Sunday, April 26, 2009

Long Long Run

Ottawa is 4 weeks, and next weekend I am in Palm Springs, with a somewhat strange final long run planned (in Mt San Jacinto park at the top of the tram) so today was my last "normal" long run.  I had been scheduled to cut back a little to 16 but decided that I could probably benefit from one last 20+ with some marathon pace miles.  Decided to go with a relatively flat course (down to the bay, flat around the bay, and uphill home) and do about 23 with 10-12 at marathon pace after doing 8 easy.  Weather was good, in the low 50s with aa light wind and sunny.

Fisrt 1.5 miles climbs up into the hills so kept that easy at 8 pace, then got into a stead groove at 7:30 for the next 6.5 miles.  A little fast for the easy part of a marathon paced run but it felt good so I kept it going.  Then I started the MP miles and found 6:50-6:55 comfortably and just clicked off the miles.  It was flat and other than a little wind down by the bay it felt pretty good.  The first 7 miles went by quickly and then it started to head slightly uphill back towards home.  Not a big climb, just about 50'/mile, but enough to make me notice.  At mile 18 (so after 10 fast miles) the trail goes over some freeways so there are bridges.  I went with the bike ramp VS the steps but the uphill portions kicked my butt.  Struggled to keep it in the 6:50's but got thru.  Mile 20 (12 fast) finished at the top of an overpass and I was ready to slow down, so called it a day after 12 at MP.  The last 3 were just a slog home in the low 8s, which to be honest I could have done without.

Overall 23.24 miles at 7:16 pace (with 12 at 6:52), which was way too fast for a training run.  First 20 went by at 7:10 pace, which was about what I ran at Edinburgh last year.  So now I have 4 weeks of final training to go.  I'll do 2-3 tempos, 2-3 track sessions, a 10k final race the week before and the rest will be easy runs (although Palm Springs may end up being a pretty good effort).

So a solid run, at the end of another solid week of training.  Looking back over the last 6 weeks mileage has been 67, 61, 70, 74, 69 and 63 including a fast half marathon, a fast 10k time trial, lots of tempos, lots of hills and 6 long runs from 21-23.  It's been a little compressed and I'm ready to ease off a little as I get close to the race.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back to the Track #9

After a none too great track session two weeks ago, and a week off from fast running it was track day again.  I decided to skip the intervals this time and instead run a 10k time trial.  Wasn't too sure how fast I could go but based on recent races, and current training level I figured it should be somewhere between 38 and 39 minutes.  I made a simple pace band for 38 minutes and decided to take it from there.  38 minutes for a 10k is 25 laps at 91.2 seconds each, 6:07 minutes/mile.  My last 5k was at 6:04 pace, so 38 flat was stretch.  Weather was good, low 50's, partly cloudy, no wind.  Warmup was 2 miles up to the local college track early in the morning.

Here's the lap times
  1. 91.3 - too fast first 200 but eased back sensibly in second 200
  2. 93.6 - oops, slowed too much
  3. 91.2 - back on pace
  4. 91.2
  5. 92.5 - feeling comfortable, decided to not worry about pace - first 2k in 7:40 = 6:10 pace
  6. 92.1
  7. 92.5
  8. 92.7
  9. 94.2 - lost focus a little thinking about upcoming 2k split time
  10. 93.5 - second 2k in 7:45 = 6:14 pace
  11. 93.3
  12. 92.7
  13. 91.8  - pushed a little thru the 5k mark, halfway thru this was 5K, in 19:16 - 6:12 pace
  14. 94.1 - feeling it a little and slowed to keep effort level pretty flat
  15. 94.7 - third 2k in 7:46 = 6:15 pace
  16. 94.7
  17. 94.3
  18. 94.1
  19. 94.3 - 94s feeling pretty comfortable, probably easier than this stage of a 10k should be
  20. 93.5 - fourth 2k in 7:51 = 6:19 pace
  21. 93.0
  22. 93.3
  23. 93.8
  24. 93.5 - feeling good, time to kick for that final lap
  25. 82.9 - last lap 5:33 pace! - fifth 2k in 7:37 = 6:08 pace, second 5k was 19:22
Overall time was 38:38, 6:13 pace - first time I've gone under 40 for a 10k.  average heartrate was 169, which is a little lower than I'd expect for a 10k race (last 2 have been at least 172) so that shows that it wasn't a 100% all out race effort.  I only pushed hard for the last lap, the rest was a solid hard pace (definitely above tempo pace), but I never felt that I was on the edge.  Race calculators show this is pretty much the exact equivalent to my recent half marathon time, which I still suspect was a slightly short course., so I am happy with that. 

In a 10k race I think I could have gone a little faster than today given some good competetion and a good, honest course - just by pushing my HR to 172 vs 169 should have got me down to about 38 flat.  I have a 10k race planned the week before Ottawa, but it is not certified and competetion could be light around 38 pace, so we'll see if I can go 37:xx at that.

This is a Daniels' VDOT of 54.1, which is about where I thought I was. I had hoped to be closer to 55 (10k = 38:06) at this point in my training, but I still have a little ways to go before I'm there (which I knew from the trouble I had during the last track session, which was at VDOT 55 paces).  I'm pretty sure I can push it to 55 by Ottawa.  

A VDOT of 55 has a marathon predicted time of 2:56:01.  However, my research shows that most people underperform in the marathon by about 2 VDOTs (depending on training mileage, and ability to hold it together in a long race) which puts me at about a 3:01:40.  So sub 3 at Ottawa is going to be a real goal for me but certainly not easy.  A PR (current best 3:06) should definitely be on the cards if I don't blow up shooting for 2:59:59.

31 days to go......

Friday, April 17, 2009

Desert Miles

After some time in Virginia, I am now just outside Phoenix, so it was time for some desert running.  Plan was to run East to McDowell Mountain Park, and then back.  Wasn't too sure there was actually a trail between the end of the road and the park but decided to try it out instead of running the longer route round the other roads.  Weather wasn't too bad for Phoenix, probably only about 70 at 9am. 

The part by the arrow in the map was my only problem when I got "off" the trail.  There were a number of "trails" but most of them were overgrown with these razor sharp bushes, so I shredded my legs.  Once I got back on track I was fine, although I must have looked pretty scary with blood pouring down my legs running thru the desert.

Route was mostly good trails, although occasionally the footing was a little soft as it was a "wash" which is apparently where the water runs when it runs twice a year here in the desert.  

Ran 11 miles out, bought a Snickers bar, refilled my water and ran back.  700' drop going out so a 700' climb coming back.  Saw wild horses, hawks, lizards and a scorpion - no rattelsnakes.  A few hikers near the camp in the park, some horseback riders and a group of mountain bikers who passed me only to then drag their lazy asses so slowly up the hill that I ran past all of them.

22 miles overall at 8:02 pace, which given the heat, the elevation change and the time spent ripping myself to pieces on evil-cactus-bush things, not too bad!

Hotter tommorow (mid 80s, and hotter again Sunday high 90s) so we'll see how those runs go.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jamestown Run

Staying out in Virginia right now, so yesterday's long run was uncharted territories.  Route was from Williamsburg, to historic Jamestown Island and back.  No real hills, just 25' rolling roads.  Weather was good (50's and sunny, with a medium wind - tailwind out, headwind back).

Started OK and settled quickly into a 7:30-7:35 pace.  Found water at 7 miles, so no repeat of last Sunday's dehydarting deathmarch.  Miles 8-15 were round Jamestown Island which was very nice.  Got to 10 miles in 75 minutes, then did 4 marathon pace miles at 6:47.  Water again about mile 14 then back into the wind.

For some reason it didn't feel too bad so I kept things moving about 7:20-7:25 pace.  Ran the final mile again at race pace (6:46) and finished up just under 22 miles at 7:22 pace overall.  If I'd kept going for another 4.5 miles at the same pace it would have been a 3:13 marathon, and that wouldn't have been a big problem to finish.

Given that is only 7 minutes off my Edinburgh time, I'm thinking that I am in pretty good shape.  Course was similar in elevation profile to how it looks for Ottawa, so that is encouraging.

Rest today, then tempo Tuesday, easy Wednesday and then we are off to Phoenix for some hot desert running.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back to the Track #8

After 6 weeks without any trackwork, it was time to get back today and run some 1200s.  Chanage of location: now that the highschool has started doing their trackwork in the mornings I relocated to the local college.  It's just over 2 miles away and a pretty nice track.

Last time I ran 1200s I was doing them in 4:29 (6:01 pace).  This week the plan was 4:21 (5:50 pace) - A big step up in pace.  My recent 5k and half marathon showed that I am getting fitter and I have a pretty agressive training schedule.  This is Daniels' VDOT 55 for those of you that speak Daniels.  My half was 54.25, so this was a bit of stretch but the last few weeks have gone well, and my tempo runs have been pretty good.

4:21 means 87 seconds per lap, which doesn't seem that much faster than the 89-90 that I ran last time....  Here's how it went:
  1. first lap 80!  man, that was fast.  finished in 4:16 (5:43 pace). I am gonna pay for that I know
  2. payback time - struggled big time to run a 4:23, so decided to stretch the recovery from 90 seconds to 3 minutes
  3. 4:26 - ugly, ugly, ugly
  4. determined to get this one back on track, I started OK but slowed and gave up at 800m in 2:58.   decided to jog a couple laps and see if I could recover and salvage the workout.
  5. Decided I would do 4:24 or better.  ran a 4:23
  6. Decided I would finally run a 4:21, but failed and ran a 4:25, which included having to sprint the last 150 meters.
Overall it averages 4:23 but it was pretty much a mess.  I guess the 8 second jump was a little big after not doing track for 6 weeks, and the first lap was just suicide.  Next time I hope with a little more smarts I can run them in 4:21.  The goal before Ottawa is to get down to 6x1200 in 4:18, so I have some work ahead of me.

Then late this afternoon, just for grins I ran my second run of the day as I skipped yesterday.  It was a hilly 15 miler out on the trails.  A great run, although I started to get tired on the last mile.

Rest of the week has been OK:
Monday was a recovery 5, Tuesday I skipped and Wednesday was a great tempo in the morning (7 miles at 6:27, including my first ever sub 40 minute 10k) and a second run of 9 miles of hills in the evening.  Off tomorrow as I am travelling to Virginia, and then a 20 miler somewhere in Virginia is on the schedule for Sunday.  So it'll be high 60s for teh week, with 60+ coming on just 3 days.  Not smart, but that's how it happened.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Water is a Good Thing!

Inadvertantly tested my ability to run while being totally dehydrated today (short answer: it is not one of my big strengths).  Did a long run with my running buddy - we got dropped off about 22 miles away and then ran home.  It was hot (low 80's) and the route we chose was pretty much exposed, dusty and for the last 10 miles, into a headwind.  In all, pretty spectacular planning on our part!

Started fast, feeling good, had a few sips of water at mile 3 from a fountain.  Then kept going reasonably fast, but found no more water until mile 13.5.  By then we were completely dried up - no longer sweating.  So the combination of no water, heat, wind, and a 1:40 half marathon, left us feeling pretty crappy.  So after drinking way too much water we set off again, now running into a headwind.  The next 5 miles sucked, it was on the road, hot & windy, a boring route by the freeway, and of course, there was no water.

At mile 18.5 it became a deathmarch home - running from water fountain to water fountain, but by then the damage was done, and no matter how much we drank it was all messed up.

Finished at exactly 23 miles in exactly 3 hours.  So not too bad, but certainly a lesson in hydration for me.  Took me a good 45 minutes and about 53 gallons of gatorade to start feeling normal again.

Rest of the week was good, with a tempo-ish kinda run and some good hills on Friday.  Total was over 74 miles, which is my highest since last July.

Next week should be mid 60's but it's a little weird as we are off to Virginia on Saturday, so I need to run my long run out there somewhere.  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Running Plans

Been thinking forward on the running plan front and this is what I have come up with for teh next 3 years....

Running the 5 marathon majors.  These are the "big 5" marathons, and my running buddy and I decided it would be good to run all 5 over the next 2-3 years, so here's the schedule

2009 - Chicago (October)
2010 - Boston (April), Berlin (September)
2011 - London (April), New York (November)

I have signed up for Chicago, and got a spot in corral A based on my half time of 1:25 and full time of 3:06.  Assuming the weather cooperates it is a fast course, so a good time is possible.  I'll set my goal after Ottawa.

I think my Edinburgh time from 2008 will still get me into Boston 2010, and if not I should get a sub 3:20 at Ottawa or Chicago.  Boston isn't the fastest course, but I would want to run it as fast as possible just because it's Boston.

Berlin seems very easy to get into to (you just signup) and they have a well organized corral system so I should be able to run a good time there.  Last year over 1,400 runners ran under 3 hours!  Current world record was run at Berlin.

London has something called "Good for Age", which is open to British people.  As a 40-50 year old my time only needs to be under 3:15, so that should be easy enough.  If the good for age thing doesn't work out I can buy my way in as a foreigner, although not sure what sort of start corral I get that way.  It is also a fast course, so I'd definitely make this one a big effort if I can get a good starting position.

And the finale in New York has guarenteed entry for either sub 3:10 or sub 1:30 half.  Both of which I have run and hope to be able to repeat within the New York entry window for 2011. Course isn't all that fast, and hopefully by then I will have hit all my marathon time goals in the earlier races.

I'll be weaving in a bunch of smaller races in between but will worry about those closer to the time.  I have worked through the plan between Ottawa and Chicago, which is 20 weeks.  I'll take 5 weeks to recover and just run easy miles, then I have a 15 week schedule roughed out.  I'll run the 2nd half of the San Francisco marathon at the end of July and a local 10K 2 weeks before Chicago. 

So that is the 3 year plan - I'll be 46 by the time it's over and probably be too decrepid to run anymore.

Happy 3rd Running Anniversary to Me!

Today is the 3 year anniversary of when I started running.  I was 40 years old and had finally realized that a combination of crappy diet and zero exercise was probably not so smart, and that being blessed with a high metabolism that kept me relatively slim wasn't going to be enough.  So on April 2nd 2006, after telling all my friends, family & colleagues that I would run the Honolulu marathon for charity in December, I ran/walked for 3 miles at a blistering and exhausting 10:55 pace.  I hadn't intended to walk at all but after 3/4 mile I was unable to run any more.  

Roll forward 3 years and I recently ran a race which was about the same distance as that first adventure in just over 18 minutes (6:04 pace).  Amazing the difference a little exercise can make. I still have the GPS track for that first run and I run that some route occasionally just for fun .  Man, was I out of shape back then!

I had peaked in weight at 169 lbs before starting running, and am currently about 20 pounds under that, although I dipped to 143 when at the height of training last July.  Blood pressure is down, as is heartrate (I have never measured my resting heartrate, so not sure what it is but now I often see HRs in the 50's when I put my garmin on).

My cholesterol, which was one of the reasons I started running is way down.  Pre-running I peaked at 265, with bad cholesterol hitting a pretty scary 186 (recommended value is under 130).  Last year total cholesteroal was 221, with bad being way down to 123 (Good cholesterol is now up to 88).  I have another test next month and I am hoping that the last year of running will result in even better results.

Mileage-wise the last three years have been 1,250 followed by 1,900 and then 2,350.  If I can manage to run a full 12 months without injury I expect to break 3,000 in the next year.

I also expect my race times to continue to improve for a while, but obviously not in a linear fashion.  My first ever race was a half marathon, which I ran in 1:51 (8:31 pace).  I recently ran a half in 1:25 (6:31 pace), which was exactly 2 minutes/mile faster.  It would be awesome to trim 2 more minutes/mile from my pace but it's a little unlikely that I am running 4:31 pace for a 59 minute half marathon anytime soon.

So after 3 years I am more into running than ever, and what was initially an activity to get in shape is now truly an everyday part of my life.