Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taper Time

I ran my last 20.2 mile run. I was able to run it outside and the conditions were almost exactly what I'm expecting for my first marathon. The temperature started out around 60 and climbed to a high of 67. My time included a 6-7 minute sock change break, but I still managed to average my goal pace for a sub-five hour marathon. Here is a breakdown of my 5 mile splits:

Mile 1-5: 54:56 Avg Heartrate 153
Mile 6-10 54:58 Avg Heartrate 156
Mile 11-15 1:01:19 Avg Heartrate 158 (time includes the 6-7 minute sock change)
Mile 16-20 57:14 Avg Heartrate 163

One most excellent side note. I totally chicked a guy (ok, he was probably 15 years older than me, but it still counts). I had just changed my socks at 14 miles and was power walking as I ate my gel and drank some water. Behind and to my left I hear a guy say "two more steps and I'll have you!" I was just about finished with my water so as he pulled alongside I started running again. I heard an agonized "Ow, that's mean!" I just HAD to laugh out loud.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Anaerobic Theshold?

During my "speed" workout (for me, speed is a relative term) I think I discovered my anaerobic threshold. During my my fourth interval at increasing speeds, my heartrate was sustained above 170. I also noticed that my legs started feeling heavy. From my research on the web, I think that this means that my anaerobic threshold is a heartrate just above 170, like about 172. With my first marathon less than three weeks away, I'm not going to get crazy with intervals, but after my marathon recovery, I plan on pushing myself outside my comfort zone and work for faster running times.

Wednesday - 5.49 miles on treadmill in 1:05.

Friday - 3.33 miles on treadmill in 40 minutes.

Saturday - 4.29 miles on treadmill in 50 minutes. Attempted "pyramid" intervals. 0.25 miles @ 6.2, 6.4, 6.6, 6.8, 6.6, 6.4, 6.2 mph. Had to quit after the first 5.

Sunday - 11 miles on treadmill in 2:10.

Tuesday is my last 20 mile run (20.2) before the marathon. I've checked the weather forecast and it looks ideal for an outside run, just about the exact conditions I expect to encounter at Phoenix. Like last time, I plan to make it a dress rehearsal, walking and drinking at the same mileages as the marathon, and stopping to change my socks at about the halfway point. Hopefully this will keep me from running the last 5 miles with blisters like I did on my last 20 miler.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

I watched "Spirit of the Marathon" this week and really enjoyed it. Its a documentary that follows marathoners through their training and then the running of the Chicago marathon. I like that it showed a wide range of runners, from elite athletes like Deena Kastor, to BQ hopefuls, to back of the pack first-timers like me. A couple of places seemed a little disjointed to me, but overall it was an excellent documentary. I plan on watching it again before the marathon.

This weeks training:

Thursday - 8.23 miles in 1:29:24 on PTC golfcart paths. Planned for 10, but didn't want to make blister from 20 miler worse.

Saturday - 5.74 miles in 1:05 on treadmill. Included 5 x .5 miles @ 6.2 mph.

Sunday - 4.8 miles in 57:26 on treadmill. Had planned on doing 10, but I was running late and needed to get to work.

Monday - 5.93 miles on treadmill in 1:10.

Tuesday - 15 miles on PTC golfcart paths in 2:45:48. This was one minute slower than my time two weeks ago, but this included a stop to change socks in an effort to avoid blisters.

Next week: Last 20 miler before the marathon. Actually I'm planning on running 20.2 miles since in the movie, Deena Kastor says that its the last .2 that are the worst.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

20 mile run - check

I did it, the oft recommended, prescribed, written about, and experienced, 20 mile pre-marathon training run. I had every intention of running it outside, but a look at the forecast and radar showed that there was a very good chance of being stopped by a thunderstorm. So, the dreadmill it was. I tried to treat it as much like I'm planning to run the marathon as I could. I went to the marathon website and found out where all the water and sports drinks stations were and wrote the mileages on a card. Since I'm planning to walk as I drink, I walked 10-15 seconds as I drank on this training run. The run went very well, the only problem I had were two blisters on the bottom of my right foot at about the 15 mile point. By the end of the run it felt like they were covering about half my foot, but of course they were much smaller. One about the size of a quarter and the other very very small. Overall it was a good experience, and gave me confidence that I will be able to complete my first marathon in 33 days.

Training this week:

Friday - 10 miles in 1:51:10 on PTC golfcart paths

Saturday - 3.5 miles in 40 minutes on treadmill. 5 min walking at 3.5 mph, 5 min jogging at 5.2 mph, 2 miles at 6.2 mph, 5+ min jogging at 5.2 mph, 5 min walking at 3.5 mph. Maybe after my marathon, I'll train for and finally run a sub 1 hour 10k?

Sunday - 60 minutes on elliptical while hotel maintenance fixed the treadmill, then 5.1 miles in one hour on treadmill

Monday - 3.13 miles on treadmill in 40 minutes

Tuesday - TWENTY miles on treadmill in 3:58:43

Monday, December 8, 2008

Its My Own Fault

After putting the title on my last post, the song "Running Bare" started running through my brain. Now it will be running through yours. Oh, and the guys in the background will crack you up.

Running Nekkid

On Wednesday the weather was nice, so I packed all my running stuff in my car and drove to Peachtree City for a 10 mile run. However, when I arrived and got all suited up and turned on my Garmin, I discovered that the battery was run down! OMG, how was I going to be able to run without knowing my time and distance and heartrate every second? After nixing the idea of driving home, charging the battery, and driving back, I decided to do things the old fashioned way. Before starting out, I noted the time on my car's clock, and started on my run. The local running club has done a great job marking a 10K route and all the distance markers are very accurate. So I ran the 10K with an extra 4.67 mile loop for a total of 10.87 miles in 1:57 plus/minus a minute. I felt completely naked for the first couple of miles, but I did have my Ipod to keep me company, and as long as I saw a mile marker every 3 or 4 songs, I knew I was doing alright. Next week is the first of two planned 20 mile runs. Scary!

Training this week:

Tuesday - 5.87 miles on treadmill in 1:10

Wednesday - 10.87 miles in approximately 1:57 on PTC golfcart paths. Time is approximate because my Forerunner battery was dead so I used the clock in my car.

Thursday - Off day because of blister I got yesterday

Friday - 6.19 miles on treadmill in 1:10, included 3 x 1 mile @ 6.0 mph. Also 15 seconds at my brother's marathon pace.

Saturday - 10.84 miles on treadmill in 2:10

Sunday - 5.84 miles on treadmill in 1:10

Monday - 15 miles on PTC golfcart paths in 2:44:47

Total: 54.61 miles!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I did it, my longest run so far. After last week's yucky week, I was wondering how this week was going to go, and it surprised me. I stayed at the same hotels I did last week and ran on the same treadmills in the same fitness rooms. Last week I struggled to run 35 miles; my heartrate was high and I just didn't seem to have any oomph. And then this week I ran well over 50 miles and I feel great. One theory floating through my mind on today's 18 mile run is that I started "double bagging" my boobs about 10 days ago....ie I'm wearing 2 sports bras to cut down on the bouncing. My theory is that it constricts my ribcage just a little bit more, and this week I've finally adjusted to the breathing. Any other guess is probably just as good.

This weeks training:

Tuesday - 5.9 miles on treadmill in 1:10

Wednesday - 9.92 miles on treadmill in 2:00

Thursday - 6.16 miles on treadmill in 1:10 included 6 x 5 minutes at 6.0 mph. This seemed way too easy, either the treadmill was slower than the indicated speed or pumpkin pie is the best pre-run energy food ever invented.

Friday - 10.98 miles on treadmill in 2:10

Saturday - 5.92 miles on treadmill in 1:10

Sunday - Rest day

Monday - 18 miles on treadmill in 3:33:28

Monday, November 24, 2008

I've Joined a Cult!

Peachtree City has a large and active running club and I joined. On Saturday I participated in my first club event. Besides the weekly fun runs on Saturday and long runs on Sunday, once a month they have a club event that everyone has a chance of winning. This week it was a handicap run. You emailed the guy running the event your predicted time, and based on that, you were given a start time so that theoretically everyone would cross the finish line at 9 AM. No one could wear a watch or MP3 player or anything else that could be used to pace yourself. Also, anyone that crossed the line before 9 AM was disqualified; so the object was to cross the finish line at or after 9 AM. The temperature when I woke up Saturday morning was SIXTEEN degrees, and that was farenheit not celsius! I figured with the temperature being that cold in Joja that maybe 5-10 people would show up. Was I surprised, there were about 40 runners that showed. It took awhile to get warmed up and running well, but I was dressed appropriately and the temperature wasn't that bad. At about 3 miles people started zipping past me, I knew my pace was a little slow, but not that far off my prediction. Sure enough, over half the runners were disqualified for finishing before 9 AM. I really had a fun time, and look forward to more club events.

Tuesday - 5.71 miles on treadmill in 1:10

Wednesday - 4.04 miles on treadmill in :50

Saturday - 10K in 1:07 (still waiting for official time)

Sunday - 5.78 miles on treadmill in 1:10

Monday - 14.13 miles on treadmill in 3:00
For some reason I seem to be getting slower and slower. The good news is that I have absolutely no aches or pains. So things look like they are still on track. Next week an 18 mile long run!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gotta Love Those Endorphins!

No matter how bad I feel before a run, once I get on the treadmill or out the door and get 20 - 25 minutes of running done, the endorphins kick in and I'm glad I'm running. So I'm going to make a deal with myself, as long as I have running facilities and time available, I'm going to try to get at least 3 miles a day in. For now, I've just finished my long run, and I'm off to Golden Corral for their annual "Thank You Military" free dinner!

Training for the week:

Thursday - 7.25 miles on treadmill in 1:28

Friday - 4.66 miles on treadmill in :55

Saturday - 11.38 miles on treadmill in 2:10

Sunday - Rest Day

Monday - 16.6 miles on treadmill in 3:27 (I had to take several 2 minute walk breaks on this run, I'm blaming the flu shot I had the day before.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Critical Juncture?

I am now at the point where previous attempts at training for a marathon have run into snags. Hopefully I will continue to be injury free for another two months and run my very first marathon. I almost thought I might be having a problem this week. My last long run was last Sunday, and I ran over 15 miles, my longest run ever. The run itself went very well. However, when I ran the next day, my hamstring got really sore the last mile or so of my run. The day after that, I had to stop my run after only 3 miles or so. It felt worse than a sore muscle, but not as bad as a pulled muscle. I took the next day off, and the day after that I ran 10 miles outside. The hamstring was tight the whole run, but not really painful, but afterwards, it started hurting. I iced it and the next day I used some IcyHot before my run, and everything seemed fine. Then on Saturday I ran with absolutely no pain, but cut the run short because my heartrate was way up. I've just finished my long run for the week, and all initial indications are good. I ran over 15 miles again with no major aches or pains and my hamstring gave me no problems. I've only got one more week of increasing my short and medium run times to 1 and 2 hours. I'll try to maintain that for the next two months, while increasing my long run from 3 hours to one or two 20 mile runs before the marathon. Hopefully I won't burn out either mentally or physically this time.

Monday - 5.79 miles on treadmill in 1:08

Tuesday - 3.31 miles on treadmill in 40:00 (for some reason hamstring felt really tight)
Weight Training

Wednesday - Rest Day

Thursday - 10.4 miles in 1:56 around cemetery in Flint, MI (wearing shorts and short sleeves in November, no less!)

Friday - 5.87 miles on treadmill in 1:08
Included 4 x 5 minutes @ 6.0 mph

Saturday - 7.5 miles on treadmill in 1:30 (I cut the planned run short by 30 minutes, why do hotels think 80 degrees is a good temperature for the fitness center?)

Sunday - Off day

Monday - 15.32 miles on Peachtree City golfcart paths in 2:54

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Running In Peachtree City

A couple of weeks ago while I was running the PTC Classic 15k, I noticed that some of the route was on a well marked 10k route. I did some looking online and found a running club in Peachtree City that did group long runs on Sundays. I also printed out a map of the 10k route that they had on their website. I showed up at the designated point at 7:00 AM this morning and there were about 15 people there. Unfortunately, the 5 or so walkers were too slow for me, and I was too slow for the 10 or so runners that were there. But, they were all very nice, and showed me on the map how I could do my planned 15 mile run, where there were places to refill my water bottle, and where the emergency bathroom stops were (in the woods ;-) ). I set out for my run and had a really good time. I even saw two deer while I was running, close enough that I could have spit on one of them. I will definately be going back there for my longer runs!

Training this week:

Monday - 5.68 miles on treadmill in 1:06
Weight training

Tuesday - Rest day

Wednesday - 10.5 miles on treadmill in 2:02

Thursday - 5.73 miles on treadmill in 1:06 (included 6 x 1 minute runs @6.3 mph)
Weight training

Friday - 10.54 miles on treadmill in 2:02

Saturday - 5.77 miles on treadmill in 1:06
Weight training

Sunday - 15.09 miles on golfcart paths in 2:48

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just Because I'm Slow...

doesn't mean I don't feel competitive once in awhile. They finally had pictures from my 15k race available online, and when I looked at them, I couldn't help but laugh. The last three pictures are from near the finish line and in them I look like I'm possessed. The reason behind the crazed look: I was running a reverse split and doing very well the second half of the race. From about the seven mile point on, not one runner had passed me, and I was picking off runners ahead of me one by one. At about the nine mile point, a guy in a red shirt had the nerve to pass me! I tried to pick up the pace at that point, but couldn't quite do it. After the final turn, I could see the finish line about 200 yards ahead, and about 30 yards ahead of me was Mr. Red Shirt Guy. Well there was no way he was going to make it to the finish line ahead of me, so I kicked in the afterburners and "sprinted" to the finish line and beat him. According to my heartrate monitor, my heartrate peaked at 177 bpm (using the standard 220-age to calculate maximum heartrate, that number is about 6 bpm faster than what my max heartrate is). Of course, the resultant pictures are not something that I am going to frame and put on my wall, but they did provide me with a good laugh.

This weeks training:

Sunday - Rest day

Monday - 5.2 miles on treadmill in 1:04 (It was 92 degrees in the hotel fitness room!)

Tuesday - 10.15 miles on treadmill in 1:58

Wednesday - Nothing

Thursday - Nothing

Friday - 10.05 miles on treadmill in 1:58

Saturday - 4.98 miles on hilly course around neighborhood in 54 minutes

Sunday - 14.4 miles on treadmill in 2:52

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Okay, its the first 15k race I've run so no matter what my time was, it was going to be a PR. But, I was very happy with my running. The Peachtree City Classic 15k is an awesome race and I plan on running it again in future years. The first 2-3 miles is on streets, but after the field spreads out, the rest of the course is on golf cart paths. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Peachtree City, its a planned community with 100's of miles of golf cart paths. So most of the race you are running in the woods, enjoying nature, kind of like a nice weekend run with 1500 friends. They limit the field to 1500 so it doesn't feel crowded at all. My goal was to run a 10:40 pace, but weather conditions were ideal (50 degrees and overcast skies) so I was able to run a 1:36:37. My split times were:
Miles 1 and 2 21:14 (I missed seeing the first mile marker)
Mile 3 10:24
Mile 4 10:55
Mile 5 10:38
Mile 6 10:18
Mile 7 10:22
Mile 8 10:05
Mile 9 9:53
Last .3 2:48

Training for the week:

Monday - 5.35 miles on treadmill in 1:02

Tuesday - Was a lazy bum

Wednesday - 9.83 miles on treadmill in 1:54

Thursday - 5.48 miles on treadmill in 1:02

Friday - 3.51 miles on treadmill in 40 minutes. 15 minutes were at 6.0 mph

Saturday - 9.3 miles in 1:36:37

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why am I training for a marathon?

Good question. This is actually the 3rd or 4th time I've started marathon training. I have yet to run a marathon. Previous attempts were interrupted by laziness, injury, or war. I have been an off and on runner for about 30 years. My first race was the inaugural Bolder Boulder in 1979. I've tried to find my time from back then, but so far I have been unsuccessful. It would be interesting to see how my time compares to my 30 year older self. I have never been a fast runner. The fastest pace for a timed run that I remember is 13:30 for a required 1.5 mile run when I was about 30 years old in the Air Force. Back to the original question. The idea of running a marathon has been in the back or front of my mind for a long time. The sense of accomplishment of training for, getting to the starting line healthy and trained, and then crossing the finish line must be incredible and I'd like to do that. I've seen other peoples' goals of doing things like 50 marathons before they are 50, etc...well my goal is to finish a marathon under 5 hours before I'm 50. Will I accomplish this goal? Stay tuned!

This weeks training:

Monday - 5.13 miles on treadmill in 1:00

Tuesday - 9.46 miles on treadmill in 1:50

Wednesday - 5.1 miles on treadmill in 1:00
included 6 1 minute runs @ 6.2 mph

Thursday - 9.45 miles on treadmill in 1:50

Friday - 5.27 miles on treadmill in 1:00

Saturday - 10 minutes recumbent bike, 20 minutes elliptical trainer (Treadmill at this hotel sucks, I've been on a campaign to get them to replace it for 6 months now.)

Sunday - 13.39 miles on treadmill in 2:40
What a difference a week makes. Last week I struggled the last 1.5 hours of my long run. This week, I felt like I could have gone for another 30 minutes. I think my idea of eating a few extra carbs the day before was a good one.

Next weeks training. Add 2 and 4 minutes to my short and medium runs. In place of my long run, I'm going to run a 15k race.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I Ran Outside - and I Liked It!!!

Almost all of my training is done on a treadmill. There are several reasons for this, no dogs chasing me, perfect weather conditions, I travel a lot and almost every hotel has a treadmill, I can watch Judge Judy, and most important, no hills! (I HATE hills) However, on Saturday, my schedule was such that I had to leave for work before the gym opened (they have shortened weekend hours) and I wouldn't be back in time to get in my run at the gym. Since I already had taken a day off for the week, that left me with one option.....run outside. I ran in the pre-dawn hours, a 1.1 mile loop around my neighborhood. The good news is, none of my neighbors let their dogs run loose, also, I didn't mind the hills as much as I did last year. I guess I'm just getting stronger.

My training for the week:

Note: all treadmill run mileages and times include a 5 minute walking warmup and 5 minute walking cooldown.

Monday - 4.94 miles on treadmill in 58 minutes
40 minutes of weight training

Tuesday - 9.15 miles on treadmill in 1:46

Wednesday - 5 miles on treadmill in 58 minutes

Thursday - 9.12 miles on treadmill in 1:46

Friday - Off day

Saturday - 4.41 miles in 48 minutes. Run around neighborhood, I'm calling this a hill workout!

Sunday - 12.37 miles on treadmill in 2:34

For some reason, I had a really tough time with my long run this week. Even though I was running 0.2 mph slower than on my medium run days, my heartrate was about 10 bpm faster. I even had to slow down to a 1 minute walk about 4 or 5 times the last hour of my run. My guess is that my body was low on carbs since I'm also trying to lose some weight. Next week I'll try adding a few more carbs the day before my long run. Not necessarily carb loading, but more like not restricting carbs.

Next weeks training plan:

I'm planning on adding 2, 4, and 6 minutes to my short, medium and long runs. The plan is to continue to do this until I get to 1 hour, 2 hour, and 3 hour runs. Then continue to add to my long run until I run one 20 mile run a couple of weeks before my first marathon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My first blog

Yes, I've finally done it. Started a blog. Initially I will do this to track my training for my very first marathon. As things evolve, this blog may or may not evolve, or it may disappear into cyberspace when I get bored with it. At any rate, I hope my brother (marathoner, ultra-marathoner, and who knows what else, extraordinaire) will pop in once in awhile and offer some coaching advice.