Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31

Setbacks are a normal part of life and if a crap run like yesterday is the worst thing I have to deal with on any given day, I will put that in the win column. Besides, life gives us a reset button known as a new day which provides us all with a fresh start and a blank canvas to work with.

So it was after a descent night's sleep the alarm went off at 5am and with a couple of snoozes I promptly fell back asleep to wake up at 6:15; oops. Still it wasn't too bad out yet and after a smoothie, some coffee and a warmup I was ready to hit the road at 7.

Now the temptation that all runners seem to have after a bad outing is to hit it harder the next time and certainly I wanted to get out there and rip off the 13 miles I was supposed to get in like nobody's business. In the past I would have done this just to sooth my ego but today I am wiser and since the schedule called for a 6 mile MAF run, that was what I was going to do.

While my legs still felt a little weary, I had far more pep in my step than I did yesterday which was a relief and after a good warmup mile I hit the gas and was able to go. Hooray. Even better I saw a bunny scamper into the brush along the road shortly into mile 2 so things were looking up.

Mile 2 went pretty well at 10:05 as I was aided by a slight tailwind and this would be the best I would see. Miles 3-5 were definitely slower at 10:36-10:48-10:36 though. I could have done them faster but the focus for today was to keep the HR below 137 bpm so pace was going to take a hit with temps in the 80s. Still I felt comfortable and finished of the run with a good cool down mile.

Well there you have it. Was it a great run? Not really but it was was more in line with where I should be. The reality of it is that I need to focus on eating clean and getting back into keto more than anything else because that is when I'm running my best. With only 3 and a half months left before the race, I need to get back on point and quit screwing around.

I also want to thank every for all the positive sentiments after yesterday's entry. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful support system in the running community. It's so cool that everyone has each other's back.

May total -  176.0 miles

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 30

Just like with life in general, running has its ups and downs and I am definately in a down right now.

This week I have been taking it easy since my body has been feeling a little beat up with over 160 miles logged in May through last weekend. I've also been eating like crap, munching on junk (popcorn and tortilla chips) in work, which hasn't helped either. Add to this that I haven't been getting to bed as early as I should either.

With temps expected to reach the 90s by 9am or so, I was up at 5:30 to get in 13 miles. From the start, even with a good night's sleep, I felt sluggish and had nothing during my warmup. This was going to make for a long effort.

It was still pleasant, in the mid-60s with a light breeze when I got out at 6:45 but I had nothing. I felt uncoordinated and all over the place but figured this would work it's way out after a bit. First mile is for getting up to speed and shaking things out so I wasn't too concerned. Still, my legs felt like jello and BBW was in my head; lovely.

As I approached the 1 mile split I tried to bring it up to pace and as I passed the split I went to accelerate but my legs said no. The only thing that came up was my HR as I felt like I was running in water. Think stomping on your car's gas pedal and it just bogs; that's where I was.

By now, BBW had me but good and I knew there was no way I was going to make 13. As the internal debate began over what to do, I came to the conclusion that it would be best to cut my losses and make it a 3 miler. Nothing good was going to come out of fighting through a shit run so when I reached the 1.5 mile mark I made the turn and headed back home.

It's a good thing I made this decision too because not long after I walked through the door I developed some GI issues. It could have been ugly. But that's what eating junk will do for you when your system isn't used to it. Time to get back on track of eating clean again. It's also a good thing I've signed up to get an Inside Tracker analysis. I'll probably do this later next week after I let my system do it's thing.

At least there is no apparent injury involved as it's not like anything was hurting; just dead legs. The only other bright spot out of all of this was it wasn't quite yet 7:30 so it was back to bed for me. At least I could rest up and have a bit of a do-over. It is what it is and the great thing about running, just as in life, tomorrow is another day.

On the plus side, it was great to see the dedication that Christine has since she took up running last month. She was up before me and was out the door for her 5 mile walk/run while I was still getting ready. She is making awesome progress and I am some proud of her effort.

So tomorrow's another day and the alarm is set for 5 again; we'll have to see where this leads.

Week ending May 30th - 13.1 miles

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 28

One of the rules of running is that when you feel ready to get back out, take one more day. So after deciding on Sunday that I needed to take a day or 2 off I got back at it today. Even though the schedule called for 7 miles today, I wasn't going to press my luck; cutting the run back to 3 instead. Plus it was still going to be in the mid-90s by the time I got out which influenced the decision as well.

During warmup the TFL was still a bit tight but everything felt alright once I was out on the road. This was going to be an easy run but I caught myself going too fast at the start. Gotta love fresh legs but I backed it down to let the HR come up gradually.

Pretty much from the beginning I wasn't in the now. Had a little something from the cubefarm that was grinding on me and lasted throughout the entire outing. Not only was this not helpful in getting quality time on the road but it was giving my HR some more to contend with. I wouldn't quite classify it as junk miles but let's just say it wasn't my best effort. At least it was a short one.

Regardless if where my mind was, my body felt good with no niggles or aches so I can take that as a positive. Tomorrow will be another rest day before I get out early on Saturday to do a hilly 13 before it turns into an inferno. It's forecasted to be in the mid-90s by 10 so I want to be done well before that.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24

To say I didn't feel like running today was an understatement. Still I got up and was out on the road by 9 for what was supposed to be a 12 mile day.

Right off the bat I knew this probably wasn't going to happen and wasn't going to press my luck. On last night's run I was getting inklings of stiffness in my TFL and by this morning it was noticeably tight and seriously had me considering a day off.

The warmup mile went well enough as I brought my HR up slowly. Even on mile 2 I felt strong and was comfortably running in the 9:30s while keeping my HR in the high 120s/low 130s. Maybe this wasn't going to be so bad after all. This feeling wasn't going to last very long.

As I got into mile 3 my legs began to feel heavier and my pace began to slow. Since my HR was staying down I gave some thought into trying to pick it up but decided against it. This wasn't going to be my day and just had to go where the run was going to take me. I had also settled on cutting back to 8 miles. No sense on pressing my luck.

By the time I hit the 4 mile mark I was done. My pace had slowed to the mid-11s and I had no choice but to go at this plodding pace. Fortunately there is a dirt road that crosses the dried creek bed that I could take to cut some more off the run. This was going to mean going down then back up 50 feet or so at the creek but at least it would shorten up the run.

The last couple miles were slow going but 7 miles is better than nothing. Or is it? If I had it to do over, I probably would have stayed in bed to rest up. As it is, tomorrow is a scheduled rest day and 2 days off would have gone a long way. Now I'm thinking it may be best to take Tuesday and maybe Wednesday off to give my legs a chance to recover. It's a stepback week as it is and I want to head off any budding niggles like my TFL. It's far better to lose a few days now than some serious time later with the BQ race less than 4 month away.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23 Part 2

It wasn't until I got in and settled that I realized how wise of a decision it had been to cut the run short at just over 18 miles. Given that I was beginning to feel a little lightheaded, I was probably dehydrated even though my pee looked clear enough. Right now it was time to refuel, rehydrate and rest and there is no better way to start than a finely cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs courtesy of Christine. So after a few hours of mindless TV and surfing the interwebz, it was time to get back at it. The only question was if I was going to do 6 or 9.

My heart was telling me 9 but my head, knowing that 12 mile was on the schedule for tomorrow knew that I should keep it short. After all it was now in the low 80s and even though I felt good, who knows what would happen once I was out there. I decided I would let my legs make the call.

Once I got out I knew it was going to be a 6 miler. Although I felt good I was a little clunky and could also feel the making of a blister reappearing. Better to be safe than sorry.

Since I got in a good warmup and was pretty loose already, I only went with a half mile warmup to bring the HR up before I got into it. Not that it didn't come right up no matter how slow I took it anyway.

After the first mile I couldn't believe how great I felt and figured I'd see how much I could get out of it. It could be a very bad decision to push the pace given my earlier run along with the heat but you don't know what you are capable of until you try. With that I let my legs do their thing.

I couldn't believe how well I was tearing it up as I ripped off an 8:49 mile 2 and was well on my way for the same on mile 3 until my legs decided they had had enough and slowed me right down. Suck! Good thing I hadn't opted for 9.

This in a way was a good thing because even though my but was dragging, I got a little bit of pep back in my step once I hit the slight decline a half mile later. From here on it it was just cruise and that I did for the next mile +. Even so, mile 5 was still a respectable 9:28 before I took that last easy mile to let everything settle down. My body was glad it was over because just before I finished my HR spiked from a descent 139 to 174. It had enough.

So that was my day. Nothing left but a nice dinner and a couple of glasses of wine before it is off to bed. Those 12 miles won't run themselves tomorrow now, will they?

Week ending May 23rd - 54.3 miles

May 23 Part 1

You know you are a runner when you set your alarm earlier on weekends than you do during the week for work. Fortunately you also have the luxury of hitting the snooze a few extra times which I took full advantage of today. It was going to be a a cool morning so I was in no hurry to get up. I eventually did get up and was on the road before 8 for a planned 24 miles.

Since last Saturday's run went so much better than expected, early on I gave serious thoughts to bumping up to 26 and by the time mile 5 had passed I was pretty much committed to the idea. Even though it was warmer, sunnier and windier than it was last week, which was causing me to be 30-40 seconds slower, I felt good and was confident I could do it.

Another run-time decision that I made was to do 3 9 mile loops instead of weaving my way through the streets to get the miles in. I also figured it would break the run up into less segments which would be good for my psyche. After all, 3 loops is less intimidating than 27 miles. Yep, you heard right, 24 turned into 26 which turned into 27. It's that runner's math.

As I approached the end of the first loop I could see a walker in the distance and knew from the shirt that it was Christine in the home stretch of her 5 mile run/walk. This gave me some extra motivation to catch her before she finished up so I picked up the pace a tad. As she was walking I could tell she wasn't very focused on the now and as I caught her I yelled out to use her arms. I damn near scared her to death I think. [I'm also so proud of her because looking at her stats, she ran a mile nonstop for the first time. Kudos!]

Going into the second loop I felt great and was beginning to get ahead of myself as to where I was. Sure I was slower than I wanted to be but the important thing was that I was going to rack up a PB in terms of mileage. What I really should have been doing was accessing my current situation because I was beginning to struggle.

Maybe it was the sun or the wind or the heat or possibly not having a pre-run banana like I did last week but by the time I hit the half way point I was beginning to wear down and by mile 16 I was cooked. These next 10 miles were going to be a hard.

At this point I was trying to convince myself that I need to push through it. The hard miles now will make for easy miles later, blah, blah, blah. This was all well and good but there is a difference between running quality hard miles and suffering through junk miles. As I continued to fade on 17 and into 18 I knew it was time to be smart and cut this run short. If I was dead set on 24, 26 or 27, I could always get out later in the afternoon.

For now, 18.4 miles was going to have to be good enough.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21

When you are driving home and every flag is flapping straight out, you know you are in for a tough first half of a run. Such is life and since I knew it was going to be a slow one I even removed pace from my HR screen so I wouldn't get worked up about it. And off I went for 7 miles.

Had a great warmup mile, just taking it easy as I fought the wind and as I got into mile 2 it was a chore. Even though my HR was staying in the high 120s, I was working a lot harder than it felt. As I approached the split I tried to guess my pace. I honestly felt like I was running maybe in the 10:40s so i was quite surprised when I saw the 10:06 reading. Yay me but I still had a long way to go.

It was more of the same for the next mile plus as I fought the wind. Still my HR was staying in the low 130s with surprisingly quick miles. I was never so relieved when I finally made the turn to have the wind at my back for the last 3 miles but my legs were turning to mush. Even the tailwind wasn't helping on mile 6 and I was so ready to take it down for that final mile to home.

At least tomorrow is a rest day so my legs will get a chance to recover before Saturday's 24(don't tell anyone but I may do 26 if I'm feeling good.). For now it's off to bed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20

The day really flew by today being out of the cube farm in the morning and flying was the theme for the run tonight with the middle 2 miles of the scheduled 4 at 7:35 race pace.

Tonight was anther nice night for running; low 90s and overcast with a light breeze. It was even better when I saw a bunny scamper through the brush off the side of the road withing the first 100 feet. I knew it was going to be a good one.

I made sure to keep it slow and get up to temp but I was still a tick too quick at the very start. When the Garmin gave me the buzz at the 1 mile mark I was already moving along at a descent clip so it didn't take long until I reached the target pace.

Unlike last week where I seemed to have to push hard in the first mile, I felt a little more relaxed. The pace felt a bit easier as well but I missed my goal by 5 seconds. I can't complain though given that I was 11 seconds faster than last week with seemingly less effort and what probably kept it from being on point was the loss of focus a few times as I sped along.There was also another bunny sighting as well!

It was more of the same as I worked mile 3; smooth and strong where last week I was struggling somewhat toward the end. For a second I contemplated adding on another mile but it's too early in the cycle for that. There will be plenty more miles ahead and they don't all need to be run tonight. I closed out this mile at 7:31 which while good was a shade too fast. Still need to get my pacing down.

After a good cool down mile the run came to an end.

One of the things that BBW tried to feed me tonight was that if keeping this pace for 2 miles is this hard, doing it for 26.2 is damn near impossible. Now he may be right but when has that stopped me in the past? 2 1/2 years ago, running 4 miles nonstop was "impossible" when I failed on my first 2 attempts but I persisted.

Another "impossible" goal that I smashed was setting a 2 hour goal for my first half in January 2012 which I accomplished by almost 10 minutes. I also never thought I'd run a sub-20 5K but I did that just a year ago this week (I still think the course is short) so nothing is impossible. Plus, I have a 7:10 average half under my belt so BBW can KMA.

This goal of a 3:20 marathon may be a reach and it may be hard but it is in no way impossible. That's why I'll be back out tomorrow with 7 MAF miles .

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19

Now I don't know if seeing a bunny just before you get home counts but I don't know of anything against it so pffft. All I know is that I was looking forward to the run all day but the moment I got in the door door, all that ambition left. Fortunately all I have to do is think about all the people that are running through issues or can't run at all and that snaps me back into it. Besides it was too nice a night not to run and the schedule called for 7 miles.

The warmup mile went well but I'm beginning to notice a trend where I'm getting my HR up too fast and am more worried about speed than properly getting my body ready. This has to stop. Other than that the run went really well. Coming off a rest day I allow myself to push the HR more to the 135-136 range so that helps to get me moving a little quicker.

On the subject of the HRM I finally contacted Garmin support and they have a new unit on it way. This means Christine can finally start to monitor her HR now since she has been gracious enough to loan me hers in the intern.

The miles clicked off nicely once I got rolling and the 10:07 on mile 2 was the slowest of the "fast miles" which was great. What was even great was just after I passed the mile 3 mark I saw a longhair black cat which looked just like our Chuck and that certainly put a smile on my face not once but twice when I passed it again after the turnaround at 3.5 miles. Even better than 1000 bunnies.

I really can't believe how lucky we've been here in the desert with the great weather we have been having. How can you not love running in the low 80s with a light breeze as the sun is going down? And to think I wanted to pass this up. I even considered pushing to 8 but it was getting dark and I didn't have my Run-Bright lights (==>). It also wasn't on the schedule and there is no use pushing it too far.

Tomorrow will be a fun day with a little extra curricular auto mechanican for a job related project. It's always fun to get out of the office and do some wrench twisting. After that It's 4 miles on the schedule with the middle 2 as close to goal pace of 7:35 as possible.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17

Kind of a sad day today as Chuck Taylor would have turned 6 today and while we miss our little debil we still have the rest of the Kittah Army to keep us company. Life still goes on and after a good night's sleep it was time to hit the road again.

Today's schedule called for an easyish 11 miles at an HR under 137 bpm so I was expecting the pace to be just a bit slower than yesterday's 22. With today being a clear day with temps in the 70s by the time I got out I was going to be happy with anything under 10 minute average pace.

As usually happens the day after a long run I felt very strong and my HR cooperated by staying low although I did rush it up just a bit as witnessed by an 11:09 warmup mile. The next 4 miles went just as easy as I let my legs dictate the pace for the most part. Occasionally I would get that little buzz to let me know I was getting too high but the HR would come right back down. This wasn't going to last for long.

Somewhere past mile 5 I had an itch under the HR strap and with the slightest movement it started to drop into the 120s. Not this again. For the next 3 miles I was getting erratic readings from the 1-teens to 130s and then around mile 8 is started to slowly drop over the next mile and half before it settled in the 60s. Time to contact Garmin.

This distraction aside, I still felt good and now with the wind picking up and at my back I picked up the pace slightly. I really should know better but it's what my legs wanted so I let them go since it was only going to be for a couple miles and I was still only in the 9:25 range. Soon enough it was time for a final cool down mile before concluding a great weekend of running.

So that is that. Time to have a nice post run meal and chill out for the rest of the day. Will have a nice rest day tomorrow before getting back at it on Tuesday.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

May 16

Most of the time I think this goal of achieving a BQ in September isn't very realistic. After all, I've only gone 26.2 once where I crashed and burned at mile 20 finishing in 4:22. But then there are the runs like today's 22 miler where my confidence is is buoyed by the fact I ran the same course that I did just a month ago but was 50 minutes faster. Granted today's weather was more conducive to a speedy effort and I wasn't pushing the pace then but still; 50 freaking minutes!

As expected it was a cool, overcast morning in what has been a cooler than normal May but there were going to be no complaints here; it will be hotter than hell here soon enough.

After an easy warmup mile it was time to get up to speed. The plan was to take advantage of the conditions and build on last Saturday's LR by keeping my pace in the 9:30s for as long as I could. Really it was going to be up to my legs to dictate how fast the run was going to be and the first 5 miles I was right where I wanted to be.

The run was progressing nicely and with no sun and no wind I was fully in a groove. My legs also wanted to go faster so I let them. This had the potential to turn out badly but you don't know what you are capable of until you push the envelope. With that said, I ripped off miles 6-10 in the 9-teens and was feeling really good.

Had to make a a quick pit stop just after the 10 mile mark but still I was cruising right along. Then, just before I came to the mile 11 split, it happened.

Training is the time to make mistakes and try new things so today I gave the lace lock technique a whirl on my Tempos. Maybe I went too tight but nothing seemed out of place except for some added pressure on the tendons at the base of shins but suddenly my right leg was collapsing beneath me. There was no pain or anything, the leg just couldn't take any weight.

I though for sure this was going to doom what was shaping up to be a great run as I hobbled onto the shoulder of the road. Shit! Since this had come out of nowhere and the weakness was in the lower leg I though that with the only change I had made was the lacing, I untied my shoes, removed the locks and re-tied it in the normal manner. You can imagine the relief when I took that first step and all was well. Crisis averted and I was back on my way.

Now I'm not sure if it was the short breaks, the extra sleep or the small bit of carbs I had last night and pre-run but I was feeling some of the spring coming back into my step. Whereas last Saturday I started to slow by mile 9 and was over a 10 minute pace by mile 13, this week's mile 13 was my fastest at 8:55 with mile 14 not far behind at 9:03. Granted the conditions were far more favorable but still; I was doing something right.

I backed down a bit but was able to maintain what felt to be a relatively easy pace in the 9-teens from miles 15-19 even though my legs were starting to feel somewhat heavy. With 2 fast miles left I gave it a little extra effort to finish up strong and clocked miles 20 and 21 at 9:09 and 9:07 respectively before I slowed it down for a final cool down mile.

The only thing left to do was to shower, have some bacon and egg that Christine was preparing after her 5 mile walk/run and take a short nap. Need to recover with 11 miles on the schedule tomorrow.

Moral of the story, dream big or not at all.

Week ending May 16th - 49.3 miles

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 14

Mickey Mantle has been quoted as saying "If I knew I'd live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.". I often say the same thing after some of the abuse I put my body through fro about 30 year but for someone who is now 364 days away from 50, I think I'm doing pretty damn well.

The plan for tonight called for 7 miles and the weather for tonight called for 15 mph winds with gusts up to 30. Yikes!! At least I could see by the flags I passed as I was heading home from work that this would mean a nice tailwind for the last half of the run.

After the usual warmup, I hit the road and was immediately into the teeth of the brisk wind coming out of the southwest. I had pretty much made up my mind that with tonight being more of a recovery night, I'd probably only do 5; no use overdoing it and shredding my legs with 22 coming up on Saturday.

Soon BBW was in my head and almost had me convinced that I should scale it back to 3 but I thought, screw him. It's not even worth going out if I only going to do 3 miles and besides, we train for all conditions. 5 it was going to be.

Now the interesting thing was that even though the wind was blowing hard in my face, I was running respectably in the low 10s with my HR staying in the sweet zone and my legs feeling pretty good. When mile 2 came in at 10:11 I was pretty encouraged and soon began to think about stretching it out to 6 miles.

As I approached the turn-around at 2.5 miles I began to go back and forth but that decision was made by my legs as they just kept on going straight. Looks like it was going to be 6 miles after all and for a moment I even considered going for 7. Unfortunately it was a cloudy evening and there wouldn't be enough daylight for me to be out without my Run-Bright LED Lights (==>). 6 would take an hour and that is the training mark anyway; time not distance.

Mile 3 was a little slower at 10:21 and due to a few HR spikes early that required me to slow way down, mile 4 was even slower at 10:27. Still, speed is of no importance for this outing and with the wind now at my back I had a good amount of energy left with mile 5 coming in at 10:11. Although I had more left in the tank it was time to throttle it down for the last mile to cool everything down.

I have to say that while it sucked when I was in it, the wind didn't seem all that bad. At least I got through it and with a day off to sleep in, I'm glad I manned up and got it done.

Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13

With just under 4 months before the BQ attempt it is time to begin getting used to running a 7:35 pace and that was the plan for tonight's 4 mile run. I was also going to be doing it in my Tempos to get them used to the pace too.

As you may have guessed though miles 1 and 4 were going to be easy miles to warm me up and cool me down so it was only going to be 2 at pace. But that is certainly enough for now.

Finally I was going to catch a break from the wind I've been dealing with on my weeknight runs as of late and it was overcast as well. Also after tossing the HRM in the washing machine as opposed to just rinsing it, I was willing to give it another shot.

So after an easy first mile I was ready to tear into it. While the goal was to do 2 miles at 7:35, I was really going to be happy if I could just keep a good pace up and keep it steady. This will be the first time in a while where I was going to be running fast where I wasn't going to be all out like my previous speedwork. This would be controlled speed; I hoped.

This first fast mile went well and it felt great to run at a faster clip where my lungs weren't on fire. While I still needed to push myself, I was in control and my legs were right there. When I hit the split and my watch read 7:51 I was satisfied with the result especially since my HR was still under 160 bpm.

As I got into fast mile 2 I saw a bunny run through a yard so I knew this next mile was going to be great. And it was. I had a good rhythm going and was still running strong too. Towards the end I began to feel a bit winded, which is to be expected but I kept plugging right along until I hit the 3 mile mark. This mile was indeed better than the last coming in at 7:39 but I was definitely ready for that cool down mile.

In all I was very satisfied with the way it went but looking back at it, I need to be more like a gazelle. While my pace was ok I wasn't as steady as it needs to be and it's going to take me a couple runs to get my pace dialed in I think. Still not bad for a first effort and Rome was not built in a day.

Will be back to easy miles tomorrow night with 7 on the schedule before a rest day on Friday. I've also got some time to use up in work so it's a day off which I plan on sleeping in for a change.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 12

While we wait for the hammer to fall here in the desert you'll get no complaints from me with these cooler temps even though it is on the windy side. It's inevitable that very soon we'll be seeing 100+ degree days so there is nothing to do but enjoy it while it lasts.

After a nice rest day it was back at it again with a 7 miler on the schedule. As mentioned, the winds were up again tonight but as usual, they were favorable in that they would be at my back for the last half of the run. Unfortunately that offers very little solace as I labor through the first half.

Not sure why but slow was the word that best describes tonight's effort. Certainly the wind played a major factor in it and maybe the light fast I'm doing also played a role but it was just one of those nights that I didn't have it. I'll just chalk it up to it being a bunnyless run.

With the wind blowing hard in my face, I was working a lot harder than I should have and got over 137 bpm more times than I would have liked. With a pace in the mid-10s for the most part, I was somewhat faster after the turn but after 4 miles of fighting, the legs were getting heavy.

Still, it was a good quality run and I'm happy with it. Tomorrow will be a short run with a few miles at a 7:35 pace to get my body used to it but for now, it's late, I'm tired and ready for bed.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10

It's amazing how much better one feels after a good 9 hours of sleep especially considering how beat up I felt after yesterday's run. With 10 miles on the schedule for today it was out of bed at 6:30, a smoothie, power coffee and catching up on the interwebz before I got ready to hit the road.

It was another cool morning with a light breeze and the plan was to take it easyish. First mile warmup went well and HR stayed low even though it was a "fast" mile at 11:30. This is one of the things I've noticed about having my long run on Saturday; that I am faster on Sunday with a lower HR. I have no idea why this is but I'm not going to argue with what my body is telling me.

Since everything was in my favor I knew I could just let my legs dictate the pace and that I did. Only once did my HRM give me a buzz and that was only because I sped up to cross a street. Mostly I stayed comfortably in the 129-134 bpm range for the entire run while clicking off miles between 9:45 and 9:58. There was an outlier of 9:31 on mile 9 but that is due to a slight decline with a bit of a tailwind.

I was very happy with the way the run went and even caught a glimpse of a bunny scurrying for cover so that makes for a positive outing. I also feel like I am just about back to where I was before my recovery period after the Lost Dutchman Marathon.  Finally, I'm happy that the weather has been cooperating by staying on the "cool" side but I know that will soon change. Still I have a long way to go if I have any hopes of a BQ in just 4 months from now.

For now I get to recover with a rest day tomorrow before getting back at it Tuesday night.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

May 9

The original plan for today was to do 18 miles on the hills around Superstition Mountain but that did not seem like such a good idea even as I was heading off to bed last night. Not that I wasn't capable of it but rather its just the having to drive 20 minutes to go running was something I really wasn't in the mood for. Besides that's lost sleeping time.

Still I left my alarm set for 5 am and when the time came I decided to take the extra sleep. In actuality, I still could have done it since it was forecasted to be a cool day in the desert but I had my mind made up to do my usual long run route. After a smoothie, power coffee, some surfing the interwebz and a good warmup, I was out the door and before 7:30.

It was a perfect morning for a run with temps just cracking 60 and a light breeze but a tad bit of guilt was there that the 18 flat miles I was going to do were not a good substitute for the 18 hilly ones I was passing up. Then it occurred to me that 20 miles would be an acceptable substitute.

Mile 1 was a nice warmup to get everything moving and from there the goal was to stay in the sub-10 minute range. Also now that we're into May I need to focus on faster pace over HR on my long runs if I have any hopes of nailing a 7:35 pace over 26.2 in the next 4 months. Fortunately I've built a nice aerobic base so I was pretty comfortably around 137 bpm for the majority of the run, especially for the first 13 miles or so. This is a good sign, as was the bunny that crossed my path around mile 3.

It wasn't until I was 9 miles in that the faster pace started to make my legs feel a bit on the heavy side. BBW tried to convince me to cut the run short but I was having none of it. You never get that second wind if you don't run past you're first wind. Even so I was still able to maintain a good pace in the 9:40s and it wasn't until mile 13 that I turned my first 10 minute mile (10:00 on the button) and would remain in the low 10s for the remainder of the run.

The next few miles were getting harder and I had to remind myself that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. By mile 17 I was starting to bonk with a 10:33 but passed up the chance to end the run at 18. I was committed to 20 and told myself that the hard miles now will make for easier miles down the road. I also told myself that I needed to pick up the pace for 18 and 19 and used what I had left in the tank. As I completed 19 I was pretty well gassed and happily cut my pace way down for the final cool down mile.

In the end I am glad that I opted for 20 today as it advances my training by a week and can jump to 22 miles next Saturday. It's all about them miles now so I'll take them while I can. Now it's time to have a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs that Christine is preparing after her 5 mile walk/run today. After that we're just going to relax. As much as I'd like to do the Night Run with the rest of the AZ crew, it's just not in the plan especially with another 10 in the morning.

Week ending May 9th - 43.0 miles 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 7

If I could have come up with a compelling reason not to run tonight, I would have used it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately I couldn't come up with one and just as well; BQs don't happen on their own. Like Christine always reminds me, "if you want to run BQ, you've got to pay your dues", sorry Ringo.

I knew it was going to be a rough one with a stiff wind coming out of the southwest. This meant the first 3 of the 6 miles tonight were going to be into the wind. Lovely. At least it was going to keep things cool

The first mile was easy as usual and it was no surprise that I felt like I was working harder than I really was. No problem though because these tough miles will pay off down the road. It was also faster than it should have been but I can't tell if my HRM is reading low or my aerobic fitness is getting better.

Miles 2 and 3 were an equal struggle especially when I got hit with a prolonged strong gust. At least the last 3 were going to be easier. Tonight was also friendly driver night as I got a couple waves and a honk so that helped too.

I was never so relieved when I hit the turnaround just past mile 3. Now it was going to be smooth sailing with the wind now at my back to push me along. Good thing too because my legs were feeling heavy and by the time I hit mile 5 I was more than ready for the final cool down mile.

Well that's it. I'm for sure going to enjoy my rest day tomorrow before I rip off a grueling 18 on Saturday on some hills in the shadow of Superstition Mountain.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 6

I really think I'm getting better at this listening to my body thing. Yesterday when I woke up I was feeling a bit sniffly which seemed to get worse as the day progressed. As a preventative I dosed on vitamin C but still felt like ick and wisely I let Christine know because she makes one kick-ass, germ killing chicken soup. When I got home I knew there was going to be no running because the last thing I wanted to do was stress my immune system. Instead it was going to be soup and an early night.

Well everything worked out as I felt no effects of a cold when I got up this morning. Still one of the new rules is to not over-burden my immune system when it's weak so even though I felt good, tonight's 4 miles with 3 at marathon goal pace to an easy 3 mile HR run.

It was a breezy night out there but at least it kept the temp down. The other bonus was that there would be a tailwind for the last half too. I decided to give my HRM one last shot before I contacted Garmin and for a while I thought it was going to actually pass the test; unfortunately that thought was short lived as it started to get wonky around the halfway point. At least I have a good idea of the correlation of were my HR should be relative to pace so I just went with that.

In all it was a pretty good run and I know that taking it easy was the right thing to do. Tomorrow will be another easy night and I hope that I feel good to get in the 6 I have scheduled. Now it's time to have some more soup.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May 3

With a good 8 hours sleep behind me, 6am still came too early but it was Sunday so I had to attend the service at the Church of Sunday Long Run. Actually it will be my last visit for a while since I will be shifting my long day back to Saturday now that April is over.

Now I stayed in bed a little longer than I should have and futzed around too much on the interwebz while having my power coffee I was a bit late getting warmed up and on the road at 8:30. I was really hoping to be out by 7:30ish since it was going to get warm so I knew I was going to pay. By now it was 78F with not a cloud in the sky so my only hope was that the temps didn't come up too quick.

Since I've been using Christine's HRM I'm happy to report that it may just be an issue with my strap. For a while I though it was the watch but to be sure I'll do a little more testing before I contact Garmin.

Initially the schedule called for 13 miles but I decided to do 14 before I left the house. Mile 1 went great as I was able to keep it slow to get up to speed and was pleasantly surprised that miles 2 and 3 came in at 10:08 with the HR under 130. This was going to be a good run.

There's really not much to say other than this run was cake. I was easily staying in my happy zone of 133-136 bpm range and only once got as high as 138 all while averaging 10:08-10:25 through mile 9 and 10:33-10:41 on miles 10, 11 and 12 when I started to feel the heat. Just before the 11 mile mark I momentarily considered scaling back to 13 but I was feeling good at the street I would have needed to turn onto and opted against it. I paid for this decision because the last mile+ was rough but it's the rough miles that make us stronger so I have no regret.

By the time I got home, the temperature had risen to 87 degrees but since I had 40 oz of water on my Nathan belt, I didn't dehydrate. Note to self, no more sleeping in on weekends.

So another good run is in the books and tomorrow is a well deserved rest day. Now it's time to spend some time doing yard work before I chill for the rest of the day.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2

As you know, just because it's a race day I'm not absolved from getting in some MAF miles so after the 40 minute drive home and some rehydration I switched shoes, got in a bit of a warmup and hit the road for 6 miles. By now it was in the mid-90s so I prepared myself for a slow and easy run. I also made sure to fuel up on some more ENERGYbits (==>) and bring some water along for the run.

For the most part, I got what I expected. It was hot, I was fatigued and it was slow going. I tried not to dwell too much on the race as I plodded along in between the 11:50s and the low 12s but with the slow pace,  my mind wanted to wander.

At least I have Christine's HRM to use so I was able to stay on point as far as the HR went. It shouldn't be much of a surprise that it wanted to stay in the mid-130s but except for a few coughing spasms I had no trouble for the first 4 miles. Even then it wasn't too bad, I just had to slow down more.

I was glad when it was over and even though I could have easily done only 4 or 5 miles I was glad I stuck with the plan. I was even more gladder that Christine had cooked up some bacon which we scarfed down and then both fell asleep on the couch for a much needed nap.

Week ending May 2nd - 28.6 miles

2015 DBacks Race Against Cancer

The thing I hate most about race day is the early start time especially this time of year but it's a necessary evil. So with the 4am buzzing (and after a couple snoozes) I was out of bed. Christine was already up showered and had coffee going since she couldn't sleep due to pre-race nerves. This was good because it meant we would be out the door and in town with enough time to get our packets and do what we had to do. Good thing too because I was having some GI issues on the way in.

With the crisis averted and packets picked up we had plenty of time to get in a good warmup as well as a 1 mile shakeout run for me. Not only did it help me to loosen up but since the last half was on the course I knew what the conditions were going to be like; hot, humid (by AZ standards), sun in my face and a headwind for the last mile + to the finish. Good thing I brought my visor.

After last year's early start I made sure to be prepared this time around and with no music or phone to dick with, I was ready when the race started a few minutes before the scheduled 7:30 start time.

When the horn sounded I was off but tried not to get too caught up in the waves of runners who were blowing by me even though I had gone out a bit faster than the 6:25 pace I was shooting for. That's alright because many of them I saw sooner rather than later.

Still I had gone out too fast according to my Garmin but I felt good at the 1 mile mark and when I saw the 6:24 time I was quite happy. Leading up to the race I knew that this was really faster than I should be attempting but since this was probably going to be my last 5K  for some time, I adopted a go big or go home mentality toward the race. It also didn't hurt that I heard Maiden's Die With Your Boots On on the way in.

I did make the decision to scale it back a bit but kept it around my goal time. I was doing pretty well but as we made the turn past the 1.5 mile mark, the heat and humidity began to take it's toll, not only on me but the other runners as well.

Even though I was passing some people I was starting to fade and was being passed myself. It was about at this point last year that I was in the same position physically but this year I was in a better place mentally. I also reminded myself of the quote I have on my monitor, "Pain is Inevitable - Suffering is Optional". There was no way I was going to quit like I did last year.

By now I was was running on every hard run I have ever had and embraced the suck. My mile 2 split was a respectable 6:46 but I was having trouble keeping it there and was now running closer to a 7 minute pace.

I was pretty much alone by this point so with less than a half mile to go I focused on a runner about a hundred feet ahead of me that I could tell was struggling worse than I was. I made it a mental game to catch him, which boosted my spirits, as well as my pace as I tracked him down and eventually passed him. By now the finish was in sight and I pushed myself on and crossed the line at 20:48 according to my watch.

After gathering myself together and grabbing a post-race banana I went to check my time but their computers were down. No big deal since I wanted to go back on the course and surprise Christine anyway.

I made my way about a quarter mile from the finish and found a good spot to hang out. While I waited I just chilled and cheered on runners since there was no crowd except at the start finish. I was so happy when I saw her coming in the distance and ran out to meet her and cheer her on. She was surprised to see me and I could tell she was fighting to maintain her good walking pace but she wanted to run for a bit as I urged her to press on. And press on she did.

Wanting to get a picture of her finishing strong I trotted ahead, snapped the picture and then gave her a big hug. So proud of my new runner. After she caught her breath, hydrated and had a banana we made our way over to the cable to get our official times. When they handed her the card with the time of 48:14, Christine was beaming as she had crushed her previous 5K time by 4 minutes.

Now it was the moment of truth for me. As my time of 20:46 was written on the card, he also wrote my age group "40-49". I held my breath hoping for a top 3 finish but my anticipation was crushed as he wrote "4th Place!". "Shit!, not again." was all I could muster having missed the podium for the second year in a row. At least this year I didn't quit. All that was left was to take our victory lap around Chase Field before we made the trek home.

So that puts my racing behind me for a while as I close out a month of speedwork and get back to focusing on the BQ.