Is this Right?

So I am supposed to run 12.4 on Monday. Last Sunday I went six, yesterday was less than two of intervals and today was just 2 miles with some strides. Tomorrow is not even a mile. This feels like a vacation! Where's the workout? I guess three miles easy on Saturday is going to be a challenge because all I want to do is go out and run reallllllly fast. My pacing today was terrible. I was supposed to simulate race pace for Monday. I ran at 10K pace. I can just see me dying early. I haven't found the right bottle of mojo. All mine are too souped up.
Well I guess it's all by design. We'll see on Monday. All that really matters is beating Jon to the chocolate chip cookies.
If you remember back a few days/week I was bemoaning the fact that I had no plan after Monday. Problem solved in the running department anyway. I have booked my training through the end of February which will include preparations and racing in two 5Ks, two 10Ks, a 5-miler and two half marathons (OUC in Orlando, December 3, and Gasparilla in Tampa, February 26). That'll keep me off the streets ... err, I mean, out of trouble.
Hurricane Katrina missed us weather-wise but today we realized we didn't have enough diesel fuel to transport our 73,000 bus students to school on Friday if we didn't get some deliveries from our suppliers. PRESS CONFERENCE! Warned all the parents about how they'd have to get the kiddies to school on their own and put the heat on the suppliers to get the fuel to us or the kiddies' mommies and daddies would be calling their number. Such fun in the big city school district. They better have enough jet fuel to get my sneakers to New England this weekend. I don't care if they run out while I'm there but I have some racing to do and some friends to see.


10 Day Forecast

I took my last little jaunt of six miles before the New Haven 20K next Monday. It was easy as I went out slowly with my slow running group and hardly got winded. The pace was up at 9:44. All that's left is Taper Week with a little interval on Tuesday, a couple of miles Wednesday, less than a mile on Thursday and a 3 mile easy jog over the weekend. What's a glutton for miles gonna do? My shoes won't even get soggy this week.
Not to look ahead but I always do ... Forecast for New Haven, September 5: morning low of 64, mostly sunny and moving up to 80 by the middle of the day. Sounds perfect to me. I haven't seen 64 since .... wait a minute ... let me look back a few months ... nope .... nope - April 30!
The lead-in weekend looks great too with sunny skies; temps in the high 70s/low 80s. Perfect for the beach and just about anything. Let's hope Katrina blows through quickly so we can get it all going on.
I may even forego pineapples on the pizza Sunday night; I'm feeling so good about this.


No Hurricane Here

Weather report. We managed to get by Hurricane Katrina here in Central Florida with just a few feeder band quick strike rain bursts on Thursday and Friday. In her wake we're getting a lot of hot dry weather. How hot? It's 92 at 5pm and the grass is curled up in wilt mode.
Runner. Nevertheless, I was up and out before sunrise to run 6 miles as directed by the "plan". After a day off, my legs were very fresh. I started out too fast. In the first mile I tried to keep pace with a fastie who merged with me at a street corner. It wasn't a strain but it was more pace than I needed. It would be a mistake to do that in the New Haven Race so I have been forewarned.
In my fourth mile I actually got turned around and ended up running the wrong way on a street. Nothing looked familiar and I realized I hadn't followed the route I'd mapped in my head. Damn. I had been doing so well checking my time against the mile markers I'd tracked on the Google pedometer. I was going at an 8:30 pace through three miles; then I was on the wrong road running in the wrong direction.
My fifth mile stunk and I shut it down at 5.7 miles feeling spent. I was running a 10K pace when I should have been trying to pace for a 20K. I hope to correct that tomorrow. After I caught my breath I went for a 1-mile cooldown run. I had some water, a stretch, a towel and walked over to the farmers' market for coffee and a big old cinamon bun. I sat and looked at vegetables, flowers, plants, dogs and all the beautiful people on the other end of the leashes. It was a show.
Lazy Boy. At home I plopped out by the pool and read the paper, had some lunch, a few beers and some vitamin D in heavy doses. Tomorrow I go six miles, the last "long" run of the half marathon training plan in anticipation of the New Haven 20K on September 5.
Record Book. Now today's run was historic in a few ways. It put me over 100 miles for the month, the most I've ever gone in 30 days or less (old record-93, Aug '03). It also sent me over 500 for the year which is about 113 miles ahead of my annual goal of 600 miles. Methinks I'll be topping 800 if all goes well and there are no injuries.
Here are good wishes to Bex and E. on their wedding day; good wishes to Susan and all my buds who are dining together tonight in Rhode Island without me (I'll be there in a week!!!) and Jon who hates to fly but is coming to New Haven anyway to quicken all the hearts of Connecticut Running Chicks.


Feeling Loose

I'm feeling loose because I went for a massage on Monday. Sherlene did her magic and pushed all that lactic acid to wherever it's supposed to go (my head?). I came home and took a vinegar bath to download the bad stuff to the water then took a shower with scented soap to mask the vinegar. Tuesday morning, instead of feeling like a sun baked dry beach towel that had been soaked by a rogue ocean wave, I was loose as a goose and ready to run some intervals. 2x1200 (6.20), 4x400 (1.55) and 4x200 (0.55) all felt great in the morning darkness.
This morning, with an option to rest or run 3-4 miles, I ran, with enthusiasm. I woke up feeling more tired than when I went to sleep but I didn't succumb to the summer dog day blues.
Like Susan, I am aiming for that 100 mile month - this month - for the first time ever. It feels great.
On the other hand, I'm losing focus on what to do after New Haven. It's starting to bother me. I have no future past that except a half marathon in December. Everything else is the same old same old crap and frustration that permeates the everyday world. A good friend counseled me some time ago (a suggestion I gave Sarah recently) that you have to put something else out in front of you to aim for, aspire to, crave and anticipate with joy and wonderment. Right now, that isn't so promising. New Haven will be a blast. I am hooked on going to unknown places and racing.


Made It

Despite my complaining about the imperfection in my left calf it did not seem to be a problem at all this morning as I took off for an 11+ long run around four lakes. I had a small bagel with honey and some grapefruit juice to stoke the furnace early. I've always found honey has a way of getting in the bloodstream mighty fast. I went out very slowly to see how the legs and joints would react. They were creaky and chatty (not chatty like Dianna) but cooperated. By mile two I was sauna-ing along in the heat and humidity along Lakeshore with the morning sky lightening to my right. Adults were walking their dogs or wooshing by pulling their boats on trailers. Cars and vans were full of church goers, all dressed up. Sometimes I see girls and women going into church and I'm thinking they must be trying to pick somebody up in there, based on how they're dressed and the hair is just so.
Anyway, I pulled into the college where the freshmen have already taken up residence. There was little sign of them except for a pair of guys who looked like they might have been out all night the way they were cruising along. I stopped for some cold water at a dormitory and consumed my Plain Gu pack. I was 45 minutes in and at about 5 miles. Some maintenance folks were tooling around in Cushman carts on the way to fix something.
Within five minutes I was feeling like the Gu had woken me up. All of a sudden I had energy and better pace. I was in the "hilly" section of the run and they were not a problem. I imagined the hills in New London back in July and thought how those had been pretty steep by comparison. I wonder what New Haven will be like.
I felt extremely strong through miles 6-8. At 8 I was out in the sun again and it was hot, maybe 83. No breeze. I was soaked from head to toe. Is it true that a seasoned runner perspires heavier than those less so? Something to do with effiency of the metabolism. I had on a new pair of ultra light black Brooks shorts with little pockets on each hip with a velcro tab. I bought them for the pockets so to hold stuff. I love the light weight material. It sticks to me like skin but dries quickly. My socks were soaked through. My Hurricanes were sloggy.
At 10 miles I stopped by the Publix supermarket hoping for a water fountain and was only able to walk through the air conditioned lobby from one door to the other. It was enough. I picked it up again and found I still had some kick right down to the last quarter mile. I am not sure if the pace was really faster but the legs were still responding, lifting instead of dragging. After I pulled up at the Blue Jacket Park bathroom with its cold water fountain I ran the water over my wrists and on my forehead to cool down. How special. I then decided I better take good care of myself after this run, unlike last week.
I started home at a light jog and when I got there 5 minutes later I peeled off my footwear and walked into the pool. Stretches are easier in the water. I played dead man by floating face down in the water for as long as I could. I was surprised at how much air capacity I had. Mrs. Trade was not alarmed to see me floating face down. The dogs were so they jumped in the water to save me. A good dog claw scratch to the back will bring any dead man back to life.
I had a Snickers energy bar - my favorite/any flavor - another glass of watered down grapefruit juice and put my feet up for a little while. Then when they didn't hurt too much I took my dogs (legs) to the bath along with all the ice in the freezer. While the ice was good and cold, there was no amount of cold water in Florida coming out of my tub tap. Let's just say if I corralled the ice in the vicinity of my legs it was a cooling experience but not chilling.
I went back outside in the chaise lounge with the paper, some water and some ice wraps around my calves. They feel quite fine now, thank you, so my week of worry about losing training ground for the New Haven 20K has diminished.
I hope your Sunday is fun. I might take a nap.
P.S. If you are a Little League Baseball fan and are watching the World Series on ESPN, the Southeast team from Maitland, FL is our neighboring town. Everybody is very excited that they've won their first two ball games. 12-year olds are the cutest little guys around. So grown up but still so young and innocent.


Thrown off the Cow

Damn farm analogies. Well the left calf has tightened up pretty good now, since Sunday's excessive run. I did my speed work on Tuesday and an easy run Wednesday but I passed this morning. Ibuprofin, ice and stretching. Ibuprofin, ice and streching. Anybody have a better idea? The calf is very hard and tight on the outside, up high. I'll go put the massager on it. Be good gang.

P.S. Work sucks this week.


Cattle are Complaining

I ran ten miles on Sunday as promised. It didn't feel too bad. In fact I broke away from my slow gang to dehyrdate at a nearby park bathroom, promised to meet up about a mile down the road by a different route. When I got there they were nowhere to be seen a quarter mile in either direction so I said f**k it; I need the pace practice. I must have been running 10+ /miles with them and I finished at a 9:03/mile pace so I must have been rolling along pretty hard out there and didn't even notice.
What I did notice was a lingering tightness in my left calf. A cattle call. I believe it came from periods of trying to correct my stride by landing midfoot as opposed to heel-to-toe. It's a strain that I treated with a day off Monday and tested this morning in some intervals (2x1600, 4x400, 4x200). Once I loosened up, it was fine. Afterwards I iced and ibuprofin-ed it.
Tomorrow I will see how I feel when I wake up. I'd like to go 3-4 but the plan allows for rest if desired.
Speaking of rest, I'm going to make like Mia and go try some modifed bedrest.


PR? Yes.

The I-Drive U Run 5K: No scenery. Next to a huge convention center hotel (Gaylord Palms). Out and back course along one side of a divided four lane blacktop. 80 degree temperatures. Humid. Middle of nowhere that was a cow pasture about 6 years ago.

Warm up: I jogged out a half mile along the course and came back, throwing a few pick up strides towards the end. Loose and ready.

Race: Started near the front and had no traffic to work around. That's my biggest peeve. A number of folks passed me but I was doing fine. It took me nearly a mile to regulate my breathing to a level that seemed familiar from training. I wasn't quite sure which running pace I was going but at the first mile the timer shouted out 7:24. WHAT?!?
The guy next to me says, "His timing is sure off." I glanced at my watch and said, "You're right." He was fast, but not by much.
Mile 2 was fluid and I felt strong. At the two mile mark I knew a PR was coming but I was concerned about bonking down the pace. I plugged along, passing people, then saw the finish line.

23.26.1 on my watch.

PR. No small PR. No. We're talking 51 seconds off my PR of May. The May PR was 25 seconds better than the previous PR in early 2004. Something has happened that amazes me. I have reached a new plateau of performance. I have never felt so good and run so fast.
I will emphasize and pay homage to this fact: Fast = more miles + interval speed work.

Recap. 51 seconds faster. 7:33 mile pace. I only dreamed of going sub 8:00 when I started racing in 2001. Regrets: I saw a few other serious runners from my Sunday morning long run gang. After the race as I was getting ready to leave I saw them coming back from some long warm down runs which I skipped. My Labor Day race plan asked for me to race a 10K today. I settled for the only race in town 5K. Tomorrow is supposed to be eight miles. I'll go 10 or 11 instead to make up.
I was also not so happy with positive splits, 7:24, 7:33 and 7:43, but they were better than my last PR splits across the board. I'll do better next time.


Race Saturday

I'm racing Saturday morning. Fast flat straight out and back course - in the heat. Could be PR material. We'll see. My body feels great but I'm about 5 hours short of sleep this week. Time to rack it and prepare for the morning.
Have a good weekend friends.


Now that felt Good!

I went downtown for the 7 a.m. runners club run. Chris and Tim were there. Old Jack was up north on vacation. We left the Avenue ahead of a bunch of other runners who eventually passed us (seriously good runners) and maintained an easy 9:50 mile pace. Tim turned off at mile 5 and Chris and I picked it up the rest of the way. I enjoyed pushing hard up the inclines. Chris turned off at the 10th mile to run home (giving him 16 for the day). I circled downtown and finished at city hall with 11 miles logged at a 9:36 pace. That'll never catch Dianna in New Haven but I still have a few weeks to train and she is under the weather; both factors to motivate me (although Dianna will be well recovered soon enough to be in top form by Labor Day).
When I got home I had a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs with french bread. Seeing blue skies and having nothing pressing to do I announced I was going to the beach which I did by myself. Canaveral National Seashore was open today but closing at 6 p.m. because the shuttle returns tomorrow and may need the runway that sits just south of the beach area. RESTRICTED AREA. DO NOT ENTER.
The beach was fairly crowded and for good reason. The ocean was very calm with good surf and azure blue color. The sun was warm and a nice breeze made it quite pleasant. I sat in my chair facing the rays and, after the long run this morning, I dozed off intermittently. I swam. I walked. I ate a lot, drank tons of water and read the newspaper and Runners' World. The weather cooperated and the one hour I thought I would spend there turned into four. The clouds never came. The rain stayed inland. I was as happy as a clam at high tide.
Ain't that special?


Legal to Run in New Haven

Moments ago I submitted my ChampionChip number and clicked Yes. I am now a bona fide entrant in the New Haven 20K September 5. Yahooooo.
For the first time ever I'm trying to follow a plan of training for a specific race. Mind you, I picked up the training in Week 5 of the plan but I didn't see much in the early weeks I couldn't handle or hadn't been doing. Well, I hadn't been doing much interval training and absolutely no strides. I feel like I'm on the high school cross country team, just a meadow's length behind those young whipper snappers.
Wednesday was a rest or 3-4 mile day after Tuesday intervals. My training pattern has been to run every other day so I bagged that and did 3 easy miles. And I was slow.
Thursday asked for four easy miles with intervals of half marathon pace. I screwed that up by going the whole distance at 10K pace. I was dogged; but not so much that I suffered any during the day. Too little/interrupted sleep was more the casue of my demise than the workouts but, then again, they work together to compound the sluggishness.
So Thursday night I got in bed at 900 and slept for 8.5. Friday was a rest day and I did. Before Saturday dawned I was up and ready to run. I opted out of the Chuluota trail run with the H.S. cross country team because I only needed to log five miles. They were going 8-10. Plus it's a half hour drive out to the woods and I needed more time since I had another Saturday school business day to deal with at 930.
The five miles went well. They blew by and I was going at 10K pace again. I'm loading up on water (and one, maybe two beers) before tomorrow's scheduled 11 miles. I will be there on Park Avenue at 0700 ready to go.
Two days until school opens [Booooo]. Four weeks until I am back on the beach in Rhode Island [yeaaaa]. 30 days until the 20K [look out Dianna; I'm gunning to break your PR].


New Haven 20K

Susan made me do it. I couldn't stand to wait until next summer to go back to Rhode Island. Then Southwest sent me an email that made it impossible not to go back - $49 each way! So I booked flights and called my buds in New England. Susan reminded me the RBF NE gang is running in New Haven on Labor Day. Let me just say: I AM IN! Well I haven't signed up yet but I am in training.
Today I went over to the track. Prescribed session: 2x1600 at 10K pace and 6x200 at 5K pace. Based on my race history I targeted 8:30 on the 1600s and 1:00 on the 200s. Well if I could just learn my paces for 10K and 5K I might be able to do that but nooooo ... I had to show off to the marathon trainees working out there this morning (some were targeting the Richmond Marathon).
So I burned the 1600s in 7:57 and 8:02 and my six 200s went down at an average :51. And I felt great. No significant loss of speed or endurance on any repeats. Maybe I need to reset my target time for the 20K in New Haven. Wait ... they have hills in Connecticut.
Any chance Jon will break off from the Michigan summer and get home for the race? What are his chances lately?