Late start and Reader Survey

Today I debated whether to run long (on the taper) or short and then long tomorrow. I opted to run long today. I usually run every other day and my plan is to run again Monday, then Wednesday, then not at all until Saturday's race.
The weather was right nice out - about 60 and mostly cloudy. Took the Lake Virginia round the lake route and felt tired and slow. Surprisingly it wasn't until the sixth mile that I began to feel a rythmn worth keeping. My time was okay and my heart rate was lower than the last time I went around. That means I still have capacity for better time and endurance.
After the run I finally got the ever-loving oil changed in the car and had a fantasic hamburger at the Coyote Grill. The rest of the day was all about replacing the dead pool pump motor. I only disassembled and assempled the thing three times before I got it right.
So - question for the readers: When your t-shirt drawer gets too full from all those race collectables what is your criteria for the keepers and the ones to go to the Salvation Army/trash?


Buried in Training Routine

Hey! Need a good excuse to get out of the snow and cold? Forecast for the Gasparilla in Tampa next weekend is about 51 or 52 in the morning and 70 by afternoon. Sounds wonder ful for running!
I'm pleased to be sticking to schedule. Yesterday I did some speed work over at the middle school track. 1600, 1200, 800 and 400 runs inside a mile warm up and cool down. Pushed hard. Felt good. It was foggy, dark and 300% humidity.
Today was the funeral for last weekend's sudden victim of a heart atatck. About 700 showed for her service and it went very well without any chain reaction weeping spells. There were plenty of damp eyes but nobody completely lost their composure. I didn't plan to go to the burial but my boss was driving and he did the eulogy and was obliged to go. Now, that was a lot more heart wrenching. Fortunately it was swift and over. Cemeteries have never spooked me but now that I'm older I have a greater sense of my mortality. When I was a kid I lived next to a cemetery and we used gravestones for bases playing baseball. Old Jim Pomeroy was special. He had a monument and played a mean first base for me. Anything on the fly that hit him was considered an out. My dad presided over many a burial there and I was oblivious to the trauma of the families. Ah, youth. So blind. So innocent.


Nippy Morning

Isn't it amazing how a race schedule will keep you on task to train as you believe you should? and not skip a day or shorten a run? Today was a crisp 40 degrees and as warm as that bed was I still got up before dawn to dress out in the tights and layered stuff with gloves to go on an easy run after the long run Saturday night. I had this strange sensation as I was approaching the half way point that it sure was taking a long time to get that far ... mind you not in seconds or minutes but in what seemed like attention spans. Too many. It's like I was watching me run from 500 feet and I seemed to be moving slowly.
Well I wasn't that slow time-wise when I got home but it was another out of body experience in running. Ever have that?
My left shoulder is killing me especially when I roll onto that side when sleeping. I'd complain like Jon in MI but I won't. I'll just say I snore more sleeping on my back.
Anyway, training report is that all body parts and systems are still functioning as Gasparilla approaches. The temps will go back up into the 50s in the morning and 70s at peak time this week and next so it's a wonderful time to pack up the snow shoes, hop a plane and come to Tampa next weekend for the race length of your choosing.
I'll be at the Residence Inn.


A Mile Too Far

A Mile Too Far. That's how I felt about an hour after returning from my long run yestrday afternoon. I knew I had to run long this weekend and I chose to go Saturday instead of Sunday because the threat of rain and cold was higher for Sunday. So Saturday was my decision. I woke up and had a healthy breakfast of oatmeal with golden raisins and fresh starwberrries, plus some coffee. I planned to run in 90 minutes, at 1000. Then the phone rang. A school board member was speaking at a library opening and wanted some brochures to hand out. She gave me an hour. I had none and didn't know where to find them. After 3 phone calls I was on my way to the office and with 20 minutes to spare I was at her door (greeted by her, sheepishly, in "morning dress") with the goods.
On my way home I thought I could still make the 1000 run time. Then the phone rang. A senior executive at work was calling to tell me, while choking back tears, that one of our colleagues had not awakened that morning. Her husband found her in a chair with the TV on. I couldn't believe it. I looked up her house and drove by. Police cars and a priest. It was true; and shocking. The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the necessary calls and anxiety.
By mid-afternoon I was doing chores around the house and keyed on 400 to run. Indeed, I was ready to run off some tension. My goal was 90 minutes and a controlled easy pace. For some reason, my mind was not focused and I took off on a route that was much longer. My pacing was fine and I marked heart rate at each 10 minute interval. I was averaging around a 135 but not covering enough pavement. At a turn I anticipated as necessary to run 90 minutes I was already at 70 and knew I had miscalculated. I took the shorter route decision and headed back to the corral. At 90 minutes I was still 2+ miles from home so took to walking 5 minutes then jogging for 5 minutes. I made it home in 2 hours with 105 minutes of it running. After stretching and showering I was feeling very worn out. My back hurt from its middle down into my butt. My knees were wobbly and joints ached (even in my hands!). And then my left hand was cold and tingly. My circulation was not working too well, I guess.
I had not planned ahead to take a gel with me on the run so I went the whole way with just one stop for a few gulps of water. I didn't feel like I had hit a wall while running but it sure hit me when I reached home. As soon as I came in I drank some water, ate some grapes and had a slice of raisin bread. That helped me recover but I still had the aches and pains and tingle in my left hand. A strange run. A Mile Too Far.
Sunday morning turned out to be cool (50) and sunny. Perfect for running. I should have waited.


Evening wonder

I never like to run at night, yet I couldn't get my run in in the morning today. I had to be at work extra early to speak to a tough crowd of 400 school administrators. My one liners worked and they applauded me when I was done. In the afternoon my press conference drew good media coverage and I was feeling strong, so the notion I had to leave before dark, get home and run in the late afternoon sun was appealing.
Lo and behold I went for a very pleasant run from sunset into darkness and felt strong and good enough to go longer when I finished. Wow. That was a first. So I'm on pace to run Friday again and long run on Sunday. Next week will be more of the same and then a slow down/taper week before the race, Feb. 5.
Tonight's run did push me over my previous high of miles logged in January which surprised me. I guess it's because (a) I am not as adverse to running in the cold, (2) my job season has changed and I'm not d-e-a-d in January like I used to be and (3) I have a race to train for.
What's to complain about. Not much. Need new shoes.


Cool Running

Monday was a chilly one here in the Sunshine State with my morning run kicking out with the first peek of the sun in 40 degree temps. It was the coldest day I've run in over a year - not since the Iowa River Run in Iowa City a year ago November (not a formal race; just a long run along the river). For this day I doubled up the long sleeve tech shirts, wore tights, gloves and a cap. I tore the cap off at mile 4 and the gloves and mile 5 to finish a toasty 6 mile run with no complaints in the body department. I did notice, though, that the left outside heel of my shoe is worn much more than the right. The Saucony Hurricanes I love have about 300 miles on them. I compared them to my last pair and, yes indeed, I'm a foot dragger with my left foot. Or as my chiropractor might say, "You're a little long here today. Let me fix that."
So I think it smart to go buy some new shoes before my 15K. The midsoles of these are probably pounded down by now anyway. My right ITB does whisper to me a few times when I run long so it must be a message to mind.


A Calm Race Day

I can remember when the pre-race regimen of race day was a stressful period. Now that I have been racing for 5 years it has become more "normal." I have a routine that I have tinkered with over the years - waking up 2 hours prior to start time, an ibuprofin, a breakfast that doesn't talk back to me at mile 2, the wardrobe decisions, the warm up, strides and stretches. It all comes more naturally now. When I stand at the start line I am more often amused to look around and see how everyone else is composed or preparing for the race ahead. I know I'm ready and relaxed. Is everyone else? Hardly but that's why it's fun.
Today's race was the one that I've set my two best 5K times in so I was very confident and challenged to see if I could beat the PRs. The sky was overcast with a modest wind. Temperature was 60 and 84% humidity.
If I did anything wrong this morning it was not getting closer to the front at the start line. In my first mile I encountered too much traffic and was annoyed at the 8:13.4 readout on my lap timer at the cone. With clear sailing, the second mile dropped to 7:52.8 and I had hopes to beat the 8 minute/mile pace I strive for. The final mile and a tenth I felt like it would be close. Once across the line in 24:52.0 I knew I had not PRed. At home I calculated the pace (8:01/mile) and am pleased to have managed so well, having lost 13 seconds in the first mile, winding my way through slower runners.
Next up is the 15K in Tampa in 3 weeks. I think I'll go out for a long jog later today.


A heated long easy run

While the Disney Marathon drew 24,000 (including 4:49 Rachel; Good job!!) the Cady Way Trail drew me. I had to put on some miles and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. First of all it was a balmy 70+ degrees and all I could think of was sliding over to the beach for some solar massage. As late as I got up I almost succumbed to the temptation. I had not planned my morning run very well. I started by having a half banana to compensate for the lack of proper fueling the night before (an NBA game, hot dog and beer). Then I dressed as if I'd run if I had to. Then I put on my HRM watch and knew I'd better go now or never. I drove to the Trail and started my run at 1000. It was toasty and sunny. I imagined I was jogging on the beach. Distant highway traffic stood in as the sound of waves. There was no breeze.
I packed a plain Gu gel pack for emergencies. At mile 2 I was thinking I might need that boost earlier than the 40 minute mark I targeted. At 25 minutes I could tell I was going to be dragging if I didn't stoke up so ... riiiiiip. Now I'm moving. I used the HRM to track my rates and times at the mile markers along the trail. I stayed safely below my max nearly the whole way. I stopped about 4 times for water and more Gu gel. Yea for me - I managed to run it all the way back to the trail head where I started (it was an out and back 7 miles). I took 1:09 which is slow. Who cares. I missed the easy run between the speed work and the long run so I was okay with it.
Today I signed up for Race 1 in my triple header schedule through February (5K-15K-10K & steak). Therefore - all is well.
Carry on.


Rachel's Celebrity Marathon blog

How could I have known one of my few blog acquaintances is a celebrity of sorts. Of how many tens of thousands of runners in the Disney Marathon this weekend, who would have suspected Rachel would be the one to receive the good pre-race publicity? Well there's mighty good reason when you read the column at the Orlando Sentinel link: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/columnists/orl-locowens08010805jan08,1,273750.column?coll=orl-news-col&ctrack=1&cset=true


Picking up the Pace

Now that I have 3 races in mind my brain and body are starting to communicate about the mission ahead. Beat myself! On the stopwatch that is.
Today I decided it's been too long since I did some speed work so I headed to the track to do a simple 1600/1200/800/400 session. I wore the new heart rate monitor to see what speed work did to the ol' ticker. My My. In comparison to previous lap times I kicked axx! Every split was a record time. My 1600 was a 7.48 followed by 6.01, 3.57 and 1.47. The HRM exceeded my top range on the shorter distances as I pushed to finish strong. I felt good but not necessarily fast so I have to do it again to see if it was real.
The best part today was after I came in and stretched before my shower I took a little extra time and made a point to relax my brain and not "force" the stretches, just letting them happen and relaxxxxxing throughout and enjoying them. I haven't had such a rewarding stretch in a long time. Stretching had become a chore. I remembered how it can be a nice bridge between the workout and work.
The Disney Marathon is this weekend. I feel for all who run it in the heat. Take it slow, my friends. I will do a private long run and think of you.


Don't Back Down

I'm moving nicely out of the holiday indulgence mode - consuming fewer adult beverages, eating the right stuff and less sweets, taking all my supplements and vitamins. I'm even reading Runner's World before bed to inspire me to get up in the morning and run. Gosh, I might turn healthy again.
So this morning, I got up and ran, although if it weren't for my son's alarm clock going off at 615 I might have overslept and missed the chance to run before work. [aside - I cannot run any other time of day] I went the 4-mile course again, as I did Monday, without the heart monitor. I figured all it did was encourage me to kill myself with that tantalizing red zone beeping. Besides it was too dark to read the numbers at that hour.
The temps were high 50s here and quite comfortable. Spring has sprung in Central Florida. Was that an azalea I saw blooming? If it was it's sure to wilt in the next Canadian arctic blast. Regardless, my run was slow and easy - aimng to do as RW suggested about easy runs: finish with a sense that you could still run another 4 miles and not feel tired. When I looked at my stop watch after I came in I saw that I did stroll through the course today. I realized I was just out to enjoy it.
My race schedule came to me last night too. My personal PR in a 5k was set in the Park Avenue 5K which is 10 days from now. Then there's the Gasparilla 15K on February 5 in Tampa followed by the Outback 12K Classic on Feb 19. The steaks they serve after that race make it all worthwhile!
Rachel (Rachel's Marathon Blog) goes for the big race at Disney this weekend. I'll go for 3 smaller but equally fun runs after her.


I love that third mile

Oh, the weather outside is delightful. The running mood is right-ful.
Despite being lazy on a Sunday morning I had special interest in going out this time - to test drive my new Polar heart monitor. Thank you Santa!
First I entered my mid 20th century birthdate. Out came a maximum HR of 168. Okay. Off I went starting at about a 110 rate. It gradually rose as I ran myself through a 2 mile warm up. In miles 3 and 4 the heart monitor was beeping like crazy as I stayed in the 160 rate zone. I wasn't sure if I was going too hard or my heart was reacting to exercise after too many cheesecake helpings and holiday chocolate splurges. No matter, the effort was worth it and now I have lots more new numbers to record. All I have to do is figure out what good they are.
Anybody got any ideas?