Monday, August 24, 2009

Great Track Workout Today

My very first interval workout on the track was about 6 weeks ago and I was very happy with it. My assignment then was 8 x 400 at 2:21 per interval. I ended up doing them in about 2:13. This time coach made things tougher. My assignment was 3 x 400, 2 x 800, 3 x 400. My plan was to run the 400s in under 2:15 and the 800s in under 4:40.

The weather this time was perfect, 60 degrees, it almost felt chilly after the hot days we've been having. I ran 1.5 miles at a 12:00+ pace as a warmup, and then got down to business.

1st 400: 2:08.5 (ut oh, I'm starting out too fast, I'll be dead by the time I finish)
2nd 400: 2:09.5 (ok, a little slower, but I still need to slow down more)
3rd 400: 2:07.2 (no! I said slow down, and now I have the dreaded 800s to do)
1st 800: 4:27.7 (boy, that hurt, and I'm still faster than I planned)
2nd 800: 4:30.4 (little closer to my planned pace, now all I have left are 3 easy peasy 400s)
4th 400: 2:09.6 (maybe I really am faster than I was a month ago)
5th 400: 2:06.5 (only one lap to go, maybe I can run it under 2:00?)
6th 400: 1:53.9 (yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I finished up with about 4 miles at about 11:30ish pace for a total of 8.7 miles in 1:40. Grade for this workout an A+!

On a final note did anyone see the IAAF men's marathon on Saturday. The number 2 guy really impressed me. He manage to puke and maintain his 5ish minute mile pace at the same time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What Did I Do Now?

I have read in other people's blogs about signing up for races after having a few adult beverages and I never thought it would happen to me. Well, never say never. I had a very long and tiring work week and was relaxing with some wine. Then I started catching up on some blogs and saw that veteran ultra runner Susan Donnelly was going to be race directing the inaugural Cumberland Trail 50K in Tennessee. I remember thinking, wow, that looks to be challenging, maybe I should sign up and run that. The next thing I knew, I was clicking on the "submit" button and I was entered!

Now in the light of day, I'm looking at more of the details. The course description contains words like rock staircase, switchbacks, 1900' climb, and stream crossing. What have I gotten myself into? I'm going to plan to "run" this as more of a power hike outing with occasional bits of running, unlike my previous ultras which were running interspersed with walk breaks. There is a time limit of 10 hours, which I should be able to do.

Now I'm off to run some hills to get in shape!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tough Workout

This week I was expecting to have a tempo run assignment from my coach, but he decided to mix it up a bit. Instead of a 4 mile tempo run, he suggested "spicing things up a bit" and run one mile at recovery pace, one mile at tempo pace, and repeat that four times for a total of eight miles. I was going to be in Flint, MI for my tempo run day, and there is a cemetery near our hotel that has a flat one mile loop, perfect for my run. Unfortunately our company changed hotels that we use. I researched the new hotel online and saw that it was within one block of the Flint River Trail. The website had pictures of smiling runners and families on bikes, and I thought, perfect! I should have known that what looks good on the internet isn't always the same in real life. The first 3/4 mile was as advertised, but then the path crossed a very busy road with no crosswalk. Then, about 1/4 mile after that, the neighborhood became bad, bad, very bad. We're talking burned out, boarded up buildings, two-toned cadillac pimpmobiles, and lots of gang graffiti. Then, I saw that the trail went under the Interstate bridge, a perfect hiding place for someone wanting to use my IPhone and Garmin to finance their drug habit. I quickly turned around and picked up my pace. For the rest of my run, I just ran back and forth along the safe 3/4 mile stretch.

As far as the run itself goes, I'm giving myself a solid C. For me, recovery pace is 12:00 miles, and a good tempo run pace for 4 miles is 10:30. The weather was a little warm, 80 degrees, with high humidity and no breeze. Here's how I did:

Mile 1 - 11:56
Mile 2 - 10:24
Mile 3 - 12:00
Mile 4 - 10:24
Mile 5 - 12:13 (heat is starting to get to me)
Mile 6 - 10:34
Mile 7 - 12:17
Mile 8 - First half mile in 5:22, then I died and walked the last half mile in 8:00

Can't wait to see what coach has in store for me next week!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I guess that 8 hour run took more out of me than I thought. That and I was fighting off a head cold last week. However, I'm back to normal again and training for my next race, the Darkside Peachtree City 50K on November 8th. This race is run on the golfcart paths in Peachtree City. It looks like they had 31 runners last year, so it should be a small fun race.

Mr. Garmin has returned from intensive care in Olathe, Kansas. For anyone with a dead Garmin that is outside it's warranty, I highly recommend their repair program. It cost me $79 and I basically got back a good-as-new Garmin 305 in less than two weeks. I think they also put in new guts because it seems to grab satellites about twice as fast as my old one did.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hot 2 Trot Race Report

Yes it was hot as advertised, but what a great event. I got there about 30 minutes early, and signed in and got my race number. Instead of the standard T-shirt, we got towels with the race logo printed on them. I actually used the towel during the race to wipe the sweat off my face, it really came in handy. Then I went back to my car, put foot potion on my feet and my number on my shirt. I also got to talk a bit with DavidRay and met Christian who was celebrating his 37th birthday and was planning on running at least 37 miles. Race director Sarah gave us final instructions (number one rule was "don't die"), we walked up the street about a block so the field of 50 runners would have time to spread out a bit, and then we were off.

It was a beautiful course and the trail was in perfect condition. Just wet enough to be soft, but not so wet as to be muddy. There was a boardwalk section that was slippery early in the day, and one "hill". I'm exaggerating when I say it was 20 feet high, but it was a good excuse to walk for a bit. The 1.12 mile loop actually seemed to get shorter with each lap for about the first four hours, but for me, one section that got longer each lap was the 2 block stretch on the street just prior to the lap counting station and the awesome lap counters. The fully stocked aid station was right after that and "Cold Water Dude" made sure everyone kept their water bottles filled.

I saw some people out on the trail that I had run with during the Darkside 8 Hour run. One gal was Karen who was running this as a training run for the Lean Horse 100 mile run later this month. I also saw Tom on the course, when I talked to him for a bit, he was hoping to cover at least 26.2 miles which would give him 301 marathons or greater. (I checked the results and he did reach 26.79 miles, even though he hadn't run since memorial day due to an illness!) I also ran a lap with fellow blogger DavidRay, check out his race report here, he always has an awesome report with great pictures.

As far as my race went, I don't think it could have gone any better. As disappointed as I was with my effort at Grandma's marathon, take the inverse of that, and that's as happy with my effort on Saturday. I started out slow running 8.5 minutes and walking 1.5 minutes. My plan was to maintain that for 4 hours and then add more walking for the last 4 hours. I actually was able to maintain my original pace for 6 hours and then went with 3.5 minutes running and 1.5 minutes walking. The hydration, electrolytation (yes its a new word I invented) and nutrition all went very well. I carried a water bottle and took a swallow or two every 10 minutes, took an S-cap every 40 minutes the first 4 hours and every 30 minutes the last 4 hours, ate something about every hour (the boiled potatoes dipped in salt seemed to hit the spot, plus I had a total of about 3 Oreo cookies), and had a cup of Gatorade about every hour. The last 3 hours, I substituted Coke for the Gatorade and that seemed to hit the spot. I had absolutely no cramping, sore legs, swollen hands, or anything else that one expects during an ultra. The only problem that came up was that after the race when I took my shoes and socks off, I noticed that two toenails were casulties. Somehow, I managed to get blisters UNDER the toenails. (no I won't show pictures, but if you google blister under toenail you'll see pictures that look exactly like my toes) After the race we had grilled hamburgers and leftover aid station goodies.

There were some very speedy people out on the trail. One gal (who I'm sure was less than half my age) named Kate seemed to lap me almost every lap. She managed to run more miles than the old male course record and covered an amazing 52.46 miles. Two guys ran 48 laps, setting a new male course record of 53.57 miles. As for me, I ran 30 laps for a total of 33.48 miles. I ran 16 laps the first 4 hours and 14 laps the last 4 hours. So I was very consistent and didn't slow down much at all. The heat acclimation runs the previous weeks really helped me, and I felt 100% better than I did during my last race.

Finally I want to leave you with a video that Rahn made of the hundred of pictures he took during the race. When you see a person with a white shirt and blue cap zip by, that's me. The best place to see me is around the 2:45 mark.