Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Lone Workout of the Week

I wish I could say I was enjoying the down week, but work's been a bit crazy, I haven't been sleeping all that well, and I've managed to come down w/ a bit of a cold the past couple of days. 

On the positive side, the knee is feeling better and instead of slogging through a 1-2 hour session on the elliptical machine on Tuesday, I ran an easy 5-miler.  Ditto for Wednesday.  Today (Thursday) was my lone workout of the down week.  I have to get in at least one decent workout even in a week I'm resting up, just for my own sanity.  I've learned to enjoy most of my runs, even the very slow ones, but at the end of the day, there's only so many easy miles I can run w/o having something more up-tempo to look forward to.

Back to the track for some Threshold work - today's effort:  3k - 3-minute break - 2k.

Coach wanted the pace of the 3k a bit towards the back end of the Threshold range (about 6:00 pace) and then the 2k in the 5:50 range.  We've got some wind and rain on the way, but in the morning the weather was perfect for running:  58-degrees and overcast.  This set me up nicely for a good session.

I ran the 3k in 11:08 which is about 5:58 pace.  I figured the 2k might be a little quick in part due to the perfect weather conditions and that turned out to be correct.  2k - 7:01 (5:39 pace)  HR averaged 165 for the 2k and peaked out at 172 (about 92% of max)  A little on the fast side I guess for a down week workout, but I was definitely not as winded as I was after my 5:34 finishing mile last week (even though the HR in that mile topped out at a similar spot - 171)

A nice little workout.  I just received an email from coach stating that she was glad to see me go out a little aggressively on the 2k after the much easier 3k, so that was nice to hear.  However, she also mentioned that she chose this workout (3k/2k) to get me ready for next week's workout where I'm doing the dreaded 2-mile repeats again. Oh what fun.  

That thing I said about me really looking forward to the up-tempo stuff each week - scratch that for next week!!


Tue, 10/28:  Lifting (upper-B, abs)  stretching, rolling 
                  Easy 5-miler @ 7:19  HR-148

Wed, 10/29:  Easy 5-miler @ 7:04  HR-150

Thurs, 10/30:  5-miles, including 3k in 11:08 (5:58 pace), 3-min break, 2k in 7:01 (5:39 pace)

Monday, October 27, 2008


The legs were still quite fatigued come Saturday - I could still feel soreness in the quads when going up stairs.  My easy 5-miler wound up feeling more like a shuffle, but I still managed to finish up w/ a sub-7:30 pace for the effort.  The good news; the average HR was just 141 which I believe is a record low for me.  
Saturday evening I felt a bit of discomfort on the inside of my right knee.  Nothing serious, but a notch above the standard nicks you typically get from running.  Coach and I had decided earlier for me to take another down week here as the past 2-weeks have been great, but also quite a bit more work both in terms of quality efforts and overall pace than previous weeks.  

Originally the plan was to do the usual long run on Sunday and then start the down week on Monday, but w/ the knee flare up I decided to bag the run on Sunday, and use it as an additional off day to get an early start on the down week.  I later realized that the muscles on the inside of my right quad are more sore and tight than the others, which is probably causing the knee discomfort.  

So yesterday was a complete off day.  Ice, ibuprofen, rolling, stretching and rest has my knee feeling about 80% better today, but the muscle is still a little sore.  Another off day today, and a day at the gym tomorrow w/ some cross training on either the elliptical or the bike (no running) will give me 3 straight off days from running and that should do the trick.  

I really came off of the last down week feeling absolutely fantastic and this time the only difference in how the down week is constructed is the extra off day I took on Sunday - everything else will be very similar.  (Mon - off, Tue - gym (no running), Wed - easy, Thurs - Threshold, Friday - easy, Saturday - easy, Sunday - progressive)

Coach has really helped me the past few weeks.  When the week after the race went so well, she was already talking about a down week here.  I was thinking "down week after just 2-weeks of training?"  I had about 8-weeks prior to the last down week, why would I need one after just 2-weeks?  But as this second week began to unfold I started to feel more fatigued, and by the time I finished that hill workout on Friday I couldn't wait for the down week to get here.  The truth is that although the efforts of the easy days still feel the same, they're considerably faster than they were before and she said my body would need some extra time to adjust.  Well, she was certainly right about that!  

If all goes well, the following week I'll be back on the horse so to speak w/ a threshold day, hills, and a long day on the schedule.  


Sat, 9/25:  5-miles @ 7:28 pace  HR-141

Sun, 9/26:  Off  (unscheduled - soreness on inside of right knee)  stretching, rolling, ice.

Mon, 9/27:  Off  (scheduled) stretching, rolling.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hill Repeats - #3

After an easy 6-miler on Thursday it was back to the Hill on Friday.  Same deal as last week - 10 x 1-minute, but this time I ran them considerably faster which made for an extremely difficult workout.

Once again I started late, and it was already starting to get dark as I attacked the hill the first time.

Last week I ran the first three somewhat conservatively as I wasn't sure how I'd handle 10-repeats.  By the 5th one I started to increase the pace a bit and the last two were very quick.  This week, the first 5-repeats were as fast as the fastest one from last week!  Needless to say, by #6 I was really feeling it.  After that one I seriously considered shortening the workout to 8-reps, but decided against it.  After #7 I considered it again. . . why not do one more and bag it, after all it was quite dark now and I couldn't even see the Garmin's display w/o the back light . . . again I decided against it - needed to find a way to push through, but I was dying.  

The 8th and 9th repeats were a little slower, but not by much.  My legs were really burning the whole way up the hill - much much more painful than anything I've done on the track lately.  I re-tasted my lunch several times during this period although I never quite did heave one over the hill.  By the time I started #10 it was really dark.  I did my best to hit the pace of the first 5.  The burning in my quads was excruciating now, but I managed to increase the pace further.  Almost done, almost there.  

When I was finally able to hit the "stop" button on the Garmin, I felt absolutely dreadful.  I looked through the trees out over the hillside.  The lights of civilization sparkled against the night sky.  The only sound was me trying to somehow get oxygen into my lungs.  I dropped to the ground unable to move.  I couldn't see 3-feet in front of me now but the view was nice.  I heard the rustling of some animal in the woods behind me.  Perhaps some predator eyeing me up?  Whatever - if something attacks me, I'll deal w/ it then - I was going to be here a while . . . 


Thurs, 9/23:  lifting (upper-A, abs)  stretching rolling
                        PM  6-miles @ 7:20 pace

Fri, 9/24:  AM  4-miles @ 7:18 pace
                    PM 5-miles including 10 x 1-minute Hills

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Just Clickin'

I mentioned previously that my 5k race felt more like a fast tempo effort due to the fact that I was essentially running alone.  I also mentioned that w/ the 5:45 average pace for that race I thought I might have "loosened up" the central governor a 1/4 turn or so.  We decided to test that theory last Wednesday by moving away from the Threshold work to more of an Interval session w/ the 6 x 800m w/ 2.5-minute rests.  I started those at 2:49 and worked my way down to 2:32, a bit better than expected for the HR data.  This seemed to perhaps lend some credence to this theory.

Also, last week all of my runs were quicker than previous weeks while the HRs remained the same.  Another good sign.  But today it was time to determine once and for all where I stood - today we were back to Threshold work and the workout coach gave me was 2 x 2000m w/ 2-minute rests followed by a 1-mile.  The target pace was 5:55 for the 2ks (so 7:21 overall) and then the mile at 5:50 flat.  If in fact the governor was indeed loosened up and I was then "better than I was before", I should be able to easily hit these times w/ threshold level HRs.  

Previously my T-paced work was between 5:55 and 5:58 per mile, this workout would give me an average of 5:53, but I could tell by the way coach described it that she expected me to be a bit faster than that, and frankly I expected that as well.  It's "how much faster" that surprised the hell out of me today!

My instructions were to use the first repeat as a "warm up" if needed (i.e. go a little slower) but she wanted me to stay focused on the last two, as the idea was to get some lactic acid into the legs and have me run the last mile w/ that lactic acid to get used to pushing through.  (something I perhaps didn't do during my 5k)

First rep came in at 7:18 (5:52 pace).  A good start - it looked like I didn't need to start slow, and in fact hitting the time was quite easy.  Now it was time to concentrate as things were certainly going to get tougher.  After the first couple of laps of rep #2 I knew the pace was a bit quicker, yet everything felt smooth.  I made sure I didn't pick it up too much - I still have that last mile to go, yet I came through in 7:11.  After a quick calculation I realized, "hey, that's 5:46 pace"  Not too shabby.

On to the mile.  The fact that I had been running 5-laps per and this one was only going to be 4 seemed to give me a nice confidence boost.  I told myself not to go out too fast and have to reign it in towards the end- I wanted more of a shallow bell shape curve to the pace (i.e first and last lap a little faster - middle 2 laps a little slower, but not by much)  

First lap 80 seconds.  Good start, now the plan was to hold an 85 second pace for the middle two laps.  I could start to feel some lactic acid in the legs now, but I don't think it bothered me much:  lap #2 - 85, lap #3 - 86.  So far so good.  A quick check of the HR showed 168.  Perfect, right about 90% max.  I picked it up slightly on the last lap, but made sure I didn't dig for home - it should be a threshold run all the way.  Last lap 83, for a total time of 5:34!!  Damn, a 5:34 mile at the end of a Threshold workout.  That was nice to see.  

It sure felt like I had improved last week when I was banging out 7-flat paces on my easier days, and I suspected that the race was good for me in that it let me know I could run in the 5:40s for a 5k.  (leading up to the 5k, I hadn't done anything at "race pace" so I'm sure I lacked some confidence in the back of my mind)  So that's what spawned the central governor theory and I suspected that the race had loosened it up a little - but this proves it.  No way in hell I hit a 5:3x mile during a T-workout 3-weeks ago - not a chance.  And really, how much more fitness can I gain in 2-3 weeks?  Not much.  This is all confidence, that's the difference.  And honestly, I think this workout probably gives me even more confidence now.

Now it's time to make sure I don't do anything stupid - run anything "too" fast and get injured.  I'm sure coach will keep me in check.  Easy day tomorrow and then the Hill awaits my return on Friday.  


Mon, 10/20:  No Running.  Lifting (upper-B, abs, legs including squats)  stretching, rolling

Tue, 10/21:  AM  4-miles @ 7:23
                    PM  6-miles @ 7:02  HR-151

Wed, 10/22  5-miles including 2 x 2k, and 1-mile w/ 2-minute rests  (7:18, 7:11, 5:34) Average Pace:  5:45 for the roughly 3.5 miles 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good End to a Great Week

On Saturday I hit the gym for my 3rd session of the week and ran an easy 5.5-miler after Friday's hill session.  That set me up for the long Sunday run.  Last Sunday was the race, and the Sunday before was just an 8-miler due to residual soreness from that week's hill session, so I haven't done a longer run in a few weeks.  

The target was 11-miles at about 7:15 - 7:20 pace, but things felt smooth from the start - when I finished the first 3.3 miles (with the last 2.3 at a 3.5% grade) at about 7:15 pace I knew it was going to be a good one.  By the halfway point the overall pace was down to 7:08, and after another uphill portion the pace started to pick up.  The last 3-miles came in at about 19:40 and I finished the 11-miler in the trails w/ an average pace of 6:58.  Nice run to finish out the week.

But this week (my first after the down week) was a milestone week for several reasons:

1.  Total mileage was 47-miles which is a new record for me.
2.  EVERY run this week averaged under 7:30 pace - even the very easy ones.  That's a first for sure.
3.  Average pace for the week was 7:04, certainly a record.
4. Three quality sessions this week w/ the 800m reps, hills, and the good long run.
5.  Three sessions at the gym this week.  (this should always be the case, but it's only been 2 per for the last couple of weeks)

So this was my longest week ever and also my fastest.  On top of that I managed to get to the gym 3 times - a really good week of work for me.  Fourty-seven miles @ 7:04 average pace is certainly something I wouldn't have predicted a few weeks ago, but I seem to be feeling much better after that down week.

I've got Monday off from running as usual, but I'll be at the gym.  Tuesday's an easy day ahead of the Threshold day Wednesday, and coach has a good one lined up there!


9/18:  5.5 easy miles @ 7:11 pace,  HR-149:  lifting (upper-A, abs)  stretching, rolling

9/19:  11-miles in 1:16:41 (6:58 pace)  HR-153

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hill Repeats, Take-2

After my down week it was time to get back into the hill repeats on Friday.  The target was 10 x 1-minute up a 10% grade, where I jog down and then immediately start the next repeat.  I chose not to mess w/ the "Hill of Death" (the 20% grade that I attempted 2-weeks ago) and found a nice 8% grade hill to use instead.  Not exactly 10%, but 8 is much much better than 20!

Wow what a difference!  Two weeks ago I could only manage 4 repeats of 45-seconds each before my quads were on fire, and after 6 repeats I was done - totally dead.  Here, w/ an 8% grade I was able to cruise up the hills at a decent pace w/o killing myself.  The first 5 or so were done at about 7-minute pace and I eventually progressed down to 6:30 and then finally 6:13 for the last two.  With a few of these workouts under my belt, I'm sure I can run them faster.  The big key is how am I going to feel tomorrow!?  Hopefully, not nearly as sore as last time.  I've got a very easy day scheduled tomorrow, but then a long day follows that so I'm really hoping my legs feel OK.  


9/16:  6-miles @ 6:58 pace  HR-152  (a couple ticks higher than normal, probably due to elevated temp of 80+ degrees)

9/17:  AM  4-miles @ 7:28
         PM  5.5-miles including 10 x 1-minute hills (8% grade, ave pace - 6:52)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Six by Eight

Wednesday means up-tempo, so I headed for the track to get in my 6 x 800m workout.  But before getting to that, here's an interesting little story about a college kid that apparently isn't all that bright.  As I pulled into a nearly full parking lot at the community college and started looking for a space, I was nearly clipped by some kid backing out without looking behind him.  After narrowly escaping the accident, I decided to go around him and look for another spot.  As luck would have it, I circled the small lot and there were no spaces available, "damn, I guess I'll have to go back and see if the spot where the kid pulled out is still open".  So I swing back around heading towards that spot and what do I see. . . . . the same kid standing behind his car next to another car.  Yeah that's right - this genius had just backed into someone else!! 

Now, I can see getting into an small accident in a parking lot - it happens.  What I CAN'T see is how someone who isn't looking and "almost" gets into an accident can make the same mistake a whopping 5-seconds later and hit someone else.  That takes real intelligence!  In fact, shouldn't there be a Bud Light commercial about this guy?  "Real Men of Genius" - Today we salute YOU, Mr. No-Look-Backer-Upper!  (I could go on here and write the whole commercial, but my posts have been long enough as it is)

On to the workout.  The plan was six 800m repeats w/ 2.5-min breaks.  The pace was to start around 2:52 (5:45 mile pace) and ramp down to about 2:40 (5:20 pace).  I was thinking something like this:  2:52, 2:50, 2:47, 2:45, 2:42, 2:40.  However, I knew there was a good chance that the reps would be a bit faster.  Here's the actual workout:

Rep #TimeAve HRMax HRHR- 128HR Min

The 2nd to last column shows how long it took for my HR to get back down to 128.  (No specific reason why 128 is chosen other than that it's a point where I feel fully recovered, and I've been using this number to check recovery of many other workouts)  The last column shows the HR at the end of the 2.5-minute recovery period.

You can see from the data that the first 3-reps were pretty easy and I was able to recover down to a 117 HR or better for each.  The 4th rep maxed out at 170 HR which is what I believe to be close to the max of my Threshold zone  (using 92% of max HR for this calculation)  The recovery after rep #5 was substantially slower than the rest, so things were certainly changing by this time, but I still had no trouble running a 2:32 for the final rep. 

If I were to have kept the reps between 2:41 - 2:46 I feel I could have done 8 or 9 of these w/ no issue.  The workout never felt hard, on the contrary it was quite enjoyable the whole way, but that may be in large part because I simply love these types of workouts.  I came away feeling really good, and this morning there is no soreness or fatigue to speak of.  It was nice to throw a 2:32 up there after the 5 previous reps w/o really going ahead and "gunning it" - I could easily have run 2:20s here, but that wasn't the point of the workout.  Interested to see what coach makes of the data.


10/15:  5-miles including 6 x 800m @ 2:49, 2:48, 2:44, 2:41, 2:38, 2:32

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Post Race Thoughts

Upon further review, I'm becoming more and more critical of my last 0.7 miles of the 5k.  Because it was my first race, I don't believe I should get too upset about it, and I feel as though if I had a few people around me towards the end I might have pressed harder - but there's no denying that I just didn't allow myself to run w/ much discomfort towards the finish.  Perhaps this was because I had no "skin in the game" as I was not going to get into 3rd regardless of what I did, and because I had no PR or specific time to shoot for, there wasn't much incentive in that regard either.  However, at the end of the day, no matter how I look at it, I should have allowed for the discomfort and pressed on during that last 0.7 - I probably gave away 10-seconds overall by not finishing strong.  (I woke up the next day w/ literally ZERO soreness whatsoever which confirms the validity of this line of thinking)  But, what's done is done - hopefully I'll learn for the next time and now it's time to get back to focusing on my training. . . .

Back to a "normal" week this week.  Monday was my usual heavy day at the gym and no running.  Tuesday was my typical easy day w/ a run in the morning and another one in the evening.  Only change here is that the PM run has now been bumped up from 5-miles to 6-miles.  The down week has really worked wonders for my legs and the pace came very easily on Tuesday.  

That leads me to Wednesday which is my Threshold day.  After discussing the race w/ my coach on Sunday evening she thought it was a good sign that I was able to run a 5:45 pace w/o actually racing anybody - sort of like a fast tempo effort, which is what it felt like as it was happening.  I also believe that due to my overly detailed analysis of my paces, HRs, etc that unless I can clearly prove to myself that I can run a certain pace - the "central governor" is just locked down and almost unable to be moved.  We were thinking that due to the 5:45 pace as opposed to the 5:55 pace I was running in workouts, perhaps we loosened the governor a quarter turn or so.  So the idea of Wednesday's workout was to go and test that theory and run some more up-tempo stuff, check the HRs, gather up some data and see where we're at.  

The workout coach decided on:  6 x 800m w/ 2.5-minute breaks.  Start at the 5k pace of 5:45 and bring each subsequent rep down, perhaps reaching 5:20 pace by the end.  If the workout felt too easy, she wanted me to up the pace a opposed to shortening the rests, and if the HR got slightly above the Threshold range during the last couple of reps that was OK.  (basically my kind of workout - go shorter (800m), faster, w/ a decent rest of 2.5-minutes)  Needless to say I was looking forward to this one as soon as it was assigned!  


9/13:  No running.  lifting (upper-A, abs, dead lift) stretching rolling

9/14:  AM  4-miles easy @ 7:28 pace
           PM  6-miles easy @ 7:08 pace,  HR-149

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Race - Mixed Bag

When I awoke this morning, the little issue w/ my back had improved yet again and I knew it would not interfere w/ my race at all.  No, I was as close to 100% healthy as one could expect.  The weather was going to be nice too - sunny and about 58-degrees for the 9 am start.

The race was at Stanford University - we were going to be running around the walkways on their campus (which is nice) and it was being run by one of their sororities.  (insert your favorite joke here!)

My 15-year old son was going to be running this race w/ me.  He's a Sophomore on the X-country team at HS.  He ran a very tough 8 x 800m in practice on Thursday at about a 2:42 average pace, and followed that up w/ an 11-miler on Friday - so even w/ the off day Saturday this was just going to be a "fun run" for him.  I figured he'd finish in about 19 minutes.

About 120 people entered the 5k.  I made sure I got a good position at the start.  The plan was to go out in 5:40 and then adjust depending on how I was feeling.  I didn't have a specific target time as this was my first road race of any length, but I really didn't want to finish in over 18-minutes if I could help it.  (5:48 per mile)  Being at Stanford, there were a few college runners in the race and I repeated to myself a few times, "don't go out w/ the college kids and get sucked into their pace"  

Gun goes off, or was it a whistle, or just some hung over college girl yelling "GO!!"  Immediately I'm in about 15th place.  I see one college kid moving much quicker than the rest of us and getting to the front very easily.  After about 150 yards I'm in about 12th, quick check of the Garmin says I'm at 5:43 pace - that's fine.  There are about 4-5 guys right in front of me forming a pack.  After about 50-60 yards w/ them I feel like it's too slow - check the watch - 5:55, yup too slow - later boys.  I make my way around the 5 of them and I can see that I'm now in 7th.  Over the next half mile or so I pass a few more and am now in 4th.  The first kid is way the hell out there, 2nd and 3rd are within 10 yards of each other and about 30-40 yards ahead of me.  At the 0.7 mile point we make a 90-degree left turn which gives me a chance to take a quick peak behind me - no one's close - maybe 60-yards.  

And at that point boys and girls, for all intents and purposes, the "racing" phase of today's event (at only the 0.7 mile mark) was over.  Positions 1 thru 4 would not change the rest of the way.  And in fact, none of those positions would even be challenged.  

I come through the first mile in 5:43 (according to the Garmin - there are no mile markers)  A few seconds slow, but w/ all this time to go, shouldn't be a problem.  The goal now is to simply hold the pace - don't lose concentration on this 2nd mile and slow down.  The second kid has now distanced himself from #3 who is still about 40 yards ahead of me.  I try to focus on him to help me keep my pace - closing in on him doesn't seem like a smart thing to do.  

At that point I hear something fall and hit the ground.  As I turn and look, I see it's my car key - shit I forgot to zip up my back pocket!!  Luckily there was an attendant a few yards ahead - I call out to him "hey, can you help me out - I just dropped my car key".  He starts to head down the path as I yell back "thanks a lot".  As I look forward again, the #3 guy is still there - whew, didn't lose much time!

I look down at my pace - 5:43.  Damn this is like clockwork!  Another 90-degree turn (there would be a lot of these - and it isn't pretty at the end) another quick peak back. . . . and there's nobody there.  I take a second look almost in disbelief - nope nobody there at all.  5th place would eventually finish a minute and 17 seconds behind me.  

The unfortunate thing I'm beginning to notice now is that I'm not racing - because there's no one for me to race.  No one's behind me, the kid in front of me is 40-50 yards ahead, and I can't even see the two kids who are ahead of him.  I'm totally alone here and have been for at least a mile.  This is really nothing more than a fast tempo run on Stanford's campus.

I come through the second mile - 5:42.  Good, I had held the pace.  (just like a damn tempo run)  Now what?  Quick assessment of how I feel.  Well, not great but compared to what you're probably supposed to feel like 2-miles into a 5k, I'd have to say pretty good.  Let's try to pick up the pace.  I'd love to start reeling in the #3 guy but he's picked it up too and is now probably 70-yards ahead.  Damn college kids!!  I have the Garmin set to auto-lap each mile so when I check out my lap-pace for mile #3 I see that my pace for the first 1/3 of this mile is now 5:38 - not bad, I'm indeed picking it up.  

This is where the race goes to hell on me in a hurry!  I mentioned a while back that we have a lot of 90-degree turns in this race, I think there are 12 in all. . . . but what I didn't notice when I looked over the course map prior to the race is that the last 5 of these guys are all in the last half mile or so.  And they're not marked!  Making things worse is that there are buildings all over the place now as we run through the campus and we're turning so frequently that I no longer have visual contact w/ the guy ahead of me.  (and like I said, he's only 70-yards or so ahead so that gives you an idea how quickly we're making 90-degree turns)  Also, due to the buildings, I can't locate him after he's made the turn so I'm kind of blind.  Now, they do have a girl at each intersection . . . . but you'd expect them to be holding up huge arrows or something pointing you where to go.  They're not.  Instead, I have to call out to each girl as I approach, "which way!?"  And then they point.  Now I'm not now, nor was I then upset in any way at these girls.  They got their butts up really early on a Sunday morning to host this thing and the proceeds went to charity - so congrats to them for doing a pretty decent job overall - these ain't the World Championships or anything.  The real issue was that lost focus during this time.

So this is where I sort of blew it.  I got so caught up in trying to figure out where to go that I lost focus on what I was doing.  I'm simply not good enough at this point to be running a 5:38 pace after 2.5 miles of a 5k when I'm changing directions every 70-150 yards AND not concentrating on the task at hand.  

Mile-3 comes in at 5:49.  Shit!!  I get my focus back, run the last 0.14 of a mile in 5:37 pace (after one more 90-degree turn).  0.14 you ask?  Yeah - another issue - the course was long.  Afterwards I went up to one of the girls and asked if this was true and she said it was - last year they measured it and it was long; and this year the course is exactly the same.  How much does an extra 0.03 matter?  At my pace it adds 11-seconds.  Finishing time - 18:03  Man I just typed it and I already hate looking at it.  (would have been 17:52 for 3.11 miles)

So my time was wrecked by two factors - one of which I had some control over (losing focus and costing me a good 10-seconds) and one was just that the course was long.  The reality is the time doesn't matter - if the course were short by 0.03 instead, would I be thrilled that the clock read 17:41?  Not really - it's the race I ran that matters.  And my average pace even w/ the loss of focus was 5:44.8 - I can live w/ that for my first race.

So let me look at the things I did well:

#1 - I didn't go out too fast and that's one I was really worried about
#2 - I immediately recognized that I was in a group that was slightly slow and moved ahead
#3 - Nice even pace for the 2nd mile (first 2-miles:  5:43, 5:42)
#4 - correctly evaluated that I could step it up and moved to a 5:38 pace for the first 0.3 of the 3rd mile before I hit the 'maze'.

Now the things I learned:

#1 - If you haven't run the course before STUDY the map carefully!  (I could have saved myself some panic if I knew how many turns there were down the stretch and I wouldn't have needed to talk to the girls had I realized that 4 of the last 5 turns were right hand turns)
#2 - Don't lose focus on what you're doing.  I did such a good job keeping focus during the 2nd mile, but did a very poor job of this at the end.
#3 - EFFORT!!!!  I did NOT race this close to hard enough.  Litmus test - as I came through the shoot and the girl was ripping off the bottom of my bib I was having a nice pleasant chat w/ her . . . about 7-seconds after the finish!!  Shouldn't I be gasping for breath about to fall down??  

After thinking about why this was the case, I came up w/ a few reasons - First, I had no one to race - I was alone from 0.7 miles until the end.  I think the adrenaline disappears when you're racing alone, like I said it almost turned into a tempo run kind of feel.  Second, my only real goal was to finish under 18-minutes and after seemingly banking 11-seconds in the first 2-miles and then picking up the pace from there, I was sure it was already in the bag (and it would have been if the course were 3.11 miles)  So I had no sense of urgency - but next time, screw it - lesson learned:  when there is no sense of urgency, CREATE ONE!!

But hell, I did several things right too, and it's just the first race.  If I had to do over again next weekend, I'm pretty sure I pick up 10-12 seconds from effort/focus/lack of panic over where I'm going, and of course another 10-12 seconds if the course length were correct.  Where I went into this thing w/ a slight lack of confidence, I now know I can go 17:4x, hell next weekend - and knowing that gives me some kind of reference point to work around.  

Being that I was the first non-Stanford student to finish, I did win my age group which netted me a nice gift bag of Pete's Coffee I think (I haven't looked yet)

What about my keys??  OK - after finishing I look down the course trying to see where my son was going to finish.  I figure he'll be in any minute and we can go find the guy who "hopefully" has my key.  I see someone come across - not him.  Then a second person - that's him, a nice finish in 6th overall.  I call out to him " hey, we need to go find someone".  He says, "why to get your key?"  As I was about to ask him how he knew that, he opens his hand and there it is!!  Evidently he was in 5th place at the time, saw me look back, noticed the key on the ground and scooped it up on the way!  Problem solved.

I may post some more thoughts on this race later, but I think I've probably bored you guys long enough.  Feel free to tell me what a bozo I was for screwing up the last 0.7 - I welcome any criticism/advice you may have.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ready to Go

Couple of really easy days ahead of the race.  Five easy miles on Friday, and just a quick 2.5 miles today to loosen up.  

The "weakness" in the quad seems to be gone and for the most part the legs feel great.  The down week has really helped to clear the deck of a few nagging little things.

I have a bit of an issue at the base of my back on the left side, however.  It surfaced in the middle of Friday's run out of nowhere.  It was sore last night so I took some Advil and iced.  Slight improvement this morning and it's been feeling better throughout the day.  As long as it doesn't get worse during the race it should be a non-factor.  

Not much else to say - just time to go out and run.  


9/10:  5-miles easy @ 7:10 pace

9/11:  2.5-miles @ 7:02 pace

Thursday, October 9, 2008

5k Prep

I moved my typical Mon-Tues-Wed training out to Tue-Wed-Thurs and inserted a complete off day on Monday as I'm taking a down week here.  That meant lifting on Tuesday (although I skipped the dead lift and squat) and no running.  The two off days from running back-to-back really helped to clear up a few little nagging things, so physically I felt better after Tuesday.

Wednesday was an easy running day and today was my Threshold day.  Being that I haven't done any specific 5k training, or really any race training for that matter, (i.e. - no volume speed work, no VO2Max intervals, and not even any race pace efforts) I felt I needed to run something more up-tempo just to get me used to running faster.  

I talked to my coach and what she came up w/ was a race-pace type of workout (actually a bit quicker) that wouldn't be very taxing.  The plan was 10 x 400 broken down as follows:

5 x 400 @ 85 w/ 90-second breaks
5-minute break
3 x 400 @ 83 w/ 90-second breaks
5-minute break
2 x 400 @ 80 w/ 90-second break

This would get in some 5:20 - 5:40 pace running - 2.5 miles in all w/ the breaks being long enough to not make this too difficult a workout to recover from.

It went down like this:

first set - 89, 84, 83, 83, 84.  (first one was the "wake up quarter", first time running up-tempo @ 9:00 am)
second set - 81, 81, 80

At this point, the workout was feeling quite easy, but coach didn't want me going under 80 so I decided to shorten the rests for the last two.  (instead of 5-min break and 90-seconds between reps I went with 3.5 minutes and then 60-seconds between reps)

third set - 80, 78.  

All in all, not too bad.  Only issue is that the outside of my left quad feels a little weak right now - I have no idea what caused it, but I don't think it's very serious.  I'll have to see how it feels tomorrow.  

The plan is another easy day tomorrow, a short evening run on Saturday and then the race is on Sunday.  I don't have a specific target time in mind, I figure I'll go out in about 5:40 and then make adjustments as needed.


9/6:  Off Day

9/7:  No Running  lifting (upper-A, abs) stretching, rolling

9/8:  AM  4-miles very easy - 7:44 pace
          PM 4.5 miles easy - 7:08 pace

9/9:  4-miles including 10 x 400 in 89, 84, 83, 83, 84 - 81, 81, 80 - 80, 78