Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tyring to Get Back to It

Well, I finally got out for a short run. It felt, well, weird. I felt slow. I felt out of breath. But the significance in what I didn't feel - pain! On the one hand I am pretty excited. On the other I am discouraged. I felt like I had just started making some big strides (no pun intended) in my running - knocking over two minutes off my 10K PR, running more efficiently, going longer each week, etc. Yesterday I felt as though I was laboring to get my four miles done. My pace was slow (10:15) and my heart rate high (83% MHR).

But, there were some bright spots. As mentioned before, there was no pain. That was a huge relief. I can't tell you how worried I was that there was something structurally wrong with my hip. Also, at my turn around point I still felt as if I could go another mile or two without any problems.

I was looking forward to a good half marathon in a couple of weeks. I am coming to grips that I won't be running at peak form. I was shooting the possibility of breaking 2 hours. In all likelihood, I probably will be somewhere in the 2:10 to 2:15 range. Still a PR, but a little disappointing knowing that I can do better. But, I need to remind myself that I need to be patient. I need to stay healthy and pain free. That way there will always be another race on another day. I just want to make sure I'm not going to go out too far too fast and end up on the bench again.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yesterday's Agony

I had hoped to get out for a run yesterday to get things back on track. Because of my tooth pain on Friday, I had revisited my dentist, received some more work on the affected tooth, and actually had a decent night's sleep. I woke up somewhat refreshed, relieved that I didn't need to resort to vicodin. I sat down with my cup of coffee, took a huge swig, and spit it out in agony! Something that I had never even thought of was the effect the heat would have on everything else going on. I spent the rest of my day in absolute torture. The pain was sharp and constant. The only relief I had was to take a swig of ice water and hold it in my mouth. Late in the afternoon, I couldn't take it any longer. I was up to my eyes in water and was in absolute debilitating pain. Then my wife had a brainstorm, "What about an icepack?" I had not even thought about the obvious! I took an icepack, and in a couple of hours I was at least feeling less pain and could *finally* watch some TV. By the evening I felt comfortable enough that I was able to get a *good* night's sleep. Whew.

This morning I can feel the effects of the infection. My ears are somewhat plugged - just like an ear infection. My lower jaw is sore and I can't bite. My upper jaw and cheekbone is sore. But at least there is no fever. The new antibiotics seem to be taking effect. I was even able to enjoy my coffee this morning!

If this continues, I might try to run this afternoon. I'll attempt an easy four miles to see how my hip is doing. If there is a silver lining, this tooth has made me take two weeks off to let that heal. It means that I probably won't be at my peak for my race on January 1, but I'm hoping that I can still run it!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Forced Rest Day(s)

Okay - I am itching to get back out. I want to test out the groin pull to see how it will react after a couple of days off. The issue right now are my teeth. (See my blog entry from a couple days ago: I have been in absolute agony since Wednesday night. I had to resort to vicodin for the pain yesterday.

Hopefully things might be changing though. The pain subsided in the evening, and I actually got a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. This morning though the pain is back. I'm going to call my dentist this morning to see what the issue may be and what I can do about it. Right now I'm kind of physically and emotionally drained by the pain.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

No running for me today. My teeth are still causing a lot of pain for me after my root canal a couple of nights ago. I'm not sleeping at night. I am overall pretty miserable right now.

I did manage to pull dinner together last night. Christmas Eve is our traditional night for family dinner. Around our house, family can get quite big. Total count last night - 32. There was plenty of food, fun and deserts for all!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Unscheduled Rest

Yesterday was interesting. I was planning on a four mile run to see how my hip adbuctors were going to react to two days in a row. But, I didn't sleep particularly well Monday night because of a persistent toothache. Throughout the day the pain became worse. At times it became absolutely unbearable. I finally threw in the towel and decided to call a dentist. I found one that could see me at 7:30 PM (he is my brother-in-law's wife's ex-husband). I got there and xrays were taken. The xrays were quite an eye opener! Remember that bike crash back in June? ( Well, turns out that the nerve in tooth#3 involved had necrotized and had created a huge abscess under the tooth. Luckily, the dentist was old school who basically does everything himself! An hour later, the root canal was done and I was on my way.

No running today. I will be in the kitchen cooking up dinner! Wishing everyone the best this Holiday Season!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two Miles - No Pain

I put in an easy two miles late in the evening yesterday. The good news? No hip pain. The bad news? Some pain and discomfort, but in my muscles!!! This morning I am pain free! I am very happy!!!

I started feeling some discomfort as I was wrapping up my run yesterday. The discomfort though was in my butt and my thigh. No pain in the groin. Definitely nothing in the hip. I did some homework this morning, and everything is pointing to a groin strain - the same as a hip abductor strain or tendinitis. This is exactly what Coach Sumner had surmised the problem was when I explained the symptoms to him last weekend.Turns out there are five abductor muscles that connect the pelvis to the knee. When these muscles are strained, or the tendons that hold the muscles to the bone become inflamed, the symptom is pain in the groin area radiating into the thigh. Yesterday's run presented pain right where the tendons are - butt (pelvis) and thigh.

The only way to resolve this is rest and anti-inflamatories. So, no more speed work for the time being. Everything will be at recovery or easy pace for the next couple of weeks. This week I'll limit my long run to 6 miles or less. I'd like to put in one more 12 miler prior to my half marathon (planned for January 10th) to tell me whether doing the half is a go or not. Longer term will be based on how I fell in the next month or so. Don't know whether a marathon is in the cards early this year or not.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hip Update - One Week Later

Today marks one week since my last run. I've been resting in the hope that my hip will allow me to start running again this week. I visited with my running club yesterday, partly to pick up my new shirt, and partly to talk to Coach about what the issue may be.

First off, this year's shirt is pretty cool. Now that Coach Sumner is no longer involved in the OC Marathon, he can go back to using New Balance equipment (instead of Avia):

Much nicer than the silly white one with the blue block letters that we wore last year. Hopefully this one will wear a little longer too. My shirt from last year looks pretty ragged with snags all over the place.

Oh yeah - the hip. I spoke to several folks yesterday. We discussed my symptoms:
  • I can run fine with little discomfort and no pain

  • Pain starts *after* my run is complete and I've had a chance to rest for a bit

  • Pain is worst when trying to lift my leg (like lifting my knee toward my body)

  • There is no clicking or catching sensation in my hip when running

  • The pain seems to be in the groin and radiates into the upper thigh
The consensus seems to be either a strained groin (hip abductors, groin muscle, etc.) or a strained hip flexor. No one thinks that I have a labrum tear because there is no catching or clicking in the hip. Whew. Now for the bad news....

If I have a groin pull, I need to scale down the miles for the time being. No speed work, no hills. Definitely no marathon distances. It's this injury that often times is the death of a professional sports career. The only recovery is rest and strengthening/stretching , and even with that it could be a year or so until it is completely recovered. Coach thinks this is my problem. And, since he has over 30 years on the business and has seen it all, I certainly respect his opinion.

Beginning this week, I will scale back my miles and put the hard workouts to rest. I think the first thing I will do is an easy 2 to 3 miles on Monday with a rest on Tuesday. I'll see how I feel on Tuesday and take it from there.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Downpour! Running in the Rain

I got one of my photos from the Dana Point Turkey Trot. Running in the Rain! Oh yeah!

This is actually the first photo of me running that I've been pleased about. Wow - look at those legs!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Surprised Myself!

As I sit here doing my morning blog and Runner's World forum thing, I started thinking that it would be interesting to see how many miles I have run this year. I opened up SportTracks, and created a report. Wow!

That's right - 947 miles! Considering that I was down for two months after my cycling accident and taking a week off here and there for business travel, I am 53 miles short of 1000! I was more shocked than surprised!

This morning my hip is pain free and there is no discomfort. I am hoping that this continues for a few more days so I can get that extra 53 miles in before the end of the year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Hip Thing....

It's been exactly *two* days since I last ran. Seems a lot longer than that. I really want to hit the trails. But, this hip thing has me running concerned and a little scared.

I still feel a little discomfort - now more toward my lower back and right quad than deep in the hip and groin areas. I am trying to remember when this all started, but one thing for sure - it got to the point where I couldn't walk after a run. It got particularly bad last week. I did an easy four on Monday and felt pain after the run. Then I did a 7 mile interval workout on a padded track on Tuesday. After that I felt a little discomfort, but no pain. But, the next day I did an easy four miles on the pavement and was in excruciating pain that night! That sent me to the shoe store for my new shoes. I went for a short run on Friday and felt pretty good then. But, after my 10K on Sunday, my hip and right quad were very painful in the evening.

When the pain is there, I feel it in my groin and deep within my right hip. The pain radiates into my right quad, and makes getting up from a sitting or lying position painful. The pain is dull and constant - not sharp or stabbing. It makes walking or going down steps difficult. The thing that has me concerned enough to stop running is that the symptoms are indication of a labrum tear. In most cases, labrum issues are indicated by anterior hip pain, which is exactly what I am experiencing.

Of course, I could just be a hypochondriac too! Labrum tear is the worst case scenario. It could be nothing more than a muscle strain caused by my old broken down shoes (as broken down as 200 miles can make them). Additional symptoms of a labrum tear would be catching or clicking of the joint - none of which I have. Turns out the labrum area is rich in blood flow, so rest often times resolves the problem. Same with a muscle strain. Whatever the problem is, I am eager to make sure it resolves and to not rush back just because I am OCD. I guess I'll need to give up my prize money (rolling eyes).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Race Report - Make Room for Santa 10K

Time for another race report! This time with a better outcome (and a few less people) than on Thanksgiving. After my little wet and wild adventure then, I waited with baited breath as the weatherman predicted rain Saturday night and Sunday. I had decided that if I woke to wet sidewalks, I was climbing back in bed. I parted the blinds to relief! It was a *beautiful* sunrise. Some high clouds, dry sidewalks and no wind. I packed my gear and took off up the road to Irvine.

I was in my car for just a couple of minutes when my car started dinging at me. What?!? I looked down at my instrument panel - what's that snowflake doing there? Yup. When it's below 37* out, my car switches into "Winter Mode" in case I run into ice. Guess what - 36* at 6:40 AM, and I'm less than a mile from the beach! Glad that I wore the long sleeves!

This race, even though a small affair, was well organized. Parking was a couple of miles away, but the buses were running frequently enough that the wait was less than 10 minutes. I got to the start line and was surprised to find hundreds of people milling about. I was hoping to set a PR. The people were only going to make it tougher.

This race is a combined 5K and 10K. All runners start at the same time, and a couple of miles in the 5K'ers split and then rejoin the race at the 5 mile point. So, it was a little crowded. In fact, when the horn sounded, it still took a minute to get to the start line (more on that later).

The race was sold as a "flat and fast course." My legs were telling me different though. My first two miles of 8:56 and 9:07 were as much about the steady climb as they were about dodging slower runners. After the race, the elevation profile showed a steady elevation gain of a little over 200 feet over the first three miles.

But, where there is uphill there must be downhill! At the three mile mark, the net uphill became a net downhill for the remainder of the race. By this time, we were about as far north as the City of Irvine goes. The views were nice, the streets were clear of traffic, and the crowds were thinning out. Time to push the pace a little to see if my goal PR (55:00) was within reach. I fell into a rhythm with a bunch of other runners. I glanced down at my Garmin and noticed that my pace was down in the 8:30 range. Wow! I've never run at this pace this far into a race before. The best part - my heart rate was sitting right at 160 and I felt good and strong!

The next two miles were on a wide open street with a couple of rolling hills thrown in for good measure. We passed the Mile 5 marker and turned left along the freeway. Just as the race organizers had promised, downhill finish! That's right! From mile 5 to the finish line! About 150 feet down! I pushed the pace even more. I was thinking that a 54:00 was within reach! I passed the 6 mile mark and pushed a little harder. All of a sudden - alarms were going off! I had set a new PR! Heart rate that is! 185! 108% MHR! I *had* to slow down for a few seconds to catch my breath - costing me about 15 seconds on my total time. Next thing I knew I was in the finish slot crossing the line. I looked at the clock and looked at my Garmin. I liked what the Garmin said - 54.11! But, the crowds conspired against me. The official clock said 55:32 as I crossed the line. Still - that meant a PR by over 2 minutes! I was happy that RoseRunner and travelmama from the Runners World forums talked me into this one! Thanks guys!

After race, I wandered around a bit grabbing some water and some of the snacks that had been laid out for us. I stopped and talked to Ted Newcomb from the shop I had bought my shoes from (which by the way are working out great). I ran into a few folks that I had run with before, including Lori and Matt from the OC Trail Runners (

I also ran into Santa:

Mrs. Claus:

The running nativity scene:

The Whos from Whoville:

And Rudolph (or was it Max?)!

All in all, a satisfying run and a nice way to spend a morning! I'm now done for the rest of this year. In fact, I am having some hip problems that may sideline me for a while. That, though is the subject of another blog entry...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Four Mile Spin

So I took the new shoes out for spin yesterday. For sure the problem were the shoes. I wanted to air things out a little to see how the new ones would feel. I comfortably put in four miles in 37 minutes. The only issue is that the foot beds in these GTs seem a little rougher than the Kayanos, so the soles of my heels started feeling hot toward the end of mile 3. The lurid details - 4 miles, 37.22 minutes, average heart rate 150. Not too bad for a slow old fart!

My only issue now is my hip. I had a fitful night of sleep because I just couldn't get comfortable. I did some searching on the Internet this morning, and my symptoms point to a hip strain. The research says that this can be caused by overpronation. My theory here (maybe it's something I want to believe) is that my old shoes were shot, allowing me to overpronate on my slow runs when I would be most relaxed. I guess I'll see here.

One thing that I am toying with is with the impending rain, maybe I'll take the week off after my 10K on Sunday. If it is a hip strain, the rest should resolve the issue. If it doesn't, then hello doc!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Unscheduled rest day

Boo hoo! I decided to take an extra day off this week to see if I can get my legs feeling normal again. The pain is pretty much gone and I can walk normally at this point, but my legs still feel tired and listless. I think I'll try an easy three or four miles tonight to see how things are going (or if they are going to go on Sunday).

I ended up purchasing some new shoes yesterday. I tried out a new store recommended by Cal Coast - Runner's High in Irvine ( The owner, Ted Newcomb, and Coach Sumner go back a long ways. I had a great conversation with Ted before getting down to the task at hand. We went through some of my other choices (Mizuno Wave Nirvana, New Balance 1224). It boiled down to the Asics feeling the best on my feet. We discussed my *real* issue - 250 miles per pair. According to Ted, a "normal" shoe should get somewhere around 400 miles these days. But, given my symptoms, and he agreed that the indications say the inner cushioning is gone. A lot of my issue this time is no doubt related to my puddle run (Turkey Trot -

Instead of dropping another $140 on another pair of Kayanos, Ted pointed me to a different shoe - the Asics GT 2140. As he put it, it's the same basic shoe, just not a fancy looking. Plus it saves me about $40 per pair. I picked them up and will give them a try. Hopefully I can make it out today for a quick spin. I'll see how my legs feel later today. Then again, maybe an extra day of rest is good....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Some Pain Here...

Yeah - I'm in some pain here today. Again. Just as last week, my quads are screaming today. After something as easy as a *slow* four mile run. I suspect my shoes because of the following:
  • They got absolutely soaked (and squishy) in Dana Point on Thanksgiving
  • I have about 250 miles on them now
  • And - I ran a relatively comfortable 7 miles Tuesday night on a padded track. But, yesterday's 4 miles on pavement had me in agony a couple of hours later.
I run in Asics Kayano 14s. 250 miles does not seem like a lot of miles on a product that is so expensive. This is my third pair this year, and I got 280 miles on one pair, 255 miles on the second. So it appears I am about ready to swap these out. I want to try something different, but the last time I did, I was in agony much sooner (I tried a pair of Saucony Progrid Hurricane 10s - not enough support for my feet). I normally shop at Road Runner Sports, but maybe I'll head over to A Snails Pace today and see if anyone there is more knowledgeable. In fact - I think I'll contact Cal Coast and see if Coach has any recommendations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Track Work

Yesterday was interval day. I made it over to the CDM track a little after 5 to put in my miles. Today was 3 x 1600 at 10K pace. 2 mile warm up, 1 mile warm down with rest laps after each interval for a total of 6.75 miles. Nothing really exciting about the run other than I surprised myself by having to slow down to stay at 10K pace. I want to be careful about not blowing up at this point because I only have a few more weeks before my HM goal race.

After I got back, I started analyzing data and noticed a big issue. The purpose behind interval training is to improve VO2Max. The best way to improve VO2Max is to run at VO2Max, which typically occurs at 94% to 98% MHR. Notice a problem here?

Yup - an hour plus of running, three 1600 intervals, and I barely touched VO2Max HR near the end of interval three. I think I still have more to learn about what my body *should* feel like. Maybe that's why I'm still a slowpoke!

While I was finishing up, Cal Coast showed up to do their interval work. They had quite a turnout - at least 60 runners. Has me thinking that I should join them. The only problem is they start so late in the evening (start time is 5:45 PM, so they really don't get going until 6:15 or so).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feets Don't Fail Me Now!

Yesterday I went out and did an easy, slow four miles. With a 10K coming up this weekend and as sore as I was, I considered sacking the workout, but I wanted to get my legs moving to see if I would feel better afterwards. Did I say slow? How about 45 minutes slow! My heart wasn't even pumping too hard this workout. I also thought that perhaps some stretching at the gym might do some good, so after the workout I headed over to 24 hour fitness and got a good stretch in. This morning I am a *lot* less sore than I was yesterday. Hopefully I am on the right track!

On another note, I spent last night reading at least a dozen CIM and Tuscon race reports. Reading those reports is such a motivator for me. I am amazed at the number of people who are able to run and maintain sub 8 minute miles. I am more amazed at the folks who can go out and BQ their first marathon! The best stories, though, are those that give us some emotion. My vote for top RR for the weekend belongs to RW forumite edwardian ( Great report!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ugh. Oof. Rrrgh.

That's the best description of how I feel right now. Something is going on here that I hope means I'm getting faster stronger better. I am soooo physically sore. Walking the first few steps after sitting is tough! My quads and hip flexors are saying "stop for a few seconds while they catch up with the rest of Glenn's body." The good news is there is no joint or tendon pain. I think I'm suffering from training load the past week. The soreness all started when I substituted a six mile run for a four mile run last Wednesday and then followed up with a 60 minute tempo on Thursday in place of a 45 minute tempo run. Ever since then, my first step is a little (OK - a lot) slower.

Now for the good news - I put in a 12 mile 3/1 run yesterday. My first couple of steps were slow as my quads rebelled, but once I got moving the run went fine. I threw in a little variety by going up the San Diego Creek trail instead of around the bay. The advantage of San Diego Creek is the lack of hills. There is steady elevation gain (obviously the stream needs to run downhill), but out to the six mile point, there is less than 100 feet in elevation gain. There are plenty of short hills though - each time the trail crosses a street it's down into an underpass and back up on the other side. Here's the elevation profile (I think the last blip just past mile 6 is a Garmin error - there is no 50 foot hill at that point):

As you can see - there are about 10 underpasses in the first six miles - Campus Dr., down into a drainage channel at Harvard, Michelson Dr., 405 freeway, Coronado, Main St., Alton, Harvard (again), Paseo Westpark, Culver Dr (2 of them) and West Yale Loop (can you tell I was bored on the way out?). There is just enough variety to make the run a little bit of a physical workout. And there are just enough cyclists to keep me awake. And, the other reason I like this trail is there are no cars to worry about!

Back to yesterday's run. Once I got moving, the miles started passing. I have to admit, the six miles out were quite boring. I never really got my heart rate at the top end of goal for a long run, but was running at a comfortable pace. At my turn around, I checked my watch. 1:05 to that point ( a little over six miles). Not bad! I started the long trek back to my starting point. At nine miles, I stepped up to half marathon pace and surprised myself by holding it for the next three miles! In fact, I remember thinking how my breathing didn't even really change for the first 2 miles of this segment (My heart rate did make it into the low 90% range by the time I finished up). Final stats - 12 miles (last 3 at HM pace), average heart rate 79% MHR. Total time 2:06 - seven minutes faster than I've ever gone this distance before.

One thing for sure - I will be taking it easy on my recovery runs this week. 11:00 here I come!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Feeling Better Four

Yesterday was another four miles around the Upper Bay. I feel like I'm fighting some burnout. I am suffering some sore legs and general tiredness as I finish week seven of this training plan.

The plan called for a twelve mile 3/1 run. But, it was SAT Saturday yesterday, and I had to get my son and niece situated. They have been studying for the test for a few weeks now, and we made a last minute decision to take the test yesterday. There is a way to take the test on a "standby" basis by showing up on test day with check and application in hand. This last minute decsion came about becuaseof some recent changes with score reporting. In the past, all scores at all sittings were reported. This meant that a bad test got reported with everything else and could affect the decision process. Beginning this year, a student can select the sitting that they want to use to report to a college, so scores from a bad test does not have to be reported. This really means that there is no penalty for taking the test many times. And the best practice for the SAT is taking the test! So, I showed up with them at 7:30 AM to take care of business. This meant that I missed running with Cal Coast. Instead, I went over to my favorite coffee house, grabbed a coffee and bagel and enjoyed my morning.

I finally got the motivation to get out of the house in the late afternoon and did an easy four miles around the Upper Back Bay. Once I got going, I actually felt pretty good and finished the run in just over 40 minutes. The soreness went away. Average heart rate was a little high (78% versus 75% MHR).

Today I'll make that 12 mile 3/1 run!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tempo Thursday

Another Thursday, another tempo run. I lengthened this one out to 60 minutes from the scheduled 45. Apparently, this at the current edge of my abilities at this time - I am physically wiped out! My legs are sore and aches and pains abound. I am glad that today is a scheduled rest day.

There were a couple of interesting things about yesterday's run. First off, I was trying to hit LT during the hard part of my run. I had a tough time hitting 90% MHR though. It was like my legs just weren't there. I was able to get to 80% pretty easily, but getting my heart rate above 85% was difficult. Hmm. The other thing that was interesting was that I hit a 10K distance in less than an hour. That also included 10 minute warm up at the beginning of the tempo and 10 minute warm down at the back end. Which either means that my 57.41 at the Turkey Trot was slow, or I'm running my workout too fast. I'll find out next Sunday in Irvine!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Six Easy Miles

At least they were supposed to be. I was scheduled to run four, but with the loss of Tuesday and the fact that I was able to start early in the afternoon, I decided that a three mile out and back around the Upper Back Bay was the ticket! Now, as I sit here this morning, I have no idea why my quads are so sore! My shoes are reaching that point where I expect some soreness (200 miles), but that is usually in my calves and knees. This is definitely muscle soreness in my quads that is causing me to want to sit here enjoying my cup of coffee this morning.

Today I have a 60 minute tempo run on tap. I am sure by the time my workout comes along everything will have a chance to stretch and feel better. Getting old sucks.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Flexibility is the Name of the Game

Yesterday was supposed to be VO2Max training on the track at CDM. But, finals week is coming up for my son, a Freshman at UC Irvine. I came home to him stressed out about his computer programming class. I spent the afternoon and evening going over program flow, control structures, selection structures and repetition structures with him. They are using a language called Python (probably because it's open source and the school doesn't have to worry about licensing) instead of a "real" language like C#. As is normal in these type of classes, his professor is spending way too much time on command sets and a lot less time on structure and program flow. I feel for my son....

That means that I need to mash my schedule around somewhat this week. One option is to make today a 45 minute tempo run, tomorrow my interval training, then an easy 4 mile on Friday and long run (this week a 3/1) on Saturday. Two issues here are back to back hard days and I'll end up putting in nine days in a row before a rest day. My other option is to just let yesterday go, get two rest days this week and change my scheduled tempo run from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Doing the latter still gives me a 30 mile week and provides a *little* extra rest. The more I think about this the better it is sounding! All in favor? The ayes have it!

On another note, I'm back to tracking calorie intake. I'm using a new tool over at The jury is still out, but last week's results were good. The interface is a little more time consuming than SparkPeople, but I think that fitday does a better job at predicting calorie burn. I'll take some time this weekend and provide a brief synopsis of fitday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Four in the Fog

I got my four mile easy run in last night. As mentioned earlier, I had another appointment in the late afternoon, so I couldn't start until a little after 5PM. It was noticeably cool and the fog was rolling in. As I left the car and ran up the San Diego Creek trail, I couldn't help but notice the steam rising from my uncovered head. The run back was even cooler! It was quite surrealistic. Swirling fog. Steam rising from my head. Mist droplets in my headlamp beam. All I needed was the Barenaked Ladies singing the Haunted Mansion theme!

The run was quite uneventful. Since it was a recovery run, I kept my pace slow and heart rate down (73% MHR). I finished feeling pretty good. In fact, I headed off to the gym for some stretching and core exercises (first time in several weeks).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Four Tired Miles

My legs are tired. Based on the data from my short recovery run yesterday, my legs aren't the only thing that's tired. I was able to maintain my heart rate at 75% MHR, but I had to keep slowing down to get there. I felt like I had to drag my legs behind me the whole time! In fact, looking at data after the fact, I noticed that my heart rate the first two miles was consistently in the 75% to 78% MHR range. Heart rate on my return trip was lower, but then so was my pace!

I'm hoping I can get out this evening for a quick four miler. I have another appointment at 4PM, so it's highly unlikely that I will get out before it's dark. I'm also hoping that I'm a little less tired this evening. I want to make sure that tomorrow's workout is a quality run.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Long Slow Saturday

Yesterday was my standard Saturday long run. On schedule was a 12 miler, so I took off from CDM early and made my way around the Back Bay. I had a problem though - I couldn't find my heart rate strap. I looked all over the place and it was no where to be found. The last I remember is it falling off as I got out of my car after the Turkey Trot. I was going to go back home and look for the strap, but decided that I would just run by perceived effort and pace and see how things went.

I ended up being late and missing most of the Cal Coast group as they took off from CDM. I took off with the last group out, but ran only a little way with them, since I took the left turn and proceeded down the Lower Back Bay trail. Overall the run went pretty well. I felt strong right through 8 miles, slowing down once to take care of various equipment problems (glasses fogging, headphones getting wet). At 9 and a half miles I started feeling a little fatigued and slowed down and I went through the rolling hills on the Upper Back Bay trail back toward CDM.

Critical stats - 12 miles, average pace 11:05, for a total time of 2:13 - three minutes faster than my best effort at the 12 mile LSD and a whole 7 minutes faster than the last time I ran the same route. Best part is I felt pretty fresh when done. I am looking forward to the Make Room for Santa 10K in a couple of weeks to see what I am capable of. This running stuff is getting fun!

Postscript - my heart rate strap was found hiding under one of the seats in my car....

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dana Point Turkey Trot 10K RR

Yesterday was a different kind of racing experience. I did the Dana Point Turkey Trot. In the rain. Not just any rain, but a downpour. Rumor had it that over 10,000 runners had signed up for the event. Knowing how crazy traffic can be for smaller events, I got out of the house and on the road at 5:30 - an hour and a half before the 7:00 AM start time.

As I pulled off the freeway and into Dana Point, I was a little surprised by what I was seeing. Roads closed. Traffic (okay - that's kind of normal). But what was conspicuous was what was missing. Signage, volunteers directing traffic, all of the things that you would expect for a professionally run race of this size. Luckily I knew the area a little, so I made my way down to the harbor. Even there though, there was a traffic free for all. There were deputies around, but no one was directing any traffic. I made my way toward parking and found that there wasn't even any direction on which lot to use! After cycling through a full lot, I re-injected myself into the flow of traffic and found a spot in a lot down the street. Come on folks!

I still had plenty of time, so I wasn't too stressed. I put on the rest of my gear (Garmin and iPod) . While it wasn't raining yet, it was threatening, so I opted to put my cap on (wise choice later on) and my runner's raincoat (30 gal Hefty bag). I made it to the start line with about 20 minutes to go. That is when I *should have* lined up. Instead, I hit the porta potties, wandered around the exhibit area, and got my free cup of Starbucks (they were one of the exhibitors). I got back to the start line with about 5 minutes to go. Wow! Where did all these people come from? I ended up so far from the start line that I couldn't make out what the announcer was saying! I ditched the Hefty bag and milled around with the rest of the herd. The horn finally sounded (about 5 minutes late from the scheduled start), and I finally started shuffling toward the front. It took almost 3 more minutes to make it to the start line! I was finally off running (well, at least my feet were moving).

I wanted to use this race as a little test to see where my training was taking me. I had a goal of 55 minutes, which meant that I would need to maintain an 8:51 pace throughout. More importantly, I wanted to see if I could hit LT and maintain it. If I could do that, then I would receive confirmation that this heart rate training business was working.

Now for rant #2 - the problem with this particular race is there is no seeding, no corrals, nothing at the start. They put the "elites" at the start line, but after that starting sequence is first come first served. Runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels are on the course. I had no clear running room for about four miles. My race went like this - run, hop, skip, shoot for that gap, right to pass this one, left to pass these runners, stick my hands in here to move those people, speed up, slow down. Grrr...

To top that, about ten minutes after the start the skies opened up! Now, I don't mind a little drizzle or even some light rain when racing. Those are ideal race conditions. By the time we had turned from Dana Point Harbor Dr into Doheny State Park, the rain had gone from a light sprinkle to a downpour! By the time I had reached the turnaround and started back toward the harbor, water was *running* across the road. I had been able to keep my feet comfortable to that point, but by mile 2, my feet were squishing along with every step. Yech.

At this point, I knew my goal time was out of the question. I had not been able to get to my goal pace even though my heart rate was still not at LT. I had been passing hundreds of runners all this time. Finally, as I passed mile 3 and running back through the start line area, the trail widened out a little. I concentrated on speeding up turnover and picked up the pace a bit. I was finally at LT, and running an 8:15 pace. The rain had not let up, and at this point I was completely soaked. My feet squished with every step. My cap at least did its job and kept the water out of my eyes.

At this point, the course turned left and headed up over a bridge onto the harbor jetty. The course narrowed and hundreds of runners were once again funnelled onto half of the street. I had no choice but to slow down. I ran over the bridge and turned left to the next obstacle. Water! It was now raining so hard that the drains were having trouble keeping up. Water in some points was ankle deep (I know because I looked)! I was no longer concerned with saving my feet or my shoes, so I kept on going best I could between the water, the rain, and the people. I was still at LT, but my pace had been slowed to a 9:17 by the less than ideal conditions.

I finally got off the jetty turned left onto the open roadway and passed the 5 mile marker. With about 3/4 a mile left, I knew my goal was out of the question, but I thought a new PR was still within reach. I picked up the pace and tried to give it all I had to the finish line. I brought mile 6 in with an 8:48 pace, and the last 2 tenths at an 8:17. Watch said 56.09 (new PR). But alas - it was not to be. Obviously, all of the zigzagging on the course early on meant that I had actually run a bit further than 10KMs. My watch had stopped when I reached 10K, even though it was probably a few hundred yards from the finish. Official time - 57.11. Not quite the 56.56 set earlier this year.

Even though I didn't PR, I was still pleased with the overall effort. I learned a number of things from this race: (1) I can run at LT for an hour, (2) I was able to finish strong, (3) I felt good and strong post race. In fact, I had some friends who were running the 5K, and I was contemplating joining them for a "fun run". I really feel that I could have given more of myself during the race. I didn't even remotely feel like the tank was empty.

The bottom line here is I feel like I am making some big strides. It's been just over a year since I started running (last year's Turkey Trot was my first 10K). While my speed is no where near being competitive with the top dogs, I am soooo far from last year at this time it's not even funny. I'm looking forward to more training and my next 10K in two weeks!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back on the Track

Yesterday I was back on the track for some speedwork. The weather report was calling for rain, so I was in a hurry to get things wrapped up before the rain started. The skies were cloudy and the wind was blustery. The workout was 8 by 400 with a 2 mile warmup and a 1 mile warm down. I fired up the iPod and hit the track at about 4:15 and was wrapped up an hour later before the football team was done practicing.

Vital stats - total mileage - 7; max heart rate - 170 (94% MHR); time in VO2Max - about 12 minutes.

I've started using a new calorie tracker this week too. Based on the input of some of the folks on the Runner's World forum, I decided to give FitDay a try. So far it's looking pretty good. The food database is pretty complete. I have yet to find something that I am eating that is not in the database. I'm going to give it a few days and then I'll do a little review here.

Finally, today is a SRD. I'll probably make the trek to Dana Point to get my goody bag for tomorrow's 10K.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Four Miles Again

At least I had some company yesterday. My son and my niece looked at me with some manner of disgust that they were going to be embarrassed by the clown with the reflective vest and headlamp that was running with them. But, we didn't get started until 4:45, so there was no doubt it was going to be dark by the time we finished. We took off from Eastbluff and headed up San Diego Creek for an easy two mile out and back.

Final stats - 4.2 miles, average heart rate 76%MHR. Mission accomplished!

Monday, November 24, 2008

You Learn Something New...

...every day. A couple of days ago I learned something new about SportTracks. I have been using that application to store my training data for several months. I find that the standard reports provide a wealth of information and make it easy for me to review and analyze training data. The one issue that I was having (at least until last week) is that I wanted to be able to train with one goal in mind, and analyze data differently. For example, my workout today will be four miles at 75% MHR max. I can easily set up a workout on my Garmin to do that. But, when I look at training data in SportTracks, I want to review my pace by mile. I always thought that I could only analyze data the same way it was recorded, so if I had a four mile workout, I could only view a single four mile lap:

Up until last week, the way I would deal with this was to create a workout that had four repeats of one mile each with heart rate in the proper zone. The problem with this is that if my goal is average heart rate or pace over a certain distance, the average is reset every lap.

Last week, as I was browsing the Gear and Electronics Forum over at Runnersworld, one of the posts talked about a feature that I had no idea was there. In "splits" view, there is a way to select how you want to set laps for analysis! So, even though the device recorded a single four mile lap, by selecting the proper view, I can look at my pace by mile! Woo hoo!

I think that SportTracks has become my "perfect" app!

As far as my workout yesterday - a little four mile recovery run on the bluff overlooking the ocean at Crystal Cove. Today's plan is four more easy miles.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quality Workout

Well, yesterday was a *quality* workout. The plan was for a 9 mile 3/1 run. The 3/1 is a Higdon thing where you run the first 3/4 of the workout at LSD pace and the last 1/4 at race pace. Since it was Saturday, I was running with my club. Most of the group is starting a new marathon training cycle and their plan called for a 5 mile run. I ran with them for the first 2 and a half miles and was then off on my own.

This whole episode started me reflecting on how differently I approach my training now. I actually started with Cal Coast about a year ago. I understood the reason for training plans and had bought into the Cal Coast plan. But I still approached every training session as a race. I set goals based on beating my last training session. I recognize now that I probably never gave my body a chance to build and recover because I was too busy trying to beat my last run's statistics. I see it all over too - especially reading the Runners World forums. These days, I settle into my target pace or target heart range and go. I certainly feel much stronger and much less fatigued than I used to.

This reflection happened while I was running at the back of the pack of newbies yesterday. I was trying to not get down over the fact that all these people were running faster than me. Then I realized that I was still plugging along at a heart rate of about 70% of max. Hmm...

Bottom line for yesterday's run - 9 miles total, average heart rate during the first 6.75 miles - 80% MHR (goal 73% - 83% MHR), average pace over last 2.25 miles - 9:57 (goal 9:45 - 10:15). I am especially pleased on that pace because it included climbing the big hill back to CDM!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday Tempo

Strange run yesterday. I got out of the office about 4 PM. On the schedule was a 45 minute tempo run. I wanted to try to get the run in before it got dark (for a change). As I was leaving my office, I noticed that it was darker that I thought it should be at 4. I looked up and noticed that it was overcast - not unusual, but something that I haven't seen for a few weeks now. The weather is definitely changing. By the time I parked my car on Bayview, I was in a swirling fog. Not only that - it was damp. Made it feel like it was much colder than it probably was.

I headed up the San Diego Creek trail for my run. I felt pretty strong most of the way, and my numbers show it. Ended up at 4.82 miles for the 45 minute run for an average pace of 9:19. And that includes my 10 minute warm up and 10 minute warm down. Something appears to be working here with this heart rate training. At the end of the run I actually felt somewhat refreshed - not like I was just hammered. This morning I feel pretty good - not as tired as I was earlier this week.

I'm now planning my next two races. Next week I'll run the Dana Point Turkey Trot for a 10K. It's a madhouse of a run (over 10,000 runners), but hopefully this year I'll get out ahead f the pack a little bit and avoid the bottleneck where everyone slows down to a walk while merging on the trail. I'd like to hit 55 minutes, which would be an 8:51 pace. I know I can hit the pace - the question is whether I can hold it. My training plan next calls for a 15K race in December. Unfortunately the one I was planning on sold out (XTerra Crystal Cove). I'll think I'll settle for the Make Room for Santa 10K in Irvine on December 14. I'll need to move my training plan around, but it's the only race that's close and convenient in December. This is all leading up to the Southern California Half on January 10. I'm keeping my head down and legs moving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Four Mile Recovery Run

Last night's run was a four mile recovery run. I went down to Lower Back Bay and ran my usual two mile out and back. The ugly statistics - 4 miles, 11:10 average pace, 133 bpm (74% MHR). Not much else to the run. Started right at sunset, so finished up with lamps blazing. At least it's still warm out. I was reading yesterday about running back East - looks like I got out of New Jersey and West New York just in time!

I want to note two things related to training that have been happening. First, I've been hungry. All the time. I've been tracking my calories on SparkPeople and am eating somewhere in the 2100 to 2500 calorie range. My weekly burn from running in somewhere between 5000 and 6000 calories per week. I've been losing about half a pound per week. I need to do the math to see if my weight loss is in line with my calories in and calories out so I can make adjustments where needed. Second thing is that I've been physically tired. During the day I'm fine. But by the evening I'm really dragging. Last night, for example, I laid down at a little after 7PM to rest. I think I was out by the time my head hit the pillow. I slept like a log. I'm still a little groggy this morning. The good news is that my sleep is sound - not the fitful sleep that usually accompanies over training.

I'll be heading out this evening for a 45 minute tempo run. The weather is changing. It was very foggy out this morning when I woke. Right now, it clear blue skies at 5:45 AM. But, if the fog was here, that means that the onshore flow is trying to make an appearance. So, if the winds are blowing this afternoon, I'll make do my run up the San Diego Creek trail. Otherwise, I think I'll head down to Crystal Cove for a scenic ocean view run.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last Hill Repeat Session

Last night was the last hill repeat session on my current training plan. Two mile warm up, eight hills, one mile warm down for a total of 7 miles. I can feel some improvement - the first time I did a hill workout a few weeks back, I had trouble making it up the hill. Yesterday, I had no problems (other than equipment failure). Maybe I've slowed it down a bit going up the steepest part of the hill. Maybe I'm just better able to tackle the hills. Whatever it is, I feel stronger going up, and I know that I'm recovering by the time I get to the bottom without having to resort to walking (in either direction).

I was a little disappointed when I started analyzing post workout data this morning though. There are two reasons for hill repeats. One is for quad strengthening. The other is for VO2Max improvement. My legs are telling me that goal #1 is being met. VO2Max improvement comes from running at VO2Max, which typically happens at 90 to 100% MHR. The longer at that rate the better. When I look at last night's data, I put in about 11 to 12 minutes at the target rate. This is the same as the last time I ran hill repeats - when I ran fewer repeats. The next time I'll need to pay attention to my Garmin during the run to maintain my heart rate in the target range a little longer.

Oh - equipment failure? I normally take an iPod with me on my runs. I use a pair of Sennheiser PMX70 Sport headphones. Sound quality is great and they seem to hold up well to wear. But - the problem is when the earpieces get wet. The moisture must do something to the things that vibrate in the earpieces. All I know is it's a real pain to have one side of what I'm listening to drop out. I know it's not causing any permanent damage because when I dry the earpiece off, sound returns normally. The problem is really that I sweat like a pig! Honestly - those earpieces are in my ear and they manage to get wet?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And... Four More

Last night was four more miles on the Lower Back Bay. I had some company for a change - my youngest son and my niece joined me. We got a late afternoon start and finished a 2 mile out and back just as it got dark.

I kept the pace slow and steady for the first three miles, but did air things out for the last mile, dropping my pace to 8:04. Statistics for the run - 4.2 miles total, 144 bpm average heart rate (80% MHR). One thing of note - for the past few runs I've been having some trouble with my Garmin HRM. My heart rate would spike for the first few minutes when starting a run. I have a Polar HRM that acts the same way when the battery needs replacing, so I thought that perhaps that was the problem. But, I read a thread on the Runner's World forum that suggested checking to make sure the strap was tight. I checked the strap last night before we started and sure enough, the strap had worked itself loose. I tightened up the strap, and the HRM worked like a charm. I'm glad that solved the problem!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Distance - PASS Heart Rate - FAIL

That sums up yesterday's run. It had been a few days since I last ran, so I wanted to get some miles in by doing an LSD around the Back Bay. Knowing it was going to be a warm day, I started a little after 7:30 AM. As I would find out later on, that was not early enough!

Overall the run was a normal run around the bay. At mile 6, I felt pretty good. My heart rate was right in line. Speed was slow, but still not bad (10:15 or so). Everything was going fine until about mile 9. The sun was blazing and started taking its toll on me. Slowly, my heart rate had been creeping up. I had been slowing down to compensate. I had been successful, but I was finding myself slowing into the 12 minute per mile range to try to keep my heart rate down in the target range.

I kept slowing and slowing and slowing. By mile 11 I was at a brisk walk and was having trouble keeping my heart rate below 85%MHR. I tried to hydrate to see if that was going to have any affect, but it was too little way too late. Physically I still felt fine, so I picked up my pace to jog and finished the last uphill push to the car at CDM. When I got back, my thermometer in the car was showing 76 degrees - and it was only 9:30! Stats for this run - 12 miles, 2:20.19 (includes a couple of stops) and overall 81% MHR.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Ode to Buffalo

Got back from Buffalo yesterday. It was interesting stepping off the plane at John Wayne. When I left Buffalo at 8AM local time, it was 48 degrees and raining. I stepped off the plane to 90 degrees plus!

As far as my trip - despite my intentions, I just had to put in way too many hours each day to get up on a treadmill at the end of the day. I've flown through Buffalo before (on my way to St. Catherines), but this is the first time I've stayed in Buffalo itself. While there, I did learn some interesting facts. Buffalo used to be the top steel producing region in the US. With the auto industry in the dumps, the population of Buffalo has fallen from 500,000 to 250,000 in the last few years. Two Presidents called Buffalo home - Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland. One President was assassinated there (William McKinley), and one President was sworn in there (Theodore Roosevelt).

One of the things I always try to do when travelling is sample some of the regional food. In Buffalo it's the "Beef on Weck". A Beef on Weck is a carved beef dip on a Kummelweck roll, which is kind of like a pretzel roll - salt and rye on the top of the roll. Drown the sucker with some horseradish, and there you have a Beef of Weck. It was actually pretty good!

But, I wasn't able to get on the treadmills at all. Plus, yesterday I wasn't going to go out for a long run in the heat and smoke. So, this week I'll be a little light on the miles.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Six More

Man - I'm just piling the mileage on these days! Ha ha! Actually, I'm pretty pleased about my ramp up to a 30 plus mile base. I can tell that my body is still adjusting. I seem to be continually hungry. I've been craving a lot of sweets the past couple of weeks - obviously looking for carbs. My legs are also tired all of the time I'm not running. But, I don't have any nagging aches and pains, and I am still looking forward to my daily runs.

Last night I ran a 6 mile easy run on the Upper Back Bay trail. Got a start right at dusk, so was running well after dark. It's interesting the number of runners I see on the trail after dark without any lighting. It's a wonder that more aren't plowed down by the cyclists on the trail.

I'm kind of juggling my schedule here since I am travelling this week. I am flying today, so won't be able to run, and want to maintain my Friday rest day. I'll be giving up a speed session, which means a loss of 6 to 7 miles. I want to maintain my base, so the way things are panning out, it looks like a 4 miler either tonight or tomorrow on the hotel treadmill, 45 min tempo on Thursday, and then a 12 miler on Saturday after I get back. Those along with a 6 mile recovery run on Sunday will put me at 32 to 33 miles for the week.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Six Miles of Recovery

Yesterday was a recovery run. The plan had me running four miles. But I felt really good in the morning, so I stretched it out to 6 miles. Ran nice and slow. Kept the heart rate below 133 (74% MHR). Mission accomplished.

Statistics for the week: 34 miles, average pace of 10:43, 5955 calories burned. I dropped one pound last week, so looks like everything is working per plan right now. One other thing that I've noticed the last week is that I seem to be perpetually hungry. Now I just need to make sure I eat healthy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nine Miler

Yesterday was Saturday, so it was long run day. I made it out to the CDM track at 7 to meet with the rest of the Cal Coast runners and took off up the San Diego Creek trail for my planned nine mile long run. This week's run was a little different - the first three quarters of the run (6.75 miles) at long run heart rate, and the last quarter of the run (2.25 miles) at race pace. This is what Higdon calls a 3/1.

Once done, I was pretty pleased with the workout. I kept my heart rate at 83% of MHR during the long run phase and averaged a 10:20 pace. I stepped the pace up at the 6.75 mile point, and was actually doing pretty well at 9:50 to 10:00 until I hit the last big hill back to CDM. I still managed a 10:22 over the last 2 miles.

Today is a 4 mile recovery run. I'm feeling pretty good, so I think I'll stretch it out to 6, since I'm going to miss a couple of days this week. I'll be in Buffalo - flying on Tuesday and taking my regular rest day on Friday. Wednesday may be out too - may be taking in a Sabres' game. Right now the plan for this week is 6 miles on Monday, 4 miles on Wednesday, 45 minute tempo on Thursday, 12 on Saturday when I get back, and 6 more next Sunday. That keeps my base at about 32 miles this coming week.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tempo Thursday

Yesterday was my regular 45 minute Thursday tempo session. I couldn't get away until well after dark, so I donned a long sleeve shirt (for the first time this year) and my headlamp and headed up the San Diego Creek trail. Despite feeling fatigued and having tired legs, once I got about 5 minutes into the run, I felt pretty good - in fact - real good. Seemed the further I went, the stronger I felt. I settled into a comfortable pace, watched my heart rate and finished my run. Final stats - 4.7 miles, average HR - 146 (83% MHR).

Today is my day of rest - so I'll see you all again late Saturday or early Sunday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recovery Run

Yesterday was a four mile recovery run. I chose a out and back from where I started my hill work the day before on the Lower Back Bay trail. The goal of the run was to keep my heart rate below 75%MHR (135 bpm). An interesting thing about yesterday - for the first time in a while I was feeling physically and mentally tired. I went home to get changed and ended up bumming around, grabbing a snack, and watching some TV before getting out the door. Once on the trail, I noticed that my heart rate went up quicker and had a tendency to overshoot the goal without a lot of effort. These are all signs of burnout that I need to watch over the next few days. Looks like I need to get some additional rest and add some variety in my daily runs.

Speaking of variety, I did make it to my local gym last night to do some stretching and core exercises. First time in a few weeks. The one thing that was noticeable was how difficult it was to do some of the easy core exercises. It really drove home how physically tired my body is getting these days.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hill Work - Better Than Last Week

Did some hill repeats yesterday. 2 mile warm up, 7 hills, 1 mile warm down. 6.5 miles total. Kicked my butt! I was in bed asleep by 8 PM. As I sit here Wednesday morning, my legs are still fatigued. Heck - even my arms are tired today. But, I feel pretty good about the accomplishment! Endorphins?

I was analyzing my Garmin data this morning and started looking at the hill that I am running. I am climbing 100 feet in a quarter of a mile, making it a 12.5% grade. It's taking me right around 3 minutes to make it up the hill. Here's the elevation profile:

Higdon wants the hill to be somewhere between 200 and 400 yards, and run at a 5K pace. My current 5K pace is right around 8:30, which should put one hill right around 2:10. Looks like I still have some work to go, but it's all pointing in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Easy Four Miler

I got my easy four miler in yesterday. Took it easy - even took a couple of pit stops and still got the run in in a 10:52 pace at an average heart rate of 129 (73% MHR) (I've turned autopause off on my Garmin). It seems so odd to finish a run at 5:15 in the evening in the dark. It's a little (actually quite a bit) cooler too! Looks like I'll be getting out my cool weather (for Southern California) gear.

Today's workout is a hill workout - 7 repeats plus warm up and warm down for a total of six and a half miles. I've also got to get my stretching and strengthening back on track. I'll get that going tomorrow evening after my four mile easy run.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday Race Pace Run

I finished week two of my Half Marathon plan yesterday by doing a little four mile run. The plan was four miles at race pace. I ran at a pace that was comfortable for me. Turns out it was probably a little fast - definitely not a pace I could keep for a half. Final statistics - 9:43 average pace at a heart rate of 148 (84% MHR). For the week, I put in 35 miles. That puts me where I want to be to start my marathon training this upcoming January. I heard from those I run with using the Pfitzinger plan that it is pretty demanding, so if I can maintain this base without injury, I'm hoping that I'll be more prepared.

This week is a planned 32 miles. Hills on Tuesday. My long run on Sunday will be lower mileage, but will be a 3/1 run - first three quarters run at LSD pace, final quarter at race pace. That should give me a better idea of what my half marathon pace should be. I'm looking forward to this week!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back Bay Loop

Wasn't it Alka Seltzer that had a commercial many many years ago where a guy eats a lot of food, says he loves it, and then the next scene shows him looking green saying "but it doesn't love me"? I had that experience yesterday. Friday evening my wife and I went out for dinner. I had an *excellent* pesto linguine at Garduno's (on 17th Street in Costa Mesa). But by 3AM, my stomach was tied in knots. I think it was just a little too much garlic that set my system on its side. I stayed in in the morning and missed running with the group. But I thought that was better as opposed to the alternative.

By 11 o'clock in the morning things pretty much settled down. At noon, I grabbed my gear and set off on what was supposed to be 9 miles. I had decided earlier that if I physically felt good at my turn around, I would continue around the bay. It had been a while since I've done any double digit mile runs (10 doesn't really count). I started at CDM and headed out the lower back bay. When I got to my turn around at 4 and a half miles, I still felt pretty well. Today's goal was to keep my heart rate between 73% and 83% MHR (132 to 150 bpm). At that point in the run, I was at 147, with an average around 135. The weather was perfect - warm but not too hot (probably in the low 70's). Partly cloudy so the sun wasn't beating down on me. I made decision at that point to continue.

About mile 7, I started having a little trouble keeping my heart rate below 150. I had taken a little walking break during mile 6 to take in a gel and some water, but other than that, I had been averaging a 10:30 while keeping my heart rate down. I slowed my pace in an attempt to keep my rate below a 150. But the heat, hills and distances conspired against me. At one point during mile 10, I literally had to slow to a walk to keep my heart rate at 150. I decided at that point that since I wasn't physically spent, I would run *slowly* the last mile back to CDM.

Final verdict - 12.04 miles, avg pace 11:21, average heart rate 144 (82% MHR). I finished with plenty in the tank, which means that I could have pushed a little harder. Mission accomplished! Next Saturday now I'll do a 9 miles with the last three at race pace. Today is a four mile race pace run (assuming the weather cooperates).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tempo Thursday

Yesterday was a 45 minute tempo run. I was able to get started in the late afternoon and finished before it got dark. I headed up the San Diego Creek trail. It was a warm windy run, which was surprising since we are supposed to have a storm blowing in. In fact, earlier in the morning, I drove through rain on my way to my appointment. I was a little surprised when it was in the upper 70's here near the ocean when I started my run around 4:30.

The run went fine. 10 minute warm up at 10:00, 25 minutes at average heart rate of 153 (max heart rate of 162), and a 10 minute warm down. A total of 4.6 miles. I was sucking wind toward the end of the 25 minutes at speed!

Today is a scheduled rest day. I need it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Four Mile Upper Bay Run

Last night was a four mile recovery run. I ran the upper back bay, starting over by the YMCA heading back toward CDM High School. I took a little detour up the San Diego Creek trail instead of staying on the bay. Did two miles out and back at an average heart rate of 131 (73% MHR). That translated to a pace of 11:04, but that's because I had to slow down to an almost walk toward the end as I climbed the hill back to my car. Even then my heart rate climbed into the 140s.

With that slow pace and heart rate within the goal range (75% MHR for recovery), I am still sitting here this morning pretty physically exhausted. My sleep the past couple of nights has been pretty sound, so the only thing left affecting me physically has got to be the training. (Yawning again). I feel tired. My legs feel tired. My body feels tired. I hope I'm not coming down with a cold.

Today is a 45 minute tempo run. I have a client appointment in West L.A. this morning, but I should make it back in time. I think I'll run the San Diego Creek trail out and back. I am going to start paying close attention to heart rate as I transition into the Pfitzinger methodology. Today's tempo run should come off at 80% to 90% MHR (144bpm - 162bpm). Running at this rate should help improve my lactate threshold!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Track Work Tuesday

Yesterday was a speed work day. I headed over to the CDM track to put in some 400 meter intervals. The planned workout was 2 mile warm up, 7 400 yard intervals with 400 yard rest, 1 mile warm down for a total of 6.5 miles. Set a pace at 11:00 (allows for rest during the intervals) and around and around I went! Ended up the run with an overall 10:15 pace.

The purpose of these interval workouts is to increase VO2Max - our body's ability to absorb oxygen. An effective VO2Max workout should be run at 90% to 95% MHR for somewhere between 2 and 6 minutes. Obviously, 400 meter/yard intervals won't get me to 95% MHR for two minutes per interval. I looked at my data this morning and can see that even though the amount of time at VO2Max is in the 1 to 1 nd a half minute per interval range, I did spend a total of 10 minutes at VO2Max!

One thing for sure - I'm happy that today is recovery pace!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Night Run of the Season

Last night was my first after dark run of the year. I got started a little after 6 PM on the Upper Back Bay trail. Two mile out and back for a total of 4 miles. The real surprise was when I downloaded my Garmin this morning. The data showed a 9:36 pace with an average heart rate of 82% MHR! I've always thought that I would need to slow down to hit my heart rate targets. I guess that's not true! I just went out and ran at a pace that was comfortable. Since it was dark, I couldn't check my watch as often as I normally do, so most of my run was done by "feel".

I broke out the night running gear too. It wasn't quite dark when I started, but by the time I was done it was full night. If I'm running after dark, I try to stick to trails where I won't have to compete with cars. But, there are still a lot of bikes whizzing by on those trails after dark! I really don't want to be hit, so I deck myself out in a reflective vest and a red blinker to be seen (hopefully) from the rear. The one thing that I was missing last year was a good headlamp. I was using an old Black Diamond LED lamp that my son bought 6 years ago when he started in Boy Scouts. While the lamp was adequate for being seen, one of the downsides of older LED lamps was that the light was highly unfocused - which is a fancy way of saying that the light was not bright enough to see much in front of me. So, I went over to REI yesterday and bought a new headlamp. I settled on a Black Diamond Icon (pic on left). All I can say is WOW! This thing gives so much light I feel like I'm a police helicopter! It's a little bulky, but battery life is supposed to be 90 hours, and I can now see the horsesh** on the trail before I step in it! Highly recommended if you run or hike at night!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Four Mile Recovery

Well, today ended my first week back after a week off. 26 miles. If I wouldn't have missed Thursday, I'd be at 30 miles. Not bad for the first week of a new regimen. Today was a four mile recovery run. I went to Crystal Cove and ran on the bluff above the ocean. I kept my heart rate below 135 bpm most of the time (except on uphill portions) and averaged 133 bpm for the duration of the run.

The biggest change I noticed this past week was my appetite. All week I have been inhaling anything close. I'm sure I've put on a couple of pounds. I'll start tracking my intake again on SparkPeople and get that under control this week.

Saturday Long Run

I'm back after a couple of days. Dubious start to the beginning of a training program. I should have gone out for a run on Thursday evening, but after a 2 1/2 hour commute back from West L.A., I wasn't exactly in the frame of mind to hit the trails. So I bagged Thursday's run. Fridays are my normal rest day. That's why I've been missing for a couple of days.

Yesterday was long run day. On this half marathon plan, long runs aren't particularly long - yesterday was 9 miles. I think I max out at 12 miles a little later in the plan. The goal on these long runs is to keep my heart rate in a range of 73% to 83% of MHR - 130 to 147 bpm. I averaged a 142 yesterday - so right on target for the run. I did peak out over that rate over the last mile, but that is due in large part to climbing back up the hill to CDM.

Today is a 4 mile recovery run. Recovery in the Pfitzinger book means a heart rate of 75% or less of MHR, which means 135 bpm or less. I think I'll head out to Crystal Cove and enjoy a leisurely run along the beach!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Days are Getting Shorter

Went out for an easy four mile run yesterday. I got started about 5:30. Did a two mile out and back along the San Diego Creek trail past UCI. My goal was to keep my heart rate around 140 bpm (80% MHR). I averaged 142 bpm (heart rate went up at the end into the 150's as I was climbing back to the car). Average pace was 10:30 - a little on the slow side, but that is what it took to keep my heart rate down.

I wrapped up around 6:15. The sun had already gone down. That means that it's time to get out the night running gear. During the days that I run after dark, I try to stick to trails that have no cars - trails like Upper Back Bay and San Diego Creek. Since last winter was the first that I had run, it was the first after dark experience that I had. I tried to be safe by choosing trails without cars, but I was not prepared for the cyclists! My job became figuring out what to wear to make sure I could be seen by people whizzing past me in the dark. I ended up getting a reflective vest, a clip on red LED flasher, and an LED headlamp. I'm after a new headlamp this winter - the old one has given up the ghost, plus it didn't really provide a focused enough beam to light much in front of me. I wear the flasher on the back of the headlamp strap - that puts it about eye level for most cyclists. I also made sure to wear a fluorescent yellow shirt. I think that did the trick, but I'm still a little leery when I hit the trails after dark.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hill Work - Ugh

Yesterday was a particularly tough workout - six hill repeats. The hill that I work on is a little over a quarter mile long, and has a 15% grade. (If you are in Newport and are looking for it, go to San Joaquin Hills Road between the Back Bay and Jamboree). My normal hill day is to run a two mile warm up, hill repeats and a one mile warm down. I jog on the downhill side to recover. Total mileage for six hill repeats is 6 miles.

I knew that this was going to be a tough workout, but I was prepared. I took each hill slow and steady, taking between two and a half and three minutes per hill. By repeat four I was spent. Just for good measure, on repeat 6, I set a new MHR - hitting 180 according to my Garmin!

I can always tell when I have left it all because my pace goes to crap afterwards, and in fact, my warm down was done at a 10:50 pace. Sure seemed like I was running faster, but it was all an illusion!

Today will be a 4 mile easy run. I'm going to mess with my Garmin so that I can watch my heart rate more easily and keep it at a 75% MHR max.