Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On the Road Again

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:14/mile pace.
AHR = 146
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower 40s, sunny.

Felt good to run again after the two day layoff. Took it slow and easy. Left knee barked a bit. Will likely see a doctor to get it checked out.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The New Plan

Once I get confirmation from the new race director of the Sugarloaf Marathon that it will still be a Boston Qualifier, I'll sign up immediately. I emailed the RD yesterday to confirm that the race is still on, and got a quick response back that it was. The website is down though, apparentely due to the busy ski season and them being shorthanded as a result. However, I found this link which says:

"Despite the mountainous surroundings, Sugarloaf’s course has been ranked among the top 15 fastest in the nation! The first 5 miles are flat; miles 5 through 10 are rolling hills with a sustained gradual 2-mile climb at mile 8. The last 16 miles are downhill and flat for a net elevation loss of over 500’ from start to finish."

Sounds good to me. I've read and heard lots of other great things about it. The race this year is on May 20th, allowing me to continue to build on my training while also not having to wait too long. I'll run it a little smarter this time, while continuing to improve my speed and endurance.

Speaking of endurance... once Sugarloaf is said and done, I'll gear my training towards the Vermont 100. I got a confirmation email from the RD a few weeks saying I'm all set, and I've already put together an excellent crew to help me through it. Look for my name on the entrants list when they post it (should be any day now). Training for that will involve a lot more trails and hills at longer distances and slower paces.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Big, Fat DNF

Wow, what can I say. I am truly humbled. The knee felt absolutely perfect today, the weather couldn't have been better, and up until mile 14 or so, I was running the race I wanted to run and doing just fine. Everything was working in my favor. And then, the wall. I saw the signs shortly after the half-marathon point, and then they increased expotentially to the point where I knew qualifying for Boston was no longer going to be possible. So, rather than slogging through and finishing, I decided to save my body and drop out a little before mile 18.

I'm bummed. But at the same time I know I gave it my all, and I'm pretty content with that. I just didn't have it in me. More work needs to be done, and I'll get there.

Mile 1 6:54
Mile 2 6:53
Mile 3 7:01
Mile 4 7:02
Mile 5 7:00
Mile 6 6:52
Mile 7 6:55
Mile 8 7:03
Mile 9 7:01
Mile 10 6:50
Mile 11 7:08
Mile 12 7:01
Mile 13 7:02
Mile 14 7:12
Mile 15 7:35
Mile 16 6:46
Mile 17 7:26
To 17.75: 8:32/mile pace

While to me the splits look good on the computer screen and the fall and decision to DNF seems very abrupt, the splits alone don't tell the tale. What I was actually feeling was a very different story. Mile 15 felt twice as tough as the mile before and seeing the slow split startled me. I paniced, and somehow managed to fly that next mile also with immense effort. However, mile 17 felt even tougher and from there until the point I made the decision to drop out, expontentially tougher. Mind over matter just wasn't cutting it.

Part of me wonders that if I had stuck with shooting for 7:10/miles, things would have been different. But I decided about a month ago I was going to shoot higher. However, I feel little regret in going the route I did. Some regret, but just a little. It's what I chose to do and I thought I could do it for the duration, or at least until closer to the end and hold on. Just not the case.

I'm leaning towards the Sugarloaf Marathon in May. I'll be 35 years old by then, meaning I'll have five extra minutes to BQ. I anticipate being in much better shape by then also, not to mention a little wiser.

Got to meet Mark. Really nice guy and it was nice to meet someone from blog-land face to face. Thanks for cheering me on, Mark.

Big thanks to those of you out in blogland for your help along the way. Reading your training and race reports is an immense source of inspiration, not to mention information.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Marathon Eve

Ran 2.0 miles @ 8:30/mile pace.
AHR = 146
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 20's, sunny.

Just an easy two miles with my buddy Andy I'm staying with down here on Cape Cod. Knee felt fine. Bring on the thon, I'm ready.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Bad and the Good

Ran 4.0 miles @ 8:09/mile pace.
AHR = 150
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.

First, the bad: The first three miles of this run, the left knee was still barking. I was going slow, concentrating on keeping my HR below 150. There would be the occasional twinge of pain that feels like a sprain. I could still run on it, but began wondering if I was limping in the slightest. It was distracting, and I began to seriously wonder how it'd affect me on Sunday.

But then (the good)...: Perhaps out of aggravation, I decided to test the knee and pick up the pace on the last mile (7:13/HR=162). I really felt it was important to give it a try and see what would happen. Practically no pain whatsoever. The only thing I felt was just a light touch of tightness that was barely noticeable. My stride felt smooth and natural. How'd that happen? Whatever, I'll take it. My spirits were lifted and I felt I could keep it up for another 25.2, but we'll save that for Sunday.

I'm heading down to the Cape tonight. Very fortunately, the weather forecast looks very favorable. Highs that day in the upper 30s, not too windy, and sunny.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Warming Up

Ran 6.1 miles @ 8:28/mile pace.
AHR = 145
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, sunny.

Sunny skies and temps in the mid-30s felt downright tropical today. It was nice to be able to run with just a long sleeve shirt on over a short sleeved one and long pants. Ah, the freedom.

My left knee sprain made itself known again today. Felt it again out of the blue when I woke up this morning, and definitely noticeable during the run. I don't think it's that big of a deal, but it does warrant careful monitoring. May take a rest day tomorrow as a precaution. In the meantime, plenty of ice and anti-inflammatories.

The run itself... took it slow and easy with the goal of not letting my heart rate get above 149. I set the alarm on my Forerunner to go off when it got above that. Very nifty for sure, not to mention valuable. This gadget continues to impress me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quick Four

Ran 4.0 miles @ 7:34/mile pace.
AHR = 153
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid teens, overcast.

Short run, and by the time it was over, I was just beginning to feel warmed up. Had planned on doing between six and seven miles, but the need for a bathroom break and also cold toes from wearing the wrong socks led me to cutting it short.

I'm continuing to get familiar with the Forerunner 305. Here's a breakdown of the splits and the data from each one:

Mile 1: 8:06, AHR 142
Mile 2: 7:55, AHR 154
Mile 3: 7:04, AHR 160
Mile 4: 7:13, AHR 162

This was an out and back route, so miles one and four were along the same stretch and had the biggest changes in elevation. But what I found interesting is the data for miles two and three, which were also along the same flat stretch. Though I picked up the pace in mile three by :51 a mile, my heart rate only increased six BPM. Cool.

Monday, February 19, 2007

XC Skiing

XC Skied 1.25 miles
AHR = 119
Snowmobile trails.
Moderately hilly.
17 degrees, sunny.

Today's a rest day, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to do a little XC skiing in the woods behind my house. Took it easy and was careful not to twist anything that's not meant to be twisted. My neighbor packed down the trails nicely with his snowmobile, and they were the perfect firmness for skiing. Was able to push up the hills easily and had a lot of fun zooming down them.

I should have brought my camera out there and posted some pictures. Very beautiful back there. Next time for sure.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Garmin Forerunner 305

Ran 5.7 miles @ 7:39/mile pace.
AHR - 154
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid-20's, snowing.

First off, congrats to my brother who successfully ran his first marathon today down in Tampa. Also congrats to my father who had another BQ time in his Gainesville marathon, and finished first in his AG.

While they were doing their races, I set out for 5.7 miles with my new toy, the Garmin Forerunner 305. Very happy with it. Noticed big changes in performance and options from my Forerunner 201.

The one big feature the new one has over my old one is the heart rate monitor. I found it to be very comfortable, and it was really neat to see my HR at various stages during the run. For example, I kept a pretty consistent HR throughout the run. However, my splits going up the big hill (about two miles long) were around 7:45. Splits going down the same hill were around 7:27. Interesting to see the difference gravity made in putting out the faster time while my aerobic effort was still the same.

While that's all fine and dandy, I did also learn something given the HR data. I was going way too fast for a recovery run. Splits alone should normally tell me that, but I felt the run was pretty effortless. Knowing the HR zones and that I probably should have been at least 10 beats per minute slower shows that it should have been more effortless. Definitely better motivation for me to take it easy. Man, how I'm wishing I would have had this yesterday when I did my tempo run.

Also, this model picks up the satellites wicked fast. I was locked on indoors in my computer room within five seconds! With the 201, I'd have to leave it outside for a few minutes to get a lock.

The smaller size is also welcome, and I love the layout. Nice having the start/stop and split buttons on the face of the unit, rather than the sides. On the screen, you can also have four sets of data showing at once, and to go to another screen with other data (all customizable) just takes the press of a button. An expensive purchase, but well justified, in my opinion.

As for the workout, the run itself was rather pleasant. Light snow falling throughout the run, and I was out early enough (8am) where car traffic was minimal, not that it's ever heavy. The dirt road I normally take back down the hill was still pretty thick with snow, despite being plowed, so I just went back down the way I came.

Rest day tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Engine Check

Ran 9.0 miles @ 7:01/mile pace. Includes 5.0 miles @ 6:41/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
30 degrees, sunny.

It's seemingly been a while since my last MP workout. This was my last big one before the marathon a week from tomorrow. I came out of the gate pretty strong. Probably should have spent the first few miles in warm up, but my over anxiousness got the better of me. I ended up setting a five mile PR, beating my previous set at the Peaks Island Road Race by :02. I'm not going to lie, it felt a bit tough, but I was also way under my projected MP, about :30 for each split (7:10/mile is projected MP).

After the first 5.0 miles, I took the last four miles as a cool down. Ended up progressing faster and hitting the final mile at under MP.

First 5.0 miles:

Last 4.0 mile cooldown:

Good run. Felt great to push the foot on the gas. The knee sprain/IT band/whatever wasn't a factor at all, and is now pretty much an after thought.

Worth mentioning: My brother is running his first marathon tomorrow down in Tampa. My father is also running a marathon tomorrow, two hours north in Gainesville. Not sure how many it is for him, but it's definitely a plethora.

Eight days to go for me.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Teeny Tiny Run

Ran 2.2 miles @ 9:05/mile pace.
Paved roads (snowy, icy)
Slightly hilly.
20 degrees, extremely windy.

Yes, slow and short. Reason was it was entirely with a couple of my coworkers, one of who is still relatively new to running. Normally I'll do the run with them as a warm-up and continue on and do my own training once they are done. Today, I just opted to stop here.

The sprained knee has been making leaps and bounds in recovery over the past few days. It was in the back of my mind that it'd still linger until my marathon. I honestly don't think that'll be the case now, which is good.

Will likely get in some MP miles tomorrow, on the condition that the roads are safe enough to push in the throttle. Still lots of ice and blowing snow on the shoulders.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Post-Blizzard Run

Ran 7.0 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
Paved roads (icy, snowy)
Slightly hilly.
Temps in mid-teens, very windy. Windchill around 0.

Yesterday's blizzard left over a foot of snow in it's wake... not a heck of a lot, relatively speaking, but with today's high winds, the roads were far from clear. Just had to be mindful of footing and keep an extra close eye on traffic since the shoulders of the roads were narrow to non-existant.

The second week of tapering comes to a close this weekend. With the lighter schedule, my legs are feeling quite strong and raring to go. The knee sprain lingers, but I don't consider it to be much of an issue. Just have to be careful with it, and keep icing it. Bring on Hyannis!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:28/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid-teens, sunny.

Nice easy run today with a few co-workers. Liked the pace, served as a good test for the IT band in the left knee, which felt great. It still feels just a little tight, but today definitely did not aggravate it, and maybe even loosened it up a little.

Major snowstorm heading in tonight. We could get up to 20" by the time it's done, according to the weather folks. Snowday is all but inevitable tomorrow, and maybe even Thursday. Running might be impossible tomorrow, but snowshoeing or XC skiing will likely be on the agenda. Some good cross training. When not outside, I'll be inside cooking or reading. Woohoo!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just as a Precaution

I decided to rest today. Aggravated my IT band on the left knee just a little during yesterday's run. This happened to me last November and it wasn't a big deal. Don't see this being too much different, but I thought giving it a rest today would do it some good.

What stinks about doing that is today is such a nice day. Sunny, no winds, and a seemingly tropical high of around 25. I did take advantage of it though, and went ice fishing and snowmobiling with my neighbors out on the local lake. (nothing was caught)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cloudy Saturday

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:40/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
20 degrees, overcast.

Overcast skies today, but slightly warmer and little wind. Definitely a big break from how it's been much of this week. Set out at an easy pace. Felt somewhat labored, but I think that's mostly from a poor diet the past day or so. Much healthier eating in the days to come for sure. Other than that, the run was pretty uneventful, which isn't to say it wasn't enjoyable.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Ran 5.3 miles @ 7:05/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid teens, very windy.

The insane winds continue, and the first half of my run was right into it and up a very gradual hill. It made for a very good resistance workout. The route I did today was an out and back, and I kept reminding myself that the return trip would be cake. It was, and I hit the last two full miles at 6:31 and 6:22 respectively.

I also had a very impressive array of snotsicles hanging from the beard. It was rather cool looking. Made me feel like a yeti.

The trend for most of the week with the winds is that they've been picking up throughout the day and peaking in the afternoon, which is when I do most of my runs during the work week. I'm looking forward to getting an earlier start in the morning tomorrow to hopefully minimize it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Running With the Wind

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:53/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid-upper teens. Winds ~ 25mph, gusts up to 40 mph.

It's been windy all week, but today takes the cake. The push was appreciated when it was at our backs, but running into it was definitely a good workout. The blowing snow stung when it hit and I was glad I was wearing my sunglasses for protection. Kind of fun to run in, truth be told.

I had thought about doing seven miles today, but decided I still feel a tad more sore than I'd like from Sunday so I just did five. The run was with one of the teachers I work with who really made great strides last year before throwing out his back.

Looking ahead, tomorrow will likely be another five miles. Saturday likely will be seven or eight with some miles at MP thrown in. Sunday around 14.o miles at an easy pace.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sub-Zero Windchills (again)

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
Paved Roads.
Very hilly.
Temps in mid-teens. Windy.

Today's run was a good one. I'm recovering nicely from Sunday, and I had to tell myself to put on the brakes for the last few miles. I take that as a good sign. Another windy and cold day today, with sub-zero windchills. At least it was sunny out. That always seems to make a big difference, mentally.

I don't want to put the cart before the horse and am hesitant to mention this, but I spent a few moments of my free time on the Boston Marathon website to accompany my daydreaming. I'm very mindful though about getting overconfident for qualifying. On the other hand, looking at the site and thinking about the race is a great motivational tool.

I also sent off my paperwork and a very large check for my entry into the Vermont 100 which takes place in July. I already qualified for that one at least. Lot's of fun events to look forward to.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Taper Time

Ran 6.2 miles @ 8:56/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper teens, windy.

It felt good to hit the road again after the rest day yesterday. It's also nice knowing that I can take it relatively easy during the next two and a half weeks while I taper down.

Today I ran the first 5K with a couple of coworkers, one who never ran that distance before. They're doing great and are highly motivated, despite the weather. After they were done with the first 5K loop, I went out for another. That second one put in some faster times, but still well within recovery range (~8:15/mile), which is what I wanted.

Cold weather continues through the week. Doesn't matter much, I think we're all pretty used to it at this point.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ten Plus Ten: A Tale of Two Runs

20.2 miles total.

First 10.2 miles @ 7:22/mile overall pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower teens, very windy. Sunny.

Second 10.0 miles (Race).
6:57/mile pace.
Overall: 88th out of 660.
Age group (30-34M): 12 out of 34.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid teens, very windy. Sunny.

Plan today was to run the course of the Mid Winter Ten Mile Classic course twice. Once before the race, time the ending of that run to the start of the race, and then run the race. It turned out I got lost during the first part of the pre-race run, due to not paying attention. Still got in 10.2 miles though, and simply backtracked the way I came. Windchills were likely below zero when I started. It was frigid, but I was dressed fine. Plan was to kick in the last four miles at marathon pace. That's what happened, in addition to mile 4 being at MP.

Splits for pre-race 10.2 mile run:

Mile 1: 8:00
Mile 2: 7:53
Mile 3: 7:35
(extra .2 miles here, due to taking wrong turn, GPS turned off. Pace about same as mile 3)
Mile 4: 7:13
Mile 5: 7:28
Mile 6: 7:25
Mile 7: 7:07
Mile 8: 6:59
Mile 9: 7:03
Mile 10: 6:45

My timing worked out well, as this run ended with just ten minutes before the start of the race. Was able to swig some water and eat a banana before the start of the race.

Splits for the race:
Mile 1: 7:06
Mile 2: 7:12
Mile 3: 6:54
Mile 4: 6:38
Mile 5: 6:37
Mile 6: 6:49
Mile 7: 6:58
Mile 8: 6:49
Mile 9: 6:47
Mile 10: 6:53

Was very pleased with both runs. Great confidence booster for BQ'ing for sure. Felt good during both runs. Race segment was a little tough, but what do you expect? I felt as if I could have kept going and kept up the pace.

Special thanks to Mark who originally suggested I do this. I probably wouldn't have otherwise. It was a great workout and also a good indicator of where I'm at with my running.

Three weeks to go to the Hyannis Marathon. The hay is in the barn and the taper begins now.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Coasting to Sunday

Ran 7.0 miles @ 7:59/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
30 degrees, overcast.

I've come up with the game plan for the rest of this week and into next week and somewhat beyond. Feeling pretty good about it. Goal today was seven at an easy pace. The run itself went very well. Legs felt pleasantly sore, I suspect I'll be in good shape for Sunday. Nothing flashy to report, just went at an easy and enjoyable pace.

Tomorrow I'm planning on the same as today. That'll put me at slightly over 70 miles for the week after Sunday's 20 miler, the last 10 of which will be during a race. Then, it's taper time.

Speaking of the taper, I'm probably going to do around 45 miles next week. Second to last week before the marathon I'm planning on running around 35 and the week before around 28. The marathon is almost here, woohoo!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ten More

Ran 10.2 miles @ 7:50/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Temps around 30 degrees, partly cloudy.

Relatively warm out today. Legs didn't take as long to warm up as a result. That didn't matter much, as the goal was to run at recovery pace. I went a bit faster than that, but still a good run.

I'm debating how much running I want to do tomorrow and Saturday. Would be nice to have legs semi-fresh for the Sunday run (back-to-back 10mile run + 10 mile race), but I also want to get in a good amount of mileage for the week before the taper.