Sunday, November 25, 2007

Week 44 &45

It looks like my week counter is off a week or so. No doubt the trips to Russia are to blame. Anyway, they still accurately reflect the weeks during which I trained. I did not train in Russia.

So, I put in 3 runs before leaving for Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh: 5 miles, 6 miles, and 7.5 miles. Didn't have much get up and go at all. Still tapped out from the race. I also managed to put in 3 runs the next week (2 in Pittsburgh and 1 in Connecticut): 5.5 miles, 5 miles, 8.5 miles. They went pretty well as my energy levels rebounded. The 5.5 miler was around my brother's plan. 5 laps with 5 hard climbs up a wall. The 5 miler was on a bike path. Gradual up going out and gradual back coming in. I ran the 4th mile in 5:27. Today's 8.5 miler was unexpected. I did not run very hard until the last mile. Nevertheless I put in possibly my best time on the course, which features a ~1.5 mile climb. My initial splits were about the same as other times I've run this loop: ~21 minutes for the first 3 miles. But it has become apparent that my developing strength is not slowing down. I ran smoothly up the climb and then just resumed my pace once the road flattened out. By the time I was near home I realized I could break one hour on the loop, which has maybe happened once. I ran "heavy tempo" (~95%) for the last mile and finished in 58:45. The final mile was probably 5:50ish.

I'm going to push to break 1000 miles for the year. I'm also racing one more time: a 10k December 9th. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Runs: 121
Mileage: 37.5
YTD Mileage: 862.75

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Week 43: I think "the Rand" would be proud.

Only two runs this week; 7.5 and 10 miles. I'm not running tomorrow. I raced a 10 miler today...and WON the Master's division (people over 40) in 1:02:52. It was cold. I ran hard the whole way. And I hurled on the finish line. God it was just like the good old days! The woman at the finish line asked "What's your number?" "One sixty FOOUURRuuh.. uh..uh..HUH.. puht-tu..."


(It wasn't too graphic because I hadn't eaten solid food today.)

A 10 miler is an interesting race. Being just a touch over an hour of running, you can actually run it at a pretty hard pace. More like a really long 10k than a half marathon. Funny thing, though, because it is not a very common distance, the pace I ran today ~6:17 per mile, is not a pace I really ever run. If I went out and settled into a hard training pace, I can guarantee it wouldn't be a 6:17. And you know what, I didn't really run any 6:17s today. Instead I vacillated between 6:08s and 6:25-6:30, also known as my 10k pace and my 1/2 marathon pace. The most significant mile was mile 6. At about 4.25 miles into the race I took the lead in the division, but I didn't break anybody. However, rather than run tactically and try and sit on someone and then outkick them, I opted to front run, a tactic which I seldom have the opportunity to employ. Crossing the 5 mile mark I still only had about a 10-15 second lead over three more people in my age group, so I surged. I'll admit I was paranoid the whole day about the gorilla jumping on my back because there might be some lingering fatigue from the marathon 3 weeks ago. Nonetheless I put in a 6:08 (after only running 6:33 the previous mile) and opened my lead to ~30 seconds. Then the course started winding some and I was able to stay out of sight for a bit. Mile 8 was another 6:08 and I think that pretty much sealed it. The last two miles had long straights so you could see everything going on, and frankly I was now confident the others could not put in 6:00 miles. If anyone had that in them they would have matched my surges. True by the end the next guy closed to 26 seconds back, but I was cruising the final 1/2 mile. If I needed to really kick I had it in me. I did sprint the last couple hundred yards to preserve my overall place (and thus the hurl), but I didn't kill myself to the line. I was right as rain once I got my breath back.

I'm droning on about this because I hadn't won a straight running race since high school. I've had 2nds and 3rds, but no 1sts in 22 years. Feels pretty good...good enough that I'm not running tomorrow.

Runs: 115
Mileage: 17.5
YTD Mileage: 825.25

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Week 42 and random notes

This last week was identical to the previous week; 3 runs totaling 23.55 miles. I still have the marathon in my legs and body, so anything more than a light jog feels like work. While it has it's critics, I'm starting to be a believer in the "Central Governor Theory" of fatigue. In simple terms it states that the reduced performance you see in your muscles which we see as fatigue begins in the central nervous system and is part of the bodies survival instinct. In essence your brain reduces the intensity of the muscle fibers firing to prevent long term damage to the muscles. This occurs before the muscles themselves break down. Likewise the lingering fatigue is your CNS saying, "sorry buddy, you're not ready to go yet." That's the stage I'm at right now. If I push really hard, I can go fast. In general my limbs feel okay (except today), but that big gear just isn't there yet. Nonetheless I am coming around. The 5k tempo section was 19:56 this week, and I did manage to go under 1:10 (1:09:11) for the 10.8 mile run. However, I don't think I'm ready to race 10 miles this next Saturday. Instead I'll try and be ready for the 5 miler in Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving.

In other news, it's been difficult finding time to do these updates. Two kids do keep you busy. Time is flying though (along with what is left of my sanity!). December 1 I get back on the bike to begin the long build up to Ironman. I'm no longer focused on a Kona slot. Frankly there is a great deal of luck involved with that. Instead I'm focusing on those things that I can control. If I can break 3:30 for the marathon and hold the other splits steady (or maybe even improve on the bike?) it will have been a very successful day. I'm up in the air on whether or not to run Boston precisely because it takes so long to really snap back from the effort.

Dylan and Alexandra are fast becoming the classic siblings: fights, squabbles, taking toys, etc... Dylan does almost as much instigating as Alexandra. Mommy and Daddy are going crazy! However, beneath all that they do seem to really like each other.

Oh, and I'm on T.V.! There's about a 3-5 second clip during a Nova episode on PBS (Marathon Challenge) where they show my finish at Boston in 2006. The narrator is talking about how the human being is designed for endurance. We can be out run by squirrels, but can pursue animals all day long until finally overtaking them once they are 1/2 dead from exhaustion. It's actually a really good episode for a number of reasons, clip of me aside.

I've also noticed that I've put down some decent mileage totals. I stood at 523 miles at the beginning for September. Last year was at 597. Now I'm over 800. Last year I only made it to 700 by the beginning of November. Yes last year was really low (I was riding and really burnt out on training prior to Clearwater). This year was pretty good though. ~30 mile per week average.

And how could I forget, we survived our first Nor' Easter of the year. The remnants of hurricane Noel came through yesterday. Big wind. Really big wind. Thankfully we didn't get too much rain. As it was the water was getting pushed through the sliding glass doors. The only damage on our property seems to be the canvas top to the playset. Somehow the turtle sandbox made it through unscathed! However, there are trees and branches down all over town. The sounds of chainsaws and chippers fill the air today.

Okay, gotta go. Alexandra is being "challenging" again...

3 runs week 42 (5/7.75/10.8) - 23.55

Runs: 113
Mileage: 23.55
YTD Mileage: 807.75