There's no accounting

How would you explain it? I got up early and went to the track to do 3x1600 repeats. Not too difficult, huh? Last time I managed to rack 'em at 7:58, 7:49 and 7:49. Today, feeling okay, I started fine but then died: 7:50, 7:57 & 8:12. Do you think it had anything to do with running 17 miles two days ago? Or am I just not the runner I was a year ago?

If I make it out of Florida Thursday morning after Ernesto plows through Orlando with his 50-60 mph winds I plan to run 10 miles on Friday and then the New Haven 20K on Monday. Do you think I should throttle back a few miles to give me a chance to score nicely on the race? Or should I stick to plan and work to win the Marine Corps Marathon (in my personal age group/born on my birthday)?

It's been a moviefest at our house lately. We watched the Big Labowski or something similarly stupid-named movie on a Netflix DVD on Friday night. Sunday we went to see World Trade Center and followed that by slipping into another theatre and laughing through The Devil Wears Prada. Last night we went to the artsy theatre, ate a dinner and saw Little Miss Sunshine which was hilarious. My favorite? The Devil Wears Prada.

Oh. The forecast says rain and high wind in Rhode Island on Saturday. Ernesto must be following me.


Time was on my side

I did 17 this morning. I ran with lots of people for different stretches of the route. Kind souls shared their Gatorade and water. I shared my Gatorade and Gu. I blew the timing part of it when my Polar reset to the clock time and I lost the cume elapsed time. Oh well.

I started from my house and ran to downtown. I had planned to go the longer of two routes there to knock off the longer of the legs to complete my 17. Trouble started when I left too late. Then I had a construction potty break to take. I arrived about 3 minutes late but I was not the last to arrive. Phew.

It was overcast for the most part and only 95% humid as opposed to 100% so it was not as bad as it could have been. I felt pretty good all the way around with numerous stops for fluids. In the last two miles I had to practice a few more "water stop" walks. Honestly, they are important. I remember how in Miami I tried to start up too quickly after a slow down/walk/stop. Now I have a quick shuffle worked out to get me moving again. From there it only gets better.

I made it home by 955 so it was a long slow run: 3:25. I lost four pounds in that time too. I jumped in the pool, stretched, took a hot shower and fixed up a nice 2nd breakfast with lots of water (I put 3 pounds back on). It's been a lazy day all day, except for registering - finally - for New Haven.

Oh .... and did you notice that the Caribbean hurricance Ernesto has now be reforecast to come right through Orlando on Thursday???? I hope to be in the air Wednesday night and on the ground in New England Thursday morning.


Grueling 8.5

It took me until Saturday afternoon to feel "normal" again after Tuesday night's marathon school board meeting. A hot topic drew a lot of citizen speakers and the 34 each had five minutes to say their peace. That was no less than 3 hours of it.

Anyway Thursday morning's call for 8 miles came before Saturday afternoon and I did persevere; but it was ugly. I had half a bagel and no Gu when I left at 6 a.m. I had a nice route picked out that took me downtown where I ran into Chris and Jack of my Sunday morning long-run gang. We teamed up to go a couple miles and catch up. Thank goodness they were going slowly.

In the interest of paying pennance for not seeing them since June I detoured from my route to hang with them an extra half mile. It turned my 8 into 8.5. I fit a few water stops in along the way but it was gruesome running. The humidity was in full bloom and the temps were about 80F.

I slipped in a few "water stop" practices in the last mile and got home barely in time to shower, change and drive to work. My time was a penguinesque 1:32 for a near-11 minute mile pace. Even with that factored into my Parrot Predictor the deranged Parrot predicts I'll run a marathon in 4:17. It tried to make me believe that last time too and it near killed me.

We'll see. We'll see.

Tomorrow calls for 17 miles. That will take some planning tonight. I also need to sign up for the New Haven 20K tonight, plus pack. I leave for Rhode Island on Wednesday night. Yeah!! The forecast is a '9' with highs in the mid 70s, low around 60 and sunny weather. How great is that?


Can I get any sleep around here?

Tuesday started out just fine. I ran 7 x 800s at a 10K pace (8:02 pace) and went to work.
Work was fine in preparation for the evening's board meeting.
It started at 5:30 p.m. It ended at 1:05 a.m. I overslept, went to work and had a whole ton of emails and new work to do as a result of last night's meeting.
Now I will forego Project Runway and go sleep. Good night.


Sorta racing and definitely longing

Today's mission was to feel better than during last week's 14 mile long run.

I had a plan for the run this time. I was not leaving the route and segment breaks up to somebody else, who also runs perhaps a little faster than I would normally pace myself. I had signed up to run the season opener for Central Florida racers. 1600-1700 were toeing the starter mats.

Before I got there though, I decided to run to the race site, race, then run home and finish my 15 mile commitment. There were several ways to do that and, because of a.maria who counseled Jeanne, I broke it down. 3 or 4 miles over, plus 3.1 racing, then 3 or 4 miles home followed by 5 or 6 miles around the hood.

I chose the more scenic variety of routes which happened to put me on a four mile warm-up to the race site, next to the cultural park with its theatres, science center and exhibit halls. I had a fifteen minute break between my arrival and the starter's call so I mingled with all the dry shirted entrants who were milling about. The social aspect of seeing people you know before and after a race is what makes it worthwhile to me.

I approached the race with a mentality that I better go about 70% and save myself for the eight miles home I had to do. It proved to be a good idea. My first mile was about sightseeing and talking to myself. There was that pretty girl there; the other ones over there; why are those folks running with ear buds? What are they listening to? How fast am I going? etc.

The first mile marker came up and the clock was 9:22. Wow. That sure was casual. "Well," I said, "I better pick it up a little or I'll be a sad sack finisher."

Mile 2 was slightly better at 9:12 and I really was not feeling like I was pushing at all. I had a few familiar shirts around me that kept me at their pace. I started to think like I usually race. Who can I pick off?

The third mile was a different story. I started pulling away from my pack peers and passing all sorts of rabbits who were feeling the heat. I was having some serious fun winding around and through some streets with corners and cars to give me angles to cut and pass those not as shrewd as me.

With a tenth left I clicked throught the third mile at an 8:18 pace; almost a minute faster. That's better. I crossed the line in 27:46.3 which ranks 29th on my list of 31 5K races over the last seven years. One of those slower ones was running with Susie as her pace partner in New London last summer.

Nevertheless I got some tempo work into my long run for the day. Aftr a water, a Gu, a body fat test and some sports drink I headed back home on the three mile route. At home I had some more Gatorade and tracked along my five mile route in reverse of the usual direction so that it woulf be more appealing.
So is 8.9% body fat a good thing?
It all went down quite well. I was very happy with my segments. I hydrated, Gu-ed or rested at regular intervals and I never had to stop to walk. That's an accomplishment I will relish until next weekend when the schedule calls for 17 miles.


New spin on slacking off

It was hot and humid this morning. Shock. I was happy to see I only had five miles on the docket after worrying that it would be seven. I went out at about 600 and started quickly. It was meant to be a tempo run, or so I intended.

I came in at 47 minutes and change which is really stinky. What happened is that the Project Runway Effect caught up with me. I could not turn off the show last night and so only had six hours of sleep; plus I went out with nothing more than a glass of water in my belly.

At the fourth mile I changed strategy. Instead of a tempo run I, uh, practiced my water stop pacing. Yeah, that's what I did. I pretended there was a table just ahead and lots of people in the way. I stopped and pretended to grab some drink refreshment for about 25 steps then started up again. I ran 200 steps and imagined another water stop. I practiced my slow down-walk--stop-walk-fast walk-jog-run routine a few times to get me home. Phew. It is brutal out there.

I was dizzy when I came in the house - but only briefly. A bottle of Gatorade had me right as well as a shower. I have to say I am in good flexibility shape. When I stretch after my runs I do not get caught in any lock ups or screaming muscle spasms. Maybe that comes later.

The next two weeks will ramp up my training mileage. It's not much (30 miles/week) but it's going to be a test. The MCM is just 10.5 weeks away! I booked my flights today and confirmed my lodging. For those of you in the DC area I arrive midday on Friday the 27th and leave Monday morning the 30th.

I still need to figure out if I need a car. In to National Airport (I understand only Republicans call it Reagan) and staying in Arlington a few miles from the start line. Will the Metro get me around?



I made my usual trip to the track yesterday morning and ran into the usual crowd of 75 or so marathonfesters doing their speed work. What was unusual was how late they were there. I usually get in my first repeat just before all of them head to the cars and leave me to myself (with an extra hour sleep than them).
I checked their markerboard under the lantern light to see they were all doing ladder repeats of 400-800-1200-1200-800-400. That should not have taken so long. Regardless, it was more invigorating to me to have all the others there running and recovering from the repeats. It started up my competitive juices.
My plan called for 5x1200. I did not feel particularly strong. My legs were still tired from Saturday. What was unusual yesterday was the higher humidity. It had been unusually dry here for a week or more without the usual afternoon thunderstorms. (That usually means no hurricanes are lurking around either.) So when it finally rained on Sunday and Monday the morning heat and dampness brought out the sweat. Between the marathonfesters and me, we must have perspirated a good 125 pounds yesterday morning. That's a foul visual thought. Sorry.
So my 5x12s went slower than I expected but I will allow for the legs and conditions. The splits were 6:14, 6:02, 6:11, 6:10 and 6:12. Not even 5K pace. Eh. So much for that.
There's a 5k on Sunday that opens the fall racing season around here. I have 15 miles to do for my long run. Maybe I'll run to the race site, race and run home the long way. Yeah; that has merit. I'll have to plot the route tonight.
Data recap: 8 uses of the word usual or variations thereof in this post. Ack!


Weekend wrap up

Getting Out. I woke up too early Saturday morning (3ish) for my 600 run. I guess I redozed a little more but I just accepted it and finally put on my runners at 510. I had some Gatorade and half a bagel. I iced some more Gatorade in my cooler and grabbed some Gu. I was 8 minutes late to Dave's house but he was relaxing in a chair under the garage light reading the morning paper.
We were missing the tortoise who allegedly has a an ankle worthy of amputation. At least that's the way Dave made it sound by his acount of what he'd heard. The tortoise isn't on crutches or even limping much but his ankle is hurting and he's seeing a specialist. We can only speculate how long he'll be off the roads but we missed him.
The Run. Dave and I both had 14 miles on our run cards this weekend so I followed him on his College Park route. It turned out to be the same 10 mile route we did two weeks ago plus a 4-mile loop a little north of Dave's house. It was in the high 70s and progressively more humid as the morning wore on. When the sun came up it got hotter but knocked down some of the humidity.
I thought we were going fairly fast but we were yacking with each other a lot and I can't help but believe I run slower when talking. We covered it in 2 hrs 13 minutes. Best part is it is over and maybe (big chance of it) next week it will be cooler (hah!).
New Shoes. In the afternoon I went down to the Track Shack where I knew there were only two pairs of Kayano XIIs left in my size. The anniversary (20% off) sale starts Monday and I couldn't afford to wait and miss getting one of those last pairs. Best of all, the owner extended a special client discount which made it all worthwhile. Life is good.
I am liking this 3 runs a week plan. Tuesday speed. Thursday tempo. Weekend long. It all gets done, produces desired results and isn't killing me (yet).
47 States. I ran into a man I know at the shoe store who is in his late 50s/early 60s. He was buying his standard pair of New Balance shows in advance of his 47th marathon ... all in different states. He's not in the 50 states club but is in his own. Next race: Wyoming. I thought that was pretty impressive. He's done them on several continents too.
Flashbacks. I took son C over to the college yesterday. He starts there on Tuesday. We ran into the junior son of a friend of mine who lives in Philly. The son happens to be a resident of the same #1 popular/notorious dorm room that I had in my sophomore year. He took us up to see the Tower which is a solo fourth floor room with two balconies overlooking the library lawn and the chapel. I will not share any historical accounts of my time there but it was quite nostalgic to be back in the Tower again. I shot some pictures (which Blogger won't load) and sent them to my college roommate. It's only been a few decades. He'll freak.


Going Up!

So I ripped off a 5 mile tempo run this morning in near record time (2nd best for the route). I saw a gal who works at Mrs. T's office out for a walk and one of my city commissioners out for a run. He lives down the street and was running the opposite direction from me over by the college. With about a mile to go in my run I heard these fast footfalls coming up behind me and it was the commish. He fell in with me and we did the last mile together. His pace had me breathing transparently (see breathing definitions here).

Okay. I need some opinions. Jeanne and Bex, I am sure, can point me to their own blog recaps of the Marine Corps Marathon. A guy at the track the other day, after I told him MCM was my target race, said I better be doing some serious hill training. I looked at him and reminded him we were in Florida, as in Flatlands. So the questions are: how hilly is the MCM? and do you think some daily stair climbing in my office building (nine floors) will help?


I LOVE speedwork

I slipped on the Kayanos this morning at 515, checked the blog and emails while downing a tall glass of water; then headed over to the track. There must have been 75 people there finishing up their 1K repeats and warm downs. I arrived as they were leaving so ended up with the track to myself and one guy on rollerblades. Thankfully he kept to the outside lane.
I had a score of perky little 400s to do this morning. One lap around at near full throttle was just what I wanted. I kept a good pace throughout and managed to keep my between rest distances to about 80 meters before restarting. So it went fast. I love speed work. I love my Kayanos.
Target 1:55.0. Intervals: 2:01.0, 1:56.0, 1:51.4, 1:51.0, 1:49.1, changed to clockwise, 1:52.2, 1:50.3, 1:47.9, 1:50.2, 1:46.4.


Cadet porn

Yearling cadets had a week off before the start of school next week so son T and his bud B came south for a week of Florida heat. They might have done better staying in New England (I would have) but it was nice to have them around the house again.
We did not get to go for a run together since I was working long and hard all week but they found plenty to do. Last night we celebrated T's 23rd birthday with a big ol' cake with sparklers on it. It had been six years since we last had a chance to do that. Much fun. I bought him a massage for a present. He's hooked on Sherlene now.
Saturday I went for a 10 mile run. I started a little late (630) but managed to pull off two five mile loops with a Gatorade stop in between. I was shocked and surprised to see that my pace was 9:12 per mile which is the first time I have hit the range of my targeted speed on the Hurry Up training plan. Best of all I am not hurting afterwards.
I think the difference is the shoes. I ran in my Gel Kayanos and not the Evolutions. I am going to switch back which means I need a new pair. Fortunately there is a sale next week.
Marine Corps Marathon offers Powerade on the course. Let me tell you how difficult it is to find any variety, much less supply of that stuff in Florida, home of Gatorade.


Catching a wave

In my renewed effort to get on schedule and in shape I went over to the fitness center at the college on Monday to exert myself on the machines to "enhance" the upper body that has been generally neglected for, oh, say 30 years. Mrs. T has reinforced that point off and on for long enough, albeit with some discretion, to drive me to a new level excellence. (albeit: isn't that a great word?)
So I ripped through the machines in 30 minutes and became familiar enough to move faster in the future.
Tuesday was speed work day and I went up to the track with hopes of running into the Marathonfesters so I could see who exactly was in the group. There must have been 30-40 of them. In the dark I couldn't quite tell. I did see four people I knew which was good. I may try to catch on with them on a weekend long run down the road from now. The Tuesday gang was there an hour before me so I know I won't be joining them in time to do the speedwork.
I did 3 x 1600 in "okay" times of 7:50, 7:40 and 7:45. The target was 7:30 but I am just not there right now. Maybe a little later. (Yeah right, old man!)