Sunday, July 30, 2006

Recap of Week 6 - Bracing for a 50-mile week ahead

Attention fellow Chicago-bound road warriors... I thought I would pass along the link to the inspirational clips from Land of the Gods: The Legend of the Marathon. The documentary follows a range of runners at the 2005 Chicago Marathon. There are some great shots of the race course on which we will be marking our blood, sweat and tears in exactly 84 days from now. Check out the trailer and look for the film's release later this year.

Summary of the weekend...

Thurs 7/27 - Rest day

Fri 7/28 - 9 miles - Needed to make up the mileage I cut earlier in the week and make it into a med-long 9-miler around my area - First 5 were recovery pace (around 8:50'ish) and the back 4 were btw 7:45 and 8. It was humid and hot as always for right now.

Sat 7/29 - 12 miles - We all know Saturday was a scorcher. The CARA group had 10 on the schedule so again I planned to add 2 to the back end. I ran 8's again and we were fast on a couple - one 7:50 and another 7:40 in the first 7 miles. For the last 3, Don (who was celebrating his 49th b-day) started to push pace, and I thought I would try to keep up with him. However, he took off. We clocked one mile at 7:18 after that, I decided to let him go. The heat was going to kill us. My first 10 were completed in 1:18:41. I was pretty spent, to be honest. The 9 the day before was taking its toll also. Wed's 5k also had an impact. I added "about 2" on my own at the end to get to a total time of 1:34:05. I may have cut short by 0.1 miles, but it was close enough. It was at least 90 degrees when I finished.

Recap of Week 6
Mon - 6 miles - last 3 were Tempo
Tue - 5 miles recovery in Hackensack, NJ
Wed - 5k Race + short warm-up before - Set PR of 19:32
Thu - Rest after wicked 5k PR

Fri - 9 miles total - first 5 were recovery pace - last 4 were EZ pace
Sat - 12 miles - very difficult with the hot weather -
Sun - Rest - Celebrated my 1st wedding anniversary!

Now, it is time to get ready for my biggest mileage week of all time. Here comes a half-century mileage week!!

Plan for Week 7
Mon - 10 miles - 5 at tempo pace - Will train at the Plainfield HS track for the tempo miles
Tue - 5 miles recovery - Will be in Atlanta on business
Wed - 11 miles med-long - Back home in Plainfield
Thu - Rest
Friday - 7 miles - incl. 10x100m strides
Sat - 18 miles long
Sun - Rest, stretch and ice bath!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Week 6 Update - 5K RACE REPORT: 19:32 PR!

Busy week! Got back from the East Coast yesterday evening and jetted from the airport to Geneva, IL for the 5k. Awesome race last night, but before I get to that, here are the week’s prior runs.

Mon 7/25/06

Despite a terrible Sunday night’s sleep, I was able to get my run in REALLY EARLY. I had to – or, with my agenda, I would miss the miles. Can’t explain my occasional insomnia, but it hit on Sunday night.

I was slated for 8 with 4 miles at tempo pace, but I could only get in six. I went straight up Van Dyke to 119th to 248th and 111th -- and then back the exact same route. I had to take the in-laws to the airport and be on my way for a business trip out east. Pushing it the extra two and then making my in-laws miss their flight didn't seem like a smart trade-off.

Wake-up: 4:45 AM
Run start: 5:05 AM – finished at 5:50 AM
The run: 6.28 miles hard (according to mapmyrun)

Time: 45:07 – First half: 23:09 – Second half: 21:58 – NICE SPLIT!
First half est pace: 7:22 – Second half est pace: 7:00 flat

Drove the in-laws to Midway – left at 6:15 AM. Then drove from Midway to O’Hare – flew to LGA for a meeting in NJ.

Tue 7/26/06

6:00 AM - Hackensack, NJ – 5 miles – 44:30

Recovery pace – slow, boring run through Hackensack near my hotel in NJ. I don’t like running in Hackensack. It is not runner-friendly nor is it aesthetically pleasing. I don’t plan to run there again. Heading to Norwalk in the evening.

I was one of a group of team members that received the President’s award and partied with the team late. I got back from the dinner and the bar afterward at 1 AM ET. Went to bed at 2 AM and rose at 6 AM to go to work. Would alcohol and lack of sleep slow me down at the 5k?

Wed 7/27/06 - Geneva, IL 5k Race Report

I left the office at 1PM in Norwalk to catch the 3PM flight back to Chicago. I wanted to make this race. I was tired, but I was able to catch 15 min of shut-eye on the plane. I made it to Geneva at 6:15PM.

Conditions: High 80’s, 90+% humidity – not ideal – not comfortable

The race was a big local community affair. Lots of people. I saw the high school track guys lining up at the front and knew that they would blaze ahead. I wasn’t fazed by that. I just wanted to run 6:20’s if I could.

The gun went off and I was amazed by the pace of the group out of the gate. I thought my 6:20 goal pace would leave me somewhere between the track kids and the rest of the pack – but there were a lot company around me through the first mile. The pace was torrid and I quickly became winded. I hit the first mile marker and looked incredulously at the mile marker timer : 6:00 flat!

I forgot the HR monitor at home when I left on Monday, but I didn’t need me to tell me that I was at 90+% max. This kind of pace was foreign territory for me. I have run close to this speed before but not in a while – and not with these temps/humidity. And not on 4 hours of sleep after several drinks the night before.

During mile 2, I struggled to hold pace. I hit the water stop at 1.75 miles and threw one cup on me and sipped a second. I was sweating and breathing prefusely ... and hurting. This pace was painful. I know now what side stich is. I was questioning that second 1/2 of a power bar at this point.

Mile 2 = 6:22 split

For the final 1.1, my body was begging for mercy. I have logged several hundreds of miles this year and thousands in my life, but none so fast and intense as these. It was a shock to my system.

I left it all out on the race course. I physically could not move my legs faster on that last mile. I could not catch my breath. I sounding like a whooping crane for the last 1.1 miles. I wanted to laugh at myself, but I was much closer to crying. How could such a teeny weeny distance hurt so bad? My 17miles on Sat were easier. This was it. My max output. Aerobic capacity was at max. I could not catch my breath.

The final 400m was on the Geneva HS track. I usually finish strong in all my races, but I could barely hold on. I was in clear position to break 20 min and thought I could beat 19:45 (my true goal), but I rounded that track with doubts if I could hang on.

But I did… crossing the finish at 19:32, in the most pain I have ever experienced in a race. And when I caught my breath and shook off some of the pain. It hit me. This was a PR. I met my goal of 19:45.

Why was this significant? If you check McMillan’s calculator, with my 5k race time, he predicts that my potential is that I should be able to run a 3:10:25 marathon!!!! Good enough for Boston!!! I know it’s only a prediction, but it’s progress.

Lastly, I was greeted with some cool news when I got to the booth to pick up my race card.


Below you will find my unveiling of my FIRST EVER RUNNING TROPHY IN MY LIFE.

The boxes of dozens of hockey, soccer and baseball trophies from my youth don’t seem to compare!

I opted out of the cool-down 4 miles and celebrated with two slices of the free race pizza & Jamba Juice that they were handing out. I was done for the day. Mission accomplished...

Remaining week runs: Thurs-Rest, Fri-9 easy, Sat-12 miles -- Planned total mileage: 37

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Recap of week #5 - Rockin' out with Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi rocks. That's all I can say. Such an awesome performer. My biggest regret is that I have a marathon habit and that I left the concert early. I thought I would miss like 2 songs, since we left right before the encore. No, we missed like six or seven, I come to find out the next day.

So, my early departure from such a momentous event can be considered as nothing other an indication of my pure commitment to my marathon goal. We got home at a decent hour from Soldier field and I was up at 5:55 AM on Sat AM.

Number of people at the concert: At least 60,000

Number of dollars we were taken for to park at Soldier Field: 35

Number of beers I crushed in the parking lot: 4

Number of beers I had in the stadium: Zilch

Number of times I was questioning whether or not I should do my long run on Sunday: ???

Here I am pumpin' up for the show. I'm so pissed that I decided to listen to security and not bring in our camera. They didn't even check and everyone inside was taking pictures. EVERYWHERE. So much for following the rules.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday's run - Wheaton - Prairie Path heading East

7:00 AM - I ran with the CARA group for 14 miles. The weather was perfect. Absolutely ideal.

I met a guy at the group run on Sat morning who stayed til the end of the concert on Friday night and went out drinking afterwards. And had his car towed and had to get it out. And he was running 7:30's. Some guys can get away with that (not me)...

We were running 7:50's for most miles and I felt fine. I added on another 3 on my own after the others retired and I tried to increase pace.

For the final 3, I estimate that I was doing 7:30's with one of the miles at around 7:15. I added on some time to ensure that I covered at least 17 miles.

Bad news is that again, I failed to avoid a comfort break. I've made a decision: I'm cutting out Clif Bars before my runs... there's too much fiber. It's just not working for me.

Total time: 2:16:00

Est dist: 17+

Avg HR: 151


The Boston Qualifying time is in my sight and I am exactly where I want to be at this point. There is much work to do. This coming week will have me run a 5k to test speed. This week will be my first step back. I've got some traveling to do, so it's good I've got a lighter schedule.

Next week's long run is a mere 12 with a total target of 37 miles. Sounds silly to say, but 'bring it on...'... that's a breather at this point. No sweat.

Recovery week #6 begins now.... Run onward!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

'This ain't a song for the broken-hearted...'

Wed July 20

I set off a little later than planned on Wed for my now seemingly routine 10-miler at around 6:22 AM. The distance Pod has officially bonked this week, so I am flying blind on these runs like all runners were back in the day. Damn Polar device.

I had planned to run this one around 7:45 pace and can only really guess how the splits looked. HR seemed to be in check, but the humidity was quite high.

I know this route pretty well from past runs and it measures out at least 10 - depending how far I stretch north up 248th street in SW Naperville.

'whoa.... we're halfway there....'

Folks, I admit that I felt a little tired on this run. Monday’s tempo in the heat must have drained me. However, I did finish without incident.

Est Time: 1:17:50
Est Dist: 10 miles
Est Pace: 7:47
Avg HR: 155

'never made as a wise man, couldn't cut it as a poor man stealin'...'

Thurs July 21

Rest day... very well much earned. Looking forward to my recovery 5-miler tomorrow and 17 on Saturday.

Weekend plan

Fri: Recovery 5 miler
Sat: 17 miles with the CARA team (please give me enough sleep!)

''s now or never.... i ain't gonna live forever...'

By the way, I'm firing up for the Bon Jovi-Nickelback show tomorrow at Soldier Field... seats on the floor... rock it... just need to get some sleep for Saturday's 17.

Looking ahead to next week...

Mon 7/24 - Begin run by 5:10 AM - Gen Aer 8 - Need to take the in-laws to Midway for a 8:30 AM flight - then fly to NYC

Tue 7/25 - Teterboro, NJ - Recovery 5 - Have to be at meeting by 8:15AM. Must finish by 7:15. Start run at 6:00AM. Evening dinner event - be careful not to drink too much alcohol!

Wed 7/26 - Norwalk, CT - Catch the 3:00 PM flight from LGA to ORD - Make the Geneva 5k race - Warm up with 1 mile - Add 3 recovery on the end

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Week 5 update - Rolling along and getting into tempo

I'm finding that I'm not only committed, but borderline compulsive about keeping my training plan. Any slight imposition on my calendar, and I experience stress when trying to find a way to ensure I hit all the miles. So far I've stayed on track, but it will get tougher.

We've got Bon Jovi concert tix for Friday @ Soldier Field (how will I get to bed at a decent hour for the Sat run?), in-laws in town this weekend who will want to do things; and travel for work next week. Not to mention a business trip to Europe the week of Aug 21st, which will be a challenge.

Here's a quick update on this week's activities heading into tomorrow's workout:

Mon 7/18

I took Jim's (from CARA) advice and decided to try my tempo run on the track. It was still blazingly hot on Monday AM - even at 6:10 AM when I began the 3-mile warm-up. Since North Plainfield H.S. track is not open I had to drive down to Central Plainfield H.S.

First, I did three miles at about 8 min pace on a nearby bike trail I found down there, but it was all based on feel since the Polar Pod is shot. (Related note: I'm digging for the receipt to send back on warranty). Next, I sucked it up and hit the track...

My goal was to run tempo pace of 6:55-7:00 per mile for 16 laps. The seemed like a good lactic threshold pace for me with for my current fitness level. This makes the split target of about 1:43-1:45 per lap. I knocked out 11 laps right on pace like clockwork. Admittedly, it was a bit monotonous, and I felt the HR climb toward the later laps, but I was impressed with my consistency to hit pace.

The heat and the intensity of the workout were causing me some difficulty, but I was hanging in. After 11 laps, I did need to wipe away sweat and swig some Gatorade+Water. I quickly resumed and completed the last 5 laps at a pace even stronger than I expected.

I'm not going to list all the splits, but I did an average of 6:58 pace for 4 miles. My 400m split range was 1:37 to 1:46. HR range were in the mid 160's for the first 7 or 8 laps and climbed into the 170's for the second half.

I then completed my 9-mile run with an easy 2 miles at 8-min pace. Success!

Time: 1:08:23
Est Dist: 9
Avg Pace: 7:36 (middle 4 miles were at around 6:58 - 5 were at around 8)
Avg HR: 157 for the entire run

Tue 7/18 - 5-mile recovery

These runs aren't worth providing any detail. They are slow, steady and easy. Did my typical out and back in my land of 'burbia for a total of 44:42. Again, no distance monitor, but by sheer feel and past runs, it was about 5 even.

Time: 44:42
Est dist: 5
Est pace: 8:55
Avg HR: 136

WTD mileage: 14 - Mileage target for the week: 46

TOMORROW 6AM: 10-mile general aerobic
Goal pace will be around 7:45

Thurs: Rest - Fri: 5-mile recovery - Sat: 17 miles - Sun: REST

Good night and run onward, friends...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Week 4 recap / A need for speed heading into Week 5

Sat Jul 15 - 15 miles - Finishing out a week of 43 miles...

"Damn, I forgot to grease my nipples..." Only in a running club would you hear that quote and not become overly bemused. Thankfully, it wasn't me who said it, but rather our 8:00 pace CARA group leader, Dean. I ran up in Wheaton this week and there was a great turnout with plenty of experienced runners. This is a good place for me.

Anyone who steps outside basically anywhere knows about the weather and why running in it seems silly. I never dreamed that I would attempt 15 miles on a day like Saturday. I think it was Pfitzinger who recenty wrote in Running Times about "acclimitization"; the process that your body undergoes in warmer temp's over time in that it learns to keep itself cooler. I think I my body is adjusting to summer temps, because I was surprisingly doing "OK" - not comfortable, but I was OK.

Dean was shouting off the mile splits on the trail but I didn't hit my lap button once. Early miles were right at 8's and I felt miserable. Why you ask?
I had yet another bathroom attack this run. So frustrating.

First six miles I was counting the seconds to the porta-john I knew was ahead on the trail. You talk about embarassing, just meet a good group of runners and break their vibe just because you have to hit the can. Luckily, it was a there and back run and we weren't far from the turn.

That's 3x in the last week on distances 10 miles or more that I've been hit with the john bug. The carb loading with heavy pasta dinners the night before is not working for me. My comfort break (OK, hardly could a porta-pottie that has been cooking in 88 degree temps could be considered "confortable"), I missed out on about 1/2 mile with the group, which I would have to make up later on my own.

We finished the planned 13 with the group and most were shouting for mercy from the heat. I sucked it up and went back out for my additional 2 plus that 1/2 mile I had to make up. All and all, I was pleased with this run.

Time: 1:59:47
Distance: About 15 miles
Est Pace: 8:00
Avg HR: 158 (in the 160's in the late and 'hotter' miles)

Feeling the need for speed to get a BQ

Thanks to all of you who have provided encouragement for me to chase Boston. I think my mind is in the right place and I am working hard. However, it's not lost on me that qualifying for Boston comes down to numbers. Actually it comes down to a single number.

There's a very clear line in the sand for a 31-year old male runner. You need a 3:10:00 (with a grace of 59 secs) to get in. All the hard work, desire, drive and deservedness mean nothing unless you're on the right side of that line in the sand.

I have no doubt that I am going to run well in the Chicago marathon, which is 14 weeks from today. With the mileage volume and progress I am making so early as compared to prior training, I should demolish that 3:24 PR. Question is whether or not I can get all the way down to 3:10.

My wake-up call was yesterday when I read a race predictor chart in the CARA packet that says I should be able to run a sub-41 min 10k to run a 3:10 marathon.
McMillan's chart tells me the same thing. In the search of my past race archives, I can only find a 10k PR at 42:06 - and that was 4 years ago. However, before we fret, I had an 8k earlier this year of 32:26 - which McMillan projects out to a 3:11 marathon.

We know these types of charts are not an exact science but I am trusting that there is some merit here. Though it will be a stretch, I think there is 3:10 potential within me. Let's just say that speed is on the training menu. I'm planning to run a 5k race on 7/26 to see what kind of time I can get. Hopefully, it will be around 19:30.

Recap of runs completed in week 4

Mon 7/10 - 8 miles with 10x100m strides
Tue 7/11 - 5 miles recovery pace
Wed 7/12 - Rested
Thu 7/13 - 10 miles
Fri 7/14 - 5 miles recovery pace
Sat 7/15 - 15 miles at 8:00 pace with CARA group - hot, humid!
Sun 7/16 - Rested
Weekly total: 43

Week 5 plan

My biggest schedule challenge this week is getting home at a reasonable hour from that Bon Jovi concert at Soldier Field on Friday night - so i can get up early and get in 17 miles.

Mon 7/17 - 9 miles with 4 miles at L.T pace (6:55-7:00)
Tue 7/18 - 5 miles recovery
Wed 7/19 - 10 miles Gen Aerobic
Thu 7/20 - Rest
Fri 7/21 - 5 miles recovery
Sat 7/22 - 17 miles
Sun 7/23 - Rest
Target for week: 46 miles

Friday, July 14, 2006

Reflection on my running life / Week 4 update

I read Zeke's post today right after I read the link he provided to Andrew's blog ("Are those miles calling me?"). It got me thinking about how my mileage I could do per week vs. how much I really want to do. More significantly, it caused me to reflect on the role of running in my life and how it's changed over the past 12+ years.

When I entered MSU as a freshman in college in 1993, I was 215 lbs and wanted to become fit to meet girls. I had played hockey all my life, but never had run. But I turned to running. It helped me drop 45 pounds in 4 months. I remember the fear I had when I entered my first 5k in Lansing, MI in Fall1993. A handful of 5k's followed and my first 10k ever came about in the Summer of 1995.

In Winter 2000, when I started training for my 1st marathon in Pittsburgh, it was simply because it was on my life's to-do list. After I walled hard, I had to do it again.... I knew I could kick ass if I trained harder. (I dropped 30 min in my 2nd try and an additional 17 min in my 2nd)

After a few marathons, I said to myself, "I don't want to put in the kind of time to try to qualify for Boston"... or "I'm not prepared to make that kind of sacrifice". I said I'll only do one per year (which I did for 5 straight years)... and I graduated to the intermediate level of training.

What used to feel like hard work with time and experience becomes not-so-hard -- and in some cases easy - and you need to push it to the next level to enjoy it. I found that I need to progress to enjoy running. I hope I don't always feel that way, since I know there's a plateau.

Now, here I am 5 years later training for my 7th marathon (my second this year, which I didn't thinK I would do) ... and I'm attempting to qualify for Boston. Later this program, I will do 55 miles in a week - my highest ever.

Whilst I'm proud of my running experience and progression, I am well aware that I don't even enter the stratosphere of the kind of weekly mileage that many other runners do. The blog world has made that abundantly clear to me. Is that by choice? Yes, I think it is.

Despite that fact, there are countless people with whom I interact that cannot fathom the mileage I put in regularly. Even at a mere 40+ miles per week, what I am doing in their eyes is exceptional.

Running plays a greater part of my life than I ever expected. It boils down to time, values and personal choice. I love running, but like all of us, I love other aspects of my life as well.

We all need to dig deep and identify how important running in our lives is. That's often a difficult thing to do since we are always changing as well as things important in our lives. Could I do more mileage?? Sure, I suppose... but right now, what I am doing works for me.

I do want to BQ, so I want do what I can to get there. Am I presently doing enough? I honestly do not know. But I feel good about my effort. That's what matters to me. It gives me confidence and satisfaction to know that I am doing my best while keeping other aspects of my life intact. Perhaps in the coming years, my best effort will continue to elevate me to a new level.

Here is an update on the last two day's runs.

Thurs 7/13 - 10 mile general aerobic

Rise and shine came earlier than expected at 5:20 AM. I was able to start the run at 5:50 on the nose. There was some humidity, but I felt pretty good.

I am targeting 7:45 on these runs - which is 30 seconds slower than my goal pace. I am hoping this is good for the 'getting in the miles'

7:50 154
7:48 151
7:42 155
7:48 158
7:42 155
7:37 158
7:36 158
7:40 158
7:38 158
7:30 168

Time: 1:17:28
Dist: 10 miles
Pace: 7:45
HR: 155 average

Fri 7/14 - 5-mile recovery

I was a little hesitant to go for the 5-miler this morning. It seemed a bit risky to sandwich this run in btw yesterday's 10 and tomorrow's 15. That will be 30 in 3 days. I'm not sure if I have ever done that. But, I want to rest on Sunday and I want to hit all the mileage this week. Plus, I felt good. And, after all, a 5-mile slow run I can do in my sleep at this point. So, I headed off this morn at 6:25.

Time: 44:30
Dist: 5 miles
Pace: 8:54
HR: 141 average

Weekend plan

Sat 7/15 - 15 miles - I'll be running with the CARA group in Wheaton. I'll be running with the 8:00's group. Pray for cool weather.

Sun 7/16 - REST, BABY!

Hope everyone is ready for a good long run this weekend.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Got Garmin??

In an e-mail that contained ramblings of how I should run my long runs faster and his interval paces, my friend Steve informed me that today he bought Garmin Forerunner 305.

This is the same Steve who is getting married in September (yes, 5 weeks before the marathon we are both running - 'cept he's going on his honeymoon for a week right after!) and the same Steve who is trying to have his bachelor party in Vegas in August (dude, a 20 miler in the desert in August after getting you drunk all night - are u nuts?). Hell, he's already run a 3:09 and run Boston, so he's got that latitude.

So, now I'm feeling a little jealous and tired of my Polar RS200sd that cuts in and out on runs. I found an e-tailer selling the Garmin at $260 delivered, which seems like a pretty great deal -- if you actually receive it and that your identity is not stolen. (Some reviews suggested these were possible outcomes). Contemplating... hard.

I've been getting no shortage of advice lately. Some people think my 8:30's may be to slow for my long runs to get to 7:15 goal pace. OK, so I'm joining the 8 pace group on Saturday.

And what about HILLS? I've heard nothing from Pete P. on hill repeats! I know Hal spoke to us at the CARA SuperClinic about hills.

I gave the legs a needed breather today. Going to bed early to knock 10 in the morn, "Gen Aer" style, as Pete P would prescribe. Going to run 7:45's. 10 miles. Looking forward to it.

Off to dreamland....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Week #4 update - much to think about...

Marathon nightmare

I do not remember many of my dreams. My wife, on the other, is a sleep talker and walker and carries on conversations in her sleep and even gets up to do things. It’s pretty freaky.

Anyway, last night I recalled two separate dreams – one of which was related to running (no, the other was not x-rated). I dreamt that I was stuck in traffic late to the start of the Chicago marathon. I was downright frantic and pissed. I busted my tail for 20 weeks and I wasn’t even able to start on time to chase the BQ.

In the dream, I arrived at the start line in the car right as the gun was going off. I had to throw off my warm-up suit, strap on my HRM (for some reason, this was important in the dream) and try to make up 1 minute of lost time. The stress alone ruined the experience. I was near tears as I scrambled to catch up to that 7:15 pace in the first mile…

So I woke up this morning to plan my route to the marathon on 10/22/06. I live 39 miles from the start. I didn’t even consider getting a hotel room, and now everything is booked up. Bummer.

OK, hotel is out… now, should I drive or train? The start is 1.1 miles from Chicago Union Station. Awesome… but wait, will a train get me there early enough? The earliest train to the city on Sundays right now is 6:20 departure arriving at 7:40. Race is an 8AM start. This is too late! Train could be late. I can’t cut it this close. I still need to develop a plan…

I guess this could be considered a good sign. The goal of 3:10 is beginning to consume me.

Monday and Tuesday run report

Monday: 8 miles w/10x100m strides

Est dist: 8 miles
Time: 1:00:31

Pace: 7:34 per mile
Avg HR: 152 (80%)

This was a solid run, folks. The 100m strides are essentially 23 second sprints, during which I attempt to run at 6-min pace. And I did 10 of these suckers – not to mention pretty steady sub-8 pace in between. After much input, I can only hope that I am doing these correctly.

Tuesday: 5 miles recovery

People, I felt it today… fatigue. The legs were soft. Not much to talk about here. I trotted through 5 miles in 44:10 – right on par for recovery pace.

Adjusting this week’s schedule

I decided that I need to rest tomorrow. My legs are burned out right now. I have not had a total rest day since Monday, July 3 (9 days ago). I haven’t run every single day, but I have done at least cross-training of some sort every day. My body sent me signals during the recovery run today. “Rest me, please” said Mr. Legs. OK, I promised, with much hesitation.

I will trade the planned rest day for Friday with tomorrow.

Conflicting advice – do all believe in Pfitzinger?

Lastly, I have been exchanging e-mail with my new team lead in the CARA program, Jim Laubsted, who runs the Wheaton, IL training group. Jim questioned my strategy to run 8:30’s for the first 75% of the runs – and then speed up to 8’s on the back end. He was concerned that I was running to slow to run 7:15's during the marathon. I said “but Jim, this is the Pfitzinger method!!"

Jim said that it is better to build confidence and run closer to your goal pace. Another site coordinator cautioned me: “Do not under-estimate the success potential of running even splits at a slow pace on your long runs.” I don’t know what to believe, at this point. Jim talked me into running 8’s on this coming Saturday’s long run of 15 miles. Hope this is the right decision.

Run onward, friends…!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Recap of week 3 - Week 4 plan

I received an out-of-the-blue phone call at 7:30 last night from one of my old college buddies. I could hear the ruckus behind him in the bar. He was having a bachelor party for his brother with a bunch of guys downtown. He lives in Detroit and had heard I was now living in the Chicago area. (I love the notice I get for things like this). With the wife away this weekend and nothing to do, it was a no-brainer... (thankfully, the long run was completed for the week!)

Daily thought: Doing double-digit mileage early in the morning and carousing in a bar after 1AM all on the same day is quite a feat.

Normally, I would be resting tomorrow, but I am pulling up my Pfitz plan by a day to get my program in sync to run Saturdays long. Going forward, Sundays will be my rest day. So, I decided to do only a 2-mile recovery today just to keep the legs warm - instead of the scheduled 4.

Here is a look back at week #3 and the plan for week #4.

Summary of Week #3

Mon 7/3 - Rest
Tue 7/4 – Lemont 10k race – 1.5 mile warmup before hand – 7.7 miles total
Wed 7/5 – Recovery pace 4 miles
Thu 7/6 – 10 miles general aerobic
Fri 7/7 – Cross-train: Bike, elliptical, abs, stretch
Sat 7/8 – 14 miles - Med-long Warrenville
Sun 7/9 – 2 mile recovery on treadmill – Stretching, abs
Total mileage: 37.7

Week #4 Plan

Mon 7/10 - 8 miles general aerobic w/ 10x100m strides
Tue 7/11 – 5 miles recovery
Wed 7/12 – 10 miles gen aerobic
Thu 7/13 - REST
Fri 7/14 – 4 miles recovery
Sat 7/15 – 15 miles med-long run
Sun 7/16 – Rest
Total mileage: 42

Onward, friends.... 105 days to go!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dreams of Boston - Solid 14-miler today

As the training days go by and the miles pile up, I decided I need to make sure I stay focused on the goal.

The one and only time I was in Boston was last September. While living in CT, Jen and I took a weekend road trip and did the tourist thing. What a great American city. Here is a snapshot of me in front of one of the many American icons in Boston: the beloved Fenway.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I plan to return to Beantown this coming April 16, 2007 to see even more of the city in a way I've only dreamed about.

Yesterday (Friday) -- I DID CROSS-TRAINING AT THE GYM! 15 min bike / 10 min ellipitical - crunches - back - leg lunges w/dumb bells (light weight)

Today's run - 14 miles

6:15 AM -- Today, I headed up to Warrenville to run again with the CARA group. I don't want to sound like a running snob, but I'm struggling to find runners in this group that are advanced enough for me to train with.

Warrenvile is the closest training site for me, but there are a few others in the 'burbs a little further from me as well. There is always downtown and Lincoln Park, which I'm sure attracts plenty of high-caliber runners. I've got e-mails out to the site coordinators to get some feedback on the runners in these groups. Commuting 40 miles to downtown for a training run seems a bit crazy, doesn't it?

I ran with a guy today named Scott for 8 miles. He's 37 and training for his 3rd Chicago marathon. He was good to run with. The Polar was on the fritz cutting out on and off, but I gathered we were doing 8:30's for the most part. We finished are 8 together in just under 1:08 (8:30 flat). My avg HR was 142 for these 8 mi.

I was in some mild discomfort for most of these miles due to a threat of a bodily urge to go #2. It was hard for me to hold up the conversation. Thankfully, when we finished our 8, I darted into the "BK Lounge" (a.k.a. Burger King) restroom in time to take care of business.

During my break, I GU'd and gatoraded up, toweled down and turned back out for another 6. Again, I got the stare from the others who ran 5-6 miles and were done for the day.

These last 6 by myself were golden. I picked up the pace to 8:00's. I did feel a little fatigue at mile 11 but I think I needed more carbs. The GU kicked in and I felt a much better. Miles 9 through 12 brought HR's in the 150's, the last two miles were quicker (7:48 and 7:23) and brought HR's of 161-167.

Time: 1:54:22
Est Dist: 14
Est Pace: 8:10
Avg HR: 145 (78% of max)

I'm on track as we close week #3 of 18. I need to decide if I will pull my schedule up a day this week. If I do, I will consider tomorrow's recovery 4-miler optional, since I would not have a rest day on Monday.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

NEWSFLASH - Week 3 update

Finally, the official results have been posted and the news is in. [drum roll, please]. You are reading the blog of the 2006 Lemont Freedom 10k Run – Men’s Age 30-34 Division Champion!

Just found the results board today. I found this pretty comical considering I finished in 21st place overall out of 121 men and 58 women. Apparently the M 30-34 bracket was a bit soft this year. Who will challenge me next year as I prepare to defend my crown??? (OK, enough, but this is the first time that I have accomplished this).

Interestingly, of the 20 people that finished ahead of me (all men), TEN of them were age 40 or older. Special kudos to Thomas Gaudette, age 52, who ran a 41:25 10k under some hot, humid and hilly conditions. Rock on! Does this mean we get faster as we get older? If yes, then why I am killing myself to BQ now, when the qualifying times go up when I age?!

OK, big deal, time to forget the flippin' 10k and concentrate on the real goal.

Wed 7/5 – Recovery 4-miler

7:08 AM - Boy, did it feel good go slow after the Tuesday’s 10k race. My target recovery pace is 8:53. I trotted through these 4 miles at an avg of 8:49 per mile. Real easy.

Thu 7/6 – General aerobic 10-mile

6:14 AM - Today’s run went as planned. I decided that I would try to pick a pace that I knew I would give me a workout without overdoing it. The target pace was 7:50 which seemed like a good middle-of-the road between my recovery pace and my goal marathon pace of 7:15. I think I was still a little depleted from Tuesday’s run, so the run was moderately challenging toward the end. Here are the splits from today:


Conditions: Beautifully cool and very sunny
Total time: 1:17:21
Avg HR: 154 – 81% of max HR
Sleep: 7.5 hours – not too bad

Week-to-date progress: approx 21.7 miles – 18 to go

Remaining days this week

Fri – X-Train – Core strength training / Abs
Sat – Run 14 long
Sun – Recovery 4 miles (optional) as I prepare to pull up the plan by 1 day

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lemont Freedom 10k race report

Happy 4th of July. Again, last night (and tonite), we were invited to a BBQ among friends. I love to eat! It’s all great fun, but I need a stronger sense of willpower. Last night, I stuffed myself with beers, brats and other treats. We cut out early so I could get up on time to run. I hydrated well but I woke up heavy this AM at around 174. Damn scale.

Today, I ran the 10k Freedom Run in Lemont, IL. According to the Pfitz plan, I was supposed to do 8 miles with 4 miles at L.T. pace. Pfitz tells us that LT pace is comparable to your 15k race pace. Well, I did a 10 miler less than 3 weeks ago at 7:11 per, so that was my target pace.

I warmed up with about 1.3 miles at 8:30 pace. The race, a small community affair, did not start on time. I think it was right about 80 with high humidity at the start.

I did not know that there are hills in suburban Chicago. Hot, humid and hilly = hell.
It was a difficult race. My first mile was 6:56 but I knew that I didn’t want to try to hold that. I backed off.

I was at 20:55 after 3 miles or just shy of 7:00 pace – when I turned into a gargantuan hill. Mile 4 was about 7:49. My body began to overheating.

I held on for the last half of the race and finished in just about where I wanted to be. But the truth is that I didn’t have much more in me. I was pushing it at the end. With the effort I had on a 10M 3 weeks ago and all the training I have put in since, I would have thought that this would have been an easier race. MAYBE, I could have pushed a little earlier in the race. But it was HOT, HILLY and HUMID.

10k Race Time: 44:07
Pace: 7:07 per mile

With the 4th and all of the food and beer, I have been eating a lot. I am 6’1” and about 173 lbs (was 171 a couple of days ago). Obviously a normal weight for a guy my age and height, but I feel like I need to cut a few to have a chance at a BQ.

I am going to make a concentrated effort to begin cutting calories. I felt like I was carrying a small dumbbell stapled to my gut today.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Week #2 Recap - It feels good to be on track

Saturday, July 1 – 13 mile long run

We were invited over to our neighbor’s house last minute on Friday night. They had a cookout and an outdoor movie night. Pretty cool, they projected the comedy act of Ron White on to the side of a neighbor’s house from a DVD and projector. Funny stuff, if you haven’t seen him.

Again, I faced the challenge of being social in the summer and keeping my workout schedule. I had to excuse myself at 10:30 PM to get to bed. I knew if I stayed later that I would be toast in the morning. I felt bad, but I needed to get to bed.

I was up at 5:45 AM on Saturday. Can’t remember the last time I’ve done that on Saturday. The nearest CARA group run is in Warrenville, which is about 14 miles north of my house. We kicked off our run at about 7 AM.

It was my first long run with a group. I truly felt like a veteran in the group, since most there were 1st or second time marathoners. I really enjoyed the social run. I haven’t had one since some of my earlier marathons.

We ran a section of the
Illinois Prairie Path, which is part of an excellent trail system that we have here in the Chicago area. Sucks for me, as it does not extend down as far south as I live. Bummer.

I ran with a guy named Gilly who is training for his first marathon. He reminded me of me during my first. I had to hold his pace in check, as I explained the strategy of doing the long runs slower than target race pace by 10-20%. He thanked me, since he never knew. I’ve learned the hard lessons of attempting race pace training on long runs while suffering miles 21-22 in a few of my marathons.

Amazing what you learn about a person on your first long run with them. We talked about marriage (mine), divorce (his), having kids (which neither of us have), education, career, vacations, places we’ve lived – or would like to live. I didn’t even know this guy at the start of the run.

We breezed through 9 miles while trying to stay on 8:30’s. There were some who were surprised to see me head back out for another 4 miles after doing the 9 miles with the group. The last 4 seemed easy. I felt like I could have gone another 3 or 4. But I will say later in the day that I was pretty tired and needed a good nap!

Run time: 1:50:27
Est dist: 13.0
Est pace: 8:30

Sunday, July 2 – 5-mile recovery pace

We slept in late here til about 9:00. Late I know, but we were up late after being out. Before I headed out, I did some reading on what my recovery pace should be. The “Runner’s World Guide to Cross-Training” is a book I received from the CARA for signing up for the training program.

Based on my recent 10-mile race, I am projecting by current 10k race time to be about 42:50. At this pcae, the book tells me I should do recovery at 8:53 per mile. Seems about right, so that was the goal for today.

Today’s conditions were very warm and extremely humid. Plus, I was still tired from yesterday’s long run – not to mention that I had a few drinks last night and felt dehydrated. There, all the excuses are out there. This run was not really that pleasant. Now I remember why I drag myself out of bed by 6AM on most days of the week.

My wife ran with me for the 1st mile and turned back to complete her 2 mile work out. I continued to plod along and I found that I was really heating up. Even at a slow pace. Glad that one is over.

Time: 44:10
Est dist: 5.0
Est Pace: 8:50

Week 2 recap: “It feels good to be on track!”
Achieved distance target of 36 miles.
Hit all work-outs.

Focus area: Weight management

I am weighing in around 171 lbs right now. I feel I’ll need to get down to a race weight of 165 if I hope to really chase 3:10. Not going to really cut weight now, but will need to find a way to drop 1-2 pounds per week down the home stretch of training.

I'm ready for a rest day tomorrow, as I head into Tuesday's 10k July 4th race.

See Friday's post for Week #3 schedule