Saturday, April 26, 2008

Blow Up!

Well - I blew up today. 16 miler and I was only able to make about 13.5. Had to call my wife to come pick me up the last two and a half miles. I knew I was in trouble when at mile 9 my legs literally were shaking.

Last week I was able to do a 14 miler. This week I started off fine until, but slowly throughout the run I started degrading more and more. I think it was a combinatino of the heat and lack of food that eventulally did me in.

I have two more weeks of distance to make sure it's going to work. Next week, I'll eat before my run and carry more water (not a sport drink). I think I'll also slow my pace down to an 11:00 pace instead of the 10:00 that I was shooting for today.
Wish me luck!

My Garmin is back!

Yea! My Garmin is finally back and running properly! As I noted in my last bog entry (yeah - I know I'm behind), I had received my Garmin Forerunner 305 back from Garmin. I hooked it up to my computer and was having the same problem as before - a USB device malfunction error. The device itself was working - i just couldn't communicate with my computer. I got back on the phone with Garmin on Tuesday. We eliminated all of the hardware in place with one exception - the docking cradle. They agreed to send a new cradle before we went into the depths of software hell to figure out what wasn't running right on my computer. Yesterday the cradle showed up. This morning I plugged it in. Guess what? Success! Turns out that there was something in the cradle that was causing the problem.

I have a bunch of other things to write about. Hopefully I can spend some time this weekend and over the week catching up. Runs went well during the week. Nothing earth shattering or of special importance to talk about. Short runs are now 45 minutes each. Long run this weekend is 16 miles. The only problem is that it's supposed to be 85 degrees here today - so I think I'll carry extra liquids and drop my pace a bit to deal with the heat. I'll post when I get back.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Got my Garmin Forerunner back yesterday. Guess what - it still doesn't work. Guess I'll need to spend some phone time with them today. Grrrrr......

Monday, April 21, 2008

New 5K PR

Yesterday I decided to have a little fun and run a race. After Saturday's 14 miler, I wasn't holding out for a great run or anything, but it is still fun to do something other than practice every now and then. So, off to Hermosa Beach for the Hermosa Beach 5K.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect. My posting on the Runner's World forum went unanswered. so I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised! It was a well run event! Small, but very cool! Sure beat the snot out of Spirit Run. The run was *very* cool. Start was a short uphill, back down past the start line, a mile and a half or so along the Strand, then out and back on the pier. Very scenic run the whole way. The run was organized into a Men's Open, Women's Open, Men's over 40, and a Women's over 30. No race was too crowded. No pushing and shoving. No tripping over people at the start. The finish line was well organized with plenty of food and drink afterwards. Very well run event!

As far as my performance, I started out okay, but the uphill push had me out of breath for a while. I hit the first mile at an 8:15 pace. My heart rate was fine, but it seemed that my breathing was labored, so I slowed down a bit and got my breathing back where I was comfortable. But by then, I think Saturday's 14 got to me, and my legs started tiring. Unfortunately, I still had a mile plus to go at that point. So I settled into cruise and legged it out. I still ended up at an 8:42 pace with a new PR of 26:56. Not the 25:30 I was hoping for, but still a nice relaxing run.

The coolest thing though was watching the L.A Co Fire Department run! There was an entire station that showed up to run the Open Class. It was like watching a scene out of the movie Platoon as they ran in formation chanting the entire way. And they finished in less than 30 minutes! Great entertainment!

This is a run that I'll be back to. Well worth the drive!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Long Distance Record!

Yesterday's long run let me set a new distance record for me! Prior to our 14 miler, my previous long distance was my half marathon back in January.

I wish I could say yesterday's long run was without incident, but I can't. I managed to keep a 10:00 pace through the first half of the run. I took a bit of a walk break to down some fluids. At mile 9 I was still at a 10:15 pace. But, at that point, I just ran out of lungs! My legs actually felt pretty good, but all of a sudden at mile 11 I watched my heart rate start spiking. 160, 164, 166... Finally at 172 I decided to walk for a bit to get my rate to drop back down. I took about a half mile or so off and watched my heart rate drop into the 140s. The bottom line was my ending pace was 10:42 for the 14 miles. Definitely better than my half marathon back in January, but nonetheless was a little disappointed that I couldn't keep the pace the whole 14 miles. I am hoping that by marathon time in six weeks, my tapering will allow me to keep at a 10:00 pace for the entire distance, but it really points out to me just how amazing it is for someone to run a marathon at a sub 6:00 pace!

At this point still shooting for 4:30!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'm back!

Hello! I'm back after my last business trip. Had to take a quick trip to Dallas (actually Groesbeck Texas, abut 130 miles south of Dallas). Normally I'm in and out in two days (one day to get there, one day to finish my work and travel back). Some technical issues along with the distance from Groesbeck to Dalls conspired against me and I had to delay my return a day. I couldn;t run Thursday like I wasplanning, and had to move things to Friday instead.

So - it was a short 45 minute run for a little over 4.5 miles. I then spent some time in the gym afterwards stretching.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Something seems to be working...

Today was a short run day. I went down to Crystal Cove and ran along the coast for the allotted 45 minutes. Something seems to be working right, because I didn't run real hard, but still covered almost 5 miles!

I get a little time off now. Gotta travel tomorrow and Wednesday. Will be back to run on Thursday. See you then!

Rest day

Yesterday was a rest day. Really needed too. For some reason, I wasn't able to sleep well Saturday night, so along with being fatigued from the long run, I was more than happy to take a day off.

We start running 45 minutes on our short runs this week. I'll need to take a day off becuase of my travel schedule. Also, after Saturday, I think I'll put my cross training on vacation for a while so that I don't burn myself out. So, this afternoon - 4.5 miles!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Long, Hot Run

Santa Ana's blowing! Even though we started at 7:30AM, by the end of yesterday's long run, I was tired, hot, and dehydrated. The weather report said that it was going to be in the upper 80s. According to, Newport Beach reached a balmy 95 degrees!

Our training group had a 12 mile LSD yesterday. I knew it was going to be hot, so I left in the morning with 40 oz of liquid - 20 ounces of Ultrafuel mixed full strength (200 calories) and 20 ounces of water. When we left CDM High School, everything was quite pleasant. I am still having to old school my pace, since my Garmin is "in the shop" being repaired. I was pretty much right on a 10:00 pace for the first three miles or so. I usually like to run a little faster than a 10:00 pace so that I can relax along the way and take a running break, but with just a Polar watch, that is sometimes hard to do.

About mile 4 first problem. My morning coffee caught up to me, so I had to make a quick pit stop. Luckily, we ran the San Diego Creek trail, so there are plenty of bushes, bridge abutments, etc. to hide behind. So, I took the hit and made the stop. I was still feeling pretty good at our turnaround point at mile 6. I was still at a 10:10 pace or so at that point, even with the pit stop. It was then that the person I was running with pointed out something that hadn't registered until then - the breeze had quit blowing. For the first time I noticed that not only had the breeze stopped blowing, but the sun was blazing and it was pretty warm. I noticed too that it was very dry out - normally my clothes would be sweat soaked, but I was for the most part dry. That only means one thing - no humidity. Kind of like running in the desert.

My experience has told me that I feel much more comfortable on long runs if I replace calories. At our turnaround, I finished 100 calories of Ultrafuel. I had some water and continued back toward our start point. By mile 8 my legs were starting to feel tired. I took another 100 calories of Ultrafuel and pushed on. By mile 9 I had to take a walk break. Things went downhill (well actually uphill) from that point. I found mile 10 to be the toughest. My pace was dropping (10:15 or so), my legs were tired, and I was out of liquids. I gathered my mental strength and pushed on, slowing my pace so that I wouldn't crash and burn. I did finish in a 10:30 pace (2:06 for the 12 miles). I found a nice shady place next to the track, had a seat, and waited for my legs to stop wobbling. Whew!

I learned a couple of things today. First, my erg workout on Thursday probably wasn't a great idea. I'm travelling on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, running a 5K next Sunday. I think I'll put my cross training on hold this week. Second, I need to start thinking about fueling for the marathon. I think I need to make sure that my fuel belt is carrying calories. I went through 200 calories on yesterday's run, a little less than a half marathon. If I didn't run out of liquids, then I think I would have been okay. Marathon plan - 40 oz of Ultrafuel. I'll rely on water stations for water. Third, the marathon can be a real bugger mentally. I need to start preparing myself for the fact that I'm going to be out on the course for 4 and a half hours or more. I will be tired. I will be sore. Mentally though, I just need to put my mind to it and get it done.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Short Run Day

Very interesting these days. Short run equates to 40 minutes. That's a little over 4 miles for me at a pretty easy pace. Looks like training is working after all.

Today I ran long the coast at Crystal Cove State Park. Beautiful sunny day. A little headwind head up the coast, but that of course means tailwind on the way back. Our Saturdays are starting to get long (12 miles this week), so I really took it easy on the pace. All in all an enjoyable 40 minutes.

Tomorrow should be interesting. 12 miles - which means around the back bay. The thing that will make it interesting is the weather. It's supposed to be 89 here close to the ocean. That means the Santa Ana's are setting up, which means hot and dry. I'm hoping that it doesn't start before 9AM so that I can be done with most of my run before it gets too hot.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cross train day

Today I did something that I haven't had a chance to do for a few weeks - cross train. Between my foray into over training and my following work schedule, it seems that I just wasn't able to get to any cross training on days that I wasn't running.

The Cal Coast training plan for novice marathoners has us running Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday is our long run. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are supposed to be easy runs. I don't think we run more than 45 minutes during the week. Sunday definitely needs to be a recover day from Saturday's long run. So, that leaves Tuesday or Thursday for other things. So, yesterday I went back to my old haunt at the Newport Aquatic Center and put in a 40 minute erg session for 8 km. Spent some time in the weight room after that to stretch and do some light lifting. It was actually nice to do something different!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Back to normal

I'm back to my normal running schedule. Yesterday 40 minutes easy, 4.1 miles. Nothing real exciting. Took the lower back bay trail so that I could do the hill at the end of the run. Overall nothing of any real interest to talk about.

Today I think I'll do some cross training in the afternoon. Perhaps a light row and some time in the weight room.

One piece of good news - yesterday Garmin finally gave me an RMA and offered to take my Forerunner under warranty. So I packaged up my 305 and sent it away yesterday. It's going to be 10 to 14 days until it is repaired and returned. Until then, it's running with my Polar and pacing the old way....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Garmin is dead!

Well, not actually - it does work, but it can't communicate with anything. It all started a couple of weeks ago after a run. I started getting "USB Device Not Recognized" errors on my computer. The problem seemed to solve by just reseating the device on it's little cradle, so I didn't think much of it. A few days later though, just reseating the device did not take care of the issue. No problem I thought - I'll just reinstall the software (I use a Vista computer, so naturally I blame Microsoft for all of my software problems). I reinstalled Garmin Training Center and the USB drivers. Everything seemed to work again so I was happy!

But, after my Thursday run last week, I tried to upload watch data, and I received an error message. I spend a few hours trying to uninstall and reinstall software to no avail. I finally gave up and contacted Garmin on Friday. They indicated that there could be a hardware problem. This of course was from their software support people.They sent me a list of a few more things to try. Well, I tried them all, and I still can't communicate with my device. I'm now waiting for an RMA from Garmin so that I can return it for repair.

One word of advice for anyone with a Garmin Forerunner - hang onto that receipt! That is your proof of purchase. As it is, I'll need to pay $99 to get mine fixed.....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wow ...

It's been almost a week since I posted last. So much for a daily log!

This week was a hectic week. First, I got to travel to Hank Hill country (no offense to anyone from Texas). Got into Houston at 10:30 Tuesday night, drove an hour to Livingston, got to the job site Wednesday morning, put in a few hours, and got back to Orange County by 10PM that evening. Whew!

I did get a run in on Thursday per my training plan. I think my "rest" days did some good, because I was able to put in a pretty easy 4.2 miles on Thursday.

Friday was another issue though. Work work work. Next thing I knew, it was 5:00 PM and I hadn't even had a chance to get a bite to eat since breakfast at 6:30 AM. I was physically and mentally exhausted, and even though a run probably would have been therapeutic, I just couldn't get myself together to change and drive somewhere for a run. So instead it was dinner at this new Japanese restaurant (at least new to us), and crash for the night.

Saturday started out equally as hectic. The first thing that we had to do to start the day was to get my youngest son on a plane. It is spring break for the local public schools this week, and he had an opportunity to train (he's a rower) in Seville, Spain. Now, I do a fair amount of travelling, and I have *never* seen the airport as crowded at it was Saturday morning! We were lucky to get him on his plane and away on time. In fact, I had to "tip" a skycap to get him on his way. An hour was marginally enough time before his flight. He made it by the skin of his teeth....

With that stress point behind me, it was time for long run Saturday. Our runs are now getting quite fun. We had a 10 mile out and back on the San Diego Creek trail. I had to "old time" it as far as pace, because my Garmin is kaput (that's another story)! So, I was happy to see that my brain still worked, and I was able to maintain a 10:00 pace for the entire run.

One thing for sure - as these runs get longer, I need to start eating before the run. About mile 8 or 9, I can really start feeling it in my legs. I do carry a water belt and carry up to 40 oz of liquid. Saturday, I carried 20 oz of water, and 20 oz of Ultrafuel ( I was turned onto Ultrafuel when I was rowing. It came highly recommended by Xeno Muller, Olympic Gold and Silver medalist, as a replacement drink. The advantage of this over a drink like Gatorade is the mix of complex carbs that can be used immediately by the body for energy. I really can tell the difference when using Ultrafuel on long runs. My 20 ozs give me about 300 calories that can be used during the run. When put in perspective, the 10 mile run for me burns about 1500 calories, so the 300 is about 20% of what I burn.

Today is a rest day. Now to tackle the Garmin problem.....