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.