Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Duty Calls

Well, the talk or rumor of a possible deployment ends now. My unit got the official order to deploy. I'm heading for the sandbox for the 3rd time. I will be leaving very shortly. All I can say is that this day next week I will most likely be in a country you hear about each day in the media. I can assure you that the running shoes will be packed. I'm not sure how much running I'll be able to put in, but I hope it is some. If I'm lucky I may be able to run a few fun races while deployed like I did the last couple rotations.

For now, I say so long. Thanks to all who have visited this site. It's been a great pleasure being a part of the running blog-land. My blog will still be here, but I most likely will not update it till I get back (whenever that is). Good luck to everyone in 2007. Run hard, run smart.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's not about the bike

Instead of a white Christmas yesterday, it was a wet Christmas. I opened the door ready to head out for my Christmas run at 6:30am and all I see and hear is the pouring rain. A strong downpour, a 10-15 mph wind and 42 degrees temperature ...... Should I run? I'm in my last week of recovery from the marathon, so I don't think it will hurt to skip out on a run. Not wanting to get soaked in the cold rain I got on my bike, which I've used more indoors than outdoors, and rode for an hour while watching my favorite running movie Chariots of Fire. It's always been a tradition for me to run on special days (b-day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc.), so I was feeling guilty during the day. Since it stopped raining in the early evening I ended up putting in an easy 30 minutes of running.

This morning I ran on the Cape Fear River Trail. Either everyone was back at work or they all had a long christmas and are sleeping in. During the 9 miles of running on this trail I only saw a couple walkers. It was surprising noone else was out running because the trail is normally busy with walkers, runners, and bikers. As I trotted along on my run I tried to focus on running easy with good form. I must have gotten in the zone around mile 3, because I was cruising along at 6:40 pace. Going out the breathing was easy, inhaling and exhaling every three steps. On the way back I increased the pace just a little to where I was breathing in and out every couple steps. As I approached the last mile I picked up the pace again just to break an hour for the run.

Today's run: 59:54 (9 miles - 6:39 pace)
Monday: 29:56 (4.2 - 7:08 pace)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Out and back

After having an awesome time running Duke Forest yesterday, I'm back running in the local area. I did an out-and-back course from home to post (Ft Bragg). This is one of my routine routes when I don't feel like driving on-post to hit the trails. The route is all grass/dirt so it's easy on the legs. As I got closer to the Reilly Road entrance gate to Ft Bragg, I came across the intersection where a tragic accident, which left 3 dead, occurred earlier in the week. The sides of the intersection were filled with flowers. It was a sad scene. As I ran past the intersection I remembered that as runners we must be cautious of our surroundings. Even though we run against traffic and off of roads there are still those foolish drivers who have no courtesy for runners.

I went out comfortably easy hitting the 6-mile turnaround point in 40:48. On my way back I could tell that the legs and breathing got into a steady rhythm. I ended up coming back faster in 39:06, an average pace of 6:31. The 12-mile run almost felt like a tease. I wanted to run more. This morning's run completes the second week of marathon recovery.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Today's run: 1:19:54 (12 miles - 6:40 pace)
Weekly mileage: 53.8 miles

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Al Buehler Trail - Duke Forest

A rock displaying Buehler's accomplishments

Al Buehler Trail

Wanting to get away from the Fort Bragg/Fayetteville area and have a change of running scenery, I decided to drive to Durham to run in the Duke Forest. The Duke Forest comprises of 7900 acres of land and lies adjacent to the Duke University campus. There are many different trails in the forest that are not only good for running but also for hiking, horseback riding, and biking.

I chose to run the Al Buehler Trail. The trail is named after Al Buehler, former head coach of Duke University's men's track & field and cross country team for 45 years. The trail, used by Duke varisty runners and weekend warriors, consists of a 3-mile loop around the Washington Duke Golf Course and a 1-mile fitness trail added on. After completing the 4 miles just under 27 minutes (26:51), I was making my way around the trail for a 2nd time. That's until I saw another trail that went off course. I took this trail, called "Old Footpath Trail", and just kept running. I was feeling great running steady at 6:30 - 6:45 pace. At about 2.5 miles out, I decided to turn around and head back to the trail head. I'm not sure how much longer the trail went. When I got back to the trail head I asked this runner who looked competitive how far the trails go. He said that you can put in 15+ miles without overlapping. I'm sure I'll be back here some time to put in the miles.

I must say that I could not be happier with the way my recovery is going. I'm beginning to think that my fitness is carrying over perfectly to the next training cycle. This was the situation after last year's Marine Corps Marathon. Recovery after MCM went very well that I was back running key workouts 3 weeks after the marathon. I eventually doubled up my fall fitness into a great marathon training cycle, in which I ran a PR at Austin.

Today's run: 59:48 (9M - 6:39 pace)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Zonk

This morning was sort of strange because there was almost noone out running or doing PT (physical training). I'm not sure if it was the slight mist of rain that kept everyone indoors or if it was all the First Sergeants thinking the same. It's 0600 in the morning and my 1SG walks into my office and says..... "Hey sir, what do you think about zonking the guys? I don't think anyone will be doing PT this morning. You saw Monday, we were the only guidon running out there." I stop what I'm doing and begin to think to myself "that's even a better reason to do PT." Because it's the holiday season and we weren't able to take leave, I told my 1SG that it would be a morale booster for our Troopers. Minutes later my 1SG yells ZONK.. 5,4,3,2,1. I can assure that everyone had disappeared by the count of 3. They all probably went back to bed.

I saw zonk as an opportunity to get out the door for a nice peaceful run. Peaceful it was. The run was free of cadence. It almost seemed like everyone had decided to extend their Christmas 4-day weekend to 5 days. I'm not complaining. I prefer being out there running alone. Today's run made it 3 consecutive days of ~8 miles. I think the legs are getting used to running close to an hour. If all goes well the next couple days I'll end this week at about 50 miles and then begin building my base the following week.

Today's run: 55:21 (8.1M - 6:50 pace)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

60-50-40

My recovery is falling into place perfectly. The legs feel like they are back to normal and ready to run more. This morning's run was 8 miles at a steady easy pace. Holding back and not running faster than easy pace is getting tougher each day. About 2 miles into the run I found myself running 6:40 - 6:45 pace. The effort felt easy, so I just went along with the pace. I decided to pick up the pace in the last mile. After my run I did some pushups, abs, and lots of stretching.

In one of my recent posts I was asked by a fellow Army Soldier, Cakmakli, to post my pushup and situp workout. Since I've entered the Army in 2001, I have not scored below a 366 in the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) extended scale. In fact, 366 is my lowest score and 402 is my personal best. I think the biggest mistake Army Soldiers do to prepare for a PT test is they do lots of pushups and situps everyday. If you do pushups and situps everyday then you don't give your muscles a chance to recover and build. Same concept applies in running, you don't run hard everyday because you're legs and body will not recover. I think once you've gotten into good muscular endurance shape, then all you'll need to do is maintain a certain amount of work. My unique pushup/situp workout I'm about to describe only takes about 10-15 minutes and is conducted every other day, sometimes once every three days. I normally do this workout following my easy runs.

I call this workout 60-50-40. When doing the pushups do not worry about how fast you can do it, work on proper form. When all is done you've completed 200 pushups and 200 abs.

60 regular pushups followed by 60 crunches
50 regular pushups followed by 50 obliques (each side)
40 regular pushups followed by 40 reverse crunches
30 daimond pushups followed by 30 unassisted situps
20 daimond pushups followed by 20 toe touches (back on the ground, feet straight up)

Today's run: 53:44 (8M - 6:43 pace)
Yesterday's run: 51:16 (7.5M - 6:50 pace)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Almost a day off from running

It's a record day for me. I got off from work at 1500 (3pm that is), the earliest since I've been in command. In reality, it was a late day because we're supposed to be off at noon as part of the holiday 1/2 day schedule. It was quite funny because I didn't know what to do with all the time I had after work.

Today was a scheduled day-off from running as part of my marathon recovery. I managed not to put in a run. Well, that's until the late afternoon/early evening. How can you not get out and run when it's 60 degrees and clear skies in mid-December. I tried to resist the urge to run, but could not do it. The legs continue to feel good and recovered. I only ran for an easy 30 minutes. Afterwards, I got in the usual pushups and abs workout. Oh, there was no challenge from my Soldiers during my company run yesterday.

Today's run: 30:04 (4.2M - 7:10 pace)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

..... a body needs exercise.

I'm very pleased with how the first week of recovery went. The legs and body are feeling good. I went for an easy 7+ miles this morning. The first 3 miles were ran at about 7:15 pace and then I progressed to about 6:45 pace as the run went on. It's only been a week since the marathon, so I'm still forcing myself to go easy even though the legs are feeling better. I got a massage today to assist in the recovery. My massage therapist actually said the legs were in good shape. A little tightness in the calves and hamstrings, but nothing serious. There were a couple knots found on the upper back and shoulders, which was probably from all the pushups I did during the week. This coming week will consist of all easy runs to finish off the recovery.

I'm reading "The Olympian" by Brian Glanville. I came across this sentence and thought how true it is. My body and mind will definitely corrupt if I can't run or exercise.

"A plant needs water, and a body needs exercise. If you deprive a plant of water, it dies. If you do not exercise the body, it corrupts, and the mind corrupts with it." -Brian Glanville

Today's run: 50:44 (7.3M - 6:57 pace)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Taking it easy

Not a whole lot has been going on besides taking it easy and recovering from a disappointment. For some reason I keep looking back at the race trying to figure out what went wrong. I want to learn from it. Did I peak too soon? Did I get too excited early in the race? Did I misjudge my fitness? Was it the inconsistency of mileage? By no means am I whining. As athletes, we all become better by learning from our mistakes.

I am quite surprised how fast my legs are recovering. Following the marathon, I normally take 3 complete days off from running and then alternate day-on day-off. After taking Sunday off, I had no choice but to take my company on our weekly Monday company run. I had only planned to take them on a slow 4 mile run. However, when my Soldiers challenged me that I wouldn't go farther and faster because I was recovering from the marathon I decided to extend the run to about 5 1/4 miles. After the run it sure looked like they regret putting up the challenge. I think the run helped in loosening up all the tight muscles, even though the quads were still very sore. Tuesday and Thursday were complete days off from running. It was yesterday, during a very slow 4.5 mile run, that I noticed the soreness in the quads was gone. This morning I went for a nice easy 5 miler on trails. It felt great to stay off of pavement.

Today’s run: 5 miles in 36:23

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rocket City Marathon - Race Report

Pre-Race:
I attended the pre-race carbo dinner the night before the big day. The guest speaker Bob Schwartz, author of "I Run, Therefore I Am -- Nuts!” made the dinner worthwhile as he entertained us with his hilarious running quotes. After dinner I headed back to my hotel. I laid out the race clothes, but before doing so I tuned in to the weather channel. I knew it was supposed to be cold. Cold? More like freezing! Forecast was 20 degrees at the start (8am). When I ran Austin earlier in the year I froze just wearing shorts and a singlet. Remembering how painful it was, I decided to wear a long sleeve coolmax underneath my singlet along with some throw away gloves (which was never thrown away) and a beanie.

Race:
I like to run the first few miles of the marathon a little slower than goal pace to warm up then settle into goal pace. When the gun went off a pack of about 10 runners took off at what was probably 5:30-5:40 pace. There was the lead pack, a couple runners about 15 seconds behind them, and then me and 3 other runners about another 15 seconds behind. I ran along with the 3 runners and we came across mile 1 in 6:13. It was only mile 1 and my toes and fingers were already starting to feel numb. I didn't want to fall behind very much so I began increasing the pace a little to get into some type of rhythm. It didn't seem like the 3 runners were willing to set the pace, so I decided to do it. We ran the next five miles in 5:59, 5:58, 5:57, 5:57, & 6:01 with the 10k at 37:15. If I didn't set the pace we probably would have continued to run around 6:10 pace. I started to hear an increase of breathing in a couple of the runners.

Mile 7 was a slight down slope which was the cause of a 5:51 split. Right after the mile 7 marker we ran through a tunnel for about 50 meters. This caught me by surprise. It almost seemed like someone had turned off the lights and then turned it back on. Once you're out of the tunnel it is a gradual incline for about 3/4 of a mile. I tried to run with the same effort and not the same pace. A 6:03 8th mile on a gradual incline was a little too much for the guys running with me. Using my peripheral vision on a turn, I could see that the guys were slowly fading. I had to make a decision at that point. I either slow the pace and let the runners catch up to me so that we can work together or leave them and begin working my way up to the next group, a couple guys about 50 meters ahead. I knew the guys slightly behind me were not going to sustain a sub-6:00, so I began working my way up to the next group. Let me tell you, 50 meters sounds easy to make up, but it damn sure isn't when the guys you're trying to catch are running the same pace as you.

Miles 9-13 are fairly flat and on a long stretch of highway. Just when I thought the 2 runners were coming back to me, they would put in a little surge to maintain a lead (at least that's what I thought). Just before mile 12 I encountered a side-stitch on my right ribcage. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. I was fighting hard to get rid of it, breathing in and holding it and then contracting the abs. The thought of my race going down the drain crossed my mind. I regrouped, and tried to stay focus and positive while fighting the side-stitch, which finally went away midway through the 12th mile. I'm not sure what the cause of it was. I had been taking in fluids alternating water and gatorade every 2-3 miles. I also took in a gel at mile 10. My splits for miles 9-13 were 5:55, 5:58, 5:57, 5:59, and 5:59. During that stretch of 5 miles, I thought of just running a fast mile (probably 5:48 - 5:50) to catch up to the 2 runners. I decided not to because we still had lots of running left.

After reaching the half-way mark at 1:18:28, I put in a little surge to catch the guys. I asked them what kind of time they were shooting for. Both said that they wanted to break 2:40. I said "shit, you guys have been running 2:37 pace the last 13 miles and shouldn't have a problem meeting that goal". One of the guys decided to back off of the pace after we hit miles 14 and 15 in 5:54 and 5:55. George, who I ended up running most of the 2nd half with, and I worked together taking turns setting the pace. George is from the Huntsville area, so he knew the course by heart. He was very helpful in letting me know when a turn was coming up and also when there was a gradual incline.

Miles 16 & 17, which we hit in 6:04 & 6:05, was a gradual incline. I was still feeling good at this point and had no problems with the next 3 miles (5:57, 6:00, & 6:00). My 20-mile split was 1:59:44, still on 5:59 pace. About a half mile into mile 21, which was also a slight incline, the legs started to feel a little heavy. I knew at that point that I needed to begin digging deep. A 6:09 & 6:08 split for miles 21 & 22 put me at 2:12:01, exactly 6:00 pace. George was still feeling good and he ended up leaving me. I thought to myself, all I have to do is run 6:00 pace for the last 4.2 miles and I’ll end up with a low 2:37 and a PR. Of course, I knew that wasn’t going to happen after working very hard only to run 6:08 for the previous mile. As the last few miles slowly came along, the legs began to feel heavier and heavier. Checking my splits became as painful as how the legs were feeling.

Miles 23-25 were 6:23, 6:29, & 6:41. These 3 miles seemed to take forever. It felt like I had nothing left in me. I still had one gel (I took 1 at mile 10 & 17) left, so I decided to use it at mile 23. I tried to pull the gel out of my pocket around mile 22, but that became a difficult task and I said screw it. Well, when I got to mile 23 I realized that I really needed the gel. I think the gel may have kicked in around the last mile because I started to feel a little strength in the legs. After hitting 6:29 for the last mile, I knew I was going to come in under 2:40. A spectator at the 26th mile mark said I was 9th overall. This actually made me feel better because I was seeded number 11.

All in all, I was somewhat disappointed with my time, but satisfied with my performance. I know for a fact that I left everything on the course. Thoughts of whether I should have held back a little cross my mind, but I don’t regret a thing. This race will serve as a motivation to train harder and run faster.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

2:39:21 - 9th Overall, 1st Division

No PR today. I was on track for a 2:37 at mile 20, but it slipped away in the last 10k. I gave myself a chance by going through the half in 1:18:28 and mile 20 in 1:59:44. Overall, I'm satisfied with my performance. That's all for now as I'm on my way to the awards ceremony. Race report to follow soon.

Rocket City Marathon: 2:39:21

Thursday, December 07, 2006

On my way to rocket city

I'm going to make this quick because I have to get some rest. I got the approval from my commander and now I'm on my way to Huntsville, AL for the Rocket City Marathon. I'm very excited, but also nervous. The race results will most likely be posted and updated on the marathon website before I post my finishing time on my blog.

I'd like to thank my family, running friends (both in Guam and at Fort Bragg), and fellow bloggers for their support. Good luck to Bobby and Shane, who will be running Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon on the same day.

Today's run: 36:05 (5M - 7:10 pace)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Army Physical Fitness Test

Normally during the week of the marathon self-doubt begins to creep in. So far that hasn't been the case, mainly because I've been very busy with work. I'm sure fear, self-doubt, and questions about my race will start to hit me over the next few days.

This morning I did my APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test), which consists of 2 minutes of pushups, 2 minutes of situps, and a 2-mile run. I did a total of 120 pushups, 99 situps, and ran a 10:41 2-mile. As much as I wanted to run a faster 2-mile, I decided to hold back a little because of the tapering. I must say that the pushup and situp events went well despite focusing on training for the marathon over the past few months. I think the reason why I did well in those events is because I've stuck to my routine of doing a specific pushup/situp workout following my easy runs.

It's looking like I will make it Huntsville on Friday (I'm crossing my fingers).

Today's run: 25:33 (4M - 6:23 pace) 2 miles in 10:41
Yesterday's run: 39:14 (5.5M - 7:08 pace)

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm begging you please.....

Everyone that has been reading my blog knows that I'll be running Rocket City Marathon this Saturday. Well, I'm hoping that will be the case. What I mean by this is that there is a possibility I may not make it to the race. The reason is because "duty" may call. I'm praying that the folks in Washington, who gets paid the big bucks to make wise decisions, can leave those deployment orders in the bottom of the inbox. I don't mind leaving for the 3rd time, just not this week.

Lately, I've been asking myself "what is marathon pace?" I personally think my marathon pace is between 5:56 & 5:59 pace, which would put me at a 2:35:30 to 2:36:50 marathon. If I average 6:00 pace for the marathon, I'd still be very happy because it is a PR. The one thing I'll ensure to do this weekend is to run a smart race. The goal is to run negative (or even) splits as I've done in my last 3 marathons.

This morning I took my Soldiers on our weekly company run. The legs appreciated the nice slow easy run.

Today's run: 45:22 (5.5M - 8:15 pace) slow and easy

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Counting down days

It's tough to explain how good the legs and body is feeling right now. This morning I did my last marathon pace workout, 12 miles total - first 6 miles easy and then the last 6 miles at goal marathon pace. After running a tempo interval workout yesterday, I expected the legs to feel just a little tired. Instead, the legs felt light and springy, probably from the fast leg-turnover. After a nice easy slow 1st mile in 6:58, the legs fell into cruise control. I ran the first 6 miles easy in 39:57, an average of 6:40/mile. I planned my workout where I'd end up on the track for the last 6 miles at marathon pace. Everything seemed to fall into place. My splits for the last 6 miles were 5:51, 5:52, 5:54, 5:51, 5:53, and 5:45. It almost felt like I was feeling better as the miles clicked off. I got carried away in the last mile and ended up running it a little faster.

I bought my marathon shoe, Saucony Fastwitch 2 Endurance, and used it during my dress rehearsal this morning. The shoe not only felt good and light, but it also has enough cushioning needed for the marathon.

The hardest part now is waiting to get to the start line. I will continue to remind myself to sleep well, eat healthy, and hydrate throughout the week. I'd like to say "Good Luck" to Mike, who is currently running his marathon as I close out this post.

Today's Run: 1:15:08 (12M - 6:16 pace) 6M @ MP

Saturday, December 02, 2006

1 week till race day

Sometimes I forget that tapering for a marathon does not only mean cutting back in training and mileage. Tapering also means getting in some well-needed rest, proper nutrition, and hydration. The cutting back in training is not the issue, it's everything else. Work has been extremely busy during the middle of the week and it has caused me to fall back on some of the essential areas of tapering. It's the weekend now, so I should be back on track with resting, eating, and hydrating.

This morning I did a tempo interval, 3 x 2K w/ 400 recovery, to get a little turnover in the legs. The decrease in mileage over the past few days has made the legs feel fresh and eager to run fast. The goal pace for the workout was 5:20 - 5:32 /mile. I hit the 2K's in 6:53 (5:32 pace), 6:47 (5:28 pace), & 6:44 (5:25 pace). The legs felt great and it didn't seem like the workout left took a lot out of me.

Tomorrow will be my last key workout before the marathon. I will run 12 miles, the first 6 miles easy and then the last 6 miles at marathon goal pace. This workout has been the routine for my last 2 marathons. It reminds the legs and body of what marathon pace feels like.

Today's run: 53:25 (8.2M - 6:24 pace); 3 x 2K w/ 400 recovery

Friday: 52:23 (8M - 6:33 pace)
Thursday: 1:01:30 (9M - 6:50 pace)
Wednesday: 40:02 (5.5M - 7:15 pace)
Tuesday: 1:06:12 (9.6M - 6:54 pace) fartlek workout - 10 x 1' w/ 1' recovery

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tapering

The tapering has begun. I ran for 40+ minutes very easy this morning. The quads were tight and a bit sore from yesterday's long run. A little soreness in the legs was expected as I spent almost 2 1/2 hours pounding on pavement. The good thing about yesterday's workout was that I know the legs can still run fast when fatigue. This will be very crucial when it comes down to the last few miles in the race.

Today's run: 45:55 (6.4M - 7:10 pace)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The hard work is done

I really didn't think the long run was going to happen with the way my body was feeling yesterday. My cold got worse and the body felt like crap. I spent my Saturday watching college football while taking drugs every 4-6 hours. The doses of pseudoephedrine and Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) throughout the day didn't seem to make me feel any better. I hit the sack around midnight, after watching the Fighting Irish take a painful beating by the Trojans. When the alarm sounded at 7am I was amazed that my congestion wasn't as bad and that I could actually breathe through both nostrils. Still had a runny nose, but that would just mean a hundred snot blowing throughout the run.

This morning's long run was my last 20+ miler. The run served as a confidence booster heading into the actual tapering phase. The legs felt light as I took off in my 2+ hour journey of Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg. After hitting the first couple miles in 6:53 and 6:43, the legs and body seemed to fall into a steady rhythm and pace. I cruised along my long run route at a 6:28 - 6:36 pace. The legs began to feel fatigue and heavy between the 19th and 20th mile mark. I wanted to finish the long run strong, so I picked up the pace and ended up running mile 21 in 5:54.

The hard work is done and now it's a matter of getting to the race healthy and eager. I will do a tune-up and marathon pace workout this coming week to lock in goal pace. This should wrap things up before I head to Huntsville.

Today's run: 2:20:30 (21.4M - 6:34 pace)
Weekly Mileage: 69 miles (6 sessions)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Running in the cold with a cold

I've spent the last couple days fighting a cold I caught on the night of turkey day. It's been awhile since I had a cold or some sort of sickness. The good thing is that I'd rather go through it now than the week of my marathon, which is only a couple weekends away.

I went for an easy run on trails yesterday. The legs felt fine. I didn't expect it to be sore after a mediocre performance. It was really nice to get out and just run easy to get things off the mind, especially the frustration of not running fast. The race is all behind me and now it's time to focus at the task ahead, running a good marathon - hopefully a fast time and a PR. This morning's workout was an easy run with a fast-finishing mile. After running the first couple miles fairly easy, I settled into a comfortable steady pace averaging 6:40 - 6:44 over the next 7 miles. I then ran the 10th mile in 5:40 before cooling down for a half mile. The body definitely felt like it wanted to run more. However, with only 2 weeks reaming, it's probably best to hold back a bit. There's not much improvement on fitness that can be done over the peaking/tapering phase.

Tomorrow will be my last 20(+) miler, #7 for this marathon training cycle.

Today's run: 1:09:50 (10.5M - 6:39 pace; easy run with a fast-finishing mile)
Yesterday's run: 1:03:13 (9M - 7:01 pace; easy run)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Trot

I spent a little time last night browsing running sites to find a Turkey Trot. Turkey Trots are just one of those annual races you must do, just like the Jingle Bell Jog. I managed to find a race (Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 8K) in the Raleigh area. After a 75 minute drive and registering late (as always), I was ready to get on with my warm-up. But not until my phone rings and reads "SFC xxxxxx. Work. $h!t, this cannot be good. Anytime I receive a phone call from work in the weekends or holidays, especially in the early mornings, it is almost always bad news.... either one of my Soldiers got into trouble or it is an emergency that I must come in to work. Yup, one of my Soldiers had an incident. I stayed on the phone, sitting in my jeep with the legs a little stiff from the drive, for almost an hour sorting out things. By the time I got off the phone I only had 5 minutes before the race would start. This was just enough time to put on my racing shoes and run to the start line.

Fast Forward. I had a bad race. Here are my excuses. No warm-up. The legs felt heavy. It was cold - 42 degrees. Never got into a rhythm. Side-stitch at mile 3 that got worse and never went away. One hill too many. Okay, I'm done whining. I came in 2nd overall with a snail time of 28:40 (5:46 pace). It was a bit frustrating because I could run this time as a training workout. The course had a few rolling hills, but I didn't think it was all that bad. I was happy when the awards ceremony finally happened. I received a gray Brooks Element Jacket priced at $100. After all, it will be a good Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Today's Run: 56:37 (8k in 28:40 w/ 4M cool-down)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekly Summary (14-19 NOV)


I haven't been able to post lately because of my busy work schedule and a trip to see the Irish give Army a butt kicking.

Tuesday: Easy run with 10 x 30 sec. very fast w/ 1 min. recoveries. (1:12:33)

Wednesday: Easy recovery run (45:11)

Thursday: 15' warm-up followed by 6 miles at goal marathon pace. 6M - 5:55, 5:56, 5:55, 5:55, 5:54, & 5:51. Was scheduled to do 8 miles at goal pace, but body and legs were tired from previous days at work. 15' cool-down. (1:04:50)

Friday: 20K Ruckmarch; 45lb ruck on my back. Definitely not one of the workouts I had planned on my running schedule. But it has to be done as part of our quarterly Army training events.

Saturday: Easy run with the last few miles close to marathon pace. Many parts of the body are sore and tight from yesterday's ruckmarch. (1:06:12)

Sunday: Long steady run with Bobby at Notre Dame and South Bend. Ran most of the long run close to marathon pace. (1:42:20 - 16M)

Monday, November 13, 2006

4 weeks out

Not a whole lot to write about. I went for an easy run, out in 28:47 and back in 27:12. I thought the legs would be a little fatigue or heavy with yesterday's long run, but everything was just fine. The big day is 4 weeks away and I think I'm peaking on the right time. Now it's a matter of keeping what I have and staying injury-free.

Today's Run: 55:59 (8.1 - 6:55 pace); easy run.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'll save the 2.2 miles for race day

Mother Nature just has to make things tougher for us. As I stepped out the door, all I hear is the sound of trees and leaves blowing. This can't be good. I went back in to check the forecast. 50 degrees with 30% chance of rain and wind from NNW at 15 mph gusting to 25 mph. As I drove to post (Ft Bragg) I could feel my jeep swerve a bit from the gust of wind. This long run is going to take a lot of effort. When I got to my usual starting location and shut off my jeep, it begins to pour. $h*t, just freakin perfect! Rain, wind, and the cold mixed together just don’t motivate me. After about 10 minutes of being a wuss, I toughed it out and headed for the long run. It stopped raining about a mile into my run. I wasn't all that soaked until some jackass drove right beside me into a huge puddle of water and gave me a cold shower. He probably meant it because he had a free lane he could have switched to. I was so close to giving him the finger.

Besides running into wind half the time, my run went very well. I was consistently running between 6:30 and 6:40 pace. I hit the first 10 miles in 1:06:48 (6:41 pace), then reached 20 miles in 2:12 flat (11-20 miles in 1:05:12 - 6:31 pace). I was feeling good and the legs seemed to find its rhythm. The 20 mile mark in the marathon is a crucial point in the race. I was visualizing finishing strong in Rocket City, so I decided to pick up the pace for the remaining 4 miles. I hit the last 4 miles in 24:38 (6:22, 6:11, 6:10, & 5:55). The legs felt good afterwards. Thinking about it, I could have easily run the last 2.2 miles at 6:30 pace and finish the marathon as a long run in a sub-2:51.

Here is a comparison of the same 24 mile run I did in January for the Austin Marathon.
1/22/06: 24 miles in 2:42:30 (6:46 pace)
11/12/06: 24 miles in 2:36:38 (6:32 pace)

Today's Run: 24 miles (2:36:38 - 6:32 pace)
Weekly Mileage: 90 miles (9 sessions)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The decision has been made

It's official! I'll be running Rocket City Marathon on Dec 9. Registration, airline ticket, and hotel have been purchased and confirmed. All that remains is 4 weeks - a couple more 20+ milers, locking in race pace, and the final two weeks of peaking/tapering.

Easy run on trails this morning. Tomorrow will be a steady long run of 22-24 miles.

Today's Run: 59:35

Friday, November 10, 2006

What's your take on Yasso?

Today's workout was an 800 meter interval workout, also known as Yasso 800s. The workout is named after Bart Yasso from Runner's World. Many marathon runners use this workout as a marathon predictor workout. The time you run the 800s is the approximate time in hours and minutes that you're capable of running the marathon. In other words, if you run 800 meters in 2 minutes and 50 seconds, then you can run the marathon in 2 hours and 50 minutes. Yasso and Greg McMillan states that you should work your way up to 10 repeats with 400 meters of recovery. In his website, Greg says that the workout predicts about five minutes too fast for most marathoners. I think it all depends on how you approach the workout. I've done this workout for my last couple marathons and I personally think it predicts about 1-3 seconds too fast. I guess I'll find out after I cross the finish line.

After 29 minutes of warming up, I end up at the track where my running friends (Mike, Kerryn, and Melinda) have already started their workout. They are doing the same workout, but just a few less repeats than I'll be doing. I started helping the three of them by creating a training schedule for them to follow. I'm no certified coach (hopefully one of these days I will be), but I think I have enough experience and knowledge of running that they will improve in their race times. It's great seeing friends run faster. Don't we all want to run faster?

The goal is to break my marathon PR of 2:38 and with the way my training has gone the past couple months, I think it's a great possibility it will happen. Knowing this, I went into today's workout with the goal of averaging 2:35-2:36 for the 800s. That will be a 2:35 or 2:36 marathon according to Yasso. To get to the point, my workout went very well. The pace felt comfortably hard and I ended the workout knowing that I could have ran one or two more repeats. My 400m recoveries stayed between 2:10 - 2:15.

Here are my splits:
2:36, 2:36, 2:36, 2:35, 2:35, 2:35, 2:33, 2:33, 2:33, 2:33

Today's Run: AM - 1:34:23 (14.5 miles - 10 x 800s w/ 400m recoveries); PM - 30:11 (4M shakeout run)

Tuesday: (11.5M / 1:18:50) easy run
Wednesday: (6.7M / 49:14) easy recovery run
Thursday: (11.5M / 1:18:20) easy run

Monday, November 06, 2006

Help me decide

Why train so hard and have nothing to show for it? That’s what I asked myself about a hundred times yesterday. The marathon is only 5 weeks away and I have yet to register. I got online to register, but before doing so, my sixth sense told me to read about the course. I swear that I had looked at the course elevation when I decided to run Charlotte two months ago. Looking at the course elevation map, it seems like there are rolling hills the entire way. Course elevation maps can be deceiving, so I did my homework. I read the runner comments on marathonguide.com and looked up last year’s results. Almost every runner comment pointed out the rolling “hills”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind hills. In fact, I’m a fairly strong hill runner and prefer running a marathon that has a couple small rolling hills rather than one that is completely flat the entire way. But I don’t think I want to run a marathon that would be rolling for 26.2 miles, especially after putting in months of pure hard work.

My goal in my next marathon (whichever it ends up being) is to run another PR and average sub-6:00 pace. I really don’t want to chance it on a course like Charlotte. With that being said, my marathon options have opened up again and I’m now looking at Rocket City Marathon and Kiawah Island Marathon, with Charlotte still in the air. I’ve heard about Rocket City Marathon being one of the best small city marathons in the nation. The runner comments for Rocket City had nothing but good things to say. Well organized, excellent race, course relatively flat, and fast times. Deciding which marathon to run is becoming a task itself. Hopefully, I’ll decide over the next couple days.

Okay, now about training. My legs felt fine even with yesterday’s long run. I ran very easy in the morning and then again in the evening.

Today’s Run: AM – 41:33 (~5M) PM – 40:01 (5.5M)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Was it the tequila and chocolate cake?

Last night, my friends celebrated my birthday which was on Friday. Two shots of tequila, some delicious chocolate cake, karaoke, and in bed at 1:30 am. I don't recommend this plan the night before a key long hard run of 20+ miles.

I woke up five hours later feeling okay. The first thing I did was drink about 12 oz. of water knowing that I needed to be hydrated for my workout. Next thing I did was check the temperature. Brrrrr.... 30 degrees. That calls for some gloves, beanie, and a jacket. The planned workout was 20 miles with the last 6 to 8 miles at goal marathon pace. After last night, I expected the worst. As I ran the first few minutes of my 2+ hour run, I realized that my body and legs was feeling pretty good. I cruised along for the first 12 miles in 1:20:12 (avg. 6:41) before ending up at the track for the next 6-8 miles at goal pace. I told myself that I'll see how I felt after the 6 miles at goal pace, and then finish the last 2 miles or call it for the day depending on the legs. When I got to the track I did a lap to transition into the pace. I felt good for the entire run and ended up completing the 8 miles at goal pace. I wasn't too surprised to see that I was hitting my splits with ease and feeling comfortable. I did the 8 miles in 47:12 (5:54 pace).

Here are my splits:
1-12M - 1:20:12
13M - 5:58
14M - 5:58
15M - 5:57
16M - 5:56
17M - 5:57
18M - 5:53
19M - 5:51
20M - 5:42
2.1 miles cooldown - 14:10

I looked back at my training log from my last marathon (2:38 in Austin) and compared the same workout with today's.
1/15/06: 1st 12M in 1:23 (6:55 pace); 8M @ goal pace in 47:39
11/05/06: 1st 12M in 1:20 (6:41 pace); 8M @ goal pace in 47:12

I'm very happy with the way my training is coming along. Today's 22 miler was my 5th 20+ miler in the last 7 weeks. The way things are looking so far, I should be able to run another PR and hopefully sub-6:00 miles for 26.2 miles.

Today's Run: 22.1 miles (2:21:34 - 6:24 pace)
Weekly Mileage: 90.4 miles

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Real runners

Today was a fun day with some running friends. We ran the Rotary 10k race, which was crowded with 16 runners. No, it's not a typo. 16 runners! Can you believe that? This was the smallest race I've ever entered. It was probably the 36 degree weather that kept everyone tucked in their sheets. At least we know who the real runners are. You know what's even better? They had Championship Timing chips.

I had no intentions of racing since today is supposed to be an easy day and a key long run scheduled tomorrow. So, instead of shooting out and hitting the 1st mile in 5:00 with Bobby (far right) and Shane (far left), I decided to hang back with Kerryn (white hat) and Mike. Kerryn asked if I could pace her and I said "no problem". She said she wanted to break 40 minutes. I thought, "Cool, this will give me a nice steady run." At this point the brain was struggling with calculating the pace/mile. Don't ask how long it took to calculate the pace. We came across the 1st mile in 5:55, which felt like a walk in the park. Okay, that wasn't supposed to happen. I was just hoping that I didn't screw up her race with that 1st mile. I managed to regroup and settle into a steady pace. To make a long story short, I accomplished my mission. Kerryn crossed the finish line in 38:45. She was very happy with her run and maybe a little surprised that she averaged 6:15/mile. In the end, everyone had a fun time.

Today's Run: 1:09:32 (2M - wu/cd + 10k in 38:45)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Good day of running on a special day

A good day of running on my 29th special day. I believe this is about the age in which most distance runners peak. Of course, that's if they've been running competitively since high school. I know for a fact that I have yet to peak. This is only my 7th year of running and I know I still have many years of fast running to come. Hopefully, fast running will mean low-2:3x marathons and possibly a sub-2:30. It's possible! However, it will take lots of hard work.

Today's workout was a stamina workout consisting of 7 x 1000 meters with 200 meter recovery, plus 3 x 200m fast with 200m recovery. Stamina workouts are meant to increase your lactate threshold, which allows you to run faster for a longer period of time. The run is more of a cruise interval workout than a speed workout because the pace is moderately hard. The goal is to get fatigue with the duration of the workout not the speed. After warming up for 33 minutes, I hit the track for the meat of the workout. The goal was 1k repeats in 3:18 - 3:21. 1st repeat - 3:19, 2nd repeat - 3:19. I'm thinking "wow, this doesn't feel too bad at all." That was the 2nd repeat and with only 200m recoveries, the legs will sure be feeling it shortly. I ended up running the last 5 repeats in 3:18, 3:17, 3:18, 3:15, & 3:15. The legs held up. The legs began to fatigue after the 7th and last repeat, and I still had the 200m repeats to do. I hit the 200s in 32, 34, 32. I was thinking of cutting my cool-down short because the legs felt beaten. As I went on my cool-down the legs got into a rhythm and ended up doing a 4-mile cool-down.

Tomorrow will be an easy day. Sunday will a key long run workout. The plan is to run 20 miles with the last 6 to 8 miles at goal marathon pace, which I'm thinking is about 5:55 - 5:59 pace.

Today's Runs: AM - 1:37:24 (14.8M); 7 x 1K w/ 200m recovery, plus 3 x 200m w/ 200m recovery; PM - 30:44; easy shakeout run mostly on grass. legs felt good.

Here's how the week went so far:
Monday: AM: 38:29 - easy run; PM: 42:28 steady easy run
Tuesday: 1:20:02 - steady run with 10 x 1 min. w/ 1 min. recovery in the middle of the run
Wednesday: 46:41 - easy run
Thursday: 1:13:25 - steady run with the last couple miles at 6:10 - 6:20 pace.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Easy 10

I woke up this morning expecting at least a little soreness from yesterday's workout/race. Nothing! The legs felt just fine. It might be the extra hour of sleep from DST. The legs deserved a break from all the pounding on pavement, so I hit the trails for an easy 10. It's been a while since I hit the trails and boy do I miss it. Soft surface, colorful leaves, and the sounds of nature.

Today's Run: 1:10:20

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Half Marathon - poorly organized, good workout....

I thought my legs would be a little fresh since yesterday was a complete day off from running. Well, I guess I can't call it a complete day off because I was on my feet majority of the time and was lacking sleep. I originally planned to run a half-marathon (Hope Mills YMCA Half-Marathon). I woke up contemplating whether I should run the half with the legs feeling like bricks. I thought, "Oh well. I'm using it as a training run, so I might as well just run it."

Let me tell you - this YMCA Half-Marathon ranks as one of the worse organized race I've done in a long time. I didn't expect much, but with the race being held for the 8th time I thought it would be somewhat organized. A late start, mile markers put out but completely inaccurate, 2 fluid stations (only 4 oz. cup of water - no gatorade), and tons of right turns into dead-end streets only to turn around at the cones. Oh, to make things better it was windy as hell.

After a 10-minute late start, I took off running side-by-side another runner (Shane). I was planning to run the race with the 1st half right around marathon goal pace (somewhere around 5:55 - 5:59) and then running the 2nd half a little faster. As Shane and I headed out on the main streets, we encountered the never ending headwind. Around 10 minutes into the run, I asked Shane if he wanted to work together and take turns breaking the wind. He agreed and we took turns leading every half mile till around mile 7. At this point my legs started to feel better and I decided to push the pace a bit. It was very tough knowing what pace I was running because the mile markers were all jacked up. I ended up ignoring the mile markers and just ran what I thought felt like marathon pace. As I increased the pace, I noticed that I had immediately put about a 10 meter gap on Shane. The 10 meter gap increased dramatically and I was no longer in Shane's sight. I crossed the finish line in 1:17:39 (5:56 pace). I actually thought I was running a bit faster than 5:56 pace. Was the course a bit long? After the race, Shane told me that his Garmin clocked the course at 13.4 miles. If the Garmin is accurate, then I ended up running averaging 5:48 pace, which I feel is about right. Regardless, I'm satisfied with my run, especially that I stuck to my plan of running the race as a training run.

Today's Run: 1:57:24 (includes 2M - WU, half-marathon, 3M - CD)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Training update

Here's a brief update of this week's training. I plan to run a half-marathon on Saturday as a training run.

Monday: PM - (6M / 42:03) only ran in the evening because of work schedule. an easy 6 miles not worrying about time or pace.

Tuesday: AM - (12.5M / 1:23:02) Fartlek workout. 30' - WU/CD with 12 x 1' at about 3k pace (1' recovery jogs); PM - (6M / 42:15) easy shakeout run in the evening.

Wednesday: (9M / 1:02:03) easy recovery run; very cold at 34 degrees. Lesson learned - short sleeves don't work very well in 30 degree weather.

Thursday: (10M / 1:05:52) steady easy run with Bobby. kept pace around 6:25 - 6:40.

Friday: Did not run because of airborne operation. Very tired; Been up for 36 straight hours.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Not worth reading....

A quick update: I'm a happy camper. I had a good weekend of running and got some new running shoes (Brooks Axiom and NB 901).

Saturday: 11M (1:12:30) steady easy run with the last 3 miles at ~5:56 pace.

Sunday: 22M (2:23:54) long steady run with the last 3 miles at 5:59 pace.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Marathon goal pace

I'm about 7 weeks away from the marathon (Charlotte Thunder Road), so I guess it would be a good idea to begin determining what marathon pace feels like. In my last marathon training cycle I did a lot of marathon pace runs. I believe this was one of the reasons why I was successful in running a 3-minute PR. There are certain key workouts that I like to do that gives me feedback on my fitness. One workout is an 18-20 mile long run with the last 6-8 miles at marathon goal pace. I alternate this workout each week with a typical steady long run of 18-22 miles. The other workout is running 6-9 miles at marathon goal pace in the middle of the week. I decided to do this workout to test the fitness level. After a 3 mile warm-up, I circled the track checking my splits every half-mile. It was great to see every mile split under 6:00 with the body feeling very comfortable. My splits for the 6 miles were 5:54, 5:56, 5:54, 5:55, 5:54, & 5:49. At the end of the day I looked back at my running log and compared my splits with the same workout from the last marathon train-up. Today, I averaged 5:54 pace vs. the 6:00 pace early in the year. So far training looks promising and I should be on track for a good marathon.

Today’s run: 1:17:56 (12 miles)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Feels great to be back.

I'm finally back in NC after 4 weeks at Fort Polk, LA; a place that i'm in no rush to go back to. I don't have much to blog about, besides that I had a good week of running. Here's how the week went.

Monday: 10 miles easy. (1:09:41)

Tuesday: 12 miles with 10 x 1' at about 3k-5k pace w/ 1' recovery. (1:22:08); legs are tired.

Wednesday: AM: 9 miles easy (1:05:02); PM: 4.3 miles easy (30:32)

Thursday: AM: 15 miles. steady run with the pace progressing over the last few miles (1:40:05); PM: 4 miles very easy (30:33)

Friday: 5.2 miles very easy with my Soldiers. (45:32)

Saturday: 22.5 miles. long steady run with the last couple miles near marathon goal pace. (2:30:48)

Sunday: PM: ~10 miles ran with Bob. ran steady at about 6:15-6:20 pace for the first 50 minutes. pretty stupid to run at this pace with yesterday's long run. the pace felt steady and comfortable, but still not a smart decision. (1:03:38)

Weekly Total: 92 miles.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Nine weeks to go

In today’s long run I kept looking at my watch wondering what mile my friends were at in the Army 10-Miler. I visualized being in the race, which motivated me to run a good steady pace. The plan was to run 18 miles. As I approached mile 18 I couldn't resist running an extra 2 miles to make it 20. The legs were feeling good and as the run went on the pace slowly progressed. My 5-mile splits for the long run were: 1-5M: 34:49 (6:58 pace), 6-10M: 33:17 (6:39 pace), 11-15M: 32:51 (6:34 pace), & 15-20M: 31:01 (6:12 pace). I ran the last couple miles close to marathon pace, which felt economical. This is a good sign and it is boosting my confidence for the marathon. Well, I’m 9 weeks out from race day so it’s easy to say. Like most runners, doubt will eventually creep in as we begin the tapering process and come closer to the big day. For now, the focus is to continue training hard and get the legs accustomed to MP.

Today’s run: 2:11:58 (20M – 6:36 pace)
Yesterday’s run: 1:07:20 (10M – 6:44 pace)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Big weekend for Army runners


I'm feeling left out. While I'm away and working for the third straight weekend, my running friends are in DC for the Army 10-Miler. In fact, all of my teammates from last year's Army marathon team are running it. It's pretty exciting seeing them run sub-53s & sub-52s. These guys are not WCAP (World Class Athletes Program) runners, like former Army runner Dan Brown & Ryan Kirkpatrick. I can picture them re-uniting with all the other runners from the different Army posts and ready to take the starting line. It's tough to explain the excitement of this annual Army event. Every post-team wants bragging rights of taking home the Commander's Cup.

This morning I ran 12+ miles with 2 sets of 3-2-1’s. I initially had planned to run an easy 10, but I changed my mind about a couple miles into the run. The legs were feeling fairly good, so I thought it would be a good idea to get some leg-turnover. I read of this 3-2-1 workout from Runner’s World magazine. You run 3 minutes fast, 2 minutes recovery, 2 minutes fast, 1 minute recovery, & 1 minute fast. It was a pretty good workout.

Today’s Run: 1:22:37

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekly Summary (18-24 Sep)

Next marathon: Charlotte Thunder Marathon (9Dec). That gives me 11 weeks of training, which should be ample time to get the legs used to marathon goal pace (5:59/mile).

I’m at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana and will be here for the next 3 weeks. The good thing is that I’m still able to put in my daily workouts. However, I’m already running out of places to run. The post itself (not the training area) is small. I’ve put in almost 70 miles over the last 5 days and ended up running the same route a couple times. I’m not complaining. I just wish there were some scenic routes or even trails like Fort Bragg. The scenery here at Polk consists of World War II barracks, long stretches of roads with no buildings or cars in sight, grass that probably hasn’t been cut for about 2 months, and if you’re lucky an Army soldier running a couple miles for physical training. But again, it’s Fort Polk.

Since I won’t be able to post a blog too often, I’ll provide a weekly summary of how my training is going.

Monday: 10 miles easy at Fort Bragg. (1:06:36)

Tuesday: Did not run; traveled to Fort Polk, LA

Wednesday: 11.4 miles with 10 x :30 @ 3k pace (1’ recovery). (1:15:37)

Thursday: Easy run. 9.2 miles (1:03:05)

Friday: AM: 12 miles with a couple miles at marathon pace. (1:22:40) PM: easy 6 mile shakeout run (43:21)

Saturday: Easy run; 9 miles (1:02:20)

Sunday: 20.2 miles; long, steady run; (2:15:23)

Total: 77+ miles; 7 runs/6 days

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Richmond or Charlotte???

I've narrowed down my marathon choices to Richmond Marathon (11 Nov) and Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon (9 Dec). Either one, I'll be prepared.

My fitness has not diminished even though I've missed 15 days of running since August. Actually, I really think it has improved a bit. This morning's 15 miler felt easy and comfortable from start to finish. The first mile was the slowest at 6:56. As the run went on the pace kept decreasing, but the effort felt the same. That's always a good sign. I averaged 6:46 pace for the first 8 miles, 6:30 for the next 6 miles and then finished off the workout with a 5:56 last mile.

Two to three months is a lot of time to put the finishing touch on marathon training. The plan for now is to build strength and stamina. As I get closer to the marathon I'll begin to put in the longer long runs with 40% of it at race pace. The goal is sub-6:00/miles. When that's accomplished I'll become a sub-2:30 chaser like Mike and his crew.

Today's Run: 1:39:47 (15.1M) - 6:36 pace

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It feels great to run again

It's been about 2 weeks since I last posted. It has also been that long since I put in consistent runs. I've been doing a lot of training the last couple weeks, just not the type of training you're thinking of. Instead of training on the roads, track, & trails, I've been doing Army training in the woods. It's been fun, busy, and tiring. No showers for about a week, a few hours (3-5 hrs) of sleep a night, sounds of heavy weapons and artillery, and MREs (Meal Ready-to-Eat) for daily chow..... the fun Army life.

Well, enough of my Army life. This is a running blog. I got out this morning and couldn't believe the weather. Mid-60s... wow! Perfect running weather. I keep forgetting that the fall season is just about here. Since I only put in about 25 miles over the past 2 weeks, the plan this morning was to go for an easy 7-8 miles. I ran on the Cape Fear River Trail, which was filling up with walkers and joggers. It was nice to see people out getting in their exercise. As I stepped off I could feel that the legs were fresh but a bit rusty. The CFR trail has markers at every half-mile, which would give me a good idea of pace. I came across the first mile in 6:54 and thought it might be a little off. I was expecting to hit mile 1 somewhere around 7:05-7:15. The 2nd & 3rd mile was 6:50 & 6:40. Feeling good, I ended up running 4.5m out & back with the last couple miles at 6:00 pace. I was under 60 minutes when I got back from the trail so I ended up running a little more to get to an hour. When my watch read 1 hour I decided to run a bit more to get to 70 minutes. It was a wonderful feeling to run again.

The picture above is the second page of the 2006 Freescale Austin Marathon results book. It was cool to see my picture in it. In fact, the results book has 5 different shots of me in it. No, I didn't pay the camera man. It just must have been my luck day (this was the day of my marathon PR - 2:38:18). The runners behind and on the side of me are the elite females runners. I was able to run faster than all but 4 of them.

Today's Run: 1:10:20 (10.7 miles - 6:34 pace)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Weekly summary

Here's an update of how the week went so far.

Monday: The alarm sounded at 4am and I layed in bed debating whether I should sleep in or get my lazy ass up and run. If I sleep in then I know I'll regret it the entire day. Of course, I ended up running. Went for an easy 7.5 miles. I wanted to run around 9-10 miles, but time wasn't on my side. The legs felt a little tired and heavy, probably from the last couple days. (52:02)

Tuesday: Ran 11 miles with a fartlek workout (10 x :30 w/ 1' recovery) in the middle. It felt great to get in some leg-speed. I always think that this is not much of a workout, but I'm always toast afterwards. Part of the workout is that I don't take the recovery too easy. I usually stay around 7:15-7:30 for the recovery. (1:14:03)

Wednesday: Easy recovery run. I got off from work very late last night (10pm) and only got in about 4.5 hours of sleep. I was feeling very tired so I only ran 7 miles (49:07)

Thursday: I didn't do much because I had to conduct my company's Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). The APFT consists of 2 minutes of push-ups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a 2-mile run. It is a good test of your physical fitness. Since I entered the Army, I have never scored lower than a 365 on the APFT extended scale. The max score is a 300 (100 in each event), but you can score higher if you do more pushups, situps, or run faster than the maximum according to your age group category. You can only score over a 300 if you max each event first.
On my last PT test, I accomplished my ultimate APFT goal of scoring over a 400 (scored a 402). I did 124 pushups, 108 situps, and ran a 10:20 2-mile. That's an average of 1 pushup/second, almost 1 situp/second, and a 5:10 pace. I can say i'm proud to be a part of the 400 club. I'm not sure who are in it, but I know there are only a few. My next APFT goal is to score over 400, but with a sub-10:00 2-mile. Running sub-10 may seem easy, but try running it immediately following 2 minutes of situps. The situps kills your quads that you almost feel like you have no strength.

Friday: Today is the start of a 4-day weekend before going to the field for 10 days. I actually slept in today to catch up for all the lack of sleep during the week. I ran 7+ miles this morning at a comfortable pace and then 4+ miles easy in the afternoon. The weather was awesome, thanks to Ernesto. High 60s and overcast. I plan to run a 7 Mile race (mostly trails & a little pavement) tomorrow in Charlotte (NC). I just feel the need to get out and enjoy the racing scenery again. It's also great just to be around other runners. I will see what my fitness is like tomorrow. I'm not shooting any PR since its mostly trails. I'll let you all know how it goes. (am: 50:32; pm: 31)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Another good long run


I believe that my fitness has improved a bit. I thought today's long run was going to be a struggle after yesterday's run, which I ran most of it around marathon pace. The plan was to run long and easy according to how the body and legs were feeling. After a 7:04 first mile, the legs settled into a steady 6:40 pace. I stayed within plus or minus 3 seconds of 6:40 pace from miles 3 - 16. The last couple miles were ran at 5:55-6:00 pace.

I can't complain with how this week of running went. 71 miles in 6 days. It looks as though I won't be able to run a marathon till Nov. or Dec. Even though I'm anxious to run one very soon, I think running a marathon in Nov or Dec will work out perfectly. It will give me an extra 2-3 months of hard training. I'm feeling confident about running sub-6:00 pace for the marathon.

Today's Run: 1:59:44 (18 miles - 6:39 pace)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Feeling great

This week of running has gone very well. Here's a brief log of how my workouts went.

Tuesday: After a 25' warm-up, I ran a fartlek workout of 10 x 1 min. with 1 min. recovery. I ran the repeats at around 3k pace on rolling hills. 25' - cooldown. (1:10:05)

Wednesday: Easy recovery run (56:49)

Thursday: I ran with my friend Bob. We warmed up for 33 minutes before hitting the track for some 1200s. I don't know if I'd call it a warm-up because we were running about 6:40 pace. Ran 5 x 1200 with 400 recovery. I hit the repeats in 3:58, 3:58, 3:55, 3:50, & 3:54. I ran the last 2 repeats alone. 3 mile coold0wn (1:23:30)

Friday: Jumping out of an airplane took precedence over running on this day.

Saturday: What was supposed to be an easy run on the Cape Fear River Trail turned into a steady pace run. By mile 2, I locked in to about a 6:15 pace. I ended up picking up the pace to around 5:50 for the last couple miles. (1:06:19)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Easy day

Nothing special about today's run. I put in 11+ miles this morning on 2 runs. Because I do a company run on the first duty day of the week, I had to get up very early to put in some miles at my easy pace. I ran an easy 6 miles before running my company for 5+ miles. This works out very well for me because i'm able to put in the miles and use the day as a recovery day from the long run.

Today's Run: 42:30 / 48:14

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Gotta love the long run

It was a great feeling to finally put in a nice steady long run. The mind and body fell into a zone once I got started. After a 7:05 first mile, I settled into a steady 6:40 - 6:50 pace, which I kept for the next 15 miles. Like most of my long runs, I finished off the last few miles at a faster pace. I ran miles 17 & 18 in 5:47 & 5:41 which still felt comfortable. Not sure if it was the weather (75 deg. and breezy) or that i'm underestimating my fitness.

I spent some time last night trying to find a race (10M - 20K) over the next couple weekends. I guess there aren't too many in the area around this time of the year. I wanted to run Virginia Beach R&R 1/2, but registration closed about a month or two ago. I normally plan out my races, at least the longer distances, but haven't done so due to my unpredictable work schedule. My next big races were suppose to be the Army 10-Miler and possibly the Marine Corps Marathon. Well, it looks like I won't be running the Army 10-Miler because I'll be in Fort Polk, LA for some training support requirements. For now, I'm thinking of running the WaWa 10 Miler at Hartwood next Sunday.

Today's Run: 2:00:22

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back from the field

I was on a field exercise during the past couple weeks. Despite going to the field, I was able to get in a run here and there. At one point, I went 4 days without running. When you're in good shape 4 days without running should not affect the fitness. Last week Sunday I came back for a day of recovery before going back on the field. I took advantage of the day by catching up on my running. That day I put in 20 miles, 12 miles in the morning with some fast running and then an easy 8 miler in the afternoon. I felt a little rusty in the beginning of the run, but once I got going everything was fine.

This week, I sort of got back into a routine schedule. The running economy feels good and it doesn't seem like I lost any fitness. I gave it a test on Thursday by doing some 1200 repeats with some 400s in the end. After a few warm-up miles, I ran 4 x 1200 (3:58, 4:01, 3:59, 3:57) with 400 recovery, then 4 x 400 (73, 73, 72, 73) with 200m recovery.

This morning I ran with my friend Bob. I wanted to run easy for 70-75 minutes. What was suppose to be an easy run turned into sort of a slower tempo run. We started out the run chatting about whatever topic came to mind. About 3 miles into the run the chatting was replaced with some rhythmic breathing. The pace was not hard, but decent enough that we were taking in oxygen every 2-3 steps. We turned around at 5.5 miles after averaging 6:28 pace. I thought Bob was going to slow the pace a little coming back. Instead, it was me that began picking up the pace. The body got into a good rhythm and I found myself cruising along about a 6:00 pace. This was a good confidence booster because I felt very comfortable running at about marathon pace. After all, maybe I didn't lose any fitness from the days I was on the field.

Today's Run: 1:09:42

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What will life be like if you can't run...

I apologize for not updating my blog in almost 2 weeks. I've been very busy with work since I came off of leave. In fact, I just got back from a week-long leaders' training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. It looks as though I won't be posting much over the next 4-6 weeks. I'll be going to the field for some Army training beginning on Tuesday.

What do you do when you can't get out to train? This next 4-6 weeks will be very frustrating for me, because I won't be able to run very much. There's nothing worse then losing fitness when you're in great shape. I think my fitness will still be up there if I only miss a week or two at the most. But a month, I don't think so. My near-term plan was to run a half-marathon late September and a 10-miler and marathon in October. I'll most likely change my racing schedule because of all the training I'll miss. For now, I will have to try and squeeze in a run at every opportunity I get.

A little update on my training. I was fortunate enough to get in my workouts at Ft. Polk. It was unbelievably humid in the early mornings. I was out the door each day at 5am and would be drenched in sweat about 10 minutes into the run. This morning's run put me at 65 miles for the week. Not bad considering my busy schedule. Lately, I've been getting in quality workouts rather than high mileage. Every workout counts when you don't have all the time to train.

I did a progression long run this morning and it felt very good and comfortable. I ran the first 30 minutes averaging 7:14 pace, then the next 30 minutes comfortably at 6:45 pace, and then finished off the last 30 minutes on the track at marathon pace (6:00). The legs and body felt like it could go for another 5 miles at marathon pace. This was a good sign of my fitness, which I feel will be going downhill over the next few weeks. I'll try to stay positive.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Nice steady long run

Training seems to be going in the right direction. Today's long run put me at 89.5 miles for the week. Don't ask why I didn't put in the extra 1/2 mile to get to 90. Maybe I'll get out and run the 1/2 mile before the day is over. I'm quite surprised that the legs felt good after putting in a total of 28 miles the past couple days. It could be that I've learned my lesson from last Sunday's run and have been taking in the necessary carbohydrates and protein.

My friend Bob and I ran around the Methodist College campus and track before getting on the Cape Fear River Trail. The CFR Trail is a paved trail with some slight rolling hills. This was our first time running this trail. The trail provided lots of shade and a nice view of nature. After running the first couple miles easy we settled into a steady pace. At 10 miles we averaged a 6:54 pace, then clipped off 6:30 pace for the next 5 miles. While Bob ended his run at 15M, I added a few more miles on the grass fields of the Jordan Soccer Complex.

I'm back to work tomorrow after a couple weeks of leave. The sad thing is that I probably won't be able to get in the miles like the last 2 weeks.

Today's Run: 1:59:11
Saturday's Run: 1:00:03

Friday, July 21, 2006

One of these days....

Couldn't ask for a better temperature during this time of the year. It was a nice 74% and breezy by the time Bob and I took off for our workout. The workout today - 30' warm-up, 3 x 10' @ half-marathon effort with 4' recovery, and 30' cool-down. We ran our warm-up on the roads before heading over to Pope Air Force Base track. Pope AFB, which is actually on Fort Bragg, has a nice rubber track. Bragg has 3 running tracks but none of them are rubber surface and as nice as Pope's track. For some reason the Air Force always seems to have better athletic facilities. Did I join the wrong service?

The intent of today's workout was to build speed - aerobic capacity. At half-marathon effort I should be running at about 5:39 - 5:44 pace. I thought it was odd running 10 minutes on the track and not a specific distance. Doing the math in my head, running 10 minutes equivalates (is that a word?) to running 1 3/4 mile repeats (7 laps). I ran the 3 repeats in 9:55 (5:40 pace), 9:56 (5:41 pace), & 9:51 (5:38 pace). The pace felt good and comfortably hard. Only if I can run the marathon at this pace. The near-term goal is to run sub-6:00 pace (5:59 pace will do) for the marathon and then hopefully get down to the 2:30 - 2:35 range over the next 3-5 yrs. One of these days I'll be a sub-2:30 marathon chaser like Mike. Like Simons Says... it takes "pure hard work".

I ended up running in the mid-afternoon heat. I did not plan to put in a 2nd run. It just so happened that I felt the need to get out and do a slow shakeout run. It was hot, but also breezy so the run wasn't too bad.

Today's Runs: am - 1:38:14 (~15 miles) / pm - 30:12

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A True Fighter!

I must first write about Floyd Landis' performance. Simply Amazing!!! After watching him crack, bonk, hit the wall yesterday (what ever you want to call it) I really thought the tour was over for him. He proved that he is a true fighter. He has made this year's tour worth watching. My HR was probably higher watching today's stage than it was in this morning's run. Landis was asked how he felt about winning the stage... "I don't care. I came here to win the Tour and that's what I still want to do, and I'm not done fighting yet." AWESOME! He's a much better time trial rider than the 2 guys in front of him, so stage 17 will be very interesting. Go Landis! Go USA!

Okay, about running now. I ran with my friend Bob on what was supposed to be an easy 60-65 minutes of running. Bob, who has ran sub-55 for 10 miles and low 33's for 10K, is a close friend of mine. I like to train with him because I still believe he's a faster runner than me (not that I think I'm fast) and that he can help push me along. I recently switched one of my key workout days from Thursday to Friday, which means today was an easy day to get in the miles. On easy days I normally would run alone only because I know the run won't turn into a race or fast workout.

We went out at a comfortable pace around 6:55 - 7:00 for the first few miles. As the run went on I could see that Bob was slowly increasing the pace, probably around the faster end of easy pace. It was still easy, but I knew that the pace would keep increasing as the run progressed. Thirty-five minutes into the run and we were running at about 6:10-6:15 pace. Feeling pretty good and very comfortable at this pace I decided to pick it up a little to around 6:00-6:05. It was a good feeling knowing that I was running right around marathon pace towards the end of the run and the pace still felt very comfortable. It didn't feel like the run took a lot out of me. I'll find out tomorrow when I run for 1:30 which will include 3 x 10' @ half-marathon effort.

Today's Run: 1:11:12
Wednesday's Run: 51:13

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

That's more like it

After a horrible Sunday run, Monday and today's run went a whole lot better. I really focused on taking in the necessary carbohydrates and protein to aid in my recovery. Monday's run was just plain easy running. The usual 65 minutes keeping the pace right around 7 min./mile.

This morning I put in a progression run. I like to include this type of workout in my weekly schedule. I truly believe this teaches runners to run negative split in races (particularly the marathon). In fact, isn't this how we should race? Today's progression run was a little different than the one I was to run on Sunday. The plan was to run for a total of 80 minutes. Run 80% of the workout at a steady easy pace and then pick up the pace (close to half-marathon pace) for the last 20% of the workout. I initially wanted to run 75% easy and 25% comfortably hard, but with the temps already near 80 degrees I altered the percentage of easy/hard. I ran 9.25 miles in 64 minutes, averaged 6:55 pace, before hitting the track for the fun part of the workout. I sometimes struggle to estimate the run route, so that I end up on the track right on time to do the faster running. As my soaking body circled the track, I could feel the change of leg-turnover. It's a great feeling to change the pace, especially when it's faster, after more than an hour of steady running. I came across the following 2 miles in 5:46 & 5:44, 1:26 for the ninth lap, and then finished with a 1:19 last lap (total of 2.5 miles of faster running). The progression run was a success as I was able to get in some good stamina training.


This is an update since I put in an afternoon run. It was a scorching 97% when I went out for a run. I decided to run without a watch hoping it would force me to run very slow and not worry about the time and pace. I practically felt naked, not because I ran shirtless but because I had no watch. If you never tried running without a watch I challenge you to try it. See if you can run the entire workout without looking at your invisible watch. I'll bet you a $100 you can't. The run turned out to be a good one as I probably averaged somewhere around a 8:00 pace.


Today's Run: am - 1:24:17 / pm: ~4.5M (no timing)
Monday's Run: 1:05:02

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Don't forget to eat

Today's run was scheduled to be a progression run. The first 30 minutes run at an easy pace (7:00-7:15), the next 30 minutes at medium effort (6:30-6:45), and finish off running the last 30 minutes at about a 6:00 pace.

I woke up with the legs feeling fresh and wanting to run. This is a good sign. Maybe I just might have a good workout. I took off on my run not pushing the pace at all. Mile 1 was 7:20. Not bad, it's just the first mile and I'll progress as I go on. The next couple miles were ran at 7:10-7:15 pace. This could not be right. I'd just put a little more effort and I'm still running the same damn pace. My legs and body begins to feel like crap. What is going on? Thirty minutes of running and I had only averaged 7:15/mile. I began thinking back to yesterday trying to figure out why I don't have much energy and fight in me. Did I run hard yesterday? "No, didn't run at all". Did I drink enough fluids? "Yes, lots of it". Did I eat? "Yes". Wait a minute! The last time I ate was 5pm yesterday. That's 14 hours ago. Sh*t! This is why I feel like it! No big deal. Maybe the gatorade I drank before the run will kick in any minute.

I started picking up the pace ignoring how the body was feeling. 6:42 pace. Much better. Not as comfortable as it normally is, but that's training. The planned run route was to be a big loop and then end up at the track for the last 30 minutes. I decided to change the route to an out & back. I stop by the gas station to pick up a gatorade and a powergel in hopes of getting some energy. F**K! (excuse my french). Gas station doesn't open till 9am. No problem - there's a couple vending machines on the side of the building. No gatorade, but anything (Coke, Sprite, Brisk Tea) will do at this point. As I try to put my soaking dollar in the slot, the machine keeps spitting it out. Sh*t! Why don't you want to take my dollar? A wet dollar is the same as a dry dollar. I then continue my run and this time I stop at the park facility to get a drink of water from the water fountain. F**ken Sh*t! Water fountain doesn't even work. Nothing is going my way today. My body has bonked. It's freakin very hot and humid. I can't get a drip of water in me. And I'm only 50 minutes into my run.

I made it back to my vehicle and grabbed my bottle of gatorade. I still had a little in me, but not enough to run the last 30 minutes at marathon pace. I made the conscious decision to carry my gatorade on the run and finish the workout with easy running.

This was a lesson learned for me. I had a great time playing tourist yesterday, but didn't think too much about taking in the necessary nutrients. Sometimes this happens to us when we are caught up with work, having fun, or just don't feel like eating. Just remember that we need to consume calories (good ones) throughout the day.

Today's Run: 1:32:12

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blue Ridge Parkway

On top of NC & the East Coast!

Forgot to bring my jacket. It was
a chilly 62 deg. on Mt. Mitchell.


An awesome picture!


Okay! I didn't bring the running shoes,
but I can still say I ran Mt. Mitchell Trail

Can you believe it's only .7 miles to
the top of Craggy Dome?

I just finished hiking the mountains behind me.

Day off from running worth taking

Today was a complete day off from running. You're probably wondering why I took a day off when I just did an easy recovery run yesterday. First of all, I don't really take days off when I'm in full training. I decided to take a day off to give my right leg a little rest. My inner right leg has been in a little pain over the past week. Hoever, it has not bothered me in the last few workouts, so I figured laying off of it (from pounding the pavement) for an entire day will make it feel even better.

A day off from running doesn't mean stay in-house. I ended up spending my day touring the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway in western NC. Wow! What a beautiful scenery it was. I had an awesome time. The day could have only gotten better if I ran on some of the trails. I was smart enough to leave the running shoes behind. Pictures following this post.

Today's Run: Did not run

Friday, July 14, 2006

Nice, easy, and short

Today was an easy recovery day. My body was feeling a little tired from yesterday's run and gym workout (after the 2nd run). When the alarm clock went off at 6am, I turned it off and slept for another hour. The heat and humidity was already in full force when I stepped off at 8am. It was an easy recovery day, which means I usually run anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. I decided to run 7 miles which should put me around 50-51 minutes. I ran 3.5 miles out in 25:45 and came back in 24:15. The effort still felt very easy coming back.

Today's Run: 50:01

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Feeling fit

I love the feeling when my fitness level is high. Every run feels comfortable and easy. As I took off on my run this morning, I could feel my body settle into an easy pace. I hit the first mile just under 7:10 (using the POD). The body was feeling pretty good. I've been using Wednesdays and Fridays as my easy recovery days and I believe it's working very well for me. As the run went on, I was consistently staying in the 6:50 - 6:55 pace range. The plan was to run for a total of 75 minutes - the first 70 minutes at a comfortable easy pace and then the last 5 minutes very fast. I sort of miscalculated the run route, so I ended up running 75 minutes steady and then the last mile in 5:24. It felt great to get some faster leg-turnover in the end. Running a fast last mile after 11 miles of steady running is a good sign of endurance and stamina.

In the late afternoon, I put in an easy 5 miler. It was very hot and humid, which made it easier for me to run at a very easy pace. This is the 2nd time this week that I've put in a 2nd run. Right now I'm sitting at 53 miles for the week. I should easily get in over 70 miles by the end of Sunday's run. My original plan during leave (ends on 23JUL) was to get in a couple of 70+ mile weeks. These will be my highest weekly mileage since my last marathon training.

Today's Run: am: 1:21:24 / pm: 37:00

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The body needs to recover too

Yesterday was a fun and tiring day. I put in a total of 19 miles and biked the rolling Umstead trails. Once I made it home I ate some lasagna, watched a little of the all-star game, and then hit the sack. Man, was I tired. The alarm clock went off at 0530. Screw that! I shut the alarm off and got in an additional 1 1/2 hours of well-needed sleep. Today was a recovery day, so I ran very easy on the Mata Mile trails. It was nice to run under shade, especially with the sun out in full force.

Before I took off for my run, I met up with my friend Dale. Dale (now working as a civilian) is a recently retired Special Forces officer and a very fast masters runner. I can only imagine the training Dale has been through the past 20 yrs he's served our nation. I bring this up, because just recently he had surgery on his left leg and can't run for now. I don't know the specifics of the surgery, but he stated that the doctors did some work on the leg. From putting a metal rod or plate to re-attaching some ligaments. All the SF training and running has taken its toll over the years. Dale hates the fact that he sees runners running each day and he can't be out there doing the same. I think once he's done with therapy he'll be back doing what we all love - running.

After talking to Dale, I've realized that as runners we can't go day in and day out training like there is no tomorrow. We take it for granted until we get injured. But even with that, we recover and get right back into training. We tend to forget that the body does not get any younger. If we want to keep running, then we need to learn to give the body some rests.

Today's Run: 55:02

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Umstead Park

Today was an awesome day for the outdoors. I spent most of the day at Umstead State Park (Raleigh, NC). This morning's run was supposed to be 80 minutes of easy running. I wanted to put in some faster running, so I ended up altering the workout. After 30 minutes of easy running, I put in a 20 minute tempo run on the track. I was feeling good so I increased the pace each mile - 5:48, 5:42, 5:38, 2:47 (3.5M tempo). The tempo run felt fairly comfortable. The thought of running a longer tempo cross my mind, but I decided to just finish off the run with another 30 minutes of steady running. I ended up with 12.5 miles for the training run.

Since I'm on leave till the 23rd of this month, I'm taking advantage of the time by touring the many different places I've wanted to see around North Carolina. I decided to go to Umstead Park in Raleigh. A runner I met from a race in Raleigh once told me about the Umstead trails. Not planning my leave, I just picked up and went. Small cooler filled with ice and gatorade, running shoes, change of clothes and the Trek mountain bike were all packed in a matter of minutes. I got to the park around noon and took some time to study the park map. It was quite surprising to see many different trails (bridle trails, cycling, hiking, & running trails). I could not resist running on the trails, especially after making the drive from Fort Bragg. Let me tell you... the Umstead trails are awesome. You can run the single path trails through the woods (up to 20 miles) or the bridle trails which has about a 10 ft pathway. Since I put in 12.5 miles this morning, I decided to go for a very easy run of about 40 minutes and not worry about pace. As I ran through the trails I forgot all about the time. I was trying to enjoy every bit of the run. I came back at 50 minutes covering only a small portion of the Umstead trails.

A 20 oz. gatorade was all I needed to get a boost of energy and mount my trail bike. Like the easy run I'd just finished, I took the bike ride easy and enjoyed the scenery. Of course, I had to take pictues of the awesome trails. I biked for an hour and was still not able to hit all the trails. Oh well, this gives me a reason to come back.

Today's Run: am: 1:22:10 pm: 49:23

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What a difference a day-off makes

No running yesterday. Instead, I biked for about 90 minutes on the All American Trail. It was actually a good cross training. I thought it would be a nice stroll in the park. For the most part it was except for climbing the hills. I'd rather run the hills. I'd pedal at a low gear on the hills, but it seemed like I was not going anywhere.

I woke up this morning wondering how my right leg would hold up for the long run. I iced the injured area quite a bit yesterday. If the leg hurts as bad as Friday's run, then I'll end the run early. If not, then I'll run long. I started out on a 4 mile loop before going any further. This allowed me to be in walking distance if I called it quits. Early in the run I could feel a little twinge in the right leg, but it was bearable. While moving along at about a 6:50 pace I noticed that my right leg was no longer in pain. An hour into the run and I was feeling very good, so I dropped the pace to around 6:40. I initially planned to run for 1hr45m, but decided to make it 2 hours since my legs still felt fresh. The day off yesterday might have helped freshen up the legs. As usual, I ran the last 20 minutes at about marathon pace. I finished off the last 3+ miles at 5:55-6:05 pace. The pace felt comfortable and I know I could have kept going. I'm really glad my right leg held up. I ended up having a very good long run, which was about a 1/4 mile short of 18 miles.

Today's Run: 2:00:07

Weekly Summary: 67 miles - 7 workouts / 6 days;

Friday, July 07, 2006

Am I injured?

This is frustrating. I think I'm injured or getting injured. I'm feeling a sharp pain on my inner right leg between the shin and calf muscle. This is the same pain i've felt over the past week. However, it has not bothered me in my workouts. At least that's what I think. I got a massage on Thursday hoping that my massage therapist could do some magic. Before I could tell her about the pain, she said that the right leg was more beaten up than the left. She asked if I had been favoring the right leg and I told her sort of. She went to work on the leg. Let me tell you, it was probably the most painful thing I've felt in such a long, long time. I was pretty much biting down on the sheets and screaming my lungs out. I eventually told her to work on the other leg because I could not handle the pain.

In my run today, I had to stop a couple times because of the same pain. I could not believe that this was happening. What did I do wrong? I felt like taking off my shoes and calling it quits. I was about 3 miles away from my vehicle, so it was either take a long walk or a hobble your way back. I managed to run easy while favoring the right leg. About a mile after I last stopped the pain started to go away and I could feel my stride and form coming back. Since it's been a painful run I decided to only go for 40 minutes. Well, that was until I ran into my running buddy Bob. Bob was just starting his run and I was about ending mine. At this point, my leg felt better so I decided to tag along with him. I had not run with Bob lately because he has been going through some special training. I ran with him for about 10 minutes using the time to catch up with our different Army jobs.

I'll take tomorrow off from running so that I can ice and treat my right leg. I just hope it's not a serious injury.

Today's Run: 1:00:12

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Very humid

Today was very humid. Man, did I feel every bit of the humidity on the run. Like a week ago, today's workout was a pace booster run. This time I increased the pace workout by 5 minutes (40 min. total). I knew the workout, 70'/40' (15' warmup, 40' at ~6:00 pace, 15' cooldown), was going to be tough because of the humidity. You can plan a workout but it doesn't mean that it will always go as planned. After the warm-up, I could tell that finishing the workout was going to be a challenge. I wasn't feeling it today and the legs felt very flat. I ran the first couple miles in 6:03's. My body felt like it had to put a little more effort to stay on pace. Because I was feeling like sh**, I decided to break the 40' pace run into 2 x 20' runs with 30 seconds of rest in between. This turned out to be a good idea as my legs regained a little strength on the 2nd run. I ended up averaging a 6:02 & 6:01 pace for the splits. Regardless of whether the pace run was one run or split in half, it was still a good workout.

Today's Run: 1:11:15
Wednesday's Run: 41:30

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Feels like a vacation

Fourth straight day off from work and it feels like a vacation. I'm not complaining. It's just that it doesn't come around too often. It was a good day to catch up with some sports (baseball, World Cup, Wimbledon), relaxation, and of course running. I ran the All American Trail for the 2nd straight day. I initially had planned to run a trail on-post, but decided not to because of possible heavy traffic and heightened post security. The President was celebrating Independence Day with fellow Troopers here at Fort Bragg, so I'm sure there were some very tight security all over post.

Unlike yesterday, I didn't take in the scenery in my workout today. I did a stride workout in the middle of my run, 10 x 30 seconds at about 3k pace with a minute recovery. The workout may seem easy, but try running it on rolling hills with 30 minutes of steady running before and after the repeats. I was fairly tired afterwards, probably because I started my run a little later (7:30am) than normal and that the heat and humidity was rising. In the late afternoon, I put in an easy 5.

Today's Run: am: 1:16:02 pm: 36:00