Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Race In Exactly Six Words

Fellow running blogger Pigtails Flying authored a post entitled "My Race, in Exactly Six Words" (I just realized that the title of the post also has exactly six words...yes, I'm a bit slow on the uptake some days).

In the post, she wrote a six word race report for herself and also wrote some for the elite runners that competed in the US Olympic Trials a few weeks ago. She then called out to fellow bloggers to post their own reports (Amazingly, I was one of the bloggers that she mentioned in her blog!!!).

Here were my contributions:

Riley’s Rumble Half Marathon (7/27/08 )
“Walked hills; 13.1 never felt better”

Frederick (MD) Marathon (5/4/08 - my first 26.2)
“Traffic jam? No problem - chip timed”
“PRed first 13.1; painful second half”
“Frederick - where cows come to cheer!”

Riley’s Rumble Half Marathon (7/29/07)
“I shouldn’t have run those hills”

Thomas Labrecque Classic DC (9/17/06)
“ChampionChip tie-wrap continuously whips leg - Ouch!”

Kentlands 5K (9/3/2005)
“First sub 30 minute 5K - HOORAY!”

Feel free to post some of your race experiences (in exactly six words) here - or on Pigtails' blog. Don't worry...I won't call on anyone specifically :-)

Easy Run With No Hill Sprints

I'm still feeling on the verge of getting a cold. My throat is still scratchy. I didn't sleep that well (my younger son ran into our room a few times in the middle of the night...luckily my wife got him back in bed since I dealt with this on Sunday and Monday night).

So, when my alarm went off at 5:45am, I was seriously considering scrapping the run.

That would be three days in a row without a run. Which I did not want to do. However, the idea of pushing myself to do Hill Sprints when I feel so yucky did not sit well for me. So...I reached a compromise (yes - I was negotiating with myself...two separate voices inside arguing their case - "Run!" vs "Don't Run!"). I went for the run and did the first part of the workout (45 min easy run) and not the second part (8 x 100m Hill Sprints).

I'm glad I ran this morning. It was good to get the blood pumping again. Good to have some endorphins released to counterbalance the icky feeling of "about to come down with a cold". On the other hand, I'm also glad that I did not push myself too much. This is probably why I ended up on the verge of a cold anyhow - Half Marathon on Sunday, Interval workout on Monday, not much sleep either night since at least one of my boys woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday and Monday and they were my responsibility as I was flying solo.

As for my run - my normal 4.4 mile neighborhood loop at a 11:01/mile pace with average HR at 151 bpm. My pace is getting back to normal. Two weeks ago, I ran this at a 11:59/mile pace and last week at a 11:20/mile pace. I think I observed in my marathon training that it took me three weeks to fully recover from a blood donation - that is that it took three weeks for the running pace at my training heart rate to get back to normal. Well...Monday was three weeks after my last blood donation and voila! I'm back to the pace that I was at beforehand.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Run Today :-(

I was supposed to put in a 45 min easy run with 8 x 100m Hill Sprints this morning. However, I went to bed way too late last night (I was helping my sister set up her new iMac...yeah!) and I woke up with a scratchy throat.

I'm going to try to hit the sack early tonight and get up and do the run tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll feel a bit better.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Today's Sub-25 Minute 5K!

Today was my first intervals run on the training plan.  Instead of hitting the track, I ran it on the treadmill at the gym while I had my younger son in the babysitting room.  I was originally thinking I would get to the gym later in the afternoon - when my older son was back from day camp - however, I had an hour to spare in the morning and by clearing up my afternoon schedule I was able to take the boys to the pool before dinner.

Back to running...the intervals for today was 8 x 600m with 90 seconds of recovery between intervals.  This seemed really odd to me at first.  I had always run either 400m intervals (once around the track) or 800m intervals (twice around the track) - but one and a half times around the track???  Since I'm shooting to run the 5K around an 8 minute mile, I chose this speed as my interval speed - on the treadmill that's 7.5 mph...if I was running at the track, I'd try to run each 600m interval in as close to 3 minutes as possible.  I also decided that my recovery runs would be at a 12 minute mile or 5.0 mph on the treadmill.  This (a) allowed me to recover fully before the next interval and (b) worked out to 200m in the 90 seconds of recovery time.  Which meant that each interval plus rest was a half mile.

I started with a warm-up mile, starting at a slow 12 min/mile pace and working up to an 11 min/mile pace before the first interval kicked in.  When I started running at 7.5 mph, I was really surprised to see that my heart rate was still in a reasonable area - the low 160s - and it stayed there for the entire 3 minutes.  During my recovery my heart rate got back to the low 140s.  I felt really good for the entire 5 mile run that I logged.  So good, in fact, that I ran the last 600m interval at a 7:30/mile pace - or 8.0 on the treadmill. my heart rate jumped into the mid-170s on that one - so perhaps I pushed myself a little too much there.

As I was running, I was trying to figure out - Why 8 intervals of 600m?  Then it dawned on me.  I was running a full 3 miles at my interval pace - and the intervals were long enough to ensure that I couldn't just sprint them out, but short enough to allow my body to still be able to recover in a short time afterwards.

Since I ran all of the intervals in an 8 minute mile pace (or faster), if you string all of those intervals together, I ran a sub-25 minute 5K today.  My 5K PR is 26:21 right now - it looks like I may be on the road to breaking that on August 30!   :-)

One Pound Down...

Monday is weigh-in day.  I started watching what I ate last week when the scale tipped at 166 pounds.  This morning I'm one pound down - 165 pounds.  A tad discouraging the day after running a half marathon, however, I can't be too upset as somewhere around Wednesday I stopped logging what I was eating.  And I did eat those brownies that my wife made during her Pampered Chef show.  And I did have some other sweets along the way.  So....I'll take the one pound and grow on it for next week.

Last night the kids both woke up in the middle of the night.  My oldest around 2:30am ran into our room and said he had a bad dream.  I put him back in his bed and he fell back asleep quickly.  My youngest woke up around 2:55am and I rubbed his back until about 3:15am when he finally dozed off.  Luckily they slept in until close to 7am (that's sleeping in for them).

While I was rubbing the little one's back around 3am, I felt a dull ache in my right hamstring.  I'm not out of the woods yet :-(   I'll try to ice it a bit today and self-massage it.  I'll see how it feels before I try to go to the gym this afternoon and run on the treadmill...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Riley's Rumble - Long Run / Race

This weekend's run on the training plan called for "Endurance Run - 70+ min".  I did a bit of exaggeration with the 70+ min part :-)

Today was the Riley's Rumble Half Marathon.  I did my first half marathon on this course two years ago and ran it again last year.  It is a "low key" race of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club - and since I'm a member of MCRRC it's a free race for me (MCRRC dues are $25 a year).  With most Half Marathons being in the $45-$70 range, a free race is a great relief to the wallet.

However, this is not an easy course.  There are a lot of steep hills.  And the two times that I have run this race, I have had to walk a lot during the second half of the race since my legs (mainly my quads) were in lots of pain.

Since I hadn't really trained up for a Half Marathon - and I'm only a few weeks from getting over the hamstring/calf injury and did not want to re-aggravate the injury - I decided that I would run this race, but as a training long run instead of as a race.  I thought of it as running a 13 mile long run with a bunch of other runners and water stops along the way.

My plan for running this race today was as follows: 1) keep the pace like a training run and 2) walk up the steep hills.

I stuck to the plan....but it was difficult.  There's a big hill in the first mile and a second one right before the second mile marker.  I don't think anyone likes to stop to walk during the first mile of a run - but I had a plan and wanted to stick with it.  I also know from experience that these two hills really takes a lot out of you which makes the rest of the course more difficult.

The end result - 2:26:30 - an 11:11/mile pace.  My splits were nearly identical - 1:13:23 on the first half and 1:13:07 on the second half (it's actually a slight negative split - which I have never done in a race this long!)  This is about 10 minutes slower than my best Half Marathon time and about 6 minutes slower than my time last year.  However, I felt a lot better after this run.  I was not in pain - which has happened to me the last two times I ran this race.  Also, I was walking when I decided to and not because my legs were on fire and I couldn't get them to run for me.  Most importantly, I did not re-aggravate my injury.  I think I may be out of the woods on this one!

I did have a dilemma this evening - how do I represent this run in my training log?  It was a race - but I ran it like a training long run.  I decided to make it a race and add notes in my log that I ran it like a training run.  I've decided that if I have to pin a number on to run, it's a race no matter how slow I take it...

Sherry is out of town for the next two days, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get a run in.  I think the only way I'll be able to is if I go to the gym and put the kids in babysitting.  Given timing of activities, it would have to be tomorrow afternoon when my older son gets home from camp.  I'll see how I've recovered from this morning's run and make a "game-time decision".

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rest Day

I normally do my long runs on Saturday morning before going to synagogue.  However, this weekend I'm going to do my long run tomorrow - at Riley's Rumble Half Marathon.  I'm not going to "race" it tomorrow (not that my race pace is so fast...), but I'm going to use it as a slow, long training run.

I'll try to do some more abs exercises at some point today.  My ab muscles are still a bit sore from Thursday morning - believe it or not!  And I should probably do some stretching as well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beuatiful Morning for a Run!

When I stepped out of the house this morning at 6am, it was not into the thick, warm, soupy air that I have gotten accustomed to running in lately. Instead, the air almost had a crisp to it. It was 60 degrees and not much humidity. And although 15 minutes earlier I felt like laying in bed was a better option than going out for my run, I'm glad I laced up my shoes and got out the door - since mornings like this in July in Maryland are few and far between.

Today's plan - jog up to the QOHS track. Do 5X50m short strides with a 2 min rest between intervals (this is a 300m jog for me, so each complete interval is 350m or 7/8 around the track). Then jog back home.

It ends up that I was so sleepy this morning that I had forgotten how to use my HRM watch. After the jog up to the track, I stopped the watch to put my water bottle down and stretch a bit. When I went to start my first interval, instead of hitting the "start" button, I hit the "complete" button. Grrr. So instead of running at that time I looked in the File (my HRM watch only saves one "file" of your last run) to see how long it took me to run up to the track and what my average HR was. Then I was off to do my intervals. After my intervals, I stopped my watch to take a drink of water and walk a bit before jogging back home. And wouldn't you know it, I did the same exact thing and hit "complete" instead of "start"! So...I had to remember two times and HRs to put into my log.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Personal Trainer - Core and Back Exercises

This morning I met with Dave - a personal trainer at Fitness First.  As I had mentioned before, the personal trainer services are included in the membership fees (I'm sure there is some limit as to how many sessions you can schedule, but since I'm not going to be in the gym everyday I'm not going to worry about it).

A few years ago, when I had joined Fitness First the first time, the personal trainer pretty much gave me a weight circuit to do.  It was as generic as you could get - or at least that is how I felt about it.  I was going to have none of that this time around.  When I requested to meet with a trainer this time around I said that I wanted to work on core strength and flexibility.

One of the first things that Dave said to me was that he really doesn't like using all of the machines...he believes in "free form" training.  Hallelujah!

Of course that did not mean it was going to be easy...

The exercises that I did included crunches (with legs up in the air), reverse crunches, side planks, seated twists with dumbbells, dumbbell rows, push-ups on dumbbells adding a single arm row after each push-up, back extensions, a few back exercises with the exercise band and two different plank exercises.  I think that's all of them, but I may have missed one.  It was a good abs workout - but more importantly a great back workout.  I felt muscles in my back that I didn't know existed!  Assuming I continue to do these a few times a week, my back muscles will get stronger and I'm sure that I'll get a better workout in my abs as well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hill Sprints Again

This morning was another Hill Sprints day - 50 minute easy run plus 6 x 100m hill sprints.

Again, I used the same plan for the easy run - try to keep my HR below 150 as much as possible; if I get over 155 bpm walk until I'm at about 147 and then start to run again.  This morning I only had to walk 4 times (in comparison to last week's 6) and I was very happy that I kept things under control during the big hill.  My overall time for the 4.43 mile loop was 50:09 - 3 minutes faster than last week, but still not where I was aerobically a few months ago.  Patience, grasshopper...

Hill sprints were a little easier this morning.  I didn't feel like quitting after the second one.  This morning, I wanted to quit after the third one! :-)  However, I was able to convince myself to keep on going by saying "I'm already halfway done...come on!"

While doing the hill sprints, I was thinking how silly I must look trying to sprint up a hill.  I mean, I am no Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson or Tyson Gay.  They looked graceful while their muscular bodies were sprinting around the track at top speed; I probably look absurd as I'm trying to haul my pudgy body up a short hill.  I wonder if the neighbors happen to be looking at me from their window and thinking "what is that poor guy trying to do?" or perhaps they are just laughing hysterically doing their best to keep from bursting out in laughter and spitting their breakfast cereal across the room.

Anyhow, one more week of Hill Sprints are behind me.  Thank goodness.  Taking a look ahead at the training plan, I only have one more week of Hill Sprints to go.  After that, I trade in Hill Sprints for Long Strides.  It looks like I'll be spending oodles of time at the track come August.  I'm not sure whether I should cheer or groan.

Tomorrow morning, I'll be taking advantage of one of the great perks of my new gym - Fitness First:  Free sessions with Personal Trainers (OK...not totally free...they are included in the monthly membership fees, but still it's a good deal).  I let the trainer know that I wanted to work on flexibility and strengthening my core muscles.  We'll see how that goes (I'm sure it will be good blog fodder for tomorrow!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weight Creeping Up and Tempo Run

Earlier in the year, I had designated Mondays as my "weigh-in" days.  I had tipped the scales on Jan 1 at 172 pounds and I knew I needed to get it back down towards I was back to counting calories and weekly weigh-ins.

I brought my weight down to 161.5 at it's lowest point in March.  At that point, I have a few weeks where I was running out of energy and I decided that with the marathon training plan ramping up my mileage, I could just eat when my body was telling me to eat.

The problem was, that I didn't get "back on the wagon" after the marathon!  For the past two months, I have been eating more than I should and not burning it off like I was doing at the beginning of the year. weight is back up to 166 pounds.  With my birthday and anniversary around the corner, I'm in serious jeopardy of returning to last year's cycle.

So, I'm back to counting calories as of today.  I'm meeting a friend for lunch today at Cosi and I checked out a few options at - it looks like I'll be getting either the Hummus and Fresh Veggie Sandwich (432 Calories) or the Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Melt (666 Calories) and not my usual Tuna Melt (1,012 Calories).

Also, I'm going to try and limit the desserts (to zero?) until my birthday in two weeks.  I'm not sure how that will go as my wife has two Pampered Chef shows in that span where she will be making these awesome chocolate caramel nut brownies as part of the demonstration - and there are usually leftovers that she brings home.  UGH!!!!

After stepping on the scale this morning, I went out for my tempo run.  The plan was like last week - first mile with HR less than 150bpm, then bring it up to tempo pace of 165bpm for 30 minutes, then slow it back down for the remainder of the run.

I ended up with a total time of 45:48 - a 10:24/mile pace.  The first slow mile was at 11:04 and 138 average heart rate.  The next 30 minutes I covered a little over 3 miles - 9:57/mile pace at 168 average heart rate.  It was a bit faster than last week - even with the warmer temperature - and I felt good.  I'm starting to "see the light" and I have confidence that I'll get back to the pace that I was running a few months ago.

Once again, no more pain behind my knee.  I may have finally shook this thing!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Cross Training

This morning was my wife's turn to work out...only fair, I went out to run yesterday morning.  So, I was with the kids in the early morning while she went to the gym and I was delegated to a "rest day".

However, I found a "loop-hole".  My older son had a birthday party to attend this I offered to drop him off or pick him up and I would go to the gym during the birthday party - score!

I did 30 minutes of the elliptical machine and then some stretching and crunches.  Not enough stretching and crunches, but you have to start somewhere...

This week I'm hoping to get back on track with the training plan.  30 min tempo run tomorrow, Hill Sprints on Wednesday, Short Strides on Friday and a Long Run on the weekend.  I'm thinking I may run the Riley's Rumble 1/2 marathon next Sunday for my long run.  I've run it the last two years and I like it because it's cheap (it is a "low-key" race of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club).  Otherwise I would hate it because it's hot, humid and a demanding course with lots of steep hills.  I'm not sure if a half marathon is a good thing at this point - since my long run the past two weeks have been 6 and 7 miles - however, it's a great opportunity to run 13 miles on a course with water stations (instead of schlepping my own water) and some other people to help you along.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Morning Long Run

I did my scheduled "long run" this morning.  Ironically, a few months ago, a seven-mile run was part of my during-the-week workouts - and now it's a long run once again :-)

I didn't get out of the house until 6:30am.  I was really tired last night and didn't want to set an alarm to get up and run...that's what my kids are for, right?  Anyhow, my older son woke up a little before 6am to go pee - he hasn't learned the art of being discrete yet, so the entire house was semi-awoken from hearing him run to the bathroom, slam the toilet seat up, turn on the faucet at full blast to wash his hands, etc.  I took this as my cue to roll out of bed and run.

I decided to wear my Amphipod water belt this morning.  I have been really thirsty the past few times I have run - most likely due to the heat and humidity.  I ended up taking my first drink about 3 miles into my run, and then at about 5 1/2 miles I started to drink regularly.

I lucked out on the weather this morning.  It was still in the high-60s when I got out the door, and the humidity wasn't too bad.  On my walk to synagogue later this morning (around 10am) I saw a few runners and felt sorry for them as it was already approaching 80 degrees.

The run itself was not too eventful - I took it nice and easy, running an 11:26/mile pace, completing the 7.3 miles in 1:23:47.  I didn't bring music with me as I wanted to keep it slow and I know that I normally speed up to music when I run.

There were two big positives to today's run - 1) I was able to keep my heart rate down for the most part - my average HR was 151 - and 2) I did not have the pain in the tendons behind my knee!  My hamstring and calf muscles are still a tad sore (no longer tender...thank goodness!), but the discomfort that I was feeling for weeks on end did not appear at all during the close to 84 minutes that I was running.

Tomorrow I'll rest/cross-train again and then on Monday I'll get back to the training plan.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Yoga In The Morning

I took the day off from running, like I mentioned yesterday, to give the hammy a chance to heal more.  It's feeling less sore and tender - hooray!

I got my behind downstairs and in front of the TV around 6:20am to do yoga with the Oxygen network's Inhale show.  I had set my DVR to tape it, so I rewound to the beginning and started in 20 min tape delay.  Two observations:  a) My back and neck are really stiff first thing in the morning so it was difficult to do some of the stretches at 6:30am and b) trying to do yoga while my two kids are running around the house is not as relaxing as when they are asleep...which is most likely why I normally run or workout outside of the house.

Tomorrow morning I'm planning to run 6 or 7 miles.  I'll need to wake up early to avoid the was 95 degrees and humid today.  ICK!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Easy Run + Hill Sprints

This morning's run on my training schedule was a 50 minute easy run plus 6x100m hill sprints.  It was actually scheduled for yesterday, but I was still really sore from the massage the day before and really tired from watching the MLB All-Star Game the night before.

I have been noticing that my heart rate on my easy runs has been higher than where it should be.  I'm not sure if this is due to me losing some aerobic capacity during my post-marathon, nursing the hamstring injury rest period, or perhaps still some lingering effects from my blood donation last week.  So this morning, I decided that I would do what I could to keep my average heart rate in the 140s during the easy part of the run - no matter how slow I slogged along.  The plan - no music (I sometimes get "lost" in the tunes or match the cadence of my gait to the beat of the music), go slow and if my heart rate goes up to 155 or higher I need to walk until it gets back down to about 147.

Well...I kept to my plan, and it was the slowest I have run in a long time.  I had six walking breaks - mostly during the hills where my heart rate started to creep up.  Luckily, these breaks were all short.  My final pace was 11:59/mile.  OUCH!   My average HR was 148, which is where it should be for these runs.

I'm hoping that by keeping at this pace I'll build up my aerobic capacity again in the next few weeks.  I remember how frustrating it was for me when I first started HRM training - slowing down to get in the HR range, when all I wanted to do is run at the pace that I knew I could.  However, after a few weeks, my pace at the lower HR improved - and my race pace got much faster - so I'll slog it out for a few weeks.

After the slow, easy part of the workout, came the hill sprints.  Today there was 6 of them.  After number 2 I was ready to quit!  Geez, those are not easy.  When I first saw them on the training plan I thought, "Oh, it's only 100m - piece of cake".  Now I know better.  So, after the second hill sprint, I said to myself "OK, one more and I'm half way through".  After that I kept counting down "I can do 3 more / 2 more / 1 more...".  It was definitely a tough workout.  I'm glad I slowed down for the easy run beforehand.

The best news - although my hamstring is still tender and sore from the massage on Tuesday afternoon, I did not feel the pain/discomfort that I had been feeling behind my knee.  Thank goodness!

Since I'm still trying to "rehab" this tendon / hammy / calf injury, I think I am going to skip tomorrow's short easy run plus Short Strides, and instead I'll do yoga or cross training.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Semi-Scheduled Rest Day

I did not run today.  I'm scheduled to run either today or tomorrow, so I decided on tomorrow.  Two big factors contributed - I stayed up waaaaaay too late last night watching the MLB All-Star Game (I watched through the 11th inning - I can't believe it went to 15 innings!  and hooray for Michael Young for hitting the game winning RBI for the second time in three years!), and I'm still hurting from yesterday's massage.

Good news on the massage front, though.  I had a chiro appointment today and although I'm really sore, the chiro mentioned that the muscles in back of my leg are much looser than before.  So the massage therapist definitely did her job well!

I had hit a lull at work this morning around 10am, and I was considering going for the run that I could have done earlier in the morning.  However, then I stepped outside and realized it was already really hot and way I'm running in that if I don't have to.  I'd rather wake up at 5:00am tomorrow.

I finally posted some marathon pictures on my family website.  I actually have finally updated the family website - the last pictures that were on there were from I'm "current" through May.  I still have my son's sixth birthday party and our trip to Michigan for June pages and then I'll really be caught up.  I don't think I'm going to do those tonight, though.  I have to wake up at 5:00am tomorrow to run, remember???

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lunchtime Massage

Sounds relaxing, right?


I went to the massage therapist in my neighborhood that I have been to before, in order to work the muscles in my leg - hoping to help the healing process with the tendon/hamstring/calf issues.  So, this was not slated to be a relaxing, stress-release massage.  However, I was thinking that there may be some "ooohs" and "aaahs" of relaxation, and not so many "YOWWWs" and "UGHs" of pain.

She spent the entire hour working my legs - probably 45 minutes on my right leg (where the pain has been mostly) and 15 minutes on my left leg.  She told me that my left leg was almost as tight was the right leg and it was just about a matter of time before that leg got to where the other leg is now.

Truth be told, I needed this badly.  I needed someone to dig into those tight knotted muscles and loosen them up - or else the discomfort that I was feeling during my runs over the past few weeks could become much worse.

Maybe the next time I go for a lunchtime massage it will be for relaxation....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tempo Run

Today called for a 25 minute tempo run.  I decided on my plan for the run by using heart rate instead of pace.  With the injury, I know I've lost a good deal of my training base so I'm not sure what speed my 5K/10K/half-marathon race paces are right now...but the HRM gives me an idea of how my body is responding to the pace I'm running.

Today's plan:  run on my 4 mile neighborhood loop - the first mile at a slow pace (HR <>
I do not do many tempo runs.  I'm normally either slogging away at a nice, slow pace or hitting the track to throw in faster intervals.  So this was definitely a nice, welcome addition to my training.  Unfortunately, on the training plan I only do Tempo Runs during the first three weeks - and I missed last week's - so again, I won't be doing these often during the next few months.

My first mile was awesome!  I kept my HR low (avg 143) and finished the first mile in 10:21.  I then pushed the pace up a bit and got my HR to 160 pretty quickly.  It was really great to be "running".  About 1/3 mile into my tempo pace, there is a really steep hill, so I had to slow my pace quite a bit in order to keep my HR in the 165 range.  After that, I think the high temperatures/humidity along with the hill got to me, and my pace started to slow while trying to keep my HR in the 165 range.  I ended up covering 2.5 miles in the 25 minutes of "tempo run" which is a 10:00/mile pace.  I slogged out the last .85 miles of the loop in 11:13 - in a desperate attempt to bring my HR back down to 150.  I couldn't do it - my avg HR during that last part of the run was 163.

My finishing time was 46:37 for the 4.4 mile loop - a 10:32/mile pace.  Looking in my training log, I found that in April I was running this loop as an "easy run" in under 44 minutes with an average heart rate in the low 150s.  Of course, the temperatures were in the 40s - not high 70s!

Tomorrow will be a rest day - and a scheduled massage!!!  I hope the massage therapist can work out the knot and other issues in the tendons behind my right knee.  I want to run without discomfort again!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend Run

My schedule this weekend was Saturday rest day and Sunday "long run" of 60 minutes.  I definitely needed the rest day as I had re-aggravated the tendon injury in the back of my right knee with last week's training.

Today almost turned into another rest day.  My oldest son - who is the early bird of the house - was sleeping at my mother-in-law's house last night.  Since "the rooster" wasn't in the house to wake everyone up, we all slept in.  I woke up at 7:10am and got out the door for my run at 7:30.  Luckily, the weather was not too hot yet - and the humidity wasn't too bad.  I ran 5.5 miles at a slower than 11:00/mile pace - however, I was starting to get pains in the back of my legs again, so I did not want to push it.

I may try to get in with a massage therapist this week and see if that will help the tendon thing.

This week's runs include a 25 minute Tempo Run, a 50 minute easy run followed by six Hill Sprints and another 4 x 50m Short Strides.  Next weekend's "long run" is 70 minutes - not a long run compared to a few months ago, but it should be fine for a 5K program.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Speedwork - Short Strides

Today was a speed workout of what the training plan I'm using is calling "Short Strides". This plan says to run these short intervals (today was 6 x 50m) at "near max speed". So I ran to the QOHS track this morning, and did six sets of 50m sprints with a 2 minute jogging rest between intervals (RBI).

One small problem - my calf/hamstring tendon issue started to flare up again. It started to get worse on the jog back home (it's about 1.7 miles from my house to the track), so I ended up walking the last half mile or so.

Luckily, I had a chiro appointment set up for this morning. And a rest day on the calendar for tomorrow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First Hill Sprints

Today's workout on the new training plan was a 45 min easy run and then 4 X 100m hill sprints.  There is a hill right near my house - I measured it out on RunningAhead's mapping tools and it was longer than 100m, so I ran part of the hill (after my run I re-measured the part that I sprinted and it ends up it was closer to 120m).

I had never done Hill Sprints before.  My thinking was - "what's another 100m after a 4 mile run - right?".  Well, sort of.  First of all, it is really tiring to run fast uphill.  I felt very winded after each sprint, but by the time I walked back down the hill I was ready for another.  The feeling I had while sprinting up the hill was "I'm doing this so I can finish strong in a race that ends uphill" - although I'm sure there will be other benefits as well.

I'm definitely feeling the effects of the workout more NOW - a few hours after the run.  My legs are more sore now than usual (a good sore - not an injured sore that I endured for 8 post-marathon weeks).  Next week when I conquer the hill it will be 6 x 100m.  In two more weeks it will be 8 times (with walking back down the hill, that's a full extra mile!).

Tomorrow is a short, easy run (probably my 3-mile lake run) and then short strides 4 x 50m.  I'll have to find a flat 50m piece of sidewalk to do those on - or I'll head to the track.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mac Ownership

I took a trip to the Apple store today to visit one of the techs at the Genius Bar (that's their FREE in-house tech support).  I have been trying to update the Operating System of our household "flagship computer" - a 5 1/2 year old iMac G4.  This computer has all of our photos and videos on it and I create our family webpage and DVDs on this computer.  I have tried the OS update multiple times and the computer has locked up or had an error.

Since the computer is so old, I am out of my extended warrantee period.  However, I can still get free tech support at the Apple Store with the Genius Bar.  Hooray!

I backed up the computer last night and I schlepped the iMac into the store this afternoon.  The first thing the tech did was run a disk utility which showed there were unrepairable errors on the hard drive.  YIKES!  In order to proceed we were going to have to erase the hard drive - which meant, if that didn't fix the problem than I wouldn't be able to get any OS on the computer and I was looking at a $300-$400 hard drive replacement (or more likely a new iMac...I was secretly hoping this was the case, although I know we can't afford it right now).  Luckily, the reformatting of the hard drive worked and I was out of the store in about an hour with a new OS on my iMac!  The best of all...NO CHARGE for the tech support.

I know I paid for that support up front - Mac computers are much more expensive than PCs.  However, I also paid for a computer that had features that most PCs did not have at that time (Firewire ports, a card slot and antenna for a wireless card, etc.) which makes the computer still relevant today.  How many 5 1/2 year old PCs can run the latest Windows OS (that's Vista) without a major overhaul?

So tonight I was busy restoring my documents, data and applications on the iMac.  While I was restoring from the backup, I took some time to do yoga again.  I'm now nice and relaxed and ready to hit the sack!

Training Plan Tweaks

Yesterday, I posted my training plan for a faster 5K.  I took a look at what was posted and made a few changes which I've implemented.

First, I added some notes to the bottom as to the plan's definitions of Short Strides, Long Strides, Hill Sprints, etc.  I also corrected some spelling mistakes (nit-picky, I know...but I didn't like looking at the work aeorbic)

Most importantly, I shifted the schedule one day of the week.  Originally, the schedule had runs on both Saturday and Sunday with a rest day on Monday.  However, that doesn't work in my house - if I'm going to run on Saturday morning, I like to have my wife take Sunday morning.  So, now my "long run" is on Saturday and my rest day is on Sunday.  I was used to this schedule from my marathon training and I think it will do much better for "shalom bayit".  It also makes sense since the race is on a Saturday - but that was a very weak reason to shift the schedule...I could always just move a few workouts around the week of the race to make things fall into place.

Since I gave blood on Monday, I did not run my scheduled workout today.  I also didn't do a tempo run on Monday morning like the plan says (OK...I didn't realize I was going to follow this plan until yesterday - so give me a break!).  I will get with the program starting tomorrow - either by running 3 days in a row or by running Thursday, Friday and then on Sunday, taking Saturday off.  Either way, I'm not going to expect a stellar week given the blood donation and the lower mileage leading over the past two months due to the hammy injury.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Training Plan - Fast 5K

I think I have settled in on my next running "adventure"...a faster 5K.

I don't have a particular time in mind yet - although with my PR at 26:21, I'm assuming it will start with a 25 (or smaller).  That means I'll have to average an 8:00 to 8:30 per mile pace over the 3.1 miles.  For me, that will not be easy - but I'm up to the challenge!

The race I have my sights on is my neighborhood 5K - the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K - on August 30.  The training plan that I'm going is use is from July's Runner's World.  It is not posted on-line, so I posted my copy here.  The plan has four main runs per week - along with other days that say "easy run, cross-train or rest" - guess which I'll be doing ;-)

It's an 8 week plan, which makes this week the start.  Since I gave blood yesterday, I will miss one of the runs - most likely the run that was going to be today - a 2 x 10min tempo run.  However, I did run 5.5 miles on Monday, so I'll take that as an exchange.

The cool thing about this program is that there are many different types of runs:  Hill Sprints (I'm going to have to find a 100m hill close to me...before Thursday), Tempo Runs, Short Strides (50m bursts at max speed), Long Strides (150m runs at "mile pace"), 1 and 2 mile Time Trials, along with the Intervals and Endurance runs that I am used to.  Another interesting twist - the Interval runs are done at different length intervals - 600m, 1200m, 1600m, 400m, 1000m.

One thing is for is going to be interesting following this plan.

Monday, July 7, 2008

No More Olympic Trials...

Yesterday was the last day of the US Olympic Track and Field Trials.  I really enjoyed watching these - especially the middle- and long-distance races - and I am so psyched for the Olympics!

I watched in awe last night as Shannon Rowbury surged ahead for the last lap in the Women's 1500.  She is such an efficient runner - it almost looks like only her legs and arms are moving and everything else is still and focused.  Watching Bernard Lagat win the Men's 1500 I wondered if he was just toying with the competition in both the 1500 and 5k - holding back with the leaders until the very end when he turns on the burners.  Does this guy ever tire out?

Three notables who will NOT be going to Beijing are Alan Webb (American Record holder in the mile - and University of Michigan alumn), Gabe Jennings (featured in July's Runner's World and also ran the 1500m) and Adam Goucher (Kara Goucher's husband who was trying to make either the 5k or 10k team).  Although these athletes did not make it, the US teams look strong and I'm hoping they'll medal in August.

Now that I won't be focusing on other people's running, I'll have to start focusing on my own :-)  Since I gave blood during my lunch break today, I'll take two days off and then start running again.

Since I knew I was going to give blood today, I went out for a morning run.  I left the house at 6am and I was still soaking wet about 3 miles into the run.  I don't know how I ever trained for half marathons in the Maryland summer humidity!  I better get used to it...

I am really thinking about doing the training program from July's Runner's World to improve my 5K time.  I had my best 5K in Sept 2006 (26:21) and since then I have not been able to get near it.  I know that this PR was partially due to a beautiful fall morning, a flat course and successful training for a half marathon that I had completed a few weeks prior.  However, I should be able to equal that time now.  I'm not ready to admit that "father time" is making me slower as I get older...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Four Miles and What's Next???

This morning I finally got out the door at 7am for a run.  The neighborhood loop that I run I can do either 4 miles, 5.5 miles, 6.5 miles or 7.5 miles - depending on where I re-enter my neighborhood.  So I went out this morning and decided that I'll make the run as long or short as need be, depending on how I felt.  Well...I only did the 4 miles.  I didn't feel horrible - or injured (thank goodness) - however, I didn't feel great either.  It could have been the two pints of Hoegaarden during last night's dinner, or the fact that I'm not drinking enough water lately, or the fact that I didn't take a pre-run GU, or that I was just tired from not sleeping enough, or the fact that it was really humid - but I just didn't want to continue my run.  So I took the turn to make it a 4 miler and that was that.

As I was finishing my run, my thoughts turned to the fact that I don't have a definitive running goal right now.  I have a few races on my calendar - but I'm not really training for them, per se.  I'm going to mull over it during the next week as to what I want my goal to be.  Here are a few potential goals:
  • Train for a sub-2:11 half marathon (2:11 is a 10min/mile pace and my race PR is 2:16)
  • Train for a new 5K PR (my current 5K PR is 26:21, but I haven't run a sub-28min 5K in 2 years)
  • Run 2 (or 3) half marathons between now and the end of the year 
  • Hit 1,000 miles for the year
  • Just run to enjoy it
I believe that if I choose either of the first three goals, I'll reach the fourth one.  I'm already on pace for 1,000 miles for the year, but the pace bunny is slowly creeping up behind me (I'm foxeygoblue - and only 26 miles ahead of Mr. Bunny on the 1,000 mile chart right now)

The 5K option wasn't even on the radar until I read an article in last month's Runner's World.  There is an 8 week program for a faster 5K that looked pretty interesting.  The nice thing about training for a 5K is that the mileage doesn't have to be so high.  And my community's 5K race is only 8 weeks away - hmmm....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rest Day and Olympic Trials

Today was a scheduled rest day since I ran the 5K yesterday.  Also, my chiropractor told me to take it easy for the next week or so - I was originally hoping to run long tomorrow, but I'll either do a short run or cross-training at the gym (rower or elliptical).

This morning - since I wasn't out for a run - I watched the Olympic Track and Field Trials from the night before (you gotta love DVR!  What did we ever do beforehand?).  It still amazes me how much I am getting into the longer distance races - where years ago I never paid attention to them and I only watched the sprint events.  It also amazes me how fast the elite runners finish these races - 5Ks in 14-15 minutes / 10Ks in less than 30 minutes - it takes me twice as long to finish races at those distances.  They are truly unbelievable.

Watching the trials, I am getting so psyched for the Olympics!  I can't wait!!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Best of Both Worlds's not a post about Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana :-)

For this morning's 5K, I decided to run with my sister.  It was very nice to hang out with her since when we see each other lately it is usually with the kids (she has two daughters - a 3 year old and a 9 month old).  We started out at a nice 10:30/mile pace.  The weather was in the mid-70s and about 75% humidity, so it was definitely enough to break a sweat - but not get too tired out.

At about the halfway point to the race, my sister wanted to slow down a bit and told me just to go run.  So, that's what I did!  I probably did the rest of the race in a sub-9:00/mile pace to cross the finish line at 29:42 (watch took us a good two and a half minutes at the beginning to cross the starting line).

So, today I got the best of both - I did half of the run with my sister and the other half at more of a race pace.

The best thing - NO HAMSTRING PAIN.  NONE AT ALL.  NADA.  שום דבר

It's amazing.  After 8 weeks of resting, icing, stretching, taking Ibuprofen, etc. for my injured hamstring the thing that worked was a trip to the chiropractor.  Lesson learned.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Change of Plans??

I'm running in the Autism Speaks 5K tomorrow morning.

My original plan was to take it easy and run with a friend of mine who is a recreational runner but says he's not in good running shape and wanted to take it slow.  However, I got a call late this afternoon that he will not be able to run tomorrow.

So....I now have a few choices:  My sister will also be at the race, so I can run with her (I was starting to get excited about running a race with someone, since I've always run them solo), I can still take it easy but still run alone, or I can flat out race it.

It should be an interesting decision.  I'm leaning towards running with my sister and forgetting about time.  I'm still only a few days removed from the hamstring pain disappearing and the last thing I want to do is aggravate it again, so taking it easy may be the smart way to go.

After tomorrow, I'll have another decision to make about races.  I originally had the Riley's Rumble Half Marathon on my calendar.  It's July 27, which is three weeks away.  My mileage has been quite low lately due to the hammy issue, however, now that it is improving should I try to ramp up for this one?  I was really hoping to do this race, the Parks Half Marathon on September 14 and then another half marathon either in October or November.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Yoga Yesterday and 4 Miles In The

As planned, I took a rest day from running yesterday and did Yoga in the evening once the kids were asleep.  Sherry joined me in Yoga, which was really nice.  She is much more flexible than I am and has taken a lot of Yoga classes throughout the years, so I got her help - she brought me a foam brick that she had which helped me do some of the stretches that I could not do properly since I'm not very flexible.  She wasn't such a fan of the Inhale show from the Oxygen network that I have been doing - in the first 40 min of the program there is a lot of doing "upward-facing dog" pose transitioning quickly to "downward-facing dog" pose - there was no "child's pose" which is a resting pose in these segments which is a really nice stretch and makes it a bit more relaxing.  However, the last 20 min or so were seated poses and relaxation - which was very nice.  We both slept very well last night!

After Yoga, I watched the previous night's Olympic Track and Field trials on my DVR - specifically the Women's 5K Semifinals and the Men's 5K Finals.  What amazing races!  I'm a bit disappointed that Adam Goucher did not make the Olympic team for the 5K (keeping fingers crossed that he'll make it for the 10K), but I was psyched to see his wife Kara Goucher win her Semifinal heat for the 5K just two days after making the Olympic team for the 10K.  Watching these elites run is very humbling.  They finished their 5K races in under 15 minutes - I'll most likely finish the 5K I'm going to run this weekend in twice that time!

This morning I went for another easy run.  I didn't get out of the house until 6:30 (see yoga above...I slept like a rock!), but the weather was beautiful - clear skies, temps in the low 60s, very low humidity.  It was a lovely morning for a run!  And would you believe it - virtually NO DISCOMFORT IN MY HAMSTRING!!!!!  My Chiropractor is a genius!

OK - I did say virtually.  I had some pain behind my knee, but instead of the pain going up to my hammy, I had some pain in my upper calf muscle.  So either the pain is moving down my leg, or (and this is probably the case) I stretched something in my right calf too much last night doing yoga.  But the good news is that after 8 weeks of having hamstring discomfort, there is some improvement.  Hallelujah!  Score another one for the chiro!