Wednesday, August 1, 2012

One Month Down

So July is done. A reasonably solid month of "starting to run again".  Total was 90 miles (which was a good week when I was in shape!) over 15 runs. Longest run was just over 9 miles, nothing fast. I am just beginning to feel a little bit good when running, but for the most part it is still pretty sucky. I managed to hit 3-4 days per week as planned.


Will plan to do at least this much in August, but ideally will add one more run week, and get to 110-120 miles for the month.

I haven't really lost any weight to talk about. Maybe it will start to fall off this month......

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 4

So that is another week complete as I move to week 4 of my "comeback". Last week was 4 runs, 28 miles. Included a two mile stretch at a blistering 7:50 pace! Plus two runs on the trails. This was the view on yesterday's trail run, which was just over 9 miles.....


This was about 2,300 feet, off Monte Bello Road, near Ridge Winery. A warm day but nice on the trails.

Still haven't lost much weight, I think I may be drinking too much Belgian beer!

Plan to see if I can get to 30 this week on 4-5 runs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 3

Still going with the every other day thing. Even managed to do a 7 miler with some hills last week, still all slowly though.

Was in the redwoods yesterday so ran on the real trails, in Henry Cowell State Park near Santa Cruz. A cool, wet, misty morning, on beautiful trails, lots of hills. Felt great to be out in the woods again after so long.


It's still a slog, but it's beginning to slowly come back. Now I have lost 2 pounds, it's not coming off very quickly. Maybe I will need to stop drinking so much beer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Week Two

Well, last week went OK - ran 4 times (M/W/F/Sun). Not far (~20 miles) and certainly not fast but I did stick to the every other day plan. Will attempt the same this week.

Lost 1 pound! So now I am just way over weight. Being anal(ytical) about things like this I have data for mileage and weight for the last 6 years when I started running. This diagram shows the strong relationship between miles run (top chart is monthly miles) and body weight (bottom chart is daily weight).


Looks like the weight starts to drop when I get to about 140 miles/month and then really falls off when I get up to 200+. Of course, when I get injured, stop running but continue to eat tons of crap it skyrockets.

Tomorrow I am going to run again, and see if I can run a mile under 8 minutes without anything falling off.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Run #2

Amazingly, I ran again today. Another 6+ miles, this time a little hillier and on some trails. Was very nice to get out into the hills after such a long break. Very slow, and legs are a little sore from Monday's run. I guess that is what you get for being a lard ass for an extended period of time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm still here. Sure, I'm fatter and slower, but still here!

Alright, time to catchup. Running has petered out to the extent that I ran once in the last 2 months for a total of under 3 miles. Weight is up to 168lbs, highest I have been since 2004, two years before I started running. Basically a combination of work business, injury and idleness stopped things. Yearly mileage to date for 2012 is 132 miles. At my peak I got close to that in a week!

Here's the last 7 year totals....


Highlights, if they can be called that, since the last update include:
  • December - Vegas half marathon - 1:43 - 20 minutes off my PR
  • January - Miami half marathon - 1:49 - 26 minutes off my PR (2 minutes/mile) - this one was run drunk after 2 hours sleep. bad idea.
  • Just started playing tennis - I am new to that sport and my lack of skill combined with my lack of fitness makes me truly awesome!
So today i decided it was time to get back into it before I balloon to 400 pounds. I am not working this summer, so really have no excuse. Now I must admit that it took me a while to find my shoes, and remember how to tie the laces but after a slight delay I was off! Managed to drag my butt a little over six miles at a very pedestrian pace. But with that one run I have surged ahead of my total combined mileage for May and June. One more run and I could be ahead of April!

Plan is to run every other day, just 4-6 miles until it feels not completely horrible, and then I'll add in extra days and miles the the extent my crumbling body permits. Not sure how long it will take to get back in shape since it's been 13 months since I was running properly.

If I am consistent I should hopefully be able to shed some of my lard quickly, which will help simply because I will have less to carry when I run! (I am about 25 pounds up on the weight when I was really fit). Target is under 160 by end of August. 1 pound lost is about 3,500 calories burned, which is about 30-35 miles running, so 8 pounds is about 250 miles. So 25-30 miles/week should do it.

Then I will only need to lose another ~15 pounds......

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Track Day

OK, taking 3-4 months off from all forms of exercise is not recommended unless you want to get fat and out of shape.  I am just starting to see a few pounds drop off, but am still 10lbs more than where I was in June, and 20 more than I was when I was really fit. I am definitely struggling to get back into this running thing and am a little worried that I am going to embarass myself bigtime in Boston next year.

I am finally back to running 5 days/week and almost got to 40 miles last week.  I've done just one short and slow tempo (3 miles at 6:54) which was slower than I ran the Chicago marathon.  Everything else until today has been easy, flat miles.

Today was my first trip to the Tuesday morning track workout.  It was cold (only 38 degrees) at 6am this morning and still dark.  Almost went back to sleep but decided it was time to man up and see if my legs could still move quickly.

Workout was 10x400.  I never liked 400s as I'm not a quick runner at short distances.

#1 was 1:31, or 6:06 pace.  felt OK, but I used to run these at 1:15 not that long ago - that 6:06 pace was what I'd do for much longer workouts like 3x2000m.

Got gradually faster and #10 was 78seconds (5:14 pace).  Felt pretty rough on the last 2 but overall not too bad.  Just comparing these to previous workouts when I wasn't fat and slow shows that a 1:30ish half marathon is achievable.  However the fact that I haven't actualy run 13 miles in one go since June may mess with that a little.

Goal at Vegas (in under 4 weeks) is to run at 6:52 pace (1:30 goal time) for as long as I can and then jog it in.

Then another half in early Feb, one in early/mid March and then off to Boston. in April.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Long Overdue Update

Ok, my post-Seattle marathon blogging has been a reflection of my post-Seattle running.  I strained my calf and had to take some time off.  Finally I am back and ran 4 times last week, with a long run of over 7 miles.  Doesn't sound like much compared to what I used to run, but I think I ran more last week than I have in the previous 12 weeks combined.

The result of that non running is that I am fat and slow.  I am heavier now than I have been since October 2007, and 15lbs heavier than my skinny running weight.

I am very out of shape, 5 miles at 8 minute pace is far from easy.

So the Vegas marathon in December is not going to happen.  I amy do the half, our I may skip as I have a work trip I may need to take to the UK (good excuse to not run).

However, I do need to get my act together as I just got this in the mail......


I have 7 months to get in shape and not embarrass myself in Boston.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Back from Seattle after a quick trip.  Bottomline, mission accomplished, 3:09:31 was the official time, so met the goal of sub 3:10, and get the ability to register for Boston 2012 early as I am more than 20 minutes faster than the qualifying time for my age group (M45-49 3:30).  Not a whole point reading on, but for those that like details......


Start was south of Seattle (the lowest part of the route above), so we shuttled out there.  Shuttles ran 4-6am for a 7am start so I figured I'd get there at 5, wait 30 mins for shuttle and then get to start about 6:15, hit the loo and be in the corral around 6:30.  But for once, everything went really smooth, no lines, no waiting anyway, quick trip and I was sat at the start line at 5:20am.

We started on time at 7 and the first 9 miles went smoothly - mile markers were accurate, pacing was good, weather was perfect.  There was a hill in there but overall I was running just around 7 minute pace and felt good.  At that point I started feeling that a stop in a bathroom was going to be a good thing to avoid an embarrassing side of road #2, as dinner/breakfast weren't sitting too well.  We hit the bridge to Mercer island at 9 and it was about 1.5 miles out and the same back.  After 5 minutes of that I knew I was stopping somewhere, so was crossing my fingers they had a portapotty at the turnaround.  Luckily they did, and I happily gave up 1 minute 8 seconds of time.

After leaving the bridge we went into a long tunnel around mile 12ish.  This obviously messed up the GPS but I kept a steady effort.  From that point on though, everything was off.  Mile markers started appearing at odd places - previously they'd all be 1.00 or 1.01, now they were 0.89 or 1.2.  someone must have been drunk who was placing those.

Then we headed North from Seattle on a raised viaduct, which was all concrete, no crowds, really boring.  Then another tunnel, then a big hill.  I was slowing but tried to keep the pace around 7:15 average.

At mile 20 I did the math and knew that if I could keep under 7:30 pace I'd be in under 3:10, but given the uncertainty of the mile markers I decided to push a little.  Pushed the pace down to 7:05, but mile 21 and mile 22 were both long, so despite the effort, each mile tool 7:30.  Uh-oh, this might be close.....

Mile 23 + 24 were better and I managed to do them in 7:15.

At the mile 24 flag, I had just 2.22 miles togo, time was 2:52:44, so I had 17:15 to cover the distance.  If distances were accurate that's 7:46 pace, although my math at the time wasn't that accurate.  I figured 7:30 would just about do it.

Mile 25 had a climb and I pushed hard.  This mile was short (.89) and I got through in 6:32.  Of course, a short 25 likely meant a long 26 so I had no idea where I was.  Finish was down by Qwest field and made a bunch of turns, couldn't see the where the finish line was. Mile 26 went on forever (post race analysis shows it was 1.2 miles!), I spent 8:56 on that mile despite running under 7:30 pace and was now in serious risk of missing my goal time.

Finally I could see the finish line so I kicked in for the last (hopefully) .22 miles.  Managed that part in 1:19 (6:23 pace) and crossed the line with 29 seconds to spare.

Overall it was an OK effort, I was undertrained and was definitely working hard from about mile 18. My legs got pretty thrashed from all the concrete (combined with very light shoes) and the hills in the second half.

I definitely wouldn't recommend this race.  Despite being in a great city, it was not really an interesting course, not great crowd support (despite their being bands every mile) and the mile markers were a trainwreck.  I know that mile markers/garmins etc are never going to agree exactly, but to have the 25 mile marker almost a 1/4 mile off in a marathon is a very lame thing.



Here's a few photos I found online from the race....

This captures the true glory of running thru a dark concrete tunnel...

This one, the excitement of running on elevated freeways...

Here, the thrill of taking offramps at high speed...

And this one shows the start, where I was still in contention for the win...

And this is me at about 15 miles, when the wheels were still on (plus I deliberately sped up for the camera guy in attempt to get a good photo for once)...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Seattle, here we come!

Seattle marathon is tomorrow at 7am. Should land in time to get to the expo to pickup my bib, buy some GUs (forgot to bring them), then go to the hotel, eat and then try to get some sleep.

Tomorrow will be an early start as I need to get the shuttle out to the start which is south of Seattle. I figure I need to wake up about 4am.

The goal is to run under 3:10, or just under 7:15 mins/mile. This is 12 minutes, or 27 seconds/mile slower than when I ran Chicago two years ago, so in theory it should be doable. However, I haven't trained like I did for that race.

Here is how my weekly mileage for the last 6 months looks compared to previous marathons....

Mileage is way down, especially over the last 10 weeks where I have only gone over 50 miles once. Hopefully mileage isn't the only indicator, if it is I am in big trouble.

Here are some other running measures compared to previous marathons....

Obviously not quite where I wanted to be. The good news is that my recent half marathon time was faster than I have ever run before, so I know I have the speed required. But when I look at the long runs (down 62% from Chicago) and especially the tempo runs (also down 62%) I know I can see some very good reasons to doubt my endurance.

So I am hoping that my better speed and 12 minute cushion get me through what will likely be an uncomfortable last 6 miles. If I can stay conservative for the first 18 miles I think I'll be OK. The plan is to run about 1:35 for the first half and then see how it goes. History says I'll probably start too fast, feel good, keep going and blowup.

But now that I am older and smarter I need to follow the plan so will try to hang with the 3:10 pace group and remember that the goal is a automatic early entry for Boston and not a sub three or PR. Save that effort for Vegas in December.

Guess we'll see....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Problem With My Flies

Went for an early morning run today at Alviso, which has a number of trails on levees around the evaporation ponds in the bay.  In the evening it gets windy out there but in the morning it's very still, which sometimes means there are areas with swarms of little flies.  Today I ran a new route and encountered a lot of flies.  Basically there was a 2 mile stretch where the air was just back with these little bastards.  Luckily I had sunglasses, but I had to run with my shirt held over my mouth & nose to stop from choking on them.  I passed an old guy walking who looked at me kinda weird, so I stopped and took a photo of myself.  When I got back to the car I looked at it and saw why....  Pretty gross....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Catchup Time

I have been very poor at keeping this blog updated.  I blame that on the fact that I started a new job at the beginning of April, so no longer have the whole day to sit around and goof off on the internet.  Running has also become something of a challenge to schedule, no more can I go on three hour trail runs during the day.  I am seriously missing the whole "not working" thing, but unfortunately, not working doesn't pay so well.

Last update was the Oakland race, back in March.  April and May were supposed to be solid mileage months so I would be in good shape for the Seattle Marathon at the end of June.  Work schedule has messed that up a little.

I've been averaging only about 45 miles a week, which is very low for this stage. I'd be much happier if that were 70+.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that I'm definitely faster. Oakland was a PR in the half, I ran a very hilly 10K on May 7th, and finished pretty strong. Then last weekend I ran Bay to Breakers and finished in 46:25 (6:14 pace), which is over 3 minutes better than last year. I also finished that race really strong with the last 3/4 mile being run under 5:30/mile pace; usually i fade when trying to finish that fast from so far out.  Track workouts are also quick and I feel in great shape until the runs get longer.

Unfortunately none of these are going to convert to a fast marathon if I don't have the endurance side covered.  I've been doing lots of track workouts (early Tuesday morning with a running group) but only occasional tempos.  Last was a 10K progressively faster (6:50s down to 5:50s) in 40 minutes total, which felt pretty good.

I definitely need to get in some longer tempos (7-8 miles) and also some good solid long runs (18-22 miles) somehow in the next 5 weeks, or Seattle is going to be a trainwreck finish.  I haven't run more than 11 miles in one go since April 24th, so this is not looking like smart training.

So basically I have 3 weeks to get this thing sorted and will hopefully get a couple 50-60 mile weeks in there, then a 1-2 weeks to taper and then it'll be race day.  Hopefully the fact that I am faster, have run a lot of hills and am "only" shooting for 3:09 will get me through without the wheels coming off too badly.

After Seattle I have 5 weeks to recover, then it'll be 18 weeks until Vegas, where I'll be shooting for a PR in the marathon.