Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Speed Work...Finally...and a Garmin HR Monitor Issue

Got out to the Centennial Trail in Snohomish and ran a total of five miles, which included a 1 mile warmup, followed by 4x .5 mile fast, .5 mile slow. The fast half mile segments were:


I tried to keep them at about 5k race pace. Legs felt good, but chest & lungs are still a mess.

Okay, this has been irking me since I got my Garmin Forerunner 305 about a month ago. The HR monitor doesn't seem to settle into an "accurate" reading until about 2-3 miles into the run. Even when I'm running very slowly and KNOW that my HR is likely in the 130-135 range, it immediately jumps up to about 165 and holds there until that 2-3 mile mark, when it suddenly drops down to where it should be. I can remember ONE TIME when it seemed to read correctly the entire run. Does this happen to anyone else? If so, is there a way to get it to work properly? It's frustrating and, obviously, not very helpful.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Hills Are Alive...With the Sound of Couging

Decided I was tired of running the same course six times last week, so I made the short drive over to a local park to run my favorite hilly, 1-mile dirt/gravel loop. I had planned on going 5 miles, but cut it short at 4. My legs feel fine, but my lungs and chest are still a mess. I coughed quite a bit and had that tight, burning sensation most of the time. I hate going to the doctor, but I might find my way there this week. I've basically been sick with something or other for about a month now. I think I'm susceptible to upper respiratory infections. I had one for two months last fall (when I wasn't yet running), for which the doctor put me on antibiotics. Might be time for a little deja vu, unfortunately.
Tomorrow, my plan is to run some half mile intervals within about a 5-mile run. Hopefully I can follow through on that. I'm itching to pick up the pace!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rest is Best

Alas, the mini running streak came to an end at six days after yesterday's fatigue-filled run. I decided to give in to this war I've been waging against whatever illness I've had. My cough won't go away & I've been feeling weak & tired, so I'll probably be visiting my doctor soon. It's supposed to be rainy all day tomorrow (Monday), so the odds are, I'll be taking tomorrow off as well. I just want to get healthy again! This is getting old!
Congrats to those of you who raced this weekend. I've read a couple of good reports so far!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 6

Last night I had a slight fever of 99.9. My normal body temperature is about a degree lower than normal (usually 97.3-97.5), so it was noticeable. I had the chills, followed by the usual sweating. The fever broke sometime during the night. So, did I run today? Did I continue my silly streak, along with my "battle" against this illness? Why, yes I did! And I felt pretty sluggish and tired, too, even while only running 3.5 miles at an easy 8:43 pace. I'm not sure if I'm trying to channel my inner Nietzsche, but I may continue for a 7th day tomorrow, even with this cruddy long as the fever doesn't return.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Decent Run (While Sick)

Ran another 4.5-miler today. I haven't pushed the pace since my half marathon (coming up on 2 wks ago) and my legs were itching to let loose a bit, so I threw in a little surge during mile 2 (6:52). It felt awesome! I also pushed the pace up a 1/4 mile hill at about mile 4. What strikes me as odd is that I've been sick all week, but my runs are going fairly well. I've never been a "streak" runner (I once ran 16 days straight back in 1985), but this was my 5th day in a row and I felt stronger than in my earlier runs this week. I plan on keeping it up, although I'll probably continue to keep the pace and distance down until I get over this crud.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Should NOT... running (have a head/chest cold with a bad cough & feel weak), but I'm waging war against this illness! It seems like it doesn't get any better when I lie down or sit on my butt, so I'm going to run (albeit short and slow). This was my 4th day in a row of running while sick (4.5 miles today at an 8:44 pace). Hope it doesn't put me out of commission for the long term. I know...I'm not being very smart. I'm just really ticked off.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You've Got To Be Kidding, Part 2

Well, I indeed DID listen to the voice that said to run anyway! Just got back from an easy 4.5 mile run at an 8:38 pace. I'm waging war on this "perpetually being sick" crap.

And if you don't see a post from me again, you'll know what my stubbornness did to me...


You've Got To Be Kidding...

Went out for my first run yesterday since the October 11th Spokane Half Marathon. Ran an easy 3.5 miles, then did some strength work. I took last week off to let my body rest and recover from both the training and racing, as well as the illness that beat me up for over 2 weeks.


Last night, I started getting a cough. Again. My youngest daughter stayed home from school yesterday with a fever. My oldest daughter woke up with a fever this morning. I still have a burning, raspy cough that started last night. My wife, while holding up the best, is also under the weather. I thought I was done being sick, but it appears I'm going from one crappy illness to another. This is @#$%&* frustrating!

Part of me is saying "screw it. I'm going to run anyway". But that's probably not the part of me I should listen to. We'll see how this plays out. I'm not happy, in case it's not clear.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thumbs Can Get Sore From Too Much Twiddling

I've taken this week off from any exercise...and it's killing me! I was over the soreness from the half marathon by Wednesday. The effects from my cold are nearly gone (still tired at times and have just a very slight cough). Monday I'll strap on the running shoes and start training for next spring's marathon. At this point, I'm leaning toward the Windermere, once again in Spokane. It falls on May 15th, which gives me a full 30 weeks of training. To keep me focused for that long haul, I've got 3-4 10k races and 1 or 2 half marathons lined up along the way. My recent half marathon went well, but this time I want to focus on slowly building a bigger base, and running SLOWER during my long runs and my easy runs. Like most recreational runners, I tend to run my easy runs at too fast a pace. I'm going to fight that tendency. But, by the same token, I will also put the appropriate effort into my intervals, tempo runs and "B" races, too...all while staying injury-free. Sounds great, doesn't it? Hehe. We'll see. As for mileage, I roughly mapped out a plan that'll take me up to a 50 mile week, along with a 24-mile long run before the marathon. If I can run more miles while staying healthy and NOT overtraining, I will. I would just rather err on the side of caution, so 50 is the tentative "high" week in my plan.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Photos from Spokane Half Marathon

Spokane Half Marathon - October 11, 2009
About 8:00am, before the race. It was in the low 20's, but felt like MINUS 20!

Right before the start. There were 804 finishers in the half marathon.

The finish. They had me at 1:44:09, but was actually 1:44:04...but what's five seconds among friends? I had a nice coughing fit after this.

My sister Andrea and I. Andrea (and her husband) ran in the five mile race.

Waiting in line, after the race, to pick up my t-shirt and other post-race goodies. Still VERY cold outside!

This is the elevation profile of the race...not my EKG readout.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spokane Half Marathon, October 11, 2009

Well, I now know why the half marathon has become such a popular distance. I really enjoyed running it for the first time on Sunday, October 11th. The Spokane Half Marathon started at 8:45am...and it was FA-REEZING! The temperature at race time was about 24 degrees F (about 19 with wind chill), but the skies were crystal clear. By about mile 3, I was comfortable in my stocking cap, tights, long sleeve tech shirt over a t-shirt, and gloves. My new Brooks Defyance 2's with my old Superfeet Green inserts performed perfectly.

I've been suffering from a head and chest cold for nearly 2 weeks and, as I had feared, it did affect my running. Up until the day before, I wasn't even sure if I'd run it at all. But by 5:30am on race morning, I decided I felt good enough to take a shot at it. I'm glad I did.

The course was very scenic and featured a variety of terrain - road, sidewalk, paved trails, and, briefly, gravel trails. It was also quite hilly, including the infamous "Doomsday Hill", which came at about mile 9 of the race. There were a couple of shorter, steep hills before Doomsday, then a slight downhill (to offer a false sense relief), then over a bridge and up Doomsday for about 3/4 of a mile. As an aside, Runners World ranked Doomsday Hill as the #6 most daunting climb in a U.S. road race. Even upon cresting the hill, there's a gradual uphill for another mile or so. With this head and chest cold, i could feel that hill sap what energy I had left. I wanted to kick it into high gear for the last 5k, but that desire turned into "just hang on". With about 3/4 of a mile to go, there was another short but steep uphill that just about did me in. I fought my way up it, then turned right and ran through Riverfront Park toward the finish with what I had left. As I ran toward the finish line, I started thinking about how, just a few years ago, I thought my running days were over, and about how much I really love running. I got a big, goofy grin on my face and pumped my fist as I ran across the line and into the chute.

Here are my official race stats:
Time: 1:44:04
Pace: 7:56/mile
Overall place: 107/804
Age group: 13/34
Men: 81/258

(7:04 pace for last .1)
Note: You'll notice that my splits are all over the place. I'm sure it's obvious which miles contained the uphill portions.

My dad, stepmom, sister and her husband (the latter two ran the 5-mile race) were waiting at the finish line to greet me. It was great to have them there, braving the freezing weather, and supporting me. Right after finishing, I had a coughing fit for a couple of minutes. While I didn't cough during the race, I did have some "nose issues". Let's just say I left a lot of myself out on the course!

In hindsight, would I have done anything differently? Probably not. I wanted to go out slow, and I did. I had some trouble drinking from the little paper cups, though. I've been using bottles in training, so even when pinching the tops of the cups, I still ended up with more liquid up my nose and down my shirt than in my mouth. How would I have done if I was 100% healthy? I don't know, but if I had to guess, I'd say I probably could have gone about 1:41-1:42 or so. Back when I decided to sign up for this race, my rough goal was to break 1:45, which I did. So I've chosen to be happy with my result, even given the illness. Hey, it was a PR, after all!

A day after the race, my hips are quite sore. There was an uphill section of at least a mile where we had to run on a very slanted paved shoulder. As I ran it, I remember thinking that my hips would probably hurt later because of it. The good news is that my IT bands, which had been historically troublesome, held up just fine.

That was my "A" race for 2009. My plans now are to take the rest of this week off to rest my sore hips and get 100% healthy, then slowly start building the biggest base I can before running my first full marathon sometime next spring. Leading up to the marathon, I'll probably run 1 or 2 more half marathons and a couple of 10k races.

I want to take a minute to say a big thank-you to everyone who has been supportive and encouraging as I've trained for this race...especially with the doubts and worries I've had due to this illness. I also really appreciate the advice I've gotten from so many of you so far this year in the online running community (and, locally, from my friend Arthur). I know for a fact that it has helped me to stay out there, running more or less injury free this year, as I continue becoming a runner once again.

(photos to come soon)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Off To The Race

I'm loading up the truck and driving to Spokane this morning (across the state, 5 hours away). I'll be running the Spokane Half Marathon on Sunday. I ran another short 3.5 miles yesterday and am STILL trying to shake this head/chest cold, so my mantra for this race will be: GO OUT SLOW! I'll post a report after I get home on Monday. For all of you running races this weekend, good luck!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Short, Quick Run

I ran a short 3.5 miles today, but with some speed included. Starte with 1 mi easy (8:35), then 2 miles at sub-half marathon pace (7:14/7:09), then finished with 1/2 mi easy (4:20). My lungs burned from still being sick, but legs felt decent. Couldn't have run the 1/2 marathon today, though. Hope I get better before the race on Sunday. I was pretty wiped out, post-run. Probably shouldn't have run today. We'll see if it comes back to bite me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

From Bad to Worse

The high I got from Friday's 10-mile tempo run was followed by a pretty extreme crash. Over the weekend, I got much sicker. The cold dropped into my chest and I've had a deep, burning cough and little energy to add to the head cold I've fought for more than a week. I don't know if it would've gotten worse on its own, or if pushing myself for 10 pretty hard miles, followed by an ice bath, pushed my body over the edge. I hope this thing starts clearing up soon. I'd love to get in a couple more runs before the Spokane Half Marathon next Sunday.
I'm going to take a walk with my wife here shortly just to keep moving. I can't just lay on the couch!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Surprising Run!

I've had a head cold all week. I ran on Monday, then took the next three days off to rest and recover. Today, the cold is still kicking, but I needed (or felt I needed) to get out for a run, since my half marathon is coming up on Oct. 11th. I had scheduled a 10-mile tempo (or race pace) run for today. I ran my out-and-back course, with the intention of turning around wherever I thought I should (yeah, right). Of course, I got to the five mile mark before turning around. I ended up running the 10 miles in 1:17:41 (7:46/mile pace). I felt much better than I expected, although the last couple of miles were tough. And I wish I had had some tissues out there (I won't go into details, but it was a bit messy, thanks to the head cold). For the first time, I carried my Nathan hand-held water bottle...and I wasn't really loving it. I'm sure it'll take a few more runs to get used to it, but I think I actually prefer my belt. I switched hands every mile, but my arms and hands still got tired.
So...this run built my confidence, which I felt I needed going into the race - especially with this cold. Now I'll put it on "cruise control" from now until the race, doing a few more easy runs before taking the last 3 days (or so) off before the race.

(EDIT: the blisters I got on my 14-mile run a week ago are gone. Taking the last 3 days off due to my cold helped them heal. I ran in my new shoes again today, but used my old it was the new inserts, not the new shoes, that caused the blisters. Good to know)