Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mile Repeats.... Kinda

First group run since being sick.

We did the usual mile warmup, stretch, and striders.  Then, 4 x 1 mile repeats with 3 minute recovery.  That's what was planned.  Up to this point, I feel perfectly normal.  We were supposed to run at 5k pace.  That means I should be running around 7:25 according to my last 5k time, but I figured I should be able to run these at the same time as my first mile split from that race.  That time was 6:45.  There were two other guys in my group that said they were going to run that pace.  I joined them.

Our first mile was 6:57.  That's 12 seconds over.  Not too bad considering I didn't use a watch to pace myself and I was relying solely on them to keep us honest.  The second mile, I ran a 6:47.  I felt good on that one.

I'm not sure what happened on the next repeat.  I felt good at the beginning.  My legs felt like I was getting good turnover and strides.  I had energy.  It was even cooler than it's been lately since there were clouds and we were getting some light winds thanks to Hurricane Earl.  I got around the first lap and within the next 100 yards my breathing went to panting and then hyperventilating as if I was running all out.  But I wasn't.  I don't think I was giving it that much effort, but I couldn't breathe right.

I stopped running and walked back over to where our coach was sitting.  He just had surgery for plantar fasciitis.  That's gotta suck.  I noticed that my nose was running slightly, which isn't normal for me.  I must still be having effects from my cold last week.  I told the coach that is why I was out all of last week.  He told me to run an easy 2 miles to finish my workout.  I did it.  I ran it around 9 minute pace and that was OK.

I rode my bike home and I got winded on the way home, which never happens to me, either.  I have eaten now and had a few glasses of water to rehydrate and I still feel a little tired from today's workout.  I hate colds.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back from a Cold

Most people don't think of having a cold when the temperatures are hovering around the low 90's, but there has definitely been a change in the air lately.  Remember, this is Orlando.

I have been fending off a cold the past 2 weeks.  I didn't get a lot of sleep on Monday evening, so I think that is what made my body give out mid-Tuesday.  I missed my running group both times this week.  I went straight home after work Tuesday, because my nose was going berserk.  It was driving my nuts, so I stocked up some soup and went to bed.  I missed work for a couple days and still wasn't 100 percent yesterday.  I went to work, but didn't feel ready to run.  My nose was still clogged a little bit.

I haven't run since last Sunday and I felt like my lungs could handle the load this morning.  I wanted to take an easy 3 mile run.  I started by doing my first mile around 10 minute pace.  My legs have definitely rested this past week and I just wanted to bust out and run as fast I could after half a mile.  I held back though, until a runner zipped by me at about 1 mile.  I made it a point to adjust my speed to match hers.  She had about a 200 yard lead and I maintained that spacing for about half a mile.  She then stops for water and started back up just after I passed the water fountain.  I was probably running around 8 minute pace till that point.  That's when I started increasing my turnover and got down around a low 7 minute pace.  I kept that style of running for half a mile and then keeping the same speed, I slowed down my cadence and started to stride out.  I did this by extending my kicking / trail leg.  I didn't want to hurt my knees from overextension.

I kept that speed through 2.75 miles and noticed that the other runner had fallen back by about 200 yards.  My ego was bolstered enough for the day, so I finished up the last .25 mile at my original 10 minute pace.

It feels great to be back and I don't think I lost a step.  I don't know if my lungs are ready for more mileage yet, but I'll find out soon enough.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Long Run

I read an something in a recent Runner's World that gave a chart of how long your long runs should be.  It says that for 5k training, which is what I am doing, you should run between 12-15 miles or 1 hour 15 minutes-1 hour 45 minutes.

Last week, I got 6.75 miles logged and I knew I had to make an improvement.  I went out Sunday with the temperature hovering around 90 degrees and very humid.  It was overcast, though.  This may sound weird, but it felt like a cool 90 degrees, so I thought I could definitely do more mileage today.

I had a route planned in my head.  When I got to the southern most point of my route, the sun came out and that 90 turned into something else.  I started feeling the heat in my chest and my head and that really makes it hard to push yourself.

I cut my route a little short, so I could get to a park with a water fountain.  I stopped and rested for a few minutes to cool my core down a little.  In the process, I ended up cooling my muscles too much.  When I started back up to run the last 2 miles, my left calf was tight and stretching didn't help.  I had to change my form, because it felt like if I kept running the way I normally do, I would pull my calf muscle.

I limped my way home and finished with 6.15 miles in 57 minutes.  Still over 9 minute average pace.  I did the 10 percent rule, except I ran 10 percent less than last time.  Better luck next run.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Group Hill Workout. Breathe. Just Breathe.

We started with the usual warmup around a mile.  I got to practice right around 6pm, so I didn't have any extra time to warmup.  I was hoping to get 3 laps on the track before the group warmup to make it 2 miles, but that didn't happen.  I was able to get 1 lap before I noticed that the group was starting to run down the street.

Good thing I turned around when I did or I probably wouldn't have found them.  I caught up to the group and we found our way to a water filled sinkhole.  It wasn't the big one that made Winter Park famous, but just a little one out by the end of Glenridge.  It has hills all around it, which makes for a tough, but good workout.  Another added feature of this loop is that it is entirely brick streets, which made me a little nervous the first one.

We stretched and then broke up into 2 groups.  Fast and slow.  We were doing 4 x 1 km at a pace between mile and 5k pace.  Sounds easy, but the hills make that hard to hit.  The fast group was trying to hit between 3:45 and 4:10.  Our group was aiming for 4:25.

Coach told us that we would get 30 seconds more rest between reps.  That only worked on the first one.  Everyone started at the same time.  Our group then started the next rep 30 seconds after the fast group.  I ran exactly 4:25.  Perfect.  I definitely needed the extra 30 rest.

I ran the second one a hair faster in 4:22.  We started 30 seconds after the first group.  If we got a 30 second longer rest each time, we would have started a minute after the first group.  We actually got the same rest period as the fast group.  I didn't notice the discrepancy.  I just toed the line when we were told.

I pushed harder on the third one and finished in 4:17.  I could start feeling my arms tingling during that one.  I was mentally ready to throw in the towel.

Before we started the last one, one of the runners in my group brought up how we were supposed to be around 2 minutes behind by now because of the extra rest.  I corrected her and said that we should be one minute and 30 seconds behind the lead group by now.  The coach looked at her like she was wimping out and we all toed the line one more time.

I got about half way on this last hill rep and gave up on one of the short flat portions.  I figured someone was going to pass me since I took the lead on this one.  A few seconds passed as I slowed down and I couldn't hear breathing or footsteps, so I lifted my head back up and started pushing up the next hill.  That hurt and I was panting pretty hard.  I remembered my lessons of looking 20 feet ahead and keep running.  Keep the legs and arms moving.  Don't exaggerate the swinging or the leg lift.  Just run.  So I did.

When I came around the last 200 meters, I felt the cramping pain in my diaphragm like I had on my last 440 on Tuesday.  I used to run through this pain in high school all the time.  I hadn't felt it in years, so it felt new.  Well, since my painful friend reacquainted itself with me, I knew what to expect.  No breathing.  I only had to go 200 meters like this.  That should be less than a minute, so it will be like holding your breath.  I pushed down an easy slope and then pushed up the last 50 meter hill portion to the finish.  I hit 4:30.  I missed my mark by 5 seconds, but I finished.

I was hyperventilating and went straight to the ground in someone's yard.  I laid down for about 30 seconds until I could catch my breath.  A fellow runner helped me up and told me to lift my arms above my head.  Those were the same words that echoed in my head at the end of every cross country race in high school.  My coach was always telling me to get up and keep moving.  Lift your arms.  Breathe.  So simple, but your brain just freezes up when you give everything you've got and you feel like you can't... just breathe.

It hurt really bad, but this was a great workout.  I hate to be overdramatic, but I felt alive like I haven't in a long time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Group Speed Workout

We ran an easy warmup, which is just over a mile.  Some striders and then stretches.  Then, we keep asking Coach Nathan what we are going to do today.  He gives some outrageous workout plans and then tells us 12 x 440's at mile pace with 1:15 recovery rests.  We broke it down into 3 sets of 4 reps.

Sounds like a great workout for 5k practice.  During my own speed workouts, I was running 4 reps, so this should be pretty hard.  I had to keep my speed in check and not dart off too hard like last week.

My mile time was 6:07, so I figure my splits should be around 1:32.  I did good.  I ran all my splits between 1:27 and 1:33 except for the last one, which I ran in 1:39.  I had a hard time breathing on the back stretch as I got a cramp in my middle abdomen.  I think it was my diaphragm and it made breathing slightly unbearable.

We actually only ran 11 reps total.  Coach noticed that too many of us were hunched over and sucking wind during the 2nd set and he cut it short by 1.  We ended up doing sets of 4, 3, and 4.

It was a good workout and I kept myself from trying to compete with the lead pack.  I stayed either at the tail end of the middle group or at the front of the rear group for all the reps except that dreaded last one.

Finished up with a slow 1 mile cooldown.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Long Run

I sat at my computer trying to map out a route that would be over 6 miles, but less than 8.  Click, click, click.  Undo last point, undo last point.  It was a lot of that for 20 minutes.  I've got my easy run, hill run, and tempo run loops all figured out, but the long runs get boring unless you try something different each time.  You need something to keep yourself occupied mentally... like trying to remember where you are supposed to make turns on your just mapped out route.

I mapped 7.5 this evening.  I cut a little off when I actually ran it and ended up with 6.75 miles in 1 hour.  I ran just under 9 minute pace.  I am pretty sure my endorphins kicked in around 5 miles, because that feeling like you can run forever took over and I was running with ease the rest of the way home.  If I knew that was going to happen, I wouldn't have cut the .75 out of my loop.

My goal was to run 6 miles and mission accomplished.  Next week's long run must be over 7 miles to make sure I am making improvement.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Celebration of Running 5k Race Report

This morning, I woke up and calculated my half mile splits the whole way through the 5k and looked up where each point was located on gmap-pedometer.com so I could keep my goal pace.

I was trying to hit 23 minutes, so my goal splits were:  3:42, 7:24, 11:06, 14:48, 18:30, 22:12, 23:00.  I started the race only a few feet back from the starting line to make sure I was in my correct pace group.  I went out a little fast, but it felt good.  I tried to stay with a few of the people in my training group.  I did that through half a mile and noticed I was going out a little too fast.  Again, it felt good, so why mess with it.  I hit the mile in 6:45.  That's 39 seconds faster than my goal pace, but I was at the tail end of my training group and I thought that maybe I had improved.  I don't remember what my 1.5 split was, but my 2 mile split was 14:06.  Now I was 42 seconds ahead of pace.

I had my splits on a small piece of paper like a cheat sheet.  When I hit the 2 mile clock that far ahead, I crumbled it up and threw it on the street.

That's about when it started to not feel good.

I definitely started to slow down by the time I was at 2.25.  I got a cramp in my right abdomen around 2.5, so I stopped and walked for about 10 seconds taking very deep belly breaths.  I got back on my horse and finished up.  It was a pretty weak last half mile even though I did a little sprint to cut a few seconds.  I finished in 23:07.

I had a 42 second lead on my goal pace heading into the last mile and finished 7 seconds off.  Talk about crash and burn.  I definitely have more speed, but I need to work on my stamina.

I need to incorporate long runs every single week and make sure that they are more than 6 miles.

This was my second best time since turning 30yo.  My over 30 PR is 22:27 in 2008.  40 seconds away.  I was close and let it slip.  Hopefully, I can beat that mark the next 5k.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stay Home Friday Night

This Friday night is feeling just like cross country season in high school.  Everyone I know is going out drinking (aka house parties) and I am at home resting for a race in the morning.  I remember always feeling left out.

Have to keep my running goals prioritized.  I'll be up early Saturday morning finding out if the work and sacrifice is paying off.

Thursday's group run was good... well, half of it was.  We started by running a little over a mile for a warmup.

Then, we ran 3.15 miles out, took a quick water pit stop, and headed back.  Coach wanted us to stay in groups, so I kept up with the rear group on the way out.  It was tough for the last half mile and I got a cramp in my right side during the last quarter.  That was the good part.  At least, I kept up.

Everyone got a quick restroom break and water and off we went back to our meetup spot.

After 1 mile on the way back, I never saw my running group.  That wasn't so good.  I was defeated mentally and my legs were killing me.  My right hamstring and calf started to stiffen up pretty bad, but I didn't stop running.

Tonight was a much needed rest.  Let's see what tomorrow morning brings.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My First Day with the Training Group

My lesson for today is simple.  Don't go out too fast at the beginning of your workout.  You will pay the price.  I know I did.  Our coach told us we would run 4 x 800 at 5k pace with 1:15 rest.  I have been running around 8 minute pace lately, but I wanted to shoot for my 6 month goal pace, which breaking 20 minutes.  His chart had me pegged at running 3:12 for the 800.  Keep in mind, this is still too fast for me.

I go out with the leaders of our group through a lap and a half and finish up my first 800 in 2:52.  That's faster than my mile pace versus my 5k pace.  That is 20 seconds faster than my goal for 6 months from now.  I should really be aiming for 7 minute pace / 22 minute 5k.

My arms started tingling.  Welcome oxygen debt!  I haven't seen you around these parts in years.  We were supposed to take a 1:15 rest, but I decided to go out with the middle pack and get an extra 15-20 seconds of rest.  That didn't make a difference.  As soon as I started the second 800, my feet felt like cement.  I went out with the pack and still made my 3:10 goal.

The third lap started well.  I went with the pack through the first lap and fell back dramatically on the back straight.  I don't remember my time, but I do know that it wasn't even close to my 3:10.

Just before toeing the line for the last 800, the coach asked me if I was OK to run it.  I responded with, "I have to, don't I?"

I pushed, but only mustered a what seemed like a jog.  I finished up in 4:02.

We then did 4 x 200's with the same 1:15 rest.  I ran those consistently at least.  I didn't overdo it.  I ran 41, 39, 39, and 35.  The coach made everyone, but a few of us do another 200.  I was gassed and welcomed the break.

We finished up with a sidewalk lap of Lake Eola following the street, so that was another 1.25 miles.  Warmup was 1.75 which included 4x100 striders..

If I didn't get all excited about running with a group, I am pretty sure I could have managed my 3:10's.  I will try to control myself on the next speed workout.

I also tried to go to sleep a couple of hours ago, but my legs and feet won't stop cramping and it's driving me crazy.  I don't know what the deal is.  I have replenished my fluids.  I had a banana today which is a good source of potassium.  I have easily taken enough sodium from different sources.  If anyone has any suggestions, I sure what appreciate it.  Maybe it will help me after my future workouts.  Over and out for this evening.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting Better or Cooler

I ran 4 miles yesterday and I got close to 8 minutes for an average pace.  I stopped twice towards the end of the run:  once at half mile to go and again at quarter mile to go.  I know that's pathetic that I just gave up.  I did go out harder than normal, so I guess that's why I didn't have the guts to keep pushing through the last half mile at the same pace.  Both stops were exactly 60 seconds.  My time including a slower first mile was 32:36, so if I didn't stop both times, I would have finally gotten under 8 minute pace for any distance over 3 miles which I haven't done in some time.

So I haven't run around 8 minute pace for multiple miles in awhile.  Is it because the temperatures have been coming back out of the 90's?  Is it because I've been logging more miles over the past month?  Perhaps a combination of both.

Whenever I run around Lake Ivanhoe, I have noticed that the wind blowing is always hard to breath in because it is even warmer than the air anywhere else.  It is so humid.  For the first time since probably May, the breeze blowing across the lake was not cool, but at least it wasn't hotter than the air around it.

This evening is my first workout with my training group, since I missed last Thursday covering a shift for a co-worker.  This workout will be speed work on the track.  I can't wait.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

4 miles - Easy

I had cramps in my hamstrings last night while sitting at the computer and then I got one cramp in my left calf just before dawn while I was sleeping.  Don't you just love those?

I definitely woke up sore, but I got through my day and went out for an easy run after work.  I wanted to run 3 miles, but my usual loops are 2.5, 4, or 5 miles.  I went for the 4 mile loop and sure enough, that was more than I was prepared to run.  My first mile was 8:38 and my second mile was 8:00.  It felt really good.  I wasn't pushing myself that hard, but I was running mostly in the shade of large Southern Oak trees.  When I came around the second half of my course, the shade disappeared and so did my energy.  I slowed down a little and even walked for 30 seconds when I was about half a mile from finishing.

In the end, I ran 4 miles in 35:31.

My feet are hurting right now and I think it is lingering effects from yesterday's workout.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mile Time Trial - 6 Minute Mile

Today was the big day.  I had the time trial for the Track Shack Five and Dime training program to see what group I earned.  My goal was to beat a 6 minute mile, because that is what I thought the upper limit was to make the fastest training group.  Before the trial, one of the coaches told us that the first group's cutoff was 6:15, so I felt pretty good about my chances.  I already ran a 6:18 two weeks ago and I didn't have anyone around me to keep pace.

They asked the entire group of runners beforehand if you think you can run 7 minutes or less, you would run first.  They broke the time trial up into two groups.  The second group was obviously anyone that didn't think they would run 7 or under.

I did this training group in 2006 and I ran in the slower group.  I finished with a time around 7:45.  This time around, I ran 6:07.  I shaved 11 seconds in 2 weeks off my mile time.  That feels great.  I was hurting afterwards, but who cares.  Here's the breakdown.

1:20 - 1:20
2:55 - 1:35
4:34 - 1:39
6:07 - 1:33

I didn't bring a watch with me, which may have been a mistake.  I definitely went out too fast.  Would I have done that had I brought my watch?  I would have known that I was a few seconds fast on the 220 and might have slowed down, but then again, I might have kept going with the thought that adrenaline will carry me this day.  Wouldapalooza.  Facts are facts and that's what happened.  I felt great on the first lap.  I felt pretty good on the second lap.  On the third lap, I was so much in oxygen debt that I was panting like a dog.  I had to take a few awkward feeling deep breaths just to keep going.  The last lap really hurt.  As soon as I started the last lap, I gave a quick burst for about 30 yards to try to keep my pace and then tried to stride out the back stretch.  I struggled the last curve and then kicked the entire home stretch.

I am still happy with my results.  I definitely kicked the last 100 yards down the home stretch and shaved a few seconds off what would have been a 6:10 or more.  I even passed a person at the end.  That felt good.

I made the fast group.  It feels like I made the varsity squad.  I also know that I will definitely break 6 minutes after this training session over the next 10 weeks.

Oh yeah, my legs are jelly at the end and Coach Nathan says to jog 3 to 4 miles.  Yeah, sure.  Why not?  I ran 2.75 miles more.  I got so far behind the pack at one point that I couldn't see anyone.  That's when I took the closest road back to the track.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time Trial Eve

Just took 4 days off.  I didn't plan on it.  Thank you rain!  I planned on running yesterday afternoon when I thought it would cool down to the high 80's, but a rainstorm thought it was a better idea for me to stay in and watch a downpour with lightning.

I officially signed up for the Five and Dime training program through Track Shack on Saturday.  Their time trial is tomorrow afternoon.  The way it was before, the groups are divided by your mile time.  The slowest pace group is 8 minute pace and higher, the middle group is 6 to 8 minute pace, and the fastest pace group is 6 minute pace and under.  I hope I have enough speed under my belt to make the fast group, but if I run in the middle group, all is not lost.  I will take what I earn and improve either way.  If I don't make the fast group tomorrow, I guarantee that I will make it the next session.

Today's workout was a 5 mile run.  I jogged 1 mile for a warmup around 12 minute pace.  I didn't stop and stretch, but instead went straight into a 3 mile tempo run for the core portion of my workout.  I walked about a tenth of a mile at the end.  I felt like my head was going to pop from the heat.  My chest and head were so freakin' hot.  Well, I finished up with a slow mile around 10 minute pace for a cooldown.

Oh yeah, I also started the 100pushups program yesterday.  I started on Week 3 Day 1.  I had to do 5 sets of pushups with 60 seconds rest between sets.  Each set was as follows:

Max out (20 minimum)

I did all the sets except the last one.  I got down in a prone position on the floor and couldn't muster 1 more pushup.  My triceps were complete mush.  So much for a minimum of 20 more.  I think I am going to do Day 1 over again... maybe on Wednesday, since I have to do my mile time trial tomorrow.  Good luck to me!