Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last week of November

Is anyone besides me wondering where November went? Could not believe how fast it went by.

I really didn't want to get out the door this morning in the cold and drizzling rain. Thought about putting the run off till the afternoon as the weather was forecasted for clear skies. But then I also wanted to have a free afternoon. I guess we can't always have it our way. I stopped being a whimp, put on my favorite Brooks jacket and was out the door for a 14-miler. After all, the conditions weren't all that bad. The drizzling rain stopped about 10 minutes into the run. I ran the first 5 miles at a steady pace, then alternated 1/4 miles at 5:45 pace and 7:00 pace for 4 miles, and then finished off the last 5 miles at steady pace. It was nice to mix things up rather than the normal Sunday long run.

24-30 Nov

Mon: 9M @ 6:53 pace
Tues: Noon: 5M easy at 7:18 pace; PM: 8M with intervals of 1600 (5:06), 1400 (4:28), 1200 (3:49), 1000 (3:03)
Wed: 8.2M @ 7:18 pace
Thur: 10.2M @ 7:02 pace
Fri: 8M @ 6:45 pace including 4 x 2' surges
Sat: 8M @ 6:58 pace
Sun: 14M @ 6:38 pace including 8 x 1/4 mile @ ~5:45 pace

Weekly Total: 70.4

Thursday, November 27, 2008

No Turkey Trot for me

It's Thanksgiving Day and I knew I was missing something. No, not the turkey but the turkey trot. The turkey trot, an American Thanksgiving tradition, is a fun run or race that is normally held on Thanksgiving Day or on the weekend before or after Thanksgiving Day. It is one of those races, similar to Jingle Bell Jogs, that I try to run every year. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is not celebrated here in the Netherlands so there was no chance of running in a turkey trot. This will most likely be the case for the next two years. Instead, I went for a nice easy 10+ mile run when the body finally woke up. It was a wonderful feeling to sleep in and not worry about the alarm clock going off. I felt energized and thought about doing some miles at steady-state pace, but the body and legs just felt like cruising at an easy pace. Sometimes you have to listen to the body. That's what I did running almost all the miles at 7min pace.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and be sure to burn off all those calories.

Today: 10.2M easy @ 7:02 pace
Wednesday: 8.2M easy @ 7:18 pace

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Track Day Tuesday

It's track day Tuesday so I linked up with the club after work. The coach alternates each week with short and long intervals. Last week we did short intervals of 300 meter repeats, so we were due for some longer intervals today. The workout was 1600, 1400, 1200 & 1000 each followed by 200 meter recovery, walking the 1st 100 meters and then slow jogging for the 2nd 100. As usual, Paul and I stuck together for the workout. Paul is a 40 yr old Dutchman who has ran some awesome PRs in his late 20's; sub-15 for 5k, sub-31 for 10k and 2:22 for the marathon. The guy is 40 yrs old but still has some speed, recently running low-16s for 5k. After Paul led us to a first lap of 73 seconds in the 1600, I decided to take over the pacing job or else we'd end up being a speed bump on the track. We took turns leading each lap, but I made sure that I did the pacing for the start of the remaining repeats. Splits for the workout are below. I was quite happy with how the workout went for me. The legs and body felt strong.

1600: 5:06
1400: 4:28
1200: 3:49
1000: 3:03

Today: Noon: 5M easy at 7:18 pace; PM: 8M with longer intervals (1600, 1400, 1200, 1000)
Monday: 9M @ 6:53 pace; got hammered by mixture of snow and sleet during my run.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

White Runs

The last couple runs to end the week have been in the cold white morning. I ran on the cycle paths through the farmlands, which was a beautiful scenery with all the grass and plants covered in snow. I didn't see much livestock out as I normally do. The only animals I saw were some black and brown sheep. If there was some white sheep then they did a good job of concealing themselves. The horses and cows must have been brought in to the stable.

This morning I headed out the door with the intent of running for 90 minutes, which on a regular training run should get me right around 13 miles. Mile 1 of the run was an unexpected 7:02. As easy as it felt I thought I'd see the first split around 7:30. The next 3 miles was an average pace of 6:45. Thinking that I had settled into a rhythm, mile 5 came across faster in 6:33. From then on my pace was consistent around the 6:33-6:36 range. I finished the run with 14 miles in 93 minutes. Here's how the week went down.

17-23 Nov

Mon: 8M easy at 6:59 pace
Tues: Noon: 4.3M easy @ 7:10 pace; PM: 8.25M including 13 x 300m w/ 100m recovery jogs; splits at 51-53; legs are fatigued
Wed: 7M easy @ 7:28 pace
Thur: 9.2M @ 6:58 pace
Fri: 9M @ 6:40 pace including 6 x 2' @ ~ 5:45 pace w/ 1' easy; felt good
Sat: 7M @ 6:50 pace
Sun: 14M steady @ 6:39 pace; very cold at 24 degrees; felt good.

Weekly Total: 66.7 miles

Friday, November 21, 2008

There is no such thing as bad weather, just....

"There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." - Bill Bowerman.

I thought about this quote as I looked out the window of my office around 11am. The sky was gray, it was cold and raining, fallen leaves were flying all over the place and bare trees were swinging left to right. The thought of running on the treadmill never crossed my mind. I was committed to get out for my run. I actually like to get out the door when the weather is bad, because I seem to think I'll become a stronger runner and that I'll be one of the very few out on a run. I wasn't surprised to come across only one runner during my hour-long run in the Brunssumerheide. There's normally a ton of co-workers running the trails during lunch hour, but I think the weather defeated them. My run was uneventful. I ran the first 30 minutes fairly easy and then did 6 x 2 min. at about 5:45 pace with 1 min. easy. The last 10 minutes of the run was the toughest as I ran directly against the wind.

I was planning on taking tomorrow off from running and go for a bike ride, but with the weather forecasted for snow showers in the morning and temps in the 20s I think I'm going to go for a short run instead.

Today's Run: 9M @ 6:40 pace including 6 x 2' @ ~ 5:45 pace w/ 1' easy

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Today and yesterday's run was nice and easy in the Brunssumerheide (Brunssum heath), which is only a 1/4 mile from work. The heide, pronounced "hey-da", consists of heathland, forests, bogs, fens, dirt and sand trails, bridle trails and cycle paths. It is my favorite place to run here in The Netherlands. You can get in about 10-12 miles of running without overlapping trails. I was having a blast running the trails today. It rained last night and this morning, so the trails were quite muddy. At first I tried to avoid the mud puddles, but when a good-size chunk of cold slimy mud kicked up from the Asics and latched onto the calves I decided to care less about the conditions and just enjoy the run. Thinking back I'm not exactly sure if it was mud. It could have been some horse droppings as it is common to see some on the trails. Whatever it was I wasn't bothered because I found myself in a zone and cruised along the rest of the run. The back of my legs and shorts was almost all covered in mud, probably some droppings too.

Today's Run: 9.2M @ 6:58 pace
Wed: 7M very easy @ 7:28 pace

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


What I forgot to mention in the previous two or three posts was that I was able to run in the Seven Hills Run because one of the club members was injured. So, at the last moment the team leader did a bib-number transfer permitting me to run. Bib-numbers and race packets were mailed out a week prior to the race. The morning of the race I was given a race packet and was known as "Herman" for the day. Also, the funny thing was that my bib-number originally had an orange dot, which indicates the 4th starting coral (total of 5 corals). With 25,000 runners and a start in the Orange coral, it probably would have took me about 10 minutes to cross the start line. Thanks to an inkjet printer, some clear scotch tape and preparation by the team leader I was able line up behind Bekele and the elites by flashing the red color dot on my bib-number. During the race I couldn't help but laugh inside when spectators along the course were calling out and cheering for Herman. I guess my Dutch name is Herman.

The legs are feeling fatigue after tonight's speed session. It wasn't a smart decision on my part to do speedwork two days following a 15K race, also after running 8 easy miles yesterday and 4+ miles during lunch hour today. The workout tonight was 15 x 300 meters with 100 meter slow jogs for recovery. Paul and I took turns leading every other repeat. We consistently hit the first 10 repeats in 51-52. On the next couple repeats I started to feel the lactic acid in the legs and began to slow the already slow recovery. Ensuring not to overdo it Paul and the coach forced me to stop at the 13th repeat. I will take the rest of the week very easy.

Today's Run: Noon: 4.3M @ 7:10 pace; PM: 8.25M including 13 x 300m w/ 100m recovery jogs; splits at 51-53
Mon: 8M @ 6:59 pace


10-16 Nov

Mon: 8M easy
Tues: Noon - 4.2 @ 6:55 pace; 8.5M with 5 x 1000m (3:12, 3:11, 3:10, 3:10, & 3:07) w/ 200m recovery
Wed: 4.2M @ 7:06 pace
Thur: 9M @ 6:51 pace
Fri: 9.1M @ 6:55 pace
Sat: 6.2M @ 7:10 pace
Sun: Seven Hills Run 15K - 51:26, 75th Overall; 5k splits: 17:24, 17:09, 16:53.

Weekly Total: ~54 miles

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seven Hills Run 15K - 51:26 (PR)

A quick post.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Seven Hills Run was going to be a 15Km PR since it was the first time racing the distance. It was a satisfying PR as I crossed the finish line in 51:26 (net time) - 5:31 pace. Besides the first kilometer, which I spent weaving through runners, everything went well for me in the race. I felt like I was getting stronger as the race went on, even on the hills. The first 5k split was about 10 seconds slower than I had hoped for. I think it was a combination of a hill at 2km and weaving through runners early in the race. The good thing was that each 5k split was about 15 seconds faster. Splits are below and results here.

Distance / Time / Splits
5K: 17:24 (17:24)
10K: 34:33 (17:09)
15K: 51:26 (16:53)

Bekele did not break the record nor did he win. He was 3rd overall. There were talks that he had an ankle injury coming into the race. The highlight of the elite race was the women's field as Ethiopian Mestawat Tufa missed the world record by one second.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fact: Sunday's race will be PR

I'm really looking forward to this weekend's 15km race in Nijmegen. The course is supposedly fast despite the hills, hence the name "Seven Hills Loop". The 15km world record of 41:29 was set on this course in 2001 by Kenyan Felix Limo. I predict that Kenenisa Bekele will take over the record on Sunday. I've never raced an actual 15km race, but I plan to treat it as a 10-miler since it's only 800 meters shorter. For some reason, I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself and have high expectations to run well. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because my fall training and racing has gone very well. Maybe it's because I recently set new PRs in the half and full marathon and I'm expecting the same for the 15km distance (well, good or bad race it will be a PR for me). Or maybe it's because I still fill fit coming off of marathon recovery. Whatever it is I hope to have a good race. One thing for sure is that Tuesday's track workout gave me self-confidence that the leg-turnover and fitness is still there. The last three days were just easy running. I did throw in some surges in the run today to wake up the legs.

Here's a motivational video of the Husky ladies getting ready for NCAA West Regionals.

Today's Run: 9.1M @ 6:55 pace
Thurs: 9M @ 6:51 pace
Wed: 4.2M @ 7:06 pace

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Getting ready for Bekele

It was an unplanned double workout today. I went for a run during my lunch break at noon with the thoughts of running for an hour to include some fartlek running. About a mile into the run I remembered that I had a meeting to attend immediately following lunch. I wasn't sure of the exact time of the meeting, so I decided to forego the fartlek workout and just run easy for 30 minutes. I was ticked off when I got back to the office because the meeting was scheduled for 1400 (2pm civilian time). During the meeting I was feeling guilty for missing the fartlek workout, so I made the decision to run after work to get some leg-turnover. It then dawned on me that it was Tuesday, the night that the AV Unitas, a Dutch Running Club, meet up at the track for some speed workout. It has been almost two months since I last ran with the club. After a 20 minute warm-up followed by some stretching and drills, I waited for the coach to yell out the workout. 5 x 1000m with 200m recovery. This was my first speed session since the marathon, so I was unsure what splits to hit and how the legs would react. I decided that I'd just stay with Paul, who was aiming for 3:10-3:12. The legs felt light and springy and the breathing rather controlled. I hit the 5 x 1000m in 3:12, 3:11, 3:10, 3:10, & 3:07. It was a good feeling knowing that I still have some leg-turnover following the marathon and that my fitness is still at a decent level.

On another good note, the running club invited me to run as part of the club in this weekend's Fortis Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) in Nijmegen. The 15Km race is one of the biggest road races (~22,000 runners) in the Netherlands and is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, which basically means the Kenyans and Ethiopians will be battling it out at the front. Kenenisa Bekele will most likely win the race as he takes his first big step on the roads.

Today's Run: Noon: 4.2M @ 6:55 pace; PM: 8.5M with 5 x 1000m (3:12, 3:11, 3:10, 3:10, & 3:07) w/ 200m recovery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Training Partner

Since my arrival in the Netherlands about four months ago, many co-workers have told me that I must link up with the German runner, Jurgen. Many folks were talking about this guy like he was an elite athlete. About six weeks ago I finally bumped into Jurgen as I was coming back from a run and he was starting his. We talked about getting in a run together. But because of my recent travels to Germany and limited running during marathon recovery, I was not able to run with Jurgen until today. During the run we got to know each other talking about our background and running experience. It turns out that Jurgen was indeed an elite or sub-elite runner 15 years ago (he is 38 now). He has PRs of 14' for 5k, 29' for 10k, 1:04 for the half, and 2:18 for the marathon. He was quick to say that that was the past, but then I starting laughing when he said he currently "only" runs 10k in 31-32 minutes. Jurgen said he has pacing duties for a German female elite runner at the Hamburg Marathon in April. He has to pace her at least through 35K at sub-2:30 pace. Here I am dreaming of running sub-2:30 one day and he has to run sub-2:30 pace on a given day. Incredible! I am excited about training with Jurgen in the upcoming months. Hopefully, this will lead me to faster times in all distances.

Today's Run: 8 miles @ 6:42 pace

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Back to normal running

It feels great to be back into the swing of normal running. My marathon recovery phase is now complete. During this past week the legs felt great during the runs. The average pace for the runs was consistently under 7:00 pace at an easy effort. I did take one day off (Thursday) from running just to give the legs a break. It was also my travel day back to the Netherlands from Germany.

I currently don't have any scheduled races on the calendar. However, I do plan on running some shorter races (5k-10k) over the next few months. This Dutch event website lists a whole bunch of running events across the country. It also looks like many of them are cross country races. Awesome! No better time to run some XC races.

03-09 Nov

Mon: 7.3M @ 6:54 pace
Tues: 6.2M @ 6:32 pace; including 4 x 2' at approximately 1/2-marathon pace with 1' easy
Wed: 7.3M @ 6:53 pace
Thur: DNR
Fri: 9.1M @ 6:46 pace
Sat: 7.3M @ 6:55 pace
Sun: 11.3M @ 6:42 pace

Weekly Total: 48.5 miles

Monday, November 03, 2008

Birthday Run

Today was my 31st birthday. I celebrated it by going on an hour-long run, and then driving to Heidelberg, Germany to attend a work conference that will begin tomorrow and end on Thursday. I was motivated to get out this morning for a run after watching yesterday's NYC Marathon. For most of the run I visualized myself running in the footsteps of the elites in NYC. I dreamt that in my next marathon I'd run like Paula (except for the head-bobbing) increasing the pace and dropping my competitors one by one as the race went on. I dreamt about running another PR and a sub-2:30 in the near future. I dreamt about how hard I'm going to train for my next marathon (Rotterdam) in April. And then about the 5.5 mile mark of my run I stopped day-dreaming and thought about Ryan Shay. Shay's death during last year's Olympic Marathon Trials made me realize that we must enjoy each run we go out on as we'll never know if it'll be our last one. Every birthday run for me will include a remembrance of Ryan Shay.

For those who missed yesterday's race, you can still watch it on-demand at

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Easier said than done

I'm writing this post as I watch the NYC Marathon live on EuroSport. Good luck to everyone running NYC. Go Paula, Kara and Abdi!

In my last post I mentioned that I'll be alternating days of very easy running with complete days off. Apparently, that was easier said than done. I found myself itching to go for a run each day this week. To keep me sane I went on easy runs of 30-60 minutes with the exception of Friday, which I took completely off. The legs felt fresh and light during the runs. At this point, I think I'm somewhere around 80% recovered. One more week of easy running should complete my marathon recovery, then I'll go back to the basics of base training.

27 Oct-02 Nov

Mon: 4.1M @ 7:22 pace
Tues: 4.1M @ 7:29 pace
Wed: 5.1M @ 7:11 pace
Thur: 6.2M @ 7:05 pace
Fri: DNR
Sat: 6.4M @ 7:05 pace
Sun: 8.8M @ 6:51 pace

Weekly Total: 34.7M