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).