Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ringing out 2008 with 2,262 miles for the year

Well, 2008 is just about history. I tallied more mileage in 2008 than in year in my entire life.

I ran two thousand two hundred and sixty-two miles in one year. That's an average of roughly 43.1 miles per week for the entire year. That's a butt load of miles in my book.

I ran 11 races in 2008. I set new PR's in the following distances: 5k, 8k, 10k, 10M, 1/2 marathon and the marathon.

I ran three marathons in 2008: LCFB in Dublin, OH; Green Bay and Twin Cities with an average time of 3:08:40. That's consistent Boston caliber.

I ran through two NFL stadiums in 2008: Soldier and Lambeau Fields.

Through all of it, I took on a new job in my company last April that has me managing seven people. The additional stress and challenge did not deter my running.

Also in 2008, I became a treadmill junkie after caving in and buying one for this tough winter. After returning the first one, the second one broke down and still awaits repair three weeks later.

Most importantly, I became a dad and continued to run through it all. My baby girl has been an inspiration for me and I hope to use running to inspire her in the years to come.

Here's the kicker: I am considering myself officially healthy through all of it. In my last post, I described a possible shin split issue. I am excited to report that a day off Monday seems to have cured it. I ran a hard 9 with speed last night and a solid 14 today with no pain at all. Yippee!

I am thrilled with my year of running. I hope the few that read this blog are proud of their running accomplishments in 2008.

I will lay out my 2009 goals tomorrow. I have high aspirations. I also plan to take my running in a more social direction and connect with my community. Details to come.

For tonight, I will kick back and relax with my family, reflect on an amazing year and be thankful for the life that I will bring into 2009.

Happy New Year to all runners everywhere - Make 2009 your best year ever.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shin splint injury - 7 weeks til Austin

I've encountered a minor obstacle on my mission to run sub-3 in Austin.

Unfortunately, I was unable to complete the 70-mile week as planned. I was right on track through yesterday afternoon. My valiant quest to 70 for the week ended in defeat as I was forced to cut yesterday's 22-miler short.

Rarely do I fail to complete a long run as scheduled, but yesterday was one of those days. I ran at the Morton Aboretum, which was the safest place to run after all of the flooding and weather issues we've had here in Chicagoland.

I was slightly tired going into the run. However, I felt like I'd get through it. I hit my first 13 at around 7:35 pace average and felt OK. The winds were brisk and I made a couple of stops back at the car along the way.

When I hit 15, I really started to drag. I didn't really feel the pain in my shin all that much at this point. However, I was struggling to run faster than the 8:10-8:15 range. I felt zapped. That was a sign. I completed 16 and headed to my car.

My plan was to drive home and hop on the treadmill to finish an easy six. However, when I was changing, I felt some pain in my lower right shin area.

I decided to go on the treadmill anyway. Right away, my form was disrupted by the pain and I couldn't run much faster than 8:25 pace without struggling. I called it quits right there after one mile.

Chalk up 65 for the week and a new challenge. I need to decide how to address this shin split condition in my right leg.

Here is this past week's recap:

Tue - 10 recovery miles total - avg pace: 8:40. AM: 5 miles recovery. PM: 5 miles recov.
Wed - 6 miles recovery
Thu - 12 miles total all on treadmill. 7 completed at 6:25 avg pace.
Fri - 15 miles total. 11 on treadmill - 4 outside. Rough avg pace 7:40.
Sat - 5 miles recovery
Sun - 17 total. 16 at Morton Aboretum - avg pace 7:41. Felt dead legs and slowed paced to 8:10 on final mile. Drove home. Tried treadmill but felt pain and quit after 1.

Weekly total: 65 miles

What has caused my shin pain? It could have been too much mileage on the treadmill and then rapidly moving back to pavement. It could have been also suddenly working on hills yesterday. Or it could have been the intensity of my LT workout coupled with high mileage. My schedule change that put the 12-miler and 15-miler back-to-back didn't help either. Most likely, it is all of the above.

I don't think it's serious. I had a planned rest day today. I plan to rest it tomorrow as well - maybe even Wednesday. Not sure yet.

I need to figure out how I can get to Austin healthy on race day and in the best condition possible.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cramming a 70-mile week into Christmas time

Happy Christmas Eve.

I modified last week's schedule slightly from 59 miles and hit 56 in total. I figured it was OK to cut the recovery run and add a few back later in the week.

This week is the big test. There are 70 miles on the schedule. Doing 70 miles any week of the year is tricky, but it can be especially difficult to stay motivated when that week is Christmastime.

Should I be stressing about hitting a workout on Christmas day?

Furthermore, the weather has been horrible, like everywhere in the US this winter so far. Not to mention I've got family around here and I need to spend the time with them.

Fun fact of the week: I have not run outside since a 20-miler on Dec 7th. I've done 137 miles all on a treadmill over the past 17 days. That's how bad it's been outside.

I hit the double yesterday, which required two workouts totaling 10 miles at recovery pace.

However, I'm slightly behind the 8-ball now. Obviously, it's Christmas time. We got wallopped with winter weather yesterday and my parents flight was majorly delayed. We got home from the airport last night at midnight.

I was supposed to have done 15 today, but the timing didn't work. I got up later and spent time with my parents. I didn't want to cheat time with my sister's family and my parents later in the afternoon, so I swapped out and did the 6 recovery that was planned for tomorrow.

With that change, here is the remaining week to get to 70 miles:

Tomorrow (Christmas day) - 12 miles w/ 7 at LT pace
Friday - 15 miles
Sat - 5 miles recovery
Sun - 22 miles

This will be a challenging upcoming four days. If I can nail this 70 miles, it will be a big boost. I hope to run outside for Friday's 15-miler. For tomorrow's tempo workout, I want to use the treadmill so I can hold that steady 6:25-6:30 pace for all seven miles.

I've upheld pressure on Pacemaster and the tech services firm to get my home treadmill fixed, but I'm still waiting to hear that the part has been shipped. It's a bit of a debacle at this point.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Treadmill challenges, but still on track -- 8.5 weeks until Austin

Last week, I completed my schedule with near perfection. I ran 65 out of the 66 planned miles -- all on a treadmill. My single mile missed was a result of my treadmill breaking down and not having enough time before work to make it up.

Fortunately, my subdivision has a clubhouse right down the street that has a couple of good treadmills. I was able to run over there and complete most of last Thursday's workout after wasting 15 minutes.

The highlight of last week was the pace run I nailed. I ran 6:49 for 12 straight miles during a 15-miler with the final pace mile at 6:40. It was very tough - especially on a treadmill at the clubhouse without a working TV. This was a great indicator of my progress.

I haven't run outside since a week ago Sunday and I have done 75 miles since then. I never would have guessed this would be possible. Not ideal, but it's brutal out here in Chicago. We've got freezing temps, 6+ inches of snow on the ground now and the ice storm is on its way.

I own a Pacemaster Elite VR treadmill. I'm a little flustered that an electrical component in it failed after a mere 100 miles. It's been a bit of a saga with buying this treadmill. The first unit I had the store pick up due to a suspicious looking sticker on it that indicated it had been pre-owned by a high school (so much for a "floor" model).

The retailer replaced it with a brand new unit and it has been working great over the past couple of weeks. I fell in love with the convenience of the basement treadmill with the TV and the freezing conditions outside. Then... bam!.... error code 300. Hopefully, the part and technician will be here by early next week latest.

On another note, I received confirmation from the BAA that my Boston entry has been accepted, "provided the info that you submitted is accurate". No worries, there.

This week is a recovery week of a light 59 miles. Last night was a general aerobic 10 and tonight will be my first speed workout on this cycle: 9 w/ 6x600m's.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sub-3 at Austin in sight - 9.5 weeks to go

It's been a very busy time, in which I am running the most I ever have in my life, handling a key management position in my career and helping raise my 7-month old daughter.

Life is going well on all of the above fronts.

So, in the spirit of time, here are some updates on last week:

  • I successfully completed last week of 66 miles this past Sunday. This was after hitting 64 miles the week prior. Never I have run 130 miles in two weeks - ever.
  • I killed my most recent long run of 20 miles on Sunday through hills, 18 degree temps, minor snow with an average pace of 7:21. No problem.
  • On the tempo front, I breezed through a 6 mile lactate threshold workout at 6:25 pace last Friday, which is showing I am trending toward sub-3:00 conditioning. I definitely had more in the tank.

Here are some notes on this week's schedule:

  • I am scheduled for 66 miles, which will total 196 miles in 3 weeks once completed.
  • I have nailed 25 miles week-to-date, right on plan.
  • This morning, I set my personal distance record on a treadmill by knocking out 15 straight with no breaks in 1:54:40.
  • This week's long run will be a goal marathon pace run: 15 miles with 12 of them at 6:50 per mile.

Other notes:

  • By end of week, I will have run a staggering 2,119 miles in 2008 and the schedule says I will run 2,271 for the year. This will smash last year's record of 2,101 in 2007.
  • I am now running a very surprisingly high % of my mileage on my own personal treadmill. 41 miles out of 66 were on the 'mill last week. This week, with snow on the ground and the need for pace control on Sunday, it may be 100%.

In summary, there is lots of hard work still head. However, I am right on track at this point to run a sub-3:00 marathon in Austin on February 15th, 2009.

I feel inspired. I am focused. I am feeling like I can translate this running energy into so many other positives in my life. I do not want running to be the only thing. Rather I want to use it as a self-motivator to accomplish other important, meaningful goals in my life. I just need to figure out what these are and how I want to do this.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Winter Running is here - 64 mile week heading into Dec

There are about 10.5 weeks until I will run the Austin Marathon.

Last week, my plan was to run 69 miles during the holiday break. In the end, I landed on a total of 64. This is quite respectable given the holiday/family time and well over 1,000 spent miles in the car. However, I need to keep progressing toward that 70 mark, which will happen the week of Christmas.

I went into last week downright sore – largely due to a late-night hockey game last Sunday. Adding to the challenge was a 1,000 mile roundtrip visit to Pittsburgh for the Thanksgiving break.

As previously mentioned, last Monday’s LT workout was great. I am finding, however, the LT workouts really test my ability to recover for the next day's run. This was the case again this past week.

By Tuesday, I realized I was going to need to make some adjustments. I cut my planned 14-miler down to a 7-mile recovery. I was really pressed for time also since we needed to start our drive, so it seemed to make sense to cut it back. We then drove through the night to the South of Pittsburgh from the Chicago ‘burbs – arriving at 4AM Wed morn.

By Wednesday, my legs were so sore I was having a hard time putting on pants without help from my arms to guide my legs into place. I think the hockey game stressed some muscles that I wasn’t used to using in a while – not to mention the bruised hip I suffered during the game. I decided my body needed a break, so I took Wednesday off as a whole.

By Thursday AM, I felt very rested. I proceeded to bang out runs of 14, 8 and 21 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday respectively. I think 43 miles in a three-day period is a personal record. All miles were at pretty steady paces in the range of 7:35-7:45 average. My long run was very strong at an average of 7:32 per mile with the final mile at 6:43.

It’s worth noting that the Peters Township, PA trail near my in-laws has a steady incline for several miles in the northern direction. All three of these runs had long stretches of out-and-back, so there was a lot of incline/decline work.

After making the long drive back on Sunday all day, I hopped on the treadmill for a final recovery 4-miler to cap off the week. This got me to 64 miles for the week.

Luckily, I had a 1-day cushion since I had planned all along to move my schedule back a day and start on Tuesdays with long runs on Sundays. So I took yesterday off. Since the mid-week longer runs are usually on Wednesdays and Fridays, this change will help with my daddy duties since Jen is off these days.

This week, I am targeting the Pfitz mileage of 66 miles. That’s a lot of miles any week – but especially when contending with the Chicago winter that has finally arrived.

I started today with a recovery double of 6 and 4. Tomorrow morn, I plan to venture outside into the winter conditions for a dark, cold 14-miler. Friday will be a test with 6 miles of LT during a 11-miler. Recoveries of 5 and 6 miles are planned for Thu and Sat - then I will cap off the week on Sunday with another 20-miler.