Monday, February 25, 2008

Last Week: Park to Park 5-Miler

40¾ miles for the week of February 18th through 24th

M – sleep, 52°F at 4AM
Tu – 6¼ miles, average pace 6:43 mpm, with the Dow- measured two miles in 12:34.3 and 12:29.5, very nice 51°F at 4AM with no wind [Ol/Dow/BS]
W – 6 miles, average pace 6:55 mpm, progressively faster general aerobic run on the track, from 7:27 to 6:33 mpm, 68°F at 7PM [B’Wood track]
Th –4¾ miles, recovery run, average pace 8:35 mpm, warm and humid 73°F at 4AM with a Gulf breeze [Dow]
F - 5½ miles, general aerobic, average pace 8:33 mpm, 59°F at 11AM [PlantBr//FlagR-P-P]
Sa – 9¼ miles with a 5 mile race at an average 6:02 mpm pace, very nice race conditions overcast and 48°F at 8AM [ParktoPark5M]
Su – 9 miles, at an average pace of 7:04 mpm, very sunny with a drying west wind 75°F from 10AM [SeaC/NTrail-2M/SeaC]

I ran the Park to Park 5-miler Saturday, part of the HARRA Spring Series. The weather was nearly perfect and there was plenty of good competition. Unfortuanately, the first three mile markers were way off. The first mile split was 4:22 [NOT]. I spent the whole race worrying we skipped a block at the start and we were running 4.X miles instead of a 5-miler. One of my greatest weaknesses is losing intensity when a race isn't going well and I succomed again. Throughout the race I kept on questioning why I should push hard when the course most likely won't be a standard distance. I wore my GPS and the course showed 5.08 miles and later I verified we actually did run the TX04104ETM USATF certified course . There's also a TX05116ETM certified course; I wonder if the mile markers were placed for the other course? I ended up with a 30:12, a new PR for 5 miles and 8K. I'm happy with the PR, but frustrated that I blew a chance for sub-30 and sub-6 mpm. Aaargh
My weight is also way up in the upper 180s. I'm sure that doesn't help my running. I need to quit buying the super-cheap Valentine's Day candy.

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I had an enjoyable cooldown run through the Rice campus.

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I have to admit I was disappointed to see the monstrous 35 story Memorial Hermann tower looming over the academic quadrangle like a death star. What's up with that trapezoid on top of the building? It looks more like a hopper rather than the "lantern" it is supposed to represent.

There was also a 5K in West Columbia Saturday. The race was won by Jason Johns. He's a new Clute resident and looks to be a national class runner in the Rudy Rocha league; he ran the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon under 1:12! Here's the story from the Brazosport Facts.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chevron Houston Marathon AG Award

I received a package from the Chevron Houston Marathon with an age group award in the mail today. A seat cover! A little strange but useful. I guess I was expecting a plaque or something similar. It's an UltraSport SeatShield.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A New Course Record

We had a beautiful morning today with a waxing gibbous moon, a nice cool 51°F at 4AM and nearly no wind: perfect for running a Tuesday Tempo. This was the full tempo run, starting off with a half mile warmup in my neighborhood, then my "Dow Course", and finally a mile coodown around the neighborhood for 6¼ miles total. The "Dow Minus" two-mile splits were 12:34 and 12:29. The "Dow Minus" total was a new world record 25:04, beating the four year old record set back in the Spring of 2004 by over 20 seconds.

On the down side, my weight is in the upper half of the 180s now. There are just too many good clearance sales on Valentine's Day candy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Catching Up

41¼ miles for the week of February 4th through 10th

M – sleep, 71°F at 4AM
Tu – 4¾ miles, average pace 7:33 mpm, I still felt tired from Sunday’s inadvertent long run, so I blew off my Tuesday Tempo run, 72°F at 4AM with a fairly strong South wind (gusts to 23mph), [Dow]
W – 5¾ miles, with 3x1Mile/400 recoveries, average pace 7:03 mpm, Miles progressively faster with 5:52, 5:48, and a 5:46, very nice conditions, 55°F and little wind at 7PM [B’Wood track]
Th –4¾ miles, recovery run, average pace 8:09 mpm, 49°F at 4AM [Dow]
F - 10 miles, general aerobic, average pace 7:17 mpm, 73°F at Noon, Gulf wind but not humid yet [SeaC/NTrail-MBT-2M-MBT/SeaC]
Sa – 6 miles on the beach after the Surfside Marathon (I handed out water at mile 25) average pace 7:45 mpm, 65°F at 2:30PM with sea fog [Surfside 10-7-10]
Su – 10 miles, at an average pace of 7:36 mpm, 69°F to 72°F from 11:30AM, Sun! [SeaC/NTrail-MBT-2M-MBT/SeaC]

46 miles for the week for the week of February 11th through 17th

M – sleep, 63°F at 4AM
Tu – 5¾ miles, average pace 6:42 mpm with the Dow- measured two miles in 12:57 and 13:00, 70°F at 4AM with a fairly strong South wind (gusts to 21 mph), [Ol/Dow/Ol]
W – 5¾ miles, with 5x800/400 recoveries, average pace 7:07 mpm, 800s progressively faster, 2:54, 2:49, 2:47, 2:44, and 2:39, very nice conditions again this week, 54°F at 7PM with a light SE wind [B’Wood track]
Th –5¾ miles, recovery run, average pace 8:15 mpm, 57°F at 4AM [Dow/BS]
F - 9 miles, general aerobic run, average pace 7:09 mpm, 73°F at 4PM, overcast, windy and humid [SeaC/NTrail-2M/SeaC]
Sa – 7½ miles, recovery run, average pace 8:13 mpm, 72°F at 2PM overcast, occasional light rain, windy and humid, [SeaC/NTrail-MBT/SeaC]
Su – 12¼ miles, at an average pace of 7:10 mpm, 74°F at 2PM, Sunny with nice dry air [PlantBr//SeaC/NTrail-2x2M/SeaC]

I have a difficult decision over which race to run on Saturday. The Park to Park 5-miler is part of the HARRA Spring Series and there will be plenty of good competition. But the West Columbia run is a fun local event for a good cause on a scenic and very fast course.
I’ll probably run the 5-miler. I haven’t been to the Hermann Park/Rice University area since last year’s race.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Surfside Beach Marathon

Here are a few pictures from the water station just before the 25th mile of Saturday's Surfside marathon.

The fog rolled in just after I arrived at 11AM. The fog made working the water station more difficult because we couldn't see the runners until they were within thirty to fifty yards.

Sea fog is pretty rare here. It only occurs when it's very warm inland and the seawater is still relatively cold. On the Gulf we usually only see sea fog like this in February and March.

Felix was out carrying the flag.

Here's the story from the Broazosport Facts.

After the last runners, I ran an easy 6 miles up the beach picking up Gu containers and stray cups.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

A Really Tough Long Run

45¾ miles for the week

M – sleep, 54°F at 4AM
Tu – 5¾ miles, average pace 6:41 mpm with the Dow- measured two miles in 12:41 and 13:00, 69°F at 4AM with a fairly strong SSW wind (gusts to 24mph), [SB/Dow]
W – 5¾ miles, with 5x800/400 recoveries, average pace 7:18 mpm, 800s progressively faster from 2:50 to 2:41, 58°F at 7PM [B’Wood track]
Th –5¾ miles, recovery run, average pace 8:32 mpm, 67°F at 4AM [Dow/BS]
F - 4½ miles, recovery run, average pace 8:36 mpm, 51°F at 11AM, sunny and nice [FlagR-P-P-C]
Sa – 6¾ miles with a 6K Cross Country Race at an average pace 6:22 mpm, 50°F at 8AM sunny and nice, [Buffalo Bayou]
Su – 17¼ miles, at an average pace of 8:23 mpm, 77°F from 1PM, mostly cloudy with occasional sun, the dewpoint near 70°F, and a strong Gulf breeze, too warm and humid for me [SeaC/NTrail/2004/WildnsP/2004/NTrail/SeaC]

Tuesday's tempo run went well with some decent times on a pretty difficult warm and humid morning. Now that the short races of the Spring running season are here, my Tuesday Tempo run is a big part of my training. This one was faster than all but two of last year's TTs, so I think I'm off to a good start this year.

There was much cooler weather for Wednesday evening's 800s. I think this is the highest heart rate I've recorded:

Sunday’s long run was my worst in several weeks. I decided to run my normal trail through Bottomlands Park to a “Farm to Market” road to another park with a 4 mile long undeveloped trail through the woods (Wilderness Park). I hadn’t run the Wilderness Park trail for several years. An old bridge was out about two miles into the trail and I had to take a diversion that ended up on some deer trails through the mud. I backtracked all the way back to the old bridge and crossed the creek but the trail had degraded quite a bit on the other side. I made it out to the river overlook but got lost on the way back. Even with the GPS in map mode it was difficult to follow the trail. During all of this time I was getting pretty dehydrated. The average 8:23 pace for this run was mostly due to the slow times in the woods going through the palmettos and vines, but I was pretty wiped out by the time I made it out to clear trails. I’ve been spoiled by the decent weather lately and this warm and humid weather was a killer for a long run.

Sunday's run:

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Here's a close-up of my diversion from the old bridge. I didn't realize I was within a few yards of the trail until after I plotted the course out on the map. But the trail was really difficult to follow here and this is the same area where I got lost on the way back from the river overlook.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Buffalo Wallow 6K

The Buffalo Wallow 6K is a fun cross country race on the banks of Buffalo Bayou in Houston. I'm not very good at running the steep downhills and uphills, but it was excellent racing weather. I had a pump test at the power plant last night that fortunately ended by 10:30PM and I was able to get home before midnight. I ended up about one minute faster than last year, but the course was a little different this year so it's tough to say whether I ran better. I'm hoping to run a strong race in the Park-to-Park five miler coming up in a couple of weeks.

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Luis leads the Open race:

The Woman's Open Winner


This little hill by the AIG Building was tough:

An airborne JeffE