Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December 28 - January 2

Monday: I took the day off and watched some football.  I spent 4 hours in the airport on Sunday, and then another several hours on the plane, and by the time I disembarked in Houston, one of my knees was hurting quite a bit.  I guess running a 22 miler and taking a long flight in the same day is probably not ideal.

Tuesday:  It was cold and dark and wet and threatening to rain when I left work, so I decided to eschew my typical track workout for a workout on the treadmill at the gym.  My hope, as well, was that this workout would be easier on my knees than running the rather narrow curves of my local track.  I think I must have looked like a lunatic in my sodden cotton undershirt (since I hadn't planned to run indoors, I didn't pack a shirt to run in) furiously pounding the treadmill at a 5:52 pace with a look of agony (I'm told that I look pretty intense when I'm running hard, but I tend not to think about it at the time) on my face.  Note: a little bit of research before leaving work prompted me to put the treadmill on a 1% grade to compensate for the lack of wind resistance.
Plan: 1 mi easy, 2000m @ 6:45, 1mi 6:26, 1000m @ 6:12, 800 @ 5:58, 1 mi easy
Achieved:  (all that, plus probably some entertainment value for the folks on the stairmasters who didn't realize this was a race)

Christmas Week cont'd

Extended family came to celebrate Christmas a day early!  Spent the morning and early afternoon hanging with them, then worked on the rock wall with my dad until dark.  As it was getting dark, rain swept in, and I opted against trying to get my tempo run in.  I was glad to have worked on the wall during the dry hours of daylight, though, since the rain would preclude any further efforts on the wall.  To summarize- No run.
Ate a late Christmas lunch (yum), and headed out for my "tempo" run just as it was getting dark.  I ended up running half of the run in daylight; the other half in the dark in the country on shoulder-less roads.  My lunch was not sitting well (I had probably eaten too much to run so soon), so I was pretty uncomfortable through the first several miles.
Target: 2 mile WU, 8 miles at 6:45 pace, 2 mile CD
Achieved: 2 mile WU, 7.9 miles @ 7:17 pace, 1.6 mile CD
I was pretty disappointed in how fatigued and slow I felt, and in how poorly the run went.  It seems that all of my extra-curricular activities of the week have been catching up with me.

Saturday: off  (no rock-heaving, no basketball, no mountain climbing, no running).   I hooked up my brother's new music composition software to his keyboard, and set up a wireless network in my dad's house (since everyone uses laptops that are far better than the one computer in the house hooked up to the internet).

Sunday: long run
I had a wonderful, glorious 22 mile run.  I waited until the sun came up; temperature at start was 28 degF.  I had to be careful on a couple of sections early on not to slip on icy patches on the road.  It was a sunny, beautiful day, and I ran a nice, extremely hilly route through some quiet neighborhoods (as compared to my Friday run, where I was constantly leaping off the road to avoid being flattened).  I felt great.  I pushed the pace, even though it was a very hilly route, and was pretty happy with my effort, even though it ended up well short of marathon pace.  This was possibly my longest ever solo run, but it was such a beautiful day and I felt so good that I hardly even noticed.
Target: 22 miles @ 7:31-8:20
Achieved: 22 miles @ 7:46

My run Sunday was just what I needed; I'd been getting pretty discouraged about the poor quality of my workouts earlier in the week.  I hope the hilliness of my workouts this week will somewhat compensate for the lack of speedwork.  I definitely feel like I got a good workout of my hip flexors and glutes (which had been sore on my last "marathon pace" long-ish run), so maybe it was a well-needed change-up for my body.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Building stone walls

Christmas week

This is supposed to be my high-mileage; high intensity week, and so far my running is not going according to plan.  As soon as I got off the airplane on Sunday I went to work building a rock retaining wall in my dad's front yard.  Monday was more of the same, with a 7 mile run at < 8 min/mile pace.

Plan: 10 mile @ 7:30- 8:20 pace
Achieved: 7 mile @ 8:00

Plan: Speedwork!
Achieved: 8 mile hike in the mountains; no running at all.  New plan is to run speedwork on Wednesday morning

Plan: Speedwork!
Achieved: 3.5 hours of shopping, 3 hours of stonework in the yard, 2.5 hours of basketball (Dad, Leland and I dominated Dad's weekly pickup game), 5 mile run (miserably slow and tired) at 9:00 pace

So I've dropped speedwork from the plan.  Plan for Thursday is to do tempo workout per the original plan.  There's a 22 mile run scheduled for Saturday morning that I'm thinking of pushing to Sunday morning.  We'll see how that goes.

I'm a little stressed about dropping some key workouts on a key training week, when I need all of the fitness gains I can get.  But...  it's fun to be home, and being home means staying busy, which means not everything goes according to plan.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19- Recovery week long run

Over the course of the day Friday, my back gradually felt better, and eventually I was able to take a deep breath without stabbing pain.  Saturday morning I woke up with a little twinge in my back and some mysterious cramps in my calves that may or may not have been related to some dancing that occurred at the triathlon club holiday party Friday night.  I've felt better for long runs, but it was a beautiful day (46 degrees and sunny), and once I started running I was happy to be out!

Goal: 1.5 mi WU, 13.1 mi @ 7:00, 1.5 mi CD
Actual: 2.0 mi WU, 13.5 mi @ 7:04, .25 mi CD

This was a pretty tough run.  I spent pretty much the whole run thinking I wasn't going to be able to hold pace for the entire run, but somehow I did.  By the end, my heart rate was through the roof, and my hip flexors and lower back were screaming.  Otherwise I felt pretty good.  I was pretty proud of myself.

Thoughts:  The fact that I'm extending the distance for which I can maintain this pace is pretty exciting!  The fact that I'll have to run twice that distance at that pace (or slightly slower) in a month is pretty daunting.  I'm torn between being excited and being anxious.  I know that I will eventually get myself in shape to run a 3:10 marathon, but I'm not sure that I'll be ready at the end of January.  The prospect of going for it and failing is a little scary, too, because it would be a heck of a crash and burn (and I can still remember pretty vividly some of the spectacular crashes and burns of the past).  No guts, no glory, though, right?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 13 - 19: Recovery Week!

Still terribly jet-lagged, I got up at 5am to play in a company golf tournament.  I had a couple of great shots (but many, many not-great shots).  It was fun.

Raining, ate Mexican food with Greg.

1 mi easy, 2000m @ 6:45, 1mi @ 6:26, 1000m @ 6:12, 800 @ 5:58, 1 mi easy (Total 6.08 mi, avg 7:30 pace)
Track workout as usual.  For some reason, today's workout felt really easy.  Maybe it's related to not running at all for the previous two days.  Or maybe I'm getting faster!!

Woke up with my back messed up, like it was after I wrecked my bike.  Not the spine- kind of a scapula/lat pinching/tightness that prevents me from turning or bending in certain directions, or from arching my back at all.  It may have been due to the golf (finally catching up to me- once every 2 years is not enough to stay in shape), or I may have slept wrong (before I went to bed I turned onto my permanently separated shoulder and felt a 'pop'- not painful, but something definitely moved).

It hurt pretty much all day, then I went for a 6 mile run with Agustina- apparently not a good idea.  I was pretty much immobilized with pain for the rest of the night.

Worked from home (bed) in the morning, then felt like I could walk and went into the office.  No run planned for tonight (maybe I'll squeeze in some time on the bike trainer if it doesn't hurt too badly).

It's a good thing this is a recovery week!  Needless to say, my inability to get a key workout in tonight is giving my confidence a bit of a hit in terms of feeling ready for the Houston Marathon.  I guess all I can do is get my back better and see how it goes from there.

December 6-12 cont'd

Friday: (Paris time)
6.5 miles @ 7:52
I ran from the hotel in Montparnasse down to my favorite park (across from where I used to live), Parc Montsouris.  I managed not to get flattened by traffic en route, and then ran some pretty serious hills once there. This park stayed open later, so I got to run there as much as I wanted (which wasn't that much, as can be seen by my mileage).

Long flight back, then:
20 miles @ 8:28
This run was cool because I had friends show up to run with me, despite the inconvenient start time (3:30 pm).  Randy and Cory ran with me for the first 10 (8:20 avg pace), and Randy and Agustina ran with me for the 2nd 10 (8:45 avg pace).  It was cool and wet, and I felt pretty good.

Weekly mileage total: 45.8- longest of the year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 6-12

This is going to be a tough week, since I fly to Paris tomorrow afternoon.  I have a couple "favorite" running spots in Paris where I typically run, but since I'm traveling with colleagues, I don't know how well I'll be able to get away to train.
Bike: 10 min WU, 20 min Time Trial, 10 min CD

Plan: 1.5 mi WU/CD, 6 mi @ 6:45
Actual 1.5mi WU/CD, 6 mi @ 6:49
Holy cow, what a tough run!  Probably not the best plan for the day after my TT on the bike, but I needed to get something in, and right before I get on the plane tomorrow didn't sound like a good idea. 
Here's a chart:

You can see by the fact that my heart rate is skyrocketing over the course of the run (184 bpm at the end) that this pace would not have been sustainable for much longer, but I'm pretty happy to have held it for as long as I did.

Wednesday (Paris time)
10.3 mile run.  Avg pace 8:04 (including lots of stops for pedestrians and cross traffic), with some pickups in rain and mud.  Three miles of the run were within the Jardin du Luxembourg, until they closed it (sundown before 5pm?).  Ran with a colleague who is training to run sub-3 at Boston, which helped inspire me to keep the pace up when there were few enough obstacles to do so.  Managed to not get flattened by traffic, to not slip and fall on some very slippery sidewalk surfaces, and to not run over any innocent school children, so consider it a success!   

Hopefully I can get in one more run before I fly back; plan is for 20 mile run in Houston on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving week

4.4 mi @ 8:41 (recovery run)

1 mi easy, 2000m @ 6:45, 1mi 6:26, 1000m @ 6:12, 800 @ 5:58, 1 mi easy (Total 6.47 mi, avg 7:29 pace)

5.7 mi @ 8:29 (recovery run)

Thursday (Thanksgiving!)-8k Turkey Trot in S.C.:
5.17 mi @ 6:30.  (target pace 6:26)
I was extremely pleased with this performance.  The course was very hilly, and this was the furthest I've run at this pace.  One more mile and I would've shattered my 10K PR...

18 miles @ ~8:05 pace
I didn't wear my Garmin, and so don't have any details on pacing.  Very hilly, very aggressive run on a beautiful S.C. day.  I was accompanied by various members of my family through the first 9 miles, so it was altogether a pretty great run.

New 2009 weekly distance record:  40.63 mi

Saturday, December 5, 2009

November 29 - December 5

8.03 mi @ 7:26

Tuesday- MONSOON

Wednesday- Tuesday's workout
1 mi easy, 2000m @ 6:45, 1mi 6:26, 1000m @ 6:12, 800 @ 5:58, 1 mi easy

Thursday- Christmas lights run in Sugar Land
5 mi @ 9:26

Friday- was going to run 1.5 mi WU/CD, 6.5 mi @ 6:45, but nixed it due to really nasty weather.  Probably still could have gotten it in indoors, but can't seem to muster the motivation to get on a treadmill.

Saturday Long Run
Goal: 2 mile easy, 8 mile @ 7:04, 2 mile easy
Achieved: 2 mile easy, 8.75 @ 7:07, 2.25 mile easy