Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday Long, Monday Short

Saturday Long Run: 12 miles
Total Time: 1:47:17
AP: 8:56
Avg bpm: 147

We thought Saturday morning was going to be rainy but when we woke up it was only overcast which was nice. The sun was trying to get through the clouds but was never successful while we were out running. Jen and I drove up to Danville to run on the Iron Horse trail; I had ten on my schedule but this is an 11 mile out and back so I decided to do 11 then wait for Jen while she finished up and did 12. We started out at a nice even pace (low 9’s) and continued in that range until the turnaround; at that point we took a few seconds off each mile and we were in the high 8’s/low 9’s for the way back.

Once we were close to the car I could see that I would end up with a little over 11 so I decided to finish the run out with Jen making my total 12 for the day and 24 for the week. My legs were a bit tired toward the end but I had no bad pains to speak of. My shin muscles were fine for the entire run, I think the key for the race next weekend will be starting out slow and speeding up over time.

We ended the run at Bagel Street Café and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and a bagel.

Monday am run: Four miles
Total Time: 34:13
AP: 8:33
Avg bpm: 137

Today I woke up a couple minutes before my alarm went off but could not bring myself to jump right out of bed. I waited for the alarm to go off then got up and checked to see if it was raining; it wasn’t. I climbed back into bed and just laid there and stretched out for a few minutes. Once my alarm went off again I got up, got dressed, and headed out the door. Since this is my taper week and also because I think my shin muscles just need some TLC I kept the pace on the slower side and tried to keep my stride compact (to avoid over striding and excessive heel strike) – I felt my shin muscles getting a bit tight around mile two so I backed off a little bit and then didn’t really bother me anymore after that. I was able to pick up the pace for the last two miles but I never pushed myself too hard. My mile splits were: 9:14, 8:39, 8:28, and 7:52 and the corresponding heart rates were: 134, 135, 137, and 145.

Nothing on the schedule for this evening and Jen is out of town for work so I just plan on watching an episode of The Wire, watching Prison Break, and reading my book. Tomorrow I believe I have six on the schedule but it could be four, I can’t remember offhand.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Six and Six

Tuesday am run: Six miles
Total Time: 51:49
AP: 8:38
Avg bpm: 138

Thursday am run: Six miles
Total Time: 50:21
AP: 8:24

I was able to get in two six mile runs this week and have ten on the schedule for tomorrow, giving me a total of 22 for the week. My race is next weekend so I plan on running a nice even pace on the Saturday run then taking it easy for the most part next week. My shins are still giving me problems from time to time but it is pretty random. On the Thursday run I started out in the high eights for the first couple miles but focused on keeping my strides short. I had read that the pain in the tibialis anterior (the muscle that is bothering me) can be caused by over striding because it is the muscle that controls the lifting and setting down of your toes. A hard heel strike can cause it to be overworked leading to cramping and soreness. Hopefully with more running, walking, stretching, and strengthening it will get better.

This week I also enjoyed a couple of days of sleeping in. I figured that in a few weeks when I am working out every morning and some evenings that I will look back fondly on those mornings when I was able to sleep in. This morning was one of those mornings and it was great – I was able to sleep in until around 7:40. I went to a Warriors game last night with a couple of my co-workers and did not get home until fairly late so it was nice to still get a good amount of sleep.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Longest Yet

Saturday Long Run: 14 mi
Time: 1:56:21
AP: 8:19
Avg bpm: 155

This past Saturday I ran 14 miles, the longest run I have ever done. Jen was running 12 miles the same day so we started out and ran our first four miles together. We split at the four mile mark and I picked up the pace slightly to bring my miles down to around 8:00 – I think mile five was around 8:30, mile six around 8:07, and then I hovered in the 7:40 to 8:00 range for the remainder of the run. I was a bit tired toward the end but I pushed myself to run the last mile faster than the others and ended up running a 7:09 for mile 14.

I started out with my water bottle filled with Clif Electrolyte replacement (Cran Razz) and refilled at a drinking fountain around mile nine. I had eaten three clif blox when I turned around so I ate my last one when I was filling my water bottle. My plan for the race is to bring four blox, my water bottle on my waist belt, and a disposable water bottle filled with Clif Cran Razz. When I ran my last half marathon I put a few ice cubes in my water bottle so by the time I started drinking from it the water was still pretty cool so I think I will follow that same course this time.

After my run on Saturday I spent the day reading and relaxing. Jen had a couple of friends in town for the weekend so while they were in the city I got in a good five hours of reading. I had planned on making my way out onto the porch to smoke a cigar while I read but got so sucked into my book that before I knew it the sun was going down and it was cold outside. Jen, Inga, and Deana came by the house and picked me up in the evening and we went to our local sports bar to watch the Sharks play the Red Wings. The Sharks, being a kind team, allowed the Red Wings to win the game since they still feel bad about beating them 9 to 1 when they met a while back. I thought that was very nice of the Sharks even though it was hard to watch them lose. We ended up staying around after the game to watch the band play for a while (local cover band) before heading home for some on-demand karaoke.

This picture is my company Christmas photo - the pictures were taken back in December but were just posted today:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keep on Keepin on

Morning Run: Four Miles
Time: 31:42
AP: 7:56
Avg bpm: 147

Rolled out of bed this morning about 15 minutes after my alarm had gone off – not too bad but I still need to work on just rolling out of bed right when the alarm goes off. Still tights and long sleeve weather here, mid 30’s in the morning, but this morning there was a “warm” breeze blowing which I haven’t felt for a couple of months now. Granted it turned into a headwind that I despised after about ten minutes, but that’s another story. I started out a bit faster than I have been for my last few runs because I was curious how my shins would react. My first mile came in around 8:48 and I felt fine so I picked up the pace for mile two and cut about a minute off my pace for that mile. My shins were still fine but in the middle of mile three I could feel the tightness creeping in so I just held my pace and tried to relax my legs. By the time I got to mile four my legs weren’t really tight anymore but they did feel a bit heavy. Since it was my last mile I wanted to at least hold the pace I had been going at for the last couple of miles (7:40ish) but I didn’t want to push myself too hard since I have a 14 miler coming up this weekend. The last mile came in at 7:27 then I knocked out a quick stretch and hurried upstairs to tend to a very pressing matter.

Yesterday morning I was up at the gym to get in a quick swim. The water was fine, a bit chilly when I first jumped in but by the time I had 25m done I was fine. My total time for 500 was 9:42 which is fine with me since I have not been swimming very much at all in the last couple of months. My training plan for the upcoming season is going to be swimming focused and I am looking forward to seeing how much my time and endurance in the water improve. Last year I was getting in around three swims a week, this year I will get in five during the weeks leading up to my first event (NAPA Valley Sprint Tri). This will be the longest Tri swim I have done at 800y; I’m confident that I can swim that distance but I think the added focus on swimming will help my time and give me greater confidence for my ocean swim (SHARKS!!!!) at the Showdown at Sundown in June.

Of course, no morning swim would be complete without a nice steam before heading home to get ready for work. I plan on getting up to the gym again on Friday for 500-750 and possibly going on Sunday as well. Maybe I will ride my bike up to the gym (I need to get back in the biking groove which was destroyed by holiday travel, weather, and my being unmotivated) and then get in a little swim. I was also thinking about getting my buddy Chris out for a short run/walk; he just bought his first pair of actual running shoes from Forward Motion and is planning on getting a little cardio into his routine. Being as how he is one of those lucky folks that has his own business and works from home he definitely has the time to do it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Something Different

Distance: Eight Miles
Time: 1:06:47
AP: 8:21
Abpm: 147

The air was still, the streets were dark, as I stepped outside my door;
Shoes and socks, shirt and tights, I needed nothing more;
A Garmin to track my distance, an iPod for some tunes;
One to see how far I’ve gone, one to get me in a groove;
The fog was heavy, the morning cold, and my head was full of sleep;
Timer started, music on, my feet move to the beat;
The first two miles are nice and slow, no need to hurt my shin;
Six more miles left to go, but now I start to grin;
My leg feels good, like I hoped it would, music volume going up;
Picking up the pace, but not too much, cause an injury would suck;
Miles three and mile four go by, and now I’m halfway done;
I turn Tiesto’s Club Life on, by far my favorite one;
New to you, then check it out, podcasts are free for everyone;
I’m speeding up, but not too much, my lungs are feeling fine;
Six miles down, two more to go, I’m running short on time;
Cut it short, no chance in hell, cause now there’s one to go;
Soulja Boy done tol’ me, I’m a Superman you know;
800 yards, now four, now two, I see my house ahead;
I stop and stretch, then check my pulse, wipe the sweat off of my head;
My shirt is wet, my songs are done, and there is moisture in my hair;
The streets are light, the day is here, there’s still thick fog in the air;
My run is over, I walk upstairs, and think “I feel great”;
Two more days, another run, I can not freakin’ wait!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Weekend Long Run, Monday Recovery

Saturday Long Run
Distance: 12 miles
Total Time: 1:40:41
AP: 8:23

On Saturday Jen and I slept in a bit before heading out for our long run at Crystal Springs. Jen was planning on running ten and I was going to do 12 so we started out and ran together until around mile four. At this point I put on my headphones and took off on my own so I could run at a quicker pace. Since I have a 14 miler next weekend and a ten miler the weekend before the race I wanted to run the second half of this run at a fast pace since I probably won’t have another opportunity for a fast long run (next weekend will be long and steady and the weekend after that will be an easy long run). After we split off from each other the trail climbs at a steady incline until reaching the turn around point at six miles. You can go further along the trail at that point and here it is an actual dirt trail, not a paved path like is for the rest of the time. After turning around I had the downhill for two miles followed by rolling hills for the last four. My splits for those six miles came in as follows: 7:51, 7:37, 7:45, 7:31, 7:28, and 7:25; by the time I was on mile 12 I knew I had been pushing myself way too hard. My legs were getting sore/tired and I was very happy to stop at the end.

Overall I was very pleased with the run; I was able to run some fast miles on the second half of the run and my shin did not bother me at all. The next day my legs were a bit sore, especially my quads, then last night I noticed my shin muscle was a bit tight and sore. I spent some time massaging and stretching it out in an effort to loosen it up for this mornings run; I’m not sure if it helped in the long run but it definitely felt good when I was doing it.

Monday Morning Recovery
Distance: Four miles
Total Time: 36:16
AP: 9:04

This morning I pulled myself out of bed, threw on my gear, and headed out the door for four easy miles. I wore my heart rate monitor for the first time on this run, my average bpm was 135. I have to admit that I have no idea what that means yet other than my heart was beating an average of 135x per minute during my four mile run. I started off slow but still noticed a bit of tightness in my shin for the first two miles; I kept it at a nice easy pace for the whole run and it never became enough of a problem for me to stop. I started out with 9:47 for mile one and the next three came in at 9:06, 8:49, and 8:34.

My shins are still a bit tight so I will go for a short walk later this morning then stretch them really well. Tomorrow morning I have eight on the schedule so I want to try and get my legs feeling a bit better before then.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's Almost Friday!

Distance: Five Miles
Total Time: 39:59
AP: 8:00

This morning I was up and out the door around 6:20 (the alarm went off at 5:45) for five miles, which according to my schedule were to be five hard miles. I knew I didn’t want to start out hard and push my luck with my shin but I thought I would try to pick it up a bit on mile two and see how things felt after that. I’m not sure of my exact pace for the first two miles but I believe the first mile came in at around 9:00. It was a bit faster than my first miles have been for other recent runs but since I was pain free at this point I decided to pick it up a little bit for the next mile. Mile two – approx 8:34. I was still feeling good at this point so I picked up the pace again for mile three and then continued to speed up through miles four and five. My pace for those miles was 7:42, 7:14, and 6:44.

I walked to work again this morning so I got in about two miles of walking after the run. I have to change my route a bit because yesterday on the way home I was stopped by one of Dublin’s finest and he gave me a warning for Jaywalking. One of my co-workers was ticketed in the same spot I was warned and the fine was $126; I really don’t want to spend my money on something like that so I don’t mind adding two or three minutes to my walk.

Also, I’ve now watched the first two episodes of The Wire season five (the final season) and so far it looks like it will be a great season. Freakin HBO, first The Sopranos goes, now The Wire is ending! Oh well, at least the next (and not last) season of LOST starts in 21 days.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Routine Begins Anew

Well I think we are finally getting back into a routine. Granted it is coming in small steps but it is getting there. I have been keeping up on my running due to the training plan for the half marathon but have been struggling when it comes to getting up in the morning. I ran four miles on Monday and seven miles on Tuesday mornings then today we went up to the gym to get a quick swim in. The alarm went off at 5:45 but we weren’t out of bed until about 6:10ish. Fortunately my triathlon training doesn’t start until a week after my half marathon so by then it should be a bit easier to get up early and head out. Overall the half marathon training has been good, my shin hasn’t bothered me this week which I believe is due to a combination of starting out at a nice slow pace and walking to work (or driving then going for a walk at lunch). Hopefully by the time the race rolls around I should be good to go – really I would just like to run a good race with no leg problems. On Tuesday I ran negative splits with my first mile at 9:32 and my last at 7:02 so I know I can pick up the pace throughout the run; the only problem is that I’m not sure how long I can hold a fast pace. This weekend I have a 12 miler on the schedule and I would like to hold a pace in the low eights for miles five to twelve.

One thing that I really learned from this training is that any little thing can have a big impact on performance. It took me a while to realize what was missing from my daily routine during the time when I was having no leg problems and that was my daily walks (I used to walk to the train then from the train to my office in the city). Now that I have incorporated walking back into my daily routine I’m hoping that the shin pains become a thing of the past (not shin splints, but cramping in the muscle on the front of my leg). I didn’t even think about the walks until the cramping started in both legs – if it had just been in one leg then I might not have thought about it but when it happened in both legs I knew something was causing it that was not running related (very scientific I know).

To sum it up, training is good and getting better, still struggling with getting up in the morning but slowly making progress, legs are getting better – not cramping as often and the walks seem to be helping, blog updates are suffering which I am also planning on working on, but overall everything is on the up and up.