Saturday, April 28, 2007

Long Run, Unremarkable; How cool.

ORN: 16.1 miles, 2:42:38, R5/W1, 10:06/mile

It is really cool to turn in a 16 mile run and really not have much to say about it. It was a beautiful day, the run went well, the splits were steady. The only really annoying thing was a dumb song I got in my head towards the end. It was the old kiddies’ song “The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout.” If that’s the worst part of a run, I’m in good shape. .

Remarkably, this run also knocked off Part A of my first
Goal for 2007. I just read that January 1 post and when I set the target of running the half-marathon distance on two consecutive weekends, I could not imagine how it would happen. Amazingly, it will likely happen when I do the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon next Saturday. I’m incredibly thankful for the ability to run. It is a simple thing, so many cannot or will not. I can and do…it is a gift, daily.

I fiddled with a new hydration system today as well. A year or so ago, I got a Camelback fanny pack. It was OK, but seemed to put a strain on my lower back and just felt awkward while running (though it works great when hiking). So, for long runs, I just reverted to driving the course ahead of time and stashing a couple of old soda bottles with Gatorade in the bushes. With the new run/walk routine, though, those spots always hit at an awkward spot, it seemed, messing up the rhythm. So, on Friday, I picked up this
Thunderbolt belt with 30 oz capacity at a local sports shop. My objective was to have a way to take a small sip during every walk break and keep it moving. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked, though it took me a couple of miles to get the belt tight enough. I’m going to sew more Velcro on it to give it more room to cinch up. I also found 30oz was not quite enough for 16 miles. But the pattern worked well.

My wife laughed at my new toy. I pointed out it was merely “Continuous Improvement.” She laughed harder; “I’m sure it is, dear, and I’m also not surprised you call it that!” She loves me anyway.

Persevere. And be grateful for spouses that understand!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Drizzled Intervals

ORN: 5.0 miles, w/ 7x800m @ 4:12

It felt very Portland-esque this morning to go run in drizzle, mist and 52F temperatures. Fitting, perhaps, that I wore my Portland Marathon shirt as I plodded through the dark. The schedule called for 7x800m intervals today at 4:30. I found that I ran them comfortably at an average of 4:12 and felt good after the last one. So, I’ll leave that as my 800m target. I have a bunch more on the plan between now and Sunburst, the first target race of the year.

Between now and then, some more fun here. Saturday’s long run is 16 miles…can’t wait to get after that. Then, a week from Saturday, I get together with 30,000 of my closest friends to run the biggest half-marathon in the US in Indianapolis. I’m treating that as a training run. I’m also seriously considering running it in a sombrero, considering it happens on Cinco de Mayo.

Major shout outs to friends this weekend. My daughter-in-law Susan is walking the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville (where else could it be?) on Saturday. This is her first attempt at a race of any kind. We sat at supper last night and she peppered me with questions about hydration, how to drink from a cup while walking and other epic topics that bored the rest of the family to tears.

Then, on Sunday,
Darrell lets it all hang out at the Eugene Marathon. Good luck, Darrell, I hope your cold clears up by then. Along with him, blogging buddies Michelle, Jenny, Sarah, Rob and others are also running. Enjoy your time, folks, have a great race.


Monday, April 23, 2007

A run, a visit, a perfect weekend

ORN: 8.3 miles, 1:17:35, run only, 9:10/mile

It was a great treat to host
Darrell on Saturday night and Sunday! With business travel keeping him on the road for a week, I was glad Gretchen and I could provide a respite from the grind of hotels and restaurant food.

As an added treat, the weekend blossomed into the most beautiful spring weather we’ve had this year, the first spring weekend we’ve enjoyed. With temps in the 60s and 70s, clear blue skies and light breezes, we showed Darrell around Purdue University, my work setting and much enjoyable conversation.

We fit our run together in on Sunday morning. Gretchen gave us both some good-natured kidding on both wearing orange shirts, as if we "coordinated our outfits." Darrell is tapering into the Eugene Marathon next Sunday, so he had 8 miles on his schedule, which fit in fine with my schedule as well. He was very kind to throttle back on his usual Zephyr-like pace for the run to accommodate me and I scrapped the run/walk process and ran away. It worked wonderfully for us both. I took him on a “tour” of the
West Lafayette Trails, past both cornfields, residential areas, commercial areas, wetlands and woods. On a spectacularly beautiful spring morning, everything looked fresh and alive. Poor Darrell probably wondered just how horrible the weather must be here normally, as I could not quit exclaiming what a beautiful day it was.

We ended up doing 8.3 miles, with splits of 9 29, 9 19, 9 23, 9 26, 9 27, 9 14, 9 14, 9 14 and 2:45 (@ 8:43 pace). Quite consistent and gradually picking up the pace, while we remained conversational throughout. It was a most enjoyable run. After cleaning up, we went to church and enjoyed a long relaxing lunch, along with my wife.

In a continuing conversation during our visit, we reflected on injuries we both have had and continue to pay close attention to: Darrell with his left hip, my right ITB. We also considered how unusual it was, in the general population, to put the word “only” in front of the term “8 mile run.” We realized it is important to keep a perspective of gratitude about running, rather than an attitude of entitlement. Every day of health we have is a gift and we are wise to receive it as such.

Relationships are central to life itself. I had a treat this weekend to enjoy Darrell’s company. Next weekend,
Michelle, Jenny, Sarah, Rob and others will get to enjoy Darrell in Eugene. How cool!! Enjoy every minute and the gift these friendships bring.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Blogging Visitor Due Saturday!

ORN: 5 miles, with (2) one mile repeats at 8:47 & 8:52

After shipping the morning daylight to all my evening running friends about six weeks ago, I'm once again starting to see the pre-dawn sky at the end of my morning runs. On a clear day like today, it is a wonderfully complex and subtle mix of grays, purples, pinks and blues. To see this, along with the return of singing birds is a joyful celebration of early spring.

For our local runners and fellow bloggers who ran the Boston Marathon yesterday, well, they would have given much to hear a chirping bird or to see the sky. I'm amazed at the performances turned in with the "wicked bad" weather in Beantown. Congratulations to each!

What a treat awaits me and my family on Saturday! Blogging buddy
Darrell will be spending the night at our house! Business travel all lined up that our place is right on the way between his necessary stops in Indianapolis and Chicago, so I’m looking forward to it. We had so much fun in December when he completed and I bonked on the Tecumseh Trail Marathon that I’m looking forward to the visit again. Yes, we talk running, but much more than that. We have much in common. I’m glad he’ll get to meet my family as well. We'll both post photos.

The welcome mat is out for all other running bloggers! Stop on by!!


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Race Report: United Way 10K

ORN: 10.1 miles total; 10km, 55:35, R5/W:30, 8:57/mile

I’ve been very fortunate this year to have several low-cost local races pop up at just the right time to let me test my revamped approach to running. Today was the third installment.

My next goal race is to go under 2 hours at the
Sunburst half marathon on June 2. To do this, I need to knock off 13.1 miles at a 9:08 pace. How will I do this with the run/walk??? Today was a test.

United Way 10K race took place this morning on the Purdue campus, just three miles from my house. As a world-class research institution, it seemed appropriate to do an experiement. I didn’t have to write a grant application though. I ponied up a mere $12, and ran the experiment; can I run at a 9:08 pace with a run 5/ walk 30 seconds pattern over 10km? How would I know how fast to run to compensate for the walking? Could I get the feel? How would I feel getting passed during the walk phase?

The day dawned grey and cold. With temps around 41, leaden skies and a stiff 20mph NE wind, it was hardly a sparking, inspiring spring day. I got to the start area about 90 minutes before the race time, got my bib and took off to do a 4 mile warm up. I wanted 10 miles for the day anyway and it proved useful to get everything loose on such a chilly day. The race itself went off on time and I got my answers. The course itself was very familiar…I’ve run every inch of it for years, as it is often at the opposite end of my normal route for runs over 13 miles.

My mile-times were 8:50, 8:57, 8:56, 9:41, 9:02, 8:47. Mile four was slow due to a long uphill climb and a loss of attention on my part. The loss of attention was quite instructive. I was pleased I caught it and cranked it up further. I wanted my last mile to be the fastest. Since the course had that mile dead into the wind, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was the case. I discovered that running at a pace of around 8:40 on the Garmin during the run phases was quite adequate. The mile splits were on my watch, not the Garmin, so I have some confidence that they were accurate.

I was very strict on the 5/:30 breakdowns. When the timer went off, I walked or ran. I was surprised, very surprised, at how invigorated I felt after merely 30 seconds of walking. It would not seem to be that way but it sure was. I also found that I fairly quickly got the feel for just what my turnover needed to be to keep the pace. It is this “feel for pace” I’m trying to find. Perhaps it came to me a bit today. During the first 3 miles of the race, I did see some people pass me while I was walking. In the last 3 miles, though our small field of 95 was spread out enough that I had my own space. In a bigger field, I’ll have to deal with it. I think it won’t be as big a deal as I fear it might.

I was also surprised at how well organized this small race in a small town was. The organizer had a new type of “chip timing” I had not seen. On the back of each bib was the chip, with a wire running around the perimeter of the bib. Nothing on the shoe at all. When we crossed the finish line, detectors on either side of the line picked up the crossing. I was in my car, heading home around 10:15am. Just after noon, I had an email, thanking me for participating, confirming my time and letting me know I was 52nd in the field of 95, but only 7th of 8 among men 50-54. Yeesh, on a college campus, I thought I’d be running with young kids…looks like all the profs showed up!

One funny item. For some reason, the mayors of both Lafayette and West Lafayette showed up to greet runners at the start. Why?? Who knows. Further, our local State Representative was there as well, not only to greet but she also sang the National Anthem, a capella and without accompaniment. I guess that’s what you have to do when in public office.

So, a good assessment of progress. On Feb 24, I ran a 10K race with a 3/1 split in 59:02. Nice to move that time down by 3.5 minutes in 8 weeks and have it be more enjoyable as well.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Orleans Report

ORN: Tuesday; 5 miles, 9:41/mile R5/W:45

I posted a complete write up on my recent
work trip to New Orleans. I set up a new blog so I'd have a place to put such odds and ends.

It took a while to write. My emotions are still pretty raw, the challenge to capture such a big event was hard, my desire to respect the people we met was real. The photos help explain it as well and it took a while to sift through all the images to find some that communicate.

So, if you care to know more, feel free to read. I hope it makes sense.

Persevere. That’s all our friends in New Orleans can do.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Follow up on comments; A cold run

ORN: 12.4 miles, R5/W1, 2:04:39, 10:02/mile

First off, kudos to
Michelle for being the first to pick up on my reference to Andy Williams in the last post and figure it out. The moon was so bright for Tuesday’s run, I kept thinking about his theme song “Moon River.” Growing up in the 60s, he was my Mom’s favorite singer. She thought this young, dashing guy with the French wife was the epitome of cool and suave. I understand Andy is now singing regularly in Branson, Missouri.

A couple of comments from that post are also worth further discussion.
Wes asked which of the Galloway plans I was following. I picked up his “Complete Book of Running” and am using the half-marathon plan with the 1:59 target time. Michelle also commented on having a plan…she has found good luck with making her own plan.

Which got me thinking “Just why use this plan?” I think there are several reasons.

First, I am fascinated by systems. Systems of thought, systems of technique; most any application with a few guiding principles that give way to multiple implementations. Really. I think about stuff like that a lot. You can ask my wife. Why else would I make a detailed
temperature chart on how to dress for every 2 degree increment and then publish it??

I’ve been using
Hal Higdon's training systems for a couple of years now and they have helped. My ITB injury over the winter, however, really rattled me and I questioned if I needed a change. I was first attracted to the Jeff Galloway plan by it’s hope for lack of injury. Getting into it, I was surprised by its emphasis on speed. I’ve been intrigued by its depth and comprehensiveness. So, I’m going to get into it to see how it works in my world.

Third, I just plain need a coach. Not being in a position to hire a coach, I use a plan as a proxy. I need someone outside of myself to help me improve. So, a plan does that as well.

Michelle’s point on making her own plan is good, yet I would suggest she has a solid coach in her cardiologist, who is helping her pay attention to her heart. That trumps any running coach issues in her case. She’s being very wise in how she handles her own health.

I’ll probably write more on the plan during the spring as I move towards my next target race on June 2.

Today’s long run was part of the Galloway experiment. Conditions were suboptimal, to say the least, with temperatures back into the mid 20s and a stiff 20mph wind out of the NW. As I headed out the door, I commented to my wife about how different
Darrell's long run would be today at Huntington Beach, watching surfer dudes, while running in shorts and a tshirt. I suggested I needed to razz him via email. She drily noted that he ought to razz me; I was the one still stuck in the Midwest, whereas he had the intelligence to leave Ohio and move to California!!

The plan called for 12 miles at a pace 2 min/mile slower than my target race pace. That would mean running today at 11:08/mile. Try as I could, I simply could not run that slowly. I tried to slow the turnover but then my mind would drift and back I went. I decided to not worry about it and just enjoy the run. So I did…it was great to be out for over 2 hours, running. At the end, bored with the slow pace, I pushed the final mile, doing it in 8:47. It was encouraging that after 11.5 miles, I could crank a decent mile and still have gas in the tank.

Happy Easter to all of you. It is an important event for me, as a follower of Christ, and I hope the weekend contains some time for personal reflection for each of you.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Andy Williams, where are you now?

ORN: 4.5 miles, 43:11; w/ two 1-mile repeats at 8:37 and 8:48

At best, it only happens once a month. Usually, only about every three months.

To have a full moon and a clear sky is a real treat. It lights up the normal darkness of the morning run. The grey/blue color it adds to the woods and the trail is fascinating. What a treat. And to do so in 63 degree weather is an added treat.

One of the unusual things about the Galloway program is its emphasis on speed work. Not just endurance. One element is the mile repeats. It is a mainstay of his marathon program that I'll be on in the fall and an optional element of the half marathon program. So, I'm getting used to it. The objective is to just run a mile at or just below the target race pace, to get your legs used to the turnover rate. Today is the second day I've used this and will continue to do this one day a week. Will it help the speed?? We'll see.

Enjoy your Tuesday. And kudos to anyone who sees the connection on today's title.