Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Recap

It's the end of the year, and time for an annual running recap....

Original Goals
Starting the year the goal was to get more organised about training, run half marathons for 6-7 months (getting down to sub 1:40) and then train for and run a "well-under-4-hour" marathon in December.

Faster than planned progress on the half times had that goal change from 1:40 to 1:35 and eventually 1:30.

Injury had the marathon goal pushed to 2008.

The Miles
Mileage for the year was 1,507, with 3 distinct phases:
1) Jan-May. ramping the miles until achilles tendon problems started.
2) Jun-Aug. very little running, deep water running in the pool. misery
3) Sep-Dec. recovery and rebuilding.

Here's the chart of monthly miles (blue is pool running)

The Races
10 races in 2007, every one of them was a new personal best (PB) for me. It is good to be new to running, since improvement comes fairly easily with a little training effort. I am hoping that trend continues for a few more years.

Here's the 2006 and 2007 PBs for distances from 5k to a full marathon... I'm most proud of my 1:29:56 in the half.

The Analysis
I have data and trending for pretty much everything, but the key is really the relationship between speed and heartrate. As you get fitter you can run faster at a given heartrate. If I trend heartrate/speed for my races there is a steady decline. Using that I can project my future performances and see if I am on track to meet them.

Here's the trending for 2007 (bubble size indicates the length of the run, blue line is 3 week trailing average)... Excepting the injury phase, it shows a pretty steady decline from 22ish to 19ish

Overall it was a very successful year for me - I end 2007 way stronger, fitter, faster and smarter (at least about running) than I started it. I went from running 40 miles per week to running over 60, and from 5 days/week to everyday. The achilles injury really changed everything. I realised that it is very easy to push too hard (especially up hills), and that I am not 20 anymore. I've learned a lot about what my body can, and can't put up with - ice has become my friend, stretching is now something that I do everyday. I also learned that it's OK to push thru extreme discomfort when racing, but probably not so smart to do that every day in training.

I'll publish my 2008 goals tomorrow

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Weekly Summary

Just finished the last full week of 2007.

A planned cutback week at just 42 miles. And, shock horror, I took an unplanned day off running!!! Day after Christmas I decided to just hang with the family playing on the kids Nintendo Wii and goofing off.

Despite the incredible laziness of missing a whole training day, I did not collapse, my legs didn't fall off and I don't appear to be any slower. So maybe I got away with it just this once.

Following Fridays time trail excesses it was an easy 8 this morning and an easy 10 yesterday. These were a little longer than planned as I felt I should make up some of the missed miles from Wednesday.

I will finish off the year with an easy, easy 5 miler tomorrow and then it's off to hopefully a big start for 2008 with a 10k race.

Friday, December 28, 2007

5k Time Trial

Friday again, which means race pace miles. Today's goal was to run a 5k up at the high school track. The pace was to be the goal pace for next week's 10k. If I can't run a 5k at 6:25 pace I am unlikely to run a 10k at 6:25 pace.

5k is 12.5 laps of the track. 6:25 pace is 19:56 for 5k, or 1:35.7 per lap. I planned to run 96 second laps. My previous fastest 5k was 20:38 (6:38 pace) so this was a big jump - but I am way fitter than I was when I last ran a 5k.

Weather was pretty much perfect for a fast run: Cloudy, no wind, cool. Warmed up for 1.5 miles, including a few sprints to get the legs moving.

Lap 1: 88 sec (that's 5:54 pace) - way too fast
Lap 2: 92 sec - still too fast
Lap 3: 95 sec - more like it
Lap 4: 93 sec - uh-oh, speeding up again
...went thru the first 1600 in 6:08
...and the first mile in 6:10, my fastest mile ever

Lap 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 were all 95-96 seconds I had found my 6:25 pace

Lap 12.5 - kicked it in 43 sec (5:46 pace - ouch!)

Overall Time 19:38, 6:19 pace.

It wasn't a flat out effort (although the last half mile was), and running those second and third miles at 6:25 seemed OK on the track. Could have probably run 6:25 further (especially if I'd started on pace).

So where does this leave me in terms of readiness for a sub 40 minute 10K?
McMillan running calculator shows a 19:38 is equivalent to a 40:47 (which would be a 56 second PR for me). A 40:00 10K would be equivalent to a 19:15 5k (6:12 pace). My all out 5k in a race should be faster than 19:38, but probably not as low as 19:15.

So that means on a good course, and a good day, with a good performance I should be able to go under 40:47, and if things went perfectly raceday adrenalin may get me down close to 40 minutes. Getting under 40 will require some significant planet alignment next Tuesday (especially given the fact that it is not a fast course - has some rocky parts, and is usually windy).

So I will go for it. Try to get through the 5k mark in 20 minutes with good pacing, and then spend the second half trying to catch the people who are ahead of me, or if things aren't going so well, spend it trying to stay ahead of the people behind me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Tempo

Merry Chrsitmas! After a morning of festive fun (think I pulled a muscle playing with the kids new Nintendo Wii) I set out for a quick 20 minute/3mile tempo. 1 mile warmup, 3 miles at 6:44 (true tempopace) and then a mile or so back home.

A gorgeous day, probably low 60's - I think Al gore is on to something.

The course goes uphill (100') for 1.25 miles and then back down over the next 1.75. Run up a little too fast and the whole 3 miles feels a little hard. Time was 6:45 so I was pretty much on track. 5.2 miles overall.

Yesterday was a very pedestrian 5 mile recovery run at 8:33 pace, just undoing all the damage done by Sunday's long run. Wednesday and Thursday are 6 and 7 milers at easy pace. Friday is my no-fun pace day; trying a 5k at 6:25 pace (19:55) which is gonna suck. Easy 10 Saturday and easy 6 Sunday for a short week of about 44.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Suffering Sunday

I'm beginning to realise that all those numbers in my running schedule may look good in excel, but each one of them actually needs to be run. And the cells that contain big numbers take some considerable time and effort. Today's number was 19. And not just a simple 19, a 19 followed by 9FM, which means the final 9 miles are to be run at marathon pace.

So off I go, hoping for 10 miles at about 8-8:15 minute pace, and then 9 miles at 7:09 pace. Weather is perfect (sunny, no wind, 50 degrees), the course has some hills, 1 big one thru mile 9 and another thru mile 13, so one slow and one fast.

First 10 go by fine and I'm thru the slow part (10.3 miles at 8:01 pace) and it's time to pick it up. First 1.5 miles are easy to run in the low 7's as they are slightly downhill/flat. Then it climbs back up to 400' and as I try to keep the effort up I can feel my heartrate climbing fast (jumps from 155 to 165 pretty much instantly). As I reach the top I'm running slow at 7:45 (36 seconds off pace) which is aboout right for a big hill. I keep the effort level and pretty soon I'm running around 6:40-6:50 as it flattens and starts downhill. Take another gel and some water down the hill (which is not easy when running fast) and then try to keep things on track for the 5 miles home.

Manage to hold sub 7 thru about 16 miles and then I have an uphill mile; not huge, but steady and I was slowed right down to 7:30 pace. A tough mile! As it flattened out I picked it up again and finished fast with a 7:05 mile. Total was 18.76 miles in 2:23:18 (7:38 pace) - 10.3 at 8:01 and 8.46 at 7:11.

Felt good to running around 7 minute pace after almost 19 miles. Now all I need to do is add a 7.45 mile run at 7:38 pace to the end of that and I've run my Boston qualifying marathon.

Here's the elevation, heartrate and split paces.....

With an easy 8 yesterday my weekly total was just over 63 miles. My first time ever North of 60 and I'm feeling pretty strong. It's now time for an easy cutback week with just 44 miles planned (although it contains a sub 20 minute 5k pace run at the track on Thursday) as I prepare myself for my super-stretch-aint-gonna-happen-no-way-in-hell goal of sub 40 minutes for a 10k on New Year's Day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Funless Friday

Friday already - which has become the reality check day for my aggressive race goals. All the other days are fine; the increased mileage, the faster/longer tempo runs, the marathon pace long runs. but this 10k race pace stuff is killing me.

Plan was 2x2miles at 6:25 pace. Did 1x2miles last week and it was horrible.

1-1.5mile warmup and then I eventually decided I had to start. Focused on settling down into a steady pace and tried to keep things controlled. First mile went by in 6:26 and it wasn't too bad. Picked things up a step in the second mile and ran a 6:21. So 12:47 for the 2 miles. That last half mile wasn't nice, but it wasn't horrible - definitely better than last week.

Walked/jogged for 4 minutes and then it was time to go again. Within half a mile I was hurting, and off pace (6:32ish). I knew right then that a 10k at this pace is unlikely to happen in 10 days and considered bagging the workout. However, I thought back to all that crappy time spent pool running in the summer and decided I could manage another 10 minutes of pain. Picked it up a bit and finsihed the 3rd mile in 6:24. Not feeling very good though. Mile 4 was zero fun (none of that runner's high people talk about). First half was just tough but the last half mile was pretty much a sprint effort - hurt more than anything I've run recently. I don't think I could have gone much quicker if I was running for a medal. But the last mile was my fastest at 6:21, with the second half being at 6:13 pace. 12:46 for the 2 miles.

So on paper, a successful workout - hit both 2mile times, and got faster throughout the workout. But the thought of 6.2 miles without any rest gaps is pretty daunting, and to be honest I don't think I'm ready for a sub 40 minute 10k. I'll try to run a sub 20 minute 5k (3.1 miles) next Friday at the school track, which I think I can manage, but doing that twice on raceday will be an adventure.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

SF running

Stayed in San Francisco last night, so got do this morning's early run up there. Ran from North Beach, out to the Golden Gate bridge and back. A beautiful, crisp, sunny morning for a comfortable 8 minute pace 8 miler.

It's back to the streets of Los Altos tomorrow morning for 10k pace work, which I am already not looking forward to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Midweek Update

Quick update - work is getting busy.....

Monday - bad day - sick. started towards end of sunday's 18 miler, felt like throwing up but didn't. think i have kids' stomach flu. crashed out sunday evening and slept for 14 hours straight. woke up feeling still bad, stayed home. by 5pm was sort of ok so ran an easy 5 miles, despite liz's complaints.

Tuesday - great day. work was ugly, so couldn't run until the evening. had a great 6.5 mile tempo at an average of 6:53.

Wednesday - early morning run, decided to run a little longer and did 9 miles easy (8:11 pace). felt very good, but i should have worn gloves.

if work permits, it's an easy 9 tomorrow, yucky pacework (2x2m 6:25) friday, easy 7 saturday, and 19 sunday - should be about 62 for the week. and more importantly (fingers crossed) no new injuries!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Weekly Update

Finished the week with a long, long run. A slight navigational error turned my 17 miler into an 18 miler - not really what I needed to be honest.

First 3.5 miles was easy at 7:45 pace, then it was time for the 7 miles at marathon pace. I'm not too sure why I chose those 7 since that was where it started getting hilly. I managed 7:14 pace (vs the planned 7:09) for the 7 but it was mostly uphill - the redbox shows the "fast" part....

After recovering at the 10.5 mile mark with a slow half mile, a gu and some water I ran the rest pretty easy. That climb thru mile 14 was slow at 8:30 pace but other than that I was running about 7:45.

Overall it was 17.86 miles in 2 hours 16 minutes - 7:38 pace. which is coincidentally the pace for a 3:20 marathon, which is my Boston marathon qualifying time. I don't think I could have run another 8.2 miles at 7:38 but I'm pretty sure I will be able to do that in 5 months.

Total for the week was 58.5 miles, a new high for me. Next week should be a little more, at just over 60 with a 19 miler on Sunday (and I will be more careful with my navigation)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Easy Eights

8 miles at 8:00 pace was the plan this morning. For me, a much easier task than trying to run 2 miles at 6:25, that's for sure. Weather was warmer; mid 40's vs low/mid 30's.

Kept everything easy, running by feel/effort instead of pace and averaged exactly 8:00 pace, but ran a little long at 8.96. Now that I've added some harder workouts to the week, I'm really enjoying these leisurely 8-10 milers.

Tomorrow is a 17 miler - with 7 miles fast (marathon pace, 7:09). Looking back over my running logs, I have only run 17 miles 4 time before. Those were my 2 marathons and 2 training runs (1 of 19, 1 of 21).

Times for those 17 milers were as follows
1) 19 miler run/walk with my aidsmarathon running group
.....17 miles at 3:12:50 - average pace 11:18
2) 20 miler with running group
....this one doesn't really count as it was split up 5:10:5
3) Silicon Valley Marathon
....17 miles at 2:31:41 - average pace 8:54
4) Honolulu Marathon
....17 miles at 2:36:44 - average pace 9:13

That lack of proper long runs probably explains why those 2 marathons were such trainwrecks. It's surprising I even finished. By comparison, I have sixteen 17+ runs planned over the next 5 months leading up to Edinburgh!

Tomorrow's course is flat/rolling thru mile 7 then it climbs up to 400', drops thru 12, back up to 400' thru 14 and then drops back for the last 3. I'll probably do the fast miles between 3 and 10 which has a net uphill of about 200'. If I'm feeling good at 10 I'll keep up the pace until the climb starts again at 12 to give me 9 fast miles. Time should be about 2:11 (10 miles at ~8:10 and 7 miles at 7:10) - I'm certainly in much better shape than I was for those first 2 marathons.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Not Built for Speed

I'm beginning to dislike Fridays.

Plan today was to run 2 miles at my goal 10k race pace. I did 2x1m last week and it was unpleasant to say the least. The logic is that 55 miles of training later I have hopefully increased my capacity enough to be able to to do those 2 miles without any recovery between them.

I have a street loop that is about 1 mile and has no crossings etc to worry about, it isn't completely flat but close enough. Did a warmup for a mile or so, which was definitely needed given that it was about 30 degrees.

Then it was time to go! First half mile went by in 3:12, so I'm on pace, second half a little slower at 3:17 - 6:29 for the first mile (4 seconds slow, which is almost half a minute in a 10k). Picked it up a step in the 3rd half and did 3:10 and managed to hold it thru the end to finish with a 3:11 - 6:21 second mile. Average for the 2 was 6:25 - so a success, but it wasn't any fun at all. Heartrate max'd at 174, whereas last week doing the 2x1miles I hit 176 in each mile, so I guess that's a good thing.

However, I am really concerned about my ability to run 6.2 miles at that pace in just 17 days. I just don't see how it can happen. Next week I'll do 2x2miles and then the week after try to run 5k (3.1 miles) in 19:55. Those two are probably achievable, but to do 6.2 of these in a row I am going to need some serious race day adrenalin, or a strong tailwind.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chilly 8-9

pretty cold this morning - it was just below freezing when i set out. but it was sunny and there was no wind, so i was warm enough with gloves and long sleeves. ran a steady 8.6 miler with a couple medium hills. kept the pace easy in the high 7's/low 8's, averaging 7:54 overall. all in all, a very comfortable run.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Longer Tempo

This morning it was tempo time, but instead of 2x3miles with a 2 minute recovery I decided to go 1x6miles. Basically that means I get to run about 15 seconds slower and get the same effect. I feel I've been running too many fast miles recently and I have a 10k coming up which means a lot more miles at 6:25. So 6 miles at 7:00 is much easier on the legs than 2x3miles at 6:44.

Easy mile warmup and then started on a 6 mile route that went up about 100', rolled up and down a bit and then dropped back down. Tried to focus on steady effort, instead of worrying about pace. Turned out pretty good - kept things basically about 160 HR and the 6 mile section was average of 7:00 pace. Easy mile home for 8.35 at 7:15 pace. I think I will extend all of my tempos this way and go further, but a little slower.

Yesterday was a 5 miler starting slow, but ending up in the high 6's. And Monday was a very leisurly recovery run of 5 miles at a relaxing 8:30 pace. Steady 8 tomorrow and then some unpleasant 10k pace miles (1x2mile) on Friday.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Weekly Update

Wrapped the week up this morning with a good 15 miler. Cold start at 36 degrees but it was sunny with no wind - pretty much perfect running conditions. Plan was 15 miles with miles 9-14 at current marathon pace (7:09).

Set off quickly and covered first 2.5 miles at 7:25 pace (should have been more like 8:15). Started uphill and the next 2.5 miles was at 8:23 pace, but I had climbed 500'. An easy rolling mile at 8:00 pace and then I went downhill. Everything felt great and I hammered out a 6:25 mile. - I just love running fast downhill! It kills the quads as I found out last weekend, but they already felt stronger. Forced myself to ease up and took the next 2.5 miles at 8:05. Got to the start of my "fast" 5 miles having averaged just under 10 miles at 7:45.

Started with a steep uphill (150' climb) which was slow at 7:50. Then it had a couple rollers for 1 1/2 miles which went by at 7:15. Hit the flats and clocked 3 miles at 7:02 pace, which was just on the bad side of comfortable. Overall the fast part was 5.5 miles at 7:13, with some meaningful hills. Jogged it in for the final mile and finished at 15 miles in 7:37. A good run, although probably a little too aggressive to start.

Total was 46 for the week. Next week ramps up to 57, with a 2x3mile tempo on Wed, 1x2miles pace (6:25) on Friday and 17 miles with 7 fast (7:09) on Sunday.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Wow - that's hard

OK - so I did the planned 2 fast miles - 6:18 for #1 and 6:25 for #2

Learned a few things...
1) I have no sense of pace when I am running that fast
2) I could run ONE mile under 6:00 if I really went for it
3) 6:18 is hard for me to run, but that 6:25 was even harder
4) I doubt I could run 6 miles at 6:25 right now, even with 2 minute breaks every mile
5) I am likely to be in real trouble on Jan 1st for my 10k attempt

And it all looks so good in excel.....

Ugly Math Problem

Just about to go out for my Friday pace run and I have uncovered an ugly math problem. The goal is to run some miles at the pace of my next race. If it's a 5k I'll run fewer miles, but faster miles than if it's a half marathon. Next race is a 10k and my goal time is just under 40 minutes - which is 6:25 pace.

The problem is that my current PR for a single mile is 6:30. So somehow my 10k pace (6.2 miles) is now faster than my 1 mile best time ever. Seems like I should have perhaps been working on my speedwork somewhere along the line.

The plan is 2x1 mile at 6:25, which will be 1 mile warmup, 1 mile at 6:25, recovery for a couple minutes, another mile at 6:25, then easy running for 5 miles total.

Let's see what happens.....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Intermediate Race Goals

Been working thru my marathon training and have set some goals for the races that I'm doing between now and May. I've decided to set aggressive goals and then back off if necessary, Vs setting easy ones and possibly overachieving.

The basic plan is to get to 1:25 for a half marathon in mid April, which will be fairly tough, but if I do it I'll be around 3:00 fitness for a marathon. Doesn't mean I need to try to run one in 3 hours, but it means that in theory I could.

Here's a chart of my half marathon progress since my first race back in October 2006. Yellow dots are true half marathons, white dots are half marathon equivalent times derived from shorter races (mostly 10Ks).

I need some very solid progress to get to 1:25, but if I train well, avoid injury and race well I can do it.

Moving back to reality, I ran this morning and things are back to normal. Did a steady 7.5 miler at around 7:30 pace. Managed to dodge the raindrops but winter is definitely upon us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Confirmed for Scotland

Got my confirmation today from the race organizers of the Edinburgh Marathon. I have a guarenteed spot based on my half marathon time. I have never actually "qualified" for a race before, so this is a big milestone in my short racing career. But, to be honest, 1:35 for 40+ is a pretty soft marathon qualification standard. Anyway, I'm signed up and I have my flights booked. London is now officially off my list for 2008 - maybe in a couple years I'll do it.

My brother and sister are also guarenteed for Edinburgh since they are offering spots to anyone who got turned down for the London Marathon. So it will be a Fletcher family affair.

The course isn't finalised yet due to some roadwork happening around the time of the race but it looks to be fast and mostly flat - there is a downhill section the first few miles, and very few uphills, which is good. Weather looks like it will be pretty good, but this is Scotland so just about anything can happen.

Now all I have to do is train for the next 6 months without getting injured. I have reset all my training paces based on CIM and have a solid plan laid out thru May. Barring any injuries I should be in the best shape of my life by race day. Equivalent perfomance for a full marathon, based on my 1:30 half is 3:07:39 - but I don't buy that. My dubious, unscientific research has shown that very few people achieve their equivalent times, so I am going to aim for 2 VDOTs slower (go back to May to see more on this) - which is 3:14:06. I'll do my training as if I am running 3:07, but ease back on race day. (At least, that is what I am saying right now). Over the next few months I will run some more races and adjust my training paces and race goals accordingly.

This morning I bagged the tempo run and just ran an easy 7 miler at 8:00 pace. Didn't think it wise to go out and thrash my legs again when they are just starting to feel normal again after Sunday. Easy miles again tomorrow and then a little pace running on Friday (Next race is a 10k so I'll be running 2x1m at 6:26 pace).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Still Functioning

Ran an easy 5 this evening up at the track. Things all feel good - quads and calves a little tight but nothing unexpected. Let's see how things are for some tempo work tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 3, 2007

CIM Race Report

I am finally back at the computer after stopping off in San Francisco last night to celebrate my birthday (and my race!), so here is the race report from yesterday.

I was running the first 2 legs of a 4 person relay as part of the California International Marathon. This gave me just over 13.1 miles and they had a timing mat at the half marathon stage. My relay partner was injured so it was just me, so I was just planning to race to the 13.1 mat and then take the bus home. Most other people were running the full marathon.

Pre Race
Slept really badly - hotel was nosiy and we had a bunch of partiers near the room. Buzzer went off at 5:15am when I had just fallen asleep. Ate, drank, took care of "other" business, showered and headed to the bus about 5:45 (I stayed at the finish so had a 26 mile bus ride to the start). It was chilly out, high 30's and the wind was blowing. Forecast was to get to about 15 mph but not get much warmer. Good running weather if the wind doesn't get up too much. Bus got us to the start about 6:35, and by the time I'd pee'd, dropped off my sweats (I decided to run in shorts/singlet despite the cold, but did wear gloves) and got to the startline (I went way up front), it was 6:57! Got my Garmin GPS locked onto the satellites with about 30 seconds to spare. Jumped up and down to pretend to warmup and we were off at 7:00:30!

First 5 Miles
My plan was 1:32 (7:01 pace) but I was feeling gung-ho so decided to run with the 3:00 marathon pace group to start (6:52 pace). I figured if it was too tough I could always drop back a little. Plus, it's a rolling course and I wasn't sure how agressively to run down or up so wanted the experience of the pacer to guide me. Start was good, most people up the front were running pretty well so I wasn't dodging people, and I hooked up with the 3:00 pacer within the first 1/2 mile and settled down right on his heels. Thru mile 5 we rolled up/down and dropped about 125' overall. Splits were 6:54, 6:44, 6:46, 6:45, 6:47 - 33:56 at the 5 mile marker. Felt pretty good but knew I was on the edge at this pace.

Miles 6-8
About mile 5 I ask the pacer what his plan for the half is and he tells me that he's going to run 1:29!. So instead of being 2 minutes faster than I planned, it was 3 - Not a big difference but when you are at your limit it doesn't take much to make a good day turn bad. This means an average of 6:47 - which is only 4 seconds slower than my 10k pace. I figured that I was going to be in a lot of trouble trying to do that for 13.1 miles and considered easing off. Instead I decided to hang with the group thru 8 miles and then decide what to do. Splits 6, 7 & 8 were 6:48, 6:49, 6:49 - to get thru 8 miles at 54:29. On the way I finished the first 10k in 42:06 which is only 23 seconds slower than my 10k race a few weeks back. This was obviously not going to last.....

Miles 9 & 10
OK, by now it's hurting and I know I am not hanging with these guys thru the half. The pacer was relentless and I was way out of my depth. However, I know from Honolulu that it is very lonely once you lose the pacegroup so just decided to hang as long as I could and then gut it home on my own, hoping to get under 1:32. Dropped off a little in mile 9 but kicked to catch up, did that once more in mile 10 but by the 10 mile mark they were about 30' ahead. Splits for 9 & 10 were 6:54 and 6:55 to get thru 10 at 1:08:18. But I knew the pace group was gone and all of a sudden I was running in no-man's land, and 3.1 miles seemed like an awful long way.

Miles 11 & 12
This was now painful, I had run way faster than I had planned and it was now payback time. Mile 11 was ugly at 7:08 and then mile 12 started with an uphill - not much, just about 75' over 1/2 mile but it was bad - I focused on catching people ahead. I dragged myself up that hill to do 12 at 7:10 pace. Time at 12 was 1:22:36.

Final 1.1 mile
I was tired and my ability to do math was impaired but I figured that I was easily under 1:32 but that 1:30:00 was going to require something I didn't have left inside. Knew it was 7:24 for the 1.1 but struggled to work out what that meant exactly for pace. About half mile to go I could see the 13 mile marker and the balloon banner for the halfway point (my finish line!). I sprinted, which got a great response from the crowd (Since this is a full marathon there aren't too many people sprinting for the halfway point). I crossed 13 miles at 1:29:19 and had worked out roughly that the final .11 was about 50 seconds. Shit - not gonna break 1:30 but I found a kick somewhere and covered the final stretch in 37 seconds (5:38 pace) to cross the line at 1:29:56. I couldn't believe it! A PR by over 4 minutes and I'd met all of my goals, including the "aint-gonna-happen" stretch goal.

I quickly stumbled off the course to avoid being run over, much to the confusion of the crowd since the relay exchange was still 1/2 mile up the road and the finish was 13.1 miles away, but I was too exhausted to explain. Fortunately, an aid station was 100' up the road and I drank 4 gatorades and 3 waters then jogged slowly down to the relay exchange to get the bus back to the finish line.

I got back to the finish about 2:50 race time so went to the line just as my pace 3:00 pace group was coming over - Pacer crossed at 2:59:46 - awesome. Group was smaller than when I last saw it about 16 miles back. Shook his hand and thanked him for getting me thru the first half. I also promised that next year I'd do all 26.2 with him.

But boy, am I feeling it today! Those fast downhill miles trashed my quads and I have been forced to take an unplanned day off running. Hopefully I can stretch it all out tonight and get some easy miles in tomorrow.

Next up - New Year's Day 10k and the only natural goal is to go for sub 40, or 6:26 pace (which is about the equivalent of a 1:28:30-1:29:00 half). Another big stretch goal, but I seem to be hitting them right now.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


1:29:56 for the half! Just about killed me but a PR by over 4 mins and met my "aint-gonna-happen" stretch goal. More details when I get back to the PC.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ready To Go

Tomorrow is race day. Weather forecast calls for 40 degrees, cloudy and 11mph wind from the SSE at 7am (start time), although it is supposed to feel like 33. Weather at the end is only a few degrees warmer, and the wind is picking up to 16.

Low temperature and cloudy is good (I bought some new gloves), the wind not so good. The course is runs south 1m, then west 6m, then south 7m, and then west to the halfway point so it's going to be a combination of crosswind/headwind - not great. Hopefully it'll be lighter than forecast and I'll be finished before it gets stronger!

The second half of my 2 person relay team is not running due to injury so I'll just be running hard to the 13.1 half marathon point and then walkinging/crawling to the relay exchange at 13.5m. Then I'll take the bus back to the finish and our team will be an official DNF. I will get back in time to watch the race winners who should be in around 2:15 for the individuals and 2:25 for the first relay team. Maybe I should jump back in about 2:20 at mile 26 and post a miraculous 2:22 finish for relay victory!

Friday, November 30, 2007

November Summary

So November is over.

A really big training month for me (finally), getting back to just above my pre-injury training levels and feeling very good. Loving the crisp sunny mornings (but I think it is time to get some gloves, it was only 36 degrees this morning).

November Totals:
-- A race! Stanford 10k in 41:43, New PR (6:43 pace)
-- Ran 192.4 miles - biggest month ever
-- No biking , swimming or pool running
-- 29 out of 30 days of running
-- 1,278 Running Miles for 2007
-- Up to 56 miles in biggest week
-- Longest run now up to 14 miles (pain free!)
-- Regular tempo work at around 6:50-6:55 pace
-- Added in some medium hills
-- No speedwork yet, but race pace runs on Fridays
-- Started marathon training program (11/19)
-- Tons of stretching, calf exercises and ice

December Goals
-- Half Marathon on 12/2
----- hoping for 7:00 pace (just under 1:32)
-- weekly mileage steady in low to mid 50's
-- run pretty much every day (skipping Xmas Eve)
-- Around 210 total for the month (first ever 200+)
-- Long run up to 16 miles, with fast finish
-- Solid weekly tempos at 6:51(2x3miles/20mins)
-- More Friday race pace workouts (at 10k goal pace 6:36)
-- More hills, but not racing up
-- Easy final week prepping for 1/1 10k race (sub 41 goal)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tapering Tempo

As it's my taper week for Sacramento I only did a 1x3mile tempo run this morning (instead of the normal 2x3miles). Easy warmup mile then tried to focus on running steady tempo effort without worrying too much about pace. In the past I've not been too good at running by feel and always tend to go faster than I should.

Felt good for the three miles, trying to keep things "comfortably hard". Looked at the data afterwards and was very happy with the splits. Heartrate figures for the 6 half mile splits were...
1 - 159 ave, 162 max
2 - 159 ave, 162 max
3 - 160 ave, 161 max
4 - 160 ave, 161 max
5 - 161 ave, 162 max
6 - 159 ave, 161 max
Pace was 6:52 average, ranging from 6:45 to 6:59 (it was an slight uphill/downhill route).

When I look back to the week before my last half marathon in April, I ran a 4 mile pace run on the Wednesday at 7:04 pace - average HR was 162 and the weather that day was cool and cloudy. I'm now running 12 seconds faster at similar HR. Weather forecast for Sunday looks good - cool, little wind, it's a fast course, and I'm feeling in great shape, so I guess that means it is half marathon goal time....

1) Finish the race without thrashing my achilles (or anything else).
.... This is to absolutey prove I've recovered from my injury.
2) Beat 1:34:11 - this is my current half PR (short course). 7:11 pace
.... I'll be disappointed if I don't meet this goal.
3) Beat 1:32:50 - time predicted from my 10k - 7:05 pace
.... this is my realistic goal
4) Beat 1:32:00 - this is 7:01 pace
.... this is my "within limits" stretch goal
5) Beat 1:30:00 - that's 6:52 pace.
.... this is my "aint-gonna-happen" stretch goal

I think I will pace at 7:00 (for goal 4) and see how it goes after 5 miles. If I'm comfortably thru 5 miles in 35 minutes with HR under control, I'll go for 8 miles in 56 minutes. At that point if it's ugly I could jog it in at 7:25 and still run a PR of 1:34. if I'm feeling good bring it home under 1:32. I would be really happy if my average pace was under 7 minutes. Don't see any scenario where #5 can happen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

London 0 - Edinburgh 3

This week the lottery results for the London Marathon were released. Neither my brother nor my sister got in, so that removes 2 of the 2 reasons I had to specifically run London next April. Given my inability to register in time to get my own entry, and the rapidly increasing price of "buying" my way in, it looks like London is off for 2008.

1) Paris - the week before London
---pros: big race, fast course, relatively well organized
---cons: France, sold out

2) Rotterdam - same day as London
---pros: big race, fast course, well organized
---cons: who wants to go to Rotterdam? where is Rotterdam?

3) Edinburgh - 6 weeks later (May 25th)
---pros: medium size race (6,000), brother/sister have guarenteed entry (it's the London overflow), US entry is easy to get (and still available), fast course, 6 weeks additional training
---cons: Scotland, 6 weeks additional training

At this stage it is looking like Edinburgh is the winner. I'll look at entry & travel logistics but assuming I can sort those out I think I am going to Scotland in May. That also means I get to rejigger my training schedule and add a bunch of additional base building into the plan, which in the long run is probably going to help me as it means more time getting used to the higher mileage before adding as many intense workouts.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ready for a Day Off

Ran an "easy" 14 miler again today. This time I skipped the fast finish, and just ran it around 8:00 pace. I did do a single fast half mile just around mile 13 as a simulated finish for next week's half marathon. Overall pace was 8:04 for 13.89 miles. Felt like a hard run today as I was pretty hungry for most of it (I've foolishly run out of gels). But apparently running on empty is good training for raceday, so I should be in good shape.

Along with yesterday's easy 6 miler the weekly total was 55.8 miles, which is definitely enough for me right now!

Tomorrow is a whole day off from running! - I have an easy week scheduled about every 4 weeks, and I get to skip Monday's run and take it a little easier throughout the week with lower mileage. Including the half it'll be under 40 miles. So this is a combination cutback/taper week.

To be honest, I am ready for a day off.

Then after race week it's back to the mileage buildup. Weeks of 50, 53 & 59 leading up to Christmas as I try to get my body comfortable in the 50's. Then after the next cutback week I'm moving up even further with weeks of 55 (including a 10k race on New Year's morning), 63 and 69. I've never been anywhere near that type of mileage and I'm curious to find out which parts of my body start to crumble first......

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Miles

Just ran my 32nd day straight. My longest running streak by far. Plus, it's been about 55 miles in the last 7 days, my biggest week ever.

Today was a pace run, where I try to do 3-4 miles at whatever pace I plan to run in my next race. Next race is a half marathon and goal pace is 7:10. Did 3.4 miles at 7:04 which included going over the little hill (the 100' one) twice. With some warmup and cooldown it was just under 6 total at 7:27. Yesterday was an easy Thanksgiving run of just over 8 miles at just over 8 minute pace.

Things are going really well - the steady rampup of short easy runs every day since mid September seems to have made me more ready for the training than the last time I was running 50+ MPW, and being religious about my stretching/calf exercies is a big help. Achilles isn't giving me any trouble, even when I pick things up a little on the hills. Knees are fine, shins are OK. The only new ailment is a slight ache in my hip that came on during last Sunday's long run after about 8 miles. It eased off with Monday and Tuesday as easy days but I felt it a little during Wednesday's tempo. But if it isn't getting worse in 50+ mile weeks I'm not too worried about it. At my age, things are bound to creak a little.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Decent Tempo Run

Finally managed to be disciplined enough to run a reasonable tempo run. The last 2 have been a little gung ho and I've ended up going faster/harder than I should, which means your heartrate goes up too high and all you don't get the benefits you are supposed to get from this type of training run.

This a chart of heartrate against miles of the one from 2 weeks ago. Tempo sections are in red. It was 2x2 miles - first 2 uphill, 2nd 2 down. way too fast in that first segment, as you see by the skyrocketing HR. 2nd segment was better.

Here is last week's. This was on the track, so no hills to worry about. This time it was 2x3 miles. First one started OK, but got hard towards the end. Second one was too fast (I ran the last 1.5 miles about 15-20 seconds faster than tempo pace for fun)

Here's today's. Another 2x3 miles. First 3 on the roads so a little downhill then uphill, with a climb right at the end. Second 3 on the track, so no excuses. Paces were 6:53 and 6:55 (plan was 6:55)

I'm very happy with that second 3 mile tempo. Nice steady heartrate at low 160s and the pace was pretty constant at 6:55. It's much easier to do these on the track where you don't have to worry about hills (or traffic). So from now on that's what I will try to do, but it is a little boring doing lap after lap at constant pace.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Less Creaky

Much less creaky this morning on a crisp 7 miler. All easy miles at around 8:00 pace, but I have started running the "medium hill". Until recently I've been limiting my runs to the "little hill", which is only a 100' climb. Now that I'm stronger I've added in the next level, which climbs to about 375'. I'll probably wait until mid/late December before venturing into the "big hills" - which is where it all went horribly wrong back in May.

It is also now officially time to start wearing some sleeves on these easy morning runs. At 7 this morning it was probably about 45 degrees and it took me a good 3-4 miles before my arms warmed up.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Very creaky on an easy 5 mile run this morning. I think the last week was a little more tiring than I originally thought. Left hip creaking, right knee creaking, left calf creaking. I am getting old. Hopefully things will have eased up a bit by tomorrow, luckily it's another easy day.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Finally! A Great Training Week

Finished the week with a good 14 miler, bringing the weekly total to just under 49. Last time I got to this sort of mileage it all fell to pieces, but I'm feeling much better about things this time - Fingers crossed!

Today's long run was very good - Plan was to go 12-14 depending on how I felt, and if it was good at the end, throw in some faster miles for the last 2-3. Weather was absolutely perfect, not hot, no wind, and a little misty.

Did a couple easy miles to start at 8:00 pace, then started up the hills so slowed it down to 8:30 for the next 1.5 miles. Then 2.5 faster miles downhill at around 7:30. An easy 8:00 and then slow again up the next hill. Took a wrong turn about mile 9-9.5 and had a slow mile throw some bushes etc. but got back on track by 10ish.

Got thru 11 miles in 1:28, at 8:04 average pace. Didn't feel tired, so ran the next 2.5 miles at my half marathon PR pace (7:10). These fast finish runs are really good training, and I was happy to be feeling good enough to run it after elevn 8 minute miles. Jogged the final 1/2 mile home to total 14 miles in 1:50 - average pace 7:54.

That was my first run over half marathon distance for 6 months. Next week is pretty much the same thing. About 50 miles with a tempo Wednesday, pace run Friday and 14 miler on Sunday. Then it's an easy mini-taper week before the California International Marathon relay on December 3rd.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Marathon Training Plan

It is 21 weeks until the London marathon and I will be starting my training program next week. The last 14 weeks have been my rebuilding phase as I tried to get back up to my pre-injury mileage and fitness levels. I just beat my 10k PR and this week's mileage will be about 48 miles, so I'm considering phase zero successfully completed

The marathon plan is a hodge-podge created by pulling aspects that worked well from my previous training as well as a number of formal training programs (daniels, pfitzinger, durden). Given my history of speed/hill related injuries it focuses on distance, tempo work and marathon pace running. It is light on speedwork and aggressive hill climbing.

Mileage builds steadily, with an easy cutback week every 4 weeks (Mileage drops and I take 1 day off). Peak mileage is 70, which I'll hit 4 weeks before race day. March is the big month at 283 miles, then it tapers for 3 weeks for the race itself.

A normal week will be...
--Monday: 5 easy miles - recovering from Sunday!
--Tuesday: 5-7 easy miles
--Wednesday: Tempo Runs 2x3miles, 7-9 total
--Thursday: 7-10 easy miles
--Friday: 5-7miles, with 2-3 at race pace
--Saturday: 6-11 easy miles
--Sunday: Long runs 14-22, with fast finishes and lots at marathon pace

Here's the weekly mileage plan.....

I have a 10k and 2 half marathons along the way to assess my (hopefully) improving fitness and will use these to adjust training paces.

I'm basing all my training and racing paces on Daniels' VDOTs. (I wrote about them back in early May).

Currently I'm between 49 and 50 based on my 41:43 10k. I'm hoping to get up to a solid 51 before London. At that level I should be able to run a 1:30:02 half, a 40:39 10k and a 19:36 5k.

Marathon prediction for 51 is 3:07, but although I'm going to train at paces based on a VDOT of 51 (if I can actually get there) I will race the marathon based on a VDOT of 2 lower, which means a 3:14 (7:26 pace) as a goal (althrough 3:20:59 will do too, as that is my Boston Qualifying time).

Given that my current marathon PR is 4:10 I have a lot of improving to do.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Easy 7

Nice'n'easy seven miler at lunch. Pace from mid 8's to high 7's. A lovely running day today. A little half marathon pace work tomorrow (7:10), easy miles Saturday, and a 13 miler on Sunday. I'm happy to be back in regular training.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fast Shoes

Bought some new shoes today. Same as last ones (Mizuno Wave Inspire 3) but they changed the color scheme. These colors looked faster so I decided to do my tempo run at the high school track this evening. (OK, the real reason is because it was dark, and there are fewer obstacles to avoid on the track).

3/4 mile warmup, then it was time for 2x3miles at around 6:55 pace. Started comfortably at 6:56 for the first 1/2 mile, then worked it slowly down: 6:53, 6:51, 6:50, 6:48, 6:44 - 20 mins 32 seconds for 3 miles = 6:51 pace. Felt pretty good, but probably a little bit over true tempo pace (heartrate was 169 at the end).

Did a 400m recovery jog at 8ish pace, got the heartrate back down to mid 150s and then set off on the second 3 miles.

Started at 6:56, and tried to stay at about that pace. 6:52 followed by 6:58 thru 1.5 miles. Then picked it up a little with a 6:45. Decided to do the last mile a little quicker and ran it in 6:31. I was very happy with that as the last mile of a 6 mile tempo. Obviously that mile was well under tempo pace, but given that I'm not doing any real speedwork just yet it was an OK substitute in my mind. Second 3 miles was 20 minutes 18 seconds = 6:46 pace.

Easy jog home for 1/2 mile to bring it up to 7.67 miles at an average of 7:15. Overall, a really solid workout.

I knew those shoes were fast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Softer Ground

Ran tonight on a soft trail down by the Bay for 5-6 miles. Much better on the legs than the concrete of San Francisco yesterday. Still went fairly easy at around 7:40 pace with just one faster mile down near 7. Legs are feeling a little stiff from the exertion of Sunday so I need to be sure to stretch out properly this evening, which I didn't really do yesterday or Sunday night.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, so it's tempo day. Either 2x2miles at 6:45-6:50 or 2x3miles at 6:55-7:00. I'll see how I feel in the morning and how much time I have.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Doing better than the 49ers

Easy 4-5 miles in San Francisco this evening. Considering how badly the niners are currently doing against Seattle, I wish I'd decided to run long (real long) so I wouldn't have to watch this debacle.....

Nothing special on the run, just steady 8 minute miles. No achilles pain, felt a little bit in my right knee, but that is normal for running on concrete. Will try to get to some softer surfaces for tomorrow's 5 miler. Not sure how I'm gonna work that yet.


Alright! Everything feels OK this morning. I will try to find time to get in an easy 4-5 sometime to double check that I haven't broken anything.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stanford 10k - No Excuses Run!

Today was a big race for me and finally I know where I am fitness wise. It's the first real datapoint after an injury to my achilles in late May, and a miserable summer of deep water pool running, and then gradually starting out again in September, with lots of physio, ice, stretching and then building up the easy miles thru October. Today was the day when I got to see whether any of that effort was worth it or if I'd lost what little fitness I used to have.

I'd decided and posted yesterday that there was no conservative plan for me - I was going all out - it was my "No Excuses Run"! Anything short of beating my 10k PR (42:51, 6:54 pace) was going to be disappointing. I'm done with being injured, it's time to see if I'm fit or not. I set an aggressive race plan, which showed me getting a 41 second PR. It all looked great in excel.....

Race Day!
Woke up early, and really nervous. ate, stretched, had a warm shower and then got to the course about 45 minutes before the start. Did a solid warmup so that I wasn't straining cold muscles with a fast start. Lined up at the front as ready as I was gonna be.

Mile 0-1.5 - Goal 6:50 pace
Started way too fast despite having practiced 100m starts at goal pace.
First half 6:27 pace.
Eased up and got onto 6:50 pace for the next mile.

Mile 1.5-2.5 - Goal 7:10 pace (the hill)
Hill was not as gradual as I thought and the first 1/2 mile was barely noticeable so I kept at 6:50 pace. Second half mile was steep and I slowed way down to 7:25. Overall about right. Got to the top about 15 seconds ahead of plan, due to my fast start.

Mile 2.5-4.5 - Goal 6:35 pace (the downhill stretch)
This was where the race was going to be decided. I was feeling tired from the fast start and the steep hill, and the downhill was very gradual. 6:35 was a tough target but I decided it was time to go for it. The long summer of thrashing thru the pool was all for this race. Under 4 miles to go - no time to take it easy.
Ran the first 2 half miles at 6:36, 6:38 but I was now feeling it. Decided it was time to forget times and start chasing down the guys ahead. Next 2 half miles were at 6:31 and 6:20 (not sure where that came from but it hurt like hell). I was now flying and reeling in runners but feeling a lot of pain and the heartrate was up into the 170s.

Mile 4.5-5.5 - Goal pace 6:50
I knew I was on for a PR and everything screamed slowdown as the course flattened out. But I'd read too many running books with titles like "Pain" over the summer so I just kept my eyes on the next guy and pushed with everything left. Half mile paces at 6:33 and 6:38.

Mile 5.5 to home - Goal pace 6:40
Time for the kick. Pushed again, caught the next guy, and got thru mile 6 at 6:33 pace - I was dying by now but found one last kick for the final .2m and sped up to 6:27 and managed to sprint to the line for the crowd.

Crossed the line at 41:43 - beating my plan by almost 30 seconds and smashing my pre-injury PR by over a minute.

It was simply an awesome feeling after the disappointment of injury and struggling back. All that slogging thru the pool and running those boring, short, slow, flat miles had paid off. And the good news is that I had no achilles pain at all - I think the solid warmup was key there.

Now I get to plan out my marathon training for London in April with a solid race behind to use as a basis for pacing.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I am weirdly nervous about tomorrow's 10k. I've decided that I am going to go all out, there is no conservative plan for me!

I'm going to shoot for beating my 10k best of 42:51 which means running better than 6:54 pace. I definitely have the speed as I found it in some of my faster tempos, but I'm not really sure if I'm fit enough to do that for 10k yet. I've been doing steady mileage but only one run of 10 miles since May. I'm also not sure my achilles is going to hold out for 6 fast miles. But there is only way to find out.

Course is flat for first 1.5m, then it climbs 100' in the next mile, and drops 100' in the following 2 miles, and is flat thru the finish (6.2 miles).

My aggressive pacing plan is as follows....
....0-1.5miles at 6:50 - steady start
....1.5-2.5 at 7:10 - ease up the hill
....2.5-4.5 at 6:35 - fast downhill miles
....4.5-5.5 at 6:50 - steady flat mile
....5.5-6.2 at 6:40 - kick for the finish!
Overall pace 6:47
Time 42:10
PR by 41 seconds!

I'm either recoverd and fit, or I'm not. Guess I'll find out soon enough.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Easy does it

Easy 5 this morning at 8ish pace after an even easier 5 yesterday at 8:30ish. Should be nice and rested for Sunday's race.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Comfortably Hard

Strange expression, seems to be an oxymoron, but it's how people describe how it should feel when you are doing tempo runs. Definitely not easy, but not flat out.

Anyway, it's Wednesday, so that's tempo run day. Same course as last week. 3/4 mile warm up. 2 miles straight up the road (gradual 100' climb) 1/2 mile recovery jog and then 2 miles straight back down again. Last week was 7:11 pace up and 6:49 down, so 7:00 for both legs. I was feeeling very good this morning so decided I'd try to go 7:00 up and see how i felt coming down.

Warmup was quick at 7:30 pace, and as I started the uphill quickly got down to 6:40 pace. It felt OK, somewhere on the pleasant side of comfortably hard, so I kept at it. Went through the first 3 halves with paces of 6:41, 6:39 and 6:42. By now it was at least comfortbaly hard, but I decided to push for the final half mile uphill and did it at 6:39. A 2 mile uphill (albeit only slightl) run at 6:40 pace surpirsed me. That is only 2 seconds off my best 5k pace.

The 1/2 mile recvery was much needed and it would be a big stretch to use the word comfortable to describe any part of that last half mile. Decided I would run the downhill 2 miles at a more sensible effort level and would concentrate on constant effort and finishing strong.

Started steadily and quickly found 6:46 pace. Slower than the uphill but was still paying the price for the first leg. Second half at 6:45. Third half mile slowed a little to 6:49 so focused on finishing strong and brought it in at 6:39. 6:46 overall for the downhill 2 miles.

Average for both legs was 6:43 which is up there with my pre-injury pacing. On the way up, heartrate was climbing unsustainably, but on the way back down, at a more managed pace it was steady in the low 160s.

Three easy days now and then it's race day! After this morning I'm feeling confident that I can do a 7:00 pace for the 10k (43:30) and if things go well I have a chance to go under my current 10k best of 42:51 (6:54 pace). Although that will be a little more than comfortably hard.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Getting Smarter?

Went out early this morning for an easy 5 miles. Felt great and started fast. Before the first mile was over I was running under 7 minute pace. And then I thought "Why am I running this fast?". There are no prizes for training faster than planned and ultimately there is a reason for those easy days. So I decided to stop, stretch properly and then run at a more reasonable pace. Kept things going reasonably fast and averaged about 7:35. Still faster than planned but better than the 6:50 I was going to do if I'd kept going.

Maybe I am getting a little smarter about this?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Daylight Savings

7am is much more tolerable this week compared to last. It's lighter, warmer and I'm much less sleepy.

A nice 5 miler at 7:40 pace to kick off the week. No after effects from last week's 42 miles (did 6.5 Sunday vs the planned 5), so I am thinking that I can now officially declare my "injury phase" over. Obviously I could easily go crazy now and quickly start my next "injury phase", so I will be continuiing to keep things steady. Ramp mileage gradually, keep off the big hills and try to keep speed out of a lot of the runs.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Double Digits

Ran an easy 10 miler yesterday afternoon. It was hot and I set out about 1:30. Ran with a friend and it was an easy 8:10 pace through some rolling hills trying to find the shady side of the street where possible. Felt fine during the run and this morning everything seems good. I'll do an easy 5 in a while, which will bring my weekly total to just over 40.

Next week will be a little lower as I will be racing a 10k on Sunday instead of doing a long run. That will be the first real assessment of my fitness. I'm just hoping I am somewhere near my pre-injury levels.

Friday, November 2, 2007

2 more runs....

Very easy 4 this morning - it's getting a little colder, maybe time for some sleeves.

A good 7 yesterday. Started slow but got down to high 6's. A little faster than planned but all OK.

A new long run milestone planned tomorrow of 10 miles. Finally back to double digits.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October Summary

So October is over.

A solid month of rebuilding, leaving me in a good position to start some real training in November. Got the OK from the physio and doctor to run my spring marathon and made very good progress recovering from my achilles problems. By far my best month since May.

October Totals:
-- No races, no (big) hills, no speedwork
-- Ran 134 miles (same as JUN/JUL/AUG/SEP combined)
-- No biking or swimming
-- No pool running - Woohoo!
-- 29 days of running - highest of any month ever
-- 1086 Running Miles for 2007
-- Back up to mid 30's weekly mileage
-- Longest run now up to 9 miles (pain free!)
-- Started to do some tempo work in the high 6's/low 7's
-- Tons of stretching, calf exercises and ice

November Goals
-- A race, finally! 10k on 11/11
----- hoping for an uneventful 7:00 pace (43:30)
-- weekly mileage to mid 40's
-- run pretty much every day (1 day off every 4 weeks)
-- 170 total for the month
-- Long run up to 14 miles
-- Longer tempos (2x3miles, 2x20mins)
-- Start Friday race pace workouts
-- Marathon training program starts 11/19

Tempo Time

First real post injury tempo run this morning. All I've done so far had been some progressively faster running vs any real steady pace tempo runs. Today I was feeling good so decided I'd go try to do 2x2miles at about 7:15 pace. Picked a long straight road that climbs about 100' over 2 miles. It's not steep, but it's enough to effect pace so I planned on 7:20-7:25 up and 7:05-7:10 back down, with a 1/2 mile recovery in between.

Warmed up for 1/2 mile and then eased into the first half mile and quickly found 7:15 pace. Went a little quicker than planned going up and did the 2 miles at 7:11 (halves at 7:17, 7:08, 7:11, and 7:09 pace). Decided my goal had been too easy so planned to come back down at under 7:00 pace.

First half was fast at 6:42 but then I steadied down and ran a 6:56 pace half. Kept the pressure on for the last mile and ran it at 6:47. Overall pace for the downhill 2 was 6:49. Average for the 4 miles was spot on 7:00. Very happy with that and it was the first fast run I've done where there was absolutely zero pain in my achilles.

This all tells me that a 7:15 pace 10k in 10 days should be well within my grasp. Including warmups, recovery and cooldown the average pace today was 7:21 for about 10k. I'll probably aim for 7:00 pace and see how far I get before the wheels fall off.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Garmin must be obeyed

Today on my run, my Garmin GPS did not work! I must have left it on in my sportsbag and it refused to turn on despite repeated threats and abuse. Now this might seem like a non-issue but I have used this every single time I've run for the last 18 months and it really is the one in charge here. Today I had no idea how fast I was running, where I was going, or what time it was. To be honest, if I'd been on my own I may never have made it back alive.

Fortunately my inner GPS tells me I ran very far, very fast and all at a low heartrate, so that is what I will put in my running log.

Hopefully a few hours on the charger will bring it back to life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Easy 4

Nice'n'easy 4 this morning at 8:15 pace. No after effects from yesterday's 9 miler. Easy 5 tomorrow and then a tempo on Wednesday (gonna try 2x2 miles at 7:15 pace and see how that is).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Up to 9 miles

Just ran a very solid 9 miler and it felt great.

Eased into things the first 1/2 mile (8:15 pace) and then ran the next 3 at a steady 7:30-7:40 pace. Then the route went uphill with a climb of 200' over the next 2 miles so I slowed it down to 8:30 pace. The last 1/2 mile climbing I sped up to 7:40 and then kept the effort up as I started going down the other side. Flew down the hill at under 6 minute pace. Eased up as things flattened out down to low 7's. Then jogged the 2 1/2 miles home in the 7:30s. Overall 9.04 miles at 7:44 pace.

It felt so good to push that final climb and then fly down that hill. When things are clicking there really is no feeling quite like running flat out.

That brought the week to a close at about 30 miles, which was good for my step back week (I'm taking things a little easy every 4-5 weeks). Next week I build up again, with a long on Sunday over 10 miles and a total around 39 miles for the week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Feeling Good

Just had a great run. 5 mile tempo with a nice 2.5 m stretch averaging 7:15. I'm finding that 7:10-7:20 is a pace that I'm settling down at for the quicker days. I felt that I could have kept the 7:15 pace for much longer so a 10k at that pace (45 mins) in a couple weeks does not seem unreasonable (at least from a fitness persepective, who knows what my achilles will think of it).

Cruel Timing

It's a little ironic that the US agent for the Lonodn marathon sold out of places the same week that I got the OK from my doc to run the race. Not being able to get an entry to the race kinda puts the dampers on my plans to run.......

I'm 7th on the waitlist, and have no idea if that is gonna work or not so I am now looking for creative (yet still mostly legal) ways to get entry. So far, my attempts at being Irish and entering thru the official Irish travel agency are unsuccessful. They will let me know if they have any spaces left in December. I think I'm gonna go ahead and sort out flights, make refundable hotel reservation and hope for the best! worse case is that I'll need to bandit the race with a photocopied race number. I suspect that I will be able to buy an entry from someone who is injured or just opportunistically looking to make a quick buck.

Of course, this could be a sign that I'm not really recovered and I should be taking it easy. Or it could be a sign that I'm an idiot and should have booked a place 3 months ago.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cor Blimey, he's going to London!

Managed to fake out both my physio and my doctor enough that I got the official OK to run London! Doc was very happy with the progress and said I should be fine to run. Need to keep going with the calf exercises (eventually building up to about 60lbs), general leg strengthening, stretching and icing. Keep on building the miles gradually (just add 1 mile to the long run per week), don't rush to add hills or speedwork and ease off if things feel like they are getting strained. I don't need to continue with physio since I'm now doing all the exercises at home anyway.

So now I get to build out the full running schedule. First steps back will be a 10k on November 11th. I'm not planning on running all out but will be using it to get some assessment of my current fitness level under race conditions.

Then there is the CIM relay early December. That is 6 weeeks out and I need to extend my long mileage from 7 miles. So that won't be a fast 13 miles, since that will be about my max range at that stage. But I'm comfortable that I can run that at a non-embarassing pace.

Then there is London in April. Assuming I can still get a place I will be booking up race, hotel and flights today.

Looks like I'm back!

70 minutes to go

Doctor appointment in just over an hour. Still a little sore from Monday's physio, and last night's thankfully easier top up session. I did finally manage to run yesterday evening but it took me a good half mile to unseize things. My attempt to run Tuesday morning had to be aborted when I couldn't even get to the end of the block. I really need to strengthen my glutes over the next few months!

It's been six weeks since the last Dr. visit. Back then I was running every 3-4 days and it was far from pain free. Now it's every day and usually painless. Definitely feeling stronger and all the exercises seem much easier, despite adding weights.

Hopefully his examination will show how great everything looks and he'll give London a thumbs up! Stay tuned.......

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I'm sitting here at work thinking "Ouch!". My physio last night decided that the achilles was progressing so well it was time to add in a bunch of extra exercises. Given the fact that I run all the time I always kinda think that a few stretches, lunges and the like aren't going to do me any real damage. I was fine this morning, and went out for an easy 4 miler, but I have to say now that those 5 minutes of lunges yesterday evening now have me limping like I ran a marathon. People keep asking me if I'm injured.

I will need to ask her to go easy on me tomorrow night or my visit to the Doc on Thursdsay morning may end up with me being hospitalised.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

One More Solid Week

Finished the week with a 7 miler this morning. Did the first flat 2.5 miles around 7:30-7:40 and then the next hilly 4.5 miles at 8:20 ish. Overall 8:02 pace - Felt good, but it's definitely near the limit of what I should be running right now. With a 5 on Friday and about 6 yesterday that made the weekly total just over 34 miles. I've built the miles up steadily from less than 10 back in the middle of September. A little easier next week and then 4 weeks of building up into the low 40's.

Here's the progress/plan.....

If all goes well I'll be back to my pre-injury training levels by mid December, which should be good enough for an April marathon. I'm going to be a little undertrained for the half marathon on December 2nd, but that's OK since the goal of that is to just get an accurate assessment of my fitness level and check that everything is still working properly under race conditions.

Doctor this Thursday - Let's hope he doesn't have any different ideas about my plans!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Seems OK

No real after effects from yesterday's somewhat spirited run. Physio was fine last night, exercises are getting much easier, so we are adding more weights. An easy 4 miler this morning and no lingering problems. So it looks like things are OK. Easy 4-5 tomorrow and Saturday and then I'll try another 7 on Sunday. That will be 17 days running in a row, with only 2 days off in a whole month.

I'm now officially getting excited for London!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

That's Gonna Cost Me...

After a couple of very easy days (3 Monday, 4 Tuesday) I was feeling nice and relaxed this morning. Didn't appear to be any lingering effects from running 7 on Sunday.

Set off on a 5 miler at a comfortable 8:20, then just gradually picked things up. Ran out over Foothill into the hills and felt very comfortable running about 7:45. Crested a small hill at 2 miles and kept the effort up on the other side. Had a solid mile or so, running around 7:30.

Then about 1.5 miles from home picked things up again. Did a 7:15 pace half mile, then a 7:00 and then a 6:30. Overall 5 miles at 7:37 pace with a solid progression from 8:20 down to 6:30 (final pace was just under 6:00). Fitness wise it was great and I really enjoyed the workout, I'm definitely feeling much stronger than I was a month ago.

Injury wise I'm not so sure - that was a little faster, OK a lot faster, than I had planned. I'll do a bunch of icing/stretching today and see what this does.

Off to see the physio tonight - I'm sure he'll tell me I'm an idiot.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

30+ Mile Week

Did a 7 miler today. Last time I ran more than 6 was on September 10th, when I was a little too enthusiastic coming back. I took the next 5 days off with achilles pain. I'm thinking that this time it is different. I've run the last 10 days, and 21 of the last 23.

32.4 for the week (biggest week since May) runs around 3,4,5,4,4,4,7. Next week should be a little higher at 34 miles, still trying to keep things easy except for Wednesday and Friday where I will go a little quicker (7:30ish vs 8ish). Will do a 7 miler as a long run again next week.

Week of 10/22 the plan is to go 5 miles everyday, with a long of 8 on Sunday, getting back up into the high 30's mileage wise. Thursday of that week is a trip back to the doctor.

Assuming it's all good news I'll roll into November just breaking into the 40's. Three solid weeks in the low 40's should get me ready to start training for London. I'll have 21 weeks if I start on November 19th. I'm liking the 7 days/week, I may keep that during the marathon training instead of skipping Mondays.

I definitely have my fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

100th Post!

A milestone has been reached - This is post #100 on the world's least interesting blog.

Some statistics from the blog.....

Went live Feb 1st 2007, with 11 pageviews (and most of them were me)
3,561 page views since then (average 14/day, 96/week)
Biggest week was 174 pageloads
Biggest day was last Tuesday at 74 pageloads

Interestingly I have not earned any money. Now this is surprising, since I thought that having a blog somehow magically generated revenue. Obviously Google have something else going on. I will need to look into that

Friday, October 12, 2007

Unscheduled tempo run

Yesterday was an unscheduled tempo. Things just felt good and I found myself getting quicker. Did 4.5 overall with the last 3 at about 7:15-7:30 pace. Definitely going to go slow today, probably an easy 5 sometime after work. Another easy 4 or so on Saturday and then I'm planning a new long of 6-7 on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Quick Update

5 mile tempo run this morning - started at 8, down to low 7s. Managed to dodge the rain. Steady 4 miles yesterday at about 7:40 pace. An easy 3 at 8 minute pace on Monday. Physio Monday night and again tonight - making good progress, things are getting stronger and I've added some weights to the calf raises. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Second Solid Week

A "long" run today of 5.5 at an easy 8:10 pace. Closed out the week at 23 miles, 6 days running. My second 6 day week in a row. Things feel very good - I'm really happy with my progress, and for the first time since June I think I'm over the problems. I'm planning a full 7 day week in the high 20's this week, then it's off to China so we'll see whether I can run there or not.

My brother, who I guilt tripped into running, ran his first half marathon in England today, and finished right on pace at 1:56 - Seems like he paced things really well. He is right on track for his sub 4 effort at London in April.

At his point I'm pretty sure I will be able to run London, just not sure how fast.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Faster Than Planned (yes, again)

Got home late, only had 23 minutes to run before Liz had to go out. Decided to run to the track (1/2 mile), 8 laps (2 miles) and run back - 3 miles total and only 23 minutes, so under 8 minute pace.

Easy up to the track at 8:11. Then ran 2 laps at 7:26, then 2 at 7:11, then 2 at 6:56 and then 2 at 6:59. 2 miles on the track in 14:16! AT 7:08 pace that's just under my old half marathon pace. An easy 1/2 mile home and I was there in 22 something for a total of 2.98 miles at 7:25 pace.

Now, that's the second run in a row where I have gone faster than my "run slow all October" goal. Eventually my training schedule will be tempos on Wednesday, speed/pace runs on Friday, long runs on Sunday, and easy every other day - so at least I'm on that plan. But for now I am going to have to try to keep things under control a little more or I'll end up reinjuring myself.

However, it felt great today and I don't think I've done any damage.

Day Off - Slacker

Didn't run yesterday. Meetings all day from early 'til late, and then dinner. Didn't feel like running at 10pm (after eating/drinking too much).

This morning I woke with absolutely zero aches/pains in ankles, knees etc. That's a first for a long time.

Will run after work today, probably an easy 4.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wednesday Willpower

Got up early today around 5 and did a couple hours work, then went for a run just after 7. It was relatively chilly out (about 50), and was the first time I've felt cold starting to run for ages so I set off pretty quickly. After a quarter mile I noticed I was running faster than I have been (about 7:40). However, it felt easy and my ankles/knees and other various failing body parts all felt great so I kept going at that effort. Ended up running 4 miles at 7:34, with a few stretches as quick as 7:15. Heartrate stayed low, average was only 151. This was my fastest run since May.

Now I know I said just yesterday that I was going to keep it slow all the way thru October, but it really didn't feel fast and my ankle felt perfect the whole run. I think I am going to allow myself to do this type of run on Wednesdays, which is going to be my tempo workout day once I get back to real training.

Monday, October 1, 2007

First few mainland runs

Ran 3 today and 3 yesterday. Both seemed very easy after the heat/humidity of Hawaii. Pace was faster (7:54 and 8:06) and heartrate was down (150 and 140 - the 140 seems very low). I think the 7 in a row has kicked things back into gear. I think that if I have a solid, steady October I'm going to be in a good place to try and pick things up in November.

September Summary

So September is over. It brought me a new doctor, a new plan and a new beginning. Progress is slow, but at least I am finally making progress VS the up & downs of the last few months.

September Totals:
-- No races
-- Ran just under 70 miles (same as JUN/JUL/AUG combined)
-- No biking or swimming
-- No pool running - Woohoo!
-- 17 days of running, including a 11 of last 13
-- 952 Running Miles for 2007

October Goals
-- do my stretching and exercises every day
-- go to physio therapy twice a week
-- go see Dr. Runner at the end of the month
-- run almost every day
-- run short (maybe get the long run up to 7 miles)
-- run slow (most runs at 8:15-8:30, fast runs around 8:00)
-- get up to about 30 mpw

Friday, September 28, 2007

7 days, 26.4 miles

Ran just over 5 today, making the weekly total 26.4 - just over a full marathon.

Total time was 3:51 which is much better than the last marathon I ran in Hawaii back in December. I think that spreading it out over 7 days makes it a little easier.

Day off tomorrow as we are flying back home. Then I'll see if I can keep up the "run slow every day" trend

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Six, and counting

3 this morning. A little earlier and a little faster. Felt good. Followed by about 45 minutes of stretching/calf exercises and then icing. It's very easy to do all that stuff when you have the whole day to sit by the pool. One more run here tomorrow and then it's back to reality on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


another 4 miler today, followed by a 2 mile walk. once again, very slow (8:50) and mostly on the golf course. things are feeling good - the exercises, stretching and easy miles seem to be working. fingers crosses!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And that makes four

As long as you are OK with the heat, this is a great place to run. Did an easy 3 miles along the coast path this morning. That's 4 in a row, and nothing seems to be broken. I think keeping to low, slow mileage is going to be OK.

It was busy out there! Seems like everyone was out for a run today. Vacation runners are funny, there are a lot of couple runners. The cute skinny runner girl bouncing along and her bulked up basketball playing husband/boyfriend lumbering along 2 steps behind. The trail is 1.5 miles linking a number of nice hotels/condos. So you often pass the same people twice. First time you pass the running couple they are all smiles, like something out of a lifestyle magazine. The next time, after a couple miles at too fast a pace, in 90 degree heat/humidity the girl is still all smiles but the big guy is looking like he's gonna throw up. Makes me glad I don't have to deal with the problem of having all those muscles.

Off to the beach now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another 3 day streak

Another easy 4 miles today. Easy 8:30ish pace, all on the grass by the golf course. Shooting for 4 in a row tomorrow!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Much Better

Ran a little earlier today, at 10am (after the watching the niners stink it up in Pittsburgh). Still pretty hot but not like yesterday. Found a good route this morning, all on short grass along the side of the road by the golf course. Views not quite as nice but still awesome. Ran past some amazing beachfront homes - I know what I am doing the next time I have a spare $10,000,000.

3 miles very easy at an average of 9:02. Some gentle rolling hills and I slowed way down on the ups (9:45 pace) to avoid straining things too much. Kept the heart rate down, averaging 146.

Kids are in keiki club tomorrow 9-12, so I will run a little earlier. I'll probably run the same route as today but go a little farther.

Now I'm off to the pool to rehydrate!

Hot Hot Hot

4.5 miles yesterday in the Maui midday sun. 90 degrees, very humid, no shade. Not so smart.

Did 1 mile at about 8:00 pace along a path that skirts the cliffs, and then slowed it down as the trail ended and I had to go 3/4 mile on the beach. Found a line of hard sand and it was OK but probably didn't do my achilles any real good. Cut back through some condos and then ran back down the road.

Way too hot to run at noon, I had to soak in the pool for 20 minutes just to get my body temperature back to normal, and it took me at least 4 beers to rehydrate properly.

After stretching and icing the legs were fine and this morning all is good! Although I think today's run will not be at noon and won't be on the sand.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Aloha. no running yesterday but did walk around on the beach with no shoes. That is certainly an achilles strainer! I am going to need to be careful this week. Will be trying a 20-30 minute run sometime today.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

3 day streak

A 3.86 miler today, at just over 8 minute pace. My first 3 days in a row since May. And I even did all my stretching before and afterwards. It's a day off tomorrow (flying to Hawaii).

Physio Update

First physio visit yesterday....

good physio (I think), has me on a rehab plan that is essentially what I have been doing but with a little more structure and some additional muscle strengthening exercises for my weak chicken legs.

Lots of stretching (especially before/after every run/workout)
Eccentric calf exercises: 3 sets of 15, twice a day, for right and left. I've been doing these most days, but only once. He also wants me to do them half with straight leg and half with bent knee (for the soleus muscle that's at the bottom of the calf. this will go to 3 times day soon, then we add some weights.
Thigh strengthening exercises since they are so weak (apparently this is a side effect of sitting on your ass for 20 years). I need to do them every day too.
Plenty of icing after exercises and running.

Good news is that it's all easy stuff that I can do at home in front of the TV so there is a chance that I will actually do them. If it meant going to the gym it would be a different story.

He thinks that we aren't too far gone in terms of the injury and says I should be fine running 2-3 miles/day and then slowly adding miles (but not speed or hills) as things get stronger. His guestimate was 3 months until I was back to "normal".

So that gives me a solid plan until the end of October.
- do the physio at home every day
- visit the physio office 2x week
- build up to running every day by mid october
.....should be 4-5 this week, 5 next, then 6 then 7
- build my "long run" up to 5-6 miles by end of october

I go back to see Dr. Runner on October 28th to see what he has to say about all this.

Then I will either book up for London or cancel.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quick Update

Very easy 3 1/2 miles this morning. 8-8:30 pace. Easy 2 miles Sunday, same sort of pace. 2 miles "running" as soccer referee on Saturday.

Physio starts tomorrow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Medical Opinion, Another Plan

Went to see the new doctor this week. Unlike previous medical advisors, this guy, Dr. Amol Saxena, is a distance runner (2:40 marathon), and has been the doctor for the US Olypmic team, so I was hoping for some realistic advice on getting through this.

He definitely seemed to know what he was talking about - achilles paratendinosis was the diagnosis. He prescribed physiotherapy (twice a week for a month) and then a review with him.

He recommended to continue what I had been doing: stretching, eccentric calf exercises, icing (although standing in an ice bucket and stretching at the same time is a better way to do this). Running is OK, but not past the point of feeling any discomfort, and nothing fast. soft surfaces will help.

Usually this takes 6-12 months to get over completely. If things are still as bad after 6 months (November) he'll do an MRI and see if something else if wrong in there.

So where does that leave me? Basically, I'm screwed. Any plans of building up the mileage and racing before December are completely gone. The plan now is to try to build up to be able to run completely pain free every day. That means only running 20-30 minutes at an easy pace. I'll start that this week, running every other day. Then I'll add one day/week until I am running 3 miles, every day. After that I'll gradually add in some miles until I can do 5 miles (40 minutes) every day. Then I'll start extending the long run on Sunday. When I am stable at 40 miles/week I'll start gradually introducing some speed.

Assuming physio helps (likely), and I can keep my enthusiasm to run too far/too fast/too soon in check (questionable), I'm hopeful that it'll get better. I'll probably be able to build up to running the Cal International Marathon relay in early December (although nowhere near the 1:30 time that I hoped for). London in April is still up in the air at this point. I will see how the next month goes and make a decision mid October. I expect I can get well enough to run it, but not necessarily well enough to run it fast.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Am I like Britney Spears?

If you saw the recent MTV Video Music Awards you will know that just like me, Britney Spears is attempting to stage a much needed a comeback. Also like me, she is embarassingly out of shape (ie. fat), unsure of herself (ie. nervous to the point of not being able to even lipsync), and unquestionably nowhere near as good as she used to be (ie. crap). Her new "song" opens with "It's Britney, Bitch!"

So get ready, cos..... "It's Alan, Bitch!"

After my stupid "fast lap" last week I have learned another lesson: basically running fast laps is going to bugger up my achilles until I am in much better shape. So the plan is to not do them anymore. That run was Wednesday and I didn't run again until late Friday afternoon, and it was a lame run. Felt sore right from the start and really sluggish. The least impressive run I've had in a long time (which is truly saying something). After that I bagged the entire weekend (most of which was spent in referee school thanks to my lovely wife who decided I should volunteer to ref my son's U7 AYSO soccer games - which I'm sure will be great for my achilles).

It's a day off work for me today and I woke up with all my various ailments feeling pretty good so I went for a 9am run along with all the other slackers that don't have real jobs. The plan was to go a little longer than recently (6-7 miles) with some tempo pace miles in there (7:30ish pace) but nothing faster than that.

Easy first 1/2 mile and then eased into a 7:45 pace. Slowed right down going up the 50' hill and then pick it up as I rolled down the gradual hill for the next 2.5 miles. Averaged 7:25 for those 2.5 miles which felt good. Slowed it down to low 8's for the 2 miles home. Overall a good run, 7:48 pace, 159 heartrate with about 300' of hills. The best run I've had recently, but still far short of 4 months ago.

Comparing to a similar run in mid May: I did the 2.5miles at about 6:45, and the easy miles were high 7s vs low 8s. It's also shocking how easy those high 7's were back then, heartrate was going down as I ran them. Today it was steady at best at low 8's.

I think that both me and Britney have some more work to do. I think I'll give her a call and we can work on this together.... "Hey Britney, it's Alan, Bitch!"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

OK, I think.....

So I think I'm OK. Things were definitely a tad "extended" this morning; both ankles and my right knee were pretty achey (sounds like a country & western song...), but by this evening everything is almost back to normal. I spent a lot of time stretching, especially the calves, and then lots of icing. Now it's 10:30pm and I have convinced myself that it's all fine.

I guess I'll find out on my next run which will be tomorrow - I'm gonna run 5-6 miles in the afternoon/evening; all very easy stuff around 8-8:30 pace. I'm thinking of running at Bair Island, which is just a few miles south of Oracle. There's a 3 mile loop which is supposed to be nice and it's all soft flat trails, which would probably be a good idea right now. Hopefully I don't get attacked by a goose.

Zooming forward, to when I am able to run instead of hobble like the old person I appear to have become, I mapped a route from Oracle to my house today. It's just over 19 miles so I am looking forward to the time when I can work that into my schedule. It'll be cool to turn up 10 minutes late to a meeting and say "Sorry I'm late, I ran to work"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Maybe not so smart

On the way back from a very good 5 miler tonight I ran by the high school track and decided to run a lap or two. Things were feeling good so for some reason I thought that a near flat out 400 would be fun - did it in 86 seconds and it felt pretty comfortable. Haven't been anywhere near that sort of pace (5:39) for a very, very long time.

Now it's a few hours later and after some easy stretching and a soak in the hot tub I am feeling it in both achilles tendons and also my right knee. If I've screwed things up with just one fast lap then I am a complete idiot and may as well just pack it in now, become fat and buy a buick.

I'll do some serious stretching/icing tonight and see what tomorrow brings......

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A new beginning

So I've decided that September is going to be a great month. I've had enough worrying about my achilles, my fitness, upcoming races, and training for London.

So I'm just going to go out and run. Seems simple, but it's a new approach for me.

I ran Sunday and Monday, both runs were 5-6 miles, at just over, and then just under 8 minute pace. Took it easy on any uphills, and tried not to get carried away on the downs. Both runs felt really good. I'm making sure that I stretch excessively, do all my calf exercises and do plenty of icing. Everything seems to be OK so far, so I'm going to keep rolling with it. Took today off, but will run again Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Maybe I'll even try going up to 7-8 miles at the weekend.

I do realise that I am on something of a rollercoaster in terms of feeling positive/negative about this running crap but I swear that this time it's different! (I hope....)

Friday, August 31, 2007

August Summary

So August is just about over, the first few steps back onto dry land after a summer of pool running. Not feeling very good about either my fitness or my achilles. It's off to a new doctor for me on September 12th to try and get some advice that will get me through this and back to normal.

August Totals:
-- No races:
-- Ran just under 30 miles
-- No biking or swimming
-- Only 3 days of pool running - I'm so over that!
-- 16 "miles" pool running
-- 21 days of nothing - my laziest month since I started
-- 884 Running Miles for 2007

September Goals
-- who knows at this point. I'm going to do pretty much nothing (probably will run a few easy 4-5 milers) until I see the Dr. and then it all depends on what he says. This Dr. is a distance runner (2:40 marathon) so I'm hoping I can get some more insightful diagnosis/advice than "stop running" or "maybe you should have surgery?"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Reality Check?

A mixed week. Good to have run three times (over 15 miles total....) but not feeling very confident that my achilles problems are really over.

After Thursday's faster run it felt fine, but started to stiffen up towards the end of the day. Friday didn't feel very good. By Saturday morning things were fine, but an easy (8:34 pace) 5 miler brought the ache back by the afternoon. Took things very easy Sunday, and by this morning it was all fine again. So I'm not sure whether this is just things straetching out again after some downtime or if my Thursday run has just torn up my achilles again. I'm going to just run easy, easy miles and do some gentle stretching this week and see what happens.

I'm now sleeping with a night splint, which is basically a plastic shell that you strap on your heel. It runs under the foot and up the calf and keeps the foot at 90 degrees. This stops you from stretching, twisting or compressing the achilles tendon while you sleep. It has completely eliminated the morning pain that I had been having the last 3 weeks. I wish I'd bought this a long time ago.

So given my dropoff in fitness and high likelihood that I'm not really recovered, I'm not feeling especially good about the 10k on September 16th, and the half marathon on October 14th now looks awfully close. Guess I'm going to have to take things easy, as I am certainly not looking forward to anymore pool running. I think it's time to focus on getting strong enough for London in April, which means being able to start training for real around Thanksgiving, if I focus on these short term races I'm going to bugger everything up.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fast Miles - Disappointing Data

Just ran my first fast miles since June 14th. My favorite 5 miler that goes from my house, out to Los Altos Hills and back. A mile of roads to start, then 1.5 miles of trails with a nice little climb at mile 2. It's a run that I've done many times so I was interested to get a good comparison to my pre-injury runs.

Started out easy at 8:00 pace for the first mile, then progressively picked things up. Fastest pace dipped just under 7 (haven't seen 6:5x on the watch for a very long time!) and the mile splits were 8:02, 7:30, 7:19, 7;32 and 8:00. Average overall was a respectable 7:44 for just over 5 miles. It was nice to get moving quickly again after such a long break. Didn't feel too strained, and achilles was fine, but I know my heartrate was pretty high and the average was 165 (which is usually what it is for a half marathon)

On May 28th I ran this exact same route, in very similar weather at the same sort of pace. That run was a slightly steeper progression (8:30 down to 6:54) but average pace was similar (7:41). Heartrate for that run was only 154. So I'm up 11 beats for a tempo run. Or put another way, I'm running slower at 165 than I used to. Previously that heartrate, for that sort of distance would have been run at around 7:15 pace, so I've lost about 30 seconds/mile since the end of May, which is pretty depressing. Guess I should have run a little harder in the pool on some of those days....

So I have my work cut out for me if I'm going to get back to where I was for the 10k in 23 days. I was blindly hoping that I'd be able to match my pre-injury best of 42:51 (6:54 pace) but all the signs right now suggest a pace more like 7:25 which is right around what I was running way back in January (46:25 10k on New Year's day). I'll be really happy if I get down to 42:51, and really disappointed if I'm way back at 46:25. Chances are that I end up somewhere in the middle.

Of course, I need to do all this without buggering up my achilles again, which has been OK through these first few weeks back, but I'm obviously at fairly high risk of doing too much too soon. Let's see if I can manage to reign in my enthusiasm long enough to do this properly.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Confession

one thing I forgot to mention..... Now that I'm running again, I have completely bailed on pool running - Did none this week, and only one last week. Barring re-injury, I will be very surprised if I ever do any more, even though it is supposed to be part of my training for another 2 months. It's just going to be running, stretching, calf exercises and leg weights (plus, shockingly, I actually did some situps the other day!)

Another Run

Yesterday was another run, 4.5 miles at an average 8:01 pace. Soft trails with a few easy hills. It was warm, probably in the 80s, and I definitely felt the effort at the end. Achilles was OK, there was some discomfort when running anything uphill, especially if I didn't back way off the pace. Feels OK this morning, just a little ache, but not much more than the other leg.

I've been looking at my pace/heart rate for these last 2 runs and comparing to some of my pre-injury trends. The very basic measure I use is average heartrate divided by average speed. At the end of May I was running just under 20. (When I started a year ago, it was around 28). These last two runs were 20.5 and 21.4. This simple measure is the red line on the chart below [lower = better].

Now heartrate/speed doesn't take into account how hilly the course is or how far you run, so I have a more complex formula that includes distance, elevation gain, and average elevation (for running in Tahoe). This is the blue line on the chart below [higher = better]. Pre-injury trend was about 47, with some runs peaking just over 50. These last 2 runs were 41.3 and 43.6, which is about where I was in terms of fitness way back in February.

Neither of these formula take into account temperature, since most of my runs are in the same range. The last two runs were both in the daytime sun when it was at least 80 degrees, so I'm hoping it's not as bad as it looks from these runs.

Overall it looks like I have definitely lost some real fitness, possibly as much as 4 months of training (early Feb to late May) but it's probably too early to tell. After a few weeks I should have a better idea, and of course I'll know for sure after the first race, which is currently planned for September 16th.

Red dots are races, white diamonds are runs at altitude (Tahoe), red shading is injury periods.