Sunday, February 25, 2007

Excellent 44-mile week

The winter ice storm struck the Chicago area yesterday evening, but not before I put in my 17-miler as planned with the group at the Morton Aboretum. I was glad to see that there were several of us that agreed to do three of the 4.7 mile loops together. That left only a short solo add-on for me to get to 17. This was my longest run since Marathon training last fall. Overall average pace: 7:49.

Like last week's 15-miler, I was tired after this run (we're supposed to be, right?). Unfortunately, my HR monitor strap was no where to be found yesterday and so I had to go without it, but I am certain that I am improving my fitness level.

Training at the Aboretum is night and day compared to the Prairie Path, where we will train again for Chicago later this year. Prairie Path is dead flat. Aboretum has several up and down rolling hills throughout the two loops, which unfortunately provide limited shield from the whipping Chicago winds. Boy, did my legs feel it at the end yesterday. Another issue may have been that a couple of my fellow runners were pushing pace on me at miles 8 and 9 (7:20 and 7:12 respectively). I wasn't ready for that kind of speed through the hills.

A couple of the women in our CARA group were commenting that the hills we are training on now are even more difficult than what the Boston course offers. I guess that is good if it is true.

In summary, I set a goal this week of 44 miles and I nailed it spot on. I'm very proud of my discipline and commitment, since it's a bit tricky to get 9-milers in during the week.

Below is a snapshot of my YTD mileage (in grey) as well as my planned mileage leading up to Boston on April 16th (in yellow). [note: click to enlarge] I didn't indicate what the workouts will look like, but I plan to work in some speed work at least a few times on upcoming on Tuesdays.

I am signed up for two races in consecutive weeks in March. One is a half mary and the second is an 8k. These will help me with some speed and to measure progress towards Boston. Targeted marathon pace for Boston at this point: 7:40/mile or about 3:21. I'll save my sub-3:10 for later this year in Chicago.

In May, we booked a wonderful vacation to Aruba, then it will be back to Chicago in the second half of may to start training for Chicago.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Running & writing as the Boston quest continues

First, I must apologize for not being the most consistent commenter and poster as of late. I do read many of y0ur posts quickly, but have not been as active is commenting as I would like.

Break out the excuse monkey. One of my 2007 goals was to really explore my interest in writing. I have been spending my extra time with an online writing class.

In addition, I have been reading so I can learn more about how professional authors write (recommending Human Capital by Stephen Amidon). Then throw in work and the usual headaches associated with it, and blogging, as a result, has suffered.

Writing is an intriguingly challenging craft to just up and start pursuing. I am deepening my understanding of the written word and how I can prolifically express with conviction all the wonderous ideas that bounce around inside of my mind. All right, 'nuff about writing, this is my running blog.

Anyway, my quest for Boston is alive and well. I reluctantly am declaring myself fully recovered from the ilitobial band syndrome that I was experiencing in Dec-Jan.

This week is on track to become my biggest week since last year during Chicago training.

I need to give a shout out to new, fellow blogger Serendipitious Runner, who qualified for Boston for the 1st time as a result of a stellar performance in Austin last week. Congrats, bro!

Week to date activity

Monday - 4 - 7:47 pace
Tuesday - 9 - 7:29 pace
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - 9 - 7:46 pace
Friday - 5 recovery - 8:47 pace

27 miles WTD - On track for 44 mile target

Hopefully, we'll be able to avoid the wintry mix, snow mess that is headed to Chicago tomorrow morning. Goal is to get in 17 miles before the weather hits.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Eight weeks til Boston

My business trip across the Atlantic went pretty much as planned. I was able to get in a 6.9 miler near the London Stansted airport. The weather was glorious. I went from -20 windchill to 45 degrees and sunny on Tuesday morning 7AM London time.

I was hoping to get in at least a few miles on Thursday morning in central downtown London, but I was struck with insominia on Wed eve and my schedule was tight. So I skipped the run, went to Starbucks and headed into our world HQ.

Friday noontime, I headed into the gym to avoid the subzero winds again and got my 5'er as planned.

I was unable to run with the CARA die-hards on Sat AM. Unfortunately, Jen's pregnancy did not work out. I had to take her into scheduled surgery for a "D.A.C." on Sat AM at 7:00 AM. This surgery cleans out her female parts after an unsuccessful pregnancy. So I spent my morning in the hospital and everything went well with Jen's procedure.

I then was able to get out by myself on Saturday afternoon for a strong, challenging 15-mile long run at the Aboretum. I tell you the truth in that I was pretty tired at the end of this run. My HR was up higher than normal. I think the hills plus the snowy, slick concrete really did me in. I finished strong with a 7:07 mile.

There are 56 days to the Boston Marathon. With no traveling for now, my plan is to kick it up to 44 miles this upcoming week if I can. I am going to be monitoring my left knee closely. I felt a little tenderness after yesterday's run. If I am not careful, I could relapse on the ITB issue.

Recap of 2/12 week

Mon - Rest
Tue - 6.9 mi - London
Wed - Traveled to Amsterdam
Thu - Meetings in London - flew home
Fri - 5.1 mi - treadmill - 7:55 avg
Sat - 15 mi - by my lonesome - Morton Aboretum - 7:47 avg
Sun - 5 mi recovery run - 8:53 avg

Total: 32 miles - goal met

Plan for 2/19 week - 44 mile target

Mon - 6
Tue - 7
Wed - Rest
Thu - 9
Fri - 5
Sat - 17

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Forty the hard way

Mission accomplished... I hit 40 miles total this week, despite extraordinarily cold temperatures for the past several days.

My week was capped off with a 14-mile Saturday comprised of the following:

Two 4.7 mile loops at Morton Aboretum - Est 7:50 pace - Est temp 4 deg with -12 windchill. Chilly!
Everyone in the running group quit after 9.4 mi, so I headed straight to the gym to knock out 4.6 miles at 8:01 avg pace.

Today, we experienced a heat wave and the temps got up to the mid-20's! Hooray! I crushed eight miles with ease outside around my neighborhood. I know I am getting stronger, but my splits seemed so easy at 7:20-7'30's with a reasonable HR in the 150's.

Week recap:

Tue - 5+6 mi = 11 all on tread
Thu - 7 mi on tread
Sat - 14 mi - split btw outside and the tread
Sun - 8 mi outside on flat pavement - 7:37 pace

Total: 40 miles

For this week...

Will be a stepback week due to overseas travel. Heading momentarily to my 8:05 PM CT flight to London Heathrow. Will be traveling and tied up in supplier meetings most of the week - not to mention jet lagged.

Goal is to do at least one 8-mile run near London Stansted aiport on Tuesday AM before returning home on Thursday night. May have a chance to do a short 4 in London on Thursday morning if things go well.

Tue - 7
Thu - 3
Fri - 5
Sat - 15
Sun - 7

Goal: 32-34 miles total - maybe 37 if I can get in the Thurs AM run

Thursday, February 08, 2007

28.2 consecutive miles on a treadmill

OK, not all in one session, of course, but I am proud enough to share this stat. The negative windchills have forced me to adapt my running inside. All of my last 28.2 miles have been on the tread: including 5, 6, 7 and 8 milers.

Big news of the day is Anna Nicole's passing. Not much to say about this.

On Tuesday, I knocked out a daily treadmill double: 6 in the morning, and 5 in the evening. I did this because my flight to NY on Tue night was cancelled due to snow and I pushed it to Wed AM. This meant I wouldn't be able to run on Wed AM. So I travelled to CT and back on Wed for work, which made for a long one-day journey.

Tonight, I rocked out a steady 7 miles on the dread-tread. I did this in 53:50 or 7:41 pace, which was solid. I like to think that treadmill miles count double to regular outside miles, due to the psychological trauma. OK, maybe a bit of stretch.

Next week, I will be off to London and Amsterdam and then back to London for a series of meetings; hence moving around Europe quite a bit. It will be a down week. Goal is to run in the range of 32-34 miles.

WTD: 18 mi -- ON TRACK

Weekend plan:

Fri - Rest
Sat -15 mi - 8:00-8:10 pace
Sun - 7 mi - take red-eye to London

Monday, February 05, 2007

Strong week in the cold

The statement "making the most out of the bitterly cold weather" sums up last week's training.

I ran 36 miles, which is short of my 40 mile goal. However, given the 25-30 below windchills the last few days, I am quite proud of my week. I cranked out 17 of my miles last week on a treadmill - including a solid 8-miler yesterday with no stopping. That is a P.R for treadmill mileage in a week. I am overcoming the psychological barrier of training indoors.

Saturday's run was the ultimate test. It was seriously frigid. Dangerously cold. The diehards were out at the Aboretum, but only a handful could handle more than one single 4.7 mi loop. I managed to stick it out with a couple of others for a second 3.1 mile loop. But that was it. Could barely feel my fingers and the winds were getting worse.

You'll notice no major griping about the IT band. It is getter better. I am focusing on exercises to strengthen the glutes and stretching. I have also worked in some basic leg presses to increase strength in the hammy's and quads.

I took today off to rest the legs and recover from the Super Bowl hangover. The hometown Bears laid an egg.

Recap of 1/29 week

Mon -4 miles outside - 8:20 pace
Tue - 5 miles on treadmill - intense hill workout (up to 6% inclines in .25 mi intervals) 7:55 pace
Wed - Rest
Thu - 7 miles outside - 7:37 avg pace
Fri - 2 miles on tread at gym
Sat - 10 mi total - (7.8 in bitter cold with CARA - 7:37 pace, 2.2 on tread in the evening, 7:32 pace).
Sun- 8 easy on the tread

Total: 36 miles

This week's plan

Mon - Rest
Tue - 6 mi - speed and hill work
Wed - 5 miles easy
Thu - 7 miles - work in 2 miles at lact. threshold
Fri - Rest
Sat - 15 miles - low 8's pace
Sun - 7 miles - MP: 7:40 per

Goal: 40 miles

Countdown: 70 days to Boston

Friday, February 02, 2007

Deep freeze running

The deep freeze is deepening this weekend. I am leary about the planned 14-miler tomorrow. Around 8AM, we should be at a steady -10 with the windchill in Lisle, IL at the Morton Aboretum. I am wondering if my dedicated running partners will show tomorrow morning. Will they arrive? Will they be scared off? Will I have the courage to show?

Then I read about Bob's 11 mile feat inside on the mill, and I felt inspired. Wow.

Did an awesome seven miler yesterday that I am really proud of given the cold, my just coming back to stronger form and the snow/ice on the ground.

Wed - Rest - supposed to do 4, but deep freeze and schedule did not permit
Thur - 7 miles at 7:37 per mile

I was tagged by Arcaner. I'm not big on "tag" games, but I enjoy sharing goals and experiences with other runners, so I decided to play along. I am tagging Bob next, since he is a treadmill rockstar and to fulfill my responsibility to keep the annoying chain going.

1. Describe a memory from your first tri/marathon ever.

Pittsburgh, May 2001 - Hitting the wall with shame and frustration at mile 20.5... walking with my head hung low, then having some 280lb mustached dude with an Iron City beer in his hand, sporting a booming intimidating voice, yell at me with full force... "c'mon number 'whatever' ... LET'S GO!!!" I was so frightened that I fake-ran about 500 feet so as to get out of his view, so I could start walking again. Thought he was going to beat my ass if I walked.

2. Describe a memory from your most recent tri/marathon.

The thought process related to hanging on at mile 23 in Chicago to maintain BQ pace for the final 5k was surreal. I can't remember exactly what I told myself, but it was a feeling of incredible power to be able to fend off the doubts and drive through those last miles.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri/marathon?

Having to spend 3:00+ in the port-o-can for you-know-what in Va Beach 2004 was embarrassing, but mostly frustrating more than anything else. Other than that, nothing major... guess I am incapable of embarrassment when I am in a state of exhaustion after a marathon.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri/marathon?

Pumping my fists during the last 0.2 in Chicago 2006 and making it in right at 3:10.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing tri/marathons?

With planning, commitment and the right frame of mind, and a little bit of luck, I can accomplish just about anything.

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?

With the BQ under the belt, I need to finally kick this IT Band issue and stay healthy in '07. I want to fun run Boston and take in the experience. My hope is to still hit the 1,750 mile target I set this year and run sub-3:10 in Chicago.