud. I was really happy to finish 10th overall. Your cumulative time is recorded across all five races, and rankings are tallied at the end of the series.

I had to focus on not going out too hard, because the hills will destroy you. I did a fair job of keeping a steady pace since my first lap was 10:13 and my second lap was 10:30. My max heart rate for the first lap (169) was my average heart rate for the second lap, so you can tell I was fatigued. I was really exhausted at the end, but the benefit to such a short race is that you recover quickly. Afterwards I ran around the neighborhood to pick up some miles and spend time with Julie as she rode her bike.

I'm really excited about competing in the next four races, one of which is at the park near my house.

5.00 Miles, 50:22, 10:04 pace. Julie and I ran to Hungry's for breakfast that day. Julie actually wore the Garmin, and she finished ahead of me running well under an 8:00 mile for the last half mile. I think at this point five miles was probably my longest run.