Sunday, October 26, 2008

23.1 Mile Long Run - Done! Begin the Taper!

Today I ran my 22 miler - which became a 23 miler! Conditions for the run couldn't have been better. At 5:30 am, when I stepped outside to begin, the temperature was in the upper 50's - low 60's with a breeze. Even after the sun came up, the temperature felt cool.

Even though the sky was clear, the Garmin seemed to take forever to lock onto satellites. Once obtained, I headed out. My plan was to do my Lockwood "loop" 3 times - stopping after the first 2 to refill my water and Clif Shots. My hope was to keep my pace as close to 11:30 min/mi as I could by running 1 mile and walking 30 seconds. This was a bit ambitions for my long run but I felt good and the weather was good. The first mile came in at about 11:30, and my heart rate was in the right zone averaging 141 bpm. I continued on in the cool darkness with mile 2 in 11:52 and mile 3 in 11:40 min. My AHR was 146 and 149. Listening to my heartrate - I couldn't afford to push the pace or I would run out of gas - so I settled into this pace just under 12 min/mi and hoped I could finish close to 12 min/mi in the end. My heart rate stayed under 150 bpm for the first 10 miles of the run.

At mile 6.4, for no apparent reason, my Garmin lost satellite - not just for a min or so, but until I passed what I thought was the 8 mile mark or so. I lost almost 2 miles - so my mileage and pace were going to be off for the rest of the run. I reverted to taking my walking breaks at every 12 min mark (run 11:30 min walk 30 sec) and would try to keep my pace moving by feel.

I completed my 2nd Lockwood loop at 3:05 - about 15.2 miles into my run. After refilling the water bottles, grabbing my sunglasses and grabbing a couple more Clif Shots, I headed back out into the bright, cool sunshine.

At about mile 17, I felt amazing for about a mile. Why does that happen and why is it so short lived? It is an odd thing. I got a brief burst of energy, my pace picked up a bit and felt comfortable. Unfortunately, it only lasted about a mile. After the burst, my feet started to ache a bit and the distance and time began to weigh on me a bit. Still, I felt ok and hit mile 20 at just over 4 hours into the run. Judging from where I was, I knew I had another 45 min or so left - so I pressed on. I was also about a half a mile away from my turnaround point which pointed me home.

For the last two miles, I changed my strategy and ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute for the rest of the time - focusing on trying to keep my pace up. I focused hard on trying to keep my form relaxed, shoulders back and relaxed, back straight, legs relaxed - but I was pretty tired. About a quarter mile from the house, I could feel my left calf begin to cramp - thank goodness I was almost done.

I finished in front of my house with a strong push and walked for a few minutes before heading into the house. DONE!!!

Since my Garmin was thrown off for losing the satellite coverage, I used Mapmyrun to figure out how far I really ran. I ran a total of 23.1 miles! The final talley:

23.1 miles
4:42:47 / 12:15 min/mile (faster than previous 19 and 20 milers)
AHR 149, MHR 166
2400 calories burned (according to Buckeyeoutdoors)
6 Clif Shots, 58 oz of water
Ice bath afterwards
Beginning temp: 59 deg F
Ending tem: 67 deg F

I am now officially tapering for San Antonio!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Marina Del Rey - Part Deux - Running to the Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

I have to say that California running agrees with me. After a fantastic 5 miler on Tuesday morning, I got up again on Wednesday for another 5 miler - this time running north up Venice beach instead of south (which basically led me nowhere). The temperatures were similar to Tuesday and my pace was faster....10:04 min/mi pace - and it felt very comfortable!

My favorite run of all was Wednesday evening. The workshop I was attending finished early on Wednesday - so I was actually leaving California on Thursday morning. So in place of a Thursday morning run, I did another 5 miler on Wednesday evening. This time, I drove down to Venice Beach with the goal to run north to the Santa Monica Pier and back. I was thinking 3 or so really easy miles, since it was my second run of the day....but since the run to the pier was 2.6 was a 5.2 mile run before I was done.

I made my run in the evening, about 35 minutes before sunset. At sunset, the beach areas come alive - all the shops are open, people along the board walk are selling all kinds of items. Lots of folks are out walking dogs, riding bikes or running. And there is a growing anticipation of sunset.

I ran along the busy boardwalk through Venice Beach, then into the Santa Monica beach area leading up to the pier. Unlike my morning run, it was very warm for this afternoon run - probably in the upper 70s. Still, my easy pace was under an 11 min/mi. I ran all the way to the end of the Santa Monica Pier - the time was just 20 minutes before sunset. I just had to stay for that!

A man was playing piano and singing love songs. The resolution from my phone isn't that great but you can get the gist of things.

It was beautiful - the music, the sunset, the people!

After sunset, I ran the 26 or so minutes back to my car in Venice Beach. By the time I got there, everyone was closing up shop. The sun was down and the day was done.

No running Thursday or Friday - today I am going to get out to do a few miles - but instead of 10 miles I think I will do 5 miles since I am getting a late start. Tomorrow is the big day...22 miles! Then the taper for San Antonio begins.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Running Adventures in Marina Del Rey: A Boat House Sighting

Considering the fact that I am staying in Marina Del Rey - which is basically one really big marina - I have seen many house boats. What I didn't expect to see was a boat house! I took the picture above while out running near Venice Beach this morning.

I had a fantastic 5 mile run down to Venice Beach and back. The temperature was a bit chilly - 53 deg F - and all I had were shorts and my short sleeve running shirt. Fortunately, it didn't take long to warm up. I think the cold made me run faster. My pace for my run was 10:25 min/mi.

Tomorrow I plan to run a similar route - but include more Venice Beach in the run. On Thursday morning I am hoping to play hookey from the early morning part of my workshop to run down to the Santa Monica pier and back - about an 8-9 mile run or so.

Time to get to bed....and here's hoping I don't keep waking up at 3:30 am!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Phedip Half Marathon / UCF 5 Miler Race Report

Today I finished my "catch up" runs from the WWFoR, which I missed last weekend with my Piraformis issue. Taking a break from the running along with two visits to my chiropractor have served me well - the pain seems to be gone.

Today's "Green" run began around 5:30 am when I headed out for the first leg of today's run - 8 easy going miles to the UCF starting line. I did a modified version of my Lockhood run combined with a short detour around UCF's campus to the starting area. I ran the 8.15 miles in 1:39:32 - a 12:13 min/mile pace with an amazing low AHR of 143 bpm. I ran 1 mile and walked 30 sec. The cooler weather really paid off today. It was a very cool 62'ish degrees with a breeze - chilly when standing still but great for a run. I also ran to the Phedip shouts of encouragement episode - a great episode providing over an hour of jokes and encouragement for the run.

At the starting area I looked around for Shirley to see if she could hold onto my fuel belt - so I could run the 5 miler unencumbered. I missed her in the start area but Betsy, one of the co-owners of the local running store, Trackshack, offered to take it to Shirley for me. I just made it to the starting area in time for the start. I looked around a little bit for Kitzy, but wasn't sure what she looked like - so I stretched a bit while lined up between the 10 min/mi and 11 min/mi pace areas.

Soon we were off and running. The field was pretty crowded in the early going but people were moving well. The walkers lined up toward the back this time, although I think most of the walkers probably signed up for the 2 mile race. I was hoping for marathon race pace, but could feel a bit of a drag as I ran - running a race with 8 miles behind you feels VERY different from starting fresh. I tried to maintain my pace with a 177 bpm Podrunner mix, and continued my approach of running 1 mile and walking 30 seconds. The first mile came in 11:27 min.

Just ahead of the 2nd mile, the first water stop came. I took a short walking break for the water and continued on. My second mile was in 11:25 min. Amazingly, I was on a 5 hr marathon pace - so I was doing ok.

As we ran down an out and back with music blaring from some speakers set up, the music played a bit of the Jaws theme (you know, the part where the shark comes...). I made the remark that we should all run faster to get away from the shark, and began to chat with a woman running beside me. I found out her name was Sam, she is a police officer who has recently gotten into running. She is running the OUC half in December (her longest distance) and the Disney Marathon in January (her first). Normally she runs with her running partner but he couldn't be here today. Since we had a good, common pace, we ran the rest of the race together - and chatted about all kinds of things. It helped to make miles 3-5 go much easier for me with times of: 11:17 min, 11:55 min and 11:21 min.

At the sight of the finished line, I bid my new running friend goodbye and picked up the pace for the finishline. My time for the 5 mile race (5.11 on Garmin) was 58:19 min - an 11:40 min/mi pace. My AHR for the race was 154 bpm - nicely in my aerobic zone. Adding this to my 8.1 mile run, my half marathon time was 2:37:51.

After eating a banana, a granola bar and some water, I met Shirley and chatted a bit while retrieving my fuel belt. She was pretty busy (and I was just distracting her) so I headed out to make my way home.

From the finish area, I took a direct route home - running 5 min and walking 30 sec - nice and easy to get home. The last bit of my run: 2.77 miles in 34:04 min - a 12:18 min/mi pace with an AHR of 150 bpm. I was getting sore by the time I headed home - but even with the sun, the air was still cool and the run home nice.

A good 15.8 mile long run day - and an interesting way to split it up. My feet are a bit achy as are my legs - but I feel good. Tomorrow is a rest day as I head to Marina Del Rey (near LA) for a workshop this week. I hope I can keep up the running out in CA. With the late sunrise and early sunsets (like just after 6 pm) I am not sure how much outdoor running I will be able to manage. We shall see.

Next week - the last big run before tapering for San Antonio. I am going for 22 miles on Sunday - with a 10 miler on Sat. But first - let's just get through the week!

Run strong everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good Running Week - Next Stop: The UCF 5 Miler

When I was attending the University of Central Florida (UCF) 18 years ago, there was a common joke that UCF stood for U Can't Finish. The upcoming annual 5 mile and 2 mile event is now billed as the UCF, U Can Finish 5 Miler and 2 Mile race. This year will be my 3rd or 4th year running this race.

This has been a good running week for me. The Piriformis has not been acting up - and my latest run felt very comfortable at a 10:50 min/mi pace. My chiropractor visit on Tuesday and again today have really helped out! After Sunday's easy 3.1 miler, I ran 5 miles on Monday, 6.2 on Tuesday for my ZenRun 10K, and another 5 miler yesterday. Today is my rest day before my weekend runs.

Tomorrow I will run 8 miles and then on Sunday, the day of the UCF 5 Miler, I plan to finish 16 miles and my Phedip Half Marathon - and do so while having a more "green" footprint.

Instead of driving to the race, I am going to run there (I live about 3 miles away). I am going to run an easy 8 miles before the race - ending at the starting line. Then run the 5 mile race. Then run the 3 miles home. I have no plans to PR this race...I would like to run at my planned marathon pace (around 11 - 11:15 min/mi). I think it will be a lot of fun.

Another bonus is that the weather report is calling for temps to begin around 64 deg and stay below 70 deg for the rest of the morning - with a high of 77 deg! It should be nice and cool until I get home!

A huge congratulations for all the Chicago Marathon participants: Maddy, Petra, Charlie and Melisa - for toughing out the hot temperatures!!! We are all so proud of you all!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back on the Road

After a week off, I got out this evening for an easy 5K - figured I could use it for my WWFoR 5K race time.

Running 2 min and walking 1 min with my husband, we covered the 3.1 miles in 35:03. Not bad for all that walking!

I feel ok but a bit sore - will need to keep ice and ibuprofen handy.

Congrats to all those who ran today's Chicago Marathon! Tough race with temps getting into the low 80's. I am looking forward to reading the race reports.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Too Good to be True - I Seem to Have an Injury

After two great months of training and stepping up the mileage, I was amazed I was holding out so well.

Then I noticed a pain in my buttocks (yes a pain in my butt!) last week about 2 days after my 18 mile long run. I thought it was from sitting weird but after a few days it seemed to subside. It didn't bug me when I ran with it, so I just thought it was something else.

Well after this past week's 20 miler I experienced deja vu. The pain was back and I found myself limping around the office today. Monday was a rest day but I decided to give Tuesday a rest as well while I investigated.

I think I have figured out what I have: Piriformis syndrome This seems to match the location and type of pain I am experiencing. I also match the profile well for what would cause such an injury.

I am a bit ahead on my training so I can afford to lay off the running for a few days to give this a chance to heal up. R-I-C-E is the prescription.

On Friday I will take a short test run to see how it feels. I may have to wait on my Zenrun 10K and World Wide Half until next week.

Ah's a runner's life.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

September Mileage, My 20 Miler and the Parrot Predictor

My running volume has definitely picked up! During September, I had my biggest month of running ever, hitting 177 miles (previously my biggest month was last Sept at 150 miles). October promises to be a big mileage month if I stick to my schedule. My target marathon is Nov 16th so my last 20+ miler is scheduled for October 26th before my taper begins. I am being cautious - watching how I feel so I don't overtrain. I had been keeping to my schedule for the past 5 weeks - but this week I skipped a 10 miler on Wed. I wasn't feeling up to it - and I think the extra rest paid off. Once again, I struggled sticking to my schedule while on travel. I have one more travel week coming before my race. We will see how I do!

Today's 20-Miler
After a great 10 miler run at marathon pace yesterday, today was the big 20 miler! I have been pretty tired lately, but was optimistic because I got a good nap in yesterday afternoon. I was in bed a bit late, but felt ok when the alarm went off at 4:40 am.

After gearing up I headed out in the darkness with 4 hours of running ahead of me. The first miles felt pretty comfortable. My plan was to run 12, stop for water, then run the final 8. I like having more than half my run completed before I stop.

When I stopped after 12 miles, I was feeling a little more worn out than I should have at that point - not so much my endurance - rather my legs were starting to ache. I figured that my 10 miler yesterday probably caused the pain to come a bit sooner today. I could tell that finishing was going to be difficult.

After mile 14, things were getting harder. I pushed it through to mile 18 before I went from my run 5 min walk 1 min routine to run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute routine. Two important but strategic points: 1) by mile 18 the only way home was to finish up the distance, 2) I was going to finish if I had to walk it - but I still had some run left in me.

I finished in 4:09:57 - a 12:28 min/mi pace. I am quite happy with this pace which is within the 60-90 sec of my target marathon pace. My time was less than one minute more than my 19 miler a month ago.

Parrot Predictor
George Parrott, known affectionately as "Coach George" on the Dead Runners Society listserve, presented this idea a few years ago. He suggests that a runner can run no faster in the Marathon than he runs his fastest 26.2 miles in a week during training.

I use a spreadsheet log that automatically does the predictions and so far it has predicted:

August 4 - 5:21:24
August 18 - 5:29:36
Sept 1 - 5:13:46
Sept 8 - 5:07:34
Sept 15 - 5:03:43
Sept 22 - 4:47:45
Sept 29 - 5:01:56

From my previous logs, the predictor did "ok" at getting a ballpark marathon time. In 2006, it was difficult to judge my times leading up to my first Disney Marathon. I didn't have many training weeks that exceeded 26.2 miles. The last data point, about a month before the race, predicted a 5:50 time. I finished in 5:47. Predictions leading up to MCM ranged from 4:50 to 5:16 (about 5 data points). I ran that one in 5:06. For the 2008 Disney, I fell into a training slump after MCM and only had one week with miles over 26.2. It predicted 5:08. My time was 5:35.

So from the numbers above, if I ran my marathon in 3 weeks, I would predict a time of about 5:05. With 3 more weeks before my taper, who knows....The important thing is to be sure that the wheels don't fall off after San Antonio leading up to Disney like they did last year.

On to another week!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Running Sign in New York City

I saw this sign on the corner of 34th Street and 7th Ave. The bottom of the sign says "Keep up or shut up. RUNNYC"

This for all of you running a marathon in the next two weeks!