Sunday, November 30, 2008

Workouts: November 24-30, 2008

Recovery week, ending with a cough & the beginnings of a cold.  Probably pushed my body too hard this week when I should have been taking it easy to recover from the Philadelphia Marathon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Post-Philly Thoughts

Analyzing my splits, I could have possibly gained a few minutes during the final three miles, when I was crashing, by running a little slower during the first half of the race.  I am thinking of running The Boston Marathon in April.  Perhaps more long runs, and a few more than two hours, might erase the rapid decline in pace over the last three miles of the race.

Reacting to some other people's comments, I now realize the effect of the wind chill factor.  I remember talking to people before the race, after walking almost 2 miles from my parked car, and feeling that my face was cold enough to cause my speech to be slurred.  That should have given me a clue that my core temperature was below normal, especially for starting a race.  I changed into shorts just before the start of the race.  It felt warmer than the wind chill dictated at that time because I was in the shelter of the bag check area, protected from the wind by dozens of school buses formed up into sort of a corral, and surrounded by hundreds of other runners.  The result was an inability to warm up.  The top of my left hamstring had an unnatural tightness for a few miles.  My quads were sore from about mile 8 to the end of the race.  I didn't remove my had or gloves ever, even though I usually do that to moderate my body temperature at some points during most training runs that require hats and gloves.  It was cold enough to make my Powerbar gels feel almost chewy and make the water and Gatorade go down with ice-cream-headache swallows.

I told a lot of people I was going to run the first half of this race conservatively.  I just wanted to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time.  For me, that is 3:30 = 8 min/mile.  I found myself in the first corral, got sucked into a 7:10 pace, perhaps - partially, at least - in an effort to get warm.  And once you are in a pace, it is hard to step back and get out of it when you are surrounded by an endless crowd of fellow runners.  The taper always makes the first half of a marathon feel much too easy.  Although this was my 17th marathon, the third in three years after a big marathon-break of perhaps 12 years, I still was a little foolish.

But I shouldn't judge myself so harshly, since marathoning itself is both an immensely self-important and an immensely foolish activity.  Yet, for so many people, the foolhardy few hours we are out there running a marathon marks a pinnacle in time.   The marathon defines and justifies everything we have done in our daily lives to lead up to it, and sets up our plans for everything we do to recover and improve after the event.  These effects go beyond simply training for our next race - it leads us to living a more transcendent, productive, meaningful life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Philadelphia Marathon

Ran the Philadelphia Marathon today.  At 7 AM start, it was 25 degrees F.  I decided to wear shorts.  On top, I wore a wicking long-sleeve, a Mizuno wind vest, a fleece hat & polypro gloves.  I didn't feel warmed up until about an hour into the race.  My legs remained fairly cold until after the mile 20 turnaround, that put our faces into the rising sun, plus it was a couple hours later.  This was the first marathon - or any race that I can remember - where the volunteers had to warn people as they approacehed water stations about the ice on the ground from the spilled water and Gatoraid.

I took 2-mile splits:
2 @ 14:19 = 7:10/mi
4 @ 29:51 (15:32) (4th mile was marked long)
6 @ 42:55 (13:04) (5th mile was short) = 7:24/mi
10 @ 1:12:57 (30:01) = 7:30/mi
12 @ 1:27:29 (14:32) = 7:16/mi
14 @ 1:42:20 (14:51) = 7:25/mi
16 @ 1:57:51 (15:30) = 7:45/mi
18 @ 2:13:25 (15:33) = 7:46/mi
20 @ 2:28:42 (15:17) = 7:38/mi
22 @ 2:44:12 (15:30) = 7:45/mi
24 @ 3:00:12 (15:59) = 8:oo/mi
25 @ 3:08:16 = 8:03/mi
26 @ 3:16:37 = 8:21/mi
Marathon time 3:18:22 = avg. 7:34/mi

Active.com results screen capture

Training: November 17-23, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Usain Bolt Barefoot

Screen cap from iaaf.org of Usain Bolt during an Olympics victory lap.  Checkout his shoes....  'nuff said ~



Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Ran to Work & Philly Marathon Thoughts

I had been thinking about running to work for a long time.  I have been able to ride my bike to work since school started on September 2nd.  I have driven my car only seven times since then.  I decided to do this run to work because my last few runs have felt really great.  I feel in better cardio shape than I have in about a year and a half.  My legs are feeling unbelievably strong, as evidenced by my riding my Dawes SST single speed.  It is really great to feel the fitness from the two activities of running and cycling coming together - I remember that feeling from back when I was a fairly serious triathlete, about 1985-95.

I felt a bit of pressure to get to work fast, since I left only about 10 minutes earlier than when I ride my bike.  I figured it would take me about an hour to cover the 7 miles, thinking I might take some walk breaks.  I have done this run before, to work and back, on a weekend leading up to some long race last year, for a regular nonstop long run, so I had some experience with the timing.  I didn't take any walk breaks today.  It only took me 53:49 = 7:42/mile.  Pretty good, considering my backpack, though packed light, was annoying me.

It was a cool but sunny run.  Tech long sleeve, last year's NYC Marathon shirt, polypro gloves and tight sweatpants did it just fine.  Ms. Click beeped at me and Mr. Dobson yelled "Go Mr. G!" from the window of his car when he passed me.  I gave him a double fist pump, even though I didn't know it was him until I saw him inside later on.  A couple of other teachers saw me and asked how my ride was.  I told them I ran in today.  Of course they said I am crazy.  Maybe I am, in a good crazy way.  I didn't tell my family I was running in today, because I didn't want them to think I was getting nuttier about this commute-as-workout thing.  But if I do qualify for Boston, I will be doing it more often December-March.  That might be the best way to deal with inclement weather this winter - on days when biking would be dangerous or really too cold.  Plus, it will be a great offset to all the days of running I miss due to skiing.

One of the main reasons I ran to work today is because I  needed to get in a long day today, since it is getting close to the Philly Marathon, and I certainly don't have enough long runs behind me.  I figured two seven mile runs in one day will be a good long day.  It isn't exactly a 20 miler, but it is something.  I have no 20 milers at all leading up to this marathon.  The last time I ran anything close to that was 30K for the Escarpment Trail Run in the end of July, during the days of the broken toe.  I have a bunch of long-ish days, but usually spread over two workouts.  I feel fitter than I have for the last two years going into the NYC marathon, because of cross-training on the bike.  Hopfully a taper next week will be enough to run at least a Boston qualifier.  In 1983 I ran 2:41 at the Philly Marathon.  I am fairly sure the course was different than it is today.  So 25 years later I am hoping to run a 3:30 or better.  That averages to exactly 8 minutes per mile.  Using the MacMillan race predictor calculator with my 1:32 Newport-Liberty Waterfront Half-Marathon time, it predicts a 3:14.  That is a good sign.  I am in a lot better shape today than I was for that race.  Using my most recent race, 32:29 at the USATF-NJ 8K XC, it predicts 3:12!  That was XC & barefoot - but don't get too excited, because it was a shorter race.  Predictions must be more accurate when the predictor-race distance approaches the actual race distance.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Losing The Shoes (off the roof of the car)

I ran with my son's cross-country team this morning. It is the last practice on a week off from school for them, before Saturday's state sectional meet. With no more dual meets, only varsity is working out now, and only one girl. Our high school team is not exactly a cross-country power, but I am glad my freshman son is running usually 6th man on varsity, and that there are no seniors on the team. The coach seems to know what he is doing for training them, though they generally lack strong "Eye of The Tiger" motivation right now. Definitely a building year.

We started with laps on the track, sprinting the front 100m straightaway on each lap. They wanted to just start with that cold, but I convinced them to run the entire first lap before hitting the first sprint. I couldn't keep up on the sprint, even with the one girl that showed up for practice. It took me about a mile to warm up, is why. Youth...

After a couple miles on the track, we moved to the football field for the rest of the workout. I took my Saucony Killkenny XC flats off, but couldn't get any of the kids to take theirs off. They should have, since it was a damp day and the field was wet. At this point, I had no problem sprinting with them, as they tired and my 35 years of endurance kicked in.

After the workout I put my shoes on the roof of the car for a minute, so I could clear my back seat to give a couple of the kids a ride home in my little Ford Focus. When we got home, I realized I left the shoes on my roof! So I retraced my drive. I found the shoes on the edge of Greenbrook Road where it curves near West End Avenue. Those shoes rode my roof for at least a mile, taking a few accelerations and turns before ditching!