Monday, November 26, 2007

Houston Marathon Training Week 11 of 18: The Cold Front Comes Through

94 miles for the week

M AM – 6¾ miles recovery run, average pace 8:34 mpm, 67°F at 4AM [SB/Dow/BS]
M PM - I ran this one! 4 miles recovery run, average pace 7:56, 69°F at 7PM [FlagR/P-/P/C]
Tu – 8¼ miles easy general aerobic, average pace 7:53 mpm, 71°F at 4AM foggy [SB/Dow/2xBS/Ol]
W AM - 8¾ miles harder general aerobic, average pace 7:11 mpm, 76°F at 4AM [SB/Dow/3xBS]
W PM – 7¼ miles, gradually increased pace from 7:18 to 6:44, average pace 7:00 mpm, 77°F at 7PM [B’Wood track]
Th – 10 miles recovery run, average pace 8:27 mpm, Thanksgiving Day, 53°F at Noon sunny and windy [SeaC/NtrailMBTrail-2MMBTrail/SeaC]
F - 12 miles, with 2M-3M-2M at LT pace, average pace 6:43 mpm, LT miles at 6:19, 6:19, 6:28, 6:23, 6:22, 6:21, and 6:14, 51°F starting at Noon, overcast and a strong wind down the track’s straight [Plant-Wdld/B’Wood track/Wdlnd-Plant]
F (later) - 4 miles recovery run, average pace 8:41 mpm, 53°F at 5PM, [FlagR/P-/P/C]
Sa – 9 miles recovery run, average pace 8:25 mpm, 54°F at 2PM with light rain and some heavy rain and windy [SeaC/NtrailMBTrail-MBTrail/SeaC]
Su – 24 miles, average pace of 7:14 mpm, 47°F to 49°F from 1PM after heavy rains, overcast and windy [SeaC/Ntrail-5x(2M-McL1M)-2M/SeaC]

The cold front stormed in Wednesday evening just as predicted. It ended up being even colder and rainier. It hasn’t been cold here for so long I’d forgotten how unpleasant running into a cold, wind-driven rain can be. But I’d still rather run in cold, windy rain than run when the dewpoint is above 75°F.

Friday’s 7 mile LT run was more difficult than I hoped. The wind was coming right down the track’s straightaway, so half of each lap was a struggle and the other half was a coast. I set my watch’s timer to repeat every 47 seconds (6:16 miles). I couldn’t keep up the first two miles and the repeated beeping was really irritating. Miles 1 and 2 were both 3 seconds slow, at 6:19. After the 2nd mile, I gave in and decided to split the 7 LT miles into 2-3-2. I took a short breather and a drink of water and changed my timer to repeat every 48 seconds (6:24 mile). After a slow start on the third mile, I was able to re-gain some ground on my 48 second timer. Miles 3, 4 and 5 were 6:28, 6:23, and 6:22. I felt much better and the break between this set and the next was just long enough to take a drink of water. The 48 second timer wasn’t irritating at all when I was able to gain ground on it. Mile 6 was a 6:21 and mile 7 was a 6:14. Most of the return trip was with the wind and I averaged in the 6:40s for the 2½ miles back home.

Sunday’s 24 mile long run started out pretty slow and difficult. Most of the first two miles were into a pretty strong and cold north wind. I ran the first 9 miles at about a 7:40 to 7:30 pace. My long runs are usually two or three loops from my house out to the Bottomlands Park Trail. But with the fierce north wind exposure on the way to the park, I decided I’d stay on the wooded trail as long as possible. I got in a groove and was able to pick up the pace to about 7:15 to 7:00 for the next ten miles. I was still feeling good so I picked up miles 20, 21 and 22 to about 6:55 pace. I still felt fresh so I picked up the pace again on the way home and finished with miles 23 and 24 at sub-6:30 pace. This long run started out poorly, but it ended up being a real confidence builder.

I received my 30K race bib in the mail this week (the 30K is two weeks away, on December 9th). I should just use this race as a marathon pace run, but I’ll probably end up racing it; I always do.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Really Strong Cold Front

A really impressive cold front stormed in last night. I was running seven miles on the track under a half moon, watching the cold front approach. The north sky was filled with lightning throughout the run, starting with just distant flashes in the clouds and progressing to huge chains across the sky. About a half hour after I finished the cooler air finally started blowing in and within a few minutes it was raining buckets. It was over 76 degrees during my 7 to 8 PM run but by midnight it was in the 50s and this morning was the coldest of the season. Today was just an easy 10 miles, but tomorrow is a 12 mile run with 7 miles at LT and then another recovery run of 4 miles.

This is a real relief from the recent unseasonably warm weather. Here are the daily low temperatures this year. I wish we had more days with the low under 60.

Here's a story about some other 'Running Nukees'. I love the quote: "I ran on behalf of the wish to build a nuclear power plant that is loved by the people."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Training Week 10

80¾ miles for the week

M – 6¾ miles recovery run, average pace 8:36 mpm, 74°F at 4AM [S-B/Dow/B-S]
M PM - missed
Tu – 8¾ miles general aerobic, average pace 7:15 mpm, 75°F at 4AM my shoes went soggy from sweat [Dow/Dow-]
W AM - 7¼ miles, average pace 7:29 mpm, 75°F at 4AM [S-B/Dow/B-S/Ol]
W PM – 6½ miles, 6x600/200 recoveries to 400 recoveries, average pace 7:17 mpm, 600s in 2:03.9, 2:00.3, 2:02.1, 2:03.9, 2:03.6, 2:02.8, 74°F at 7PM [B’Wood track]
Th AM – 7½ miles recovery run, average pace 8:22 mpm, Vacation Day, 64°F at 10AM sunny and windy [SeaC/NtrailMBTrail/SeaC]
Th PM - 4 miles recovery run, average pace 8:17 mpm, 61°F at 6:30PM
F - 15 miles, general aerobic, average pace 7:10 mpm, 69-70°F starting at 11:40AM, sunny and still nice but a Gulf breeze already [SeaC/NTrailMBTrail-3x2MMBTrail/SeaC]
Sa – 9 miles recovery run, average pace 8:24 mpm, 76°F at 11AM with light rain [SeaC/NtrailMBTrail-2MMBTrail/SeaC]
Su – 16 miles, average pace of 7:10 mpm, 69°F to 73°F from 10:40AM after heavy rains, mostly cloudy to sun and very humid [SeaC/NTrail-2M/SeaC//SeaC/NTrail/SeaC]

The weather guessers are promising a real cold front Wednesday evening. The temperature shouldn't go higher than the low 60s all the way through the weekend. That will be really nice. It should also help cool down the Gulf and bay waters. The water temperatures are still up in the mid-70s, so when the cold fronts turn around, the warmth and humidity come up right away.

I need the cooler weather. This is the peak mileage week of the training cycle, with a 7 mile LT run on Friday and a 24 mile long run scheduled for Sunday. I'm thinking about running to the high school and running the 7 LT miles on the track. I think I need the extra reinforcement of checking my pace every 47 seconds.

Friday, November 16, 2007

First Intervals

Wednesday evening I ran the first intervals of this marathon training cycle. It's been too long since I've tried to run that fast. The Pfitz schedule had 6x600. On the way to the track I decided I'd shoot for 2:00 600s (5:20 mile pace) with 200 recoveries. I was pretty surprised at how hard I had to push to get near that pace. After the third 600, I had to extend the recovery to a full 400. I ended up with:
2:03.7, 2:00.3, 2:02.1, 2:03.9, 2:03.6, and 2:02.8
It was still fairly warm and humid (74 degrees with the dewpoint in the upper 60s); that might have hurt a little.

After running those 600s at 2:20 to 2:25 marathon pace I'm even more impressed by the elites who run those paces and faster for the whole 26+ miles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Houston Marathon Training Week 9: Half Way There

83¼ miles for the week

M – 3 miles recovery run (slept through my alarm and only had time to squeeze in 3), average pace 8:33 mpm, 73°F at 4AM [Dow--]
M PM - missed
Tu – 15 miles, average pace 7:38 mpm, Vacation Day, 76°F at 10AM but the wind turned with a cold front coming in at the end of the run [SeaC/NTrailMBTrail-3x2MMBTrail/SeaC] Tuesday had AM and PM recovery runs scheduled
W - 12½ miles, average pace 6:59 mpm, a beautiful Vacation Day! The cooler, drier air felt great, 65°F at 2PM [SeaC/NTrailMBTrail-2x2MMBTrail/SeaC] My first run in my new Nike Air Zoom Elites-3.
W (later) – 7 miles, average pace 7:22 mpm, 58°F at 7PM [B’Wood track]
Th – 6¼ miles recovery run, average pace 8:29 mpm, 56°F at 4AM, [Dow/B-S/Ol]
Th PM - missed, called in to work later that night
F - 10 miles, easy general aerobic, average pace 7:46 mpm, 82°F at 1PM, sunny and humid again [SeaC/NTrailMBTrail-2MMBTrail/SeaC]
F (later) - 2½, average pace 7:57, ran to pick up the car, had more planned but was called in to work all night, 79°F at 4PM
Sa – 7½ miles recovery run, average pace 8:41 mpm, 81°F after Noon and some sleep [SeaC/NtrailMBTrail/SeaC]
Su – 19½ miles, 25K race average pace of 6:39 mpm, Houston Hobby Airport had 66°F to 74°F from 7AM to 9AM [Memorial Drive Loops] another implosion

I'm pretty disappointed with my race performances. I'm really hoping for redemption at the 30K.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Good Day for a Parade

It was warm and humid and sunny, perfect weather for the Veteran's Day parade; not very good for a 25K race. I started out aggressively for the conditions and crashed pretty hard. Hobby Airport had 66 to 74 degrees with the dewpoint in the mid-60s. That's not really bad and I felt decent the first loop. But when I hit the incline toward Shepherd on the second loop, I just gave up. Probably my biggest weakness is not pushing a race when conditions get tough. When I know a good finishing time isn't possible, I can't find much motivation to still run hard for a good place. I just give in to all the negative thoughts and excuses. I did that again today.

On the return leg of the first loop, I heard a thunderous explosion. It was a hotel in the Medical Center I used to be able to see out my window when I was in college. It reminds me of my performance on the second loop:

The first three Fall Series races don't predict much for the marathon:

USA 10-Miler
1:04:08, 77.3% age graded, 549 Purdy Points
3:00:47 projected marathon

Strider's Half Marathon
1:23:58 (watch), 78.4% age graded, 575 Purdy Points
2:57:03 projected marathon

1:43:22, 76.1% age graded, 543 Purdy Points
3:01:51 projected marathon

Maybe I'm slower because of my big fat gut

Picture by Cindy

Pictures by Mark

This guy needs to check his rinse cycle:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Shoes

I got a new pair of Nike Air Zoom Elite 3 shoes. They're a little heavier than the Adidas Rotterdams (about 1 ½ ounces heavier for my size 13s). I still think of the Rotterdams as new, but they have well over 600 miles. The new Nike AZE shoes should last most of November and December and then I'll have to buy another new pair for the marathon in January.
I liked the Rotterdams. The Climacool feature kept them from absorbing too much sweat, but the holes in the soles were a little strange running through puddles. The shoes had pretty low heels and I think they might have aggravated my Achilles tendon. I'm hoping the new Nike Zoom Elites with their substantial heels will help.

What 600+ miles does to a pair of shoes

While I'm messing with pictures, here's a gator I saw during Saturday's run hanging out along the bayou behind my house.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Week 8 of 18: A Complete Loss of Discipline

85¼ miles for the week

M – 6¾ miles recovery run, average pace 8:36 mpm, 58°F at 4AM [S-B/Dow/B-S]
M PM - missed
Tu – 13 miles, average pace 7:10 mpm, Vacation Day, 76°F at 1:30PM but very nice dry air [SeaC/NTrail-3x2M/SeaC] Tuesday had AM and PM recovery runs scheduled
W AM - 7¾ miles general aerobic, average pace 7:25 mpm, 62°F at 4AM [S-B/Dow/2xB-S]
W PM – 8 miles with the last 4 miles at GMP, average pace 6:47 mpm, 71°F at 7PM and a little more humid [B’Wood track]
Th – 5¼ miles recovery run, average pace 8:39 mpm, 64°F at 4AM, [Dow/Ol]
Th PM - missed
F - 13 miles medium long run, average pace 7:00 mpm, 79°F starting at 2PM, sunny [SeaC/NTrail-3x2M/SeaC] 12 miles with 6 at LT was on the schedule, but I didn’t feel up to running the LT, even though I ended up with 13 at a pretty decent pace.
Sa – 9½ miles recovery run, average pace 8:38 mpm, 79°F at Noon, extended this run to make up for missed doubles [SeaC/Ntrail-2MMBTrail/SeaC]
Su – 22 miles, average pace of 7:34 mpm, Houston Hobby Airport had 66°F to 77°F from 7:30AM to after 10AM [Houston Memorial Park Loop] I started out too fast and didn’t drink anything the first 12 miles, leading to dehydration and a stupendous crash and burn.

I deviated too much from the schedule this week and paid for it. While recovering from last Sunday's half marathon, I blew off recovery runs scheduled for Tuesday and instead ran a fairly hard-paced medium long run. Then on Wednesday afternoon I ran 4 miles at GMP (completely outside the schedule). On Monday and Thursday I missed evening recovery runs and made up for the lost miles by running longer on Saturday. On Friday I blew off an important LT run, but then proceeded to run a 13 mile progression run fairly hard. On Sunday, I completed ignored unseasonably warm temeratures and ran the first 12 miles of a 22-miler way too hard and without drinking anything. Oy-vey

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ditched an LT Tempo Run

I've had to deviate from the Pfitz schedule recently, but I wanted to get back on it this week. The schedule had 12 with 6 miles at LT for Friday. As soon as I started Friday's run I started making excuses for not doing the LT. It was afternoon and although not hot by any means, it was warm and more humid (79 with the dewpoint in the mid 60s). I felt tired and my legs felt pretty trashed. My new Rotterdams already have over 600 miles and I think they're nearing end-of-life. I gave in and didn't try to run LT, but I was able to pick up the pace throughout the run. I managed to finish just under 7mpm for 13 miles. I think I fooled myself early and really should have stuck with the LT run.

I split Wednesday's 15 miler into two runs (just can't seem to fit 15 miles in before 0530 on a work day). On the evening portion, I picked up the pace the last four miles and ran 6:37, 6:29, 6:28, and 6:27. I was pretty happy with those 4 on a warm evening, but I probably shouldn't have done them considering I ended up skipping Friday's 6 LT miles. I think I need to get some faster running done. But there is still plenty of time before the marathon and I have done some pretty intense running racing the USA 10-miler and the half marathon.

Here's the finish line video from the Strider's Houston Half Marathon:

I'm visible from about 10 to 20 seconds.

Ryan Hall's 2:09 in Central Park was incredible.....I'm truly inspired. He has such a smooth, low, arm carry. He was just cruising; what a contrast with Sell who looked determined and fighting. The web broadcast really neglected 2nd place Dathan Ritzenhein. He also had a super race with a 3+ minute PR. Wow!

I just heard about Ryan Shay.
What a shock and a tragedy.

Here's a good article from the NY Times:
Small Town Mourns a Running Marvel