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Showing posts from October, 2007

Dry Run - 13 Miles @ Marathon Pace...

This run had me nervous a good bit of the week - I knew I could do it, but I also knew I'd have to feel like I had a certain amount of freshness left at the end of it if I'm going to hold the pace for the whole marathon.

The FIRST plan called for 7:26 miles but I decided to shoot for 7:20-7:22, rationalizing that my first half will need to be a tiny bit faster than the second.

So that I didn't repeat last week's goof, I took 75% of the insulin I usually take with breakfast, set my basal rate to 1/3 normal and wore the pump. (SIDE NOTE: pump fit PERFECTLY in front pocket of Race-Ready shorts. In fact, Race-Ready shorts rocked and I rarely noticed all the crap I was carrying.)

I didn't give myself any pressure on the first mile, letting it be a warm-up. Still, I came through at 7:30, and by then the legs were ready to go. For most of the run, I clocked off nice and even miles - 7:18-7:20. Definitely an effort to keep it under control on the early going and something tha…

Best Tempo Run Yet....

I hate tempo runs... hate them.. hate them... hate them... those who've followed my progress through the FIRST plan know that they came close to de-railing me a few times. I just couldn't handle the long period of pain, without the incentive of crowds, competition, water stops and cool t-shirts.

When I switched up my tempo paces from the FIRST plan (6:50-7:05 for most runs, though some were 7:20) to tempo runs from Fitzgerald's Brain Training Program (7:08), everything started to get a lot better. And when I started to ease into my first mile of tempo (rather than flooring the gas) that helped a lot, too.

Today, in a breezy hard rain, I had my best tempo run yet - after a 7:41 mile warm-up, I ran the next 4 in 7:08 - 7:12 - 7:02 - 6:59. The last mile had a big hill and I wanted to cool down the last quarter mile or so, but I still finished that mile in 7:28. Best part? I'm not even wiped out. I feel good and fresh.

Sunday calls for a 13 mile run @ 7:26 pace (marathon pace…

Confessions of a Wanna-Be Minimalist Runner...

I'd love to be a minimalist runner, I thought last night, as I was reading the awesome feature on Tony Krupicka in this month's Running Times. No shirt, no socks, obviously no razor. The dude doesn't even own a phone. (BIG SIGH) That would be very very cool.

This is what I will be taking on the marathon:

Shoes, socks, shorts, singlet, gloves (if less than 50 degrees or so)
mp3 player
Sunglasses (or glasses if no sun)
Insulin pump
Ultra mini blood sugar meter, 3 strips, 1 lancet
5 eGels - 1 each for the 5/10/15 and 20 miles and an extra for a low blood sugar
My Garmin 305 (though I'm not taking the HR monitor)
A PaceTat. For $2.49, I consider that to be awesome insurance if the Garmin dies. And yes - I bought the 3:15 model.

Now then, to carry all of this, I have these:
e-Gel Gel Belt
RaceReady Shorts from ZombieRunner. In here, I'll keep the mp3 player, ultra mini and insulin pump. Oh yeah - a car key, too, cuz eventually I'll be going home.

Hardly a minimalist approach is …

Harrisburg Marathon - Bring it, baby!

Despite all of my Harrisburg Marathon, blah, blah, blah - I hadn't registered yet. All through my training plan I told people I'd do it "if the wheels didn't fall off" or "if I didn't blow a knee," etc., etc.

For most of the way, I decided I'd register once I completed all five 20 miles runs... but after completing the last one a few days ago, I decided to hold off a bit longer... Twenty miler #5 really hurt and I wasn't 100% sure I didn't screw something up. I told myself I'd wait until after today's interval workout.

Well, it went fine - better than fine, in fact. I did last week's workout - a 3000, 2000, 800 and 400 - but did it w/ 90 seconds rest today, instead of two minutes. The aches and kinks I had worked themselves by a half mile into the 3000 and I finished up relatively strong and fresh.

Just went to Active (did you know they have a no-refund policy? what a great business model...) and dropped down the coin. Bring it …

STRIDES - by Ben Cheever, book review

Make no mistake: Ben Cheever doesn't need my help selling books. Having John Cheever for your Dad should help (not necessarily, though) and getting your book reviewed by the Washington Post helps, too. Particularly when they say:

His musings probe the depths of his successes and failures, running and otherwise, with universal implications and insights. Beginners will relate to Cheever's inauspicious initial forays into fitness and exercise, and veteran runners can share his enthusiasm for the Kenyans and other leaders of the pack. The result is a joyous and inspirational ode to our transformative sport.

But regardless, if you won't take the Post's word for it, take mine: If you're a runner, Strides belongs on your bookshelf. This book is a collection of essays that look at how healthy running really is for you, how fast the Kenyans really are and how special Boston really is.

For the past few years, we've all read articles about how important running is to the mil…

A Stupid Diabetic's 20 Mile Run

Today was twenty mile run #5 - the last one. This was the 1 that was supposed to be my final dress rehearsal for the marathon - same gels, same drink, same everything. But boy did that go wrong.

The FIRST goal plan called for a 7:55 effort, but the FIRST book said that those seeking a 3:15 for BQ should go for a 7:41, so that's what I set my goal at. I also wanted to experiment with a slightly negative split, so I thought I'd go 7:45 for the first ten, and 7:35 for the last ten.

On the drive to the trail, I noticed my Garmin wouldn't start... I had my other watch with me, and the trail's marked but I'm sooo spoiled by the Garmin, I knew I was upset about that. But actually I'm getting ahead of myself. The problem started before that.

When I woke up, my blood sugar was 74. Generally speaking, I skip insulin with my lunch on a lunch-time workour and take about 75% of the insulin I need with breakfast prior to a morning run. Due to the dawn phenomenon, exercise doesn…

Looking for me? Just follow the trail....

Did a 12 mile bike ride after work today. It was good - except for the part where my saddle bag came unzipped and I managed to lose my cell-phone, car key and a PowerGel.

Upon driving the course later (thanks to the spare key, courtesy of Uber-wife), I managed to find.... the PowerGel.

Three things, 12 miles and I find the one worth $1.05.

Oh well, I always hated that damn phone anyway.

Finally - a Solution for All Those Golfers Who Bonk on the 16th Hole...

No doubt realizing how golf scores head far north on the latter holes, Gatorade and Tiger Woods have teamed up on a sports drink formulated for those who'll fall for anything. (SEE: Lemming)

This move will likely be challenged by golf cart manufacturers world-wide, scared at losing market share on the millions of walkers convinced golf is a sport.

On Running Efficiency, or.... Why I'm Not a Bad Runner But Really Suck At Cycling...

There's an interesting article in the Times about running efficiency.

To sum, there are 3 factors that determine success in running. They are:
* Your VO Max. I know from my glory days that I am every so slightly above average in this area.
* Your lactic threshold - how well you hold off lactic acid production. I know from my sucky performance in such workouts and the fact that I seem to sweat lactic acid on the bike that I'm nothing special here, either.
* Your running efficiency - how well you take running energy and turn that into miles. This seems to be the only area where I have any talent since a. I finish in the top quarter of my age group so I must have some genetic juice somewhere and b.The workouts designed to stimulate improvements in this area are the long runs - the only workouts in the FIRST program I can easily accomplish.

But here's the money quote from the Times article:
He recently studied runners and measured their economy when they ran. Then he measured it whe…

What Cross-Country Teaches You...

Of all the sports I competed on through the years - cross-country, track, baseball and basketball (there was one soccer camp which I've pretty much erased from my memory) - none holds a more special place in my heart than cross-country. This great article by John Millea sums up why so many runners feel that way:

But in some sports -- and cross-country is a prime example -- winning often has nothing to do with why people compete.

I see a lot of similarities between cross-country and swimming and amglad my kids are on the swim team (though I'm secretly hoping they might be crazy enough to try cross-county when they're old enough).

Four Weeks Until the Harrisburg Marathon

... or, eight days until the two-week taper begins.

After last weekend's race followed by a 20 miler, I knew I'd have my work cut out for me this week. Wednesday's interval workout went fine, but I was fried by Friday and turned my scheduled tempo into a mini-tempo/easy run.

Today called for 15 milers at 7:35 pace (10 seconds slower than marathon goal pace, which I've decided is 7:25)... Happily, I made it, doing the deal at 7:24 pace (though there was a 2 minute break when I ran back to my car after forgetting my Camel-bak). Runs like this make me think Boston may be a strong possibility. Here's the link.

Knees are hurting, but it's not injury hurting - just stupid runner's knee BS.... I'm taking pills and doing all the stuff I'm supposed to, but I won't let this get in the way.

E-gels arrived this week, and they worked perfect... took 1 at 5 and 10 miles, drank only water and finished the run with a blood sugar of 117. Perfect. Course, 15 isn'…

A Man's Life - a Mini-Book Review

Mark Jenkins is getting to be an old guy and his writing is better for it.

Readers of Mark Jenkins were seriously bummed out when he stopped writing his column The Hard Way for Outside last year. Many said it was the main reason they subscribed to the magazine. Jenkins - after all - did stuff most of us are too terrified to do. He'd waltz into war-torn regions just to scale a mountain or climb an ice cliff. Sometimes he'd hurt himself and a column down the road would focus on his rehab.

Most travel writers annoy the reader because they're having fun on a beach and rubbing it in that you're not there. Not so with Jenkins - sometimes you'd wish you were in his place but more often than not you were grateful to learn from him from the safety of your recliner.

Still, it can be tough to keep your ego in check when reading Jenkins... how could this guy travel the world - leaving his wife and kids behind for weeks on end without a single regret? How could he break bones and …

The Day After - 20 Miler #4

Today, I got to pay for yesterday's Gold Medal.

23 hours after a 5k PR, I hit the trail for 20 miler #4, my next to last long run prior to the Harrisburg Marathon (curious that I don't include a 15 or 13 miler as being "long" runs).

The plan called for an effort of 7:58 - 8:13. Three weeks ago, I'd pulled an awesome 7:50 average, but with a 1/2 marathon PR and a 5kPR in the past 8 days, I realized I'd be running a bit on fumes, so I just said a prayer and hoped for the best.

Wow. This was hard. Previously, I'd always shown these 20 milers due respect and had a rest day the day prior. This time, I was tired and sore right from the get-go. No complaints - I average 8:08 for the first ten and 8:00 for the last ten, for an 8:04 on the whole thing. All in all, it was my 2nd slowest 20 miler of the 4, but I'm not too worried - in many ways, I think it was a good mental exercise because I really really really wanted to be done with this one almost from the mid …

On Gold Medals & Brass Rings...

So the wife wanted to go Knoebels this weekend for some sort of Craftapalooza event where 300 stick and twig vendors converge on an amusement park. The basic premise is Dads can take kids on the rides while Moms buy stuff. Yes, I'm stereotyping but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Knoebels is an old-time amusement park with free admission, cheap(er) food compared to other parks. Picture a country carnival where you don't need to worry about the rides killing your children. I was pretty easily convinced to go, though: A. my family went a lot when I was a kid, but I'm sure it's been 20-22 years since I've been there so I was curious and B. twigs and roller coasters wasn't enough - they tacked on a 5k race this weekend for good measure.

Now a 5k race the day before my 4th 20 mile training run wasn't the brightest idea, ever, but I rationalized it would be just like doing my speed workout (and missing a rest day).

Turn-out was fairly light - 96 people. Color …

1 Year, 16 Pounds and 20 Minutes Later

Image
I haven't ever posted a "before" and "after" picture before for a few reasons:

1.) I didn't start running last year to lose weight. At the time, I was barely overweight. Out of shape, for sure, but not overweight.

2.) I don't have many pictures from my early races.

But last weekend was different, because I ran the same race a year ago, when I was foolish enough to do a 1/2 marathon after 90 days of training. This year, I ran the same race 20 minutes faster, but the same photographer was also there, which gives me the opportunity for the ego montage on the left.

No denying I like skinny me better, but the truth is, I'm far prouder that I shaved 20 minutes off my time. Weight comes and goes but results last forever, baby.