Monday, November 30, 2009

November Wrap-Up

My family and I spent the last few days in Spokane, WA. It's our annual tradition to spend Thanksgiving with my Dad, Stepmom, Sister and Brother-in-Law. Had a great visit (aside from my ugly fall while ice skating...right onto my left hip. Ouch). Ran a couple of times while we were there - once with a guy I met via (Keith). Like myself, he also ran the Spokane Half Marathon back in October, albeit 9 minutes faster than I did. Anyway, he talked me into running on a relay team next July. The race starts in downtown Spokane and ends on top of Mt. Spokane (34+ miles). Should be fun.

November was a good running month. Here are the numbers:

Runs: 22
Miles: 116.7
Races: Fowl Fun Run 10k - 44:06

This was my highest mileage month of the year so far. In past years, when I've tried to "get back into running", I bumped up my mileage far too quickly and became either overtrained, injured, or both. It's for this reason that it took me so long to get my mileage even up to this modest amount. December will likely be a bit higher.

I hope everyone here in the U.S. enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I've probably got a couple of extra pounds to run off in the next few days!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tempo Tuesday

Today I ran a total of 6 miles; 3 of which was run at "tempo" pace. Actually, it was probably more like a time trial. I started with two warm up miles (8:42, 8:44), then three hard miles (7:00, 6:49, 6:55 - 20:44, for a 6:55 pace), then a cool down mile (8:27). The hard section was tough. I struggled to hold my form. One thing I need to focus on is relaxing when I'm running hard - especially my upper body (shoulders, neck, head). I tend to tighten up, which wastes energy and makes it harder to keep my form in check. I am happy with my progress, though. It's been awhile since I could run three miles at under a 7:00 pace, especially on my own. I may do one more speed workout before my next 10k (Dec. 12th), then switch my focus to primarily building up my base and, particularly, my long runs as I start training for my first marathon on May 15th of next year.
Have a great Thanksgiving week, everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Long Run Friday

I ran a very enjoyable 12 miler today. First time over 10 miles since the Spokane Half Marathon, on Oct. 11th. Even though I could have done without, I practiced my on-the-run nutrition. I started drinking Heed at mile 4, then drank every 2 miles after that. I also ate my first vanilla Hammer Gel (which I liked); 1/3 of it at mile 4, 1/3 at mile 6, and 1/3 at mile 8. It all worked perfectly. Never had any stomach issues, and I'm really getting used to the belt. I'll run a 3.5 mile recovery run tomorrow, for a weekly total of 31 miles...which will be my highest week of the year, embarrassingly enough. Even during my buildup to the half marathon, I topped out at only a 30 mile week. I'm still slowly building the miles this year just to keep my legs (primarily my IT band) from rebelling. After next month's 10k, I'll be focusing on increasing my long runs and weekly mileage in my marathon buildup.
Have a great weekend...and good luck to those of you racing - especially my podcast & blogger friends running the Philadelphia Marathon. Run strong you guys and gals!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fowl Fun Run 10k

Today was the Fowl Fun Run 10K, in Mount Vernon, WA. The race started at 10:00, which was kind of nice, since it was a cold, clear morning (36 degrees at race time). I ran a warmup mile and decided to go with just shorts and two tech shirts (long sleeve on top of short sleeve). I wish I had worn my gloves, as my hands got cold during the race.

Before the race, I told myself to go out at or slower than the 7:00 first mile during my last 10K, back in September. Did I listen to my own advice? Ha! Since when have I done that? I hit the 1 mile mark at 6:39. Crap. Funny how the first mile feels so effortless. I backed off the pace after that. Here were my splits:

(1:02 for last .2)

Final time: 44:06, for a 7:06 per mile pace. I ended up beating my previous 10k time, back in September, by 53 seconds. Aside from the first mile, I'm please with how consistent my splits were, compared to my last 10k. Even though I was hurting during the final 2 miles, I managed to pick up the pace just a little.

My first 5k split was 21:48, which is faster than my 5k race I ran back in June (22:20). In fact, my second 5k split was also faster, at 22:18.

I placed 23rd out of 127 runners, and 5/10 in my age group (20/67 for men).

During the awards, I won a large pumpkin pie in a drawing. My family came along with me, which was really cool. The best part of the whole experience was both of my daughters saying they wanted to run the 2-mile next year. They saw a lot of kids doing it and I think they finally believe that they can also do it. I'm going to hold them to it, too!

I'm pleased with how my "running resurrection" is progressing this year. I'm still not speedy, but I'm seeing improvement, and enjoying every minute of every mile!

Oh, one final note. I made a point to go around and thank every volunteer at this race. They all really appreciated it. I would strongly encourage you to thank your race volunteers. Don't worry, I'm not on a "high horse", as I never used to do this myself, and I've only volunteered at one race (a 50k last weekend), but I'll do so from here on out. I also cheered and clapped for the lead runners during the race as they came back by me after the turnaround. I probably looked like a dork, and it might have cost me a few seconds and some valuable breath, but as corny as it sounds, I'm so thrilled to be racing again that I get caught up in the excitement.

Okay, enough for now. Next up is the Christmas Rush 10k on December 12th, followed by another half marathon or two early next year.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Interesting little article on elite Juneau ultrarunner Geoff Roes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Parenthood: Pushing vs Encouraging

Last Sunday, after returning from church, I asked my oldest daughter (10) if she wanted to go run an easy mile with me. I've been wanting to get her out to try it so she can learn how to pace herself (like most young kids, sprinting is the only running she does). She is built like a distance runner - tall, lean with long, strong legs.

At first, she was open to the idea, but the more she thought about it, the more moody she got (and started copping an attitude). She then decided she did NOT want to do it. "I can't run that'll get mad at'll push me...", etc. I'm mindful of the fine line between pushing and encouraging and wouldn't have pushed at all. I wasn't happy with her decision (and, more so, her attitude), but I backed off. The thing is, I know that PHYSICALLY, she could do it, and do it well. Psychologically, I guess she's not ready for it. As an avid runner, I want her to get interested in distance running at a young age. But I know that if I push it on her, she'll get turned off and want nothing to do with it. I just need to find creative and encouraging ways to hopefully get her interested. Who youngest daughter may be the one who gets interested. It would be great if both do! I just need to take the right steps & not push.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Bit Of Speed...In A Downpour

On Monday, I ran a little interval workout in the rain: 5 miles, starting with a 1 mile warmup, followed by 4 miles of 1/2 mile fast, 1/2 mile slow. The fast segments were:


The final two were tough; the last one being slightly uphill.
This is the last "fast" running I'll do this week, until Saturday's Fowl Fun Run 10k, in Mount Vernon, WA...which will also probably be in the rain. 'Tis that time of year here in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, November 6, 2009

10 Mile Run

A cold, windy, and, for the last mile, wet run. First time in double-digits since the half marathon on Oct. 11th. Not feeling very peppy today, but gutted it out. Kept it fairly easy (8:23 pace). Unfortunately, I was back to the burning lung/coughing scenario I thought I was through with. Guess I still have "up" days and "down" days. Had a little more tweakage of the rt knee (IT band), which is a little troubling, since I noticed it the other day, too. Going to have to really work on the foam roller and stretching program to keep it at bay. Also may have tied left shoe too tight, since I seem to have a bone bruise on the top of my foot that hurts quite a bit. Hopefully it'll go away soon. Haven't taken an ice bath for over a month, and for some reason, they're not all that appealing at the moment!

I'll be volunteering at the Ron Herzog 50k tomorrow. If you're running it, good luck, and I'll see you there!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Today I ran a mid-week, mid-distance, mid-pace run. "Mid" enough for ya? 7 miles @ 8:09 pace.
I wanted to run about 1 min/mile slower than 10k race pace. Might have been just a tad quick, but effort-wise, it was right on target. Felt strong toward the end. Also found a solution to my Garmin 305 heart rate monitor issue (where it reads far too high for the first 2-3 miles). Got a tip from a runner on the RunningAhead forum to put aloe gel on the contacts. It worked beautifully!

I think I'm finally at the very end of a long illness. Any coughing I'm now experiencing seems to be for the purpose of loosening junk in my chest, rather than from still being sick. My breathing and lungs felt strong during the run...finally.
Beautiful day. Sun, 58.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tempo Run & Training Plan

Today's run started with a 1-mile warm-up, followed by a 3.5 mile tempo run in 24:57 (7:07 pace). I started too quickly (6:59), then just tried to hang on. It ended up being a slightly faster pace than my 5k race back in June. I struggled the last mile or so, but I think I may FINALLY be near the end of this prolonged illness.


Over the weekend, I tried to design a training program that I can use for the foreseeable future. Roughly, it involves running 5 days/week. Here's how I laid it out:

Monday: Speed (fartlek, intervals, tempo, or hill repeats)
Tuesday: Short run at "recovery" pace (roughly 2 min. per mile slower than 10k race pace)
Wednesday: Medium-long at "easy" pace (roughly 1 min. per mile slower than 10k race pace)
Thursday: off
Friday: Long run (roughly 40-50 sec/mile slower than half marathon race pace)
Saturday: Short run at "recovery" pace
Sunday: off

I'll do strength training (something I've been neglecting) twice per week. On "race weeks", I'll probably drop the long run in favor of the race. This is all subject to change, but I'm going to go with it for the time being. I may even use a close version of it when my "official" marathon training begins. Given how my body has reacted to running so far this year, this plan seems sensible, but I'm open to any comments or suggestions.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Last Two Days

On Friday, I ran an easy 8 miles, which was the longest I've run since my half on 10/11. It felt harder than it should, thanks to the chest/lung stuff I've been fighting. Yesterday, I ran an easy "recovery run". I'm still learning about the purpose of different types of runs. So far this year, I've put in plenty of "easy" runs...but they weren't exactly "recovery" runs. So yesterday, I set out to run at a slower pace than I have all year: 3.5 miles at a 9:19 pace. I was proud of it. That's about a minute per mile slower than my "easy" runs. This type of run, long overdue, will be important in my arsenal as I start marathon training early next year. It's a great way to get in the miles, while helping the legs to actively recover from hard runs (i.e. hills, speed, long). I'm not sure why it took me so long to come around on this. I guess one positive thing about having an illness that seems to hang on forever is that it can force you to back off on the pace. My heart rate was nice and low, too.

Miles this week: 20.5
October mileage: 75.6