Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012 Update

I just thought I would update both of my readers (one of them  is me) on my training so far...

It's been an interesting start to this training.  I just checked and was surprised to see that I am currently in week 6.  I thought I was only 4 weeks in!  The first couple weeks were pretty tough.  For some reason I really struggled mentally.  Maybe it has to do with having run through this once before but I wasn't enjoying any of my runs and had to force myself through them.  For the most part those negative feelings have passed although I am really, really sick of running through my neighborhood.  I'm trying to mix that up a bit by choosing routes I've never taken before but no matter what I still have to run the same streets and I just need a change of scenery sometimes.  Maybe we can sell the house and move? Preferably to somewhere flat. :-)

The thing that seemed to knock me out of the negative attitude funk is (surprise, surprise) picking up a little injury.  I don't know what it was, but the top of my right foot started hurting a few weeks ago after a 14 mile run.  I ended up having to rest for almost a full week to let it heal.  I resumed running last week and the pain has gone away.  I cut my long run from 16 to 12 last Saturday to be safe but I don't feel any pain in my foot today.  This week is a "cut back" week on my training plan.  I am scheduled to run 12 this Saturday but I think I'm going to run 16 instead to get myself back on schedule.

I think that about puts me up to date here.  I took some pictures on my run last Saturday.  The first one is a "panoramic" shot on top of the Monocacy Aqueduct.

The second one is from the white water kayaking place that is hidden behind the Dickenson Substation.  They use water from the Potomac to feed it. There is a sign out front that says it was used a training facility by the US Olympic team back in the 1990's.  It's really not that interesting of a picture except that it just looks entirely out of place sitting along side the trail. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Marathon #2

I am currently in training for my second marathon.  I started this training program on November 19th after a 10 day lay off. So far, training has been less than ideal. I'm really tired and most of my runs have pretty much sucked.  I'm not sure what the problem is.  I had a very solid base going into this.  I was running between 25 and 30 miles a week for several months so jumping to 33 miles the first week shouldn't have been as hard as it was.  Maybe the 10 day rest was too much? Maybe I'm just psyching myself out by thinking about it too much. 

Yesterday I ran 10 miles on my lunch break.  I felt pretty good for the first 7 or 8 miles but then I was really struggling in the end.  I needed to nap for an hour after work and I still went to bed right at 10:00 and fell asleep almost at once.  If I wasn't in my (very) late 30's, I would think I had mono or something.

Oh well, enough bitching.  I have 4 miles on the calendar today but I think I'm going to take a rest day instead.  I'll make up for it on Sunday when I run the Christmas-Town Dash on my scheduled rest day.  Let's hope that things improve quickly!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Race Report: Baltimore Running Festival 2012 - Half Marathon

The 2012 Baltimore Running Festival's Half Marathon was my fourth half marathon and my second on this course.  The course starts in downtown Baltimore on Light Street which is right in the touristy part of town and takes you through the central part of the city and then finishes at Camden Yards (where the Baltimore Orioles play).  If, like me,  you aren't familiar with Baltimore, there aren't a lot of really great sights to see along the way.  The exception being running around Lake Montebello and the finish at Camden Yards.  Crowd support is excellent and the race is very well organized.

The weather was perfect for running.  Temperature at the start was about 50 degrees with clear skies and very little wind.

I live about an hour from Baltimore and decided to drive to the city myself instead of taking the light rail.  I found a place to park about a half mile from the start.  I don't know the city very well but I managed to find the bag drop after stopping a couple times to ask people and got my stuff stowed away.  I brought an old sweatshirt with me to discard right before the start (it would have been donated to charity) but changed my mind at bag check and stuffed it in my bag.  I didn't bring a clean shirt to change into after the race and I felt warm enough to go with out it.

On my way from bag check to the start line I realized that I forgot my pace band.  I knew that this might cause me to miss my 1:50:00 goal time but I didn't let it bother me too much.  Thanks to the long line at bag check, I got to the start about 5 minutes before race time which I think was ideal.  It was really crowded with lots of non-runners clogging up the street.  I was in corral 2, so once the first group was gone and we moved up all the non-runners stayed behind and the crowd thinned out somewhat.

This was definitely the least nervous I have been before a race.  I just felt focused and ready to go.  Because I didn't have my pace band I knew that I would get totally screwed up by the math if I tried to run the 8:23 and keep track of that in my head.  Instead I decided to just try to run even 8:30 splits and see how I felt on the last mile and pick it up if I could.

Miles 1-3 (8:19, 8:48, 8:16) The start was fine.  Not a lot of crowding but there was the usual number of people that were running too slow for where they put themselves at the start.  I didn't have much trouble moving around in traffic and after a couple miles it thinned out.  I really don't know what happened on mile 2. I guess it was the big hill, but it really didn't feel like I ran that slow.

Miles 4-6 (8:30, 8:35, 8:50) This is the toughest part of the course.  It's almost all uphill until about the 6.5 mile mark.  Peter Gabriel's "I Have the Touch" came on my iPod.  The cadence to this song felt perfect so I kept hitting repeat until I got to the top of the hill.  I'm not sure how many times I listened to the whole thing, I think at least 5.

Miles 7-10 (8:39, 8:28, 8:30, 8:33) Shortly after the 10K mark the course levels off for a while as you go around Lake Montebello.  I was passed by a lady that looked strong and I decided to pace off of her for a while.  I ended up following just behind her for almost four miles and ran my most even splits all day.  At about 9.5 miles the course starts a nice long decent and I decided to pass my pacer and try to make up for some lost time.

Miles 11 - 13 (7:52, 8:27, 7:40) I tried to hold the faster pace but the bridge and then the long hill on the other side had other ideas.  I was happy that I still had enough in the tank to make the last mile my fastest all day.

After I crossed the finish I waited for a minute or so and the lady I had been pacing off of crossed.  I waited until she caught her breath and thanked her for helping me PR and complimented her for running such solid splits.  She thanked me as well.  Evidently she followed when I sped up but faded on the bridge.

I don't typically hang around long after a race so I just headed over to bag check and grabbed my stuff.  I was pretty sore but was able to walk back to my car just fine and head home.

For the first time ever, the time from Garmin and my official finish time matched up at 1:50:55.  About a minute slower than my goal time but all things considered I'm very happy.  This is a 6:05 PR and beat my time on this course by almost 45 minutes. Last year I ran this race in 2:24:28! 

I don't have any race pics yet, but I do have the elevation chart from my Garmin.  If you made it this far thanks for reading!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Half Marathon Number Four

Tomorrow morning I'll run in my fourth half marathon.  As I said in the previous entry, I'm running Baltimore again.  The weather forecast looks perfect for running so no complaints there.  I've set what looks to be a pretty tough goal for this race. I'm trying for 1:50:00 which would be a seven minute personal best.  I ran 1:53:25 a couple weeks ago on a training run but that was on a flat course and Baltimore is very hilly.  Of course that was also at the end of a 30 mile week and I've been resting a lot this week so I'm feeling pretty good about at least beating 1:53:00.

The part of this race that I'm most concerned about is pace.  I know what pace I need to run in order to meet my goal and I'm pretty sure I can run at that pace for 13.1 miles.  I'm just not very good at knowing how fast I'm going as I'm doing it.  I usually run by perceived effort and am often surprised by how fast or slow I'm actually running when I check my watch.  Although I do feel like I'm getting a little better at it, I still don't really trust myself.  One thing I am pretty good at is holding a pace once I've been running it for a mile or two.  I can sort of lock in and hold that pace or at least know when I'm slowing down or speeding up. This race isn't offering pace groups so I don't have the option of getting in with a pacer to help me get my rhythm. I'm trying to look at this as a fun experiment.  I'm going to see if I can set pace on my own, with the help of my Garmin of course. 

I also plan to push this one as hard as I can.  I pushed a little bit in the last HM back in May but I still had a lot left in the tank when I finished.  The two races before that were great learning experiences, but I was really under trained and I just hoped to finish.  This time I want to finish it as fast as I can.  With that kind of mind set, there is a pretty strong chance that I'm going to go out too fast and blow up.  I could end up walking a few miles at the end but I'm willing to risk it just to see what I can do.  What the heck, you only live once.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Maryland Double


I haven't updated in a while.  As I was typing that I thought, "I bet a lot of my blog entries start off with that same thought".  Oh well, I'm not going to change it now.

I'm preparing to run the half marathon (HM) at the Baltimore Running Festival on October 13th.  I'd like to say I'm excited for this race but I'm not.  I'm not running it with anyone (unless you include the 10,000 people I don't know) and Cindi has something going on that day so there won't be anyone at the finish line for me to high five.  Hugs are pretty much out of the question after running 13 miles because hugging a sweaty guy is really gross.

Up until pretty recently, running a HM was more exciting.  At first the distance itself was intimidating but I've done it so many times in training that I no longer worry about that.  The last HM I ran in Frederick was exciting because it was so close to home and I really wanted to break the 2 hour mark.  I ran it in 1:57:00 which I was thrilled with and then having Cindi and the kids meet me at the finish line was icing on the cake.

The course in Baltimore is much hillier than Frederick so I doubt I'll beat my PR.  Combine that with the long drive alone, parking hassles, etc and I'm less than excited.  So why am I running it at all?  For the medal of course.  Not just the Finishers Medal that everyone gets but I also qualify for getting a SPECIAL medal for completing the Maryland Double.  The Frederick Running Festival and the Baltimore Running Festival are both run by the same company and they have a nice little "extra" medal for anyone that finishes both races in the same calendar year.  So yeah, I paid $100 to drive all the way to Baltimore and run 13 miles through some pretty scary neighborhoods for a $1.49 piece of medal shaped like a crab.  Makes perfect sense now, doesn't it?

Last weekend I ran a 13.3 mile training run on the C&O Canal. I decided to hit a section of the trail I have never run on before. I ran from Brunswick to Harpers Ferry and back.  I took a few pics along the way.

Trail entrance in Brunswick.

Much of the time the river is hidden behind trees.  I came across a camp ground where the trees had been cleared.  The campers that were there were still sleeping in their tents when took a couple shots of the water.

As I passed Harpers Ferry, this train crossed the river. I had to stop and get a picture or two.

I was really in a much better mood than this picture indicates.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Change in Plans

I have re-re-injured my Achilles tendons. Both of them. I went for a run last Friday morning and it was pretty awful.  Both ankles got very sore afterwards and I came to the conclusion that I need to lay off for a couple weeks and just rest. No running or cycling at all for two entire weeks which will be the longest break that I've had in about a year.  I plan to try swimming a little bit at the community pool to keep my cardio endurance up a little, but that's it.

So far I'm on day 4 of my break and I'm dealing with it OK.

The real bummer in this is that a two week break in this part of my training means that I will not be running the Richmond Marathon in November.  I'm going to look for another race for some time in the winter, but I haven't made any decisions yet.

Here is a picture that I took on the Capitol Crescent Trail in Silver Spring last Friday.  I was having a crappy run and everything sucked so I decided to stop and take a couple pictures.  The CC Trail is a great place to run for me.  It's about 10 minutes from my office but it feels like it is in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

and for my next trick....

As I posted before, I've decided to run the Richmond Marathon on November the 10th.  I was supposed to start my training the week of July the 8th but as usual things didn't go exactly as planned.  The first thing to mess up my plans was me.  I had this great idea that I should run 46 miles for the week of my 46th birthday, which ended on July 7th.  It seemed like a good idea at the time until  you consider that 46 miles is about 16 miles more than I usually run in a typical week and conventional wisdom says you should only increase your weekly mileage by 10% AT MOST.

So of course I ended up getting injured.  This time BOTH of my Achilles tendons (ATs) were very, very sore.  Just like last time (and the time before that and the time before that and.....) I responded by pretending that I wasn't hurt.  We were on a trip out of town anyway, so I cut back to 20 miles for the week but that didn't help at all.  So week one was pretty much a bust.

By the time week two rolled around, I figured out that I needed to rest so I took the entire week off. Zero miles.

Week three (July 23-29) I was actually able to get out and run and my ATs are feeling pretty good. I got in a very fast 5 miles on the treadmill at work Friday and then ran 10 miles at the canal Saturday.  Other than a little soreness that I think is more from the speed work than the 10 miler, I feel good.

So at this point I've got 14 weeks to go and I'm not too far behind.  I would really like to break 4 hours in this race but I don't think I have a solid enough base to PR by 30 minutes.  I hit up some friends on Facebook on the subject and they agree that 4 hours is too much to shoot for.  They all have a lot more experience than I do so they are probably right but I'm going to keep it as my best possible outcome goal while recognizing that the stars would really have to line up perfectly for that to happen.

Here are a few pictures from last weekend. The first couple show a blue heron sitting on a log in the river.  I tried to get closer and take more shots but he flew off.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Race Report - Frederick Running Festival Half Marathon

Run Fat Boy, RUN!

I felt confident going into this race that I could beat my personal record (PR) of 2:20:52.  I set that in 2010 at this same race and I walked about a half mile of it.  It's hard to imagine that I actually ran SLOWER in Baltimore last October, but I came in at 2:24:28 and I ran the whole thing.

This time around I was a lot better trained and after looking at my recent times I decided to give 2:00 a shot.  I like setting ambitious goals to keep me motivated and I thought that even if I couldn't keep up the 9:09 pace needed I could always drop back and still PR.

After having a lot of success running with a pace group at the Shamrock Marathon, I signed up for the 2:00 pace group at the Expo the day before the race.  If you signed up in advance they gave you a wrist band with all your split times on it which was really nice.  Also at the Expo I got a chance to meet Sid Bush, who is a runner that I greatly admire.  Sid has completed countless Marathons and Half Marathons, each one in the name of a fallen service member.  After each race Sid presents his finishers medal to a family member of the service member he is honoring.  On top of that, Sid is a super friendly guy and a lot of fun to talk with.  More about Sid here

The morning of the race I went through the usual nervousness and second guessing that I'm starting to get used to.  I gave myself a stern talking to in the car about running with confidence and that seemed to shut-up the guy that lives in my head and enjoys telling me all the stuff that I can't do.  I drove myself to the race and parked on the road a few blocks from the start.  I walked up to the Fairgrounds and checked my car keys and just walked around a little to enjoy the atmosphere.  There were lots of people milling about and doing the usual pre-race stretching and warming up.  I ran into a friend that was running the relay and we talked for a minute.  I tend to start off slow and speed up more as I warm up so I went for a five minute jog to help me start off at pace a little easier.

This race didn't have corals, just signs up with different pace times that everyone was supposed to line up at.  I found the pace leaders and knew right away that there was going to be trouble.  They were both about 5'4" or so and even in their day-glow green shirts I knew they were going to be hard to keep track of.  I was already nervous about trying to keep pace and this didn't make me feel any better.  The start line was right in front of the Frederick Fairgrounds on a two lane road.  There were about 5,000 people packed in like sardines but everyone seemed to be happy and the weather was great for running.  It was overcast and about 60 degrees or so with a slight drizzle and an occasional breeze to cool you off.  The start of the race was the usual shuffle and it took about a minute for us to cross the start line.

Mile 1 to Mile 4:  We passed a lot of people that were not even close to keeping pace.  Because the pace leaders were to so hard to keep track of, people in the group kept crowding around them and there was a lot of bumping into other people until we turned onto Market Street and things opened up a little bit and everyone settled in to run.  A very light rain started to fall and I felt really good.  Keeping pace didn't require much effort at all and I started gaining confidence.  I decided I would stick with the group until mile 10 and then see if I felt good enough to push out on my own. Splits: 8:57, 9:07, 9:06, 9:01

Mile 5 to Mile 8: I lost track of the water stops and I couldn't remember how often they were on the course.  I had a couple of gel packs in my pocket and I planned to eat one at about mile 5 but I have to chase those with a couple cups of water so I don't get indigestion.  I wanted to ask the pace leaders if they knew when the next water table would be but it was very hard to maneuver in the pace group because everyone was crowded around the leaders.  Eventually I moved out in front of them and asked my question.  When I turned around it was so much nicer being out of the group that I decided I would just stay in front of them for a while.  I didn't stay with them for very long and noticed that I was passing people pretty steadily for the next couple miles.  I decided to abandon the pace group entirely and just run on perceived effort. Splits: 9:06, 8:59, 8:59, 9:05.

Mile 9 to Mile 12: I don't remember a lot about this part of the race.  I mainly remember that I felt really good and wasn't having any trouble maintaining pace.  I was a little worried that I might have bitten off more than I could chew but I decided I could always walk through an water station  and fall back in with the pace group if I needed to.  Thankfully I never felt like I needed to do that.  Splits 8:46, 8:58, 9:04, 8:53

Mile 13: I felt really good on the last mile and I knew I was going to beat the 2 hour mark by a lot.  The course ends with a fairly steep hill that takes you into the fair grounds and then you turn onto the track.  I guess they used to race horses here at some point.  I started my sprint as soon as I turned onto the course and passed a lot of people.  I heard my buddy that ran the relay shout out my name as I passed him and then I saw my family cheering as well.  It was great that they all dragged themselves out of bed to come watch the old guy finish.  Splits: 8:11, (7:05 for the .1 at the end.)

In summary, I think this is the first race that I actually raced.  The first two half marathons were great but they were more about just hanging on and finishing.  This time finishing wasn't in doubt, it was more about trying to run smart and do the best that I could.  I checked the race website last night and they list my official time as 1:57:00, which is a PR of almost 24 minutes.

I'm taking a couple week off to let my Achilles problems resolve.  They need rest and I haven't taken much time off of running since last summer.  Two weeks should be enough to get healed up and then I can start training for the next one.  I'm going to run the Richmond Marathon in November.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Frederick HM Training

Just when you thought you were safe, I have even more stuff to say.  Well, not too much to say really but at least I have pictures.

It's been about a month since the marathon and I have continued my tradition of learning things the hard way.  I didn't run at all for a whole five days after the race before going for a 3 mile run.  That was probably about 9 days too soon and I should have known it by the amount of pain I was having in my Achilles tendons (yes, both of them).  Instead of being smart and laying off for a week I laid off for a couple days and then went out and ran 3 days in a row and then 16 miles in two days both at faster pace than I have ever run before.  After running 10 miles at a 9:23 pace, I decided to try for a 2 hour HM in Frederick.  I knew that I was really sore but I guess I thought I could tough it out, add some speed work over the next few weeks and set that huge personal record.  In reality I was just being really stupid.

I followed the fast 10 miler with a 6 mile run on a really uneven trail and then I blew up. After the trail run both of my Achilles were screaming and I couldn't ignore them anymore.  I finally acknowledged the injury and took a week off of running.  While I was on my break I did a lot of eccentric calf raises (12 on each leg, 3 times per day) and used a lot of KT tape.  I resumed running last Friday but at a much slower pace and shorter distances.  It's getting better but still not 100%.  My 2 hour goal was a bit of a stretch for me anyway so I've all but given that up.  Maybe if race conditions are good I might be able to beat my personal record by a few minutes but I don't think I'll try for 2 hours.

After Frederick I'm going to take at least two weeks off entirely to let my body heal.  I plan to wait until the Achilles both stop hurting entirely, then add a week.  Then I'll think about training for another Marathon, which will most likely be Richmond, VA in November.

I almost forgot, I ran 8 miles on Monday at an area of the C&O Canal that I had not visited before.  I parked at Pennyfield Lock Road and ran upstream 4 miles.  This was a really scenic area of the park and I look forward to running there again.  I passed a couple of working locks and crossed the Seneca Aqueduct.  I need to run 10-12 miles this Saturday and I would like to go back there if it works out.  If I do, I'll bring a better camera with me.  The pictures below were taken with my phone.  I had to stop running to take these shots but I didn't mind.  Temperatures were in the mid 80's, so I didn't need much of an excuse to stop!

Happy Running!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Race Report

After a lot of thought and asking advice from other runners where I live and also posting a thread asking for pace advice on the Runners Wold Online Forum (RWOL), I decided that I should target a 4:45:00 time.  Part of me felt like that was a little too conservative for me.  I knew that my training plan was pretty low mileage, but my "easy" pace has been getting progressively faster for several weeks and I thought that I could maintain a 10:18 for a long time, I just wasn't sure how long.  When I checked the Shamrock Marathon's website and found that there wasn't going to be a 4:45 pace group I was very disappointed but also a little excited too.  I really wanted to run with a pacer because I struggle with keeping a consistent pace on my own.  So I felt like I had two choices, I could run with the 5:00 group for the first half and see if I had enough left to pull away or run with the 4:30 group for 20 or so and see if I blew up.  I was thinking about this constantly for days and then my daughter posted a Facebook status that while it was completely unrelated to me it resonated.  What she wrote was "Sometimes you just have to take chance and go for it".  With that thought in my head I decided to go for 4:30.

There were a lot of things going on at once that added to the stress and worry about doing something like this for the first time.  I'll skip the details on that but by the time I arrived in Virginia Beach Saturday afternoon to pick up my packet, I was already pretty frazzled.  Thankfully, one of my brothers lives in nearby Suffolk and he met me at the convention center.  He followed me to the hotel, helped me get my stuff up to the room and then proceeded to be my tour guide and chauffeur for the rest of the day.  We drove most of the route except for the parts that were on Camp Pendleton and Fort Story.  Then we drove back to his house to meet up with his wife and daughter and we all went out to eat.  DB dropped me off at my hotel around 10:00.

I tried not to let nerves get the best of me and went to be around 11:00 but something woke me up at 2:30 and I never went back to sleep.  I got up at 6:00 and had a cup of coffee and a bagel.  I got all my gear on and packed up the car and walked about a mile to the start line very slowly.  Once in line I found the 4:30 pace group and talked to the pacer about his strategy.  He said the plan was to try and maintain even 10:18 splits throughout, hitting every aid station at a walk but then jogging back out right away and back up to speed.  I had hoped to skip some aid stations and enjoy a little longer walks but with the warmer temps I knew that I would need to take in water every chance I got.  Gatorade kills my stomach so I had 6 Espresso Love Gu packets in my pockets and I planned to use one every 4 miles.

I tried to take mental notes about how I felt at different parts of the race but I can't remember most of those.   I remember that I noticed one of my nipples hurting at about mile 6.  I checked and found that one of the bandaids that I put on had fallen off.  Having vivid memories of the pain of chaffed nipples I decided to "go caveman" for the rest of the race.  The race passed by my hotel and I considered tossing my shirt there in the hope that I could pick it up later but decided that I would probably want a shirt to wear for pictures after the race so I just carried it.  I stayed right with the pace group easily for the first half although there were a few times that I got behind at water stops because I wanted to drink two cups of water.  Each time I would just do my best not to panic and keep them in sight and slowly reel them back in.  According to the text messaging service that I signed up for, we hit the 13.1 mark at 2:13:54, beating my own half marathon mark by more than 15 minutes 7 minutes.

Somewhere around mile 14 I started to notice pain in my foot.  I was pretty sure it was blistering.  I guess it was the heat making my feet sweat more because I was wearing the same shoes and running socks that I trained in without a single blister.  I did my best to ignore it and keep pressing on. 

I got left behind at water stops at least two more times between miles 15 and 21.  Each time I just tried to be patient and not use it too much energy catching up.  As we approached mile 20 I couldn't decide if I wanted to slow down and play it safe or try to keep up with the group.  At about mile 21 I decided to let them go and just go at my own pace.  That decision held firm for about 2 minutes when I looked up and saw that green 4:30 sign waving back and forth in the crowd.  I thought, there goes your 4:30 goal, are you going to let it get away?  I tried to reel them in one more time.  When I caught back up again at mile 22 I had brief delusions of holding steady until mile 23 and then passing them.

We hit mile 23 and I started to fade again so I let them pull ahead.  The rest is kind of a blur.  I trailed behind the pace group for pretty much the rest of the race.  I kept trying to catch up but I didn't have much left in the tank.  I started gaining ground again at about mile 25.5.  I don't remember passing the marker for mile 26 but it had to be at or near the last corner turning onto the boardwalk.  I could still see them up in the distance but they were further ahead than ever and the finish line was in sight.  I picked up the pace as best I could until I felt like I was in sprinting distance then I gave it all I had.  I ended up crossing the finish line about 5 seconds after the pacer at a 7:25 pace according to my watch.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  I also want to thank all of the experienced runners that post to the RWOL forums.  I have learned so much from reading your replies to my questions and to those posed by others.  You guys rock.

Also thanks to my awesome brother Bruce and his family.  They took great care of me before and after the race and Bruce even took pictures from the finish line.

Splits are from my watch.  My watch and the mile markers agreed pretty closely early on but then they got a little off.  I guess I need to cut those corners a little sharper. :-)

Split new ToolTip("j_id250:normalTable:j_id254","j_id250:normalTable:j_id253",{'showEvent':'mouseover','horizontalOffset':0,'verticalOffset':5,'followMouse':true} ); Split
Hours:Minutes:Seconds new ToolTip("j_id250:normalTable:j_id260","j_id250:normalTable:j_id259",{'showEvent':'mouseover','horizontalOffset':0,'verticalOffset':5,'direction':'bottom\x2Dleft','followMouse':true} ); Time
Miles new ToolTip("j_id250:normalTable:j_id266","j_id250:normalTable:j_id265",{'showEvent':'mouseover','horizontalOffset':0,'verticalOffset':5,'direction':'bottom\x2Dleft','followMouse':true} ); Distance
Minutes per Mile new ToolTip("j_id250:normalTable:j_id272","j_id250:normalTable:j_id271",{'showEvent':'mouseover','horizontalOffset':0,'verticalOffset':5,'direction':'bottom\x2Dleft','followMouse':true} ); Avg Pace
110:03.2 1.00 10:03
29:36.7 1.00 9:37
310:27.5 1.00 10:28
410:24.3 1.00 10:24
510:39.7 1.00 10:40
610:17.9 1.00 10:18
710:17.2 1.00 10:17
89:53.6 1.00 9:54
910:01.4 1.00 10:01
109:42.3 1.00 9:42
1110:03.4 1.00 10:03
1210:11.3 1.00 10:11
139:56.3 1.00 9:56
1410:08.6 1.00 10:09
1510:00.1 1.00 10:00
169:59.8 1.00 10:00
1710:15.4 1.00 10:16
1810:43.6 1.00 10:44
1910:13.8 1.00 10:14
2010:33.6 1.00 10:34
2110:25.2 1.00 10:25
2210:43.1 1.00 10:43
2310:29.4 1.00 10:30
2410:20.9 1.00 10:21
2510:48.9 1.00 10:49
2610:19.3 1.00 10:19
273:17.2 0.38 8:44

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday March 15th

It seems that I have abandoned my blog again.   My desire to write wains when things aren't going well. 

A day or two after the 2nd 20 miler, I started having pain in my left Achilles tendon.  I think running 20 miles two weeks in a row wasn't the best idea.  I probably should have cut back to 16 or 18 instead.  I responded to the injury in typical fashion; I pretended it didn't happen.  So two days after running 20 I ran 6 and it hurt.  So the next day I ran 10 and that hurt too.  Finally, I decided to acknowledge that I was injured and take a few days off.  Well sort of took a few days off.  I rode my bike for about 30 minutes on Thursday and got a one day pass at the gym and used the elliptical machine for 5 "miles" on Friday.  Then I rested Saturday and ran 9.5 miles on Sunday.  My Achilles has gotten a little better, but not from any lack of trying to screw it up on my part.

Then I finally remember eccentric heel drops.  Doing these three times a day has made a world of difference.  I'm still having some pain but it is much, much better.

I started my taper last week, so all my runs were much shorter than in the weeks prior.  A lot of runners complain about feeling anxious about tapering but that hasn't been my experience.  I enjoy being lazy and taking the short runs is OK by me.

I ran my last "long" run at the Canal on Saturday. I decided not to make plans with anyone and run this one alone as a way to mentally prepare for the race.  I ran 10 miles, starting at Noland's Ferry and headed downstream.  This is my favorite part of the trail and I enjoyed this run very, very much.  The weather was perfect with lots of sun but cool temps in the upper 40's.  My pacing was exactly where I wanted it to be and I averaged a 10:00 mile exactly.  If every run was like that, I would want to go every day.

This week temps have been at or near record high.  I enjoy the nice weather but this is a little too nice.  I like 40's and 50's for running, 60's are OK, 70's and above are too hot if the humidity is up. Still, it's been hard to resist getting out there and I've run a few miles more than my plan calls for but everything has been at a real easy pace so I'm not worried about "over doing it".

This will probably be my last update before the race on Sunday.  After a lot of thought (too much probably) I have decided to go for a 4:30:00 time.  There is a pace group for this time that I might run with depending on the pacer's race strategy for the water stops.  If he or she isn't planning to walk through the water stops then I'm going to go it alone. Otherwise I'll run with the group.

Monday, February 27, 2012

C&O Canal 20 Miler

I met up with Eric and Beth again for our last long run of this "marathon training cycle".  That's what the crazy running people on Runners World call it.  I get a little nervous by that expression because of the word "cycle". The use of the word cycle implies that this will happen again which makes my legs hurt.  Actually, I'm only joking about that.  I'm pretty sure that I will run at least one more marathon after this. Preferably one that takes place in the fall instead of the spring. I doubt I will ever get this kind of a winter to train through again.  BUT, I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself right now.  I haven't finished anything and I'm already talking about doing it again.  So let's start over.....

I met up with Eric and Beth for our last long run before our first marathons.  Eric and Beth are running in the Rock and Roll Marathon in DC on March 17th.  This used to be called The National Marathon until they brought in the Rock and Roll people to run it.  Eric and Beth are both first timers like me and this was to be their first ever 20 mile run.  We started at Point of Rocks and headed upstream (north-west) toward Brunswick.  The plan was to run the 6.5 miles to Brunswick, stop in the visitors center to use the rest rooms and then head back.  We would pick up the remaining miles by running downstream toward Noland's Ferry and back.  The run to Brunswick was pretty good despite the high winds.  The trees provided some buffer from the wind and none of us felt cold as we ran.

Once we arrived at Brunswick we couldn't find the visitors center but the park provided restroom was adequate.  We decided to abandon our plan for turning around there and just run the last 3.5 miles upstream and then turn and run 10 miles back.

Eric and I move at a little faster pace than Beth so we stopped every so often to let her catch up.  Neither one of us wanted to get too far ahead in case of emergency.  I didn't know it at the time, but Beth was feeling dehydrated and also suffering from a lot of pain in her back.

I felt like I relied on Eric a little too much to set the pace and that I needed to finish the run on my own.  When Eric stopped to wait for Beth at mile 17 I decided to keep going.  I also wanted to see how well I would do if I tried to pick up my pace after running 17 miles.  I was able to do that and finish pretty strong.  According to my Garmin our pace up until that point had been at about the 11:30 mark.  My splits for the last three were 10:14, 10:10 and 10:08.

I considered going for a 6 miler on Sunday just so I could say I ran a marathon over the weekend but my left Achilles was pretty sore when I woke up so I took a rest day.  It's still somewhat sore today so my run will be a very slow 6 miles.

I was able to get some pictures with my phone this week.  If you click on the image you can see it a little larger in a slideshow.

Another shot from the Catoctin Aqueduct. I think this is the best one I've captured here.

The town of Brunswick.

One of the few sections of the tow-path that you are allowed to drive on. Turn left here to go to the Brunwick water treatment plant and also to the Brunswick Family Campground.

The route 17 bridge over the Potomac

This is the 10 mile mark. That small black dot at the far end of the trail is Beth.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

C&O Canal, 20 Miler

I was a little nervous about trying to tackle my first 20 mile run but not as much as some of the other distances I've run.  My confidence is getting stronger and I'm actually starting to feel like I can do this.  The training runs have been hard at times, but the last few have been pretty easy.

I met up with Eric and Beth again for this run and we were also joined by another Steeplechaser named Judy.  While Eric, Beth and I are relative rookies at running long distances, Judy is not.  Judy has competed in a lot of marathons and has also completed several ultra-marathons including one 100 mile trail ultra.  She has also completed an Iron Man Triathlon.  So going for a 20 mile jog on the C&O Canal was not something Judy was intimidated by in the least. :-)

This time we all met at Noland's Ferry and ran south for five miles, then turned around and came back.  The first ten miles went easily and everyone felt good.  We stopped at our cars to shed the top layer of clothing as the temperatures rose, grab a quick drink and some energy gel before heading back out for the 2nd half.  Eric and Beth had 16 miles on their training plans for the day and I knew that they would turn around after 3 miles headed north so I took a couple pictures before we headed back out.

After three miles upstream Eric and Beth turned back to finish their 16 while Judy and I kept going for another two.  Judy was such a good coach!  If I had prayed for the perfect running partner to complete my first twenty miler with, Judy would have been the answer.  We chatted off and on and Judy told me stories about some of the races she's run in and before I knew it we had turned around and twenty miles was in the books.

I'm planning to run another twenty miler this Saturday and then it will be almost time to start my taper.  Next week I'll still run about 30 miles but the long run on Saturday will only be 10 miles.  After that my mileage will go way down until race day on the 18th.

Here are a few pics from Saturday.

The Potomac River as seen from Noland's Ferry.

From Left to Right; Eric, Judy and Beth.

Beth offered to get a shot of me with Eric and Judy. :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

C&O Canal 18 Miler

After weeks of running by myself I decided to try running with others so I joined a local running club.  I haven't been able to make it to any of the club sponsored runs because none of the runs they were doing matched up with my training schedule very well.  I decided to just post a message to the club's Facebook page and see if anyone wanted to come with me on one of my long runs at the canal.  I was thrilled when a few people expressed interest and two of them, a couple named Eric and Beth, actually worked it into their schedule to meet up with me Friday afternoon.

We met at Point of Rocks and ran three miles upstream to the Catoctin Aqueduct.  We stopped there for a minute to drink and then turned around and ran back to POR.  Once there Beth cut her speed back quite a bit and Eric and I headed downstream to the Mouth of the Monocacy Aqueduct.  It was really nice having someone to chat with while we ran and Eric was much better at regulating speed than I am which turned out to be a great help.

We messed up our calculations and turned around a half mile too soon so we got back to POR having only run 17 miles.  By then it was really dark and Eric was nursing a sore knee so he decided to stop there rather than risk running in the dark.  I felt really good so I went ahead and ran the last mile by myself.  I felt so good that I was tempted to try for 20 and if it hadn't been so dark I might have given it a go.  In the end, I think it is better to quit feeling like you can do more rather than push yourself to the limit and feel like death.

I snapped a few pictures when I got there but I didn't want to freak Eric and Beth out with picture taking so I put the camera in the car before they arrived.  I think if we meet up again they would be ok with a picture or two.