Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yoga Stretch for your Hips

I found a webpage from someone on Google+ that gives some yoga stretches as ways to release tight hips.  The article tries to explain what the movements are, but unless you are already familiar with yoga... it's another language.

Luckily, there is a video a short ways down the page.  Here is a link to the page and here is the video for people like me that have only been to a couple yoga classes that find it helpful, but still somehow foreign.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Wow, it was humid today!

So someone on Twitter posted what the humidity was and I asked him how he found it.  He said that he used an Accuweather app for his iPhone.  I don't have that (app or phone) and I forgot what he said at the time.  I remembered weather, so I went to Weather Underground.  That worked, too, since they had humidity information.  When I got home after my run this afternoon (and after stretching, resting, and a shower, too), it said the temperature was 81 and felt like 86.  It had already cooled off a few degrees by that time and the humidity was 78%.  Well, I am not sure if I will start recording this information for all of my runs, but it is interesting to know when it is obviously high.  It would have been so much nicer if it just started raining.

I planned on running 2 laps around Lake Ivanhoe at an easy pace and I did just that.  I didn't do a stretching routine or a warmup jog.  I just started running, albeit slowly, but running just the same.  I ran 22:46 for the first 2.5 mile loop (9:06 average pace).

I ran into Marc from my Five and Dime running group and we ran and talked for about half a mile before our paths led us in different directions.  It was nice that we were running the same speeds, because he normally runs much faster than I and therefore I would be out of breath trying to talk.

When I finished the first loop, I ran inside my apartment and guzzled down a glass of warm water.  And off I went for a second loop.  This time I ran an average speed of 8:20 something.  I have it logged on DailyMile.com, but that is apparently down right now.

I just have to say that I love air conditioning.  I don't know if I could live in Florida without it.

Either way, it was a nice easy run.  5 miles in the bank.

2 Runs Sunday Evening

I completely missed a long run this weekend, but I made up for it by having two short workout sessions this afternoon and then this evening.

I ran the 2.5 miles very easy this afternoon around 5pm.  I looped around Lake Ivanhoe and I planned on running 2 laps which would have been 5 miles.  There was a thunderstorm coming into the area, so I had to cut it short.  I ran it very easy and instead of my normal length stride and turnover rate, I made my strides very short... almost choppy.  Very little knee lift and very little toe off / push off.  I concentrated on a quick turnover rate, which I think puts more of the work on the buttocks rather than the calves and thighs.  No particular reason.  Just wanted to work on a different set of muscles.

The evening run was obviously after the thunder and rain stopped well after sunset.  I guess I headed out around 10pm.  I took the first 1 mile as a warmup.  Steady comfortable speed the next half mile and then got up to a good speed for the next half mile.  I was probably running around 5k goal pace.  I stopped for about 20-30 seconds and then ran the last half mile just a little faster, but not quite mile goal pace.  It was a great run.

I love running during the summer after it rains.  I would have run around now (midnight) if I didn't have work in the morning.  I used to love running late in the evening during the summer when I was in high school.  You don't have to go to school in the summer.  I wish work was like that as an adult.  That whole summer off thing doesn't quite seem to be setting you up mentally for the rest of your life.  It's a big, fat tease really.  I used to like sleeping in till 10am.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Watermelon 5K at Mead Garden in Winter Park

I have now come to grips that the Fourth of July Watermelon 5K is jinxed for me.  Last year, I had a bad experience.  This morning didn't turn out too well, either.

I got up early enough, but I don't know if I got enough sleep.  I made sure that I didn't make the same mistakes as last year.  Only one mug of coffee.  Evacuate all waste.

I warmed up by running 2 miles.  I ran a mile out and back.  I was very thirsty already and hadn't stretched yet, so I made my way through the crowd back to the registration area to get some water.  I did make one little mistake thus far and that was forgetting my watch.  I had no idea what time it was.  I went through my regular stretching routine and when I finished, I could hear people talking over the PA system at the starting line.  I asked someone what time it was and he had 7:30 on the nose.  I had to make my way back to the start and quickly.  There were too many people to get there in time, so I ran down a side street and around the block.  That put me in front of the line, but it also put me a little out of breath.  I was able to rest for a couple minutes while a young lady sang the national anthem.

I can at this point with my experience tell if I am going to have a good race or not within the first quarter mile.  I was not going to have a good race.  I could not keep up with my usual friends and when I say keep up, I mean keep them within eyesight by the time I hit the first mile.  I hit the mile marker at 7:26, which is a full minute slower than my last race.

It was around this point when I started feeling pressure in my chest and my heartbeats felt really strong.  I am used to being out of breath, feeling like my head is going to explode from heat, or not have enough energy in my legs.  None of these were the case and any of those things may slow me down, but they don't scare me.  I slowed down a little to see if that would help.  It did.  I tried speeding back up to around that 7:30 pace and felt the same thing again.  I could have been imagining things as well, but I swear my heart literally skipped a beat.  Oddly, there was no pain.  I slowed down again and even tried walking for a few seconds.  I went back to normal again.  I ran to the next water stop, grabbed a drink and that was just before 2 miles.  I have no idea what my time was at this point.  I tried getting back into a pace and my chest felt weird again.  I had enough of this.  I was about 50 meters from the 2 mile clock, which I didn't realize at the time, because it was just around the next corner.

I decided that was it for me.  I went straight ahead.  It was a point in the course when people were going in both directions on either side of the street.  I stayed to the right side and alternated jogging and walking until I got back to the mile marker when I found my girlfriend.  She was walking the 5k.  I was so glad she came out.  Her mom did, too.  At this point, I just planned on walking the course with her and just wanted to have a "fun run."

By doing this, I ended up covering over 7 miles for the day.

I wish I knew the cause of my heart beating so furiously.  I have been on antibiotics for the past week and a half and pain medication for a broken molar.  I wonder if the antibiotics did anything, because I have run on pain medications plenty of times with no issues.  Also, I took the past week off from any training other than a leisurely jog a couple days prior.  Did that have something to do with it?  Did my lack of speed training during the past week make my heart have to work overtime to compensate for my brain telling the body to run at a speed that was apparently too fast?  I don't know.

I'm glad nothing serious happened and I had a great day the remainder of it.  I went to the Morse Museum in Winter Park, which has more Tiffany glass than anywhere outside of New York.  Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and more in the afternoon and then watched the downtown Orlando fireworks from my place on Lake Ivanhoe late that night.  I hope everyone had a great Independence Day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Signed up for the Watermelon 5k and a Doctor

Just over a week left till race day and I am signed up for the 20th Anniversary Watermelon 5K Run on July 4th.  It's a fun race, because many people get dressed up for it.  This will be my second time running this race.  I started OK last year, but it didn't end well.

I feel like I have lost a step of speed and I'm hoping it's only due to the afternoon heat.  I hope it's there for me next Monday.  That'll be weird, too.  Running on a race on Monday morning.

Even though I try to keep everything related to my running, I have to go into an endocrinologist on Tuesday morning.  This is a consult first, but I am sure that I will be going back.  I went in for a routine physical exam at the beginning of May and I found out that I have too much calcium in my blood.  That led to another blood test and they checked for parathyroid hormone and that was high.  That means I have hyperparathyroidism.  Yeah, you have to clap that one out... Hy-per-par-a-thy-roid-is-m.  I've done my research on the internet and there are a few things it could be, but more times than not, it means that I will need to have surgery to remove the pesky little thing that is throwing off some chemicals in my body mostly related to muscle and bone function.  Short term isn't that bad, but long term effects are very serious.

OK.  Good that off my chest.

So yesterday was 5 days in a row and this morning, I went out for an easy 3 mile run before work.  I was a little stiff in the hips and my left ankle was in a little pain today.  That made 6 days in a row and I'm debating running sometime tomorrow.  I feel like my body wants more rest, but an easy run shouldn't hurt if it is either midday or afternoon.  It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, though, and I don't like running in the rain.  Well, the summer rainstorms in Florida are usually filled with lightning.  Orlando is the lightning capital of the United States BTW and we all know it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

5 Days in a Row

I figured my legs would hurt more after running 5 days with no rest.  I don't remember the last time I ran 5 days in row, but it has been awhile.  Maybe years.  Maybe even dating back to high school when that's just what we did.  We usually ran 6 or 7 days a week.

Today's workout started out as a sauna again, but it clouded up and that made it a little easier.  We ran a 4.25 mile fartlek alternating between 2 minutes hard and 1 minute jogging.  Coach said to run 30 minutes.  It took me 35:17 to cover the course.  I actually walked on a few of the jogging sections just because of the heat.  I didn't feel like I was pushing myself too hard as far as speed was concerned.  It just felt like my head was going to boil over and pop.  There was only a small portion of the course that was covered by trees and by the time I got there, the clouds had already started forming above us and it didn't make a difference.

Once I finished up, the entire group got to drink free Mix1 drinks.  There were a couple girls passing them out to our group, guys playing rugby, and people on the basketball courts.  I've only tried them once and did not like it at all.  I don't remember what flavor it was.  This time I tried a Acai-Pomegranate and it was decent.  It's a small drink that has 10 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbohydrates and a smidge over 1 gram of fat.  They do leave a little powdery residue in your mouth, so I chased it with water.  It definitely helped pick me up a little.

I laid down on the bleachers and rested for about 5 minutes and then decided that I wanted to do a little more work.  I did a few form striders.  I ran 100 meters each and jogged back to the start for a recovery and each run concentrated on different types of strides.  The first one was high knees, the second was butt kicks and the last one was skipping.  Now, my legs were tired.  By this time, you could tell that I only had about 20-25 minutes before the rain was coming, so I jogged 1 kilometer to get the tightness out of my thighs.

Great workout and I am really glad that I have made it 5 days in a row!  Looks like rain is scheduled all day tomorrow.  We really need it.  It is time to turn this sauna into a steam room.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Bad Do You Want It?

I just ran 4 days in a row for the first time in a while.  I plan on running tomorrow afternoon with my Five and Dime group, so that should be 5 days in a row.

I ran an easy 5 miles today.  Obviously, it was hot again.  Mid 90's which is on par this week.  I started around 10 minute pace on the first mile, which was my warmup.  I didn't stretch.  I just kept going.  Nice and easy.  I didn't want to push myself, because I wanted to make sure I would finish the 5 miles as I intended.  I stopped twice.  Once for a quick water break (about 20 seconds) at the 2.5 mile mark which is one lap around Lake Ivanhoe.  I then stopped at 4 miles to bring my core temperature down just a little.  I was overheating.  I think I stopped for about 40 seconds.

I finished up in 45:12, which is about 9:02 average pace.  I didn't stop my watch for my breaks, so including those, I ran the last 4 miles in 35:12 or 8:48 average pace.  Not the greatest speed, but it was smooth.

Another day of putting miles in the tank.  This is going to really pay off come fall.  I can feel it.

And how bad do you want it?  Today, while I was running, I saw a squirrel rolling an apple in the gutter.  He tried and tried to lift the apple over the curb.  I was ready to help the little fella, but what would be the point if it couldn't carry it up the tree anyway?  That was really funny, though.  That squirrel really wanted it bad.  That would probably be like a person trying to carry a moose.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mile Repeats or Should I Say Mile ReHeats

Started today's speedwork with 1.75 miles as a warmup and 4 x 100m striders.  Felt great so far considering how hot it was.  How hot?  As someone mentioned today, "It feels like a hair dryer out there."  Yeah, exactly like that.  The wind was blowing a little and it was hot air.  It was around 95 degrees on the track.  I wonder how hot it was directly in the sun.  I would guess in the range of 100-105.

The workout:  3 x 1 mile repeats.  Thank goodness we got a little cloud cover after the second repeat.  It was still hot, but it was almost like being in the shade.

I ran 7:05, 7:19, and 7:20.  My goal was to run 7:00 miles.  I didn't really push myself too hard.  I wanted to make my times, but I was really concentrating on my stride and overall form.  Getting a good toe off and knee drive.  Relaxing my arms and not worrying about keeping them at a 90 degree angle.  I was good about that part, but I did have to remind myself a couple times during each repeat that I needed to have a forward lean, which improved my speed immediately (if only short lived).

I wish I was better at labeling my posts.  I wanted to look up my past mile repeat workouts and compare my times.  I only used "mile repeats" once in labels.  I did a search, too, and that didn't find anything.  I can't believe I haven't blogged any of those workouts.  I have to do a better job of not skipping my posts.

Today's Goal: Just Be A Runner

Some days you go running to work on your speed by running fast.  Some days you work on your endurance by running for a long time.  Today's goal was to run just to be a runner.  No distance in mind; no speed in mind.

The only thing that I kept thinking about was my form.  I went over to A Quest for Running Perfection the other night and Danny posted a video about running economy.  No, it doesn't have anything to do with finance.  It has a lot to do with form.

I watched the video about Shalane Flanagan and then when it finished, the same company had a video about Chris Solinsky.  They think with their techniques, they could put these runners at the top of the world and not just the United States.

The microfibers they are talking about in the videos is called muscle fibrosis.  Yes, I googled it and read a few articles.  Very interesting stuff.  It appears to be cutting edge techniques in physical therapy and of course, they aren't going to tell you how to go about curing this condition on your own.  Not even a clue.

I don't know how to cure muscle fibrosis, but I can work on my form.  I only ran 2.5 miles this afternoon, but I kept reminding myself not to slack off and jog the whole thing.  My brain had to keep reminding my body to lean forward, lift my knees, push off and try not to bounce much.  It was a short run that I finished in just under 20 minutes, but it felt really good.  I felt very efficient.  Economic, if you will.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Sleep for a Swampy Long Run

I feel asleep around 1am last night and was tossing and turning by 3:30.  I tried to go back to sleep, but I just couldn't.  I gave up and jumped on my computer.  After about 30 minutes, I learned how to do some SQL programming and make it work on my website.  There was definitely an upside to this sleepless night.  That little bit of code was something that I couldn't figure out in 2007 and never went back to it.

Then, I started reading a little of the latest Runners World magazine.  There are 7 covers this month, each of which shows a runner that has battled cancer.  I grabbed the one with Lance Armstrong.  I really don't care what people are saying about him right now.  I was following what little press the US gave to cycling back in the late 80's and early 90's when Greg LeMond won The Tour a few times and Armstrong's name started showing up.  I think Armstrong paid his dues and he showed up gradually.  It didn't just happen overnight for the guy like Landis.  Just saying.

So now it's after 5am and I just said screw it.  I'm going for a run.  I thought about doing a long run this weekend since Friday, but I didn't commit to it.  Running without eating or hydrating enough is tough and those are the obvious things to have before a long run.  Running without enough sleep isn't talked about because most people don't think about it.  If you didn't sleep well, most people will just not go run.

I went out and felt stiff and flat during my 1.2 mile warmup.  I never got any energy as the run progressed, either.  I covered 6.6 miles during my long distance run, which is usually 10 miles.  7.8 total isn't bad, though, for the day considering the lack of sleep.

Anyone that lives in Florida knows this well, but it was literally swampy out there this morning.  It rained last night and the temperature was close to 80 degrees this morning before the sun even came up.  As I ran past a lake, there was a mist coming off it.  I was just waiting for a dinosaur to run with me.  The cool mornings are gone until November.

I did nap a little once I got home, so all is well now.  Time to visit Kim's father and check out the horses.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Running in Jacksonville

I am running and writing from Jacksonville, Florida.  It's only a 2.5 hour drive from Orlando, but it's still fairly new.  I am helping my mother.  She is going through medical evaluations at the Mayo Clinic.  I have been attending classes and accompanying her to tests.  Luckily, I have sisters that have been doing the same thing, so we have been able to share time with her.

Coincidentally, I heard some of the people in my running group talk about racing in Jacksonville and visiting their local running store 1st Place Sports.  There's actually 4 of them in the area.  Since I ended up in Jax this week, I figured I would check it out.  I looked them up on the internet and they were about 8 miles away, but only like 3 or 4 turns on the map.  I also saw on their website that they have group runs at 6pm from their Baymeadows shop.  I asked about it, but they said that people rarely show up, so I tried to make other plans.

Before I left, I picked up some new socks.  My favorites right now are Balega brand, so that's what I got.  Since my shoes are gray, black, and yellow, I got yellow socks, black socks, gray socks, and universal white socks.  They have a buy 3 socks and get 1 free, so I had to take advantage of the offer.

As a backup running plan, I asked if they knew of any public tracks in the area since I normally do speedwork on Tuesdays.  One of the clerks told me about a public track at the University of North Florida.  That was also very easily located from their Baymeadows store.  I drove over there and they have a full size track and stadium, but that was only available for the track team.  Right next to it, there is a soccer field and a 400 meter track.  That was it.  We ate some lunch and headed back to our hotel room.  I planned on running in the afternoon, but that idea was dropped by storms.

Since I missed my workout yesterday, I definitely needed to run today.  I was still very limited in time and I could only run around noon.  This meant that I couldn't drive to the UNF track and get back in time for the next appointment.  This also meant that I had to run 96 degree weather and no shade.  I didn't know it at the time I started, but I also didn't have a source of water until I was finished.

I started by running along the sidewalks of the Mayo Clinic sidewalk and nine minutes later, I ended up at a dead end road.  Time to stretch.  My best option was to run on this road and looping part of the parking lot.  This was almost like running my freshman year in high school.  We didn't have a track built, so we had yards measured in the parking lot and that's where we ran.  It was odd, but sometimes fun because of it.

Since I had no way of measuring distances and only knew how much time I had available, I decided to run 1 and 1's.  I ran 1 minute hard (somewhere between mile speed and 5k speed) and alternated with 1 minute of jogging.  I planned on running 10 sets like this for a total of 20 minutes.  I ran strong while I did, but the heat took its toll on my body and I only got through 6 sets (12 minutes).

At least I ran.  It always makes me feel better.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

10 Miler Actually Felt Good This Morning

I got up at 4:30am this morning to run a 10 miler.  I felt a little sore from Thursday's workout.  The soreness was in my lower abdomen and groin, but it was gone by 2 miles once my blood got moving.  I arrived at Cady Way Park a little late and missed a couple runners from my training group.  I did see one of them and we said hi, but I wasn't ready yet.  There were a lot of runners out on the loop today, because it was only the second long run for MarathonFest.  Some of the newbies were only running 4 to 6 miles.  It's really amazing to think that they will be running a marathon in a few months.

I felt really good out there.  No pain.  I even felt that I was just cruising a couple times during the last 3 miles and pushed myself to the edge of getting out of breath.  From mile 6, I kept calculating my times trying to reach 10 miles at 8 minute pace.  I didn't quite make it.  I know that I pushed really hard on the last half mile, too.

10 miles in 1:21:46 which is an 8:10 pace.

So the reason I was sore from Thursday's workout is because we ran 200's.  3 sets of 4 reps with 200 recovery jog between reps and then 2 minute rest between sets.  We were supposed to run them fast, but not sprinting.  Coach wanted us to work on our form and our turnover, so I did.  I got good knee lift and drive.  Kept my arms in tight to my sides and elbows around 90 degrees.  I wasn't pushing off my hind legs too much and opening up my stride in fear of pulling a hamstring again.  I went as fast as I could go without sprinting and really going after it... if that makes any sense.

3 sets

So my fastest time was a 34, which is a 68 quarter or 4:32 mile, and my slowest time was 40, which is a 1:20 quarter or 5:20 mile.  There were a couple of reps that left my hands and feet tingling, but because we were only running 200's, it didn't last long.  Even though jogging recoveries seem harder than just resting between reps, it actually helps with the workout.  This was truly evident during my last set.  Coach was running during the entire workout clockwise on the inside field of the track.  On the last set, he noticed that my recovery jogs were really slow, so he told me that I needed to be jogging a little faster than my cooldown speed.  That seemed really hard to do, but I think it actually helped.

So the soreness on Friday and Saturday was more from the knee lift and drive more so than the actual speed of the workout.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two a Day Workout Monday

I made no plans to run twice on Monday.  If anything, I felt guilt, apathy, lethargy and rolled into my chest due to not running this weekend.  That made me get to bed early on Sunday evening and then I was determined to run 8-10 miles before work on Monday morning.  I got up at 4:30am, checked emails and news on the internet, and got out the door just as light was coming over the horizon.  The one mistake I made was watching the 10,000 meter race from the Prefontaine Classic before heading out the door.  That made me start out faster than I planned and I cut my run short.  I did a quick 1 mile warmup, stretched, and run a 23:30 5k and finished a 4 mile route in 31:45.  I already slowed down on the last mile and knew that I wasn't going to do well much beyond the distance I already covered.  At least I ran and I felt better than I did all weekend.

Here's a link to the video of the 10,000 meter run.  Great last 800 meters of the race. Warning: the video is 38 minutes.


As I said before, I had no plans to run twice. I rode my bike to work and felt really good the whole day. I was riding my bike home and noticed that the YMCA running club was near my apartment. I got home and changed back into my running gear as fast as I could.  By the time I got out the door, the stragglers were about 200 yards ahead of me.  I didn't warmup or stretch and oddly enough, my knees were not sore from the morning run, nor were they stiff.  I seemed like I was supposed to run again.

I caught a few of the runners and felt really good until I hit the 4 mile mark.  I just ran out of juice and finished up the last mile considerably slower.  All in all, I ran 10 miles for the day, which was my original goal before heading out the door in the morning.  Smashing success for me!


Just a note on today's workout (Tuesday)

Started with the normal 1 mile warmup and then 4 x 100 striders.

The actual workout plan was 5 or 6 reps of 600m at mile goal pace.  My goal pace is 6:00, so I should have run them at 2:14.  I went out fast on the first 3 reps and paid for it with lactic acid in my hands and lower legs.  That took me out of it for the last 2 reps and I didn't even try number 6.  My times (and equivalent mile pace):

2:09 (5:46), 2:07 (5:41), 2:10 (5:49), 2:25 (6:29), 2:33 (6:50)

I think I could have knocked them all out if I wouldn't have gotten all excited and actually run my pace.  I never even looked at the pace chart to calculate my goal splits.  In the end, I ran so slow on the last 2 that it put my average time over my goal time.  That is an ineffective workout, but I have to say that it was fun to get out after it and run that fast for the first couple.  Sometimes you just gotta have fun even if it's going to hurt a little in the end.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ab Work While Running 6 Miles

My running group normally runs speed work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Long runs we do on our own.  Today was Thursday.  That means speedwork, but my coach is making final preparations for the San Diego Marathon this Sunday and he literally mailed in his workout to us.  Run 3 miles out and back.  It's a course we run regularly.  At least a good portion of it was shaded, which wouldn't have been the case on the hot track.  I don't run very fast for anything over 3 miles.  Not out of attitude, but rather ability or should I say inability.  I liked the shade idea, but I didn't want to run 6 miles today.

Coach wanted us to run a negative time on the way back, too.  Not happening unless I walked the out portion.  Since I wasn't getting any speed benefits and didn't really feel like pushing myself for that long of a distance, I needed to come up with something to get through this workout.  Here's what I came up with.  I tightened up my abs for 10 seconds and relaxed for 10 seconds.  Repeat for 5 of 6 miles.  I didn't come up with the idea until I was a mile into the workout.  That was a great way to pass the time and not have to just keep thinking about putting one foot in front of the other.  I may do this more often.

So my back is still a little stiff, but the pain is subsiding.  I took a couple Aleve tablets this morning, but forget to take them this afternoon.  In lieu of Aleve, I popped a stronger pain med immediately prior to the workout.  I didn't feel the difference until we were on our way back, but what a difference.

Once this back pain and stiffness are completely gone, I am getting back to my core workouts.  I have been skipping them for the past few weeks.  I actually can't wait to do them now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Heat, Pain Pills, Dehydration... Something Didn't Want Me Running Today

I pulled my back on Sunday.  It was stiff, so I tried stretching it.  That's when I pulled something.  I've been here before and it's never pleasant.  This is when I start double dosing the Aleve's.  It usually takes 3-4 days to get back to normal this way.  Without taking anything, it takes 1-2 weeks.

Well, when you throw that into the mix of heat and being dehydrated (over caffeinated), things aren't going to go well.

The prescribed workout this afternoon was 4 to 5 sets of the following:  run an 800 at 5k race pace, 45 second rest, run 400 hard and rest for 3 minutes.  I made all of my goal times through the first 3 sets.  About a minute into the third rest, I started feeling light headed.  I hoped it would go away, but I just felt a little out of it.  I had enough energy to continue my workout, but didn't want to push it with the way my head was feeling.  I went over to a nearby Oak tree and set down in the shade for about 10 minutes.  That did the trick, but I was done for the day.

Hopefully, this back pain and stiffness will be gone by Thursday's workout.

In the meantime, here are a couple pics from the Lake Mary 5K.

If I remember correctly, this was about 1.25 miles since that is when the course overlaps for a bit
and I hadn't taken my shirt off yet.  I just happened to look at the photographer at the right time...
even though I look mad, I'm not. I actually don't even remember seeing someone taking pictures.
I am on the left with my 2nd place 35-39 Age Group medal.
In the middle is the 1st place AG winner and 3rd place on the right.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Longest Run in 20 Years for Me - 12 Miler

I didn't really warmup this morning and I didn't run with my group.  When running with our group, there is usually water and Gatorade in different places on the route.  On my route this morning, there was water.  Once every 4 miles there was water and that didn't seem to bother me too much until the last 2-3 miles when I really started dragging.

Not warming up a little wasn't a good idea.  I got right into it and my right hamstring was tight for the first 2 miles.  I stopped for a couple minutes and stretched it out, but my pace seemed to be trained into me already.  I ran the first 2 at 10 minute pace.  I pretty much kept that up the entire run, too.  As of last night, I planned on running my normal 10 miles, but since I started off so slow, I decided that I would make up for it by running a couple more miles.  Those last 2 miles were brutal for me.  I had no energy and it was really hard just to keep my legs going.

When I got home, I drank a Gatorade and a couple slices of deep dish pizza from my favorite place Pizzeria Uno's.  They're called Unos Chicago Grill or something like that now, but whatever.  I'm not showing up for anything but the pizza.  I sat down with my laptop and was about to start typing away on my blog, but I was literally delirious and couldn't type more than 3 letters without making typos.  I felt like I was going to pass out sitting up.  It took a good 30 minutes before the Gatorade and pizza really kicked in and started to give me some energy back.

The most I've run recently has been 10 miles.  I've done that distance plenty of times, but I haven't run 12 miles since high school when I did the the Citrus Bowl Half Marathon a couple of times.  I'm debating in my mind whether I want to try running 12 again next weekend or just settle back into 10 considering how depleted I felt this morning.

Just for a note on Thursday's workout.

Coach had us run 4.25 miles from the track around Lake Baldwin and back.  Our instructions were to run 5 minutes pretty hard, but just a little slower than 5k pace.  Then run slowly as a recovery for 2 minutes.  He said to do this 3 times since it was hot.  If we had a 4th one in us, then do it.  For good or bad, I ran a 5th hard portion plus another 25 seconds to bring it all the way home to the track.  I thought it was bad, because it took me that long to run 4.25 miles, but my coach thought it was good that I gave the effort of running a 5th portion.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Slightly Tweaked Ladder Workout

Tuesday's track workout was a ladder.  Normally when you run a ladder workout, it is something like 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400.  The distances can vary.  Here's the tweak.  We ran 11 x 400m.  The first 400 was to be run at 5k goal race pace.  I made my goal 1:40.  We had to run each lane of the track working our way out to Lane 6 while maintaining the same time.  For each lane you add, you are tacking on about 7 meters.  Here's the breakdown of actual distances by lane.

Lane 1 = 400m
Lane 2 = 407m
Lane 3 = 413m
Lane 4 = 420m
Lane 5 = 427m
Lane 6 = 434m

Then, we laddered our way back to Lane 1, but this time we had to try to run negatives.  I was close.  I only missed running a negative split twice, but all of my reps were below my goal time of 1:40.  The rest between reps was 1:15.

RepLaneDistanceTimeMile Pace
5k Pace

It was hot, but I felt really good for almost all of the workout.  I didn't feel like I was even warmed up until the 3rd rep.  I started to feel sluggish on rep 8 which was lane 4 on the way back down the ladder.  With these kinds of times, I should be running better 5k's.  Period.  I know it will come.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New 5K PR - 2nd Place in My Age Group

I ran the Lake Mary Community 5K Run & Walk this morning.  I got up a little later than I planned and had to cut my breakfast short.  I only ate half a whole wheat bagel and didn't feel like I had enough energy leading up to the race.  I did drink plenty of water, though.

I started at a good clip and felt like I could have just eased into a nice, comfortable pace.  Around half mile, I just felt like pushing more and wanted to start passing people.  I guess I had more in the tank than I originally thought.  I didn't go crazy getting into oxygen debt.  Just a little burst here and there.  The course had a lot of turns, so I would give a burst usually from 100 yards up through each turn.

I reached the first mile marker in 6:27, which seemed way too fast for me.  Usually when I run around that speed, I start feeling tingly in my hands and feet.  This time I did not, so I kept it up.  I hit the second mile marker at 13:01, so that's a 6:34.  I knew I was going to die or blow my PR out of the water.

Unfortunately, I felt like my chest was going to explode from the heat shortly after the 2 mile mark.  I slowed down to get some water and couldn't get the hand off and just splashed the water cup all over the place.  Didn't get any on me, though.  So I slowed down and that ruined my pace and then I didn't get any water to boot.

Shortly thereafter, I had to take my shirt off for a little ventilation.  I stopped and walked for 30 seconds while I removed my shirt and tucked it into the back of my shorts.  That helped immediately.  I remembered to leave the number facing outward, so they could read it.  There was someone reading the bib numbers on the far side of the track heading towards the finish.  Someone else sitting in the announcer booth read our names as we sprinted the last 100.  That was definitely a nice touch on the part of the race organizers.

I didn't catch my 3 mile split, but my finish time was 21:53.  What's crazy is that I was on pace to run a low 20 minute 5k.  I walked for 30 seconds and obviously slowed considerably otherwise on the 3rd mile.  I ran the final 1.1 miles in 8:52, so that's about an 8:04.  My average pace for the entire 5k was 7:03.

I definitely finished strong for the final 300 yards.  Coming into the final straightaway on the track, there was a guy about 10 yards ahead of me.  I went after him, he went into his sprint to challenge me and I put the afterburners on and held him off.

So not only did I get a new PR by 24 seconds, but I also took home a 2nd place medal for 35-39 Age Group.

This was a great day for me!  PR and some hardware!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Signed Up for the Lake Mary 4th Annual Community 5K Run and Walk

I signed up for Lake Mary 4th Annual Community 5K Run and Walk this Saturday, May 21st.  It benefits the athletics department at Lake Mary High School.  The money is supposed to go to a new artificial turf field and track.

It starts at the school, winds through the nearby neighborhoods and then finishes back on the track.  That should be interesting since it has three quarters of a lap on the track.  It could make for a good finish.

Here's a link for Central Floridians interested in entering this week.  http://www.lakemaryhs.scps.k12.fl.us/5k/

Here's a link to the event on Daily Mile that I created.  http://www.dailymile.com/events/48691-the-lake-mary-4th-annual-community-5k-run-and-walk

As a note, my right leg around the knee is still very painful.  I can't tell if it is inside the knee joint or the top part of my soleus.  Just did some basic research and I learned something that I probably should have already known. I never knew the difference between a sprain and a strain.  Now I do and so do you.

Sprains and Strains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament.  Ligaments connect bone to bone.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon.  Tendons connect muscle to bone.

It's time for bed.  I have watched too many ACL and Achilles Tendon Repair surgery videos.  Try these.

Achilles Surgery

ACL Surgery
Part 1

ACL Surgery
Part 2

Yeah, don't worry about it.  You're welcome!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Twinkie and Luther Fueled My 10 Mile Run This Morning

Let's see.  Three things to talk about today.  I did a 10 miler this morning.  Felt pretty good, although, I forgot to start my watch timer.  I know when I started and when I finished, but I don't know how long my water pit stops were.  I felt strong through 4 miles, just kept plodding one foot in front of the other through 8 miles and then got a second wind and felt strong again for the last 2 miles.  Overall, it took me 1 hour 29 minutes which includes 2 water breaks.  Maybe that's 4 minutes, so I ran somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 minute miles.  Not great by any means, but I got it done.  Around the 7-8 mile mark, I started feeling slight pain and tightness in my left hip again like 2 weeks ago.  This time, I tried to push off a little harder, increase my turnover rate and by getting a little more toe off, I raised my center of gravity a little and ended up not pounding the pavement so hard.  That seemed to help.  I timed the last 3 miles and that was 24:30, so 8:10 per mile.  The first 3 miles was probably about the same or slightly faster, which means the middle 4 was considerably slower.

It has been a little over 2 hours since I finished my long run.  My lower right thigh, knee, and upper calf are killing me right now.  I am probably going to take a nap shortly and see if it feels any better this afternoon.  I may need to talk to my little friend Aleve.  We'll see.

Second thing... Thursday's workout was the first hill workout since November and the hour change.  We don't run the hills in the winter, because it is too dark and the whole thing is on brick.  That would lead to some twisted ankles and probably some spills.  We ran the long 2.5 mile hill loop twice.  It was nice to run the hills, because it is half shaded by lots of Oak trees.  When it's 90 plus degrees, the shade makes it feel like 80 something and that is highly welcomed.  We ran the entire loop like a fartlek.  3 minutes hard followed by 1 minute easy and keep doing that until 5 miles is covered.  It was good, but a hard workout.  Over the course of the 2.5 miles, there are 5 hill segments.

Lastly, I have to mention what I ate last night.  I ate part of a deep fried Twinkie.  I have to start by saying that I have never liked Twinkies.  Now, if you take that Twinkie, dip it in batter a few times and dunk it down in a fryer, I likes me some Twinkie all of a sudden.  This was made by the Tree House Truck, which is a food truck in the Orlando area.  You can follow them on Twitter at @TreeHouseTruck.  It was raining, so I thought it best to stay under their awning.  Just let me lie to myself for a second, ok?  I started looking over their menu and they have a few burgers on it.  One of them is called the BearGrr... AKA "The Luther".  I grabbed this picture from another blog and it shows what a Luther is.

The Luther
This is a bacon cheeseburger between 2 Krispy Kreme donuts.  This is something like no other.  I loved it.  Sweet on a greasy burger and throw in a bacon accent.  Forget about it.  If you are in Orlando, follow the Tree House Truck on Twitter and track them down.  They even took my order on an iPad and then paid them with my debit card on their iPhone.  It's like the future is now payment method.

I did share the burger with 2 other people, so I diffused the caloric intake just a wee bit.  I also have to admit that I wanted to try a chicken and waffle sandwich with gravy, but decided I would have to wait for another time.  It was hard, but I did prioritize my long run this morning.  I will find Melissa's Chicken n Waffles food truck another day and another place, but I will find it.  Maybe that can be my next Friday night dinner leading into my next 10 miler.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I-Drive 5K Run - Race Report

It was cool this morning and there was a very light breeze.  Perfect conditions for a race.  It did start to get a little warm on the course, but nothing major.  The drive down to the tourist corridor on I-4 was easy, but traffic was snarled once we got onto International Drive.  My girlfriend drove us, so I hopped out of the car about half a mile from the race area.  It was a nice warmup.  I got to take my time jogging by the new Peabody Hotel.  I didn't have time to look at during the race for obvious reasons.  That hotel turned out really nice.

I lined up about 3 people back from the start, so I got off at my own pace.  The first half mile was completely in the shade of buildings, so that was perfect.  I hit the first mile at 6:39.  I knew that I had to be around 6:45 to have a decent 5k, so I started well.  I slowed a little on the second mile.  It wasn't getting too hot, but the sun was in your face for most of it.  I hit the 2 mile clock at 14:04, so that was a split of 7:25.

The last mile was a straight stretch and at least the sun was at your back.  I felt like I was struggling to keep up and I started getting passed by a few people.  Every time someone went by, I used them as motivation to push a little more and keep my pace.  I also kept reminding myself of my speed work and tried to break the mile up into stretches that were like laps on the track in my mind.  I hit the 3 mile marker at 21:48.  My goal was to be there at 21:30 assuming that I continued at the same pace through the finish.  That would hit my goal around 22:15.  Of course, I was a little after my goal, but you also don't finish the last tenth of a mile at the same speed.  That last mile split was 7:44, so I dropped off again.  I finished in 22:25 and they actually announced my name as I was coming across the finish line!!!  That was fun to hear my name on the PA system.

Overall, there weren't too many turns.  It was a very flat course and the temperature was cool to moderate for central Florida.  The finish area was a little cramped, but everything was in the shade of the building at Pointe Orlando.  I liked it.  I will definitely run this race again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Run, Burrito, and Beers!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Got my run done, ate a delicious chicken burrito, and I am now enjoying beer.  It's English Brown Ale, but close enough.

The new shoes are still doing me right.  I love the smell of new shoes and they still have that scent.  Who knows how long it will last, but you have to enjoy it while you can.

Today's workout was pretty quick.  6 to 8 reps of 600 meters run at 5k goal pace.  I definitely ran them too fast.  The shorter the distance, the faster I run.  Some people like to run long and smooth.  I like to run quick.  Sometimes I run slow; sometimes I run quick... quick... quick.

I did the first 2 reps at 2:15.  That's exactly 6 minute mile pace or 18:45 for a 5k.  That is way faster than my goal pace.  I felt good and strong on the next 2, but my right calf started tightening up towards the end of rep number 4.  I started feeling pain during 5 and I made number 6 my last since I didn't want to pull anything.

I did extra stretching on my calves for good measure and I am now wearing my handy dandy Recovery Socks to make sure everything is back to normal for the I Drive 5K Run on Saturday morning.

That's the roundup for today.  Happy Cinco Day!  I'm ready for another Newcastle and then it's time to hit the sack.  It's Ride Your Bike To Work Day tomorrow and there should be a good turnout riding with the Orlando Mayor in the morning.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Long Run with a New Pair of Shoes

I just bought a new pair of running shoes yesterday.  I already like my Asics Gel Cumulus 12's.  As named, they made me feel like I was running on clouds.  My warmup was just a hair over 1 mile and immediately I could feel the difference.  I was stiff, but there was no joint pain "like normal."  What a feeling it is to have no pain.

This was a group run and I stayed with my group for 3 miles.  We had 7:47, 15:11, and a low 23 range time for splits.  It was a little faster than I wanted to go, but it was good to push it and be able to stay with my group.  There is normally a water stop at that point and I was getting thirsty after the 2nd mile.  I stopped for 30 seconds and then got back on pace.  I watched the group go around a corner and checked my time when I went around the same corner to gauge how far off pace I was dropping.  After another mile, I was behind by 1 minute and 5 seconds, so if I didn't stop, I would have dropped back only 35 seconds.  Not too bad.

At one point during the run (around 5 miles), the group went straight and I ran off to the right.  I knew there was a water fountain at Cady Way Park.  That was the 6 mile mark and I stopped for water.  Maybe 2 minutes to catch my breath a little.  My core/chest was starting to get hot, so I took my tech shirt off and wore it around my waist.  What a difference that makes for cooling your core area.

About half a mile later, I misjudged a slight incline and pushed my right foot into the ground a little too hard.  This caused some pain in my patellar tendon where it attaches to the quads.  I had to slow down a little and take some short strides for about 200 meters until the pain subsided.

Once that went away, I got a sharp pain in my left hip.  Changing my stride didn't help much with that and I didn't want to start walking.  I had been running on the left side of the road for some time and it was angled which most road are.  I went over to the right side of the road and the pain went away.  I usually don't like running on the right side for obvious safety reasons (can't see cars coming from behind), but also because that usually makes my left ankle hurt.

Overall, the new shoes are fantastic.

I don't remember where I found this recipe, but it tastes decent and you get some of your vegetables and fruit in at the beginning of your day.  It's a green smoothie.

Blend 1 cup of water and 1 cup of kale leaves (get rid of thick stems) until the kale is broken into very small particles and it looks like green sludge. Add 1 cup of raw spinach and continue blending.  Add 1 banana and to make the smoothie cooler, I add frozen mixed fruit.  Usually this is blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.  That's the normal smoothie.  This morning, I added half cup of broccoli after the spinach.  I don't know how much fiber I just took in, but it should undo any damage that happens tonight from eating at the Daily City Food Truck Bazaar.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Forefoot Striking and What is Truly Natural Running

I finally signed up for the I-Drive 5K Run on Saturday, May 7th.  That's only a week away and I also went out and bought myself a new pair of running shoes.

The pair that I have been using are Asics Gel Nimbus 11's.  I am a forefoot striker and these worked well for me, but they have literally worn out their welcome.  As you can see from the picture below, the heels are barely scuffed, yet the forefoot area is worn through.  This is my left shoe, which is in worse condition than my right.  At the top, you can see that 2 whole pads are completely gone.

I don't think that can be too good for my feet and legs.  Now, I believe that it is natural to run with your forefoot striking first while the majority of runners use the heel striking form.  This has been explained by many people on blogs, in books and if you don't come to it naturally yourself, just look at nature around us.  Sure, we walk upright and that is different than other animals.  Let's look at the easiest examples to be found.  Cats and dogs.  They always walk and run on their forefeet.  Their heels rarely touch the ground.  See below.

I created the cat diagram and I found the dog diagram, but you can see what I am trying to show.  We, humans, are the oddballs that are walking on our heels/ankles.  I wonder if we are loosing power and speed this way.

In any case, running au natural is becoming the latest hot topic in running.  This makes sense if you plan on running on clay, sand, grass, or dirt.  That would be completely natural.  I do tend to believe that people are taking it overboard when they try to run on sidewalks or streets barefoot, though.  The last time I checked, pavement of any kind is not made in nature.  Thus, it behooves us to wear appropriate footwear for such endeavors.  I will continue to run on my forefeet, but I will not run barefoot on pavements.

Enough already.  I am very excited to have a new pair of running shoes.  You don't realize how old your shoes are until you put on a pair of new ones.  That's for sure.  Not that I was trying to do this purposely, but I stuck with the Asics cloud theme.  I had Gel Nimbus 11's and this time I got Gel Cumulus 12's.  Check 'em out...

If I can get up in the morning all goes well, I will be trying them out tomorrow morning for a long run.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It is Summer in Florida Folks!

Today's track workout took place in temperatures in the high 80's... okay, it was 89 degrees out there although the humidity was normal.  In Orlando, that's still very humid, but not quite "swampy" yet.  Our seasons are a little different here.  Spring is in February and March, April and May are Summer, and June through August are Super Swampy Summer.  September and October are like Summer 2 and November and December are Fall.  Winter?  We don't need one.

I thought coach was going to give us mile repeats, but instead went with the slightly shorter 1000m repeats.  4 or 5 of them depending on how many you could handle in the heat.  I ran my times and didn't go out too fast on the first one, so I was able to keep it together for all 5.  That right there felt like an accomplishment considering most people don't even workout in these temperatures.  An indoor track would have been nice.  No doubt.

The goal pace was 5k race pace.  I looked at the chart and went for something that was 1 minute faster than my last race and still looked obtainable.  That was 4:20 per kilometer and I gave myself a 4:20-4:24 range.  That would be a 21:40-22:02 actual 5k if you strung it out.

Like I said, I went my pace the whole way.  The first one was perfect in 4:23.  Oddly enough, I thought I sped up just a hair on the second one, but I came in 4:33.  Who knows sometimes how it's going to work out?  From that point, I ran negatives.  4:28, 4:21, and 4:18.  I felt really good and the heat never really got to me.  I could see it taking the energy out of some of the other runners in my group, though.  Most of the runners opted for 4 reps and normally I would.  There was something in me.  My little voice inside usually whines about my feet, calves, hamstrings, and knees hurting.  But today, that little voice said that those pains don't matter.  Only a cramp will slow you down today, so run your workout.  And I did and it felt great!

As a note, I didn't run on Saturday or Sunday.  I spent most of that time recouping from not sleeping Thursday evening and staying up way too late on Friday night.  Thursday, my mother went into the hospital for an operation and I stayed with her overnight.  I did get a speed session on the track of 8x400m and at least got all my times under 1:30 except the last one which I hit right on.  Friday was a hard day just staying alert and working.  My mom got released that afternoon.  One of my coworkers is leaving the company, so we sent him off the right way.  With heavy drinking, of course.  All of that led to my eventual downfall on Saturday.  No way was I going for a run or racing for that matter.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Speed is Hard the Day After a Long Run

First off, shout out to a running legend.  Grete Waitz passed away today at the age of 57.  I'd say that she has a claim to fame, but she was a world record holder and won a lot of marathons.  She held records ranging from 3000 meters through the marathon.  'Nough said.  You don't know who she was to the running community of the 70's and 80's?  Yahoo has a good write up and Wikipedia has her best times in one place.

I was hoping the workout was going to be fast and short, so it would be over quickly.  My legs are still sore from yesterday's long run and not fully recharged so to speak.  I wanted to get home and watch the Orlando Magic play the Atlanta Hawks in game 2 of their playoff series, too.

I got out of work late, so I only got one extra lap before we started the regular warmup run.  1.25 miles there.  We stretched and ran 4x100 striders as usual.

The workout was not new.  400, 800, 400.  3 sets.  Since it was hot and humid, coach increased the recovery 15 seconds to 1:15 between reps and the rest between sets from 3 minutes to 4 minutes.  Big thanks on that!  OK.  The first 400 was mile pace.  The 800 was 5k pace.  The second 400 was faster than the first. My goals were 1:30, 3:30, 1:25ish.

I ran the entire first set faster than planned.  That's OK, since I didn't go so hard as to get my arms tingling like I have done in the past.  I ran 1:26, 3:13, 1:23.  My legs were killing me.  I'm not talking about feeling sluggish and heavy.  I'm not talking about muscles even feeling tight.  My patellar (knee) tendons were in a lot of pain and my entire lower leg bones hurt.  It wasn't my shins and it wasn't calves.  Bone is the only thing left.  And that screams shin splints to me.

I already knew at this point that I should have done my long run on Sunday to give myself an extra day of rest.  Too late now.  The second set was right on pace and slightly faster throughout.  On the last set, I missed by 2 seconds on the 400 and 800.  I made the last 400 under time, but I had to dig hard the last 100 of it.  I should have commanded this workout.  I skipped the regular cooldown and rode my bike home.

Oh yeah, the Magic beat the Hawks 88-82 and evened the series.  Next game is Friday night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Ryan Hall American Marathon Record Breaking Inspired Run This Afternoon

The inspiration was about the only thing related to my run.  Ryan Hall breaks records; I listen to them.

I didn't feel good about my long run being cut short on Saturday, so I decided that I needed a do over.  It was even hotter in the afternoon today, but I was feeling inspired by following the Boston Marathon online.  Ryan Hall led most of the men's race and Desiree Davila was so close to winning the women's race.  Ahhh!  That's got to hurt.  I hope she wins it one day.

Back to me...

The first part of my run was 4.35 miles in 38:10, which is 8:46 per mile pace.  Felt like I was running faster though.  Stopped for maybe 2 minutes to go inside my apartment, drink a glass of water, run my arms and my head under the sink and then get back in it.

This is like when I wanted to give up on Saturday, but Ryan Hall didn't give up today so neither was I.

I finished another 2.83 miles in 21:59, which is 7:46 per mile pace.  Oddly enough, I felt like I was running about the same speed as the earlier part of my run.

In total, I got 7.18 miles (8:22 avg) logged in 1:00:09 which doesn't include my warmup of 1.69 miles.  That brings me to a total of 8.87 miles for the day.

I need a 55 gallon drum filled with water at the track on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  There's gotta be a way to figure out how to cool off during the speed sessions this summer, so I can continue to be productive.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

(RUNNING) In the Right Direction: Blog Help...

(RUNNING) In the Right Direction: Blog Help...

What is the "Links to this post" all about on Blogger?

Running Hot and Biking Cool

Today was an odd one.  I planned (not really or I wouldn't have been drinking Friday night) to run Saturday morning in a group run for 10 miles at 6am.  I slept right through that.  11:30am it is.  10 miles?  Maybe.

It was hot by 11:30am.  85 degrees and humid.  No cloud cover, so it was really fun running on the roads.  Sun from above and heat from the road.  I can't wait for summer!

I started with a 12 minute first mile as my warmup and I didn't intend to stretch.  Go right into it.  I was still stiff for my second mile and couldn't open up my stride yet, but I picked it up the pace regardless.  I stopped at the local Publix for a quick water break since they have a fountain inside.  The next two miles went by relatively easy, but the heat was definitely taking its toll on me.  I didn't feel like pushing the envelope, so I finished my run at 5 miles.  My time was 45:07, which is an average of 9:01 pace.

I want to know what my average pace is without including the first warmup mile.  45:07 minus the 12 minute warmup is 33:07.  That comes out to 8:16 per mile.  That would have been a good pace if I ran the whole 10 miles, but I might have been able to do that if weren't 85 degrees with the sun beating down on me.

I took some advice from danny and ran my head under water, but since I didn't have a barrel out in the middle of the road, I stopped running.  It was a necessary step in cooling down, though.

That was it for running.  I stayed the rest of the daylight hours inside.  I grilled out as the sun was going down and threw down 3 cheeseburgers with mushrooms and onions.  Awesome stuff.

As the night went on, I just felt uneasy.  I'm not sure if it was the Orlando Magic losing their first playoff game to the Atlanta Hawks or the 3 cheeseburgers sitting in my gullet.  Maybe both.  Around 11pm, something hit me and I just had to go ride my bike.

I know a point in the neighborhood that is 2 miles away and thought that may be a good ride for an out and back.  When I got there, I took notice that the main road at this point has a bike lane and there wasn't too much traffic out there.  I rode to the end of the bike lane at the next traffic light and that happened to be .7 miles.  I did up and backs 3 times, so that covered another 4.2 miles.  I just felt free out there, because it felt so cool compared to the daytime and riding a bike is so much easier than running.  I almost felt like I was flying.  I could have kept going for another hour with no problems, but I only wanted to break a sweat and burn off some energy (burgers).

Friday, April 15, 2011

IOA Corporate 5K Race Report

I don't know how many people ran and walked this thing, but estimates are between 14-15,000.  That is not a lot for a marathon, but it is a gross amount of people for a 5k.  There are a few reasons why this becomes a nuisance for seasoned runners.

First, novice runners are everywhere.  You don't get this in a marathon, because people don't venture out and run marathons on a whim.  Anyone off the street knows better.  This is not the case with a 3 mile race.  There are plenty of people that think they can run 3 miles and the best is when you see some of them sprinting the beginning.  There are some sprinters and they are usually done by about quarter mile and start walking.  Then, there are the average hares.  They run until a mile, because they have no clue how far a mile is.  I have to admit that I've done this before, though.  Once.  My first day at cross country practice when I was fourteen years old.  I ran with the top 2 runners for about quarter mile, then faded and ran with the number 3 runner for the remainder of the first mile.  Coach Thomas pulled me laughingly pulled me aside about that point and explained to me something called "pace."  Whatever!  Just kidding.

Secondly, the joggers that go running from time to time, but don't know how fast they are.  These are the people that just line up out of place.  They want to be near the front for the start, but don't know that people running under 6 and 7 minutes should be near the front.  These are the people that I passed usually up until the 1.5 mile mark.  These are the people that bunched up the beginning and crowded the line and made my time slower by about 30 seconds.

Lastly, people that are of the two above types don't know how to get out of other runners' way.  When you are about to give up, which is inevitable to someone out of practice, you need to move to the nearest side of the road and make way.  These people just stop in their tracks as if hundreds of people aren't right behind them.  The ones that know to move off to the side, don't "check their mirrors" and look over their shoulder when sideswiping others.  I gave some these people a forearm.  Not a shove, but more of a guide as to say, "Stay in your lane."

The course was pretty much a rectangle, which made it fast.  That was nice.  One of the first turns was funny. You could see the novices getting nervous and moving all around going into it.  Some going to the inside.  Some going to the outside.  I just yelled out, "Stay calm people and keep going straight."  The guy directly in front of me who kept zig-zagging back and forth, got the message loud and clear.  That was nice, because I was about to pass him on the upcoming little hill and I definitely didn't need him tripping me.

End of rant.  I do wonder how many people ran into my elbows, though.

My Run:

First mile, clogged up and the first 100 meters specifically is the worst brick street in the entire metro area.  Central in Thorton Park is not good to ankles, knees, or tires for that matter.  Hit the first mile at 7:30.  As soon as I saw my time, I sped up and started weaving my way to little pockets where I could stride out and be comfortable running my pace.

The next mile was pretty good.  Anytime I felt like I was coasting along, I easily reminded myself that I wasn't truly pushing.  I then forced myself to move forward just a little faster.  It is a race afterall.  It was a nice easy pace.  I hit the 2 mile mark at 14:47, so that one was a 7:17 split.  That at least put me under the 23 minute window.  I wanted to get on the other side of 22:30, so I had to pick it up a little more.

On the last mile, I tried to go faster since I knew I had to make up some more time, but there will little lulls when I was just coasting and didn't notice it immediately, so my response to push myself harder didn't kick in right away.  Not sure what that was all about.  Somewhere between half and quarter mile to go, one of my fellow Sandbaggers passed me and that's when I knew that I had to pick it up for the finish.  I stayed just a few strides behind her and then let loose on the last tenth of a mile once I hit the 3 mile clock.  My 3 mile time was 22:08, so my mile split was 7:21.  I ran the last tenth of a mile in 36 seconds, which is a mile pace of 5:00.  Hardly a pace though, considering I was near all out.  I could have gone faster, but I don't try to sprint at all anymore.  That's when my hamstrings can't quite keep up and get pulled.

My final 5K time was 22:44 by my watch.  Average pace for the entire 5K was 7:19 per mile.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I thought I knew where I was going

The problem with doing long runs with a group is when you think you know where you're going and you fall behind.  Of course, that is what happened this morning.

The loop we run covers 10 miles and there are water and Gatorade stations every 2-3 miles.  There are so many people running that you are either passing or getting passed by runners the entire time and there are people that start at different points and going both directions.  It's crazy how many people are out on this course at 6am.

I tried to find a video on the internet, but I guess that would be hard to do.  That is record and run at the same time.  I've seen people do it and the results usually aren't that spectacular.  Bouncing and cameras are not friends.  Well, I was able to find the course map online (obviously after I got home) and if you look just before the 5 mile mark, you can see a school called Rollins College.  That's where I went the wrong direction somewhere and ended up on their campus for like 5 minutes walking around trying to find the road out of there.

I was frustrated and started getting mad at myself and at the idea of the course going through this campus in the first place.  I knew I could just go around the school and continue on, but I wanted to find my way.  And the whole "guys don't stop and ask for directions" doesn't apply here, because I couldn't really ask one of the maintenance guys to point me in the direction of my running group.  I mean, maybe I could...

I figured that I had to be at least half a mile since I hit the 4 mile water stop and if I just went back the way I came, then I'd have 9 miles logged.  So that's what I did.  It ends up that I logged 9.74 miles, so it worked out quite well.  And for good measure since I wasn't sure how far I had gone, I loosened my laces and slowly jogged another mile after finishing.  Total for the day was around 10.8 miles.

At least I have a map of the course now.  Thanks Joel for posting it to your Daily Mile.  Next time will be better.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Last Hard Workout Before the Corporate 5k

Today was the last hard workout before the IOA Corporate 5k on next Thursday evening.  I don't feel like I am quite ready, but if you wait forever to "jump in the ring," you never will be.

For today's workout, we had a 4 mile tempo run.  I started off with 1.75 miles as a warmup, which I took faster than normal, but I felt really strong.  My legs weren't as sore as they normally are.  Followed that up with light active stretching and our normal striders.

My hammies were a little tight to start the workout, but we were running tempo, so I didn't have anything to worry about.  Coach asked us to start around half marathon pace and work our way into a faster pace.  Get it down between 5k and 10k goal pace.  I did that.

I had to keep telling myself to push harder just to keep my speed as constant as possible.  I was able to do this through about 2.5 miles and I gave up.  I really wanted to make it through 3 miles, because that would be the distance of next week's race.  I wasn't concerned about the last mile, but when I broke mentally at 2.5, that just made it worse the rest of the way.  I only walked for about 10-15 seconds and then got back to the same pace for about a mile and then jogged for about 30 seconds before finishing up strong.

When I hit the 5k mark, I think I was around 24 minutes.  If I knew that I only had to run 3.1 miles, I think I could have kept running to that point without any walking or jogging.  That still would put my time over 23 minutes, though.  I'm not happy about that and it isn't going to be any cooler next week.  It was in the 80's this afternoon for sure.  At least there was a breeze.

Off topic here, but is anyone from Philadelphia or Washington DC?  I'm thinking about going up to either one or both cities for New Year's and was wondering what there is to do besides the museums.  Thanks.

Three Things for This Thursday April Theventh

3 Things:  Pace, Pulse, and Pressure

First off, I want to take my usual notes about my latest running workout.  That's the Pace... or lack thereof.

Tuesday's workout was 400 repeats.  3 sets.  4 reps in the first with 1:15 recovery.  2 minute rest.  3 reps in the second set with 1:00 recovery.  2 minute rest.  2 reps in the third set with 45 second recovery between them.

That sounded like a piece of cake.  Of special note, I have dropped 5 pounds since last week.  I went from 180 to 175 and I think I was feeling lighter out there on the track.  That's good and bad.  The good is the benefit of feeling lighter and therefore being able to run just a little faster.  The bad was that speed and not being able to reign it in and stay under control at the beginning of the workout.

Coach Nate wanted us to run these 400's at mile pace.  That's around 6:07 for me, so that makes my quarter time around 1:32.  How did I do?  This dumb-ass decided to run 400's at 5:20 pace.  I took the lead out the gate.  I ran the first 3 reps in 1:18-1:20 each.  By the last stretch of the 3rd rep, my arms and legs were tingling.  I don't know exactly what that is scientifically, but that is usually a sign to me that I am running too fast and won't be able to keep it up much longer.  The 4th rep was 1:28.  Much slower than the other 3, but still under my goal speed.

Set number 2.  That was just brutal.  My legs were now connected to cement shoes.  My arms had no drive and I was panting after 100 meters.  I wanted to give up.  I have no idea what my times were and I don't even care.  I ran them.  They were definitely over 1:30 and probably close 1:35/1:37.

That last set of 2 reps should have been really easy.  The first one of those hurt like crazy and I could only plod my legs forward and just think each stride was a couple feet closer to the finish line.  I don't know what my time was.  The very last 400 was hard, but knowing it was my last one made it easier mentally.  I ran that in 1:28, so not only did it feel good to finish, but I also made my goal time.

This workout was tough, but it felt really good to run that fast.  Some of the guys in my group were complementing me for my efforts.  That was definitely for the first 3 reps, since they all beat me on the rest of the runs.  What's really mind blowing is that my fast reps were just slightly better than my coach's pace for a 10k last Saturday.  I could keep up with him for a quarter mile, maybe a half mile of a 6 mile race.  That's probably how he feels about the Kenyans, though.

Here's the Pulse and the Pressure.

I've been taking my blood pressure and pulse at the local grocery store lately.  I know I need more data to get a better assessment, but my blood pressure seems to have been going down and I think it is attributed to eating better in general the past month or two.

2 weeks ago (drove to the store midday before eating and exercise):
135/80, p=39  (that BP is considered in the High Normal range)

An hour after eating and drove to the store on 4/3/2011:
129/73, p=52  (BP is Normal, but my pulse was much higher yet still considered Normal.)

An hour after hard workout (above) and a mile bike ride to the store on 4/5/2011:
118/80, p=62  (BP systolic is Normal, but distolic is High Normal.  Pulse is high, but I just got off a bike.)
When I was in high school, I used to check my blood pressure at least once per week since we had a kit at home.  I consistently was 110/70, which is considered either Low Normal or Athletic.  I was definitely of the Athletic variety.  I hope to get it close to that again one day.

Most people only talk about how fast they run, but c'mon, a lot of us run, because it is a good way to exercise in hopes of living longer.  This just happens to be a sport or exercise that you can do by yourself or in a group and you can see measurable results by the amount of work you put forth.  And the skill level is relatively low.  Even little kids can put one foot in front of the other and repeat.  The 2 most common measurable results which you hear about and acknowledge are times (hopefully going down) and weight (also hopefully going down.)  I want people to take notice that your weight is not the only vital sign that can improve with running.  Blood pressure and pulse are also very important and definitely measurable.  There are numerous factors that can change your BP, though, and they can be time from last food intake, time from recent exercise, time of day.  That is why I have left notes on whether I drove or rode a bike to the store and whether I just ate.  There may be other factors as well, but perhaps a doctor or nurse can explain that better.  I am neither, but I hope this gets at least one more person thinking and perhaps, looking forward to their next doctor's visit.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hitting the Road... on Wheels

I ran 2.5 miles just after noon today and my legs felt heavy and my knees hurt the entire time.  I ran the whole thing between 10 and 11 minute per mile pace.  I knew that I wanted to keep working out, though.

I hit the road on my bike.  Now this may seem quite normal to triathletes, but I don't have a road bike.  This is my road bike...

No gears, fat tires, wide handlebars.  This is good for trolling your neighborhood about 5 miles and then it starts to wear on you.  I got 18.4 miles logged.  DailyMile says that my run and my ride came out to 1900 calories.  My legs are tired, but I feel really good about it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

With every excuse, a little dream dies inside.

That's the saying I came up with today.  I typed it on my computer, printed it off, and taped it to my wall.

While it may seem negative to some people, so is the pain in your legs before the endorphins kick in.  Pushups when your arms and stomach burn to exhaustion are negative.  In the end, whatever it takes to get out that door and on the street, that's what matters.  This came to me after I said that I was going to run this morning and then I put it off to run errands around town and then came home and laid down for a nap.  I taped this to the wall before I went out for my 5.75 mile run this afternoon.

My thighs felt fresh.  Usually they are tight and slightly sore.. they're sore now as I'm typing though.  My knees were a little stiff, but didn't have any pain.  The only time I checked my watch was when I knew I hit the first mile.  I did that in 8:45 and thought I might speed up as I went.  I never did.  I just kept cruising at that pace the rest of the way.  It was a really good run.  My only complaint is that I didn't have an opportunity for water until the last mile.  At that point, I figured what's the use.  I'm practically home and why mess up the groove.

I completed 5.75 miles in 50:57 which is an average pace of 8:50 per mile.

I think my legs felt so fresh today, because of the run I did yesterday.  I had every intention of running 5 miles after work, but due to plans to go with my girlfriend to the Seminole Community College Planetarium, I cut it short to 2.5 miles.  Those short runs seem to just work out the kinks and you are done around the same time you are warmed up.

The Planetarium was cool, too.  After the show, we got to look through one of the telescopes at Saturn.  It is the only planet visible from our skies right now.  You could see the rings around the planet.  That was way cool.  I learned a few things about astronomy.  When you look at the stars, the ones that twinkle truly are stars and the ones that don't are actually planets.  Who knew?  Apparently the astrogeek at the plantarium.