Thursday, July 30, 2009

When Hobbies - And Priorities - Are In Conflict

My two main hobbies right now are running (duh!) and Israeli Dancing.

In many ways, these hobbies are similar - they are both physical activities, they both have very supportive communities, etc.

However, the schedule of these activities - at least from my perspective - are in conflict with one another.

Israeli dance events almost always occur at night. And many of them run late.

I prefer to run in the morning. And many times very early.

Trying to do both of these at the same time means that I get less sleep. Which means my body is not in its best shape to do either very well.

Tonight, I have another layer of conflicting priorities here. There is a big Israeli dance event starting at 9pm which will have over 100 people. I want to go - if nothing else than to publicize my marathon fundraising event for next week. However, by doing this I will put my planned run for tomorrow morning in jeopardy.

Which is more important? Fundraising for the marathon or getting all the training runs in for the marathon?

I've pretty much convinced myself to go to the dance event. Tomorrow's run is a 3 mile easy run - if I don't get it in, I won't fret about least I'm not missing a speedwork run or long run...right?

However, I know I will be really tired tomorrow (I'm really tired right now!).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Over the $1K Mark!!!, A Lunchtime Run, And Tisha B'Av

On Tuesday, I officially went over the $1,000 mark in my fundraising. However, the website was showing less the $1,000 since one of my donations is a $25 check and it won't show up in the totals until it gets processed by the "home office".

So today I received another donation and got over the $1,000 mark on the website. Hooray!!!

I also blocked off time on my calendar to run at lunchtime (and do a backup on my computer while I was gone...great planning!).

The skies were really gray and the forecast called for thunderstorms (and it was just plain hot and humid outside), so I hit the gym.

The plan - Yasso 800s, 6 miles total. I set the treadmill on "Speed Interval" setting, with a 5.5 mph recovery speed (a little faster than an 11:00/mile pace) and a 6.5 mph interval speed (a 9:13/mile pace - or 4:37 interval time).

I got through all six intervals, however I was really getting tired at the end. My legs are a bit sore right now - on the sides of my thighs mostly. I'll try to stretch out a bit tonight.

Actually, tonight I will be going to Synagogue - it is the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av. It is a sad holiday which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. I will be chanting a few excerpts of the Book of Lamentations at the service tonight.

It is customary to fast from sundown to sundown on this holiday...I don't think I have observed the fast completely since college, although, recently I have either not eaten until mid-day or not eaten food during the day - just drank water. I'm not sure if I'll be holding to this tomorrow or not. If so, I will not do my last weekday run tomorrow morning and I'll wait until Friday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Milestone Monday

After I put today's 3 mile run in my running log, I see that I have hit 500 miles for the year!

I may be able to get to 1,000 miles this year...I was close last year but came up short.

I am also now up to $971 on my fundraising for the marathon (I have a $25 check that I need to send it) - only $29 away from hitting $1,000.

I could hit 500 miles and $1,000 on the same day! Pretty cool!!

Now I Remember Why I Run Long On Saturdays...

Due to some of the commitments I have during the week, the best mornings for me to run are Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. I have blogged here that I aim to do my weekday runs on Monday morning, Wednesday lunchtime and Thursday or Friday morning with a long run on the weekend.

This morning I remembered why I like that long run to be on Saturday morning....I was still sore from yesterday's 13 miler.

I also had a little visitor in our room at 3am (our 3 1/2 year old). So when 6am rolled around, I didn't roll out of bed. Even for an easy 3 miler.

I had a stroke of luck, though. A bunch of standing meetings got canceled today due to "General Information Sessions" on the Ericsson deal. So I had some time clear up around lunchtime! I got my "easy 3" in during lunch.

I did my 3 mile neighborhood lake loop - in a sunny 84 degree afternoon. I ended up running a 10:37 pace with an average HR of 150. Not bad at all. I'm wondering if it would have been even better if it were 20-30 degrees cooler...

One other note for today. I'm down 1.5 pounds from last week (one pound from two weeks ago). I'll continue to do what I'm doing - try to make better choices each time I sit down to eat. Here's a few from this past week: 6" sub instead of 12" at Subway, no cheese or sour cream in a burrito at CalTort (although I can also go with the small instead of regular size...), nicoise salad instead of a greasy sandwich or fish and chips for Thursday's lunch. I'll continue to make these types of adjustments and hopefully will lose weight at the pace of about a half pound to a pound a week.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Riley's Rumble - Different Course, Same Idea (i.e. HILLS!)

On this weekend's schedule was an 11 mile long run. However, since Riley's Rumble was today, I did not run on Saturday morning as usual and decided to run this race as a training run.

I have run Riley's Rumble the previous three years. It is a low-key race that is free for MCRRC members - which makes it popular for cheapskates like me; however, it is very hilly and always run in late July - which makes it not so popular for most normal, sane runners.

I actually ran my first half marathon here in 2006 - and that time was my half marathon PR until this past spring when I did 2 minutes better at the Run For The Shelter half marathon.

Since this was really a training run and not a race for me, I'm not going to give a whole race report. However, I will share a few notes:
  • The new course was very similar to the old one. I kinda thought that since it was starting at the Germantown SoccerPlex, that the course wouldn't be over one-lane country roads with tons of hills. Man I was wrong. I did take a look at the course map and the elevation graph (you'll need to click on "Elevation" on the frame on the left), so I knew it would be hilly...but the graph just didn't compute how steep - and long - some of those hills would be.
  • The race had more participants than planned due to race-day registrants. This caused a really long line at the porta-pottys (I know...I was waiting for them too). As a result, the race started 10 minutes late - at 7:10am.
  • Around the time of the start, it was cloudy in half of the sky and the sun was peeking out of the clouds in the other half (that we were going to run towards). I wasn't sure if I should wear my sunglasses...I decided to bring them with me.
  • The problem with starting the race at 7:10am? It started raining - hard - at 7:11am. It would have been nice to at least have had a mile under our belts (and running on tree-lined country roads) when the rain hit. Instead, we were all soaked by the time we got to the 1-mile marker. Why did I bring my sunglasses again??
  • My shoe came untied at around mile 3. WTF??? I can't remember the last time my laces untied during a run (I remember another rainy race - my first ever 10K where I had to stop and re-tie my laces...perhaps it had something to do with the rain?). Actually, I had stopped double-knotting my laces earlier this year - I started to tie them differently after reading this article in Runner's World and never had an issue. I guess I'll start to double-knot my shoes for races and/or long runs...
  • By the time the rain was gone and the sun was shining (around mile 7 for me), I had nothing that wasn't soaked to try and dry off my sunglasses. I wore them, but I could not see clearly out of them.
  • My Garmin luckily worked this morning (unlike for the 8K I ran with Sherry last weekend). However, it seemed to be off from the mile markers by about 1/4 mile by the end. It's kind of frustrating when the .1 of 13.1 is really .4!!
  • I kept my HR reasonably low for the first 5 miles (averages of 156 bpm and lower). After that, the hills really killed me. There was a hill between miles 6 and 7 that I needed to walk up (and my HR was in the high 160s after WALKING up the hill).
  • For the first 11 miles, my mile splits were mostly in the 10:50 to 11:20 range. Mile 7 was 11:38 (see hills, above) and mile 9 was 12:10. You can see my splits in my training log.
  • After mile 11, I found myself walking most of the hills. I'm not used to going this distance in my training yet (I was only supposed to go 11 miles, right?), and I was running out of steam. If I was running this for a particular time I likely would have pushed it, but for me it was a training run...I just wanted to finish it.
All in all it was a nice morning. I chatted with a few people on the course (including another runner originally from New York who will be running in New York...) and was able to do a long run with other runners and water stations along the way.

My final time was 2:32:33 - an 11:39/mile pace. Average HR 158, max of 182.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Little Less Uncertainty - Sort Of...

My division at Nortel was up for sale. As of the middle of this week, it looked like Nokia Siemens was the buyer for $650M.

However, negotiations heated up and last night Ericsson was declared the winner.

I still don't know what this means for me yet. However, it looks like I will soon be an Ericsson employee.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Running in Reverse

The scheduled called for an easy 3 miler today, but since my mid-week 6 miler was cut short to 4.5, I decided to run my normal 4.5 mile neighborhood loop.

However, to add a little variety, I decided to run it in reverse.

The thing that I noticed the most about running this route in reverse was the elevation changes. Of course I know where the uphills and downhills are - they're just opposite of when I run it the "normal" way. I just didn't realize how much it would make the route seem totally different.

Another positive step - my average HR for the first two miles was under 150 (pace of 11:02 and 10:38) and for mile 3 it was 152 (with a faster pace of 10:17). The big hill up Route 28 was in mile 4 - my average HR was at 162 at a 10:32 pace.

Final stats - 4.46 miles in 47:27 with an average HR of 153. I ran the same course (opposite direction) on Monday in 49:09 with an average HR of 153. It's always nice to see improvement!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Crash And Burn (Or Melt?)

The plan - at lunchtime, do a 6 mile tempo session on the W&OD Trail. 1 mile warm up (around 11:00/mile?) , 4 miles at tempo pace (around 9:00/mile?), 1 mile cooldown.

Of course it didn't happen that way!

First of all, to ensure that this would happen, I traveled out to Reston, VA in the morning and worked from one of our virtual offices there. I had a call that was scheduled from 11am to 11:30am, and I was hoping to pack it up then, get to the gym to change, and be on the trail by noon or a little thereafter.

The 11am meeting went long, and I wasn't out on the trail until 12:30pm. It was 84 degrees and sunny at the time...not really what I am used to with my normal 6am runs.

The first mile went well - 10:27 with an average HR of 147. I hit the mile 1 marker on the trail and kicked it up - a few notches too many. By the end of mile 2, I knew I was going to run out of steam - an 8:59 pace but my average HR was 168. UGH!

I decided to turn around when I hit the intersection of Herndon Parkway - 2.4 miles into the run. This was the first decision point of shortening my run. Partially that I did not want to wait and cross the busy intersection (i.e. wait for the traffic light) to run a half mile and then come back and cross it again - and partially because by this time I knew there was no way I was going to be able to keep up a tempo pace for 2.5 more miles.

I ended up slowing down 2.5 miles into my tempo pace and slowed down for the final mile. I called it quits after 4.5 miles - final time 44:44 (9:57/mile pace and average HR of 166).

I need to remember this on Sunday morning for Riley's Rumble - it will be hot and keep it SLOW.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How Alzheimer's Association Became An Official Charity for the NY Marathon

One of the Team Run To Remember coaches posted this on the R2R blog - it ends up that the Alzheimer's Association was rejected as an official charity team for the 2007 and 2008 NYC Marathon.

Which makes my story make it seem even more like it was meant to be...

Getting Nutrition Right

Tuesdays have been kind of rough for me. I'm out later than normal on Tuesday nights - leading an Israeli Dance group from 7pm to 10pm.

It means I'm on my feet and moving for 3 hours in the evening, I get home close to 11pm and by the time I get home I'm still a bit "amped up" from the activity level that it is difficult to fall asleep. Add that to my young kids who have been waking up around 5:45am lately (or last night, my younger one was up from 1am to 3am and then the older one woke up at 5:45am), I am usually dragging on Wednesday mornings. This is why I pushed out my Wednesday runs to my lunch break (when I can).

However, Tuesdays also presents a challenge nutritionally. I can't eat too much before leading dancing - this will make me feel heavy (so I can't move around as much) or give me a stomach ache or depending on what I've eaten - other GI issues (i.e. no eating black bean burritos before leading dancing...). But when I don't eat enough I feel ravenous afterward and munch on lots of snack food.

Lately, I have been eating a bigger and later lunch - which helps on the side of not eating too close to the dance session, but not on having enough in the tank to get me through. I'm going to try to bring an energy bar tonight - either to eat beforehand, or to munch on throughout the session - and see if that helps.

On a bigger picture for nutrition, when I visited the doctor in March, the doctor told me that I should lose at least 10 pounds. I weighed in at 170 lbs - which is still on the "safe" BMI for my height, but on the border of "overweight".

When I initially lost weight 5 years ago, I was down in the 160 lbs range. I have since yo-yo'ed between 160 lbs and 170 lbs. I believe the doctor would like me to yo-yo between 150 lbs and 160 lbs, if I need to yo-yo somewhere :-)

I ran the Frederick Marathon last year at 164 lbs. I had been down around 162 lbs about ten weeks into my training, but as the miles ramped up, so did my eating.

Anyhow, I'm currently weighing in at 168 lbs. Although I really don't want to be counting calories, if I don't start seeing the pounds gradually come off (goal for 1 pound a week) I will need to start counting them again...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Adding A Bit Of Hillwork

In my usual 4.5 mile neighborhood loop, there is a pretty big hill just at the end of the second mile. (Taking a look at the elevation profile on the map, it looks like it is about a 70 foot rise in about a tenth of a mile).

I usually slow down on this hill as my heart rate will normally go up into the low 160s by the time I'm at the top.

Today, I decided it was time to add a little hill work into my routine.

I charged up the hill.

By the time I was at the top, my HR was at 185 bpm - pretty close to my max. When I slowed back down, I could feel the muscles in my legs and glutes telling me that they just had a workout!

Calming things down after that was a bit difficult, but I was able to keep my HR in the low 150s for the most part. I can tell I'm still not 100% back from the blood donation (it's only been a week, previous history tells me it takes about 3 weeks for me) - I felt fine during the run, it's just that my pace is a bit slower at the HR I normally run at. I'm not too worried.

4.47 miles in 49:09 - 11:00/mile pace with avg HR 153, max 185 (at the top of that hill!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Planning Out The Week

This next week is my first bump in mileage in the training program. Up until now, the mileage has been around 20 miles a week - which is in line with my normal "base" of running.

Week 4 of the program calls for runs of 3, 6 and 3 miles and then 11 on the weekend. However, I'm planning to run Riley's Rumble on Sunday - so that will be 13 miles. As a result, I'm going to do an extra mile on one of the 3 mile runs, so I'm still within the rule that the longest run is not more than 50% of my weekly mileage.

I'll likely run 4 miles on Monday morning, 6 miles on my lunch break on Wednesday and 3 miles on Friday morning. Then the 13 mile race (as a training run - I'm not going for a PR or anything) on Sunday morning. It seems nice and spaced out, so I hopefully will be able to get a good amount of sleep and recovery between the runs.

Running In The Dark

Sherry and I ran the Rockville Twilight 8K last night. It was Sherry's first race longer than a 5K - so for her it was more of a "can I do this" instead of a "how fast can I run this" type of race. My plan was to run with her - start and finish the race together, run at her pace and be her cheerleader through and through. No pressure for me - just an enjoyable evening run.

The race starts at 8:45pm - after the sun is down. This is normally because July in Maryland is extremely humid and quite hot. Last year's race was run in 90 degree temperatures. However, last night was beautiful - race time temperature was in the mid-70s, low humidity and a breeze. Sherry was a bit chilly before the race started and was questioning whether a sleeveless running shirt was a good idea (I reminded her that once she started running that she would heat up and she'd be comfortable).

The first 3 miles of the course consisted of two loops through a Rockville neighborhood. Some of the neighbors were on their lawns cheering, however, most homes did not have their exterior lights on. This made for a really dark course. It was not what I was expecting. The name of the race is Twilight - shouldn't there be some "light" in a Twilight race??

However, there was another reason I was running "in the dark" last night. I had brought my Garmin Forerunner 305 to the race, and when I tried to turn it on when we arrived - nothing happened. Dead. Kaput. OH NOOOOOO!!!!! I had charged up the watch yesterday afternoon - keeping it sitting in the docking station at my computer until I saw the "Battery Charging is Complete" message. What the heck happened????

So, while we were running, I had no watch to see what our time was - no feedback on our pace. I had decided not to wear the heart rate monitor before leaving home since I was going to be running at Sherry's pace...I didn't need to know what my HR was for pacing purposes (plus, I knew we were going to be hanging out with some friends at the after-party, and I didn't want to be wearing the HRM strap for so much time). The only thing we had to judge our pace were the clocks at each mile marker. How archaic? How annoying!

BTW, Sherry did great! There were times during the first 2 or 3 miles where Sherry wasn't sure she would be able to do it. There was a pretty long hill during the fourth mile where we had to stop and walk for a bit. However, we finished together in a chip time of 53:46 - an average pace of 10:50/mile. Her first race over 5K. Way To Go Sherry!!!!

In regards to my Garmin, when I got home I put the watch in its charger (hooked up to my computer) and nothing was happening. Normally, as soon as I put it in the charger I see the "Battery Charging In Progress" message. I thought I was royally screwed. However, this morning, I checked it and it shows "Battery Charging In Progress". I'm thinking that I may need to charge the Garmin via the AC outlet instead of the USB/computer input before a race. Just to make sure...

Friday, July 17, 2009

First Fundraiser On The Calendar!!!

On the fundraising front - I am currently sitting at $668 raised for the Alzheimer's Association.

I hadn't spread the word too much yet - I sent emails to my family asking for donations, and did some "passive" marketing - posting here on the blog and on my Facebook status - which has brought me some generous donations from people I did not count on giving.

However, today I went on an all out blitz.

I set up a fundraising night at the Star Diner in a few weeks - on August 5 (my birthday!). If you are local and want to attend, here's the details.

I'm sending the invite out to tons of people I know in the area - all of my local Facebook friends, Israeli Dance friends, the guys in my fantasy football league, people I know from synagogue, etc.

In the invitation, I have also included the link to the fundraising website - just in case they would like to give a donation as well.

Let's hope I get a big crowd on my birthday and some more donations on the fundraising page.

Morning Run Drenched With Sweat

It's starting to feel like July! When I left the house this morning around 6:15am, it was already in the mid 70s - both in temperatures and humidity. Ick. By the end of my run, my light gray shirt was a deep, dark gray due to the sweat. And this was just from an easy 4 and a half miles???

If it continues like this, Riley's Rumble will be really uncomfortable :-(

My heart rate also responded like I just gave blood earlier this week. I guess Wednesday was a fluke.

Stats on this morning's run - 4.47 miles in 47:55; a 10:44/mile pace with an average HR of 162 and a max of 179.

I received an email from the NY Marathon folks with a link to the course map and elevation profile of the course. Although the course is not very hilly, it starts out over the Verrazano Bridge - which has a 150 ft rise over the first mile. I'm starting to already get a bit anxious that I'll tire myself out in the first mile and be wasted for the other 25.2.... Anyone who has run NY before have any tips? I mean, first you wait for hours at the starting area, and then finally you're off and you're crossing the Verrazano Bridge! How do you reign it all in when you're so excited to get going and embark on one of the biggest road races in the world???

I'll likely try to add some hill workouts into my training - which is probably a good idea, since it's looking like I'm getting spent on the hills during my easy workouts as well. As for trying to relax during the first mile of the marathon - I have no idea how I'm going to "train" for that one...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Procrastination - With A Plan?

Last night I had prepared everything to go for a run this morning. However, my motivation just wasn't there this morning.

So...I procrastinated.

However, I was able to convince myself it was the right thing to do :-)

Normally, I go on a long run on Saturday morning. This weekend, however, I will be running the Twilighter 8K on Saturday night instead.

So, it may be better for me to get a 3 or 4 mile easy run in on Friday morning and then run on Saturday night....right?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bright Sun, Heavy Legs

I got out for a noontime run today (OK..more like 12:30pm).

I went to the eye doctor this morning and my eyes were still a bit dilated. I was wearing sunglasses in front of my computer screen, so being outside in the bright sun was a little annoying - but I didn't want to go to the gym an run on the treadmill with sunglasses on (what a sight that would be!!!!)

This was my first official run since giving blood on Monday (I did a run/walk with my son yesterday morning...I'm not sure if that "counts" or not). The first half mile was rough. My legs were stiff and heavy; I was contemplating whether I should stop, turn around and try to run tomorrow morning instead. I somehow convinced myself that it would get better - and luckily it did.

As expected my HR was higher - but not by 15-20 bpm like I thought it may be. Average HR was 156 with an average pace of 10:55/mile. Last week I ran the same lake loop in a slightly faster time - 10:45/mile pace - and an average HR of just a tad lower - 154. Perhaps it won't take me a full three weeks to recover from the blood donation this time???

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sneaky Run This Morning

I was not planning to run this morning - mainly due to me donating blood yesterday.

However, my 7-year old son woke up a bit earlier than normal, came into my room at 5:45am and asked if I wanted to go for a run. My first response was, "Get back in your's not 6:30 yet."

After his question registered, though, I found myself out of bed and getting into my running clothes. We drank some water, downed some Sport Beans and hit the sidewalks!

I hadn't taken my son running in about three weeks. At that point, we were running for 4 minutes and then walking for 1 minute. I wasn't sure whether to keep this constant or add more - I decided to bump it up to 5 minutes of running and then if it was too much I would bring it back down to 4 minutes.

He did fine with the 5 minutes of running. We did five sets - running (and walking) a total of 2.25 miles.

I'm hoping to get him ready for the Home Run 5K in October. By that time, I may even be able to run with him on some of my "normal" easy run days :-)

Monday, July 13, 2009

5 Mile Run, Donating Blood and New Motivation!

I would have loved to have said that the day started for me when I got out of bed for my morning run, but my 3 year old had a different plan :-(

He was up a bunch during the night - so my wife and I were also up at different times trying to get him to go back to sleep.

Somehow, I woke up a little before 6am and got my behind out the door. I was mixing up the week's runs and doing my mid-week longer run today, since I was giving blood on my lunch break (which means the rest of my runs this week will be slow, lethargic and with an average HR of about 10-20 bpm higher than, joy! - but it's all for a good cause, so I continue to do it).

I ran the 5 miles at a 10:37/mile pace - but with an average HR of 156, which again is on the high side. I really need to slow it down, but I had two things going against me this morning. First of all, I was tired - so this probably contributed to my HR being higher. Second of all, I was listening to Green Day's new album, so I know I was responding to some of the loud, fast music at times and then I realized it and had to slow myself down.

I worked at Chloe's Coffee this morning since Sherry was tutoring in our shared office space. I poured myself a travel mug of what I thought was decaf...but for some reason I started to get a bit hyped up. Either I'm getting ultra sensitive to caffeine, or the coffee I took was caffeinated (or half caf or something like that).

By the time lunchtime came around and I went to give blood, I felt really antsy. However, it didn't impact my pulse or blood pressure as they were fine (pulse of 60 bpm, blood pressure of 118 over 78). Perhaps it made me bleed a little faster, as I filled up that pint in less than 9 minutes...probably a record for me!

When I got home from work, I had a package waiting for long awaited binder from Team Run To Remember! There's tons of information in the binder - some about marathon running in general, some maps of running routes in New York City and some great information about fundraising and public relations (which can lead to more fundraising...).

I started to look at some of the fundraising ideas, and I definitely have some new motivation. One of the ideas that I really want to start looking into is to see if some of the local establishments that I frequent will agree to donate a % of their proceeds on a particular date to the Alzheimer's Association (or if not all proceeds then at least the proceeds for the people that I bring to the establishment through my own promoting the event).

There are many either single proprietor or non-chain restaurants/cafe's that I go to in the area - such as Dogfish Head Alehouse, Star Diner, The Wine Harvest, Crepes-a-Go-Go, CaliYOgurt and Chloe's Coffee which I had mentioned earlier - which I may be able to convince to do something like this. I'll likely start asking some of the owners about this in the next week or so...hopefully I can line some of these up.

One other fundraising note - I have surpassed the $500 mark now! Woo hoo! I have set a goal of $5,000, so I'm only 10% there, but I'm still 17 weeks away...

You can help by leaving a donation here...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pilates Class

Today is a rest/cross-training day from my schedule, so no running.

It is also a day when Sherry is tutoring and I'm responsible for the kids. As a Project Manager, I'm used to doing quite a bit of delegating to "the experts", so of course when I saw this coming up my first thought was, "hmmm, I can go to the gym, put the kids in the babysitting room for an hour or so while I work out or take a class." It's a win/win situation. My kids love the babysitting room (video games, television, other kids to play with, etc.), and I get a workout in.

Since I wasn't going to run on the treadmill, I wasn't sure what I would do at the gym. I checked the class schedule and saw that there was a Pilates class at 10am. I decided to give it a try.

I was able to do most of the exercises - which was nice (compared to my Yoga experiences). And it is definitely needed since it works a lot of core and hip muscles - which my stride analysis showed I need help with. However, I can see me being very sore tomorrow...and no "Vitamin I" today or tomorrow morning since I'm giving blood tomorrow at lunchtime.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Morning Long Runs Again!

This morning I went out for a 9 mile run. It's back to training mode - and just like last year, I'll be doing my long runs on Saturday mornings - before going to synagogue.

This means a few things - since I need to wake up early, I can't stay up as late on Friday night. The past few months we have used Friday nights as our Netflix night after the kids are asleep, but I knew I'd be dragging all day today if I went to bed at midnight last night. I also can't drink as much wine during our Shabbat dinner. Last night, we still had about half a bottle left over when we (OK...I) usually come close to finishing the bottle.

I decided to do my usual 9-mile loop through Old Towne Gaithersburg. Nothing new here. My HR started to raise during the hills in mile 3, and never really came down much after that.

I decided to look at my stats on this between this year and last year:

  • I first ran this route last year on January 26 - week 4 of my training. I kept my HR down to an average of 153, max of 170. My pace was 11:59/mile. The temperature was 26 degrees.
  • This is now week 2 of my current training. My pace on today's run was over a minute per mile faster - 10:51/mile - and the temperature was 40 degrees higher at 67 degrees. My average HR on today's run was 163 with a max of 180.
  • I also looked at my long run on week 2 of last year's training - a 7 miler. I ran an 11:09 pace with an average HR of 159 at 40 degree temperatures.
So yes, my average HR was higher than where I was training last year. However, the week 2 comparison - on HR, pace and air temperature - gives me a little hope.

One more tidbit on HR. It's going to be going up next week. I have an appointment to donate blood on Monday, so my runs next week will be slower. I'll rearrange the schedule next week to do my 5 miler on Monday, and the two 3 milers on Wednesday and Thursday. On the weekend I have a shorter run scheduled (my first "kick-back" week) and instead of the 6 miler, I'll be running an 8K with Sherry! This will be the first race that we run together! I promised to run with her and not to bolt ahead - it should be fun!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alzheimer's Column In Today's NY Times

There is an Op-Ed article in the New York Times where the columnist describes her mom's early onset Alzheimer's.

In the article she brings up an interesting point - people with Alzheimer's disease need to focus on the present since they are losing their connection to the past. I never thought about it like that...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Uncomfortable First Mile

I've read a lot of running bloggers who complain about the first mile or two of their runs being uncomfortable. I rarely feel this way. Granted, I don't get into that "running zone" until 2-3 miles in, but I don't really characterize my initial miles as painful or uncomfortable.

This morning was a bit different.

Partially due to lack of sleep (my 7 year old woke me up in the middle of the night with a bad dream), and partially due to some pain on the lower part of the arch on my left foot (please, please, please let this not be the start of plantar facsiitis) and partially due to my HRM giving me false readings my first mile this morning was treacherous!

First mile in 11:10 / avg HR 152, max HR 172.

I'm pretty sure that the HRM was giving me false readings. My "evidence" is that it was already registering in the mid 160s about a quarter of a mile into my run, so I decided to walk until it got back down. The moment I started walking, the HRM was down in the mid-140s.

My pace - and HR - evened out for miles 2 and 3 - both at a 10:34 pace and average HR of 154.

The weird thing about this run is that I normally have awesome easy runs after speedwork and/or long runs. So I was expecting to float on air for this one. I think it was the sleep that killed me on this.

As for the arch pain, I have started to add some more stretching into my routine, and I think I'm going to have to be really diligent about it now. I really don't want to be battling PF in the next few months...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Late Lunch Run

I blogged yesterday that I was going to use Wednesdays as my longer-middle-of-the-week-speedwork run - and that since I'm dead tired on Wednesday mornings due to running an Israeli Dance group on Tuesday nights, that I will be trying to get this workout in during my lunch break.

I could see that plan unraveling right before my eyes. Even though I put my run on my Outlook calendar (I'm busy at that time folks!), I managed to get triple booked at 11am. The meeting that was most important for me to attend was scheduled for a mere 30 minutes - and ended up lasting an hour and a half :-(

I ended up getting on the treadmill at the gym at 1:30pm. At least I made it.

However, I'm going to have to work on the pre-run nutrition aspect of things. I had my usual bowl of cereal with soy milk for breakfast, and then grabbed a Kashi bar at 10am for a snack. This would have been great if my run was at noon. I did eat a few pretzel rods that they had at the office (probably 100 calories worth) and then I had a GU before hitting the treadmill. So...I had some calories in my to burn - but not tons.

My plan for today - Yasso 800s. These are half-mile intervals that you do at the pace that equals the time in which you are aiming to finish your marathon.

I'm not gunning for a particular time yet, but I chose 4:40 - which would have me doing my intervals at a 9:20/mile pace. That seems sooooo slow for speedwork after the stuff I was doing last summer for the "fast 5K". However, it won't run me down - which has been concerning me lately.

I ended up feeling very good the entire run. Recoveries run at about an 11:00/mile pace and intervals at 6.5 mph (a 9:13/mile pace). My heart rate never went over 160 bpm. Perhaps I should add some incline next time???

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Plan for Mid-Week Run

The training plan I am following includes 4 runs a week - three during the week and one long run on the weekend.

The middle weekday run is usually longer than the other two.  For my first marathon I used this as my speedwork run - doing either some type of interval training or a tempo run.

However, my schedule has changed a bit since last summer.  I now lead an Israeli Dance group on Tuesday nights - I am up on my feet and moving from 7pm until 10pm and I normally don't get home until close to 11pm.  This leaves me pretty exhausted and the last thing I want to do is wake up early on Wednesday morning for a longer and more intense run.  Also, when I would run on Tuesday morning - even an easy run - I would be tired before I even started dancing that evening.  By mid-week I would feel run down...which could be why I was getting sick so often.

This week I'm going to try something different - I'll do my middle weekday run at lunchtime on Wednesday.  I'm hoping that by not running early in the morning that I will get enough rest and I'll have the energy to do this workout mid-day.  I no longer have a standing 12 noon conference call on Wednesdays, so my work calendar is mostly clear.

Two things concern me a bit - weather and eating schedule.  Although the weather has not been bad for July, I know that we will have some really hot and humid days here in the DC area.  I guess I could always move my workout inside onto the treadmill - I just hate running on the treadmill when the sun is shining.  As for eating, I'll need to figure out what and when to eat on Wednesdays so that I will have enough energy to do the workout, but I won't get stomach cramps.

So, tomorrow's lunchtime workout will be a 5-miler.  I'm not sure if I'll do a tempo run or head to the track.  We'll see...

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Kicks!

I went over to my neighborhood Fleet Feet yesterday to buy new running shoes. My current pair of Brooks Defyance had over 350 miles in them - and I when my legs were starting to get a bit sore after mile 5 of yesterday's long run, I decided it was time to get new shoes.

They have updated the Defyance - now the Defyance 2. I don't know if they really changed much except for the color (and that was definitely an improvement...I can't say that I'm going to miss the fluorescent yellowish-green mesh)....these shoes fit just like their predecessors.


This morning, I got out of the house a little before 6am and was greeted by a scrumptious morning. 59 degrees, sunny and clear. I wouldn't really call it a crisp morning - although by July standards in this part of the country, it could almost qualify for that.

The plan calls for an easy 3 miles. I was heading out to do my normal lake loop, when I had an idea - let's mix it up a bit. The beginning of my lake loop run is actually part of the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K course - where I set my 5K PR last September. I decided to go for it.

I soon found out that there was a problem here...this was a course that I was used to running all out. I trained for a fast 5K on this course (doing 1 mile and 2 mile speed runs) and the last time I ran this route was for that PR. To my muscle memory, I wanted to fly down these streets - not take it easy. Combine that with the fact that I had Pearl Jam screaming in my iPod this morning, I had a tough time reigning it in.

For the first two miles, I prevailed holding back. Mile 3 was a bit faster (10:00 pace with 157 average HR) which was a bit ironic because it has the steepest hills of the course. I guess I didn't realize and started to attack those hills instead of take it easy.

The final stats for this run - 3.25 miles in 34:19; a 10:34/mile pace with an average HR of 150.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Long Run of the Training Program

OK - It's not such a big deal for me to do an 8 miler on a weekend morning...I do plenty of runs like these in my base training when I don't have a race coming up. However, this is week 1 of my marathon training, so it's definitely a milestone.

Today's weather was perfect for July. Overcast, temperatures in the high 60s and a little breeze. Awesome! So the weather would not slow me down or run me down this morning.

I felt pretty good when I woke up this morning - not coughing and not as weak as Friday and Saturday mornings - but still not 100%. I went out for the run anyhow, with the following plan - keep it slow and if my HR goes over 160 walk to bring it back down.

I ended up taking walk breaks every 2 miles. Most of the time it was during uphill stretches where my HR kept elevating.

My legs started to get pretty sore around mile 5...I definitely need to get a pair of new shoes - my current ones have over 350 miles on it.

In the end it wasn't too bad - 7.63 miles, 1:26:14 - an 11:19/mile pace with average HR of 154.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good News, Bad News

The good news - I woke up this morning and I'm no longer coughing.

The bad news - I still feel a little weak and run down.

Luckily this is a three-day weekend, so I'm going to postpone my long run until tomorrow. Hopefully I'll feel good enough tomorrow morning to get in an 8 miler.

More good news - I got my fundraising website up. I'll be posting more information about my Nana and connection to Alzheimer's throughout the next few months - and I'd love to hear yours too if you would like to leave them in the comments of the blog. And I would definitely appreciate any donation the readers of my blog can make over here.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cough, Cough...Again?

I started getting a bit of a cough last night / this morning. I can't believe it...could it just be a relapse of what I had two weeks ago? Something new?

I'm not sure, but I'm going to try and take it easy. I have an 8 mile run scheduled for tomorrow morning, but I'll push it to Sunday if I don't feel up to it tomorrow.

I just hope this will not be an ongoing thing during marathon training....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Finally - A Low HR Run!

This morning's plan was an easy 3 miler - on my usual lake loop route. I was going to leave the iPod at home and focus on keeping my pace slow and my HR under 150 as much as I could.

The plan worked!

When I first stepped out the door, I had my doubts - my HR was registering in the low 90s (it is usually in the low 70s when I step out the door...the mid to low 60s when I'm sitting down resting). I had gone out for a few beers with a neighbor last night, after the kids were in bed - so, it was a later night than usual, I got less sleep, my sleep was not at deep due to the alcohol, and I think I even felt a bit of dehydration when I woke up (not really a hangover, per se, but a little on the dry mouth side).

I started running at a slow pace - I wasn't sure how slow, but I checked in with my HR and kept it under 150 for most of that first mile. When my Garmin chirped for mile 1, I looked down and saw my pace was 11:30. Wow, that was slow. However, my average HR was 142. I knew this is where I needed to be.

During mile number 2, I saw a turtle crawling towards the woods. Very appropriate for this morning's run. I see tons of bunny rabbits hopping along in my neighborhood, but today was about slow and steady - and Mr. Turtle was there to remind me. Mile 2 chirped and pace was 11:04 with an average HR of 149.

I know that on the way back home there are a few hills. As I started the ascent, I reminded myself to slow down. I wanted to keep this a slow and steady run - even if the pace was pedestrian. I'm sure my thoughts wandered along the way, as my Garmin shows that I hit a max HR somewhere in there of 164 - but my average HR on that last mile was 152 - and at a 10:36/mile pace. For mile 3 to be 30 seconds faster and only 3 bpm higher on the average HR - I'm not going to be too hard on myself for going over 150 bpm.

Overall, the 3.2 miles took 35:15 - an 11:02/mile pace with my average HR at 148. I can't remember the last run where my average HR was under even though the pace was slow, I will take it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Guess I Have Started My Marathon Training

Luckily, Week 1 of the marathon training plan that I have chosen (for the time being) is very much like my normal running base when I'm not training for anything. It will be a 19 mile week - four runs ranging from 3 to 8 miles. No problema.

I avoided the entire "pace run" thing for now and just ran my 5 miler yesterday as an easy run. A few comments: (a) I ran the 5.5 miles at a 10:36/mile pace - which very well could be my marathon pace (a 4:38 marathon?...perhaps that's a bit too optimistic to shave 20 minutes off my time) and (b) my Heart Rate started to climb again after mile 2.

I'm a bit concerned about this whole Heart Rate issue. I'm hoping that it will improve as my running becomes part of the routine again and I get more sleep. I'll give it another 3 or 4 weeks and see what happens. I will especially take it easy on this weekend's 8 mile long run - I'll try to slow down as much as possible to keep the HR down...even if it means having a really slow pace or walking. I still feel that the best way to build up aerobic fitness is to train in the 65%-75% HR range, but I'm finishing my runs in the mid to high 80%s...