Monday, June 30, 2008

Evening Fiver

5.10 miles, 42:12, 8:15 pace, Max HR = 143, Avg HR = 130, 28% Z3, 69% Z2

Julie accompanied me on the bike for my after-work 5 miler. Along the way we saw plenty of gas lamps in the neighborhood (our next purchase for the home), and Gaslite, a fellow runner and blogger.

Yes, that is an incredibly bad pun. Everyone gets a refund for their purchase of this episode of runforspeed.

8:39, 8:23, 7:58, 7:56, 8:15

Massage Run, Bug Eating and Passing Etiquette

5.29 miles, 44:31, 8:24 pace, Max HR = 140, Avg HR = 124, 13% Z4, 77% Z2, 77 degrees, 79% humidity

Massage Run
As my wife was leaving for work today she told me it was cool outside. Momentarily I had visions of a brisk breeze and long sleeves . . . until I realized I live in Houston. Yes, "cool" is a relative term, but I suppose it was nicer today than normal.

I headed out for a five mile jaunt at a recovery pace. This is part of my new two-a-day regimen, where my Monday morning run is very easy in order to work out some of the stiffness from Sunday's long run. I once read that these very easy runs (Zone 2) work like a massage by gently stimulating your muscles. I don't know if that's true because I've never had a massage. Well -- I did have a quick calf rubdown shortly after finishing the Houston Marathon, but I would file that under "less than pleasant".

Bug Eating
No major developments on this run except that I swallowed a small quantity of white bugs at about mile 3. I compensated by reducing the amount of protein powder in my smoothie later that morning.

Passing Etiquette
Just as I was finishing my fourth mile I came behind another runner who had been in my sight for quite some time. Sensing I was there, he picked up the pace. What's a man to do? Of course I accepted the challenge, even though I wanted this to be a very easy run. Regardless, I kicked it up a notch. The problem is that you have to maintain that new level of intensity because this is not a video game. When you pass cars playing Turbo they disappear into digital nothingness, never to be seen again. But if you pass a runner and slow down, you will be embarrassed by that runner passing you back. So I ran about a half mile below an 8:00 pace to shake him.

Every time I pass someone I get the urge to look at my watch. There is absolutely no information on there that I need to know that couldn't wait, but I have to resist taking a glance. It seems rude to me that someone would look at their watch as they pass someone, as if to say "Don't mind me as I ease past you -- I've got a schedule to keep" OR "How can I make this thing keep track of my road kill?

But then again, is it cool to pick up the pace after someone passes you?

I suppose all is fair in love and war . . . and running is both love and war.

TDLY - 6/30/07 - Run to Onion Creek, 8.43 miles, 1:15:23, 8:56 pace, max HR = 166, avg HR = 149, 34% Z4, 61% Z5. A run to Onion Creek for a bite to eat. No blog entry (I took a month off from blogging last year.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tornado Long Run

12.12 miles, 1:27:54 (plus 4:45 rest), 7:15 pace (7:49 with rest), Max HR = 165, Avg HR = 142 (38% Z4, 43% Z3), 79 degrees, 82% humidity

I ran this run with Francisco today. He tried to tell me that I was pushing him, but I know better. Regardless, we tore it up and posted mostly negative splits along the way. We took three quick water breaks along the bayou, and the weather was as nice as I could have hoped for during this time of the year.

Francisco is a roofer, the same profession as my father. I helped my father out during some summers, and I can promise you that roofing isn't easy. Oftentimes his only crew member, I carried shingles up ladders and picked up trash on re-roofs. As you're going through adolescence, some people tend to remember the first time they surprised themselves with their strength. I can remember the day when I realized I could carry two bundles up the ladder at the same time. Someone once told a story about how he broke two lugs on the wheel of his car by over tightening the lug nuts. That's when he realized that he was getting stronger with age.

Our growth is typically linear, but we tend to view it as discrete steps. If you train your mind to realize that you're always improving then your progress is less likely to be held back by mental constraints. Baby elephants are tethered to a pole at a young age. They aren't able to break free, so eventually they stop trying. As full-strength adults they could easily break the chain or rip up the pole, but their minds are programmed to belive that they can't break free.

To make that remotely related to today's run, I surprised myself with my strength today with the fast pace and relatively low heart rate. Now I need to work on some more endurance. The last four miles were at my goal marathon pace (6:50) or better.

8:55, 8:12, 7:24, 7:24, 7:09, 6:57, 6:54, 7:00, 6:55, 6:37, 6:45, 6:38

TDLY - 6/29/07 - Morning Rice Run, 3.21 miles, 25:26, 7:55 pace, Max HR = 162, Avg HR = 146. No Blog Entry.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

River Oaks with Steph and Laurie

gmap link, Appx. 10 miles, Appx 8:45 pace (No Watch)

The gang was sparse today, perhaps because of the 5:30 start time. It was only Laurie, Stephane and me. Stephanie scheduled 19, but my Saturday plans called for 10 so I split off early. The small crowd didn't curtail conversation, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable run. Conversation centered around Triathlons (particularly IronMan Triathlons.) Here's an interesting tidbit: there are no restroom breaks during the 112 mile bike. Use your imagination . . .

I'd like to participate in an IronMan Triathlon in the future -- perhaps in 2009. I supposed I should get on the ball and make my decision, since most of the races fill up a year in advance.

TDLY - 6/27/07 - Morning Run around Hermann, 3.23 miles, 8:18 pace, Max HR = 158, Avg HR = 143, 26% Z4, 57% Z3. I started this run at 5:50 AM -- unheard of for me at that time, but commonplace now. Blog Entry.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Do Whatcha Wanna - Rebirth Brass Band

The Rebirth Brass Band is New Orleans' premier brass band, and this song is my favorite of theirs. If you can look past the poor audio and video quality of the youtube clip, you'll find what makes them great:
1) Organized Chaos (my wife's term for their musical style)
2) Unbridled energy
3) An uncanny ability to unite people. (Seriously, it doesn't matter what your race/creed/sex/religion . . . a Rebirth concert is for you, and you will be surrouned by friends.)

And for those of you keeping score at home, I believe it is Jackie Gleason at the end of the video on this post.

Hydration Ideas.

This is a fantastic post by Tim Luchinske regarding hydration:

Hydration ideas.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Morning Threshold

2.03 mile warm up, 9:09 pace
4.00 mile threshold, 26:38, 6:39 pace, Max HR = 171 (90% Max), Avg HR = 159 (83% Max)
3.43 mile warm down, 31:39, 9:14 pace

Two words: slow & tough.

I've pounded out 46.6 miles in the past five days, and tomorrow is a much needed rest day. Ideally I would have run this threshold run in the evening to squeeze out just a bit more recovery, but I'm going to the Astros/Rangers game with a friend later today. He brings his family to Houston every year about this time to visit his family, and they celebrate his son's birthday at the ballpark.

I'm divided between the Rangers, who I came to support when I moved to Dallas, and the Astros, which was my team as a youngster. In reality, baseball players are so transient these days that I'm hard pressed to care about any professional "team". I expend all of my team loyalty on my Fightin' Tigahs of LSU. (Did I mention that the women's track team won the National Championship!)

Regarding this workout -- as a result of the mileage and the morning run, this one was slower than my target of 6:30. I want to get this to about 6:20-6:25 over five miles pretty quickly. We shall see.

TDLY - 6/26/07 - Rest. No Blog Entry.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


AM -- 4.21 miles, 34:01, 8:04 pace, no HR info
PM -- 4.04 miles, 33:38, 8:19 pace, avg HR = 133, 55% Z3

This is my first of what I hope to be several two-a-day workouts. Since I'm using Mondays and Wednesdays as recovery days now that Will's Hills is out, I'm planning on taking two easy runs on those days.

I find that I enjoy logging the easy miles, knowing that other days are for hard workouts. It gives me a mental break during the week from worrying about the strain of speed workouts or hill work.

In fact, I'm working on a master training calendar for the rest of the year to balance my workouts and extend my weekly mileage. The Houston marathon is 30 weeks away, and I've been mapping out my strategy over the past few days. I'll publish it soon. Sneak preview -- I'm going to try to ramp up my mileage to 70 miles or more for some weeks.

TDLY - 6/25/07 - Kenyan Way, 4 sets of hills, Max HR = 175, Avg HR = 144. Blog Entry.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mile Repeats at Memorial

Warm Up, 1x3M with 4MR, Warm Down, max HR = 173, Avg HR = 136

I had to work just a bit late and I missed the start of the Tornados speed session. It's never easy running mile repeats on your own, but it makes you strong.

It was good to see Leno out there since he just got out of the hospital. Nothing can keep him down.
TDLY - 6/24/07 - Hermann Park, 2.50 miles, 21:41, 8:41 pace, max HR = 159, Avg HR = 138. This was an uneventful easy run. Blog Entry.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Neighborhood run with Julie

3.53 miles, 34:33, 9:49 pace, Max HR = 136, Avg HR = 120, 7% Z3, 70% Z2

Julie joined me for an after work run today, and we pushed ourselves through the heat on completely full stomachs. We dined on Niko Niko's, I felt every bite during the 3.53 miles we ran today.

Will's Hills 23 - Goodbye Wills Hills?

5.47 Miles, 48:16, 8:49 pace, Max HR = 143, Avg HR = 127, 26% Z3, 67% Z2

Today was my last day as a regular participant in Will's Hills. I have to cut back on the number of intensive miles I've been running or face health consequences, so I decided to stop going to Will's Hills on a regular basis.

old regimen:
M - hills
Tu - speed work with tornados
W - hills
Th - threshold work with tornados
F - hills
Sa - moderate distance at easy pace
Su - long run

I would take a break whenever I was completely exhausted or injured. I'm breaking down at this pace.

new regimen:
M - Easy Day
Tu - speed work with tornados
W - Easy Day/Recovery
Th - threshold work with tornados
F - rest (no running at all)
Sa - moderate distance at easy pace
Su - long run

I'm swapping Will's Hills for rest and easy days.

So, as sad as it will be to put Will's Hills down for a while, it's for the best. Perhaps it's appropriate that my last day was the first day for my friends Laurie and Randy from Stephanie's Saturday long run group. They're great people, as is the rest of the Will's Hills group, so I hope they will enjoy it in preparation for their St. George Marathon in Utah.

I ran with Laurie and Randy today, and our assignment was 1 minutes fast, 1 slow, 2 fast, 2 slow for about five miles. We also ran a warm up and warm down.

TDLY - 6/23/07 - Houston Fit Long Run, 8.78 miles, 1:28:31, 10:04 pace, max HR = 148, Avg HR = 137. This was my first "official" long run with a marathon training group. Blog Entry.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Perfect Day

12.05 miles, 1:29:59, 7:28 pace, (7:49 counting my 4:12 break in the middle), Max HR = 157, Avg HR = 139, 23% Z4, 59% Z3, 16% Z2, 76 degrees, 76% humidity

I had a great run today -- the fastest I've run over distance ever since I hurt my Achilles. I'd like to ramble on about the run, which was a great start to my day, but the big story is that today is my sixth anniversary. Fortunately Julie put up with my antics for six years so far.

I was going to elaborate on our day, but I think I'll keep that to myself. Suffice to say -- it was a perfect day.

TDLY - 6/22/07 - My first tempo run - 4.75 miles including warm up and warm down, 7:19 pace over 2.94 miles for threshold, no HR info. Blog Entry.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Long Run with William

14.38 miles, 2:29:20, 10:23 pace, still cant find HR monitor

I joined Stephanie's group today for a shortened version of their long run. My route inclued Memorial Park, River Oaks and Buffalo Bayou. It was an enjoyable run.

I tagged along with William the whole way and found out a lot about him. I'm not sure why it's so easy to bond during a run. Perhaps it's because the physical effort strips us down closer to our underlying being by distracting us from the mental effort we typically expend building psychological walls isolating us from strangers. Perhaps it's simply the shared experience and lifestyles that prompts us to open up to people "like us". Or perhaps the non-runner would say that a long run is so boring that eventually you have to talk about something!

William is an old fashioned family man with several college-aged kids. I was intrigued by his stint as a lawyer in the Clinton administration and by his involvement in the Buffalo Bayou Board. He gives back to the community and still lives in the neighborhood where he grew up, Houston's Third Ward. William is a good guy, and I walked away inspired by our time together.

Incidentally, I ran through the third ward few times when I lived near Hermann Park, and I really enjoyed those runs. One time when I ended up at TSU I decided on a plan for a "college run." One day in the fall I plan to run through the campuses of:
St. Thomas University
Rice University
Texas Southern University
the University of Houston and
the University of Houston-Downtown

I'm sure there are others I can add to the list and still keep it at no more than a 22-24 mile run. Does anyone know of any other campuses I could add to the list?

today's splits:
8:49, 8:28, 8:20, 9:04, 9:09, 9:37, 9:22, 9:27, 9:28, 9:26, 10:00, 10:37, 11:16, 8:32 for .86 (9:55 pace)

TDLY - Rest, no blog entry.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Will's Hills 22 -- Toughest Workout I've Ever Done

Bike ride there
Warm Up and Hard Mile to Elanor Tinsley Park, 6:18, no HR info
10x100M sprints all out, hills, hard mile back to YWCA, bike ride back home

Hard Mile out -- hit this too hard for the beginning of a workout
10x100 -- shouldn't have hit these all-out
12 minutes? of hills -- absolutely died, and ended up walking portions
Hard Mile back -- absolutely exhausted and forgot to start watch, but I'm pretty sure I didn't break 9:30 for this mile

I think I red lined too early and hit the point of no return. I think this is a valuable lesson for beginning, intermediate and advanced runners alike. If you go out too hard, something physically happens to your body and you can't recuperate despite taking rest intervals. That's why some people claim negative splits on marathons lead to PRs and world records. The theory is that the high level of exertion makes your body switch over to burning fat as an alternative to carbohydrates. Since it's less efficient to burn fat, you fatigue faster. But once you start the fat burning cycle, you can't easily switch back to burning carbs for fuel. So you're stuck in this fatigue mode.

To be honest, I don't necessarily believe it. I think it's a theory that hasn't been proven, so I'm unwilling to believe it until there is more empirical evidence. But I can't dispute the feeling of continued fatigue once you red line, even if you do slow down and take it easy. I was just as exhausted after this hour workout as I was when I finished the Houston Marathon.

I'm just glad I didn't have to go to work afterwards.

This Day Last Year (TDLY) - 6/27/07 - Kenyan Way Progressives, 2.72 Miles, 5x.55M with rest, 7:19 pace, Max HR = 179, Avg HR = 156, Blog Entry.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

First Tornado Tempo Run

2.03 mile Warm Up at 8:18
4.01 mile tempo run, 26:17, 6:32 pace, no HR info

I wanted to wimp out and run only three tempo miles since I haven't had a tempo run in quite a while, but I gutted it out and did all four. I'll have to move this up to five some time soon, but I know I'm not there yet.

Goal miles = 6:30
1) 6:29
2) 6:28
3) 6:39 -- ouch
4) 6:36
Overall = 6:32

TDLY - 6/18/07 - Kenyan Way, 3 sets of hills with warm down, 21:50, Max HR = 171, Avg HR = 147. Blog Entry.
6/19/07 - rest (or perhaps run to Niko Niko -- can't remember). My watch didn't record this run properly, but I think it was on the June 19th. Anyway, Julie and I ran to Niko Niko for a Gyro. This is the best Greek/American casual restaurant in town. Blog Entry.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Warm Up, 3 min fast, 4.5 min fast, 4.5 min fast, 3 min fast, Warm Down, no HR info

3:02 = .53 miles = 5:43 pace
4:33 = .74 miles = 6:04 pace
4:31 = .74 miles = 6:06 pace
3:05 = .52 miles = 5:55 pace

The name for the Tornados Running Club was chosen because it symbolized speed and carries a connotation of destruction.

I ran a speed workout with the Tornados today, and I'd like to suggest that there is yet another justification for the name. We will run in any weather conditions, including drenching rains and tornado-like conditions.

The rain came down so hard today that my "waterproof" Garmin flooded. Luckily no damage was done. While running along Memorial, cars would hit puddles and send a wall of water our direction that was taller than we were. Puddles were everywhere, and a tree was arching low which required ducking. None of this led to "good" times, but it didn't really matter.

As I've said before, I like running in the rain. And I particularly liked running in it with my fellow Tornados.

TDLY - 6/17/08 - Morning Run around Rice. 4.56 Miles, 39:04, 8:33 pace, Max HR = 164, Avg HR = 143. Blog Entry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Will's Hills 22 - 200 Meter Relays

Two-man 200 meter relays for 13 minutes, 3 minute rest, relays for 13 more minutes, no watch

Occasionally Will's Hills meets at the "Dog Bowl" along the bayou to do some speed work. It's named that because it's an informal dog park. And where you find dogs, you also find dog poop.

Through some crazy cosmic twist or divine intervention, I don't think I've ever stepped in any dog presents at the dog bowl. But of course I just doomed myself next time I run there.

Today's workout was a two man relay, each covering 200 meters and resting while your partner runs his leg. I ran with Shane, a senior cross country runner for Bellaire High School. He's a likable guy, as is evidenced by his friends' shirts that read "Beat Shane". Shane is thinking about going to UT San Antonio when he graduates. "Not too close but not too far."

We tore it up, and only a few teams were faster than us. The all-star team was a Will and Brett. Interestingly, I found that the high school guys were generally faster than me in the beginning, but that I held my pace (or sped up) and passed many of them in the second set.

I wish I hadn't forgotten my watch so I could have recorded my splits to see if I really did hold my pace.

TDLY - 6/16/07 - 10.19 miles, 1:30:12, 8:50 pace, Avg HR = 143, Max HR = 163, 23% Z4, 56% Z3. I took a big step forward that day with a new personal record distance and total time running. It was after this run that I knew I could continuously run a half marathon. Blog Entry.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Biking in One City, Running in Another

AM Morning Bike Ride along the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon Route, 12.64 miles, 7:07 moving pace, 8:33 including breaks

PM Run in Houston, 8.57 miles, 1:08:18, 7:57 pace, 91 degrees, 52% humidity

I left my shoes at Julie's parents' house, so I couldn't run this morning at my mother's house. So I joined her on a bike ride along the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon. For her it was her longest bike ride in quite some time, but she handled it like a champ. We stopped a couple of times to cool off and hydrate. It was a pleasant experience and a great way to catch up with my mom. Afterwards we picked up one of my two sisters and headed to Lafayette to have lunch with our brother. We seldom have that many of us under one roof at the same time, so it was nice to be able to arrange that.

Even though I'm cutting back my mileage I still want to do a long run every weekend. So I went for a run after the drive back to Houston. It was 5:05PM in the heat of the day, and I wanted to run about 12 miles and I wanted to get it done before sitting down to watch LSU play in the College World Series.

It didn't take me long to reassess my intended 12 miles and cut back. At first I was only going to run 6 miles, and then I decided to run for one hour. But it was brutal. I ran the entire time without water (none along the route) and often without shade. The stretch along Shepard was the worst, particularly crossing over the railroad tracks on the bridge. But I've been wanting to run in the heat for a while now just to see what it's like and to conquer it. Now I know I can do it.

Unfortunately LSU dropped their game to UNC. They play an elimination game on Tuesday.

7:58, 7:43, 7:59, 7:53, 8:13 (bridge), 8:01, 7:56, 7:58, 4:27 for .58 miles (7:40 pace)

TDLY - 6/17/07 - 3.55 miles with hills at the end, 34:35, 9:44 pace. Blog Entry.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Favorite Brass Instrument

You should watch this:

Does anyone recognize the white guy making the cameo at the end of the clip?

If you liked that one you might like this one even more:

Jackie O' Run

2.99 miles, 21:15, 7:04 pace, no HR info, 7:17, 7:22, 6:32

I'm spending the weekend in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. On tap today is a combination of three festivals in and around the New Orleans French Market: 1) Seafood Festival, 2) Creole Tomato Festival, and 3) Cajun Zydeco Festival. But before we head out of the door, I wanted to go for a short run this morning.
My sister-in-law is moving back to Baton Rouge and was in town scouting out apartments. She brought her dog, Jackie O', a Jack Russell Terrier. Jackie O' came in second place in a recent human/dog one mile race, and apparently the human was the anchor in that partnership. In other words, Jackie O' is reputed to be very fast.

Dear reader(s), you know I can not pass up a challenge, so I accompanied Jackie O' for a run today. I intended to ease into it like I normally do -- maybe an 8:30 first mile, and top out at around 7:30-7:45. But Jackie O' didn't get the memo.

She raced off to a 7:17 first mile before we slowed up to a 7:22 second mile while winding through the neighborhood trails (and making at least one bad turn). She led me during the first two miles, providing a gentle tug on the leash which was enough to make it a bit difficult to swing my arms. That's no big deal at slower speeds, but you really need your arm swings as balance when you're going faster.

She looked strong, so I decided to drop the hammer for mile three to see what I was dealing with. My route encompased an optional bail-out if Jackie O' appeared fatigued. It was dog-unfriendly weather (78 degrees, 82% humidity) and I didn't want to give her heat stroke. I kicked out the last mile at 6:32, and she ended up trailing me a bit. But I never had to pull her. I wonder what her top speed is, and if she could outrun me in a mile. I suspect so.

The human handled this run well, and I could have kicked out another 6:30 mile without collapsing if called upon to do so. I'm pretty sure I'm going to spend the next few weeks doing lots of speed work in lieu of more mileage. It helps with my Achilles recovery and it will hopefully help me to redeem my 5K performance at the Heights 5K. So this workout suited me well. I'll know if I'm onto a good strategy when I run my next 5K on July 4.

TDLY (This day last year) - Rest. No Blog Entry.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Will's Hills 21 - W's

4.15 miles including warm up

We ran W's today, which is essentially a route that looks like a W when viewed from above. Each pen strike is a hill. The agenda called for 23 straight minutes, but I bowed out at 20 minutes and walked the mile back to the car because my Achilles started acting up. I think it was a wise decision, because it is now 1:47PM and I don't feel any pain.

I think this will be my strategy from now on: don't run long distances on back-to-back days, ice/ibuprofen when it hurts, and quit the intense workouts as soon as I start to feel the pain. Who needs a doctor!?

TDLY - 6/13/07 - Kenyan Way 8x300 and 800, no watch. Blog Entry.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Threshold Run

2.00M Warm Up
3.01 miles, 20:10, 6:41 pace, no HR info, 6:38, 6:50, 6:35, no HR info
1.42M Warm Down

It's been a while since I pushed myself through a threshold run, mainly because it's my least favorite run. I don't mind a 20 miler, and I don't mind a dozen reps of speed work. But for some reason I have a real difficult time running for a long time at a tempo pace.

Today's mission, suggested by a Tornado coach, was 2M warm up, 4M threshold, 2M Warm down.

I'm not really sure what my threshold pace is, since my last 5K is a full minute off of my PR 5K. But I estimate it's between 6:25 and 6:45 in this weather. Ideally I'd have a better picture of my threshold pace after running today, except I still can't find my heart rate monitor.

Regardless, I didn't accomplish today's mission. After attending a wine tasting event after work, it was difficult to get out of the house at all. But I didn't drink much so I didn't want to give myself a pass this evening, particularly since I skipped Will's Hills this morning due to some residual soreness.

The mission was four miles at tempo, but I scaled that back to two. About one mile into the run I decided to make it three. Overall pace = 6:41 -- which is probably a good start given my relatively log layoff from threshold runs. Perhaps I could have handled another mile at that pace, but the contents of my stomach were starting to disagree with the current course of action, so I backed down.

Soaking with sweat, I headed back to the house in an attempt to get some sleep before Will's Hills.

TDLY - 6/12/07 - Rest Day. Blog Entry.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Will's Hills 20 - Four Mile Repeats

Warm Up, 4x1M with .6M recovery jog, Warm Down. No HR info.

I think this is the most difficult of all speed workouts. Running a mile four times as fast as you can maintain with minimal recovery is not for wimps.

I did OK today, although I've done better in the recent past.
5:32 rest
5:10 rest
5:35 rest

The course was marked for exactly a mile, but my Garmin picked each one up at .96 miles. But its a somewhat hilly course, so perhaps I should consider it a wash. I'd like to be at a point right now where I could do these at 5:45. But there is only one way to make that happen, and wishing is not that way.

TDLY - 6/11/07 - Kenyan Way Hills. Blog Entry.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First Speed Workout with the Tornados

2M, 2.25M speed work, 2M warm down

I didn't wear my watch today, which makes me feel half naked. Perhaps it's a good think to free myself from the watch from time to time, but I'm not convinced that's true.

The workout was a 2M warm up followed by 3x4:30 with three minutes of rest between reps. 4:30 was chosen because it equates to a quarter mile at a 6:00 pace. And since people of various paces were running, stopping after a certain time keeps us all on the same clock.

That being said, I don't know how far I went but I'm pretty sure I was running a bit faster than a 6:00 pace, and I think I did a fair job running all three at about the same speed.

(After elevating and icing my twisted ankle last night, and sleeping with four tight socks on (for compression), it didn't bother me on this run. I wouldn't have been good for the lateral movement require by soccer, but I was fine to run.)

TDLY - 6/10/07 - LSU Lakes and Garden District, 8.61 miles, 1:18:59, 9:10 pace, max HR = 159, Avg HR = 151, 45% Z4, 42% Z3. Except for the first mile, I had all positive splits. Mile five was the breaking point. Blog Entry.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Twisted Run

1.36 Miles, 11:10, 8:11 pace, 1 twisted ankle

I ran through the trails of Hogg Park for the first time since the Tour de Bayou,and twisted my left ankle pretty badly at the onset of my run. I seldom run with my iphone, but I did today thank goodness, because I called Julie to come pick me up. I iced the ankle and took some ibuprofen. I expect to be ok by tomorrow, but you never know. (This is the opposite ankle than my achilles issue.)

Speaking of the Tour de Bayou, I never reported on the results. My cumulative time over all five races was 2:04:33. That places me at sixth overall out of 28 men and 12 women on non-adjusted times. However, these races are age-graded, which attempts to equalize the disadvantage older athletes have. My time isn't adjusted because I'm in my "prime", but older athletes have seconds and minutes removed from their time. On an age graded basis I finished eleventh overall (behind two women).

Congratulations to Adam Jackson (44) who was the overall winner on an adjusted and non-adjusted basis.

Official Results.

I'm looking forward to the fall series.

TDLY - 6/9/07 - It looks like I was drunk if you view my route during my Highland Park Run, 3.65 miles, 34:11, 9:22 pace, Max HR = 165, Avg HR = 152, 59% Z4, 37% Z3. Blog Entry.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mostly Alone Long(ish) Run

13.09 miles, 1:47:22 (plus 2:55 of water breaks), 8:11 pace, Max HR = 161, Average HR = 146, 82 degrees, 76% humidity, 15% Z4, 80% Z3

I promised Joe and Jack from the Tornados that I'd be there at 6AM for a long run today, but I set my alarm clock for 5PM instead of 5AM and missed them. I was able to get out to the park by 7AM and expected to run alone. As I started I saw Tom and his girlfriend Kathy, so I followed them for about three miles before they headed home.

I could tell that Kathy was a serious runner after watching her for just a second. You can tell when someone knows what they're doing. For instance, I was watching my new favorite TV show the other day, Corner Gas, and there was an episode about a running club. The character Karen, played by Tara Spencer-Nairn, jogged for about five steps and I could tell that she had some talent. I did five minutes of research just now, and I found out that she was a competitive gymnast. Check out this interview question:
Mark: So, can you run pretty fast then?
Tara Spencer-Nairn: I'm pretty good...

Not exactly evidence of an Olympic gold in track, but the point is that there is a world of difference between a hacker like me and a professional -- and it's easy to tell the difference without looking at a stopwatch.

Back to Kathy. I found out that she had a career as a competitive runner, finishing sixth in the 1982 Marathon with a 2:41:12. (That's the "Duel in the Sun" marathon where Salazar and Beardsley competed.) She also finished fourth place in the Pan American Games marathon in 1987. I could tell she knew what she was doing.

We parted ways in the Tanglewood area, a nice stretch of expensive homes along the Houston Marathon route. As I've mentioned before, I seize the opportunity to run along the course whenever I can.

I've often wondered what these wealthy people think about people running through their neighborhoods. Do they embrace it or do they get upset when we make noise by talking before dawn, blow snot-rockets on their pavement, and set up impromptu water stops in their medians? Personally I'd love it if I lived on a popular running route, and I'd do my best to accommodate the runners. There is a house along the running route around the Baton Rouge lake near LSU that installed a water fountain for runners. (How did you like all of those prepositions in that last sentence!?) I'd be that guy, and I might even install a dog fountain as well. Other people will set up sprinklers -- probably more for their lawn than runners, but it's appreciated nonetheless.

So, back to the run. Since I started late I had to deal with the heat and the boredom of running alone. I ran up and down Tanglewood, and then through River Oaks for the first time as a solo runner. By looking at the map it doesn't look hard to navigate, but I'm always concerned about getting lost through there. After River Oaks I headed back to Memorial Park along Memorial Drive (from Shepherd). That 1.5 mile stretch along Memorial is really ugly, and I wish the city would put up some green space to separate runners from the traffic. A trail along the bayou back to the park would be fantastic, but probably cost prohibitive.

After that it was a half loop around the park back to my car. It was nice to see some fellow Tornados after the run with refreshments. I also helped myself to a couple of their water/Gatorade stops along my route today. It's nice to be a part of the team.

All in all this was a good run, even though I'd prefer to be about 20-30 seconds faster per mile -- especially on the later miles when I start to tire.

8:12, 8:24, 8:17, 7:54, 7:58, 7:58, 8:20, 8:10, 8:20, 8:29, 8:19, 8:28, 8:14

TDLY - 6/8/08 - Low Motivation Rest Day. Blog Entry.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Heights 5K Run Post Party

Thanks to all of you who attended my post-race party. For those of you who didn't, we missed you and we hope you can make it next year in what I hope becomes an increasingly larger annual event.

On the menu was pulled pork, chopped brisket, hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, potato salad and chips. I also had some good beer (Abita Purple Haze, Honey Brown, Corona, Dos Equis, Shiner Bock and Black) balanced by bad beer (Miller Light and Miller High Life).

But the menu wasn't the highlight -- the people were. 40-50 people showed up over the course of the three hours after the race, and everyone was in good spirits. It was great to have so many friends show up, but I wish I could have spent more time with each and every one of you. A big thanks to everyone who pitched in and made everything run smoothly.

If you want higher resolution versions of these pictures, drop me a line.


2008 Heights Run 5K

5K, 19:31 chip time, 6:17 pace, Max HR = 185, Avg HR = 170, 48% Z5, 46% Z4, 83 degrees, 75% humidity
Official Results = 44/668 overall, 6/43 age group 30-34

I had a good time, even though I didn't have a good time. Translation: I enjoyed myself, but I finished a minute slower than my 18:32 PR set in Lafayette on April 26 of this year.

This should come as no suprise since I haven't been training at my normal intensity level over the last month as I nurse my ankle. Furthermore, the race temperature was oppressive.

But I've said in the past that I gauge my race day success as a function of effort, and I have to call this a very successful race in that regard. In Lafayette my max HR was 182 (lower), my average was 168 (lower), and I spent 43% in Z5 (lower) and 50% in Z4 (higher). So I put forth more effort at this race than I did in during my PR. (It was 70 degrees with 90% humidity that day)

* My goal was to follow Jeff Eisle as long as I could. I knew it wouldn't be the whole way, but I thought it would be longer than a half mile. Hahaha. He's running really strong right now.
* Sean Wade won with 15:02 chip time. He hasn't had "time this week to get a good workout", so he ended up entering for a workout and running alone the whole way. He is a machine.
* I stayed up until 2:30 AM getting ready for the party, and I woke up at 6:30 AM to get ready and finish the party preperations. So I was running without lots of sleep.
* No Achilles pain, although the pain never seems to be a function of intensity so much as distance.
* Will passed me at about the 3/4 mile mark. He looked strong, as usual, and floated right past me en route to a 18:17 chip time and a third place age division award (45-49)
* Diana Hirst took the female overall with an 18:24 chip time. She was the only female ahead of me, and you can believe I tried as hard as I could to keep up with her. It became obvious to me at a very early point that I would end up in her wake. I don't know her personally, but I've met her at Will's hills before and I admire her competitive spirit and work ethic.
* Thanks a bunch to the Power in Motion group that cheered me on after I made the turnaround and headed back. I felt like a celebrity being cheered on by name, and my spirit lifted as my pace improved.
* Joe Oveido, my PIM coach, finished fifth overall with a 16:38 chip time.
* Bret Riley won his age group (35-39) and came in third overall with a 16:20.
* Ted Traynor destroyed his age group (55-59) with an 18:38 chip time.
* As usual, the Tornados kicked butt, and I'm proud to be a member of their team even if I can't keep up with our ringers.
* Kudos to the Heights Neighborhood association for putting on a great race with 5 year age groups and chips for the first time.
* Thanks to the Dynegy Running Club for sponsoring my entry.

I can't really remember much about the run itself. After the half mile point I started getting passed until about the 1.5 mile mark. After that I don't think I was passed but I did pass a few people. One guy would yell out in apparent agony about every twenty feet. I was motivated to pass him so I wouldn't have to hear him, but also to see if he would yelp as I passed. I had a strong finish, as compared to the rest of the run, but I probably should have started my kick earlier.

I'll write more about the after party later, which was a complete success by the way. Thanks to everyone for coming!

splits: 5:58, 6:30, 6:28, 0:35

TDLY - 6/7/07 - I tried to run a threshold run with Cory, but I didn't have it in me to keep up with him. I think I loaned him my watch this day and it was the first day he ever used a GPS watch. If you're a competitive runner then beware -- the watch can be addicitive after only one use! Blog Entry.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Will's Hills 19 - Easy Workout before Race Day

Short hill session and lap around the bayou, Max HR = 152.

Will's instructions for the day were for those racing tomorrow to take it easy and run only one lap of hills before jogging around the bayou. I didn't get much of a workout, but that worked out well for me. I'm still trying to favor my leg and I didn't want to expend too much energy before my race tomorrow.

It was nice to take this at a leisurely pace and not worry about work, since today is my day off.

The leg feels OK, but I can tell something is wrong. There is a small bump where a bump shouldn't be -- kinda scary. Things aren't looking good for my race tomorrow. But if I can't run a good race, at least I'll try to host a good post-race party. Yes, I'm a proud Heights resident and I'm excited about inviting over dozens of my sweaty friends over to my house after the race for some post-race refreshments and stories. I'm cooking enough to feed 50 people, based on the response from my evite. I only hope my supply can keep up with the real-time demand. (I hope I can cook the burgers fast enough.)

TDLY - 6/4/07 - KW - Max HR = 168. Steepest hills ever for KW. (I only ran this course once.) Blog Entry.
6/5/07 - Short Run around Hermann before dinner, 2.84 Miles, 23:20, 8:13 pace, Max HR = 171, Avg HR = 146, 34% Z4, 44% Z3, 18% Z2. Blog Entry.
6/6/07 - KW Warm Up and KW 200M three man relays, Max HR = 174. I ran 12x200M at about 38 seconds each. Blog Entry.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Can't Get Going

0.57 miles, 5:47, 10:06 pace

I know this subject is tiresome, but I'm officially hurt once again. I guess it would be more accurate to say that I never fully repaired from my Achilles issue. After running with Stephanie's group on 5/31, I limped around most of the day and skipped the Sunday Tornado long run that I planned in an attempt to heal. I also skipped Monday's Will's Hills.

I guess skipping Monday threw me off, because Monday night I set my alarm clock in time to get up for Will's Hills the next day -- 5AM. I crawled out of bed and drove over to the meeting spot, only to discover that it was indeed Tuesday, and we only meet on MWF. What was I thinking?

I drove back home but my spirit was broken and I only managed to go one block before determining that I wouldn't be running today.

Thus I produced my shortest ever recorded run today. And even at that really slow pace, my leg hurt. What to do . . .?!

TDLY - 6/1/07 - Rest
6/2/07 - 2007 Houston Heights 5K - 5K, 21:57, 7:03 pace, Max HR = 187, Avg HR = 170, 55% Z5, 37% Z4, 73 degrees, 94% humidity. This should provide an interesting comparison for repeat of the Heights 5K this coming Saturday. Blog Entry 1. Blog Entry 2. Blog Entry 3.
6/3/07 - Rice Long Run, 8.87 miles, 1:19:20, 8:56 pace, Max HR = 165, Avg HR = 152, 55% Z4, 39% Z3. I had a conversation recently about what constitutes a long run. Now I would say that anything less than 10 miles isn't a long run, but back then it certainly was. In fact, this was the longest run I ever did up to that date. This is also possibly the first time I ever had Jamba Juice after a run. Blog Entry.