Friday, June 30, 2006

Week 2 update - Weekend plan

What do the Taste of Chicago, Naperville Ribfest, and 4th of July BBQ’s all have in common? They all happen over the next several days and are potential distractions to training. Need to plan (and eat and drink) carefully.

Week to date

Mon – Rest
Tue – 8 with strides
Wed – Rest
Thu – 10 gen aer

My weekend plan

Friday (today) – Rest day – damn, missed cross-training again
Sat – Med-long run 13 – Doing 11 with the CARA group (they’re following Hal’s plan) – and adding 2 more
Sun – Recovery 5

End of week #2/18 – Total of 36 miles planned

Week #2 Confession: On the “Rest/Cross-Train” days in the Pfitz plan, I’ve done more resting than cross-training. I went to the gym on Wed. I got on the bike, did a lot of stretching and did some light lifting. I don’t think I broke a sweat because I was concerned about my morning 10-miler. I will try to do at least one cross-training session per week.


It all seemed too logical, but at the advice of many bloggers smarter than me, I will pull my schedule ahead by a day to do all long runs on Saturday. This will allow me to run with the CARA group.

I have decided I will do this after Week #3. This is because I want to run a 10k race on the 4th – and I have speed training already scheduled for that day.

Mon – Rest/X-train – maybe I can get the X-train on Monday!
Tue JULY 4TH – Scheduled for L.T. 8 mi with 4 mile at 15k pace – BUT will do the 4th of July 10k race in Lemont IL – will warm up with 2 easy miles before and Lactate during the race
Wed – Recovery 4 mile
Thu – Gen Aerobic 10 miles
Fri – Rest
Sat – Med-long 14-miles with the CARA team
Sun – EASY, SLOW Recovery – btw 2-4 miles – Option to rest, since will pull ahead schedule by 1 day starting on Monday 7/10

Thursday, June 29, 2006

To beer or not to beer – 10 miles Gen Aerobic

Let me preface this post by saying that yes, I enjoy running, but I also enjoy beer and frequenting taverns. Unfortunately, the latter has been in a lull due to my running commitment.

Last night, I was invited out with some guys from work to a pub here in my new hometown to send a guy off into retirement. I wanted to go because: (a) I wanted to be social (b) I love dive bars and (c) I needed to get out.

I was leery about the fact that I had a 10-miler planned this morning. Ryan in his twenties would have known that it would foolish to even show up at the pub if I was serious about running in the AM. BUT, I am 30 now and more focused and disciplined. I figured I could go, beer+hydrate+beer and have a few laughs. Two beers wouldn’t kill me on my run, right?

I did exactly what I told myself I would do before hand. I showed up at 8:15. I hung with the fellas, had only 2 pints of Guinness – with plenty of agua in between – and headed out by 9:30 PM. I was in bed just after 10. No problem.

Surprisingly, I woke up even earlier than expected today. I was slightly tired but I was ready to run. The alarm was set for 5:30 – and I was up at 5:15. After some fueling, I began my run at 5:52 AM.

Weather was PERFECT. Cool, sunny and clear. Steady pace the whole way (ranging 7:40-7:50) with a little bit of a pick up toward the end. In short, I have no regrets about going to the pub. Run was great. I am so proud of my ability to knock out double-digit mileage mid-week and be at work by 8.

Type: Gen aerobic
Distance: approx 10 miles (Polar read 9.81 - but I know of at least two signal interruptions)
Time: 1:17:58
Est Pace: 7:40 - 7:48 range (not sure of exact distance)
Avg HR: 155
Sleep: just under 7 hrs

Distance monitor issues

I’m a bit frustrated with my distance monitor, the Polar RS200sd.

I’ve heard from Bob on his Garmin 350 and how much he loves it. I read about Leah’s Garmin experience as well. Ive decided that I am not ready to drop another $350 on a running gadget.
My Polar is less than 8 months old. I paid $200 for it. It would be fine for me if the pod signal didn’t keep cutting out during the run.

I’m thinking about exploring the 1-year warranty. I am guessing that I running btw 0.1-0.4 miles further than what is reported at the end of a 10-mile run. This makes it difficult to track my pace. What did runners do before these things?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wk #2 start: 8 miles w/strides - and learning to blog

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been always “above average” in understanding geekie, techie stuff. I went to a computer ‘camp’ in third grade if you can believe that. But, somehow, I fell behind the curve in the blog world.

Truth is that I’m getting a little jealous of all your running blogs with kick-ass features. Fact is I don’t know how to do any of it.

  • Simple things like linking someone else’s name to your blog. [I had to look this one up while I was writing this...]
  • And how do you guys post your upcoming races and PR's on the sides? I guess I need to learn HTML.
  • It was a major accomplishment to get that profile pic up there. I’m guessing your just doing the insert pic thing? (All right, admission here, haven’t really tried to post more pics).
  • Not that I want to even go to the effort, but seriously, how the hell are you getting music videos on your blogs? (Bob & Tara)
  • Lastly, I can't even fathom how to get the custom template pics at the top of the page?
So I need to research these things. In addition to my fellow bloggers viewing to ensure I keep improving toward my running goal, I feel a certain "responsibility" to be more blog-savvy as well.

TODAY'S FIRST: The blog link

On to today’s run...

I come to learn from Zeke (see that!) that strides are not intended to be speed workouts. Say what? I thought I was supposed to be doing these things FAST. Unfortunately, I read that after this morning’s run.

I did 8 miles with 10 x 100 m strides in my usual street running here in the western ‘burbs. My approach was to do 3 easy at around 8 min per mile . I estimated that 100m at 6:00 min pace would be about 23 secs. So I did 23 seconds are and then slowed to a slow jog until my heart reached 150 bpm. So I am guessing now that I may have overdone it?

6:26 AM Start CDT
Time: 1:02:10
Distance: 8.0
Pace: 7:46
Avg HR: 155
Conditions: Excellent – cool and clear and comfy
Sleep: OK – only got 7 hrs

The aftermath: Slightly tired this afternoon

Monday, June 26, 2006

Week 1 complete - 118 days to go

This weekend was a planned vacation with my in-laws at a Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania – about 1 hour south of Penn State University. This is my first marathon training program in the summertime. We all know summers bring on vacations, cook-outs, parties and family times. This weekend was my first test to stay focused on training while in the company of family and our activities. Here’s a quick weekend recap:

Friday, June 23

There was no planned running on this day. Our flight out of Chicago was delayed and we arrived in Pittsburgh late on Thursday eve around 1:15 AM.
Early on Friday morning, we drove out to Raystown Lake, PA and arrived around 11 AM. We spend the afternoon boating on the lake with an evening cookout and campfire to follow.

Saturday, June 24

A recovery run was on the schedule. Interestingly, the Pfitz plan calls for a recovery run after a day of rest. I began to explore the hills of Raystown Lake, PA on this recovery run. The area is largely recreational with boat launches, campsites - interwoven with rolling hills and long windy highways. I ran it easy but it's tough to hold pace with all of the hills. The heart rate tends to be all over the board in hilly areas. I was supposed to do 4 – but got lost around our cottage site and ended up doing over 5 by accident.

Start: 8:18 AM EDT
Time: 43:15
Est Dist: 5.0 - Pace: 8:40
Avg HR: 147
Conditions: Overcast and muggy - High 60's - 90% humidity
Terrain: Hills, and more hills.

In between boat rides, Jen and I took out my dad-in-law's truck to explore the surrounding area and map out my 12-miler for Sunday morning.

The rest of the day was boating, swimming, sunning and eating. I was curious as to how my body would respond on Sunday morning after a busy boating day on Saturday. We had a second boat run in the evening and docked for the night at 10PM. I skipped the campfire gathering with the in-laws and went to bed at 10:30.

Sunday, June 25

Start: 7:07 AM EDT
Time: 1:42:56
Est Dist: 12.1 miles - Pace: 8:30
Avg HR: 150
Conditions: Steady drizzle for most of run
Tearrain: Hill, rolling hills, steady uphill climbs and fast descents

I set out Sunday morning after downing a Clif bar and some gatorade and a GU. I've also been taking hydration tablets the night before my runs over 7 miles. Only annoyance with that is that I've yet to sleep through the night without having to pee. Nonetheless, I've been able to get good hydration levels to start my runs to this point.

The weather was rainy and moist, but comfortable. I think I am adapting to longer summer running and more morning runs. I braced myself for what I knew would be a good test for my quads and glutes and my endurance. This was my longest run since the Tampa Marathon on Feb 26.

The first 3 miles were around the resort campsites, which entailed a series of steep up-and-down grades. Miles 4 through 8 were basically one big uphill climb. My slowest mile was #6 at 9:10. That was as I approached the peak and turned around back towards the campsites.

I ran the majority of the run on a state road outside of the Raystown Lake recreational area. I know this sounds dangerous, but it really was the best option. The road, honestly, was not as runner-friendly on the shoulders as I would hope.

The pavement was great, but the shoulder at points was not wide enough to accommodate runners. But the place is secluded enough that cars on Sunday morning would be few and far between. When cars did pass by, I waved my arm out to get attention and went as far onto the gravel as I could. I ran with a pack this time to keep water at my fingertips. I GU’d up again after 49 minutes.

Overall, I was happy with my commitment to this run. It would have been easy to quit early given the rain, the hills and the "it's vacation" mentality. But I didn't. I was steady and I felt good. I planned the route the night before and kept an eye on my Polar distance monitor for pace. Target was a steady 8:20-8:40 range on average. Uphill was slower, downhill was faster.

There were two hills that simply were so steep and physically taxing that I decided to power walk to the top and resume my run. I feel that I can handle the steady upgrade better than the avg runner and pride myself on being a decent hill runner, but there are some hills that just aren't worth pushing it for.

Overall, I am really proud of this run. I was wet and tired, but not exhausted. I knew I had a day of family activities ahead of me. Again, I am feeling stronger than ever before. I started earlier this time - and am gearing up for some important mileage.

More Pfitzinger training plan questions

As I mentioned previously, I joined the CARA training program to build some connectivity with other local runners and get a support network for my long runs. The CARA training plan is endorsed by and influenced directly by Hal Higdon. I decided I would follow Pfitzinger's program (at least as I much as I can) because if its more scientific approach, its heavy focus on speed and others who have claimed success by following it.

My dilemma: The CARA training program long runs are scheduled for Saturdays. I paid good money for the program and plan to run with the group runs. However, I need to adjust my schedule, since the Pfitz 18-week 55 MPW plan calls for Sunday long runs. Not so concerned about swapping Sat and Sun runs for the initial several weeks. However, later in the program, there is some speed work scheduled on Saturdays. I don't think it's a good idea do to do speed work on Saturdays followed by a long run on Sundays.

Example: At "weeks to goal = 11", there is a general aerobic run on Sat, which includes 8x100 strides -- followed by a Sunday 18-miler. If I swap these, I am concerned about not being able to do the strides justice on Sunday - or worse yet - exhausting or hurting myself. Maybe I could insert the 8x100m strides due on Saturday into Thursday's med-long 11-miler?

I've got 6 weeks to figure this week plan out. Until then, I plan to simply swap my Sat and Sun runs -- i.e. I'll be running long on Sat, and doing recovery on Sunday. Thoughts, comments, concerns?

Week 2 of 18 – Run Plan

Mon (today) – Rest and travel home from Pittsburgh to Chicago
Tue – 8 miles w/ 8 x 100m strides
Wed – Cross-train at gym
Thu – 10 mile general aerobic
Fri – Rest
Sat – 13 miles med-long run with CARA group
Sun – Recovery 5 miles

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Week #1 update - 122 days to go

To those who posted comments on the last entry, thanks for the interesting dialogue on the subject of lunch with co-workers. Balancing the social aspect of work with running and diet is a challenge. Leah, Running Rabbit and others all weighed in. Lots of opinions on the “lunch crew”. Balance is key. I think I will make a rule to go out to lunch 1x per week with the crew.

Also had a lot of good feedback on strides. Never even heard of them before the Pfitz book.

By the way, I can't believe how many power & hoo-ah bars I have been eating. I never ate these this often before. What is up?

I'm definitely out of the beginner marathon category, with the way that I am acting. I always felt like I was doing something new the last few years, but not now, I feel like I can plan my diet, sleep and know how my body will respond. Well, that is for now. When mileage creeps up to 50+, we'll see what I say then.

Quick update on this morning’s training…

6:00 AM CDT – 9 miles – General aerobic run – Sleep was good – hydration good -- Humid conditions. Temp was manageable at about 70.

All and all, the run was pretty standard. No problem. Knocked out the miles as planned.


Question for the Pfitzinger training plan followers: How fast should we run our “general aerobic run”? The Pfitz book talks out of both sides of the mouth saying in paraphrase: “if you run fast, you should run at x pace – or if you run slow…” SO tell me, should I run faster or slower? I ran today at right around 7:43 per mile for 9 miles.

Given my 10-mile race pace of 7:10 from last weekend and my marathon goal of 7:15 pace, the 7:43 seemed like a general aerobic training pace. My heart rate avg was 158 or approx 83% of max HR. Sound good or too fast?

Training progress check: Feeling light years ahead of my prior marathon training efforts. Knowing I’ve done 4 runs at 9+ already in the past 3 weeks – one of which was a strong race performance – I feel really good. Doing 7 and 9 milers on Tues and Thursday’s has been do-able for me. I’m on the right program for now. I feel like I will crush my PR at this pace.

Tonight, we’re going on a long weekend with the in-laws to Raystown Lake, PA. A family reunion of sorts. It’s where my wife used to go with her family as a kid on vacations. There will be lots of boating and eating. Having to explain to family members that I need to get up early to beat the heat for a 12-miler this weekend will be fun. I think they think their daughter married an obsessive goal-junky (hint: none of them run).

I have no idea with the running terrain will bring in the local area there, so it will be a bit of an adventure.

Weekend plan:

Fri – Rest, read, boat, and eat and sun and sit and talk
Sat – 4 mi recovery – target pace of 9:30
Sun – 12 mi long – target pace of 8:20-8:40 per mile
TOTAL FOR WEEK #1: 32 miles

I don’t get back until Monday evening, so good luck everyone this weekend on your long runs. Stay strong and go long.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Starting off... 10x100 strides - 124 days to go

After my 10-mile race on Sunday, I took a hard earned rest day on Monday.
Tuesday, today, I began my Pfitzinger 18-week program. I attempted the “7 miles w/10x100 strides” workout. Let’s just say that I barely know what this looks like, but I gave it a shot. It’s tough cranking out those sprints in the midst of a steady 7-miler.

I felt reasonably good and did at least 8 or 9 sets of strides. I think I lost count, however, and am not sure if I made 10.

Today’s workout was a total 7.3 miles in about 53:30, which included the sprints. Didn’t even feel that sore from Sunday’s hard race.

Another rest/x-train day on Wed, and then Thursday calls for a “General aerobic run” of 9 miles.

Running and its adverse social impact? I have co-workers who go out to lunch often. I want to socialize and build relationships with them. However, I run in the morning, which can put a squeeze on my schedule sometimes. I don't have time take a 60 minute lunch sometimes, because I take my extra time for running.

Secondly, I don't need to be eating the crap that they eat on a daily basis... chinese, burgers, fries. But if I always decline, I'm fearful I will be isolating myself. Can anyone relate?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

DG 10-mile race report - Chasing the goal officially begins

OK, so last night, I posted that my goal for the DG 10-miler would be 1:15:00. It seemed like an appropriate goal given that two weeks ago, I was sucking down cervezas and margaritas, burritos, etc in Mexico and not running at all. Sure, I had a decent 13 days of training since my vacation. But even before vacation, I was doing 20 miles week for the most part and not really with any speed. I did have that strong 8k in May, but my confidence was not so strong to run anything better than the 1:15:00.

Today’s conditions were overcast and muggy. Humid. But I was well hydrated and fueled. Sleep was only OK, but other than that, I was in good shape.

So I come out to today’s Downers Grove 10-miler with a race plan to hold 7:30’s through 8 and then push myself. I surprised myself. I felt better than I imagined. I am thrilled with the way I ran today. Here are the splits:

1 – 7:16
2 – 7:21
3 – 7:30
4 – 7:11
5 – 7:12
6 – 7:10
7 – 7:08
8 – 7:31
9 – 6:49 – Turned on the jets!
10 – 6:29 - WOWWEE!
Finish time: 1:11:41 – 7:10/mi
Average HR: 168

I achieved my goal for the week – 30 miles and an outstanding race performance for me.


I took some time to try and find some of my fastest races over recent years. Note I’m not that disciplined about keeping my race log book. I rely on the internet. Here are the race results that I could find from various dates/places in the last 4 years.

3.5 mile – 22:31 – 6:26/mi – Fairfield, CT - Donnelly Dash 4/10/05
8k – 32:26 – 6:26/mi – Joliet, IL 5/13/06
10k – 42:06 – 6:47/mi – Pittsburgh, PA – Great Race 10k – 9/29/02
6.816 mi – 47:24 – 6:57/mi – New Canaan, CT – Great Train Race – 10/9/05 – ULTRA HILLY!
7 miles – 49:23 – 7:03/mi – Norwalk, CT – Norwalk Summer Series – 7/17/04 – Humid/sunny conditions
15k – 1:08:04 – 7:19/mi – Ridgefield, CT – Boston Buildup Series – 1/25/04 - -9 windchill & hilly!
10 miles – 1:11:41 – 7:10/mi – Downers Grove, IL – 6/18/06
20k – 1:31:07 – 7:24/mi – Southport, CT – Boston Buildup – 2/18/06 – 1 wk before Tampa marathon – tried to hold back
Marathon – 3:23:55 – 7:47/mi – Houston Marathon – 1/15/05

I feel like I have a better 10k somewhere in the past 5 years, but I can’t find one.

So, you tell me, do you think I’ve got the potential to run the 3:10 in Chicago exactly 18 weeks from today?

Looking straight at the numbers, I think most would say it’s a stretch. I realize this.

The difference is this year my training and preparation will be better than ever before. My mileage will be higher than in past years. I’ve run most of these races on 20-25 miles per week. The marathon PR was run with a peak of 40 miles per week. I'll be using Pfitzinger's program to peak at 55-miles this time around.

Let my pursuit of the goal begin – officially with Week 1 of 18 beginning tomorrow.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

CARA Super Clinic - DG 10-mile RACE tomorrow

Friday morning – I had a productive 5 mile run. I noticed my heart rate was more elevated than usual. The heat was definitely a factor. The sun was beating down and it was high 80’s by 7:30 AM.

The proof is in the numbers. A steady 7:50 pace yielded at 167 AVG HR?? That is abnormal. HR is not usually that high.

Sat 6/17 -- All of my prior six marathons were done with solo training on intermediate mileage. I made a commitment to kick it up a notch for Chicago and give my best effort to improve and hopefully qualify for Boston.

The Chicago Area Runners Assoc (CARA) is the city’s running organization that helps promote running by organizing races, events, training, etc. I joined CARA because I decided I needed some help to achieve my goal. Plus, I decided I would try to socialize more than I had in the past.

I must admit that the $177 for an annual membership and the 18-week training program felt a bit steep, but I knew I needed some more structure and people support to reach my goal. In reflection, I amazed that I’ve done 6 marathons and a PR of 3:23:55 with really no one else to push me. The training programs has organized runs with pace leaders, hydration on the course. Most of all it has peer pressure. Can't put a price tag on that.

Today, CARA hosted what they called a “super clinic” at the Univ Illiniois-Chicago. This was a series of lecturers who gave us tips for training, nutrition, shoes, gear and basic info about Chicago’s marathon.

For those who don’t know, Chicago’s cap is 40,000 runners – and it sold out on May 26. That’s amazing considering the event is on Oct 22.

The most valuable discussion was on running form and posture; and nutrition. The most famed speaker was Hal Higdon ( himself, the marathon training guru. Most of the speeches were pseudo-commercials for their stores, services or products, but it was worth going. I guess I need to decide if I want to run for charity after the dozens that were there looking for candidates.

The temp’s were in the mid-90’s in the Chicago area today. On my way home from the super clinic, I stopped off at our gym to knock out 3.7 on the treadmill to get me to an even 20 miles for the week. I did this at a very slow recovery pace so as to not drain the legs for tomorrow morning’s 10-mile race.

3.7 miles – 32:25 – 8:45 pace -- EASY

When I arrived home at 3PM, I was faced with a perturbed wife who had been working hard planting/landscaping and digging holes in the heat – while was off feeding my running habit. So I spent a couple hours mowing the lawn and planting flowers. This did not seem like a good idea with a 10-mile race in the morning, but it was not an option according to my wife.

I will run the Downers Grove 10 mile race ( tomorrow morning, which begins at 7:30 AM. I’m a little leery about pushing myself for 10 miles at this point in my training, but I need a fitness test. I’m going to try for a 1:15 .

Wish me luck and I’ll give the report.

With two solid 29-30 mile weeks, I should be ready to kick it into gear on Monday, which is OFFICIALLY the first day of the 18-week training program.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Still targeting 30 this week - are flatlands impacting speed?

Just arrived home from the corporate HQ in Connecticut (my recent former home). I'm exhausted so this will be short.

Monday was a much needed rest.

Tuesday morning - I had an excellent 7-miler around Plainfield/Naperville. Actually was closer to 7.5. It was the best I had run in weeks. I think I averaged around 7:40 pace - which I used to think was only "ok" - this was relatively fast as of late. It was a solid run. I traveled in the afternoon.

Wed AM - Trumbull, CT - I was forced to stay way out from Norwalk due the US Open in Westchester. All the hotels were booked up. I ran in CT through the hills in the gorgeous morning and it was great. I did a total of 4 in 30:40 with hills.

I had begun to feel like I couldn't run with any speed like I had before. I think I have a clue as to why. This area has no friggin' hills like in Connecticut! My quads are getting weaker with the pancake flat landscape. Is this impacting my speed?

Thurs - Rest / too busy with all day work stuff

Target mileage for the weekend:

Fri - 5
Sat - Easy 4
Sun - 10 miler Downers Grove race

Hopefully I can hit all the miles - with the race - and have 30 for the week.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Solid 29 mile-week, 19 weeks til Marathon Sunday

Happy to report a solid week. My pre-training for the 18-week Pfitzinger program is on track. We were blessed with some cool weather this weekend, which made for a productive training run.

I may be doing a hybrid btw the Pfitz and the Hal Higdon training plans, but I haven't figured that out just yet. Reason being is that I signed up for the Chicago Area Runners Assoc Training program, which follow's Hal's. But Pfitz's seems pretty convincing. I'll be going to a clinic on Saturday next week to listen to Hal and some other experts speak.

Friday, June 9th

No mileage scheduled for today.

Gym – Light cross-training
Stretching / Abdominal exercises.
Leg presses
10 minutes on bike
7 minutes on ‘gazelle’ machine

I purchased Amino Vital at the Vitamin Shoppe on the way home. I decided I would try it to prepare for long runs.

Saturday, June 10th

Easy 3 miles at recovery pace. Nothing exciting to report here. I ran a steady 8:30-8:40 pace, which was by design. Continuing to build the mileage base.

We went to a co-worker’s birthday party Sat eve. I ate too much dessert and drank a few beers, which I was hoping would not make trouble for my run. We did get home early enough to get a decent night’s rest.

Sunday, June 11th

Today’s 10-mile run was very productive. I ran north into Naperville and back to Plainfield. Main streets I took were Van Dyke to 135th to 248th (found a back street parallel to 248th near the train tracks). 248th up to 103rd and back down to Champion Drive - then the usual southbound trek home from there.

Plan was to stay about 8:30-8:50 pace for first 7 miles and try to pick up the pace little bit on the back end. Last 3 miles I did at about 7:35 pace.

Polar dist monitor is on the fritz. I ran until it read 10 flat, but I am sure it was closer to 10.3-10.4. Time was 1:25:58. Avg HR: 151.

The weather is very cool here this weekend. So it made the run easy.

This was my first double-digit run since Monday, March 5. This was a very good run. I feel very good.


Mileage goal of 29 successfully achieved!
Great rebound after vacation.

Next week plan

Mon 4 easy
Tue 7 – Tempo run for 4 of these miles
Wed Rest
Thu 5 – general aerobic
Fri XT
Sat 4 recovery
Sun 10 - LSD

Total: 30 miles

I've got to go the Norwalk office this week so I'll be balancing some travel and work with planned runs. I may need to rearrange these runs depending on how the week goes.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Summer running is here, 136 days to go to MARATHON #7

Tuesday, 6/6

6:33 AM CDT - I embarked on my 5-miler into the morning sun. I'm realizing that I will need to get up at first crack of dawn in July and August to beat the heat. I completed this day's 5-miler without incident at a total pace of 7:51. I am realizing that I need to get back into better running shape.

This will be my first fall marathon. It's a different dynamic training for long-distances in the warm weather. I relish the cool weather, but I am going to make adjustments.

Wed, 6/7

Wed was a rest day. I am not a huge seafood eater, but I enjoy some of the basics: shrimp, calamari, etc. I read in Pfitzinger's book about the importance of iron in the distance runner's diet. I also read in Runner's World how salmon was one of Liz Applegate's best foods for runners.

So I gave salmon, a major source of iron, a shot. I bought salmon steaks at our local grocery and grilled them up on Tuesday night. All went well until about 1:30 AM, at which time I awoke to my bowels rumbling in a thunderous manner. There were several more trips to the bathroom during the night that cut into my sack time. Did I not cook it all the way?? Wouldn't even tried the salmon if I wasn't trying to get into marathon shape. Ah, the things we do for running.

Thurs, 6/8

If you've not read my blog before, we just moved from Connecticut 5 weeks ago. Connecticut is hilly, tree-covered and beautiful. We just couldn't afford to buy a house there.

6:20 AM -- Today, I set out on a 7-miler in my new territory. I run through several "new construction" neighborhoods and marvel how flat the land is. I run upon the land that farmers owned for decades, but finally sold out to developers who are reaping the benefits of the Chicago sprawl. We are 35 miles out from downtown, but the growth is explosive.

Anyway, today's run was productive. My Polar distance monitor is acting up. The pod signal is cutting out. So, I know was running at slowest an 8:30 pace, so I am guessing 7. The sun beat down and it starting to get warm.

NOTE TO SELF: Must hydrate during all runs 6+ miles. I will start running with a pack for these runs.

16 miles WTD

Monday, June 05, 2006

Starting slow, 139 days to go

BUMMER... I had a decent blog entry written and somehow deleted it. Starting again.

Vital signs at wake-up this morn:
Weight: 171.2 - only gain 1 pound in Mexico! Need to get to the 165-167 range for race pace of 3:10 in 20 weeks.
Resting HR: 47-49 range -- probably needs to be in the high 30's-low 40's at peak training
% Fat: 15.0 -- not sure I trust this number on my scale, but thought I would record it for fun
Mood: Overwhelmed, but confident - not sure how I will get everything I want done
Sleep: 7 hours - need to try for 8 - plan for 8 every night when possible!

Run today
4 miles at a slow 8:30 pace. Nearly had my GI track implode and had to do some walking to avoid a messy situation. But I made it home without incident.

Remainder of the week - Goal is to build mileage without exhaustion/injury
Tue 5 easy
Wed Rest
Thu 7 easy
Fri Rest
Sat 3 recovery pace
Sun 10 slow
Target: 28-29 for the week -- Will try for 30 in pre-train week #2 before the formal 18 week regimen begins.

I signed up for the training program today. I look forward to training with other Chicago Area runners!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Vacation is over - Pre-training begins

I am back from a week's vacation in Baja California in Mexico's Cabo San Lucas. I have very little time since I really need to get to bed.

I completed an easy 8-mile run on Saturday, May 27th before we left on Sunday. During my vacation, I did two easy runs of approximately 3 miles each.

Though I did very little running, I spent several hours during my vacation researching and planning my Chicago training approach. "Advanced Marathoning" has become my training bible. I will be following the 55-mile per week/18-week program. I have exactly two weeks to get ready for it.

My goal marathon pace will be a 3:10 - 13 minutes faster than my PR at Houston in Feb '05.

I'm a little concerned about my recent downtime and starting up too hard. Therefore, I will be carefully listening to my body. I'm not going to sidestep the fact that I am not in my best running shape. That's OK, I am disciplined and can make huge progress quickly.

Diet will be a huge focus for me. My first task upon getting home tonight was to go to the grocery store to get several "runner foods" that I have been advised by Runner's World to eat during training.

There is 20 weeks until the Chicago Marathon. I am registered and committed. The magnitude of the challenge is not lost on me. I embrace it. This training period will be far more intense than any of my previous six marathon efforts.

It's late and I need to get running in the morning before the craziness of my return to work sets in. I will post my short pre-train plan tomorrow.