Thursday, March 31, 2011

Closing Out the Month

An easy run on tap today, and I managed to talk another teacher into joining me for a few miles. We hit the hills around the town we teach in, and he called it good after almost five miles. I tacked on a few more and called it good.

It's been a great month. I totaled 270.1 miles for March, and quality workouts to boot. I've had slightly higher monthly totals before, but not by more than ten miles or so, and none contained the quality I've had this month (interval work, tempo work, long runs, and all the rest). Easily my best month of training ever.

Despite tomorrow being the beginning of April, looks like Old Man Winter will be returning to the area, bringing what could be a good sized snow storm along with him. Why is he coming back, did he forget his wallet or something? Doubt we'll have school tomorrow. I had a tempo run on tap, but might have to delay that until Saturday and get in an easy run instead, which is fine.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 8:05/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 129/148
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Ah, a return to the track. Today called for 14 X 100M sprints with 100M active recovery between each set after a good warm-up (and subsequent cooldown). This meant sprinting the straightaways on the track and light jogging on the turns. Fortunately, most of the snow has now melted off the track. Just two sections of snow about 10 feet wide remain, and both were on the turns, so not an issue since I was running those parts slow.

According to Pfitz, the purpose of this workout is just to work on form and give the legs some turnover. It felt great actually and was quite welcome. Fun workout, mainly because I'm so used to doing 800M or mile repeats so sprinting just 100M and then jogging the same distance seemed really easy. Not long enough to make it painful but the legs still get to move fast, which is the point. Was mindful of my form, particularly posture, arm swings and foot placement. Went well.

w/u - Ran 2.9 miles @ 7:52/mile pace.
14 X 100M sprints w/ 100M active recovery = Ran 1.8 miles @ 7:09/mile pace.
c/d - Ran 2.3 miles @ 7:45/mile pace.

AHR/MHR - 144/177 (sprints and active recovery only)
Paved roads for w/u and c/d, track for sprints.
Slightly hilly for w/u and c/d, flat for sprints.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easy Run

Just an easy seven this afternoon. Legs felt a little creaky at first. Yesterday's rest day with no active recovery following Sunday's long run no doubt contributed, but not a big deal. Once warmed up though, I felt great and had to resist the temptation to go faster.

Kind of nice knowing runs during the work week won't be much longer than this. This week won't be so bad, as it's just an 80% reduction in volume, but no doubt I'll be feeling the taper madness next week.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 8:25/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny, breezy.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, March 28, 2011

MDI vs. Boston Training Cycles & the Taper

MDI vs. Boston
I've been comparing last summer's MDI Marathon training cycle with this winter's Boston Marathon training cycle. Some similarities, some differences. Big duh there, I guess. I approached both with building up a solid base and trying to incorporate key workouts like interval work, tempo runs, long runs, etc.

For MDI, the first eight weeks (starting in June) were spent coming out of a slump where I was getting over another stress fracture during which time I had put on some unneccesary weight. I weighed 192 lbs. but late in the training cycle I got down to around 167 lbs. So, the first eight weeks was spent getting back in shape and ramping up the mileage.

For Boston, the first eight weeks (beginning in late December) was much different. It was more of making sure I was recovered from MDI and the Stone Cat Trail Marathon which I ran within three weeks of each other. I was still riding excellent fitness, so I was able to hit the ground running easier this time around, literally and figuratively. It was focused on making sure I could get back into a consistant routine comfortably after a proper recovery.

In both cycles, I very much played things by ear depending on how I was feeling. This involved pushing it when I was feeling like I could take it, and pulling back when I thought that it would risk injury or I was just feeling run down or overtrained. I've learned that I really need to listen to my body, so that continued.

While the approach was the same, what resulted was different. Looking at the last eight week section of each cycle when I was in full training mode and hitting the workouts hard, for MDI I averaged 54.7 miles a week and for Boston I've averaged 61.7 miles a week. Despite the seven miles a week increase, times look like they have also been a bit faster overall as well, though that's difficult to calculate.

So in summary, with Boston I am very pleased and encouraged. The key workouts were all there, and I honestly don't think I would have changed much. It's been a pretty harsh winter, so I'm especially glad I was able to not let it interfere with training outside. I only ran on a treadmill once this winter and that was only because it was a bonus run, and it enabled me to supervise some students on an overnight trip easier while I ran.

The Taper
I thought the taper plan I did for MDI dialed me in just right, so I'm going to do it again. Unlike the hard training, I followed the Pfitzinger taper plan much more closely. I plan to do the same this time around.

Pfitz has the three week taper going 80%, 60% and 33% for each respective week leading up to a marathon. It also involves key workouts designed to walk the fine line of letting the legs heal up in peak time for the race while also keeping them from going stale. Some think three weeks is too long for a taper, but I really like this plan because that first 80% week is more like a step-down week and isn't anything drastic. It makes for a smoother, seamless transition, in my opinion.

So for me, it breaks down like this, with my usual Mondays as rest days each week:

Three weeks out: Upper 40s for mileage. 10-15 X 100M sprints on Wednesday along with warm-up and cooldown. Friday a 5-6 mile tempo run. 15-17 miles on Sunday. The rest of the runs easy.

Two weeks out: Mid-upper 30s for mileage. 6 X 800M repeats w/ 2:00 rest in between on Thursday. 12 miles on Sunday. Rest of runs easy.

Final week: About 20 miles. Thursday, 2-3 miles at MP along with warm-up and cool-down. Rest of runs easy.

Boston Marathon Goals
I have a few, and I've mentioned them on this blog and to others in person before, but I'm hesitant to state them formally at this point. All that I'll really say for now is that I plan on running a smart, well-executed race and at the same time give absolutely everything I have.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Hay is in the Barn

Great run today. Despite a high mileage week with some pretty tough workouts I felt pretty strong during today's long run. It went quite well. Plan was to run it easy but it ended up being a moderate pace. However, it felt comfortable. Legs a bit tired, but comfortable. Fighting the headwind for the last, long stretch back home was a bit aggravating, but my pace was actually fastest during that stretch. Good signs.

I ended up with 71.8 miles this week. And it wasn't just quantity, but quality as well. This training cycle has gone very well, better than expected in fact, so I'm quite pleased. Confidence is high for Boston. Will post more on the taper plan probably tomorrow, but pizza, shower and a cold one are waiting.

Ran 21.5 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 138/154
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower to mid 30s, sunny, windy.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, handheld water bottle (for half of run, dropped off at a guardrail and picked it back up during the run).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elk Farm Loop

Chilly morning for this time of year (mid-teens) so I opted to make it a lazy morning and wait until things warmed up a bit before heading out. Did just that, and hit the road a little after 10am.

I ran a loop that goes past a local elk farm. Very hilly route, and on the climb up the ridge my energy felt great but my legs felt just a touch tired. It's shaping up to be a high mileage week so I guess they should, but regardless, not a big deal.

The elk farm is at the highest point on the route, but none were out. It's a fun downhill from there, with alternating drops and level sections that makes one feel like they are running down a ginormous staircase. Saw a couple of deer crossing the road along here at one point.

Finished up the run feeling pretty strong. Looking forward to the final long run before the taper tomorrow.

Ran 11.7 miles @ 7:47/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (didn't feel like wearing the strap).
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower to mid 30s, sunny, windy.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, March 25, 2011

La De Da De Dum

Short and slow recovery run today. Went well, but pretty uneventful. Not much else to report, other than I want to take a nap.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:44/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Brooks Mach 11, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Yasso 800s

Ah, my final full interval workout before the taper. Feels good to be done. More importantly, it went very well. My previous best for this workout was an average of 2:55 for each split. Today? 2:53. Nice, I'll gladly take it.

Was glad to get in this workout despite another longer than normal day at work. I'm on an interview committee at work and we're filling a position in our district. But given this was a key workout, I was pretty mentally pumped to get out there once the work day was done.

Tomorrow is a recovery day and work returns to normal. Both will be quite welcome!

w/u - Ran 1.7 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
Yasso 800s w/ 2:55 active recovery. Splits of 2:58, 2:52, 2:52, 2:54, 2:53, 2:52, 2:53, 2:51, 2:52, 2:50. Average of 2:53.
c/d - Ran 2.0 miles @ 9:45/mile pace.

AHR/MHR - 149/171
Paved roads.
Mostly flat for intervals, slightly hilly for w/u and c/d.
Upper 30s to mid-30s, overcast, periods of light snow flurries.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Recovery Run

Today was a long, but very productive and positive day at work. Was a bit wiped by the time I left, but thankfully I just had six miles at a recovery pace on tap for today.

Weather looks a bit schizo for tomorrow, which could make the interval workout I want to do a bit challenging. If it's slippery or slushy out, I may end up flip-flopping it with Friday's workout. That should still work out okay and not interfere with Sunday's long run.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, mostly cloudy.
Brooks Mach 11, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Afternoon 15

This is going to be a pretty challenging week, primarily with integrating a last hard week of training before the taper with an especially busy work schedule that will involve a few later than normal days.

Today work ran a bit later than usual, but not as much as tomorrow and Thursday will, so it was a good opportunity to get in a medium run. Legs felt fresh after yesterday's rest day and my energy was great. However, I felt really out of sync. It was a bit of a mystery at first, but then I figured out it was indigestion from a big, questionable lunch.

Fought through that though and ended up with a decent pace and wasn't really pushing it for much of the run, but did consciously step it up the last several miles, with the last five miles going from 7:19 down to 6:43, but it still felt pretty easy.

Tomorrow will be a light and easy day, then interval work on Thursday.

Ran 15.0 miles @ 7:30/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/160
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good Cap to the Week

Woke up and was treated to watching live online coverage of the NYC Half Marathon. It was a great way to get jazzed up for my medium-long run. So after that and a few cups of coffee and a fruit smoothie I was off.

Run went quite well. Goal was to just get in the mileage and run at whatever pace felt natural that also wasn't pushing it. Pleased to get over 60 miles a week again (61.3 to be exact), especially since I was having some minor calf issues earlier in the week which had put an initial dent in my mileage. But more important than mileage is quality, and this has been another week of that.

Feeling pretty great today also. Last week, ending the week was tough and I was tired and a bit beat up. But this week, I feel like I worked hard but still have some left in the bank. This'll work well going into next week, my last hard week of training before the taper for Boston. So close now!

Ran 17.1 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 138/155
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Around 30 to start, upper 30s to end.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker (shed for the last four miles), short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, handheld water bottle (left at guardrail 3.8 miles in, and picked it back up on the way home).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Second Run

Sunnier skies this afternoon so got in a second run today, this time with Kate. We went at her pace and just enjoyed the afternoon. Felt kind of crisp out, in that autumn like way, which was odd but not unpleasant.

This run combined with this morning's run now brings me to 14 for the day, with another 17 on tap for tomorrow. Pace will most likely be easy again tomorrow. I feel I've gotten in enough of the speedier stuff during the week, and would benefit best from simply getting in the volume over this weekend.

Ran 3.8 miles @ 10:10/mile pace. 
AHR/MHR - N/A (wonky data)
Paved roads. 
Mostly flat. 
Lower 40s, partly cloudy. 
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt. 

Importance of Easy Runs

I'm reading Ryan Hall's "Running With Joy", which really is a wealth of great running information. A large part of the book reads as his daily running log during his training period leading up to last year's Boston Marathon. Yeah, he talks about religion a lot in it, but it's more of how it pertains to him and I don't see it as being preachy. It's really just him being honest about himself, which I respect.

One thing that I was kind of surprised at is how many of his runs are "easy". And when he runs easy, he REALLY runs easy. His pace on these runs is often times in the 7:XX/mile range. Now, considering he runs marathons at roughly around 4:50/mile pace, that's a very significant slow down. And, he does them quite often and talks in depth about how they are an important part at letting the body recover while still getting in volume.

Of course, his interval work and tempo runs are jaw dropping fast, but he always supplements his training weeks with plenty of easy runs. This was encouraging to see. It's easy for me to look at other people's training logs and think "man, I should be going as fast as him/her". Fortunately, I've never gone too crazy acting out on that during this training cycle, but still, reading Hall's book has been a good mental check and underscores the importance of easy runs.

So, with that in mind, I kept the pace nice and slow today, which was welcome after yesterday's mile repeats. I was particularly happy to see that my heart rate averaged just 123 with an 8:31/mile pace. Half the time I was breathing through my nose. With the ease of the run, I concentrated on just taking in the scenery. I noticed Canadian geese hanging out in a mowed down corn field, red-winged blackbirds, and even spotted a very bright male cardinal hanging out in some brush.

The weather was also quite interesting. Yesterday, it was well into the 60s but when I woke up this morning it was snowing pretty moderately. I had hoped it would lighten up or stop by the time I had my morning coffee, but not the case and I was tired of waiting so off I went. Big, wet snowflakes fell throughout the run. Roads a bit slushy in spots, but overall not too bad and the snow made it kind of fun.

Ran 10.2 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 123/137
Paved roads, stretches covered in snow or slush.
Slightly hilly.
33 degrees, overcast, snowing.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mile Repeats in a Mighty Wind

This was likely my final session of mile repeats before the Boston Marathon, as next week I'll probably do either Yasso 800s or hill repeats for my interval work and then the week after I'll begin my taper. Last time I did mile repeats I wasn't too happy with the outcome, but not the case today.

I did five repeats with a quarter of a mile of active recovery in between. Weather was odd. Nice that it was very warm out with temps in the mid-60s, but there was a wind a blowin'... a mighty, mighty wind at that. The town's airport had gusts measuring around 40 mph and I'd say that was definitely accurate.

Splits were almost a perfect ladder. That wasn't by design. I think I went out too fast at first, recovered in the middle, then poured it on in the end. Splits were 5:51, 6:07, 6:14, 6:08 and 5:51, which averages out to 6:02/mile.

After the last repeat, I puked. It's not a successful mile repeat session unless that happens. The quarter mile of active recovery really isn't that much, so it's a tough workout. The cool down run afterwards felt like a snail's pace by comparison, but it was also a welcome way to shake the legs loose.

w/u - Ran 1.7 miles @ 7:35/mile pace.
5 X 1.0 mile repeats w/ .25 mile active recovery. Splits of 5:51, 6:07, 6:14, 6:08, 5:51. Average of 6:02/mile.
c/d - Ran 1.7 miles @ 8:45/mile pace.

AHR/MHR - 164/178 (for repeats and active recovery)
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly for warm-up and cool down, flat for the repeats.
Mid 60s, sunny, extremely windy (gusts around 40 mph).
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Perfect Running Weather

It was in the upper 50s and sunny this afternoon when I ran... PERFECT running weather! It was so nice to run in shorts and a short sleeved shirt and for it be warm enough to actually work up a sweat! Really enjoyable for sure.

Things didn't start off so enjoyable though... I had interval worked planned for today but discovered this afternoon that the battery in my Garmin was dead. Ugh. The track is still covered with snow so I was relying on the watch to measure my distances and times accurately. Decided to postpone it and just do a route I knew the mileage of and could calculate the pace based on my time.

As I was going down to the teachers' lounge to get some water before I headed out, I ran into the assistant superintendent of our school district, who is also a runner and qualified for Boston. His enthusiasm is about equal to mine and we chatted for a good 10-15 minutes about our plans and everything which put me in a much better mood after discovering the Garmin incident.

So, I was off. The run went well. I felt a little creaky at first but as the run went on I loosened up and let the pace drop. Pretty sure I had a solid progression going for each split.

Then, after the run, I ran into a few of the kids on the cross country team who are coming down to Boston to cheer me on and check out the race in general, which is really great of them. Most importantly, just seeing a race of that magnitude will hopefully make a few of them want to do it someday or simply keep their own momentum going. Nice to chat about Boston immediately after the run just as I did before it... I'm so pumped!

Ran 12.3 miles @ 7:25/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All Systems Go

I woke up this morning and the left calf felt as if it was continuing to heal, but it still felt pretty tight and like it had a ways to go. Then, this afternoon after my students had left, it suddenly hit me that the calf felt 100% better. Seriously. No tightness at all and that knot that I had been feeling had dissipated. Cool.

A cold rain was falling though and I failed to pack the proper clothing, so I opted to go home before I ran. After a nap on the couch as the rain died down, I decided I would still keep the mileage very short but pick up the pace a little to test the calf.

It went very well. Felt fine and no aggravations. Mile splits ended up being 7:19, 7:01 and 6:22. I feel confident that I'll be able to do my speed workout tomorrow with no problems. Whew.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 6:54/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast, light drizzle.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Short as a Precaution

My left calf tightened up on me a bit the other day. Felt a big old knot in the upper part of the muscle, so I've been foam rolling and massaging the crap out of it which is helping. Good test run today, and it didn't aggravate it which was good.

But as a precaution I kept today's run short. Will probably do the same for another day or two until it feels 100%. It's a bit frustrating, but at the same time I'm not too concerned. Just would be nice to be cranking it right now but no point in doing anything stupid, especially at this juncture.

Ran by the high school track to see if the snow has melted off of it yet. Nope, not yet. Won't be long though. Will be nice to do interval work there soon, but doing laps around the school is almost as good.

First run in the new pair of Kinvaras. Felt like my old pair of Kinvaras. Doesn't take much to break these bad boys in.

Ran 5.4 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 136/151
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid-40s, partly cloudy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, March 14, 2011

766.3 Miles in Saucony Kinvaras: A Review

With minimal footwear being all the craze lately, several shoe manufacturers have offered their versions of lightweight, flexible kicks to meet the demand. However, the uber-minimal shoes, like the Vibram Five Fingers, might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Enter the Saucony Kinvara. Personally, I'd consider this shoe more of a hybrid. Its lightweight (listed at 7.7 ounces) and low profile (only 4mm of heel lift) are certainly qualities of a minimal shoe. The flexibility is pretty nice also. You can't roll them up as easily as other minimal shoes, but they are certainly more flexible than traditional trainers. And there is an ample amount of cushioning, a surprising amount for a shoe that weighs as little as this one.

As a result of the above factors, it's been my go-to shoe for road runs that are 10 miles or greater. I'll also use them in shorter distances, but for those runs I'll often opt for my racing flats. But the Kinvaras are certainly versatile enough for all types of road running, and as a result it appears to be a very popular choice among runners lately, and for good reason.

I first bought these shoes back in July, when they were still relatively new to the market. I remember coming across several message board conversations where many people said they loved them, but some wondered about their durability because of the lightweight construction.

Well, I racked up 766.3 miles on mine and it's only now time to retire them. As far as feel goes, they're still great. Since I've altered my gait in favor of more of a forefoot strike, I guess I'm able to get more mileage out of my shoes (on top of running faster and dealing with less injuries, knock on wood), so in that sense they're still fine. The tread is worn down but still functional and grips okay.

Tread still fine after high mileage.
The reason for retiring them is they've just now started to develop some holes in the sides (started noticing them a month ago), and I want to break in a new pair for the Boston Marathon next month. The holes are in the outer fabric, but the inner fabric is still intact. It's to be expected after this much mileage, and in a variety of adverse weather conditions nonetheless. They've held up far better than any other road shoe I've owned, including heavier, bulkier trainers that you would think would be more solidly built.

Tear in the outer fabric developed only recently. Inner fabric still intact. 
These shoes have served me very well. They accomodate my wide forefoot very nicely and are a very comfortable fit. They simply feel great to run in and they provide the right amount of cushioning for roads. Some might complain that the cushioning reduces "ground feel", but in my opinion that's not an issue. I appreciate having some padding for longer distances, and consider ground feel a more valuable attribute for trail running.

Also, that low heel-to-forefoot differential of only 4mm really helps promote more of a forefoot strike, allowing one to easily have their foot placement under the body as opposed to in front of it. The lightweight is fantastic, and even though it weighs little, for me it has proven to be very durable and long lasting as well. 

In summary, it's the best road shoe I've ever run in. And as they say, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it". So, I welcome my new pair of Kinvaras that I know will serve me well leading up to Boston next month... and beyond:

Bring it!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

70 Mile Week

Normally after a run like yesterday's, I'd follow it up with 3-5 recovery miles just to shake things loose. Today I kept the recovery pace but added more to the distance to get me over 70 miles for the week (topped out at 70.4). This reminds of the NFL game about 10 years ago when Brett Favre called a naked bootleg and laid down for an obviously intentional sack just so Michael Strahan could have the single season sack record.

Such things are kind of pointless in the grand scheme of things, but they do serve for a good sense of accomplishment. Was glad I did it solely for that purpose, and I can take comfort in that my other workouts this past week have been pretty high quality. Nice to keep the heart rate low today and just enjoy being outside.

Scheduled rest day tomorrow.

Ran 13.5 miles @ 9:08/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 121/135
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, overcast, sprinkling the last five miles of the run.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Long Run

After a whirlwind past couple of days at the state SkillsUSA competitions for school, I was very glad to get home late last night and get a good night's sleep. My students did very well, winning the gold medal in one of the media competitions, which is very exciting.

Run went well, however 12 miles into the run I started getting really hungry. Then I remembered in the craziness of yesterday I barely ate anything. The bowl of oatmeal I had this morning clearly wasn't enough, but I toughed it out and kept the pace steady, but it wasn't as pretty as it could have been.

That aside, good run though. I had anticipated around 8:15/mile, maybe 8:00 if I was feeling good, but wanted to keep the pace easy. Ended up going faster, but it felt comfortable (hunger issues aside).

Boston is approaching fast, and so is the taper period. Just a little over two weeks until that happens. Today's long run just stacked some more hay in the barn, and it's been a very solid week, even with coming off last week's 17-mile tempo run. Confidence is high, but still some work to do until I hit the taper.

Ran 20.0 miles @ 7:48/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 139/160* (wonky data in beginning, average heart rate probably around 137)
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s to lower 40s, partly sunny, windy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap, handheld water bottle.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Short and Sweet

Dropped my students off at their competitions, made sure they were set and then squeezed in a short and easy run from the hotel to downtown Bangor and back. Light rain increased to moderate rain during the run. Sidewalks had several patches of ice so it was slow going, but wanted to keep the pace easy anyway.

Ran 5.8 miles @ 8:24/mile pace.
Paved roads and sidewalks, patches of ice.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast, light to moderate rain.
Saucony Kinvaras, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


In Bangor for a school competition. Snuck in a bonus second run of the day by hitting the hotel's treadmill. This served the secondary purpose of keeping an eye on some students hanging out downstairs. Thankful to get in a second run.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:10/mile pace.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, sleeveless shirt.

Hilly Progression Run

School competitions going on and my schedule is whacky, but it worked out well in that I had a good window to run in the morning and I was able to somewhat beat the weather. Moderate snow started to fall about midway through the run, but it was of the heavy wet variety and didn't stick to the roads, so not an issue.

Run itself went quite well. Really good hills on this route, which climbs a ridge and then rolls downhill back to the my house. It was a true progression run with the first split in 7:52 and I worked down to 6:42 for the last. Felt great.

Ran 10.1 miles @ 7:19/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (didn't feel like wearing the strap)
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast, moderate snow halfway through the run.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Beach Run

Decided to run on the beach today just for something different. Kept the pace easy and slow, as I often do with beach runs. Donned the Merrell Trail Gloves, which were a perfect choice as they are a very flexible minimal shoe but still provided plenty of warmth in somewhat chilly temperatures.

A fortunate discovery as I was getting ready to run... I pulled out my gloves and noticed I packed two different ones. Luckily, one was left handed and the other right handed. Dodged a bullet there.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 8:38/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (wonky data)
Beaches with mostly packed sand.
Very flat.
Lower 30s, overcast, breezy.
Merrell Trail Gloves, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Today I finally spotted Maine's harbingers of spring during my run... red-winged blackbirds! I was a few miles into the run when I heard their "konk-a-ree!" call and looked up in a tree and saw a few dozen of the noisy little buggers.

Fitting day to see them, as it was a beautiful afternoon out. I was overly dressed, but opted not to shed a layer out of laziness.

Run itself went well. Didn't feel very in sync at first, but that changed as the run went on. All and all went well. Work has been crazy the past few days with upcoming school competitions, so this run was most welcome.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 7:32/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 144/161
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Turtle Blood

Only goal today was recovery and shake the legs loose, so kept the distance short and the pace wicked slow. Heart rate averaged just 116 bpm. Legs a bit sore from yesterday, but not too bad. Today's run along with tomorrow's scheduled rest day are good timing and should allow for ample recovery.

Nice and warm this morning. I got out just a bit after sunrise and it was in the mid-40s. Very nice indeed, and felt great to comfortably run in shorts again.

Kept my eyes and ears open for red-winged blackbirds during the run today. No luck. These birds are among the first spring migrants and normally get here late February or early March. I'm sure they're about, I just haven't chanced upon them yet. Oh well, soon I'm sure...

Ran 3.8 miles @ 9:28/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 116/125
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 40s, overcast.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt (sleeves pushed up halfway through the run), cap.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Tiger Blood

I had mentioned a couple of times in previous posts that I didn't feel I was getting in enough medium or medium-long runs at marathon pace. Did that today (faster actually) and it went well. Very well, in fact.

Route was a bit longer than I anticipated and the pace a bit quicker. Was going for 16 miles between 7:15-7:20/mile pace but ended up with 17 miles at 7:03/mile and felt great. Patting myself on the back after this one. Great confidence booster and several more bales of hay in the barn.

Now I want food, and lots of it.

Ran 17.0 miles @ 7:03/mile.
AHR/MHR - 151/161
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s to mid-40s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt (sleeves pushed up after a few miles), short sleeved shirt, beanie.

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Friday, March 04, 2011


Simple moderate paced run on a moderately hilly route around the town I teach in. Felt okay. Haven't slept well the past few days, the result of a finally entering the realm of HDTV, and hockey on Versus. I don't think the trend will last too long though. That's why God invented DVRs.

Ran 6.7 miles @ 7:41/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 145/161
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 30s, sunny, breezy.
Brooks Mach 11, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (shed 3/4 of way through the run).

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Adidas Screws Up the 2011 Boston Marathon Jackets

Running is always about the experience. It's often about goal setting, hard work and making it happen. We often bust our butts for our goals and are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment. Often that's enough. And it should be enough. But let's face it, often times momentos are associated with our accomplishments and enhance the experience.

100-mile races give belt buckles. Marathons give medals. Our local Pineland Farm Trail Races give cowbells. The Bradbury Mountain Trail Running Series and Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series both give "Bad Ass" awards for doing all three races. The Mt. Washington Road Race bumper stickers which say "The Driver of This Car Ran Mt. Washington", cleverly modeled after the ones they give out to those who drive their gas guzzlers to the top. There are many more, but hopefully you get the idea. 

These become important objects because they are earned. They become part of the goal and they symbolize our efforts and are constant visual reminders to us (and others) of what we worked hard for and what we are about, at least in part. Yes, it shouldn't be about the goods. But in part, for many of us it is.

Enter the Boston Marathon jacket:

These jackets have traditionally been somewhat flashy and had a high quality embroidered Boston Athletic Association logo on them. Even if purchased separately, it's still THE icon for Boston Marathon runners, if you care about that sort of thing. 

However, this year the logo is silk screened, not embroidered. The problem with that is durability, with a reported life span of just a few years before it wears away based on other jackets of similar design. 

Adidas is claiming it was an error. Okay, that's fine and dandy. After all, mistakes happen. How an alleged mistake such as this one happened is beyond me and reeks of incompetence (or something fishier), but whatever... apologize and correct the mistake. But apparently Adidas won't make things right. C'mon they've had several months to fix the problem... they just won't.

Here's the blanket response they've been giving to customers who ordered the jacket before the race (and many are returning them after seeing the poor quality):

We sincerely appreciate your feedback on the Official Boston Marathon Jacket. You helped us discover an error made in our supply chain that resulted in a screen printed logo instead of embroidered logo. As seen in previous images on, we thought we were getting embroidered products too. We apologize for the confusion and thank you for alerting us.

While not what was anticipated, the Official Boston Marathon Jacket for 2011 is screen printed. 

We take this situation very seriously and have taken the following steps to address the situation:
(1) We have re-priced the product to $85
(2) Purchasers on prior to Feb 15, 2011, we will be emailing you to arrange a credit for the difference.

We have been proud partners with the Boston Athletic Association for many years and value deeply the event and our relationship with the marathon and its participants. We look forward to seeing you at the 115th Boston Marathon.

Most large corporations only care about one thing: money.  So I thought I'd translate the above message to what I think is the reality of their thinking:

Alright, yet another person who's bugging us about our screw up on the Official Boston Marathon Jacket, so I guess we feel obligated to respond. Unfortunately, you discovered an error made in our supply chain that of course we knew about but hoped nobody would raise much stink about in regards to a low-quality printed logo with a short life span as opposed to the time-tested embroidered logo. As seen in previous images on, we thought we'd tease you a bit with what it should have been like and we refuse to take the steps to put out embroidered ones for the expo even though we have months to do so. We apologize for sucking as a company, but hey, we'll take a chance at pissing off tens of thousands of runners rather than do the right thing and please our customers.

While not what was anticipated, the Official Boston Marathon Jacket for 2011 is screen printed so deal with it and buy our stuff. 

Here, to make ourselves feel better, here you go:
(1) We have re-priced the product to $85
(2) Purchasers on prior to Feb 15, 2011, we will be emailing you to arrange a credit for the difference. 

We have been proud partners with the Boston Athletic Association for many years and we're too stupid to realize that we are taking a giant dump on our relationship with them and you. We look forward to you hopefully buying more of our stuff at the 115th Boston Marathon. 

Okay, and as a courtesy to Adidas, I will go ahead and write the message they should be sending to customers:

We screwed up and are sincerely sorry. We'll make it right. Fortunately, because we are a big company we'll utilize our resources and make sure embroidered jackets will be available for purchase at the expo.

We've even figured out a way to do it without hiring the services of sweat shops overseas. If you already purchased one of the silk screened models, you may send it back and we'll happily exchange it for an embroidered one when they're ready.

See, was that so hard? For many folks, myself included, this could be our only shot at running the Boston Marathon, especially with harder qualification standards set to go in effect. That makes the jacket quality all the more important. Thanks a lot Adidas.

Postholing Along

I forgot to pack my hat and gloves in my workout bag, so running from work this afternoon wasn't a good option. Instead, I zipped home, changed and ran from there. I normally don't like to do that, as when I get home from work I associate it with relaxing and chilling out, making it difficult mentally for me to get out for a run. Much easier to just run from work.

Given the circumstances, I got over that today though and hit the trails in the woods behind house. The snowmobile trails were much softer than I anticipated and I postholed quite a bit. Nothing deep, but enough to rob momentum and make it slow going. Was a good workout though. Despite that, didn't push it too much and the overall effort was easy.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 9:30/mile pace.
Trails with soft snow.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Snow Squall of Death!

My afternoon run started out innocently enough... the sun was shining through partly cloudy skies and it was a warm 43 degrees out. I enjoyed the first few miles thinking the windbreaker I was wearing might be too much, but was thankful I was wearing shorts.

Then the road took a turn, and I got a better view towards the northwest...

Dark, ominous clouds were on the horizon and they soon overtook the skies above. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped. And then, heavy wet snowflakes began to fall horizontally, heavily reducing visibility and sticking to my sunglasses. Snow squall!!!

Finished up the run, got in my car and began driving home. Ten minutes later, the sun took back over the skies and the winds died. It was as if it never happened. Welcome to late winter/early spring weather in Maine.

Ran 5.7 miles @ 7:32/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 142/160
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s to mid-30s, partly cloudy to overcast with heavy snow and winds.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Short and Sweet

This is a step-down week, so just a short run on tap for today. Felt full of energy and all around great. The weather helped. Though it was in the mid-30s, it felt much warmer with the lack of wind and cloudless sky with a sun that is increasingly rising higher into the sky as we approach spring. I shed the windbreaker about a mile and a half into the run and was comfortable in just a short sleeved shirt.

Seven weeks until Boston. Wow, coming up so fast. I must say, it really adds to spring. I look forward to spring every year... warmer temps, trail runs where my shoes meet mud, dirt and rocks and not snow, running in shorts, baseball season... Just throwing the Boston Marathon in the mix makes it even nicer.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:13/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (pffffft, didn't feel like wearing the strap)
Paved roads, several puddles, some patches of slush.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 30s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 11, long pants, short sleeved shirt, windbreaker (shed 1.5 miles into the run), beanie, gloves