Saturday, August 30, 2008

2008 Kentlands/Lakelands 5K Race Report

The Kentlands/Lakelands 5K is my neighborhood race.  The starting line is less than half a mile from my house, and you can see part of the race course from my front door (it doesn't go right in front of my house, but down a street that intersects ours).  It is the race that I first ran a sub-30min  5K and then my first 28min 5K two years ago.

Oh...and although this is a "neighborhood race" it's no longer small.  Five years ago, the race had just under 500 runners.  Today there were just under 1,200!!  And three runners ran the full 5K in under 15 minutes!  There was no chance of me placing - even just an age group placing - in this race.

It is also the race that I have been training for a new PR.  My old personal best 5K was 26:21 - from two years ago on a flat course in Downtown Washington, DC.  I have been following a training plan and shooting for an 8:00/mile pace - a 24:52 5K time (or any sub-25min time!).  Although I was shooting for sub-25min, I knew that any sub 26:21 - and a new PR - would be fine with me. pressure!  (yeah right!)

I tried to prepare best I could for the race.  Yesterday I drank plenty of water and some Gatorade, and I passed on the glass of wine (or two or three) that I normally drink with our Friday night Sabbath dinner.  I even got in bed a little earlier than normal.  However, I still felt sluggish when I finally got out the door this morning around 8am.  Perhaps it was because I'm usually out the door by 6am on running days???  My body was still in "lounging around the house" mode?

Anyhow, I jogged up to where the starting line was and walked around the booths that were set up by the neighborhood vendors.  I saw that I was going to eat well after the race - bananas from Whole Foods Market, pizza from Potomac Pizza, mac and cheese and penne from Noodles & Co., rum buns from O'Donnell's, yummmmm.  How was I going to eat all of that yummy stuff at 8:30am???

I got to the starting line and had my first big decision of the morning - which "wave" do I start in?  The second wave at the start was for runners keeping a 7:00 to 8:00 pace and the third wave was for runners keeping a 8:00 to 9:00 pace.  I was optimistic and chose the second wave.  I settled in towards the back of the wave since I was going to try to keep at an 8:00 mile pace.

Before the race started, there were some opening words from a County Councilwoman and then a neighborhood teen sang "The Star Spangled Banner".  Why do I bring this up?  Well, right in front of me were two deaf runners who were talking to each other - in sign language - throughout the entire National Anthem.  I wasn't sure what to think of this.  I mean everyone else was quiet and showing respect for the singing of our National Anthem, and although they weren't making any noise they were definitely talking to one another.  Was this disrespectful?  Perhaps they didn't realize that "The Star Spangled Banner" was being sung (they couldn't hear, right?), but couldn't they see everyone at attention with no one speaking anymore??

When it was time for my wave to get going, I started out trying to hit my pace.  Since I had run the course before during my training, I knew where the quarter mile points were for the first two miles and I was hoping to hit them at 2:00 intervals.  It didn't seem like I was running too fast - I still felt a bit sluggish - however, when I got to the first quarter mile point, my watch read 1:48.  Time to slow down a bit.  As I rounded the turn, I saw my wife Sherry and my two boys waiting on the side of the road to cheer me on.  It's great to have fans on the race course!

I ended up finishing mile one a little faster than I had hoped - 7:44.  I was also starting to breathe a little heavier.  Luckily the second mile starts downhill, so I tried to coast as much as I could.  I knew what was ahead - the hill that starts at about 1.75 miles in and steadily goes through about 2.5 miles.  I already knew that I wasn't going to be able to run that portion at the same pace and that I was going to have to take it easy there.  I just hoped that I would have enough kick after the hills to regain some of the time that I was going to lose.

As I started up the hills with a quarter of a mile left in mile 2, I brought my pace down a bit to conserve energy.  I ended up hitting the mile 2 marker in 16:05 - just about on an 8:00/mile pace.  However, here came the bigger hills.  UGH!!!

I pushed through the hills at a bit of a slower pace - telling myself to keep on going because I knew after these hills it was either all downhill or flat to the finish.  The good news was that I kept going and never stopped or got too slow.  The bad news is that I didn't have a lot of "kick" left in me by the time the hills were over.

As I made the last turn for the final quarter mile or so, I knew I had a PR in the bag, however, I also figured that if I wanted the sub-25min 5K time, I would really have to dig in and kick for it.  However, I just didn't have it in me at the time.  I kept pushing at a strong - but not all out - pace and crossed the finish line at 26:29 clock time...which ended up being 25:17 chip time.

I must have still approached the finish line at a fast pace, because Sherry and the boys didn't see me.  I didn't see them either, but I was pushing pretty hard to the end and focusing on the finish line and the clock.

25:17 is now my new 5K Personal Record!!!  Over a minute better than my previous PR.  Actually, two years ago, I ran a 27:23 at the Kentlands 5K race as a new PR and then turned around and ran another 5K in Downtown DC a month later where I ran a full minute faster (thus my 26:21 PR that stood for two years).  So yes, the thought has crossed my mind today a few times: "I wonder how fast I could run on a flat 5K course..."

However, I don't think I'll be finding out soon.  I have the Parks Half Marathon in two weeks.  I have to switch gears from speed to endurance pretty quickly.

New 5K PR!!!

My new 5K Personal Record is....


I'm very happy with the new PR, however, deep inside I was hoping for a sub-25 time.  It's still 1:04 faster than my previous PR set 2 years ago, so I can't be too disappointed.

I'll blog more about the race later.  Off to synagogue with the family...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Last Training Run Before The Race!

I am officially complete with my "Fast 5K" Training Plan!

On the schedule for today was Long Strides 6 x 150m with 250m recovery. I stayed up late last night watching the DNC (I had figured that after the Olympics I would be able to get myself to bed earlier...but that's not necessarily the case for the next few weeks with the political conventions now going on). My older son was kind enough to play alarm clock this morning - I heard him at 5:30am, which meant I could have rolled out of bed and jogged to the track to do my workout before the High School students came rolling in. However, I decided to stay in bed.

Since I didn't get out of bed until 6:30am, there was no way I was running this morning. Also, since school is in session, I didn't feel like going to the High School track either.

So, I hit the treadmill at the gym during a break in my day (an early lunch break?? I did have a conference call during my normal lunch hour, so I guess that's what I'll call it).

Since the treadmills at my gym don't have a display for meters (perhaps they show km, however, I couldn't figure out how to change the display from standard to metric), I was going to use time for my strides. I know that 150m at an 8:00/mile pace should take 45 seconds - so...the workout was 6 x 45 seconds at 7.5mph, then back down to jogging speed (today 5.4 mph) for the rest of the quarter mile.

I felt great! My HR barely got over 150. I decided to do the entire quarter mile at 7.5 mph for the last Stride interval before a half mile cooldown.

The only issue is that I wasn't setting the pace myself - the treadmill was setting it for me. I believe I'm OK hitting that 8:00/mile pace given the practice runs I have done over the past week and a half, but this would have been a good chance to do it one more time.

We'll see how everything comes together on Saturday. Wish me luck for a new 5K PR!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Another Crisp Late Summer Morning!

Last night before I went to bed, I checked outside.  It was warm and muggy - I checked the internet and it was showing 79 degrees at 11pm.  However, there was to be an overnight low of 59 degrees and the high temperature for today was going to be in the mid-70s.  Hooray for the cooler temperatures!

I left my house this morning at 6am.  The sun was just about to rise (it's a lot harder to get out of bed at 5:30am when it is still dark outside...) and the weather was cool, cloudy and had a bit of a breeze.  The internet later showed 66 degrees, but I thought it was even cooler than that.  It was such an awesome morning for a run!

The training plan called for a long, easy run of 60+ min.  I went on my loop route around the perimeter of my neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods.  Based on how I was feeling I could choose a 4.4 mile, 5.5 mile, 6.2 mile or 7.5 mile route...all dependent on where I re-enter the neighborhood.

I wasn't exactly sure how I would do as I was still quite sore from yesterday's run.  I must say, that intervals workout really beat me up!  However, it was a "good" sore that I felt yesterday - one of those feelings where you feel a bit of discomfort in your muscles when you move a certain way, but you know that in the end you'll be stronger for it.  I was feeling that "pain" most of the afternoon and evening, and still a little soreness this morning.

The run ended up being very enjoyable.  I had a nice, easy pace - my HR was under 150 for most of the run and ended with an average HR of 147.  I ran the 6.2 mile route in 1:06:05 - a 10:40/mile pace.

I have only one more scheduled run before the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K this Saturday morning - a Long Strides workout on Thursday.  And then it's a rest day and the race.  Wow!

I'm looking forward to having this 5K stuff behind me so I can re-focus on longer distances.  I'll have only two weeks until the Parks Half Marathon...not much time to train, however, I believe I still have the aerobic capacity to last 13.1 miles.  And now that I've been doing more speedwork, perhaps my Half Marathon time will improve as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

5,000 Meters of Intervals

This morning's run was 5 x 1,000m at race pace with a 2 minute recovery between intervals. I'm still trying to train to an 8:00/mile race pace - and instead of a full 2 minute recovery between intervals, I did a 200m recovery (i.e. finishing out the third time around the track during each interval) so I didn't have to remember where I started each set of intervals.

I jogged up to the High School track around 6:15am. School starts today here in Montgomery County, MD, so I knew that by the time my workout was over the parking lot would start to fill with students. I thought to myself, "I'm glad this will be one of my last track workouts for a while..."

I lined up on the track at the beginning of one of the straight-aways and took off. I decided I would check the lap time on my watch every 200m to ensure I was within range of the 8:00/mile pace. For the entire morning, I was somewhere between 0:56 to 1:03 on each 200m. I'm feeling a lot more confident that I have this 8:00/mile pace down!

The split for my first interval was 5:00.4. Can't get too much better than that. The second interval's split was 4:56.7. During the second interval, I started breathing heavier, however, I kept my breathing in a good rhythm. As I started the third interval, I was telling myself that after this, I have less than half way to go! I finished the third interval in 4:59.1.

However, I was starting to get tired. I had run nearly 2 miles at the 8:00/mile pace - just as I had done the past two weekends - and I now could feel my body pushing harder to keep up that pace. I kept telling myself to keep pushing. I repeated a mantra - keep up the pace. I know that at this point of the race next weekend I'll be facing an incline - how am I going to get through that if it feels so tough on a pancake-flat racetrack?

I pushed through and finished interval number four in 4:57.5. One more interval left. I had run 4K by now - and only 1,000 meters left. My legs did not want to do it. I could feel them getting a bit tight...perhaps lactic acid settling in from all of my "fast" running (for me this is fast - but I received quite a dose of reality the past two weeks watching the Olympics).

Up until this point, I was able to get my heart rate down below 150 on my 200m recovery. However, after the fourth interval I was still a bit above 150 when I was about to hit my starting point. Instead of starting to run, I turned around on the outside of the track for about 5-10 meters and then came back. The extra 10-20 meters were just what I needed to get my heart rate down and ready for the final interval.

Although my legs may not have been ready to go, my mind was. I pushed through, doing the first 200 meters in 0:56. My 400m split was somewhere around 1:57. "One and a half more laps and I'm done," I thought to myself. I can do this.

As I was coming around the track the second time, there were two new runners who were entering the track. I was on the final 200m of my interval as they entered. I had no idea what pace they were going to be running at, however, I knew that I did not want them passing me before I finished this thing out. I didn't have much left in the tank, but I pushed it up that final straightaway and around the final turn.

Last 1,000m split - 4:48.5

The full 5K time (just the intervals) was 24:42. I had small breaks in between each 1,000, and this was done on a flat track and not a hilly race course, so I know that this is not fully indicative of how I will perform at this weekend's race. However, I see that a sub-25min 5K is within my reach...pretty amazing given that 10 years ago a sub-35min 5K was unattainable.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Two Mile Time Trial

This morning's workout on the training plan was a two-mile time trial.  Last week, I ran the 2 miles in 15:35 - my fastest time for 2 miles EVER - however, I had very little left in the tank afterwards.

My goal today - run as close to an 8:00/mile pace over the first two miles, and then do a cool down run/jog for the last 1.1 miles of the 5K course.

To help me out on pacing, I mapped out the course again - this time noting where each quarter mile ended so I could check my splits.  Even though Google Maps' hybrid view shows the street and satellite view together, it is sometimes difficult to find an appropriate landmark to determine where each quarter mile ends - so this was not an exact science.  But it was close enough for my purposes.

I started this morning by stretching before venturing outside.  I was feeling a bit tight - and this could have contributed to my foot cramping earlier in the week.  I left the house at 7am - 59 degrees outside and sunny.  What a great morning for running!  Later in my run I realized that I forgot my sunglasses...I'll have to remember those next weekend if it is a sunny day.

I jogged up to the race's starting line - less than 1/2 mile from my house - at a 10:55/mile pace.  I then stretched a bit more and started my run.

I found my 8:00/mile pace pretty quickly as my first 1/4 mile split was 1:59.6.  Wow!  That was perfect.  Split #2 was 1:56.6 - this is a 7:47/mile pace which is a bit too fast for me at this point.  I knew I had to slow it down a tad - and the fact that the next quarter mile was going uphill made me naturally slow down.

Split #3 was 2:10.  I guess I slowed it down a little too much (well, going uphill definitely helped out there).  During the next quarter mile I saw two other runners that were marking out the 5K course.  They were running slowly - about a 12:00/mile pace - so I was able to overtake them pretty easily; however, it was a great feeling passing other runners while doing my "fast" two-miles :-)  Split #4 was 2:03, making the first mile 8:09.  A little slower than I wanted, but not my much.

The first quarter mile of the second mile was flat and then downhill.  I coasted as much as I could but did not want to speed up too much.  I'm still trying to keep that even pace, remember??  I checked my watch at the quarter mile point - 1:49.7.  Oh well...a bit too fast (but I just made up for the additional 9 seconds that I was behind on the first mile!).  Splits 2 and 3 on the second mile were closer to the 2:00 I was hoping for - 2:01 and 1:58.

One more quarter mile to go and I was on track to 16:00.  However, the course starts to get a bit uphill again.  And I am starting to tire out.  Again.

At this point I was starting to question whether I'll have the will to keep pushing past that second mile and finish out the race as strong as I started.  There is a good half mile there - from miles 1.75 through 2.25, or a little past that - that are uphill.  It's not a big incline (like at Riley's Rumble), but it is constant.  I know that if I was a bit more diligent with my core training, that I'd have a better chance getting through this...but I have been pretty lax about it lately.  I'm going to try to make a commitment to core training this week - doing most of the exercises every day - and hope that this will help getting through this difficult part of the 5K next weekend.

I kept on going - not at full speed since I still wanted to "recovery jog" the final 1.1 miles of the race course - but I tried to keep that 8:00/mile pace.  I got to the two-mile mark and saw my split - 2:09.

Two miles in 16:07.  8:04/mile pace.  Not bad at all.

I slowed it down and continued the running up the steady incline.  I started to enjoy the wonderful, crisp morning again now that I wasn't pushing myself so hard.  It's ironic - when I first chose this training plan I was excited that my workouts would be shorter, however, I now realize I would rather do longer runs at a slower pace than the shorter more-intense workouts.  One more week and I'll go back to running bliss :-)

It ends up that my "recovery run" was not so slow after all.  I think it is hard for me to slow down after running fast - I was in such a rhythm and my body doesn't want to break from that rhythm.  I finished the last 1.1 miles in 10:40 - a 9:42/mile pace.  And a full 5K time of 26:47.  That's only 26 seconds off my current 5K PR of 26:21.

Although I'll be shooting for a sub-25 minute 5K next weekend, I know that even if I don't reach that goal I'll be in really good shape to set a new Personal Record.  Perhaps all of these shorter, intense workouts will be worth it after all...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lunchtime Strides

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was a chance that I would have some downtime at work this afternoon.  My regularly scheduled 11am to 12 noon conference call ended at 11:15am and I didn't have anything on my calendar after that.

It's a beautiful sunny day in the low 80s, so I put on a singlet (that's "tank top" in runner's speak), and headed to the track for my Strides workout.

I warmed up with an 800m jog and then did my 6 x 150m strides at race pace with a 250m recovery.  I calculated that an 8:00/mile pace translated to running 150m in 45 seconds.  So I was doing my best to hit 45 seconds on my strides.  I did very well!  Here's my "splits":  45.1, 46.7, 43.9, 45.2, 42.5 and 44.5.

I'm starting to feel how to "lock-in" to an 8:00/mile pace.  This is much different than my running over the past 4 years or so, where I let my HRM set the pace for me.  I now really need to concentrate on my stride and how fast/slow I feel like I'm going vs just watching a number on my HRM watch.

I ended the workout with a recovery jog of 1 mile.  3 miles altogether at lunchtime.

This weekend's workout is another 2 mile time trial.  I am planning to run the first two miles of the 5K course again, and this time I'm hoping to have enough left in the tank to run the rest of the race course at a slower pace (last weekend I had to walk the rest).  I'm going to try to map out where the 1/4 mile splits are and try to get as close to 2:00 per 1/4 mile split as possible.  I'm hoping for as close to a 16:00 two miles as possible.

Still Tired

It's been a very busy week for me.  My project at my job kicked-off its deployment phase this week.  Monday and Tuesday I was on my feet most of the day (at least the times I was not driving from site to site...I put 180 miles on my car on Monday, 80 miles on Tuesday and 65 miles on Thursday).  In total contrast, I was back in my office on Wednesday with a string of conference calls.  At one point I stood up and realized that it had been close to 3 hours since I had moved from my chair.

This has been coupled with staying up too late to watch the Olympics and being woken up in the middle of the night by our youngest son who is still fighting a bug.  Last night he was awake from 1:30am until a little after 4am - with my wife and I taking turns going into his room to calm him down and try to get him back to sleep.

Needless to say, I wasn't waking up at 5am to run this morning.

Add all this to my foot cramping up earlier, the training plan for this week has taken a back seat to life.  I was able to get the intervals workout in on Tuesday after work, and I actually was able to carve in a 45 min "Endurance Run" (instead of the 60+ min that the plan calls for) on Wednesday.  However, given the lack of sleep I was not waking up early to do the Strides workout yesterday or today.

My work schedule today quiets down after lunch (unless there are project "emergencies" that pop up), so perhaps I can do my strides then.  It's a short enough workout that I won't mind doing it outside - even in 85 degree weather.  After my 2 mile time trial last weekend, I really see the importance of the Long Strides workout - to consistently find your race pace.  I should be doing my 150m Long Strides in 45 seconds, if I want to run an 8:00/mile pace for the race.  Last week, I ran them too fast - between 37s and 41s - which led me to running the 2 mile time trial too fast.

My goal over the next 3 days:  Long Strides workout with 150m strides at 45s each and 2-mile time trial at 16:00.  Two short workouts in three days should be achievable - even with how tired I still am.

I know I can run faster and longer.  Given the situation, I need to start to run smarter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So...I'm Stubborn

As I wrote both yesterday and today, I went out for morning runs both days and they were cut short due to some cramping-type pains in my left arch.

I decided to take action today.  At every opportunity I stretched my calf muscle and foot.  I drank a lot less soda and coffee and a lot more water.  Most importantly, I went to Fleet Feet and bought a new pair of shoes.

This time I went with the new Brooks Defyance.  It's a neutral shoe, just like the Brooks Glycerin that I was wearing for the past year - however, it's $30 less expensive.

I decided that after work I was going to get a workout in.  I would try to do the 2 x 1600 interval workout (the one that I could not start during the past two days...) on the treadmill.  If my foot started to hurt or cramp up, I would go to the eliptical or rower or stationary bike instead.

I started out with more stretching.  Then I got on the treadmill and did a fast walk for 1/4 mile, and then a slow jog for 1/2 mile.  So far, so good.  I turned the speed on the treadmill up to 7.5mph (8:00/mile pace) and crossed my fingers that I could go the full mile without pain.

Good news.  I was able to finish both mile intervals at the 8:00/mile pace.  I felt like I had some steam left afterwards as well - which was good as my 2 mile run on Saturday morning really drained me by the end.

However, overall I felt tired.  I'm not sure I could have kept up the pace without the treadmill keeping it for me.  It's been a tiring few days.  My younger son has been sick.  I have been going to sleep later than I have wanted to on a nightly basis.  My project at work has ramped up and I have a lot less downtime during the day.  I didn't realize that my running would suffer much, but I guess it has.  Hopefully I can get some more rest during the weekend.

More Foot Pain - UGH!

I went out this morning to try and do the same run that I missed yesterday. I didn't get far...about 1/4 mile into my jog, the arch of my left foot started hurting again.

I know the issue is that my arch is very tight. There are a few contributors:
  • Lack of stretching. I'm not really good about stretching out after my runs and my body is now taking a bit of revenge. I'm going to have to stretch more....and A LOT more in the near future.
  • Footwear. My running shoes have 350 miles in them, so I know it is time for a new pair. Also, I spent a lot of time wearing sandals this past weekend which does not give my foot as much support as sneakers and other shoes. Additionally, the soles of one of the pairs of shoes I wear for work a few times a week are starting to wear down. There is a great shoe repair guy in my neighborhood - I'm going to see if it is cost effective for him to fix them up vs. buying a new pair.
  • Water. I believe my muscles may be a bit dehydrated. I've been drinking lost of coffee, soda, wine, beer, etc over the past few days; and not enough water.
There may be other contributors as well, but these are the main ones. I'm going to try and purchase new running shoes today. Tonight I will need to stretch (and perhaps hit the gym for cross training, as getting no exercise is really starting to get to me...). And I'll try to lay off the soda a bit and drink more water.

Keep your fingers crossed... I hope to be back running in a few days.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Foot Pain - Run Cut Short

Early this morning I was awoken by my 2 year old playing with my face in my 4:15am!  He hasn't been feeling well over the past few days.  He woke up in the middle of the night last night and climbed into our bed - and then started to play.  Grrrrrrrrr.  Anyhow, he announced to us at 4:55am that he needed to go to the bathroom - my wife took him and I decided to get out of bed and into my running gear.  My alarm was going off in 5 more minutes anyway.

I was out the door at 5:15am.  I guess I hadn't been out this early in a while since I was not expecting it to still be dark.  Note to self - any runs before 5:45am now require my reflector vest.

I made it up to the High School track, however, as I was entering the parking lot of the High School, I felt a little "twinge" on the arch of my left foot.  When I got to the track I stopped and started to stretch a bit.  I also sat down and massaged my foot.  However, when I started to run on the track, the discomfort in my foot was still there.

There was no way I was running my 2 X 1600 at race pace today :-(

I didn't want to aggravate my foot any further, so I walked the full 1.65 miles back home.  Luckily I had my iPod with me - I had a Fantasy Football podcast to listen to...ooooh, I can't wait for football season to start!

I'm going to try to do the same run tomorrow morning and push tomorrow's scheduled long run to Wednesday.  I'll try stretching my foot out a bit tonight and hopefully I won't run into the same issue during tomorrow's run.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two Mile Personal Record!

This morning's run was a 2 mile time trial.  The plan was to jog up to the starting line of the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K (about 0.4 mile from my house) and run the first two miles of the course.

The great news - I have a new Personal Record (PR) for two miles - 15:35!

OK...I have no previous time for two miles, so anything would have been a personal record.  However, a 7:48/mile pace is awesome for me.

The bad news - after running those two miles, I had nothing left in the tank to cover the other 1.1 miles of the course.  And right after two miles on the course is a consistent uphill incline for about a third of a mile.


I have the same 2 mile time trial on my calendar for next weekend, and an interval run at race pace earlier in the week so here's my plan:
  • Try to set my "race pace" at an 8:00/mile pace, or a tad slower
  • Run my intervals on Monday as close to an 8:00/mile pace as possible
  • Determine where the quarter-mile points on the 5K course are for the first two miles, and try to keep to the 8:00/mile pace during my 2 mile time trial next weekend by checking my time every quarter mile (should be 2 minutes per quarter mile...this will be a lot easier for me to keep pace)
I think by slowing down - even 15 seconds per mile - will give me the energy I will need to finish that third mile of the 5K.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympics - Track and Field Begins Today!

I have been watching various Olympic events over the past week - gymnastics, swimming, beach volleyball, etc. - however, I have been waiting for Track and Field.  And it start TODAY!

Tonight, after midnight Eastern time (hooray for my DVR!), is the Women's 10,000m final.  Go Shalane and Kara!  Bring home some US Glory!  Tomorrow night has the Women's marathon and Men's 100m finals.

Between the Olympics and NFL Football, it will be tough to pry me off the couch this weekend.

However, I do have that 2 mile time trial tomorrow morning.  Instead of hitting the track or gym, I am considering running the first 2 miles of the 5K race.  The race is in my neighborhood, so there's not an issue of driving a long distance to get to the course.  I can jog up the the starting line for a warm-up (about 1/2 mile) and then let 'er rip!

The pros of doing the time trial on the course is that I'll get familiar with the course and the elevation.  I'll also get to practice my race pace on the race course.  Not bad.  However, I won't be able to get 1/4 mile splits (I'll try to get my mile split) like at the track, so I won't really have a good idea of what my pace is until I hit the 1 mile and 2 mile markers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Long Strides

This morning was the first time I did a "Long Strides" workout. The training plan has short strides at 50m and at "near max speed" while long strides are 150m and "at 5K goal pace".

Actually, many of the runs during the next few weeks are supposed to be run at 5K goal race pace - I have not done much training at a pace that will simulate the race, so this is still very new to me. This weekend's run is a 2 mile time trial at race pace. Next week I have an interval run (2 x 1600m), another long strides workout and another 2 mile time trial - all at race pace. So by race day (two weeks from Saturday) I should be able to feel my race pace pretty well.

The tough thing, though, is being able to judge race pace for the short distance of 150m. Today was a 4 x 150m with 250m recovery. My four 150m splits were 37s, 41s, 40s, 41s - which equates to the following pace/mile: 6:37, 7:20, 7:10 and 7:20. This is too fast for me for 5K race pace...I'm shooting for running the 5K at an 8:00/mile pace, so next week I'll have to slow down during my strides.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sneaky Cross-Training

Today was a rest day for running.  However, I did get some cross training in at lunch time...a bit unexpectedly.

I brought my car in for service early this morning and I was working at the dealership (they have free WiFi in the waiting room lobby - genius move!)  However, the car needed a part that was not in stock and they could only get it in the afternoon.  So I had them drive me to my home office so I could work from there.

I had scheduled to meet some work colleagues for lunch at a restaurant 3 miles from my house...but at this point I had no car.  However, I do have a bicycle - and it was a beautiful day!

So I biked to and from the restaurant during my lunch break.  6 miles round trip.  How's that for a little cross-training???

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Beautiful Morning

I absolutely LOVE the weather we are having in the Washington, DC area lately. I swear, it feels like mid-to-late September and not the beginning of August.

I left the house at 6am - sunny skies, no humidity, and very comfortable temperatures in the low 60s. Another awesome morning for running! I just hope that the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K and Parks Half Marathon have beautiful weather like this!

Today was a long, slow run - 70+ min. I ended up running the 7.33 mile loop around the major streets that form the perimeter of my neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods - Darnestown Road, Great Seneca Highway and Quince Orchard Road.

The great weather conditions contributed to great performance - I maintained an average heart rate of 149 bpm (under 150 for a long run - hooray! just where I should be), at a 10:37/mile pace.

Not much more to report about the run. I did not bring music today - since I took yesterday off to go to Hershey Park I needed to sort through a bunch of things going on at work.

One thing did bother me a bit on my run, though. About 1.5 miles into my run - I was trotting down the sidewalk (against traffic like I should as a runner) on Darnestown Road, when all of a sudden two bicyclists came whizzing past me. On the sidewalk. With no warning. I wasn't even listening to music and I didn't hear these guys coming up behind me.

Let me list the ways this annoyed me: 1) They could have warned me (rang a bell or shouted "on your left!" or "I'm behind you" or something), 2) They were on the wrong side of the road, 3) Darnestown Road has a wider shoulder with a picture of a bicyclist on it...i.e. they should have been using the bike lane in the road instead of the sidewalk.

Am I becoming a cranky old man for being annoyed with them???

Luckily about 2 miles later - when I was on Great Seneca Highway (a road with no "bike lane" and a sidewalk only on one side of the road), another bicyclist was coming up behind me and gave me the "on your left" shout as a warning before passing me. OK...not all bicyclists are evil.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hershey Park With The Family

No run today. Although spending 7 hours at Hershey Park with a 6 year old and a 2 1/2 year old is just as exhausting (perhaps moreso...)

I had good news to start the day - the scale showed me at 164.0 again...even after my birthday week. I knew that would be short lived (I mean...I was going to a theme park whose main sponsor was a chocolate company - no way I was coming out of there without eating some calorie rich foods!). I didn't do so bad in the food department today - but it was not perfect as it did include a chocolate-and-Reeces-Pieces-covered-pretzel and a big bag of kettle corn.

I'm going to head to bed early tonight so I can get in my 70+ min Endurance Run in the morning. Got to get back on schedule :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Three Days In A Row

At the beginning of this year, one of my fears of marathon training was getting injured by overtraining.  Since I started running on the "older" side (I ran my first 10K when I was 31 and became an "every week runner" at 34), I rarely ran on consecutive days as I wanted to give my body a chance to recover.

I found very few marathon training plans that allowed for only training 3 days a week.  I chose a plan with planned runs on 4 days per week, so I had to increase the frequency of my training and it forced me to run on consecutive days at least once a week.  Luckily, my body adjusted quite well.

Looking at my schedule this week, I had a problem.  I am going to Hershey Park with the family on Monday, so I will not be able to get my training run in (unless I get to the track at 5am...and since driving 2.5 hours each way and walking around an amusement park for 8 hours is going to take a lot out of me, I don't think I need to add a track workout at 5am!).  I had considered pushing it out a day, since up until now Tuesday has been a rest day - but lo and behold, Tuesday is NOT a rest day this week, but a 70+ min long run.

If I wanted to hit all of the workouts this week, I was going to have to run on three consecutive days - either by pulling in Monday's 10 x 400m speedwork into today (I ran my mile Time Trial on Friday and a 9 mile long run on Saturday morning), or by pushing both the Monday and Tuesday workouts out a day and running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I decided to run Monday's workout this afternoon.  Since it was a bit humid outside at 4pm (we had brunch plans and I had to wait until I had digested), I went to the gym to run on the treadmill.  The newer treadmills have a "Speed Interval" setting - just perfect for an interval workout.  I set the jog/recovery speed for 5.2 mph (around an 11:30/mile pace) and the run/interval speed for 7.5 mph (8:00/mile pace).  I felt pretty comfortable running all 10 intervals at this pace.  I was ready to stop after the 8th interval, but added the last two to complete the workout.

All in all it was 5 miles in 48:33.  I've only run one 5 mile race - in February of 2006 - and my time that day was 47:40.  I'm pretty sure that I could beat that now given my performance during today's workout.  Not that I'm looking to go out and run a 5 mile race any time soon...

Today's run put me at just under 27 miles for the week.  I had missed one workout due to fighting a cold, but I made up for it with today's workout.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Long Run On A Crisp October Morning

I swear - I thought it was early October this morning.  Or that perhaps I was back in Ann Arbor for the summer.

I stepped out of the door at 7am this morning (yes...later than I wanted to start my run, but I got to bed later than planned due to watching the Olympics Opening Ceremonies), and the air was crisp with very little humidity.  Later on I looked on line to see that the temperature was in the low 60s.  The sun was shining.  There was a slight breeze.  It was a delicious morning.

Is it really still August in the Washington, DC suburbs?

I went out for the same 9 mile run that I did last weekend.  Home to Olde Town Gaithersburg and then home again along a different route.  Today I ran the route a little over 4 minutes faster.  It could have been the weather - no rain today and awesome conditions for a run.  It also could be that the training has made me a stronger, faster runner.  Probably a little of both.

I ran the 9 mile route at a 10:38/mile pace with an average HR of 154.  I believe that if you take the last mile and a half out, my average HR would have been under 150 - there were some hills at the end and I didn't want to slow down my stride in the home stretch.

I ran to music today - I started with an album I just downloaded from iTunes Music Store called Pedalsped.  I heard the track "Stretch" on a YouTube video that was posted over on Pigtails Flying's blog.  I couldn't get the song out of my head for two days, so I had to purchase it.  They sound kind of like a fusion of Coldplay and Guster.  I like it so far.  Take a "Stretch" - it's a great song!

Friday, August 8, 2008

New Mile PR!!!!

My new mile Personal Record is....


I was secretly hoping for sub-8:00 mile. So, WOW! I didn't realize I had it in me!

Anyhow, it was a beautiful morning for running. Overcast skies. 64 degrees. A small breeze every so often to blow the chillier air around.

I left the house a little before 6am and jogged up to the high school track. 11:20/mile pace with average HR at 144. Nice and easy.

When I arrived at the track I stretched a bit and tried to calm my nerves. I don't know why I was so darn nervous. It wasn't really a race ( was a race against time if not against other runners). I have run over 600 miles so far this year - what's the big deal about running ONE?? OK, so its a little faster - so what!!!!

Regardless, I was nervous about how to pace myself. Would I totally lose steam at the end? Would I not run fast enough and have too much left in the tank at the end?

On your marks; get set; GO! Off I went. Not sprinting, but definitely faster than I am used to running.

As I got going around the first turn, my legs felt really heavy. I thought that the 1.6 mile jog up to the track would get me warmed up and ready for this, but I guess it wasn't enough. I'm pretty sure this was my body telling me that I need to stretch more. That and running faster more often will most likely get my legs used to this.

First lap - 1:48. Avg HR was 161 (I found out later when I looked in the log file in my HRM), however, my HR was up at 180 when I finished the first lap.

As I started lap number 2, I started calculating my pace over a full mile based on the first lap. 7:12 - yikes! That's a bit too fast. Plus my HR being at 180 is probably a bit too high for this early into the run. I started to slow it down a bit - just a tad. I seemed to be getting in a pretty good rhythm, though, so I did not want to break my stride too much. Coming around the last turn of the second lap, I could feel that my breathing was very heavy, but in a good rhythm. I started to get flashbacks of when I tried to run in Middle School or High School - that heavy breathing would have a strong wheeze at the end of each breath. It was a pleasant sound to me to hear my heavy breathing with no wheezing (I'm sure my heavy breathing was NOT a pleasant sound for others at the's all relative).

Second lap - 1:57. Avg HR was 182. I felt pretty good at this point and although I was already breathing hard, I knew I could continue at this pace and finish it out.

Third lap - 1:52. Avg HR was 184. At this point I was starting to get tired, but I knew that I only had one more lap to go. I could hear the "last lap bell" ringing in the back of my head! Time to push a bit more, dig in a bit deeper and finish this thing out strong.

Fourth lap - 1:48. Avg HR was 189. (Um, Mike - based on your age, your Max HR should be 186...way to really push your limits here!). As you can see by the stats, I finished this thing strong! Fourth lap was the same blazing speed ('s all relative - watch the Olympics next week to see real "blazing speed") that I ran the first lap with. My heart rate during those last two minutes was higher than what my maximum heart rate should be - this is probably fine for a short burst of time, but not good if I was going to try to run the entire 5K at this pace.

I took a look at my watch for the total time - 7:25. I was in disbelief. I did not think I could run a sub-7:30 mile (after the intervals workout I had earlier in the week, I was starting to doubt a sub-8:00 mile).

I walked around the track to cool down - a nice big smile on my face. The jog back home was sweet - enjoying the beautiful morning and the awesome feat I just accomplished.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tomorrow's Workout - 1 Mile Time Trial

I took a quick peek at the workout plan for the next few days.  Friday - 1 mile Time Trial, Saturday - Endurance Run 75+ min.

I am equally excited and nervous about tomorrow's Mile run.

I believe that the last time I ran a timed mile must have been in High School.  We ran a mile at the track - as part of the Presidential Fitness Challenge perhaps?  I don't remember much of the experience - except that I was close to last.  And most likely wheezing.  And most likely did the sprint/walk thing.  One thing I do remember is that the teacher wrote "10:00" in the book next to my name.  For all these years I was convinced that I had run a 10 minute mile - but now I have second thoughts.  What's the chances I came in exactly at 10:00?  Perhaps she was just being nice?  Maybe you needed to have a 10:00 or better for the Presidential Fitness Challenge and she was giving me the benefit of the doubt since she saw I was at least trying to run?

I don't think I'll ever know the answers as to what my time really was over 20 years ago.  I do know that I was not very physically fit and I was a bit pudgy.  My parents were smokers at the time (my mother quit right around that father still smokes, unfortunately) and years of having them smoke at the dinner table did a number on my respiratory system.  As a result, whenever I would do physical activity I would wheeze and be out of breath quickly.

Luckily, I have turned that all around.  The one great thing I know about tomorrow's Time Trial is that I'll have a new PR for the mile!

The workout earlier in the week (1200m intervals) has prepared me - and the great thing is that I know that I won't have to repeat running at that speed over and over again.  Just four times around the track and that's it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dragging Through Speedwork

The past few days I could not get my speedwork intervals workout in.  The training plan shows an 8 x 1200m workout on Monday - Monday I had to be in Virginia really early.  Tuesday morning I was feeling icky so opted out of my run.  So...this was the morning I was going to attempt the workout.

I thought about the workout a bit on Sunday night and again last night.  8 x 1200m with a 2 min recovery.   I decided that I would do a full 400m (once around the track) for my recovery since I probably wouldn't remember where I started each particular set of intervals if I changed it around too much.  I started to figure out the time it would take me to do this, and YIKES!  this would be an 8 mile speed workout (9 miles if I added a warmup and cooldown).  That would be a full hour and a half.

And 1200m intervals?  3 times around the track at a fast speed?  Huh???

Needless to say - I was a bit freaked out about this workout.

I got out to the track at 5:30am.  I drove there - I didn't want to add 3.25 miles roundtrip to this already hefty workout!  It was still dark when I started my 3/4 mile warmup and when I started my first interval.

I felt really sluggish.

I'm not sure if it was because I was fighting off a cold less than 24 hours prior (I'm feeling much better, but still some more aches though), or because the last thing I ate was a double-scoop ice cream sundae from Carvel (no guilt on that was my birthday!), or if it was because it was still really early.  Whatever it was, I had no confidence that I was going to be able to get through this entire workout.

I mean, 1200 meters is a LONG distance for an interval!

My first two intervals were at the speed that I was hoping to be at - 6:14 and 6:06.  However, towards the end of the second interval, I started to get some tightness in my hamstring.  I also was already pretty wiped out - again, I was probably more fatigued since I was not at my healthiest or most rested.  I decided to stop after the interval was over and I stretched a bit.

When I started back up, I decided to go a bit slower.  I kept thinking "8 x 1200???  That must have been a typo!  I mean, this is a training plan for a 5K for crying out loud!!!".  The next two intervals I ran in 6:43 and 6:53.  By the end of that fourth interval I had convinced myself that there was no way I was running eight of these.  Maybe six - definitely NOT eight.

I went out for one more interval - in 6:33 - and I was really wiped out.  I decided to call it quits and run a half mile recovery.

All in all, I ran 6 miles.  Not bad for a mid-week workout (heck, my long run during week 1 was 6 miles).  It was not the 9 that I intended to do at the start.  On the other hand, I was out there running - unlike so many others who were still in their beds asleep - so I tried not to get too down on myself.

Of course, when I got home I found the Runner's World that I copied the training plan out of.  Sure enough, I made a typo when putting it into Excel.  The workout was supposed to be 6 x 1200 - not 8 x 1200.  I should have pushed myself to do just one more interval.  Oh well...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Look Back Over The Past Year...

Today is my birthday, so I've taken some time to reflect over the past year.


First of all, I don't think I have ever had such an outpouring of people who remembered my birthday.  Thank you Facebook!  (here's my profile...feel free to friend me if you are a frequent blog reader).

It's hard to believe all that I have accomplished over the past 12 months.  There are obvious ones here - running a full marathon and starting a blog and keeping up with it regularly.  Professionally I have made big strides - completing Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification within my company and being assigned to the largest project I have had to date.  I started an Israeli Dance group for families at my synagogue which has a dedicated base of participants such that I will be able to continue the group this next school year.  Another accomplishment I had with my synagogue is that I learned the trope (cantillation for chanting scriptures) that is used for the books of Ruth and Song of Songs and chanted parts of those books during the holidays of Shavuot and Pesach.  I also made new running friends - via the blogosphere and RunningAhead - and reconnected with many other old friends - mostly through Facebook.

All of these were "additions" during the past year.  Many of the other activities that I was doing beforehand (co-leading the Yesodot Israeli Dance Troupe, reading Torah at our synagogue twice a month) I am still doing.

I also had the joy of watching my children grow.  My older son, Doron started and completed his first year of Elementary School at the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School.  He is starting to become computer savvy - he can navigate to Yahoo! Kids, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids and Webkins websites and be entertained (for much too long!).  He also just lost his first tooth today!  In the last twelve months my younger son, Matan, has also developed tons.  He has started to talk in complete sentences.  He is no longer in a crib and no longer in diapers.  Every day he does something - or says something - new that just amazes us.

As I get older, I tend to think that the birthdays are not such big milestones anymore.  So, it's my 37th birthday today - so what???  However, reflecting over the past year I see that it is a big deal and that I continue to make big strides in my life even though it may not seem like it on a day-to-day basis.

OK...enough blogging.  I'm going to get some core exercises in and then get some ICE CREAM to celebrate!!!

Cough, Cough - Rest Day

I knew I was on the verge of getting a cough :-(

Luckily, I got some sleep last night - went to bed at 9:30pm and slept until 6am (with an interruption around 4am when little one crawled into bed with us).

However, I'm coughing a bit more today and still feel a bit on the icky side. I've been popping zinc lozenges since late yesterday, so hopefully this will pass quickly.

I'm going to take a rest day from running today...hopefully I'll find time to do some stretching and core exercises. I was kind of hoping to get the running in today - I need the calorie burn. It's my birthday today and I know I'm going to overeat and eat sweets (going to Red Robin with the family tonight - not a posh way to celebrate a birthday at this age, but I'm looking forward to spending the time with my kids and nieces).

I'll re-evaluate tomorrow whether I can do my speedwork session that I missed yesterday and today. I'll definitely try to get that workout in (8 x 1200 intervals) instead of the Long Strides workout that is scheduled for tomorrow.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Easy Treadmill Run

The scheduled run for this morning was a speed interval workout - 8 x 1200 with 2 min recovery between intervals.  However, I figured out last night that there was no way I was going to get this workout in.

Last night I had a few friends over to watch the Redskins first pre-season game, talk fantasy football, drink a beer and eat some seven-layer dip (yummm).  The game lasted until 11pm - so I didn't get off to bed until 11:30.  While getting ready for bed I started planning for the morning...

I had an 8:30am meeting in Sterling, VA - about 35 miles away - and I knew I wanted to leave the house before 7am to beat some of the traffic.  I could leave really early, run at a High School track in Virginia, shower at the Fitness First in Reston, VA - about 5 miles away from where my meeting was going to be.  So I started to calculate when I would need to leave the house to get this workout in...5:30am?!?!?!?  I set my alarm for 5:15am, laid out my running clothes, got my gym bag set with my work clothes and then thought about it.  This would be the second night in a row with less than 5 hours of sleep for me.  I was already on the verge of getting a cold and running an 8 mile workout on less than 5 hours of sleep was not going to happen!!!

So, I decided not to turn my alarm on and I would sleep in until my body woke up - or at least until one of my kids woke me up.  It ended up being the later (surprise!) so I was out of bed at 6am.  I decided I would switch up my days and do an easy run this morning - at the gym in Reston on the treadmill - and do the interval workout tomorrow.

By the time I got to the gym, I only had about 30 minutes for my workout.  I wanted to leave enough time to shower, grab a quick something to eat (there's a Whole Foods Market next door!) and get to my meeting on time.  I ended up running 2.5 miles at an easy 10:50/mile pace.  Average heart rate was a low 140!  As much as I hate running on the treadmill at the gym, my performance is always better due to the fact that there are no hills and no humidity.

The bad thing - I started coughing a bit this morning and now I'm starting to feel achey.  I've been popping zinc tablets and I'm going to hit the sack early tonight.  I won't set an alarm for tomorrow morning, however, if I wake up early enough and feel OK, I'll try to do the speedwork either at the track or at the gym.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Rest" Day


Yes, it will be a rest day from running.  After running three days in a row, I believe my body needs it.

However, rest is something that I will not be getting.  I was out waaaaaaay too late last night at an Israeli Dance party in the area.  I didn't get to bed until 1:30am.  My oldest son came into our room at 6:30am...he didn't realize that it was Sunday (when he's supposed to be in his bedroom until 7:00am) so we reminded him and he went back to his room nicely...but I was already awake.  We have a pretty packed schedule today as well - so I don't see a nap in my future.  Oh well.

It's not all bad.  this evening is the first NFL Pre-Season game - and my favorite team, the Washington Redskins, will be playing.  I'm having a few friends over to watch the game, drink a beer or two and talk Fantasy Football.  I'll be putting together a seven-layer dip for the game - yummmmm.

Since I already knew that I'll be gorging on beer and seven layer dip tonight, I decided to make this morning my weigh-in day for the week.  I guess it's kinda cheating - take the morning after a 9 mile morning run and 3 hours of Israeli dancing as my weigh in instead of the morning after sitting on your ass drinking beer and stuffing your face.  I'll try to weigh myself tomorrow morning and see how much damage was done in the binge-fest tonight.  In the meantime, I'm happy to report that the scale went down another pound to 164.0.  Nice.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Long Run In The Rain

Today's workout on the training plan calls for an Endurance Run 75+ min.  Again, I took a bit of liberty with the '+' on the plan, although not as much as last week's half marathon :-)  I decided to do my Olde Town Gaithersburg loop which is 9 miles.

Since I knew I was running long this morning, last night I laid out my Amphipod and filled up the three water bottles.  I also loaded up some Fantasy Football podcasts on my iPod Shuffle - I'm in two Fantasy Football leagues and my first draft is in two weeks - so it's great to use the time on my run to get a bit more familiar with the players and where certain "experts" believe they should be drafted.

I was awoken at 6am by my older son closing his door and starting to play in his room semi-quietly (I was actually awoken around 1:30am as well by my younger son crying - I went into his room to try to calm him down and he pushed me away and said he wanted my wife...can't say I didn't try).  I was tired again, however, I remembered yesterday's run and how horrible it was to run in the heat of the August daytime hours.  I was also pretty excited to go for a morning, long, easy run, so I got out of bed and got into my running clothes.  While I was getting dressed I started to hear the pitter-patter of rain on the roof.  This was going to be an interesting run...

By the time I got outside, the pitter-patter turned into a steady pounding rain.  Ick.  I've run in this before and haven't minded, but I believe those times were when I was midway into my run and then the rain starts.  At that point it's refreshing.  Starting a run in the rain - especially one you know will take over an hour and a half to complete - is still a challenge for me.  I reminded myself how much better this run will feel compared to yesterday's heat and that it may actually be refreshing...that seemed to get me started at least.

By the end of the first mile I was already drenched.  I guess during most of my summer runs I'm pretty wet by the end of the first mile due to the heat and humidity, however, when it is just sweat my clothing has patterns of wet and other areas of dry.  With this morning's rain there was no dry spots on me.  Actually, by the last two miles of my run my shorts were so waterlogged that they started to feel a bit heavy...and these are "moisture-wicking" shorts! 

Despite the rain, the run was very enjoyable.  I ended up keeping a relatively good pace - 11:06/mile with an average heart rate of 151 bpm.  For a 9 mile run in August, I'll take it!

To give some perspective on my conditioning, I have run this route three times.  The first time I ran it was at the beginning of my marathon training - I ran a 11:59/mile pace with an average heart rate of 153 bpm.  The other time I ran it - the week before my marathon - I ran it in a 10:21/mile pace with an average heart rate of 157 bpm.  So, I'm in better shape than at the beginning of my marathon training, but not yet back up to where I was the week before the marathon - but only about :45 / mile off.

One other thing to note.  Due to scheduling this week and the fact that I was fighting a cold mid-week, this is the third day in a row that I'm running.  Given that I was worried earlier this year about running two days in a row on a weekly basis (previous to that I always gave my body a rest day) this is pretty big news.  I still feel relatively pain free.  I had a little discomfort in my hamstring yesterday, so I stretched iced it last night and it felt fine this morning.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Short Strides In The Heat

Both boys woke up at some point in the middle of the night last night - we have no idea what this is all about.  I mean at 6 and 2 1/2 there should be no night time issues anymore, right?  Oh well...this will pass.

However, due to being woken up in the middle of the night, I was not going to be getting out of bed or leaving the house before 6am.  So I had figured my run today was going to be scratched.

I got to work and saw that my 11am conference call was canceled.  Then, the 10am call that I chair finished early (stuck to the agenda - no tangents, no rat holes - everyone appreciates meetings like that!).'s 10:30am with a gaping 90 minutes in my calendar where I was supposed to be in meetings - time for a run!!!  (oh, the benefits of telecommuting)

So, the scratched run - Easy Run followed by 6 x 50m Short Strides - was back on.  I decided that since it was a Short Strides day that I would do my usual - jog to the track, do the speedwork at the track, jog back.  Since it was 85 degrees outside, it occurred to me to go to the gym instead - no humidity, air conditioning and fans cooling you down.  But for 50m sprints, by the time you get the speed of the treadmill high enough it's time to get back to recovery mode.

It's been a while since I have run in temperatures this hot.  Oh man.  Running in heat and humidity sucks!  Now I know why all the track and field athletes are making such a big stink about the Summer Olympics - I could not imagine doing this in smoggy, hot and humid air.  Hot and humid by itself is bad enough.  Runner's World wrote that Kara Goucher has been using a "sauna suit" to train with to get her accustomed to training in the heat and humidity.  She doesn't need a sauna suit - just send her here to train during the summer.

I actually made it to the track alright, and did my speedwork pretty well.  After my third sprint, I found it more difficult to recover completely during my jog.  However, the jog back home was treacherous!  I wanted to just stop with about a half a mile to go, but I "shuffled" it back home.

So - the next time I'm contemplating whether to get my behind out of bed at 5:30am to go running, I just need to remember how awful the alternative - running in 85+ degree heat with humidity - is.