Saturday, July 28, 2007

Clute Mosquito Chase 5K

This is sort of an odd local race. The race directors aren't runners and it often shows. Many local runners skip this race but of all of the local races this race draws the most runners from up in Houston.
Several years ago the roads were re-paved and all of the mile markers were lost. Last year I remeasured the mile splits from the certification maps and painted mile markers. I planned to re-paint the mile markers during my track work on Wednesday, but I was running late from work and didn't have time to buy another can of spray paint. I used what was left from the spray paint can I used on the Firecracker 4 course, but there wasn't nearly enough paint. I really wanted to paint a 2-mile on the other side of the street, because the course is usually coned to direct everyone to the right side and my marker is on the left side.
There were some good sized rain clouds this morning that helped hold the temperature down some. I started the race too fast, slowing down some after the first half mile but still hitting the first mile in 5:41. They had the cones set out in the middle of the road and the lead police car had everyone running on the outside of the curves. They didn't have anyone calling splits and they didn't add any signs, so all there was at mile 1 was my weakly re-painted mark. The sun came out in the second mile and despite some hopes to keep pushing and get a pretty decent time for the middle of summer, I slowed way down to a 6:17 second mile (11:59). They had water set out at about the mile and a half point but no-one there to pass out cups (duh). There's a short section that runs down a four lane road that's usually coned so that the race takes the inside line facing traffic. This year they put the cones in the median and the lead police car went across the two oncoming lanes and led people to the opposite side of the street. That was too much for me; I stuck to the inside lane (I think everyone behind me did this too). There were a couple girls calling out splits, but they were 11 seconds before the 2-mile mark (duh). The third mile of this course is tough psychologically because you can see the finish after the second mile but then have to turn off and run about a 2/3 mile diversion. I slowed down even more and ran a 6:25 third mile (18:23) (uggh). I ended up at about 19:00 for the 5K. Not bad for the summer, but nothing to be really happy about. I weigh about 185 pounds now, ten pounds over what I weighed during the winter. That can't help.
The temperature at Clute from 7AM to 8AM was 81 degrees F with a wind out of the West at 4.9 mph. After the race, there were some stronger gusts out of some storm clouds that cooled things down a little.
There were several Houston runners down here today that I haven't seen for months. I haven't done a Houston race since the HARRA Spring Series. There were several Tornados and it was great to get a chance to talk with them.
I'm going to Florida tomorrow morning for a week of heat exchanger maintenance training and a meeting of Nuclear-Safety Service Water Engineers. This industry meeting and training is held once a year. I'm on the steering committee and always push for holding it in cooler places up North or along the Pacific Coast. We've had the meeting in San Diego (nice cool mornings near 60, Portsmouth NH and Montréal (even cooler with mornings in the upper 50s). I lost this year and it's being held in Orlando (yuck). At least I'll have much more time to run in the morning.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Last Week: Still Struggling

Days since last run less than 80°F: 0 (July 23rd)
Days since last run less than 70°F: 87 (April 27th)

40¼ miles for the week
M – 0 miles, slept in, 84°F at 4AM
Tu – 5¾ miles, average pace 6:53 mpm (The measured “Dow-Minus” two-miles were 13:15 going out and coming back was 13:08), 82°F at 4AM [S-B/Dow]
W – 5½ miles, with 5x800/200 then 400 recoveries, average pace 7:14 mpm, 800s in 2:54, 2:50, 2:52 (went to 400 recoveries), 2:52, and 2:52, 79.6°F at 7PM cooled by some nearby rain clouds [B’Wood Track]
Th – 0 miles, 81°F at 4AM
F - 9 miles, average pace 7:28 mpm, 83°F at 5PM, overcast with occasional sprinkles [SeaC/NTrail-2M/SeaC]
Sa – 9, average pace 8:25 mpm, sunny 88°F at 6PM [SeaC/NTrail-2M/SeaC]
Su – 11, average pace 8:16 mpm, started out OK, but the heat got to me at about mile 8 and I went into survival shuffle mode to make it home, 89°F at 11AM [SeaC/NTrail-2x2M/SeaC]

I was happy with the overall 26:24 for 4+ miles of Tuesday’s tempo run, a new record for July. 82 degrees actually felt a little cool at the start, but I still ended up soaked in sweat.
Sunday’s run was really difficult. I think both my running shoes and work shoes are at their end of life because my lower legs have been giving me niggles. Sunday was a combination of heat exhaustion and just tired legs. This was the first time I’ve had to go to the “survival shuffle” for quite a while. Even today, I feel pretty beat.

The local Mosquito Chase 5K is this Saturday. Last year I downloaded the USATF certification maps and measured and painted the mile splits. During Wednesday’s run, I’ll repaint the split markers. I can't say I expect to run very well Saturday.

How about that Alan Webb?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One More Try

Last week I tried splitting my typical Wednesday evening 3x1M/400recoveries workout in half and attempted to run six 800s with 200 recoveries (6x800/200rec). It didn't work out very well and I had to extend the recovery interval after the third 800 and didn't even run the sixth 800.

Well, there were some nearby rainstorms last night that cooled the temperature below 80°F, so I thought Why Not?
I didn't try to run the 6x800/200, but instead just ran a repeat of last week's workout with 200 recoveries after the first two 800s and then 400 recoveries.

5½ miles, average pace 7:14 mpm, 800s (actually 880 yards) in 2:54.1, 2:50.2, 2:51.7, 2:51.6, and 2:52.2 Mostly cloudy and 79.6°F with a 9 mph ESE wind at 7PM.

At first I thought I was going to be able to finish up with some 800s in the 2:40s, but even the cooler temperatures didn't help much. I still ended up soaked in sweat and struggling to keep in the low 2:50s.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Last Week's Struggles

Days since last run less than 80°F: 12 (July 4th)
Days since last run less than 70°F: 80 (April 27th)

37¾ miles for the week
M – 0 miles, slept in, 86°F at 4AM
Tu – 5¾ miles, average pace 6:57 mpm (The measured “Dow-Minus” two-miles were 13:00 going out and coming back into a pretty strong Gulf breeze was 13:39), 86°F at 4AM [S-B/Dow]
W – 5½ miles, with 5x800/200 then 400 recoveries, average pace 7:20 mpm, 800s in 2:56, 2:55, 2:59 (went to 400 recoveries), 2:53, and 2:53, 88°F at 7PM and sunny [B’Wood Track]
Th – 0 miles, 84°F at 4AM
F - 8 miles, average pace 7:27 mpm, 87°F at 5PM, filtered sun with some high thin clouds and a fairly strong SSW breeze making the going out portions cool and the coming back portions hot but fast, low tide with a pretty good sand surface [Surfside 8½-11-8½-10-8½]
Sa – 7½, average pace 8:56 mpm, mostly cloudy 89°F at 3PM but it felt cooler later in the run, the mountain bike trail was in good shape but had way too many spiders, this might be my last run on this trail until the spiders go away [SeaC/NTrail-MBT/SeaC]
Su – 11, average pace 7:34 mpm, started out with a few sprinkles, but it was starting to clear by the end of the run, 82°F at 2PM [SeaC/NTrail-2x2M/SeaC]

I was able to get some pretty strong runs in this week, even though my mileage was down a little. I was really happy with 13flat for the first half of Tuesday’s tempo run, but was disappointed with the second half. Even though it was pretty warm, the extra cooling from running back into the wind didn’t nearly compensate for the extra effort. Despite the big slowdown on the return half, the Dow- total was almost half a minute faster than the old July best.
I felt pretty strong during Friday’s run. Even though running with the wind was way too hot, it felt good to run in the low 7s. I would have liked to have run a little farther on Sunday, but I was pretty happy with 11 miles at that pace, especially after feeling a little “off” the first several miles. Overall, it was a decent week despite having to cut short Wednesday’s 800s and missing Monday and Thursday.

I skipped the Lunar Rendezvous 5K on Saturday. After missing Thursday's run and running hard late on Friday, I couldn't get motivated enough to wake up early and make the drive to Clear Lake. I haven't run a Houston-area race for a few months now.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

For the past several weeks, I've been doing mile repeats for the weekly Wednesday track workout (3x1M/400rec). Last night I decided I'd split the workout in half and run six 800s with 200 recoveries (6x800/200rec). After the third 800, I knew this was not a good idea. I went to 400 recoveries, then stopping for minute to drink some water, and finally decided to cut it back to five 800s. I was wiped out. I don't know if it was because it was a little warmer last night, or I was dehydrated, or 6x800/200rec is actually much more difficult than 3x1M/400rec, but I couldn't finish the workout.

5½ miles, average pace 7:20 mpm, 800s (actually 880 yards) in 2:56.4, 2:54.9, 2:58.7, 2:53.3, and 2:53.1 Sunny and 88°F with a 10 mph SSW wind at 7PM.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Last Week: A Fizzled Four Miler

Days since last run less than 80°F: 5 (July 4th)
Days since last run less than 70°F: 73 (April 27th)

51¾ miles for the week
M – 7 miles, average pace 8:42 mpm, 77°F at noon with steady rain and flooding from earlier heavy rains [SeaC/NTrail/SeaC]
Tu – 5¾ miles, easy run re-painting the FC4 course and the ⅛ mile marks in MacLean Park, average pace 8:35 mpm, 84°F at 11AM [FC4/MacL]
W – 8½ miles, with a 4-mile race at 6:18 mpm, 79°F at 8AM with steady rain [FC4/Dunbar]
Th – 7 miles, average pace 8:24 mpm, 81°F at noon [SeaC/NTrail/SeaC]
F - 7 miles, average pace 7:35 mpm, 90°F at 3PM, blue sky to the south, storm clouds to the north [SeaC/NTrail/SeaC]
Sa – 7½, average pace 8:01 mpm, partly cloudy with sun 90°F at 11:30AM, had to turn around on the mountain bike trail because of all of the standing water in the woods [SeaC/NTrail-MBT-/SeaC]
Su – 9, average pace 7:53 mpm, 90°F at 11AM [SeaC/NTrail-2M/SeaC]

The heavy rains early in the week allowed some runs below 80°F, but I could have done without the flooding. The woods are still filled with water and I’m afraid the mosquitoes are going to emerge this week.

I was happy with the overall mileage this week but my performance in the 4-mile race on the 4th was disappointing. I'll try and improve in the next one. I'm not sure whether I'll be able to run the Lunar Rendezvous or the East Bernard Running of the Bulls, but I'll certainly make the local Clute Mosquito Chase at the end of the month.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Flooded Firecracker Four

This race is always warm and humid and the past couple of years the awards ceremonies broke up in massive cloudbursts. This year it was a little cooler with steady rain throughout the morning. I ran a 6:12 first mile, a little surprised that it was that far slower than 6:00 pace. If I could hold to that pace, though, I could easily make my goal of sub-25. But the second mile was an even slower 6:20. There were some deep puddles near the end of the second mile, but I don't think they really slowed me down much. I spent much of the third mile concentrating on a High School aged kid in front of me, slipping the pace a little to a 6:22. I caught up to him just after the 3-mile mark and shortly after that was passed by another kid like I was standing still. He slowed down a little though, and I was able to catch him just before the 3.5-mile point. That didn't last long and he took off from me after just a few yards. I was content following him into the finish when all of a sudden the kid I passed at mile 3 came screaming past me at the finish line. I didn't even have time to react. Overall time was a 25:14. I really thought I was capable of running faster than that, but I did tie my second fastest time for this race. This is my first race in over a month and I think I've lost some of that "race drive". We'll see.

With the steady rain, the temperature was only 78.6 degrees at Clute and 76 with a 74 degree dewpoint farther inland at Angleton.

Here's a story from the local paper.
The same story in MSWord with a picture of my ugly mug.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Broke the Streak!

It was just 77 degrees F for today's run! There was a steady light rain, but it was less than 80 the whole way! This rain should continue, so there's a chance the 4-miler on the 4th might be run in the 70s.

Days since last run less than 70°F: 66 (April 27th)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Into July

Days since last run less than 80°F: 26 (June 5th)
Days since last run less than 70°F: 65 (April 27th)

47¼ miles for the week of June 25 to July 1
M – 6 miles, average pace 8:04 mpm 81°F at 6:30PM with occasional light rain [SeaC/NTrail-/SeaC]
Tu – 4¾ miles, average pace 6:52 mpm (The measured “Dow-Minus” two-miles were 13:33 going out and coming back was 13:28.), 86°F at 4AM [Dow]
W – 5¾ miles, average pace 7:00 mpm, 3x1M/400rec on the track, 1M times were 6:06, 6:04, and 5:59, 87°F at 7PM [B’Wood HS]
Th – 4¾ miles, average pace 8:19 mpm, 84°F at 4AM [Dow]
F - 7½, average pace 7:33 mpm, Sunny and 90°F at 5:30PM [SeaC/NTrail-MBT/SeaC]
Sa – 7½, average pace 8:37 mpm, Sunny but with occasional rain, 89°F at 12:30PM [SeaC/NTrail-MBT/SeaC]
Su – 11, average pace 7:34 mpm, overcast after heavy rains in the morning, 80°F at 1PM [SeaC/NTrail-2x2M/SeaC]

Sunday's run was almost under 80°F after some heavy rains this morning. But it was really steamy with foggy glasses and soaked, squishy shoes.

This week's highlight is the local 4-miler on the 4th. This race is always hot, so my times have been pretty mediocre. The last couple of years were over 26 minutes and my best is only a 24:57 in 2003. My Tuesday morning tempo runs have been pretty good, so hopefully I'll make it under 25 minutes this year.