Archive for the ‘Running Log’ Category

Week Two

Posted: December 28, 2015 by Roberts in General Post, Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , , ,

It seems only fitting that the first obstacle to getting back on the fitness wagon would be a sprained ankle. Another sprain. Wednesday before the sun woke up, the ground was covered by a light rain. The ground was soaked, the streets were glistening, and puddles littered the ground. While crossing a large intersection, I stepped into a small puddle. Hidden under the water was a crack in the road. With a single misstep, my ankle rolled and I tumbled down. During the fall, I had a flashback of my fall the previous year in November. Strangely enough, on the other side of the same intersection was where that fall had occurred. That intersection might just be cursed.

While crawling through the intersection all I could think was, “not again. Please don’t let it be bad.” As this scene played out, the man that lived on the corner was getting into his car. Luckily he offered to give me a lift back to my house. Though it was a short three quarter mile run, it was a long three quarter mile crawl. Not my first injury, and most likely not my last. To console myself, I decided I could take it easy with the Christmas holiday over the weekend.

A holiday plus no running, equals terrible results. Sadly, for my weigh in on Monday, I wiped out all my work from the previous week. I’m currently in a competition with my neighbor, whom ever loses 10% first, the other must babysit. For that whole week, I was well in the lead. Now, however, she’s winning. I can’t let this happen. I really don’t want to watch a total of six children (my own three, plus her three).

What challenges or contests have you used to motivate yourself?

Week One…the second time.

Posted: December 26, 2015 by Roberts in Running Log
Tags: ,

My first week back on the fitness wagon is over. First, the goal setting. What is a reasonable goal in a reasonable timeframe? Let’s start with one of the key elements of my plan, training for a marathon. I’ve chosen to train for the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. As with all things, we should work to make things a little more awesome. To ratchet up the challenge, the plan is to complete the 4 Way Challenge with extra cheese. It’s four races over the course of three days: a 1 miler, 10k, 5k, and full marathon. That means I need to be race weight by the challenge weekend. That means it needs to be accomplished by May 1st. Time to break that down.

The start date is December 14th and the race is May 1st. That’s 140 days. 140 Days of focused energy on determination. More than feasible. The goal is to lose 82.3 lbs. Seems reasonable. Time to get started.

The first week of weight loss is always the most encouraging. Of course, having gone through this several times before, I know it’s just water weight. That being said, dropping from 288.5 lbs. down to 279.9 lbs. feels pretty good. It won’t always be at the pace, but even half of that should be a decent pace.

I successfully ran three times this week, five miles each, Monday, Tuesday, Friday. To top it off, Saturday was my last race of the year, The Santa 5 Miler. It was a fun race, and I’ll share my thoughts on the event at a later time. There was only one day this week when I did not hit my step goal of 12,000 steps. Next week I’ll get the job done.

Now, next week is Christmas. That means cookies, pies, candy, great food and low willpower. It’s going to be a hard week. This year we’ve started the tradition, one that my family had growing up, where the kids each take a turn picking the Christmas Eve dinner. This year my oldest got to pick. She decided on chicken fried steak. Chicken fried steak? First, where did she even have chicken fried steak? She’s eight and we’ve never served it. Come to find out, she’s had it while visiting my parents. This will be hard to stay on my diet and not derail myself in my second week of weight loss.

How do you endure through the holidays?

I am now two posts behind where I want to be.  With running combined with work, I have just not had the time.  It actually came down to choosing between running or blogging about running.  I am not sorry to say, running won the day.  This blog is to add to my runs, not take away from them.

I had two runs this weekend.  I am proud of both, each for a different reason.
On Saturday I was scheduled to do only a 2 mile run.   I had missed a 3 mile run earlier in the week, so I combined them.  When I left my house, it was perfect running weather. Thirty one lightening strikes later, I was soaked to my core.
As I ran, a storm closed in on the area. I am proud of the run simply because I had many chances to head back as the weather worsened, but I toughed it out.
Mile one: I had seen 17 lightening flashes, but no rain. No one would tell me it was a bad decision to head in. Not feeling even a sprinkle, I kept going since there was not even a sprinkle.
Mile two: A couple waves of rain hit me. If I turn back now, I would be partially dry. My health is important, and no one would think less of me.
The halfway point: I would have been drier if I had gone swimming. The cold wind combined with the rain is a quick recipe for a cold. A quick turn up ahead and I could be at my house in a couple minutes…
Mile Four: There were now more puddles than exposed road. Most of my footfalls landed in inch deep water. Should I turn back?   But then again, people would be impressed I was willing to go this far…

Mile Five: The skies cleared, the storm broke and I was heading home.
So there you have it.  I set a goal, and I didn’t go home until it was done. I don’t care that nobody would have known if I had given up. I would have. That is why I am proud of that run.

Sunday was a different run. I had thirteen miles scheduled. My PR for distance is 13.1. I just picked up a new pair of shoes, time to test them on a nice long run.

I looked outside, and all I saw was rain. There is one thing to get caught in the rain, it is another to start in the rain.  If I could run in the rain the day before, I could do it again. I grabbed my new rain jacket. Strangely, it matched my new shoes and shorts. I was about to go out in style.

Once I was suited up, I headed out. The moment I opened the door, a cold wind cut right through the jacket. It was far colder than it had been on Saturday. I looked up the road and watched the rain come down harder. I went back inside, gave a pathetic excuse to my wife, and took off my gear. I gave up. I choose not to go out.

After sitting down and trying to rationalize it to myself – “Hey, welcome to Quitters-ville!” –  I stood up, redressed, and stepped out into the rain, which seemed to have let up somewhat. I was not coming home until I had finished a half marathon.

Less than a few feet into the run I was soaked. The jacket did nothing. There is no need to rehash the run mile by mile. It was wet and cold. After many staring eyes, being splashed by many cars, and endless deep puddles, the run was done. I am proud of the run simply because I got out there. The greatest obstacle to your own success is yourself, not the world outside. It is merely a decision to overcome that is all it takes sometimes.

At the end my pace was 11’23” and I was about ten pounds heavy with rain water.

Question:

What was the worst excuse you gave to skip a run?

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As of this week I have logged over 1,000 miles since I have taken up running.  That is approximately the distance from Philadelphia, PA to Iowa City, IA or from Paris, France to Warsaw, Poland.  Of course the latter sounds more adventurous, thus the title of the post.  In my mind, it is a great milestone.  The next milestone is at 2,500 Km.

This also marks almost the end of week six of marathon training.  I should still find a marathon to sign up for.  If I don’t find one, I need to map an uninterrupted route around my area.  I can only imagine running around the area with a road map and hoping not to make a wrong turn.

I have completed two runs, both six miles, since the hydration problem on Sunday.  I have also started drinking a glass of water with a Nuun tab before each run.  A reader and friend of mine turned me on to them.  It makes for a fizzy pre-run beverage.  I have also picked up a new hydration belt, Amphipod RunLite Airstretch 2+.  I will write up a review on it later.  Suffice it to say, it was a necessary addition.

Due to work, I have not been able to stick to my running schedule this week.  Of the three runs planned, I kept two.  Of those two, only one was on the scheduled day.  As long as this does not become a habit, it won’t be a problem.  Why does life get in the way of life?

During these runs I have noticed the pace has slowed.  Both runs have been riddled with shin splints.  I have not had shin splints since my early days of running.  What could be the cause?  After thinking about it, I think it might be the shoes, which are starting to wear out.  What do you guys think?

It has been about 400 miles since my last pair.  It is about time.  Well off to another run, and maybe my final run with these shoes.

Question:

What shoes do you run with, and any suggestions?

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This was the weekend of bad runs.  I don’t want to dwell on it so much, just report it and move on.

On Saturday I needed to log 2 miles.  2 miles is nothing.  Well, it’s nothing unless your shins scream in pain for the entire run.  My goal was to beat my earlier pace, 9’42”.  I ended with a pace of 10’31”.  I lost almost an entire minute off my pace.  Deplorable!

On Sunday, the day’s planned run was 12 miles.  If I was feeling up to it, I intended to push for an extra 1.1 miles.   That’s right, I was going for a half marathon distance.  I have only done that once before.  It was time for a repeat.  My legs were feeling better, and I was ready.  Little did I know that fate had other plans.

I run with a Nike Running Hydration Belt, or rather I used to.  It has four bottles and each holds four ounces.  I hadn’t used them since last fall, and when I went to run on Sunday, I could only locate three bottles and only one lid.  What does that mean?  I could only carry four ounces of Gatorade.  That should have been enough right?  Wrong, so wrong.Nike Hyrdation Belt

When I left, 11 AM, the temperature outside was 65⁰.  By the 12:30 it was 88⁰.  By the end, the sun was burning my face.  I was through those four ounces of Gatorade in no time.  Around mile seven I could feel my legs shutting down.  Over and over I kept saying to myself, “just a little further.”  At mile eight my mind screamed back “LIAR!!!!”  My pace dropped from the mid 11s to 13s.  I soon realized I could walk faster.  With no pride, I ended the run.  The final results were 8.9 miles at pace of 11’47”.

That isn’t the worse part.  I now had to walk home.  It felt like a walk of shame.  This has been the second time I have not succeeded in my running goal for distance.  In fact, I normally feel like I can do more.  At first I questioned where my strength went.  After a mile or so I started wondering if I could ever do a full marathon.  Even with a couple short cuts, it was still a three-mile walk home.  I knew I made the right decision since I stumbled several times on the road home.  If I had more liquids I could easily have done the run.  I also should definitely have worn my hat.  So many “ifs” and so little time.   After several mental debates, I decided that I can do the distance.

Question:

What do you do for hydration on your long runs?

I have been using the Nike Hydration Belt with G2 Gatorade.

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Friday the 13th Book icon

Friday the 13th Book icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a superstitious person.  The universe does not curse a particular day of the week since an arbitrary date falls upon it.  There are enough irrational people in this world, and I have no desire to be one of them.  I have known quite a few people who claim not to be superstitious, except when it comes to the number “13.”  To combat this, I have embraced the number as much as I can, or at least to notice where the number “13” shows up in my life.  It ranges from my shoe size, my ring size, my birthday (1-3), the fact that I get off at the thirteenth stop on the train, and so on.  If “13” truly was an unlucky number, I would probably be dead by now, given how often it comes up in my life.

Why am I bringing up Friday the 13th when it carries no power to me?  I want to put into context my evening run, and how if I did believe the day was bad luck, this evening would have reinforced it.

With all good curses, things start out small with imperceptible strange coincidences.   Over time it builds until you question your sanity and sense of reason.

Throughout the day a shooting pain had stabbed along my shin.  When the pain occurred it came on so suddenly and unexpectedly, I would almost lose my balance.  After the third time, I started questioning my health.  Did I injure myself and not know it?  Was it a muscle or bone issue?  A great way to start a run.

I owed myself two runs from nights this week when I hadn’t gotten to run, one 6 miles, the other 2.  Given that I have a 12 miler on Sunday, I figured the 2 miler should be on Saturday.  After getting home and having dinner on this Friday the 13th, the earliest I could hit the road was 10:15 PM.  Yes, I am that guy that goes out running after 10 on a Friday night.  If you have been reading, you know I have started focusing on my pace, and not just the distance.  So off I went.

Coming around the bend at the end of mile one, a couple stood chatting on the sidewalk I was running on.  As I approached, they decided to start walking the same direction I was running.  It happens, so I passed them.  Around a mile and half, a minivan approached along the street.  The driver turned and pulled into a driveway along my path.  He didn’t pull all the way in, but left a half a car length to spare.  This blocked the sidewalk.  Maybe he didn’t see me.  The interior light came on, the driver opened his door and looked at me.  As I circled around behind the minivan, I heard the familiar beep beep sound as the rear door began to open, just as I was running by it.  So he saw me, and he still opened the door!  Best case scenario, opening the door forces me to run further in the middle of the street in the middle of night.  Worst case, he was trying to hit me.

My route winds throughout the neighborhood.  The couple I saw earlier must have taken a shorter route since I passed them again.  Over the course of the next couple miles I avoided three other cars parked over the sidewalk and not pulled all the way into their driveway.  Minor annoyances, nothing deadly and in a vacuum, it isn’t worth noting; however it was Friday the 13th.

Passing two and a half miles the couple was ahead of me again.  They approached a corner where the sidewalk and street end at a cross street.  I normally cross the street and make a right.  I noticed cars approaching from the left a little too fast for my taste.  When that occurs, I normally turn left, run for a bit, and then cross.  This prevents me from crossing a street with cars nearby.  That is on a normal night.  But normal does not seem to be on the table for this evening.

The couple stops.  This isn’t them just slowing down, they stop abruptly.  They don’t just stop anywhere.  They stop between the tree and the road, the only narrow “safe” space between a traffic filled road and the trees.  This forces me into the street, and into the path of an approaching car.  As I pass from the safety of the ending sidewalk and directly onto the road, they give me the stink eye, as if somehow I made the mistake of encroaching upon them.

Eventually, I turn down the dead end street that had been occupied by the opossum on a different night not too long ago.  At the end of the street a white car is parked facing me.  The driver flashed his lights not once, but three times.  THREE TIMES!  He then decided to leave the high beams on, though it was a well-lit street.  Are you afraid I didn’t see you, Mr. Parked Car?  Three or four car-lengths out, he started driving, high beams still on.  My night vision is now shot.  I was nearly at the half-way point of my run at that point, thank goodness.

A little while later, I noticed a white car parked on the side of the road.  In the car I could see two small glowing embers.  They would burn bright for a moment and then dim away.  When I saw a few strides closer I detected a scent I haven’t smelled in some time – pot.  These two are smoking up on the side of the street.  It then hits me; it is the same car that flashed their high beams at me.  They aren’t good at hiding the fact that they are smoking.  The area is just flooded with the scent.

By mile four I was in the final stretch.  Sitting at the three-way stop intersection was a jeep.  It sat there, and sat there and sat there.  I needed to cross the street.  Would he turn towards me or not?  Would he wait?  He can’t go straight, that is a house, and left would be near me.  As I got closer, the jeep began to move slowly.  The driver was looking for something on the floor, and obviously unable to find it.  The car began to idle slowly into the intersection.   The car drifted across most the intersection before the driver’s head ever emerged.  Finally he popped his head up and slammed on the brakes.  Any further and he would have been in someone’s yard, and in my path to getting home.  He most likely would have hit the curb and maybe even knocked some since into himself.

The rest of the run was uneventful.  The question is, was the run cursed, or was it good luck that none of those events became terrible accidents?  Next time should I bring out a few lucky charms (no, not the cereal), or should I trust in fate?

My goal was to beat my 6 mile pace of 11’35”.  Results, 10’52”.  Time to celebrate with a chai smoothie.

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Question:

Do you have any superstitions when it comes to your runs?

This evening I decided that for my 5 mile run, I would watch my pace.  I know I can do the distance.  The question is, can I improve?  After reviewing my past two months of runs, my fastest pace for a 5 miler was 10’28”.  I changed a couple settings on the watch, and I was off.

To track my running, I use the Nike GPS Sportswatch.  Its giant screen makes it easy to see my stats.  Every few minutes I glance down and check my progress.  The plan was, if my pace was slower than 10’30,” I would speed up.

After the first mile I cramped up.  I had eaten a Powerbar Energy Bite before leaving, and my body just does not like these things.  They will now be for post-run snacks, or WAY pre-run snacks.  Well, you can’t give up on a race after only one mile.  I checked the watch for my pace, which was still good.

Pushing through the pain, I kept moving.  For the first three miles I didn’t have any problems maintaining a sub 10’30” pace.  Then I met mile three.  Why hello mile three, how are you doing?  You have a gift for me?  How nice of you to bring the cramp back, and with a vengeance too!  No matter what part of mile three I was on, I could not reach my goal.  I needed be able to get back on pace.  But with every step, the cramp worsened.

Turning the corner on mile four, the cramp washed away.  I don’t know what made it disappear, but I’m glad it did.  No time to question, time to run.  I picked up the pace to make up for lost time.

On the last mile I pushed to catch up.  I knew that it would be close, but I also knew that I had a chance if I pushed hard.  I had forgotten to add the statistic “average pace” to my watch for the run, so all I had to judge my progress was “elapsed time” and “current pace.”  Time for some quick math!  Rather, time for some rough guessing.

My run ended in my driveway.  I hit stop in mid step, not wanting a full stop to mess up my time.  My final pace was 10’21”.  That’s right, a new PR for my five mile run.  For all my short to medium runs, I plan on using the pace screen.  I am still going to use the distance screen the long runs for now.

Now it was time for a post run smoothie.  I decided to mix it up, and concocted a chai tea smoothie.  I am not sure what inspired this, other than the box of chai tea mix in the fridge.  I decided to make it simple, since I could always alter the recipe later if it wasn’t right.

Chai Tea Smoothie:

1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
1 Cup of Ice
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Powder
1 Tbsp Honey

Step One) Put everything in a blender
Step Two) Blend
Step Three) Enjoy

Easy!  A new PR and a new smoothie… all in all not a bad day.

Question:

When you run, do you run to do a distance, or beat a pace?

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For those of you who read my last post, in the comments you may have noticed that someone offered to put together a team for the Army Ten-Miler.  Since he is in the reserves, he gets to register two weeks before the general public.  What does that mean? I can’t “forget” to register in time.  I never realized that there are so many races in Washington, DC, which is a city I love.  I believe everyone has a city, one that fits them and is a reflection of their inner self.  So why is it DC for me?  It is a very different city than most large US metropolises.  Its layout and city planning are very open.  In 1910 a law was passed to limit the height of newly constructed buildings.  What this creates is a city that is open to the sky.  Add to that the Roman architecture, and you get a sense of the culture and history.  There are places like Rock Creek Park, which is like a piece of nature cutting deep into the heart of the city.  Numerous memorials and monuments litter the city, each with their own history and story.  I could go on and on about DC.  However, I will not.  I’ll save that for another post, perhaps.  For now, let’s get back to the Army Ten-Miler (ATM).

So a reader and contributor offered to put together a team.  Now we just need runners.  I have started the process to reach out and recruit for this team.  After reading up on the race, I learned that if you don’t cross the five mile marker by 9:45 AM they end your race.  At first I thought the race started at 9 AM.  That would mean you need to run a 9’00” pace.  Not bad, faster than me, but not bad.  Then it hit me; that only works if you are in the first wave.  There is no way I could make that!  I took a deep breath.  I had agreed to do it, so it meant I would just need to train harder.  Before I let panic mode set in, I decided to look up that race start time.  Turns out that it starts at 8:00 AM.  I can do that.  I’m ready for that run.  Now with that out of the way, on to my Easter run.

I woke up this morning and the Easter Bunny had given each of my kids, my wife and me each a basket full of treats.  Ah, the Easter Bunny, you deliver to me once of my vices, the jelly bean.  Or rather, a large quantity of jelly beans.  It is only fitting that I had planned to run ten miles on Easter.  It is the best way to burn off the calories that would surely be consumed in jelly bean form.  Did I mention that I love jelly beans?

These are my Jelly Belly jelly beans, and you ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I normally bring hydration with me for any run ten miles or longer.  I also bring with me a snack, PowerBar Energy Blasts.  Unfortunately, I am out of energy blasts.  Instead, I opened a pack of PowerBar Energy Bites.  Not quite the same thing, not even close.  They are too dry to eat while running, so they are only good for a pre-run bite.  Therefore, I have decided to sign up for a monthly delivery of Energy Blasts through Amazon.com to make sure this oversight doesn’t happen again.

This is also my first planned long run since my sprain.  It has been more than a few months since I needed my hydration bottles, and now they are missing.  I knew this would make for an interesting run.  On top of that, this run would be along the same path I took on the day I sprained my ankle. It sounds like a bad sequel, “Rural Run 2: This time, no hydration or snacks.”  If I had brought jelly beans as my snack, it would have seemed somehow wrong.  So off I went with nothing but the one small 6 ounce bottle of Gatorade I could find and an iPod.

When I left the house, I was already tired from two hours of walking around the zoo with the family this morning.  The first three miles of the run were rough.  Out the door I already had a headache, and my right knee, right shin, and left ankle were all screaming at me.  No matter the pain, I always give my run at least two miles to let the joints lube up and get the juices flowing.  By mile two, it still wasn’t feeling good.  I decided to give it another mile, just one more.  By mile three, no pain… only the road.  The run itself was uneventful until the run back.  On mile seven I encountered another runner – human this time.  She was ahead of me at one point.  Her pace was similar to mine.  I pushed to catch up in order to have a companion on the lonely road.  Sadly, she turned in a different direction than my intended route.  So then I was alone once again.  It had been good to see another runner.  I hadn’t felt so crazy to be out there in the middle of nowhere.

By mile eight I was approaching the place where I had sprained my ankle.  Not this time.  I watched each footfall to make sure they landed securely.  I noticed the size of the potholes in the area.  No wonder I had sprained my ankle!

As I said, the run was uneventful.  The most important part was that I completed it.  This is the longest run I have done since the sprain, with an OK pace of 11’20.”  Not the greatest, but good enough.  The true test will be tomorrow morning.  By then my ankle will tell me how good of a run it truly was.

Question:

What do you take on long runs?

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Three more runs down.  They didn’t quite happen on the correct days, or in the correct order, but they are done.

Wednesday: 4 Miles – Treadmill Interval Training (Originally Tuesday)

Thursday: 6 Miles – Outdoor Long Distance Pace

Friday: 2 Miles – Outdoor 5k Race Pace (Originally Wednesday)

Exhaustion and working late keep disrupting my plans.  In fact, as I am writing this I am nodding off.  Why are there only 24 hours in the day?  To be fair, everyone has 24 hours in a day.  It is how you allot that time that determines your success at anything.  Of course, my body right now is playing the veto card on my choices.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, during his speech to the graduates of the University of Southern California in 2009, addressed the issue of sleep.

“I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.

Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left, and there are a lot of things you can accomplish.”

Click here for the entire speech and transcript.

I am surprised to hear the Terminator needed to sleep at all!  All joking aside, the rules are so simple.  Why are they so hard to follow?

While on the night road I met only one evening runner.  The encounter occurred as I entered a dead end around the third mile.  He stopped his run, and stared as I approached.  For some reason he seemed fixated on me.  I don’t think he even blinked.  I noticed his drool formed a pool on the pavement beneath his small, dirty feet.  I closed the distance to the end of the street.  He waited.  A few steps closer my eyes adjusted and focused while his beady eyes reflected back the streetlight.  Then he bolted in a nearby bush.

This evening prowler was an opossum, a dirty, dirty opossum.  Its face was ghost white, its body a light grey.  They are some creepy animals.  They look like rats on steroids.  I would say I would not want to meet one in a dark alley, but I pretty much did.

I started the six mile run tired.  I ended tired. The pace was terrible.  During the run I felt terrible.  The wind was terrible.  I shall dub this run “terrible.”  But I got out there and finished it.  It needed to be done.  Sometimes training isn’t fun.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty.  Sometimes it just needs to be done.

With the run done and behind me, I felt great.  No matter how bad the run, I find it cleans out my stress and worries.  They may come back later, but for a few glorious seconds, my mind is free of all things save the sound of my pounding heart, and the deep breathing of my lungs.

My two mile runs are really meant to keep a close eye on my pace and beat out my previous 5k race pace.  Of course I should have checked before I left.  I figured it was somewhere south of 10’00” and that is what I kept an eye on.  The two-miler ended up at 9’46”.  Sadly the 5k was less than that, 9’36”.  Next time I will aim for 9’30”.  This run was a nice finisher to three days of running.  It was lite, just hard enough, and timely.  Being on a Friday, it was a nice way to end out the work week and clear the mind.  Typically I listen to music on short runs, this was no different.  I asked for music suggestions on a previous post and Queen and the Police were nominated.  I like to mix things up so for this run I ran with the Sucker Punch the Soundtrack.  More importantly I ran to track number 4, a mash up of “I want it all” and “We will rock up.”  It is composed by Armageddon aka Geddy.  I don’t know much about him, but I do know it is a fantastic mash up of two great Queen songs.

Looking over my marathon training schedule, I realized there is a crucial flaw.  A vital problem, it seems.  I am training for a non-existent marathon!  I have not signed up for one, nor even found a possible one.  I need help.  I need to find a marathon for the September 22nd or the 23rd.  I want my first one to be a good experience.  It doesn’t have to be a giant event, just a good one.  I need to start looking.  Any suggestions?

All and all, it was not an eventful week of runs.  Tomorrow is a ten-miler around my neighborhood.  It will be good to get above ten miles again.  The time commitment is going to increase, of course.  The longer the run, the more time it will take.  Solution?  Speed up!  Time to do some speed work.

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Question:

Does anyone have any suggestions for a marathon on September 22nd or 23rd?

A Threesome…And a Good Duck

Posted: April 1, 2012 by Roberts in Races, Running Log
Tags: , , , , ,

Scandalous!  If you have been following, today was my second 5k and the tail end of the third week of my marathon training.  Let’s take a look at how the day unfolded.

6 AM: 2 Miles

To start the day of a race, I have been advised in the past to do a 2 mile warm up run.  When I woke up I wasn’t hungry, only dehydrated.  I decided to have a drink and head out.  Since the temperature had dropped to thirty I decided to wear my winter running pants.  The run and the pants warmed those legs right up.  As you can imagine, on cold Sunday morning the roads were empty.  I ran to Tron: Legacy again.  Since my pace on Saturday went well with it, I thought maybe there was something to the album.  I was a little worried about the Chipotle burrito.  By the half-way point my body reminded me I was carrying the extra 2 pounds of spicy meat and salsa.  I decided I needed to end the run before I vomited in my mouth.  I know, gross.  I pushed harder and shaved twenty seconds off the last mile.  In the end, my pace was five seconds off Saturday’s pace.  Considering I was a burrito-laden, breakfast-free, dehydrated, tired runner I am proud of only losing five seconds on a warm up run.  Time for the race.

9 AM: 3.1 Miles

When leaving for my race this morning, my wife and daughter both wished me good luck.  My not quite three year old son, who is into rhyming right now, said, “Good Duck.”  He thought he was the funniest person in the world.  My wife and daughter followed suit.  After numerous “Good Ducks” I was out the door for my race.

The Run Like A Fool 5k for the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic was a much smaller 5k than the Shamrock 5k in Baltimore.  A one hundred person race is far different than a five thousand person race.  A couple things clued me in.  There was no signage along the route save one turn with six traffic cones.  At the turns volunteers and campus police directed the runners with no dividers.  There were, however, more water stations than at the larger event.  The starting and finishing lines (same place) were not well marked; it was just where some staffers stood with a watch.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  I think I was just spoiled by the Shamrock run being my first.  The race and staff were fantastic, and I will most likely do that run next year as well.  It is their second time running the event, and obviously do not have the budget for a large scale run.  The volunteers had great energy and enthusiasm.  I must have been ten years north of the median age of the other runners.  Why is that important?  I was pretty much guaranteed to win my age group!  Since it is such a small event, there were no prizes for the age groups, but it makes me feel good to say I won my age group.  I am glad six people from my office joined the run.  We all wore matching company running shirts.  It looked impressive.

The race started on a track.  Looking back at it now, I don’t think I have ever run on a track other than gym class (I think I pretty much walked it then).  Three of my coworkers bolted out at the start.  Without realizing my pace I kept up with them for the lap of the track.  Reviewing my run data, I was running a 6’47’ pace.  Good duck, indeed!  For me, that is a tremendous pace, and to maintain it for a quarter mile is fantastic.  After the track I knew I could not keep up that speed without burning out.  My goal was south of 10 minutes.  Stick to the goal, and don’t over exert.  Slowly, some other runners started to pass me.  Soon it would be my turn to pass them.

After a parking lot and a long driveway, the race entered the open road.  It moved through a neighborhood.  Just past the first mile, I started noticing people coming back in the opposite direction.  Shortly after that, members of my team were passing me heading back.  We high-fived as we passed each other.  At times the solo sport can be a team effort.  By this point, due to the low number of runners overall, everyone had more than enough space.  In fact, at some points I felt I was on a solo run.

Eventually, on my return lap I approached the walkers who were still on the first half of the race…They were walking after all.  Not just walkers, walkers with dogs…little toy dogs, some of which were yorkies.  In the last mile I started passing people.  Several people had gone from running to jogging to walking.  One person, whom I will now call Captain 170, was one such person.  Captain 170 did not like being passed by me.  The first time I passed him he was walking.  He then picked up the pace and passed me, and then started walking when he was around the next bend.  He repeated this process two more times.  The last time I passed him he couldn’t pass me right away, not until the final hill.  He caught up and nudged his way past me.  We entered a narrow sidewalk where I could not pass unless I entered the street on the other side of the guard rail.  You do what you have to do.  Once on the street I started to catch him again.  We entered the final parking lot.  Cones were placed to guide you to run around the entire lot.  He chose to cut across the lot while onlookers and staffers kept pointing and yelling at him.  The shortcut gave him too much of a distance to fully close by the end.  Through the last stretch, he kept looking over his shoulder to see how close I was.  How do I know he was looking for me?  The closest person behind me was at least a tenth of a mile.  It didn’t matter to me so much; I found it funny that this college kid found it so important not to be passed by me.

I finished out the 5k with a new PR of 29’19”.  The last 5k I ran was completed in 31’33”.  Almost a full 2 minute drop!  I can live with that.  The goal for next time is below 29 minutes.

4:30 PM: 5 Miles

According to my training schedule I needed to run 10 miles today.  Of course, Nike meant a single 10 mile run.  So instead, I needed to have another run to make up the difference.  I have never attempted a threesome of runs in a single day.  I entered the run already tired.  I didn’t care about the pace, it didn’t matter.  All I needed to do was finish up the distance.  I decided to listen to a funny podcast and hit the road.  A Sunday afternoon is very different than a Sunday morning.  The streets were filled with people enjoying the day.  There were groups of children on bikes, a man creating a dust storm with a snow blower, ten year-olds playing shuffle board, and three roving bands of three teenage girls each.

One kid on a scooter raced towards me and asked me why I was running.  That is the age old question often asked of runners, myself included.  No, I don’t have an answer for you.  I used to ask myself that question, and there has never been an answer that worked.  So I have stopped asking it of myself.  Why do I need it answered?

That completes the third week of marathon training.  “Good Duck” with your running this week!

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Question:

What is the most number of runs you have done in a single day?