Thursday, May 31, 2012

Too Much Tapering

This isn't exactly how tapering is supposed to go.

I haven't run since last Saturday. Oops. With the boat race and a day full of friends on Sunday, I didn't bother to go for a run. Then I went with the guys for nine holes of golf Monday morning (turns out I'm still not good at golf), and spent the afternoon soaking up as much family time as I could. When I got home Monday night, my allergies exploded and I slept about 3 hours that night so a morning run on Tuesday was out.

The rest of the week has been busy with work and baby stuff (birthing class, doctor check-up, meeting our pediatrician), but the bottom line is, once I got past Tuesday, I didn't want to do any running that would take away from Saturday. So here I am on Thursday with absolutely no running in the past five days.


At least my legs should be nice and rested by Saturday!

Thursday
Goal For The Day: Rest.
Distance: 0.00 Miles.

Notes: On the bright side, it's getting cooler as the week goes on and the race-time temperature is supposed to be in the 50's!!!

Daily Miles: 0.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 403.40 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Monday, May 28, 2012

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

This morning was the 10th Annual Michael Kinnear Memorial Regatta!

We had more boats than we expected and a lot of them showed impressive creativity and engineering. We had boaters of all ages powering their homemade boats down the cove and back and most of them were in really great costumes!

I finished my Shark Attack boat and I was happy with the final look even if I didn't get the mouth to open and close while I rowed. (I forgot some parts at home.)



Rowing my boat worked well but I'm not convinced it was faster than my kayaks were. In fact, our friend, Blake, rowed an updated version of his kayak and beat me soundly. But we were both outdone by some really impressive engineering. A couple of guys built a massive plywood boat and decorated it like a battleship. Inside, they had the motor from a log splitter that powered the hydrolics for a homemade propellor. This thing was a behemoth! And it was cruising along faster than a trolling motor would have moved it! They took home the coveted Capri Cup and were very deserving of the prize!






I took home the 3rd Place trophy and (even better) made it to the end of the cove and back without killing myself. I Love this race!!!
(Momma's Gotta Eat!)

I didn't run today. I'll pretend rowing my boat was enough of a workout. (And just pretend I didn't eat my weight in pulled pork and appetizers at the party tonight.)

Sunday
Goal For The Day: Boat Race!
Distance: 0.00 Miles.

Notes: I only plan to run a little tomorrow and Tuesday and then it's a lot of resting my legs for Saturday. It's been a while since I've run any races, so I'm getting excited!

Daily Miles: 0.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 403.40 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Short Long Run Gets Me To 400 Miles.

I couldn't have asked for a more relaxing final long run for my training.

It's supposed to be in the mid-to-upper 90's today and tomorrow but even at 78 degrees, this morning's run felt pretty comfortable. I didn't push the pace too hard and there was a very nice breeze keeping me cool so I cruised through two laps around the Lake.


The first lap was very consistent right under 7 minutes per mile and then I eased off for the last couple of miles. I'm supposed to be tapering, after all. I Love running down here. Catching glimpses of the Lake during the loop and then running across the dam... it doesn't get much better.

Today was also a test run for a new piece of gear. I had to buy some more duct tape for my boat yesterday and while I was in the hardware section, I saw a stand full of sunglasses that claimed to "block out dust, wind, and allergens". They have a strip of foam padding around the frames that basically keep them in contact with your face. They were only $10 so I grabbed a pair hoping they would help eliminate the painful sting of sweat in my eyes that I get on really hot days.



These things worked like a charm! They aren't the coolest looking sunglasses and it took me a little while to get used to them touching my face, but I didn't get a single drop of sweat in my eyes! If it's this hot next weekend, I'm definitely wearing them during the half marathon.

Saturday
Goal For The Day: Long Run.
Distance: 6.32 Miles.
Time: 46:36. 7:22 Avg. (6:56, 6:58, 7:17, 7:15, 7:49, 7:49, 2:28*).
Route: 2 x Lake Loop.
Conditions: 78 degrees. 9:26AM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: It's nice when my 'long run' is only 6 miles! Tomorrow is the big boat race. I'll probably count rowing my boat as a workout so I have an excuse to take the day off from running! I'll pick it up again on Monday.

Daily Miles: 6.32 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 403.40 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Four Day Weekend!

I took the day off of work to run some errands and get things ready for our trip to the Lake. But like a good little runner, I didn't take the day off from FiveFingers Friday!

(I found this book through my usual Google image search...
now I really want it on my bookshelf!)

Before I got to the rest of today's to-do list, I went over to the track for one last sprint session in my FiveFingers before next week's race. I jogged a little warm-up and then ran a mile of sprinting the straight-aways and jogging the curves. I didn't quite go all out today since I'm supposed to be tapering, but I still got up to speed and stretched my stride out. Going fast just feels too good in these shoes... I couldn't resist opening it up a little!

Friday
Goal For The Day: Speedwork.
Distance: 2.00 Miles.
Time: Untimed.
Route: Eureka H.S. Track.
Conditions: 74 degrees. 7:00AM.

Notes: 0.5 mile warm-up. 1 Mile of UCLA 100's. 0.5 mile cool-down. Getting warmer... literally and figuratively!

Daily Miles: 2.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 397.08 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Final Doom

This is the last time I'll be running the Never Ending Hill Of Doom for a while. The Hill doesn't intimidate me as much as it used to and I'll still work it into my training from time to time, but I think I'll take a break from it after today.

I won't be running any hill repeats next week so this is my last hill-centric workout before the race. Even though I'm running The Hill, I'm cutting back as part of my taper so I only ran up it twice today.


Maybe it was because I knew I only had to do it twice, but I seemed to have an easier time attacking The Hill today. I pushed myself more than I have the last couple of times I ran here and I still felt pretty comfortable. (As comfortable as you can running up a long, steep hill.)

Maybe all of this hill work is paying off and I'll be ready to face the hills on race day!

Thursday
Goal For The Day: Hill Repeats.
Distance: 3.97 Miles.
Time: 31:14. 7:52 Avg. (7:00, 7:18, 8:42, 8:12*).
Route: 2 x Never Ending Hill Of Doom.
Conditions: 70 degrees. 7:28AM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: The temperature has been creeping up every morning this week and Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be in the mid-90's. I hope there's another cool-down on the way after that. Gulp!

Daily Miles: 3.97 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 397.08 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Five Thousands

I went to the track this morning to run the workout I missed Monday night. School must be out because I left the only footprints in the Field of Dew.

I was dreading this workout a little. Running with the group on Monday nights has been so helpful that even the tough sprints went better than they would have if I ran them alone. Today's workout was 5 x 1,000 meters with 3 minutes of rest between intervals. I really expected to struggle through the workout and not enjoy myself.

I was pleasantly surprised!


I went with the same goal pace from the past few weeks (1:25 per lap) which set a goal of running each interval in 3:32. Between the cooler weather and an easier workout yesterday, the first interval felt really good. After that, I expected each interval to feel harder and harder but I made it through all five with a fairly even perceived effort. That might have been a sign that my rest period between intervals was too long but I was feeling good so I didn't mess with it.

There isn't a track session next week because of Memorial Day so I'll pick it up again after the half marathon.
Wednesday
Goal For The Day: Speedwork.
Distance: 5.10 Miles.
Time: 5 x 1,000m (3:30, 3:31, 3:31, 3:31, 3:30).
Route: Eureka H.S. Track.
Conditions: 59 degrees. 7:15AM.

Notes: I still ran the warm-up that I would have done at the group session. Not a bad workout. I hope I keep feeling this good over the next two weeks!
Daily Miles: 5.10 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 393.11 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Winding Down

Less than two weeks until I run Hospital Hill and it's time to back off of my training.

This week will still be the basic schedule I've been following but I'll be backing off of the distance and number of hills as the first stage of my taper. Then I'll get in a couple of easy runs early next week before resting completely the few days before the race.

Today was Top Notch Tuesday but I cut back to only 4 repeats. I took the jog before and after the repeats nice and easy but tried to push myself on the sprints up the hill. After all of the hills I've been running, four times up Top Notch feels like a very short workout, which is good because I can tell I need the recovery time.


I've been feeling a little drained the past week or two and I'm hoping the reduced workload will help me bounce back in time for the race.
Tuesday
Goal For The Day: Hill Repeats.
Distance: 2.93 Miles.
Time: 25:42. 8:45 Avg. (8:17, 9:06, 8:17*).
Route: 4 x Top Notch.
Conditions: 54 degrees. 7:26AM.
Run Details on Garmin

Notes: I'm Loving the temps in the mid-50's. I would take this on race day, for sure!

Daily Miles: 2.93 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 388.01 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Monday, May 21, 2012

First Baseball Game Of The Season

I missed this week's track session because we had tickets to tonight's Cardinals game. It was our first game of the season and Ben and Maja were in town so it was perfect timing!


It was a cool night and felt more like fall baseball than a game in May. In fact, Liz ended up borrowing my jersey before the game was over just to stay warm. The game got off to a slow start but got interesting late with a lot of scoring in the 7th and 8th innings. Tyler Greene's two-run homer in the 8th was the difference maker and we beat the Padres 4-3. It was nice to see a four game losing streak come to an end and we held on to our first place position over the Reds.

As an added bonus, Lance Berkman's doppelganger was sitting two rows in front of us. Of course, Berkman's on the DL with knee problems so for all we know, the Puma was sitting in our section tonight!


It's always nice spending time with Ben and Maja and we saw a great game from the cheap seats!

Monday
Goal For The Day: Rest.
Distance: 0.00 Miles.

Notes: I plan to run the workout I missed tonight on Wednesday instead.

Daily Miles: 0.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 385.08 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

At Least There Were Things To Look At

Ugh. Another hot morning.

It was a scorcher today. I didn't start my run early, but I was still out the door at a reasonable time. It didn't matter. It still felt hot on my long run today. There was even a breeze and the temperature wasn't as high as it will be later in the summer, but I was dogging it today.

I ran to Route 66 State Park, ran two laps, and then ran home. It was hot in the park because the breeze wasn't as strong and my second lap was slower than the first. Then the run home slowed down to the 8-minute range and I basically jogged the last mile as a cool-down.

I haven't been hydrating during my long runs like I did when I was training for New York and I think that's becoming an issue now that I'm creeping over 8 miles at a time. Tonight I noticed I had a very mild sunburn so the heat and sun were probably bad enough that I should have hydrated during the run.

There were a few perks to today's long run though. I was treated to several interesting sightings along the way:

The first was that the Sno Biz snow cone shack was being set up in town!!! I Love snow cones and I'm working my way through the entire menu of flavors at Sno Biz. Seeing them set up shop on my way through town made my morning. Unfortunately, I also passed them on my way back and they were more of a cruel tease almost 9 miles into a 10+ mile run.


When I was in the park, I passed an absolutely gorgeous butterfly that was sitting on a disgustingly large pile of dog poop. It was there on both laps so it must have been enjoying itself and I found it oddly humorous. I'm sure there's a lot of poetic irony in that image and I was sorry I left the camera at home today. Apparently, I'm not the only one who finds this sight mesmerizing because I did a google image search and plenty of people have pics of this very thing. For some reason, just seeing a picture of a butterfly on poop is a little gross though so I'll post a pic of this t-shirt instead:


Finally, when I topped the hill on Central on my way home, I had to stop at the intersection to wait for traffic. While I was waiting, a field mouse came darting through the intersection, dodging cars frantically as it ran through the busy street. It ran right past my feet and head-first into the curb. I guess it was in full-on fight or flight mode and ran into the curb in a panic. The little guy shook it off, hopped the curb, ran into the grass and bushes, and disappeared. I feel like it's pretty rare that I see mice (thankfully), let alone one dodging through an intersection, and especially not successfully. Good for him!

I got home, showered, put on my compression sleeves and took it easy for a couple of hours. Then Liz and I went out for some more yard work (The yard is looking good!) and the temperature dropped drastically as some rain moved in. Good old Missouri weather... always changing. I know I keep saying this, but I hope it decides to cool off for race day.

Sunday
Goal For The Day: Long Run.
Distance: 10.21 Miles.
Time: 1:18:27. 7:41 Avg. (7:08, 7:08, 7:16, 7:35, 7:14, 7:30, 7:35, 7:53, 8:09, 8:53, 2:02*).
Route: To Rte. 66/1 Lap/Home.
Conditions: 75 degrees. 9:29AM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: It was only 75 degrees at the start and almost 85 degrees by the time I finished. No wonder I felt like slowing down. I know this is better than when I'll be running in the mid-90's but I'm still being teased with 50 degree mornings right now. I'm also hoping that part of this is mental and physical fatigue from dense training. Hopefully on race day, I'll be rested and able to average 45-60 per mile faster than this. Hopefully. Not a single mile under 7-minute pace today. Ugh.

Daily Miles: 10.21 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 385.08 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Toying With P90X

I would have done my long run this morning, but my schedule was changed due to dirty laundry. I put off washing my workout clothes all week long and today it caught up to me. I didn't have anything to run in so my long run will have to wait until tomorrow.

It was still a productive day though. I did some quality yard work in the morning. (I finally changed the blade on my mower and it made a huge difference!) I don't know why, but I Love doing work out in the yard. Then we went to a party for our friends' twins' christening. Then this afternoon, I did a little cross training.

My poor bike is still broken... hence the 0.00 Miles biked in 2012. So I grabbed my P90X dvds and decided to do one of the workouts.

One of the things I'm always battling as a distance runner is the loss of upper body mass and strength. My legs are strong, but if I don't work on it, my upper body slims down drastically as my training goes on. So I put in the 'Chest and Back' dvd and put in almost an hour of upper body work.


Basically, the video is a lot of push-ups and pull-ups. A lot of them. There are 12 exercises in the circuit. When you finish all 12, you do them again in a different order. I did this video a few months ago and I worked so hard on the first set of 12, I didn't have much left on the second set. Today, I paced myself better and I think I got more out of the workout.

I still plan to do the entire P90X program towards the end of the year, but after this one video, doing the whole program seems intimidating.

Saturday
Goal For The Day: Cross Training.
Distance: 0.00 Miles.

Notes: I do feel better about my upper body strength after doing videos like this. I should really balance my workouts better so I'm not so one-dimensional. I've become very specialized as a runner and I could be more all-around fit.

Daily Miles: 0.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 374.87 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Feeling Super Fast

Have I mentioned that I Love sprinting in my FiveFingers?

I wouldn't say that I Love running in them yet, but I definitely Love sprinting in them. They make me feel fast!

I ran the same workout as last week (4 x 200 meters) and it's amazing how much I get out of a workout that short. It's enough to make me feel the effort. It has a lasting impact on my stride and mechanics... for the better. And it's a great mental boost.

From about 10 minutes of running intervals, I get several days worth of benefits. I'll take some more of that!

(My FiveFingers make me feel like
the end product of this shot.)

Friday
Goal For The Day: Speedwork.
Distance: 2.00 Miles.
Time: Untimed.
Route: Eureka H.S. Track.
Conditions: 59 degrees. 7:30AM.

Notes: 0.5 mile warm-up. 4 x UCLA 200's. 0.5 mile cool-down. I'm still liking the toe socks. I was on the actual track again today instead of the infield and I didn't feel like my feet took too much of a pounding.

Daily Miles: 2.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 374.87 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Peak Of My Hills

I'm just over two weeks from the Hospital Hill Half Marathon and this week is the peak of my condensed training for the race.

The past couple of days involved running hill repeats... a lot of hill repeats.


I saved Tuesday's workout for after work because of Monday night's track work. I went over to Top Notch while Liz did one of her prenatal workout videos. I sprinted my little segment of the hill 8 times and the physical exertion was complicated by the fact that the house at the top of the hill where I turn to jog back down was having some roofing work done. Whatever chemicals the roofers were using smelled strong enough that I was a little worried about getting a contact high. Every time I got to the top of the hill, I was gasping in lungs full of the stuff. I got through the workout fine, but I might now have cancer.

I took Wednesday off completely. I'm trying to work in a few more rest days so I can recover from the over-training I've been doing in time for the race.

Thursday was a surprising day at The Never Ending Hill Of Doom. I ran up The Hill 4 times. As is the custom on The Hill, I use the term 'ran' loosely. But I felt a lot better on my third and fourth summits than I thought I would. Maybe it was Wednesday's rest. Maybe the hill work as a whole is paying off. Or maybe it was just a good morning. Whatever it was, The Hill didn't feel as deadly and intimidating as it usually does.

So I plan to do a very brief speedwork session tomorrow in my FiveFingers and then run 10-12 miles on Sunday. After that, I'll have two solid weeks of tapering. I'll cut back on my workouts and mileage and hopefully start feeling more rested by the time the race comes around.

Tuesday
Goal For The Day: Hill Repeats.
Distance: 4.08 Miles.
Time: 37:40. 9:14 Avg. (8:46, 8:44, 9:43, 9:41, 0:44*).
Route: 8 x Top Notch.
Conditions: 80 degrees. 5:57PM.
Run Details On Garmin

Wednesday
Goal For The Day: Rest.
Distance: 0.00 Miles.

Thursday
Goal For The Day: Hill Repeats.
Distance: 5.19 Miles.
Time: 46:37. 8:59 Avg. (8:12, 7:49, 9:11, 9:43, 9:56, 1:43*).
Route: 4 x Never Ending Hill Of Doom.
Conditions: 52 degrees. 7:19AM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: The temperature has been all over the place so far this month. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Race Day is has one of the cooler mornings.

Daily Miles: 9.27 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 372.87 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Guinea Pig

I went back for another track workout at U City High and Mo Run Co. gave us an added bonus today!

A Nike representative brought a load of the new Nike Frees for us to test! Liz and I were in Fleet Feet a couple of weeks ago and I decided not to try on the new Free Runs while I was there. I was hoping to wait until a little later in the summer and then buy a pair to train for the Tulsa Marathon. Today, I got to try them on and take them for a spin around the track!

(2012 Nike Free Testing.)

They had the new versions of the Nike Free 3.0 and the Nike Free Run. The 3.0 is an even more 'minimalist' design that the Free Runs (which I wear all the time). The Free 3.0 has less of a drop from the heal to toe and is a little lighter and more flexible. The Free Run has a little more cushioning and stability but still gives that minimalist feel that I've come to Love.

(Pink for the ladies, blue for the gents.
Although one of the guys in my group said
he prefers pink and wore a pair through the whole workout.)

The rep told me the new Free Run is made from the same last so the fit should be basically the same but they made some changes to the design and stitching compared to my current pair. First, the support webbing that is on the outer part of my shoes is now inside the mesh on the new Runs (beneath the swoosh in the pic below).

(2012 Nike Free Run +)

Even more importantly, they separated the tongue on the new Free Run. When I bought my first pair of Nike Free Runs two years ago, I wasn't sure how I would feel about the attached tongue. But after years of the tongue of my shoes slipping down to the side over the course of a run, I found I really liked the sock-like design of the previous Free Runs and would have preferred Nike didn't separate them in the new version.

(Back to a separated tongue.)

The treads on the bottom of the shoe are basically the same and gave me that familiar longing for a fresh pair of shoes!
(I Love a new set of treads!!!)

I didn't try the 3.0 because of time and because the Run serves my purposes so well at the moment. I did lace up a pair of the Free Runs and took them for a run around the track. I had already run my warm-up and we had a tough workout ahead of us so I didn't go crazy, but I did a little jogging, a little running, and a little sprinting.

The new pair felt good but a little tighter in the toes. Nike is notorious for having tight toe boxes but the two versions of the Free Runs that I've owned have been surprisingly roomy up front. This pair might have been an aberration, they might have just felt tight compared to my current pair that have a lot of miles on them, or there might be a slight change in fit with the slight change in design. I'll have to try on another pair in-store to see if tight toes are going to be an issue.

After a little running around, the tongues were still securely in place but I didn't go very far in them so the jury is still out on that modification.

Overall, I like the new version of the Free Run... mostly because they didn't make any major changes to a shoe I already Love. I'm not thrilled with the change to the tongue and I'm a little leery of the toe box but I would be okay putting money into a pair when my current pair bites the dust. For now, I'll see if I can find a pair of my current shoes on clearance somewhere.

I didn't want to run the whole workout in borrowed shoes... both because they felt a little stiff and tight compared to my current shoes, and because I didn't want to get a pair of loaners too gross and sweaty... so I switched back to my own Free Runs before we started our intervals.

Today we made the jump up to 800 meter intervals and the schedule called for 6 of them. The goal time was 2:45 each with 1:50-1:55 of rest between intervals.

I did the math and tried to set my own goal closer to the week 1 pace. That would put me at 2:50 instead of 2:45 and I planned to settle into that pace even if it put me a little behind some of the guys I had been running with. Last week, I was really struggling in the last few intervals because I hit the pace to hard on the early intervals.

Unfortunately, the first interval felt too good and I came in at 2:43. Oops. I was out in front from the beginning and ran faster than I thought. After that first interval, I decided to tuck in with one of the other guys, Bobby, and let him keep me in check.

Well, Bobby wasn't on my 2:50 plan and he pulled me through the workout hovering around the 2:45 pace. We swapped the lead a few times but, like last week, he was out in front by the final interval and I was just trying to keep him from running away from me.

We got all 6 intervals in and actually stayed pretty close to the 2:45 goal. We got to test some new shoes and ran a hard workout. Not bad for a night's work!

Monday
Goal For The Day: Speedwork.
Distance: 5.00 Miles.
Time: 6 x 800m (2:43, 2:45, 2:43, 2:44, 2:47, 2:46).
Route: U City H.S. Track.
Conditions: 77 degrees. 6:30PM.

Notes: It's getting warmer. Tonight wasn't too bad, but running intervals in June could be interesting. Liz and I have Cardinals tickets next Monday so I'll have to do the scheduled workout on my own. Then, there's a week off for Memorial Day. I won't be back with the group for three weeks. Bummer.

Daily Miles: 5.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 363.60 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Good Kind Of Slow

I flipped things around today and went for my run first and then spent the afternoon on my boat.

A lap around the Lake is just over 3 miles so I planned three laps to get in the 9-10 mile range. Next week, I'll peak at 10-12 miles and then start a week-long taper going into the half marathon.

The weather has been great all weekend and this morning was more of the same. Most people haven't started migrating to the Lake for the weekends yet, so it was nice and quiet for my run. Long Runs aren't supposed to be too fast, they're more about mileage and I was in the mood to take it easy so I took my time looping the Lake.

When I got back, Liz made ham and cheese biscuits for our Mother's Day breakfast and we ate out on the screened-in porch. It was about as relaxing as a morning can get.

Then I got back to work. A quick trip to the store for some final supplies and a little more work and my boat was ready for a quick test.

(At least she floats... that's always good!)

The test went well and I got a head start on the decorations so I shouldn't have to do a ton of work on the holiday weekend.

It was great spending Mother's Day at the Lake and it was a productive weekend all around!

Sunday
Goal For The Day: Long Run.
Distance: 9.35 Miles.
Time: 1:11:33. 7:39 Avg. (7:49, 7:23, 7:21, 7:40, 7:53, 7:36, 7:28, 7:42, 7:58, 2:39*).
Route: 3 x Lake Loop.
Conditions: 58 degrees. 8:20AM.

Notes: It would have been easy to stop after the second lap but I'm glad I went for all three. The last lap felt very relaxed and was the pleasant kind of running I had been missing this week.

Daily Miles: 9.35 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 358.60 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Quick And Easy

Memorial Day is coming up and that means it's almost time for our annual build-your-own-boat race. Liz and I made a trip down to the Lake House this weekend to get a jump on building my boat (and to relax by the water).

I spent the afternoon working on my boat and the basic frame is pretty similar to some of the other boats I've built in the past. Everything came together relatively quickly and this kind of frame is becoming easier and easier to build.

(The fruits of my labor.)


When it was getting close to dinner time, I put the boat building aside for the day and went for a quick lap around the lake. I've run around this lake so many times, it's also becoming an easy routine and it was relaxing to run the familiar loop after a day of construction.

After 3 easy miles and a quick shower, I slipped on my new compression sleeves, had a delicious roast and veggies for dinner, and put my feet up for the rest of the evening. It was a good day!

Saturday
Goal For The Day: Easy Run.
Distance: 3.11 Miles.
Time: 21:31. 6:55 Avg. (7:04, 6:55, 6:49, 0:43*).
Route: Lake Loop.
Conditions: 72 degrees. 6:48 PM.

Notes: Hooray for negative splits!!!

Daily Miles:
2012 Totals:
  Run - 349.25 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gear Check - Injinji Toe Socks

A couple of my posts about running in my FiveFingers resulted in multiple recommendations that I get some injinji toe socks. I recently picked up a pair when we were out looking at jogging strollers and today, I took them out for a test run.

I bought the no show, lightweight, performance version of the injinji socks. They only had my size in two or three colors (none of which were just plain white) so I chose a blue pair.


(I think it's weird that socks are so technologically advanced.)

(Apparently, these are officially "Mariner Blue".)

It already takes me a while to get my toes separated and into the proper slots in my FiveFingers so I was worried toe socks would be just another frustrating step and not worth the extra hassle. I was pleasantly surprised when my toes easily found their places in the socks. As an added bonus, my shoes seemed to go on more easily as well. (Probably because my toes were already separated.)

(Smurf or Blue Man Group?)

Once my FiveFingers were on, I immediately noticed they felt more snug. Not in a bad way... I would describe it as more secure, not necessarily tighter. I think this will be good because the little bit of extra wiggle room I felt like I had before was one of the reasons I feared blistering. With the socks on, everything seemed to fit a little better.

(The crazy blue of the socks is mostly hidden once the shoes are on so they don't stand out as much as I thought they would.)

For my test run, I drove to Berry Park and jogged over to the track for my weekly sprints. I could tell a significant difference jogging on the concrete path with the toe socks. For shoes without padding, even lightweight socks feel like a cushy addition and I felt more comfortable on the pavement than I have before.

The grass was thick with dew again and I hate wet socks so I got my toes a little wet crossing the field to the track but decided to run the majority of the workout on the track itself. For the past couple of weeks, I've run 8 x 100 meters at full speed but today I ran 4 x 200 meters with a 200 meter jog between intervals.

Like on the pavement, I felt like I had a little extra cushioning while on the rubberized track thanks to the toe socks. Plus, sprinting the curves of the track involved surprisingly little lateral slippage within the shoes. Best of all, by the end of the workout, I had worked up a sweat but my feet didn't have that sensation of sticking to the insoles. I haven't used my FiveFingers enough for them to be too gross, but I think these socks will help prevent and delay the onset of shoe funk.

So after my first test run in the injinji toe socks, I'm more than satisfied with the results and I feel like they were worth the purchase. I don't wear my FiveFingers often so one pair should do the trick for now and I think they will not only help prevent blisters, but they make the FiveFingers even more comfortable, which I didn't think was possible!

Friday
Goal For The Day: Speedwork.
Distance: 2.00 Miles.
Time: Untimed.
Route: Eureka H.S. Track.
Conditions: 59 degrees. 7:30AM.

Notes: 0.5 mile warm-up. 4 x UCLA 200's. 0.5 mile cool-down. Even at 200 meters, it felt good to be up on my toes and striding hard. I Love sprinting in these shoes!!!

Daily Miles: 2.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 346.14 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jekyll And Hyde

Running can be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Sometimes, going for a run involves all of the healthy, refreshing, peaceful benefits that I've come to Love. Sometimes, there just isn't much about it that's fun and I spend most of the run looking forward to when I get to stop. I think the latter type of run is more likely to happen when I'm training for something instead of just running for fun.


Today was a Mr. Hyde kind of day. I ran 3 x The Never Ending Hill Of Doom and I can't really say I was enjoying myself. I wasn't in horrible pain. I wasn't completely exhausted. But I also didn't feel any real joy by running up a really long, really steep hill over and over. This is the kind of day to just put your head down and work your way through it.

The great thing about running is, even when it isn't a pleasant Dr. Jekyll kind of experience, it comes with a sense of satisfaction. The Mr. Hyde days aren't fun during the run, but I sure feel good after. Not just because I got to stop at the end, but because I feel like I accomplished something. I exerted a little willpower and chose to do something difficult. And, most importantly, I made myself better prepared and more likely to really have some fun when I want to challenge myself.

Sometimes, running is about the journey and not the destination... those are the fun days when running is something I Love right then... while I'm out there doing it.

Sometimes, running is about the destination and not the journey... those are the days that are true 'workouts' and I only enjoy them because of what they do to help me when it comes time to race.

Today was a day to focus on the destination because the journey involved a long, repetitive hill.

Thursday
Goal For The Day: Hill Repeats.
Distance: 4.51 Miles.
Time: 37:52. 8:23 Avg. (7:32, 7:32, 8:39, 9:45, 4:22*).
Route: 3 x Never Ending Hill Of Doom.
Conditions: 54 degrees. 7:52AM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: A late start today. I should be getting out the door earlier. That probably contributed to my preoccupation with getting the run over with. I knew I was pressed for time.

Daily Miles: 4.51 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 344.14 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8, 250 meters.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not-Over-The-Hump Day

Wednesday is Hump Day (which I found out makes for an interesting google image search) and I'm on the uphill side of the 'hump'.


During my last few rounds of training for marathons, I've noticed there's a period of time where I feel more tired, run-down, and seem to plateau. In fact, just maintaining a level of performance becomes more difficult. Then, at some point, I seem to have a breakthrough day... or few days... and suddenly, I'm at the next level and things are easier again. In my head, it's very much like the saying, "getting over the hump". After that, I make a lot of progress in a short amount of time and I seem to be able to maintain the improvements without a ton of effort.

I'm not there yet in my current round of training, but I think it isn't too far off.

I ran 5 miles today and didn't push myself very hard because I'm sandwiched between two days of running hills. But even while intentionally taking it easy, I could tell I'm in that uphill zone. I'm a little tired physically but it's as much a matter of being mentally sluggish as anything else. My mind was wandering a lot today but I'm not at that point that I'm running fast when I zone out and I didn't feel motivated to do much more than an easy run.

Hopefully, I'll get over the hump and move to the next level in the next week or two. If nothing else, having an easy week right before the half marathon should leave me feeling fresh after all of this dense training.

Speaking of dense training... today was also my chance to meet Liz at the Rec Center for a swim. We did our routine sets of 200 meter swims and planned to swim 1,000 meters all together. Unfortunately, Wednesdays get invaded by aqua-aerobics so we stopped at 800 meters so they could close two lap lanes for the aerobics class. But it was a good swim until we got pushed aside!

Wednesday
Goal For The Day: Middle Distance & Swim.
Run Distance: 4.96 Miles.
Time: 36:58. 7:27 Avg. (7:33, 7:22, 7:13, 7:41, 7:07*).
Route: Old Town Eureka w/ Cul-de-Sac & City Hall Exts.
Conditions: 57 degrees. 7:27AM.

Swim Distance: 800 meters. (4 x 200m).
Location: Fenton Rec Center Indoor Pool.

Notes: Today was a good example of feeling awkward in the morning. I think this run would have gone better later in the day. I just never felt like I really woke up. It was nice to swim with Liz again. It's been a couple of weeks because I've been going to the track workouts.

Daily Miles: 4.96 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 339.63 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 8,250 meters.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Routine, Routine, Routine

Hospital Hill is just over three weeks away and I've packed my week with a training routine that will get me ready for the race in a relatively short amount of time... or leave me very worn out.

I've been pretty good about working in a day off here and there, but my routine now has me running 6 out of 7 days in the week:

Monday - Speedwork with MO Run Co.
Tuesday - Hill Repeats on Top Notch.
Wednesday - Middle Distance or Rest.
Thursday - Hill Repeats on Never Ending Hill Of Doom.
Friday - Short Speedwork in FiveFingers.
Saturday - Long Run.
Sunday - Rest (Or a short, Easy Run).

I thought running this morning after last night's workout would be counterproductive so I saved it for later today. I was able to leave work a little early and ran hill repeats before dinner.

I ran 6 x Top Notch again this week and even though it was the day after some tough speedwork, I felt better than when I ran the same thing last week with a day off in between. Still, before I went to bed, I got out The Stick and tried to work out some of the soon-to-be soreness. I like our foam roller, but The Stick is great for hitting more specific muscles and working out knots and kinks. I'm a big fan and should use it even more often than I already do.

(The Stick.)

Tuesday
Goal For The Day: Hill Repeats.
Distance: 3.49 Miles.

Time: 29:02. 8:19 Avg. (7:43, 8:12, 8:59, 4:07*).
Route: 6 x Top Notch.
Conditions: 72 degrees. 4:59PM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: Free, all-you-can-eat chips 'n' salsa totally hit the spot after a good workout!!! Last week, I averaged 8:48 per mile on this run... today was 8:19 per mile!

Daily Miles: 3.49 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 334.67 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 7,450 meters.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back For More

I decided to stick with Missouri Running Company's track workouts for a while. Last week felt really good and it was fun running with a group so I came back for more tonight.

(University City High School Track.)


It was hard to tell, but it seemed like there were about the same number of people this week as last week. I think some people weren't able to make it this week and some new people joined us but it must have balanced out.

We broke up into three groups again and my group was a little different this week. Two of the three guys I ran with last week were there and we gained a new guy and a new girl. We did the prescribed warm-up and then got to work.

Last week was 12 x 400 meters. This week was the same overall distance, but in longer chunks... 8 x 600 meters. We were given a goal time of 2 minutes per interval with a one-minute rest between intervals. 600 meters is a lap and a half so we walked diagonally across the infield after each interval to get back to the starting line.

After the first interval, another coach asked our coach how long he was giving us for breaks. When he said 1 minute, the other coach was a little shocked that it was so short. Our coach ended up extending our breaks to 1:20. (Which was good because a minute was just long enough to walk back to the starting line.)

The first couple of intervals went fairly smoothly. I was still feeling confident after last week's workout. Then, during #3, I realized this pace was actually faster than last week's even though we were running longer intervals. Last week, our goal was adjusted after some grumbling to run 400 meters in 1:25 instead of the original goal of 1:20. (We averaged between 1:21 and 1:23.) That would put us at 600 meters in 2:07-2:08. This week, our coach took us back to the original, faster pace without us thinking about it. To run an even 600 meters in 2:00 means crossing 400 meters in 1:20. In the middle of the third interval, I did this math and began to doubt my ability to run 5 more intervals at this pace.

Sure enough, intervals 3 and 4 were on pace but 5 and 6 started to drop to last week's pace. Number 7 was even slower and then I recovered some on number 8. Two of the guys in my group kept closer to today's goal pace and really pulled me along. Otherwise, I probably would have fallen off even more.

I think yesterday's long run affected today's workout. I should have gone with Friday's plan of switching my long run to Saturday and having a recovery day on Sunday. Lesson learned.

Monday
Goal For The Day: Speedwork.
Distance: 5.00 Miles.
Time: 8 x 600m (1:59, 2:00, 1:58, 2:00, 2:07, 2:06, 2:11, 2:07).
Route: U City H.S. Track.
Conditions: 68 degrees. 6:30PM.

Notes: At least it wasn't as hot. It felt mercifully cool tonight but the humidity still had me drenched.

Daily Miles: 5.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 331.18 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 7,450 meters.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Not Acclimated

Today, I planned to get in the Long Run that I ended up shortening last week. I wanted to run 8-10 miles this morning and figured I could just go late enough in the morning that I could cut the grass when I got back without waking the neighbors too early on a Sunday. My plan to leave later in the morning meant I didn't successfully beat the heat.

I left the house around 8:45 and it was already hot and crazy humid. The first three miles were fine because there was an occasional breeze, but when I got into Route 66 State Park, the air was dead. The park is nice and flat, but today it was like running in a sauna and I'm definitely not acclimated to the heat and humidity yet.

(This guy ran an 'underwater marathon' for wounded troops.
His name is Brad and the guy who wrote the article is named Brad.
And my name is Brad and this is what it felt like running outside today.)

Each mile was slightly slower than the one before it. Then as I was leaving the park, I stopped to give someone directions to get back to the highway. I also realized I really had to pee so I went into the brick oven that they call a restroom in Kircher Park. When I started running again, I was drenched in sweat and even less motivated to worry about my pace.

Thankfully, there was more of a breeze when I got back into the hills of town but I still took it easy. In fact, I pretty much jogged the last mile as a cool-down. When I hit 8 miles even, I was still about a quarter of a mile from home so I stopped and walked the rest of the way to cool down some more before going back in the house.

I downed some Gatorade and towelled off before cutting the grass. By the time I was finished, I was feeling pretty wiped out. I should have taken a nap because I felt drained the rest of the day.

On the bright side, I put on my new compression sleeves when I finally sat down for lunch and they felt amazing!!! I think I'll get a lot of use out of them!

Sunday
Goal For The Day: Long Run.
Distance: 8.01 Miles.
Time: 1:00:29. 7:33 Avg. (6:55, 6:56, 6:57, 7:21, 7:30, 7:48, 7:50, 9:01, 0:07*).
Route: To Rte. 66/1 Lap/Home
Conditions: 78 degrees and humid. 8:42AM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: Today was a good reminder that Hospital Hill could be a hot one. Most of my marathons and halves have been cold-weather runs. I realized I was imagining a cold morning for Hospital Hill. That isn't very likely for the first week of June.

Daily Miles: 8.01 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 326.18 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 7,450 meters.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Being A Good Consumer

Today, I did my part to boost the economy as a good little consumer.

Liz and I went to a morning showing of The Avengers. I'm a huge fan of movies... I'm a totally nerd... and I Love superheroes and comic books. This movie was made for me and I was surprised that it not only lived up to my expectations, it exceeded them. I would have guessed that The Avengers was doomed to be a let-down after years of build-up and all of the hype. I'm glad I was wrong!


I was also a consumer in the sense that I settled in for the movie with a Mountain Dew, some theater popcorn, and some Twizzlers. Yum! There's no better way to see a movie!

After The Avengers, we went and pretty much finished registering for baby stuff and in the process, I bought a pair of Injinji toe socks for my FiveFingers. I'm excited to see how they feel.


We also stopped at Fleet Feet to use a loyalty voucher we earned recently. I picked up a pair of compression sleeves for my calves. Liz did some research on compression socks and we've been eager to give them a try.


Finally, after a long day out, Liz made her delicious chicken pasta that we Love so much and I definitely consumed a good-sized bowl full! I know we ate pasta on Cinco de Mayo but we went out for Mexican last night and you can never go wrong with this pasta... so good!


No running today, but some new gear and lots of good times!

Saturday
Goal For The Day: Rest.
Distance: 0.00 Miles.

Notes: We've had summer-like temperatures this week and the humidity is ramping up this weekend so I had no problem taking a day off today. Blah.

Daily Miles: 0.00 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 318.17 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 7,450 meters.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Making Tracks

I'm still new to running in my FiveFingers and today I was literally getting my feet wet.

(My FiveFingers Footprint.)

It's been hot and humid this week and this morning there were storm clouds hovering over Eureka. Most of the actual storm was off to the east so I drove to Berry Park for a quick jog to the track and a short set of sprints.

(At Berry Park.)

When I got to the field that leads to the track, I could clearly see two sets of footprints that some kids left on their walk to school. Apparently, there was a lot of dew on the grass this morning and every step I took left a very clear footprint. By the time I crossed the field and started jogging around the infield of the track, my toes were wet.

(This was an oddly cool view in person.)

I try to take very good care of my shoes because it's one of the only big expenses of this pastime. I was hoping to avoid pavement and rain in my FiveFingers for a while... to avoid wearing down the treads, to avoid pain in my feet from the pavement, and to avoid smelly shoe funk. Even though only a few raindrops fell this morning, my shoes definitely got damp. Surprisingly, it didn't bother me much. I know a lot of people use FiveFingers in the water and for boating and I can see why. They were just as comfortable while wet and they dried out very quickly. Good to know!

I ran the same workout as last Friday... a half-mile jog to warm up... 8 x 100 meter sprints at full speed... and a half-mile jog to cool down. As if sprinting nearly-barefoot in the grass weren't enough, the stormy weather made it even more fun to run this morning.

Liz and I have a busy day planned for tomorrow but I might try to get up early to do a long run. Normally, I do my long runs on Sundays, but the Hospital Hill Half is on a Saturday. Plus, if I decide to run the speedwork again on Monday night, I'll have that extra day of recovery on Sunday before hitting the track. Then again, I do enjoy sleeping in.

Friday
Goal For The Day: Speedwork.
Distance: 1.50 Miles.
Time: Untimed.
Route: Eureka H.S. Track.
Conditions: 70 degrees and humid. 7:30AM.

Notes: I wonder if I'll be as tired and sore tomorrow as I was after last week's FiveFingers run. Hopefully, I'm getting in better shape and getting more used to sprint workouts.

Daily Miles: 1.50 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 318.17 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 7,450 meters.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Registered For Route 66

It's official! I'll be running the Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma on November 18, 2012!!!


I registered today and beat the price increase by a few days. This is the only marathon I'm running this year and it isn't until mid-November so I have plenty of time to get ready for it. So far, that means I'm registered to run the Hospital Hill Half in exactly one month and Route 66 in six months. The rest of the races on my wish list will depend on scheduling and available funds. After all, we're going to have an extra mouth to feed soon!

As for Hospital Hill preparations, I went ahead and ran a second consecutive day of hills this morning. I was feeling a little sluggish and only ran The Never Ending Hill Of Doom twice, but I plan to step it up to three climbs next week. I didn't sleep very well last night and my legs still felt heavy from yesterday's run but I made it to the top twice and got my day off to a productive start.

Tomorrow... Five Fingers!

Thursday
Goal For The Day: Hill Repeats.
Distance: 3.94 Miles.
Time: 32:19. 8:12 Avg. (7:37, 7:51, 8:36, 8:14*).
Route: 2 x Never Ending Hill Of Doom.
Conditions: 70 degrees. 7:25AM.
Run Details On Garmin

Notes: The Hill was almost all shade even at 7:30 so the heat wasn't too bad. I'm sure the kids waiting at the bus stops think I'm insane as I slog my way up The Hill. The map from my Garmin readout looks like it shorted me a little by starting late and finishing early. Silly technology.

Daily Miles: 3.94 Miles.
2012 Totals:
  Run - 316.67 Miles.
  Bike - 0.00 Miles.
  Swim - 7,450 meters.