Monday, September 28, 2009

An Easy Monday

Not much to report today. It's my scheduled day off from running. I hit the bike for an hour and did my core workout. Back at it tomorrow.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Linda Yalem 5K

Perfect race day weather, cool, cloudy, a bit of rain, but before we get into the race I need to discuss my pre-race prep, or lack thereof. I need to develop a consistent plan leading up to a race, including what I eat the night before, how much I sleep and the race day ritual. Right now, I pretty much do whatever, and get out and race. Last night, I was up past midnight, playing cards with the boys. I was thinking the whole time that I really should be in bed, but I couldn't pull myself away. I woke up early this morning feeling groggy and for a split second (or 2 snoozes with the alarm clock) thought on bailing. I sucked it up and went and enjoyed the run. It is always worth dragging myself out to run, even when I don't initially want to. I feel so much better afterwards.

On t0 the race: My plan today was the same as last week. I was going for consistency in my mile pace at 7:40. However, this didn't go exactly to plan. The first mile was tough, due to the large crowd. Mile 2, I stepped it up, and was able to hang in there for the 3rd mile. However, according to my GPS, this race was a bit longer than 3.1 miles, actually 3.13.

Mile: Goal/Actual (+/-)

Mile 1: 7:40/7:49 (+:09)
Mile 2: 7:40/7:33 (-:07)
Mile 3: 7:40/7:38 (-:02)
Last .1: 45:/51 (+:06)

So, two thoughts on this. I feel as though I met my goal even though the last .10 was longer than I had planned. My overall time wasn't better than my previous best, and yet my pace is lower. Is that a PR? Yes and no, I guess.


Mileage: 3.13
Time/Pace: 23:50/7:38
Avg Heart Rate: 167

Temp: 61
Weather: Cool, Cloudy, Some Rain

Last .10:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Running with No Socks and Other Tales from the Road

It's been hectic and though I haven't blogged much this week I still was able to get the scheduled runs in.

Wednesday...I forgot to pack socks. I could I do that?!? My wife says I should make a list of things I need to pack every week. I refuse, but clearly my packing strategy has some holes. I was only doing four miles, so I just ran without socks. Bad idea! Socks are VERY important. Even though I only ran 4, I still developed the beginnings of a couple of blisters. I won't do that again!

Mileage: 4.00
Time/Pace: 39:39/9:54

Thursday...I had nice 6 miler scheduled. I run by cemeteries all of the time. I have never ran through one, but today I figured what the hell (no pun intended). Cemeteries are interesting and quite thought provoking. It is kind of neat to look at all of the headstones, Smith, Czewinski, Doll, Fischer, etc. There are a lot of dead people in there. What happens to a cemetery once all of the space is gone? Am I bothering anyone? I guess not. How long do you get a space? Forever? In theory, we could eventually have no where left to bury people if you never have to "give up" your space.

A cemetery joke for you: Why are there fences around cemeteries?....everyone is dying to get in!!!

Mileage: 6.42
Time/Pace: 1:01:43/9:36
Avg Heart Rate: 149

Today...I had a lot of energy today throughout the run. It is a great feeling to run 7 miles and feel fine afterwards. It was only a few months ago that 7 miles of run would drain me for the rest of the day, but now it is just a small part of the day. Also, got in a core workout.

Mileage: 7.00
Time/Pace: 1:06:52/9:33
Avg Heart Rate: 148

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I really want to like swimming. I can appreciate the intense cardio aspect of it and I would like to get good at it and maybe try a triathlon, but right now, I SUCK at it. Today I did another 20 minutes in the pool, I feel totally silly, because I know I have no rhythm and do more splashing than swimming. Oh well, I'll keep at it.

I also ran 6 miles today; nice and easy trying to keep the heart rate under 155. I did my core workout as well, so overall a pretty hefty workout day, but I don't feel totally drained, which I suppose is good.

Mileage: 6.00
Time/Pace: 59:45/9:57
Avg Heart Rate: 150

Temp: 65
Weather: Overcast, Some Sprinkles

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Plan

So, now that I finished my first half-marathon, I'm thinking, what's next? For the next 2+ months my plan is to work on increasing mileage and to run a couple of races each month through November. I will then begin training for my first marathon (March 21 in Virginia Beach). I will be increasing my mileage by about 10% each week with a "rest week" (lower mileage every fourth week. I will not be doing any speed training during this time, but I will be incorporating a long run in the mix. I'm looking to peak at 34 miles/week with a long run of 14 miles. The final race before my marathon training will be the YMCA Turkey Trot. I have done this race in the past two years, but I have never trained for it or done any serious running before it. I haven't decided on which marathon training plan to use or to design my own, but I will be researching this over the next couple of months. It you have any suggestions please do share.

Other than running, I will continue my upper body resistance training and hope to incorporate some lower body work as well. I will continue swimming and biking as cross training.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shea's 5K

Well, I bailed on yesterday's 5K, due to work. I actually have to do some work today too, but I was able to get in the Shea's run this morning. I've been thinking some about pace and decided to try a new strategy. I had been starting slower and decreasing my time per mile about 5 seconds per mile. Today I decided to pick a pace and stick with it for the entire race.Today I was shooting for 23:45/7:40. Here's how I did.

Mile 1: 7:40/7:38 (-:02)
Mile 2: 7:40/7:39 (-:01)
Mile 3: 7:40/7:47 (+:07)
Last .1: :45/:45 (:00)

The last mile really hurt. This strategy was okay and I may try it again, but I still like my other approach better. I guess I shouldn't complain too much though as I decreased my best time at this distance by :10.


Mileage: 3.11
Time/Pace: 23:50/7:39
Avg Heart Rate: 173 (Yikes!)

Temp: 65
Weather: Sunny, Cool, Breezy

Back to work....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Swimming Again

Today I went out and got a pair of goggles and a nose plug. HUGE HELP!! I swam for another 20 minutes and did my medicine ball core workout. MY biggest problem swimming is getting a breathing rhythm and while keeping my head in the water. The lifeguard on duty must think I look like a flailing cat, that was thrown in the water and is desperately trying to get to the edge. Oh well. It can't get any worse. Well...unless I drown.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Great Swimming Experiment

At the hotel I'm staying at, they've worked a sweet deal where the guests get to use the local Y for free. It is only a block away and has a pool. I've been contemplating adding swimming to the mix, but I have some issues with the whole public water activity thing.

However, I thought, what the hell, and went for it. I went out and bought a swim suit, some flip flops, and a beach towel.

As I went through swim, I began to realize why I have an issue with public water sports. Here's my list.

1) Feet. I have an issue with feet. Some people don't take care of their feet like they should. Maybe it always isn't their fault, but still, feet just bother me. This is worse at water parks as you have to share things like water tubes with other slimy-skinned people.

2)My Own Fat. Hey, I'm a fat guy. I don't actually look appealing without my shirt on. I try to take other people into account when I bare my chest. I feel bad for the lifeguard, who is forced to watch this round pasty guy thrashing in the water. She must be thinking, "Please don't drown. I don't want to have to drag your fat ass up from the bottom."

3) Man Junk. Come on guys! Cover it up! Why do the old fat men always prance around the room flapping in the breeze and then think it is a good idea to strike up a conversation with me. Hey buddy, you are wet, naked, fat and hairy. I really just want to dry off, get dressed and leave.

4) Water up the nose. This is the hardest part for me. I think I'll need to invest in a nose plug or something. I don't do the whole face in the water freestyle crawl thing, because of this. I need to learn how to do this, so I must try the nose plug.

So, in spite of all of this, I swam for 20 minutes. Swimming is pretty intense, especially when you do it for an extended period of time. I've never really swam for exercise, just recreation. The experience was tolerable and I will do it again (maybe even tomorrow!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cross Training and Resistance Training

I suppose I should document all of my other activities not just my running days. Since June I have been regularly been doing upper body and core work. I don't do weights for my legs as the running seems to be strengthening them just fine. I have been trying to do resistance training on my off running days and core work 3x per week.

My upper body work consists of 2 sets of 3 different exercises for each muscle group: chest, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps, with 15-20 reps per set, light weight. I did this workout today.

My core workout is with a medicine ball taken from Runner Dude's Core Workout.

Tomorrow I am also going to give the pool a try. Now that I am working out of town, I have more time to do more training. I work longer hours, but because I am not home I have nothing else to do in my down time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rochester Half Marathon

I did it! I finished the race in 1:55:04. A couple of morning mishaps didn't set me back too much, was just annoying. I was preparing to leave the room and had everything on except my Garmin watch. I had plugged it in at night to make sure the battery was fully charged. However, when I put the watch on, I noticed it was displaying the time as usual. It was frozen on one of the screens and I couldn't get it to respond. I was freaking out. I love that watch and it may be the most important tool I use when I run. My wife, who is usually impatient with everything, is the "repair wiz" in the house. She patiently inspected the watch and miraculously got it to respond and out the door I went. I noticed as I was trotting to the start line that the battery was only 32% charged. I figured that I had enough for the race since the battery is supposed to last for 8 hrs, and since I planned on finishing in under 2 hours it should last. Not so! It kicked the bucket during the last mile, which is okay, all things considered and I was able to use it to monitor my pace until the last mile.

So here's how the actual race went....

The first 3 miles were a breeze. Nice amount of spectators and a large running crowd made these miles go by fast. The start was a bit reminiscent of the Turkey Trot start, but it thinned out quickly. I did have a humorous experience in the first mile. A guy I was running behind, swerved off the road and peed on a building in downtown Rochester. He must have had to go pretty bad, since we were only in the first mile.

Mile: Goal/Actual (+/-)

1: 8:55/8:52 (-:03)
2: 8:55/8:54 (-:01)
3: 8:55/8:54 (-:01)

The beginning of the 4th mile, started with a pretty decent hill. Learning from my struggles with the inclines last week, I decided to try something new. I just took whatever the hill gave me, not focusing so hard on keeping pace. On the downhill, I used the decline to surge ahead. This seemed to work well for me.

4: 8:50/8:50 (:00)
5: 8:50/8:50 (:00)
6: 8:50/8:46 (-:04)

During this stretch the course got a bit boring. We had been running through city streets with a good amount of spectators, but then the route moved into a park and then on to a bike path along side the Erie Canal. There wasn't much room for spectators and not a lot of room to negotiate around slower runners. This was also where I turned on my I-pod for the first time. Up to this point I enjoyed the sounds of the race and spectators. Also, you'll noticed I struggled a bit hitting my splits, again I think mostly because I spent a lot of time weaving in and out of people, but I was getting a bit fatigued as well.

7: 8:45/8:42 (-:03)
8: 8:45/8:47 (+:02)
9: 8:45/8:48 (+:03)

The course began to get a little more interesting at this point. We emerged from the bike path and were running along side of the University of Rochester campus. This gave me a little boost of energy seeing and hearing the spectators. I also plowed into a lady who decided to stop dead in her tracks in the middle of the water stop.

10: 8:40/8:40 (:00)
11: 8:40/8:42 (+:02)
12: 8:40/8:37 (-:03)
13+ .1: 9:40/9:32 (-:08)

Mileage: 13.10
Time/Pace: 1:55:04/8:46
Avg Heart Rate: 161

Temp: 51
Weather: Partly Sunny, Cool

I felt as though my plan for the race, was solid and I hit my goal, so I'm pretty thrilled. I must thank all of you who encouraged me and tolerated reading my blog. Also, thanks to those that came out to the race to cheer me on; my dad and Dawn, SL and VL, and of course, most of all, my lovely wife, who tolerated not sleeping much, getting up early and generally supporting me throughout this training.

What next?!? A few days off and then I will set a new goal. So, stay tuned...

I will leave you with this lovely picture of my race injury (more bloody nips!!) I even used Body Glide and that didn't work!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Night Before

Tomorrow is the "big day". I've trained hard, had a few setbacks, a few victories, a few disappointments.

Going through my mind tonight....

1) Did I eat the right food?
2) Did I train enough?
3) Am I going to make it?
4) Will I meet my goal?
5) Will I wake up on time?
6) Should I eat one banana or two tomorrow morning?
7) Am I going to look silly with my fuel belt on?
8) What if I don't finish.....


I'm sure I won't sleep much tonight, which is silly, because I'm not trying to win.

My strategy is the following...

Mile 1-3 8:55
Mile 4-6 8:50
Mile 7-9 8:45
Mile 10-13 8:40
Last .1 1:00

If I can accomplish this, I will run 1:55:10/8:47. Is this possible? Yes. Will I do it? Hopefully. Time will tell....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Holy Hills, Batman!

One thing about this area I'm working in now, it a much more hilly than home. Take today for instance. I left the hotel this morning, and ran around the neighborhood and immediately hit some hills the likes I've never dealt with. One hill in particular was just silly. I will now attempt some serious math to give you a better idea.

Gradient= Rise/Run

1100ft (top of hill) - 729 ft (ele. at bottom of hill) = 371 ft

.81 mile (at top of hill) - .63 mile (at bottom of hill) = .18 mile

Gradient = 2061ft/mile

Ok, so what is the percentage read on....isn't math fun!!

So first convert .18 miles to feet and that is...let's see....oh yeah...duh (!)...1478 ft...

Ok so then using Rise/Run....

371/1478 = 25% (Yikes!!)

Tough and something I haven't experienced before. I'll have to do more of this.

Mileage: 3.11
Time/Pace: 31:23/10:05
Avg Heart Rate: 140

Temp: 60
Weather: Sunny

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Otsiningo Park, Binghamton

I am working out of town, so I figured I'd try a new place to run. This was quite enjoyable. The park has a nice trail that runs along what I believe is the Chenango River. I took it nice and easy, not trying to break any records, just trying to keep my legs loose and enjoy my surroundings.

Mileage: 4.00
Time/Pace: 39:58/9:59
Avg Heart Rate: 147

Temp: 72
Weather: Sunny

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where am I?!?

So, I've been relocated for my job. It isn't too far away, only about 3.5 hours, but far enough that I have to spend time away from home. It already sucks being away from home, away from my wife, the puppies and kitties, my bed, etc, but it is important to make a living and so I can't complain too much.

I am looking forward to exploring some new trails and new sites while I run. I'll keep you posted as to what I discover.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Run into Buffalo 15K

Big test for me this morning. This is my first attempt at this distance in a race. I was a bit on edge, not having run since Tuesday, because of my questionable knee. Before the race, I tested the knee both with and without the knee wrap. I decided to go without the wrap.

The course is basically the Turkey Trot course, out and back. My plan was to test my pace to see if a sub-2hr half marathon was possible. I didn't feel the best waking up. I had a very active weekend and was up late spending time with friends. I was very groggy this morning when I woke. Anyway...

My thoughts were to start at an 8:40 pace, drop :05 for the first 4 miles and then hold at 8:25 for miles 4-6. Then continue the drop for 7-9, for an average pace of 8:25.

It started off well...

Mile 1: 8:40 goal/ 8:37 actual (-:03)
Mile 2: 8:35/ 8:37 (+:02)
Mile 3: 8:30/8:30 (+:00)

Some incline, that was more intense than it looked, but a nice descent too...

Mile 4: 8:25/8:33 (+:08), long gradual descent, took more out of me than I thought it would.
Mile 5: 8:25/8:25 (+:00), ok, back on track, but need the descent to help out.
Mile 6: 8:25/8:45 (+:25), sucking air now, more incline

Just survive....

Mile 7: 8:20/9:19 (+:59), more incline, ugh.....just breathe...lots of people passing me.....
Mile 8: 8:15/8:56 (+:41), I made a deal with myself, just get under 9mins, help from the descent
Mile 9: 8:10/9:23 (+1:13), yeah are SO FAT!!!!
Last .3: 2:25/2:33 (+:08), sprinted to the finish....well SPRINT is a loose interpretation....

What did I learn?

1) I'm still FAT and out of shape.
2) I can survive a race, even when everything tells me to "Stop, this is stupid!"
3) Get better sleep the night before.
4) Eat better, you won't feel so crappy in the morning (aka. Food Hangover = Not Good for a Race)

This race was pretty neat other than my obvious deficiencies. I like the out and back race route. It allowed two opportunities to see the leaders zoom past. It is interesting to note the body type changes as runners pass by. The leaders were a long and thin, in top running shape. As the race progressed, the waistlines expand and the muscle structures become less obvious. Guess what group I was in? The round, sweaty balls blundering along somewhere in the middle.

Mileage: 9.32
Time/Pace: 1:21:41/8:45

Temp: 65
Weather: Sunny, Cool

The good news is that if I can run this pace for the half I will finish under 2 hours (1:54:37). This pace even gives me a handful of minutes to "play" with.

After the race, my knee felt good, even walking on it. The rest was successful. This week will consist of mostly rest too. I don't want to push it too hard. I will probably get in one or two runs in the 3-5mile range, just to stay loose, otherwise saving it all for Sunday.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Checking In

I'm still resting my knee. I haven't run since Tuesday. Well, okay, so I ran a LITTLE BIT yesterday. My wife is doing the coach to 5K program, so I ran her daily workout with her. Other than that nothing, but upper body weight work. I'm itching for a run, but am erring on the side of caution. Today I have been wearing my Ace wrap all day, and the knee feels better. The latest plan is to run the 15K as a "test" for my running time strategy and to check out the knee. I may get a short distance (3-4 miles) in mid-week and then nothing until the half on next Sunday. I am confident that my fitness level (small as that is) won't go out the window and the lay off won't hurt me too much. After the half, I'll re-assess, but the plan is a solid week of rest with maybe a 5K. Then a good 8 weeks of building up mileage and various 5K's throughout the fall. At the end of November, the plan is to begin training for a marathon (Shamrock Marathon, Virginia Beach, in March). Whew...we'll see.

Also, if there are any bikers out there looking for a new shop in town check out Tri-Spot. They just opened and are the only local dealer of Cervelo. They have a winter time-trial series that uses a virtual reality race simulator that I am thinking about signing up for. I still need to purchase a bike, but I think I am going for the Cervelo S1.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Nagging Knee

I'm feeling a bit frustrated about my knee. It is just sore enough to be annoying. I am going to bail on today's run and possibly tomorrow's too. Argh!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Body vs. Mind

Last month I talked about a run where I couldn't get my body (particularly legs) to move and respond the way I wanted it to. Today was just the opposite. I was trying to keep my body moving slow, but it just wanted to go. It felt very uncomfortable when I tried to slow down. Weird huh?!?

I also finally went out and bought an Ace wrap for my knee. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I'll let you know how it works. My knee is more sore when I walk. When I run it feels fine.

Mileage: 5.00
Time/Pace: 44:45/8:56
Avg Heart Rate: 153

Temp: 61
Weather: Sunny, Cool