Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29

With the month coming to a close tonight's 2x4s will be the last speedwork session I will be doing save for this Saturday's 5K.

Warmup went well and the plan was to not kill myself on the first interval like I did 2 weeks ago. Fat is good but controlled fast is better. This time I eased into it a little bit as I got up to what I felt was about 85% of all-out. I was able to sustain this better and maintain a 2:3 breathing rhythm until the last hundred yards or so. Considering it was still around 90 I didn't feel too hot at all finishing with a 6:36 average pace.

After the 2 tenths cool down it was time to let it rip. Again I wanted to stay in control but for whatever reason, I didn't feel as strong as I did on #1. Part if it I think was that I wasn't focusing as much on my stride as I should have and caught myself under-striding. Once I corrected this I felt much faster but closed out the interval at 6:47; too slow.

I knew for the last 2 intervals I'd need to buckle down and run harder. if I wanted to achieve my goal of a sub-20 in the race. Problem was I went off like a bat out of hell for interval #3 and by the mid-point I was sucking wind. 6:34 was better but still not where I wanted to be.

For the final go around my goal is to make the "last one the fast one" but I also need to stay steady. This time I went out smooth and kept it that way for the entire 0.4 interval. Sure I was still working hard but I felt better than I had on the previous 3 and the clock backed that up with a 6:25 average. Now I just have to do it for 3.1 miles.

Split Time Distance Avg Pace Best Pace Avg HR Max HR
2 02:38.4 0.4 6:36 6:05 150 163
4 02:42.6 0.4 6:47 6:07 151 165
6 02:37.5 0.4 6:34 5:14 156 168
8 02:33.8 0.4 6:25 5:47 158 174

All in all I'm pretty happy with the way the run went. I'm also happy in a way that I'm done with the sprint work for the time being. As much as I enjoy going fast, my body is much happier with the slower, longer runs. This closes out April since I'm going to throw in an extra rest day tomorrow so I'll be fresh and fast for Saturday.

April total - 160.2 miles

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28

It's late and I'm tired and really don't feel much like writing. Still having issues with HRM but after using Christine's tonight (yes she has her very own Garmin now) I suspect the issue may be with the watch. Looks like I'll need to get it sent out after this weekend's DBacks Race Against Cancer.

Still it was a good 6 mile run with the middle miles in the mid to high 9s so I'll take it. I'm a little bummed tough that after a year and close to 600 miles my oldest pair of Skora Phase look like they are almost done with. While they still have plenty of sole left, the mesh upper is starting to come apart. At least I got my money's worth and then some out of them.

Now it's off to bed to rest up for tomorrow's 2x4.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26

With the HRM not to be trusted I decided that I'd start race pace training a week early and with a 9 mile stepback run on the schedule for today it was the perfect opportunity. Since I haven't done any fast distance work in forever, the plan was to keep the middle 7 easy a 9 minute miles with slow miles to warmup and cool down.

The warmup went well and the HRM was seeming to cooperate although once I completed the first mile and got up to speed the steady 140 bpm reading seemed too low. Still I felt really good and wasn't pressing hard while maintaining the desired pace. It was a cool and cloudy morning in the low 60s so it was no surprise at all that I logged miles 2 and 3 right where I wanted to be at 8:51 and 9:02 respectively.

Feeling as well as I did, I was happy over the next couple miles to have splits in the high 8:40s which we into a sometimes stiff headwind. Unfortunately, the HRM monitor crapped out by this point though; just as well I thought. Encouraged by these time I decided to push the pace a little more and was thrilled to see mile 6 at 8:32 and mile 7 at 8:26. Holey negative splits Batman.

After briefly entertaining the thought of going longer, with 1 mile of hard running left I decided to push my luck and give it my all. Getting into territory I haven't been to in a while felt great as I was able to sustain a pace well below 8 minutes for about a half mile before my legs began to feel heavy. Still I kept pressing on and mile 8 clocked in at 7:48. Not too shabby at all.

Satisfied with the way things went I made the slow trot home knowing that Christine was going to be whipping up some breakfast after her 2.5 mile walk. Love that girl.

Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow before I'm back out again on Tuesday. Since Christine's Forerunner 15 and HRM arrived today, I'll give her HRM a try before I contact Garmin. Now it's time to get ready for #Runchat and #BQchat before dinner.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25

If seeing a bunny during a run is good luck as Ray Charbonneau posits what does it mean if you see a bunny then later a roadkill bunny? Does it mean that your HRM is going to quit on you?

The day started out well enough with a nice 6 mile run that went as smooth as silk. Warmup went well, run went decent considering there was a stiff headwind out of the southeast which slowed me down over the first 3 miles and then got in a nice cool down. Even the HRM cooperated after being washed. Maybe it was the bunny I saw run across the road during the warmup mile.

After the run was done it was on the local HS track for some Yassos and right off I knew there was a problem with the HRM during Yasso #1 when it barely budged. Even worse, I was slow; around 3:30 when I was aiming for 3:15. Maybe it was the roadkill bunny I saw during cool down.

Yasso #2 was better although it did not feel like it. And since I forgot to reset the Garmin it is forever married to #1. I also knew that the HRM was toast since my HR started in the high 70s and ended up at 59 bpm after an all out 800. Yeah right.

By now Christine had showed up at the track after walking the 3 miles from home, to do another mile or 2. I'm so happy she is getting into this. Unfortunately this didn't give me much of a boost for Yasso #3 which came in at 3:24.

It wasn't until Yasso #4 that I recalled a picture of Shalane Flanagan that I recently saw of her near perfect form. What really sets her apart is her strong knee drive, trail leg extension after toe off and vertical travel. She is a true gazelle and really someone who's form I should be emulating.

Now I have long legs myself and because of this have difficulty maintaining a high cadence due to the time it takes me to turnover. I've noticed in the past that when I actually use my legs to stride as opposed to shorter, choppy steps I'm faster and seem to not work as hard.

This revelation paid off immediately as I felt strong and fast right away. I could feel I was covering more ground with each stride and this paid off with a 3:16 time. Much like #4, Yassos #5 and #6 went equally as well with times of 3;13 and 3:17; so thanks Shalane for the reminder.

With tomorrow being a stepback day of only 9 miles, it's time to do a little additional testing here. And since my HRM is DOA, it's as good a time as any to see how this goes. It's late now and it's been a busy day so I'm done.

Week ending April 25th - 41.5 miles

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23

The plan for tonight was a nice easy 6 mile recovery run but didn't end up that way.

Things started out well enough with a good warmup and an easy first mile to get everything up to speed. For the first part of mile 2 everything seemed to be going ok with an easy pace and the HR right where I wanted it around 130. Soon though it started to drop into the mid-120s and since I felt like I was going too slow because of the stiff headwind, I picked it up a bit.

When the reading on the Garmin continued to drop, that should have been the clue something was wrong but it didn't and when it started to come back up as the effort increased, I though it was just me getting stronger. With mile 3 clocking in at 9:52 and my HR steady in the low 130s I was pretty psyched.

As soon as I passed the 3 mile mark though it started to drop again. This time around I knew I was moving pretty well but now had the strong wind to my back and thought I was ok. Now here is where I turned into a boiling frog. As my HR dropped gradually my pace increased but HR still continued down so I went faster. It wasn't long before I realized I was going way too fast.

When I checked my pace and realized I was going along in the mid-8s. Way too fast but as I finished mile 4 at 9:01, I figured the run was screwed and there was only a mile left. Why waste a happy accident? The problem was that I also felt a little light-headed on these middle miles and probably wasn't thinking that clearly. By the time mile 5 was done, I was ready for a good cool down mile.

So it appears that the battery didn't fix the HRM so I've given it a wash to see if that fixes it. If not there will be an email to Garmin since everything is still under warranty. At least tomorrow is a rest day because I'm pooped.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22

After opting out of a run yesterday for an additional rest day, the temptation was there to do the same. Over the past few days I've developed a slight niggle at the metatarsophalangeal joint which I notice as an occasional burning sensation; it's not too painful and seems to come mainly if I've been standing too long with pressure on it. Fortunately as BBW almost fully convinced me that it was going to be another rest day because my foot was about to fall off, The Who's Wont Get Fooled Again came on the radio and that was enough of an adrenaline boost to shut him up.

The plan for tonight called for 3.6 mile 2x4s but I'm also still feeling the effects of Sunday's 22 so I decided to do 3 miles at HR to keep the momentum going. Once on the road I was happy that a fresh battery seemed to have resolved the HRM monitor issue from Sunday so all was good. I also began to realize that with a 1 mile warmup and cool down at the bookends of the run, I'd only be doing 1 mile at MHR and that was not going to cut it.

So 4 miles it was going to be.

The warmup and warmup mile went well as I worked the HR ranges on my way to the mid-130s. As I'm getting better at this, the initial mile is transitioning smoother into mile 2 as I'm up to operating temperature and ready to go.

With only 2 miles of MHR running to do it was important to stay focused to make them quality miles and aside from a couple mental lapses I did pretty well. The most surprising thing was that mile 2 was faster (10:01) into a 10-15 mph headwind than mile 3 (10:08) with a tailwind but I partial attribute this to having to slow down due to an HR spike because I ran across the road too fast at the beginning of the 3rd mile.

Short and sweet was a good thing tonight and ended with a very nice cool down. Schedule for tomorrow calls for a 6 mile recovery run at a slower MHR of 132 bpm which should help me further. Now to get some sleep.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19

Sunday means services at the Church of Sunday Long Run and on today's schedule was 22 miles. After a very good run last Sunday my expectation was to build on it today but unlike last week where there was cloud cover through much of the run, there was not a cloud in the sky.

After a smoothie, power coffee and some interweb surfing I got in a good warmup and hit the road. Things we going well enough but without warning at the 1 mile mark I had an HR spike into the low 130s. I didn't feel like I was pushing it but still had to slow down to get back into the 120s. No problem, or so I thought.

The next mile was going smoothly but right about the time I passed 2 miles, my HR suddenly began to drop. Either my heart suddenly became super efficient or we were experiencing technical difficulties.

I futzed around with the HRM thinking it was either the Body Glide interfering with the signal or the battery going bad. After I moved the position of the strap on my chest, HR jumped from 94 to 154 bpm and I attributed this to going too fast so I walked it down.

This worked for about a tenth of a mile before another spike so again I walked. This time however HR didn't come down. Here I am walking and nothing is changing. I was so pissed off that I took the unit off the strap and started running; stupid thing was still reading, even after I took off the strap and put it in the other pocket. It was time for plan B

Since last week seemed to be right around the mid-11s I decided to just keep that pace and just run by feel. With a few adjustments to the Garmin I was back on track with 17 miles to go.

Seeing as how the run was jacked I figured it was as good a time as any to check out a new route I had been considering. This was going to be off road along the canal which would provide a nice change of pace and could provide a way to tack on miles to my regular routes.

I had only looked at it on Google maps once a few weeks ago so when I got to a point to where I had to pick a path I chose the sure thing back to the main road. Still this added 2 miles to last week's route so I was good to go. And then I realized I had forgot to take my ENERGYbits (==>). Had to correct that even though it was a mile too late.

Now that the technical difficulties were behind me the miles clicked off in the mid-11s and I was feeling great. It was only due to rest stops at miles 11 and 17.5 that my pace dipped at all. Even better, the blister issue I dealt with in my new Tempos didn't resurface. My sole focus by now was 1 year from now when these runs will have me in the Boston Marathon.

This may seem presumptuous since the BQ race is in September but that is just a milestone that needs to be reached; Boston is the destination. I will not be denied.

As I passed the 20 mile mark I was starting to tire but still had gas in the tank. I also now have a Nathan Speed 4 belt so with 2 additional 10 oz bottles I have enough fluid as well. With the temps now in the mid-80s I wisely stopped at the high school at mile 13 to top of my empty bottles at the fountains.

Fully hydrated I was able to finish strong and after 4 hours and 20 minutes on the road I was done; a good 22.1 miles under my belt. I walked in the door to the smell of bacon that Christine was cooking up. Yum, fuel.

Tomorrow will be a well deserved rest day after a productive weekend of running and I plan on getting to bed not much after tonight's #RunChat.

I also want to wish everyone running Boston tomorrow a great race. Next year I'll be there with you.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

April 18

It's Saturday in April and that means Yassos but not until after an easy 6 miler. I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning and had to remind myself why I'm doing this. If I want that BQ, I have to put in the work. Fortunately the running gods were with me and it was still on the cool side by the time I got started around 9.

I know things are sounding repetitive on my runs; low HR warmup mile, X amount of good miles in the 133-136 bpm zone followed by a cool down mile but that's the consistency I'm looking for. Today's 6 was really no different and I was feeling pretty good although it was starting to heat up by the time I finished.

The plan was to meet up with Christine at the track so I could check her form before she started into any running. The girl has been bitten by the bug and wants to get going guns-a-blazin' but that is not happening on my watch. She's going to start of easy and work her way up. The only goal laid out is to train smart and stay injury free. But more on that later as she decided to walk the 3 miles from the house instead of drive and do all her miles on the track which was an even better plan.

After a recovery period, hydration, some ENERGYbits (==>) and a change from my Skora Fit to my Phase, I was ready for Yasso #1. I felt fast right off the bat, too fast but decided to go with it. I was shooting for around a 3:15 800 (6:30 mile) but was down into the 5:30s-5:40s for the first 400. The last 400 saw some dips into the six-teens but I still managed to finish up at 3:03. In hindsight this killed me more than I thought for the rest of the repeats and I need to remember my pacing. Still, I'm happy to have pulled that off and it was the most consistent of the lot.

When it was time for Yasso #2 I told myself I needed to slow down. There was no way I was going to get 6 Yassos done at 3:15 if I kept torching myself. My pacing was more sporadic on this one and I had to go hard at the end to hit my goal finishing in 3:12.

Yasso #3 was too fast again for the first 400 and I paid for it, having to pick it up at the end to finish with a 3:14. Things were also starting to heat up as was the humidity as the water on the field from the sprinklers began to evaporate.

By Yasso #4 I was pretty much toast and was struggling to stay in the mid-6 minute pace. I was now paying the price for the faster earlier intervals. Live and learn. The 3:24 time was respectable enough though.

Just before Yasso #5, Christine showed up and she continued her 4 mile walk. By now my legs were like rubber and I was taking my HR a fair amount of time to come down. Still these are the times that training really pays off; when you can push yourself through the suck. Better to deal with it in training than be unprepared in a race. Given how I felt, 3:23 was pretty damn good.

Finally it was time for Yasso #6 and I gave it what I had left which was not much at all. I did the best I could muster but couldn't keep my pacing at all as it fluctuated between the 6:20s and seven-teens. At least when it was coming to a close I dug deep to find a little something and even though it was in 3:29, I finished strong with a 5:30 pace.

Timing worked out nicely as Christine was just finishing up her walk and once I caught my breath I had her do a couple of jogs just so I could observe her form. I have to say that for someone who never ran, here form was pretty damn good; nice forefoot strike and not a lot of wasted upper-body movement. Granted she was a little too upright and had too much vertical knee lift but that is easy to correct.

After a brief explanation on leaning forward from the ankles we jogged around the track while I gave her some pointers. We went for a good 75 yards before she needed to walk. After a recovery period where she felt she was ready to go, we jogged for anther 50 yards or so before we called it a day. Poor kid was a bit sore later in the day but I'm so happy for her. Just have to make sure she doesn't over do it.

For me, tomorrow will be an early morning with 22 on the schedule and a warm late morning predicted. Just need to remember to take it easy and stay hydrated.

Week ending April 18th - 44.1 miles 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16

Actually felt better than expected after yesterday's 2x4s although my lungs did feel a bit crunchy at times throughout the day. No worries though and nothing to deter me from the 6 miles on the schedule for tonight.

Has a good warmup but HR didn't seem to want to come up so I figured that was the way it was going to be. So much for that though as it suddenly spiked in the first half mile but since I was noticing a small rock in my shoe, I needed to stop anyway.

After that little break that allowed my HR to come back down, everybody got on the same page as things gradually came up. As I hit the first mile mark my HR was still in the high 120s and since I felt like I was moving at a nice pace I decided to keep it around there. A few time throughout the day I had entertained the thought of doing a "recovery" run with my HR around 132 bpm and I guess my body was telling me it was on board with the idea.

As mile 2 progressed I felt really fast even though I was staying below 130 for the most part. The real shock was just how fast as I hit the split at 10:15. For a moment I thought if I was that fast in the high 120s, how fast could I be at 136 or so? That was soon pushed out of my head after a short debate and I kept cruising along.

When I got to the 3rd mile marker and my split read 10:08, I couldn't believe it. I was turning some of my fastest miles but keeping my HR in the 120s. Then again I always seem to have my best sessions the day after a hard workout.

When I completed mile 4 it was more of the same at 9:57 although I was spending a little more time in the 130-132 range which still made me happy. Mile 5 was slower at 10:30 but I was on a slight incline most of the time and was starting to feel some fatigue as well. A brief coughing spasm also served to slow me down and I was actually looking forward to taking it down for the final mile which ended with my HR in the mid-one teens.

Tonight was definitely a good run but I'm looking forward to a rest day tomorrow.

In other news, Christine is determined to PR her next 5K and is on a training schedule so she can do it at the DBacks Race Against Cancer on May 2nd. She even got a bit of a run in tonight although it wasn't on the schedule. I think I've created a runner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 15

Another Wednesday in April means another day to run fast and that is exactly what I did. Once more 2x4s. With a good warm up in and an easy 0.4 miles to bring my HR up to speed, I was off. Unlike last week there were no tech glitched so this was good.

The first interval felt great, so great that I got into it right away and was probably too fast off the bat. I know this because by the last 50 yards my lungs were on fire and I started to slow although I still felt like I was moving right along. Still I didn't need to change my breathing from 2:3 to 2:2 until the 0.3 mile mark.

After a 0.2 miles recovery period I got down into interval #2. This time I made sure not to kill myself right away and worked my speed up. This was a much better idea and even though I was gassed at the end I wast as bad as I was at the end of #1. Breathing was still pretty good with the change to 2:2 just before e0.1 mile to go.

Once again there was a 0.2 miles recover period before interval #3. By now I was feeling the effects of the first 2 but still managed to move at what felt like a very fast pace. As expected I began to fade a little sooner and my breathing came up to 2:2 by the halfway point of the interval.

I always try to make the last one the fast one but tonight it just wasn't there for interval #4. After only 0.1 mile in I was breathing hard at 2:2 and try as I might I couldn't push myself to go any faster. But that's why we do these, to get faster and learn to push through the suck. Thankfully it was over soon enough and it was time for a cool down.

Looking at the fast intervals I can't be anything but pleased. Showed some improvement over last week but I still have a ways to go (fast splits) and no blister issues either.

Split Distance Time Avg Pace Best Pace Avg HR Max HR
2 0.4 02:24.7 6:02 5:40 159 168
4 0.4 02:39.4 6:39 5:50 153 168
6 0.4 02:36.4 6:31 5:36 159 170
8 0.4 02:41.4 6:44 6:00 156 172

Tomorrow will be back to the HR training with an easy 6 miles on the schedule.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14

Getting late so this will be quick. With some fires to put out today my stress level was up a bit and I got home a little late. Even with this I still played it smart and made sure to get in a good warmup. I've learned my lesson and know that it's better to get up to operating temp and have a good run than to skimp on it and get off to a bad start. Besides, it's not like the extra 5 minutes will kill me.

Overall the run was on the slow side but that wasn't unexpected that given the day I had. Not that it was a bad day, just that a lot of things turned into priorities that had to be dealt with at the same time. Still stress is stress.

Right off I noticed a fairly stiff breeze which meant the first half of the run was going to be the toughest. This was fine with me because it meant a tailwind on the last half. It was also a cool night so that was going to make for a pleasant run too.

Mile 1 went great as I eased into things and felt pretty good into mile 2. While I was pretty good about keeping the HR down I was tending to lose the now so I was actually fluctuating too much around the high and low points of where I needed to be.

As the run progressed I was definitely feeling stronger and faster. While there were no real fast miles I certainly felt fast and that was all that really mattered. After 4 well run miles it was time for the final mile cool down. Good thing too since the blister from Sunday was starting to bother me somewhat.

So there you have it. Tomorrow is speedwork; more 2x4s so it's off to bed for me.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12

Sunday long runs keep growing and this week it's up to 20 miles. YIKES!!

Once again the plan was to take it slow and keep the HR down as long as I could. Fortunately the stars seemed to be aligned as it was cool and cloudy as I got out on the road after a good warm up. I finally had the Skora Tempos that I had been wishing for and was looking forward to getting then out on a long run.

The new shoes felt amazing and with the weather being what it was, I was cruising along effortlessly for the first 9 miles with my HR in the low 120s for the majority of the time while maintaining a pace of 11:30. This was very good. I also couldn't help but wonder if the banana I had after yesterday's race and the half sweet potato I had for dinner played any part in this as well.

Around mile 9 I began to notice a blister developing on the inside of my left foot just below the big toe. Some of this I'll attribute to the new shoes but it's also in the area that I have blister issues no matter what shoes I've run in. It was more of an annoyance if anything and I only felt it on uneven footing anyway.

It wasn't until mile 14 that my HR even got into a range near 137 bpm to where I had to slow down. By mile 15 it was getting a bit tougher to maintain but as luck would have it I needed to stop to use a Porta-John at a new community that was being built and this mini-break was enough to take it back down again.

As well as I has been going, things were beginning to change with the HR continued to creep up and the blister was becoming more of a nuisance. My legs had also begun to start feeling heavy so I would just focus on getting to a landmark that was 50 or so yards ahead. This worked for a couple miles but at the 17.5 mile mark I finally gave in and walked for a half mile.

This little rest was just what I needed and I was able to finish the rest of the run at a slightly faster pace than I had been. It wasn't even until the 20 mile mark that my HR went over 137 bpm and this was only because I was trying to see if I could finish under 4 hours.

In all this was a great run for the psyche and will be something to build on for sure. Tomorrow will be a well deserved rest day as I need a day to recover from this weekend's festivities.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 11

Just because I ran the a race in the morning, it doesn't absolve me from getting in my miles so today was going to be a twofer. After the 20 minute ride home, a change into my new Skora Tempos and a quick warmup, I was back out the door.

I could tell right away that this was going to be a tough run. Try as I may my HR came up pretty quickly into the high 120s even though I tried to take it up slower and by the .4 mile mark I was in the 130s. All this meant was that I would need to take it slow.

This really wasn't a bad thing since I was in new shoes after all. The Tempo is Skora's latest model and is somewhat a departure from their minimalist roots with a 22 mm stack height. Otherwise the shoes feature Skora's asymmetric lacing and have a very thin mesh upper which makes these shoes are incredibly light at under 8 oz. I was thrown off by the arch support, which is a first for them and I didn't know what to think of it.

The first mile went quite well considering and was actually on par with what I have been running although that was with a much lower heart rate. I actually felt pretty good and was looking forward to the planned 6 miles. I was also feeling good about the Tempos which didn't feel as clunky as when I first started out.

It wasn't too long however before the HR wanted to stay up around 135-135 and I began to feel it in my legs as well. This wasn't completely unexpected though as I began to consider scaling back the run. It doesn't help anything to push too hard especially with 20 miles on the schedule for tomorrow. By the time I got to the 2 mile mark, my HR decided that it was time to take a short walk break and head back.

Mile 3 was more of the same with another walk break when I had a sudden spike up to 142 bpm. As I began to slow it down even further I was finally able to get down into the low 130s for the last mile to close things out. Again, this was higher than I would have liked but it was better than nothing.

When I got home, Christine was prepping a breakfast of bacon and eggs. She finally knew what it meant to be rungry. I'm also happy to report that there were no issues with the new kicks so I'll be taking them out again tomorrow when I visit #ChurchofSundayLongRun

Week ending April 11th - 40.3 miles

2015 Run3rd 5K

It was another early Saturday morning to get out an run the inaugural Run3rd 5K. I was pretty exciting for this race because it would not only be my first 5K in over 7 months but more importantly it would also be Christine's first foray into the running world that I inhabit.

With the race scheduled to start at 8 and a plan to meet up with some people from work beforehand, we were out the door and parked by 7am. It was nice to have a race relatively close to home, only about a 20 minute drive, for a change. As far as the meet up I should have known better and set the time earlier since everyone lived a bit further away.but we hooked up got some pictures and made our way to the starting line.

I settled in about 5 or so deep noticing that there were a lot of families and young kids to the front which was going to make things interesting when the race started. After the usual formalities, the race was off and after working my way though masses I was soon in open space. The goal was to settle in somewhere in the 6:45-7 minute range and see how things felt. With this being more of a systems check race I tried to stay mindful of what my body was feeling.

As the first mile progressed, I was moving along nicely but occasionally caught myself going too fast and had to scale it back a bit otherwise I'd be toast later on. By now I was starting to pass quite a few people who burned themselves out early and had a feeling I was in the top 10 or so.

When I hit the first split at 6:39 I was a bit concerned with the confirmation that I had indeed gone out too fast. On the plus side my HR was still reasonable in the high 170s and I was still breathing at a 2:3 ratio.

Into mile 2 I slowed up a bit but also began to notice I was gaining on a young girl ahead of me. She couldn't have been more than 12 or 13 but was obviously a very good runner. This helped to spur me on but I knew that I had to run my race and not worry about trying to beat someone else. Eventually I did catch and pass her but now I was starting to feel the effects of the pace even though I was running closer to 7 minutes.

The one disappointing moment of the race came when the woman who was about 20 yards ahead of me and must have been in a nice zone didn't notice the support staff instructing her to go right. Instead he went left to follow the slower runners and this would cost her the woman's division win.

It wasn't too much before the 2 mile mark were I would be overtaken by another runner. While I entertained the thought of going with him I remained on course to run my race. By now my legs we getting a little heavy and my breathing was now at 2:2. In addition to this, my HR was now in the mid-180s and I didn't want to take it any higher.

Mile 2 finished in 6:56 which was more in line with were I wanted to be. At this point I was by myself but I was aware that I had some competition not terribly far back.

Now was the time to see where my fitness level really was as I began to push the pace to see how much I could sustain. The good news is that it didn't kill me but I also found out I wasn't where I needed to be and took it back down so I would have something left at the finish.

I finished mile 3 at 6:50 and as I was about to enter the track for the final tenth, race organizer Kris let me know that I had company coming up from behind so after a quick glance back I turned it up. I was glad to have my kick and as I chugged through the final turn, I saw our company's president at the edge of the track waving to me as she prepared to snap a picture. With a final burst I crossed the line at 21:38 according to my watch. Officially I finished the race in 21:17 (3rd best 5K) which was good for 8th place overall and 1st in the 45-49 age group.

After the race I hung out with my coworkers as well as a quick meet up with the #RunEatTweetAZ gang as I waited for Christine to finish. It was also great to see that 2 of my coworkers also earned podium spots for their efforts.

With the race winding down we soon saw Christine coming along and as she made her way toward the finish, I could see that she was grinning from ear to ear. The bug had bitten her. Soon she was crossing the line with her first race under her belt in a respectable 52:31. I am so proud of her. Great job kid!!

I can't say enough about how well organized this race was and how much effort went into it. Race organizers Mindy and Kris Przeor went all out with their efforts to make everything work just right and I hope they put this race on again next year. Thanks for everything you and your volunteers did and good luck Kris in Boston in a little over a week.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April 9

Another good run, another 6 miles in the books and another night of progress. I'm really noticing the improvement every time I hit the road since I got my poop in a group 3 weeks ago. There really hasn't been a bad run in the lot. Sure the long runs have been tough but that has to be expected and I am making strides in them as well. And with the new Skora Tempos set to arrive tomorrow, I'm hoping they will make the long runs a little easier on me.

There's really not much to be said about tonight's run that hasn't been said about the previous ones with the consistency of them becoming routine. I just can't get complacent because I still have a lot of work to do in the next 5 months if I want to get that BQ.

The warmup was good tonight and the first mile went slow as I brought my HR up gradually. A funny thought crossed my mind when I was plodding along at the start. The first and last half mile of my runs is along the busiest stretch of road in my area and I wonder how many people see me doing the jogger shuffle and are either laughing at me or feel sorry for me. Little do they know that it's part of the training. That's the thing about HR training, you really need to check your ego at the door. The odd things we think about when we're out on the road.

By the time I worked into mile 2 I was feeling really good with a smooth stride and what felt like a quick pace so I wasn't surprised when I saw the split of 9:39. This had to be one of the fastest miles in months and I was loving it. Mile 3 felt just as good but was slower at 9:56 as I noticed I was beginning to work harder.

It was on a slight incline shortly before I hit the 4 mile mark that I could feel my legs were getting heavier as fatigue began to set in. This isn't much of a bad thing because with only a mile to go before I got into the cool down, I knew that I was pushing myself just enough. With mile 4 coming in at 10:04 and mile 5 at 10:15 I was satisfied with the positive splits since that is what is expected on a good MAF run. After a good final mile where I gradually took my HR down to the high one-teens it was time to call it a night.

With that success and a rest day tomorrow, I should be in great shape for Saturday's 5K. I'm not shooting for a PR, that comes later in the month, so I'll be very happy with a sub-21:00. I'm pretty sure I have it in me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8

Tonight it was back in the fast lane with intervals that I call 2x4s; 2 tenth slow followed by 4 tenths all out. Sounds easy enough but by the third or fourth one you are feeling like you were hit by one. On the schedule was 4 intervals for about 3 miles give or take with warmup and cool down included.

Things started off well enough but once I hit the road there was. a slight problem; it's been so long since I did them I forgot how to work my Garmin. After the run had started I realized that I didn't properly set the time and had to pull over to reset everything. At least it's better than doing the run and not recording the data.

So after a reboot I was back at it and after a quarter mile jog to loosen up, the buzzer sounded and I was off. Since I don't have the pace display up, I didn't know how fast I was going at the time but I know I was trucking. I also know that halfway in I was feeling it but kept pushing. When the buzzer finally went off to tell me the interval was done, I was too.

Then it was time for tech glitch #2 as I got into the first recovery session when I realized I hadn't programmed properly so instead of a .2 mile interval, I was set for .25 miles. Ok more rest is better the first time out anyway.

This was a much needed break and I felt like I recovered well. By the time I was ready to start interval 2 my breathing and HR had come back down to normal. This time I felt a bit stronger but once again as I hit the halfway point is was struggling to keep it up. On this night BBW was nowhere to be found as I reminded myself what happens when you quit which motivated me to press on. Soon enough it was over and time for recovery.

For the most part, intervals 3 and 4 were the same except progressively harder. Still I managed to fight through it and when the final one was over, I know I had given it everything I had.

As I review the numbers, I was very happy with the results (fast intervals)

Split Distance Time Avg Pace Best Pace Avg HR Max HR
2 0.4 02:44.3 6:51 6:03 150 174
4 0.4 02:42.1 6:46 6:15 150 165
6 0.4 02:34.6 6:27 5:30 159 171
8 0.4 02:39.0 6:38 5:42 155 171

Certainly room for improvement but definitely a good place to start. Tomorrow calls for a return to HR with 6 miles on the schedule before a rest day on Friday.

In other new which has me very exciting, Christine is going to do the Run3rd 5K on Saturday. While she's only going to walk it that's still an important first step. Yay cloud!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 7

I try to avoid getting too low when things are going bad because the ebbs of life always turn into a flow. This is also the reason I try not to get too high when things are going well but damn running is fun again now that I got my mind right.

Was home early again due in part to a accident that had the freeway bottled up right before my on ramp. This made for very light rush hour traffic; just hope no one was hurt. Got in got changed and got warmed up but good. Didn't want any repeats of this weekends pitiful attempts.

The schedule called for 6 miles tonight with the first and last being slow to get the HR up gradually in the beginning and take it down easily at the end. This makes for some slow going but seems well worth it. I still need to get over letting my mind wander though because when I get out of the now I tend to go a bit too fast. This caused a brief spike up to 137 bpm in the first mile but I was able to get it back down into the mis-120s just as fast.

As I got to the 3/4 mile mark I started to bring it slightly and by the time I completed the first mile I was ready to get into the low 130s. After a half mile or so I picked it up some more and pretty much through to the end of mile 5 stayed in the 133-136 zone with only an occasional jump over 137.

It was a nice night, low 80s with a bit of a wind so it made for a pleasant run. With the sun also being out longer I'm starting to see more people out for some exercise but it is still dark before 7 and no one else is wearing lights or reflective gear. People be safe and be seen dammit!

Consistancy was defiately the name of the game tonight as miles 2 through 5 clicked along at 10:04/133, 10:05/134, 9:57/135, 9:58/135 before it was time to ease it down for the final mile. Another nice run in the books.

Tomorrow will be back on the speed train with 2x4s; 2 tenth slow into 4 tenths all out for 4 cycles. By the time it's over I feel like I was hit by a 2x4 but speedwork is fun. With my first 5K (Run3rd 5K) since last September, it will be interesting to see how well the aerobic work pays off.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Skore released their new Tempo model yesterday and they are now available. Been waiting for this for some time now and can't wait to get those bad boys out on my long runs.

 I love my Skora Phase and Fit but the Phase with only an 11mm stack height is good for about 8-10 miles before my feet start to hurt. The Fit, with their 16mm height is better for longer runs but I start to feel it at around 16-18 miles as well. The Tempo with its 22mm cushion should be perfect for those 20+ mile runs that are on the schedule starting this coming Sunday.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

April 5

Did not have high expectations for today's run. I felt a bit crunchy from yesterday's speedwork and probably had one glass of wine too many last night so I wasn't firing on all cylinders to say the least.

Since I wasn't feeling it I only went through the motions on my warm-up which caused a couple HR spikes necessitating 2 walk breaks right off the bat. My lower left calf was also feeling tight and achy not to mention BBW was trying to get into my head. I was in for a long morning.

Per the plan, mile 1 was intentionally slow to keep the HR in the low 120s. This worked well, other than the early spikes, as I was able to stay in the 120s through the next 5 miles. By now the calf discomfort had gone away and I was able to keep everything under control until the 13 mile mark only to take a quick rest stop and then to soak down my shirt.

Similar to my last couple long runs, the wheels didn't start to fall off until 5 miles to go. This wasn't unexpected but it doesn't mean it still didn't suck. At this point BBW reared his head again and as I struggled along I seriously was going to cut the run short by 2 miles. Fortunately I know how to beat BBW and when I got to where I would go straight for 16 or make a turn for 18, I didn't hesitate to make that turn. BQ's don't happen when you quit.

Soon the run was thankfully over and there was nothing left to do but relax and recover. A nap may or may not have been involved. Tomorrow will be a core day, I hope since I've bagged the last 2 in favor of rest, with 6 miles scheduled on Tuesday.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

April 4

Talk about not wanting to get out of bed this morning but we all know those miles ain't gonna run themselves. After  a smoothie (I hate that term), power coffee and some surfing the interwebz I was off to the local High School to get on with it.

After taking my ENERGYbits (sidebar ==> sidebar) and warming up I was off on my 4 mile run. It became readily apparent that I had not done a good job as my HR spiked to over 140 bpm almost immediately. Knowing what I know now, I stopped running and walked it down to the one-teens but even that wasn't sufficient as it shortly spiked once again when I began to trot. This scene would play out a couple more times in the first half mile but soon I was on my way.

Again the plan was to ease into the first mile in the 120s to let my HR go through all the gears, if you will. At the 3/4 mile mark I came into the low 130s and cruised right along until I hit the first mile marker. Now the run was really on as I got into that sweet spot of 133-135 bpm on on mile 2. Things are starting to feel easier as I rolled through the 2nd mile at 10:02 and I was even happier with a 9:39 mile 3 all while staying in that nice zone.

As much as it was fun it was, it was time to bring it back down for the final mile and close out the run in the low 120s. Fortunately this wasn't the end since there were also Yasso 800s on the schedule and after a quick gear change from my Skora Fit into their Phase (sidebar ==>), it was time to run fast.

It's been quite some time, last August to be exact, since I've been out on the track and I really wasn't sure how it was going to go. The goal was to knock out 6 Yassos in 3:15 which was a stretch considering last year I was lucky to see a 3:30.

With that I dug into Yasso #1. This is the first time on the track where I could monitor my pace and couldn't believe that I was actually maintaining a pace in the low to mid 6s for the first lap. For the second lap up turned up the jets as I made my way through the last turn and as I sprinted down the last straight, I was stunned to see I was in the 5:20s finishing up at 3:16.

Happy with the result, I walked my HR down before I began Yasso #2. The result was basically the same as the first one except my pacing fluctuated more than I would have liked. Still I spent the majority of it under 6:00 and finished in 3:10. While cooling down after this one I decided to cut it to 4 from 6 as it was taking longer for my HR to drop and my breathing to come down.

Yasso #3 was by far the hardest of the 4 and as I got into the second lap I was floundering in the mid 6s. I wasn't about to give up and willed myself to finish strong down the stretch ending with a 3:14 time. By this point I was gassed with HR and breathing not coming down easily. Still I could feel I was beginning to tighten up and decided to get back at it even though I was in the 120s.

It was time to suck it up and get Yasso #4 over with. I had nothing in the first lap but this is why we do them; to run fast while fatigued. I was happy I was able to stay in the mid 6s  as I was ding everything I could to keep my form together. Going into the last turn I found a little something and I was able to push down into the 5s. As I flew toward the finish I was astounded to see the pace on my watch reading 5:03 and closed out this final 800 in 5:18. I was done!

I was so happy with the outcome from this speedwork and it certainly shows that HR training is paying dividends. It is just more proof that you can get faster by running slow.

Tomorrow will be a long slow day with 18 on the schedule but right now it's time for a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and power coffee that Christine is whipping up for me.

Week ending April 4th - 37.2 miles

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2

All I can say is that I'm getting stronger (and smarter) every day but I wish I had shown a little more patience when I came back at the beginning of March. I almost feel like I wasted 2 weeks trying to push the pace.

After reading a recent blog post by Phil Maffetone (101 MAF Heart Rate Zones) I realized that I was not properly warming up or cooling down so I made more of a point to ease through the first and last mile of tonight's 6 mile run. I still need to do better at this, especially on the first mile but it's a work in progress.

With an easy first mile under my belt, miles 2 and 3 went great, both being in the 10-teens which is a far cry from the 10:30s-10:40s I have been running. I'm not sure if this was because of the slow warmup, or that it was a cooler night or that the patience has finally begun to pay off; well the list can go on but maybe it's just a combination of everything. The same thing happened after all in the last training cycle; things just started to click all of a sudden.

Now with these 2 fine miles under my belt I made the turn and began the run home with the wind now to my back. If I was happy with the last 2 miles, I was completely overjoyed with the next 2 as I cruised along in the 9:50s. I couldn't have been happier and in some ways it was hard to maintain a quick enough pace to keep my HR up.

As I hit the final mile, I was tempted to keep it up but wisely chose to back it off. No need to blow a great run for the sake of the stats and over the course I eased the HR down gradually into the low 120s, content with the way the run went.

Tomorrow is a rest day before as short run followed by some Yassos on Saturday. Until then.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1

Well April is here and that mean speedwork. All hail speedwork! Yes, its been a while since I just let it rip  and while it was only for a mile it felt great.

Originally the plan was to do a normal run tonight and wait until Saturday when I'll be heading to the local track to do some Yassos. That WAS the plan anyway and I soon rationalized that it is April, it is a nice night, I'm feeling pretty good and I'm itching to run fast co the plan got altered. After considering various distances, intervals, etc I finally settled on 3 miles with 1 and 3 being under the 137 bpm mark with mile 2 a progressive. This way I'd get in a sufficient warmup and cool-down as well as not overdoing the fast portion.

For the first half mile I made sure to keep it in the 120s until I got things rolling. As I started to speed up a bit I momentarily lost focus and got up a tad too quick and spiked to 142 bpm and has to ease back down.

As I hit the 1 mile mark and got the alert on the Garmin, I stepped it up to a 8 minute pace and tried to keep it there to see how it felt. After a feeling out process for .2 I got into it some more and dropped into the high 7s.

All systems were now go but as I approached the 1.5 mile mark my legs began to feel somewhat heavy. As I contemplated cutting the fast short, it soon passed and I pushed the pace once again.

It was at this point when I saw I was in the 7:40s that the realization hit me that this was the pace I was going to need to maintain for 26.2 freakin' miles. Holy shit! After this reality slap and with only a tenth to go it was time to let it all hang out. And I did.

Crossing below 7 minutes put a smile on my face as I continued at it and as I hit the 2 mile mark I looked down to see I was running at a 6:13 pace. Just friggin' wow I thought as I backed off to get a nice 1 mile cool-down.

So I would definitely classify this run as a major success and can't wait to tear it up again. Tomorrow will be an easy 6 before a rest day on Friday. It will be interesting to see how my body reacts to the increased effort but I think it will be alright especially after the healthy dinner and evening smoothie my in house nutritionist prepared.