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Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 24 - June 30 in Review

Sunday, June 24, 2007 -- rest
Monday, June 25, 2007 -- 9.5 miles
Tuesday, June 26, 2007 -- 4.8 miles
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 -- rest
Thursday, June 28, 2007 -- track workout, 6.03125 miles
Friday, June 29, 2007 -- rest
Saturday, June 30, 2007 -- 8.0 miles

Total: 28.33 miles

Summary: The week's mileage increased to my highest seven day total. Felt good, had good runs and workouts, and am glad to have put in some good days of LSD. Good all around. Three rest days felt good.

Looking FWD: My base is still building. I'm not sure how long this will be my main focus, or when I will have gotten it, but, at least, another month is required.

This week: I hope to run at least two days at five miles LSD, and race Wednesday July 4. I intend to race hard, and want to hit a time, so the days before need to be well-considered. The race falls mid-week, meaning my LSD hopes might need to adjusted. Maybe Monday (shorter) and Saturday (longer).

8 Miles - 1:12:47

8 Miles - 1:12:47 (9:05.8/mile)

total: 8 miles

Wind: NE at 5 mph
Humidity: 93%
course: IPP

Wind: NE at 5 mph
Humidity: 54%

Felt great. Ran the usual Prairie Path course north from zero. I was mostly around 9:00, with two miles in the middle which, at a glance seemed 9:30 and 10:00.

My last mile was strong, at around 8:15.

Cooler weather helped, but it was humid to start. I can't say it bother me much: I felt great, had rhythm, and my pace seemed steady.

Big crowds today. The tail end of a CARA marathon training club was finishing up. insects seemed at bay.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Freedom Four 4-Mile Run - July 4

Freedom Four 4-Mile Run

Time's come to run a race. Waylaid by rain last week, a new race has presented itself -- this time, a four miler.

My goal last week was a 7:49/7:50 pace, to run 24:15 for 5K. Hoping that I have continued to improve, I am aiming for 31:00 (7:45). The race is said to be hilly, so I might not have what it takes; I've run very few hills.

Last year's times suggest I could get 169th place if I hit my time. That's 37th in my age group.

July 4: Freedom Four 4-Mile Run
Join the biggest event of the running season! There are nine age divisions. Awards will be presented to the top two male and female finishers in each division at 9 am on the football field. A Freedom Four shirt is guaranteed to every pre-registered participant and given to day of race registrants while supplies last. Postcards with a participant’s race time and place (both category and overall) will be available on site within 20 minutes of finish time. Total results will be posted by 2 pm on the band shell during the afternoon festivities as well as Day-of-race registration and packet pick-up will begin at 6 am and will end at 7:30 am.
All Ages
Glenbard West Football Field
Participant Check in: 6 am-7:30 am
Race begins: 8 am
Register Online or click to download a registration form

Thursday, June 28, 2007

6:48 mile - modern PR

2 mile wu
6x100 striders
3x200s (100)[400]
3x250 (50)[400]
1 mile
600 wd

total: 6.03125 miles

Wind: NE at 14 mph
Humidity: 59%
course: Wheaton track

My mile went well - 6:48: 1:47, 1:37, 1:48, 1:36. That's a modern PR for me, better than the 7:25 treadmill time I have been holding onto since March 29. It was after some hard, but not too fast, running. I think I could drop another :30 if I was fresher. We'll redo this workout in the fall, I'm told, so I'll be able to use today as a benchmark.

Overall, I felt good. I think I left the track well, feeling like I worked hard, but still have more in me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Racing vs. Running

Racing only exists, as I see it, when there's something besides myself to beat. My default position is to race against myself, so that doesn't count. Time doesn't really count either, since beating a time is really just running faster than I did before.

Now, it is weird. I used to be able to race, so it is funky just trying to survive. As I drop pounds, develop muscle, remind my lungs to work a little harder, racing will follow running.

How to race?
That's a profound question. Racing is philosophically different than merely looking to achieve a time. I wonder what Olympic level runners say would say. Which did/would he want most - Olympic medal, beat whomever is considered the champ, or get a world record?

I think part of racing presumes that which is being raced is in the race. The clock is not racing - it can't. People race. We race for a prize - even if that prize is just knowing I beat the other guy.

Racing too, means there's no guarantee I'll win. If I were to race Jim, what race is that? I run my tail off, he jogs, and I'm still five me behind. There must be some realistic shot at winning, but a reasonable possibility of losing. I'm thankful for age group competitions -- it evens out the score a little.

For the heavyset guys, the Clydesdale category keeps it more honest. I'm short and not especially heavy. Most guys at 6'0" 250 lbs haven't a fair chance, but he can beat other big guys.

Sometime soon, I'm hoping to be in a race, and realize there's something to beat - probably, just snagging the last age group award in a smaller race. Seems those 40-45 year-old guys aren't going to just give me a medal. But, when the time comes when I realize that my ability is potentially on par with that last guy (I check previous year's results), well, then, the gauntlet's off.

Hopefully, I'll 'race' this coming spring. At the moment, I'm itchy to see what improvement the last month has held. My last 5K was June 2. 78.13 miles (3.13 miles/day) since then, plus three of Jim's Thursday night butt kickings ought to have done something favorable.

At least, I hope so.

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Let 'em know what you do, and help pay for my races.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

4.8 miles - running and walking

4.8 miles
45 minutes
mix of running and walking

Wind: S at 7 mph
Humidity: 76%
course: IPP eastward from Glenbard West

Heat/humidity, yesterday's run made for a hard little jog. A hard rain came and went, leaving a steamy air along the path.

Ran with a few people from the Spivey Running Club, making the run better than running alone. Being tired from yesterday, this forced me to keep up more, and not bow out. I'll take Wednesday as a recovery day. This might answer part of my need to run with other runners - they do this every Tuesday.

Running Partners?

Finding a running partner is tough because I'm slow, but getting faster.

Running yesterday not quite 10 miles, being out there almost 100 minutes, my pace lagged as my mind wandered and I became tired. A running partner could help. Finding one who can keep my pace (who is willing to run my pace) is not easy. My pace and fitness have not stabilized, and it hardly helps that some days I cut a workout short because I'm feeling crummy.

Today, I'm doing these long things at 10:00/mile, but am expecting to be at 9:00 soon, and continually dropping. No running partner is likely to improve as quickly -- they are already at 8:00 and below, or found a spot in the 10:00 range that works well for them.

I thought of putting up an ad in our church, but I don't want to run with someone a month, only to find I have gotten faster. Love 'em and leave 'em seems unfair.

There are some running clubs in the area. A bigger one might offer a range of runners that I can grow with, as opposed to just a friend with whom I'll only run with for a short time.

None of this precludes the Spivey Running Club. That's a buzz. It is not just speedwork, but the perspective I enjoy. These guys are training hard, but also retain the vigor and fun, and, with Jim's guidance, we're getting top-notch coaching.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nothin' From Nothin' Leaves Nothin' (status equals same)

Monday Check-in

135 lbs.
52 - Pulse

Feeling OK. My miles dropped. Weight and pulse are amazingly steady, though, mid-week checks of my pulse are regularly in the mid-50s (better). Blood pressure checked out OK at the Jewel Grocery Store machine.

Nothing hurts outside of some tired aching from this morning's run.

9.5 Miles in Sweltering Summer Steam

Was it 9 miles? Or 10? Either way, I'm saying 9.5. 1:39:37 total.

Wind: SE at 5 mph
Humidity: 90%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Wind: N at 6 mph
Humidity: 74%

Ran from the Zero spot to where the IPP meets the Great Western Trail. Took 48:## to get there, roughly 51:## to return. Got caught waiting a few minutes at Geneva on the return trip. Mostly hovered around 10:00/mile pace. Bit slower on the way back, save the accidental fartlek when a bug decided to introduce himself (several times, and we weren't getting well).

Lonely world out there today. A few walkers, a few bikers. Was it the humidity, time of day, weekday?

Dead and dying cicadas, black flies, dragonflies, and a huge spider found their way where I was.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Quick Track Play

800 wu
7:36 m (400)
1:44 400 (400)
1:23.96 400 (200)

total: 2.625 miles

Wind: E at 9 mph
Humidity: 84%
course: COD track

I wanted to get out just a bit, given I skipped the race. Nothing long. Nothing hard. Just a quick sweat, and a little fun.

Sunday's probably a day off, and Monday will be a longer run. Although cool, the humidity made it as if I were running in a cloud. My glasses steamed up, and sweat poured off my bandanna, rendering it useless.

Ran a 7:36 mile, the first time I was under 8:00 outside. Didn't push. Just ran hard. Ran a little harder, and ran a 1:23 400. Not so fast, but my fastest in years, and three seconds faster than my last try at the distance.

Saw a yellow finch flying across the east side of the track. Always pretty. The track screamed with seagulls and geese, and some smaller birds courting.

June 17 - June 23 in Review

Sunday, June 17, 2007 -- rest
Monday, June 18, 2007 -- rest
Tuesday, June 19, 2007 -- 4.0 miles
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 -- 4.0 miles
Thursday, June 21, 2007 -- track workout, 5.34375 miles
Friday, June 22, 2007 -- rest
Saturday, June 23, 2007 -- 2.625 miles

Total: 15.97 miles

Summary: The week's mileage dropped considerably. Heat, rain, hopes of racing, poor scheduling on my end all blocked my path. It also follows a tougher previous week, and the easier week might be a good thing.

Looking FWD: Still working on relaxing in the run, fast and slow. Need to get my base strengthened. I'm hardly there yet - still getting winded too easily at the Spivey workouts.

This week: I hope to run at least three days at five miles LSD, and race Saturday. Heat is still coming. No reprieve.

Race Waylaid By Rain

Here's where I would love to begin with the wonders of an incredible race. I'd start off saying that I held my pace, but, doggonit, I just felt good, so I tested the waters and popped it up a gear, and, feeling good, the next gear, and, until, I was cruising in a fun gallop, finishing in some glorious time that made all the hard days insignificant.

I tested no waters. The waters were falling, and so I bowed out.

I want to have fun, not misery.
Woke up at 6:00, ready to go. Street outside my home was damp. No worries. Maybe the rain had stopped? It hadn't, and was picking up (can I say steam?). I decided that, no matter how good the cause is, today wasn't going to be a race day. Running in the rain for 20+ minutes, plus the related warm-ups and all equalled unnecessary misery.

I went back to bed at 6:50, and slept until 10:00. Must've needed the sleep, and, as sleep is a health issue, maybe I did myself some good that will show dividends on the track. No way to really know.

If the weather provides a break, I'll hit the track today or tomorrow and run a time trial. The 24:15 I wanted hasn't gone anywhere, and the track can, in its own way, suffice. It misses the competition, for better and for worse, but, among its strengths is an exact distance I can measure by. It breaks down to 1:56.4 400s, so that's what I'll try to do.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Difficulty With Mediocrity

Defining mediocrity is difficult. It is partially relative, and partially absolute. Being that it is, then, absolutely relative, coming to terms with it, and how it relates to me as a runner is part of the dilemma.

Mike, a fellow runner on the Jim Spivey Running Club, came in work clothes last night. Work clothes, in his case, are business casual, and obviously not ready to run. He ran in the morning, so bowing out of the evening practice was necessary.

In passing, Mike mentioned he put in 31 miles over the weekend. Whether he divided the weekend into two or three days was of no matter - that's a lot of miles however they are sliced up.

Two days. Saturday, 17 miles, and Sunday, 14. 8:15 pace.

Mike's fit, and flexible as can be, taking yoga seriously. That he ran the distance only amazes me some. What I asked myself is, "How long before I can do that?"

I'm up to eight miles. I'm hoping to try nine or ten this coming week. My heart's not set on it, but I would like to give it a go. I did the eight @ 10:30/pace and have no reason to believe I'll run a longer distance faster.

Unlike my sub-20:00 5K goal, I have no timetable. I can't. I could just decide to try, lace up, and hope to return in three hours, but wisdom must be a greater virtue than pluck. Knees, calves, backs (or, rather, back, since I have only one) are the usual concerns. A run that long draws in other considerations, like glycogen depletion, bathroom breaks and hydration. Not counting what do I do if I get tired? Bring a cell phone?

Jim was intending to go out for a ride last night after the workout. I think he was aiming for a quick eight mile spin, a sort of scenic loop home. His Blackberry wasn't cooperating, and he thought it wiser to get home than risk a flat in a lonely part of the Great Western Trail. Good call, especially as he didn't have a spare or other tire fixing tools.

Back to running.

On a bike, Jim can carry a phone easier than I can on a run. So, I could bring some change, make a call, and hope to find someone. Do I risk using my two quarters on a cell phone message, then sit and wait and hope?

I have no solution for that.

The bigger issue is the body parts. Mine. Getting sore to the point I wipe out everything in a couple of hours of thrill seeking -- not a good choice.

The thrill is not gone. Vestiges of that thrill are growing. For now, I'll need to be satisfied with shorter run. Eight miles is still a good, long run. Even @ 10:30/mile, there's something to enjoy.

A good effort is never mediocre, and I am putting in a good effort. The only things I can currently add to this effort are better stretching and more sit-ups/push-ups. I'll add weight training a little later on, once the paunch is reduced.

When I run, I run hard, even if it is slow. I'm still learning to relax, get form together, watch my pace for a given distance, but the effort's all there. If the effort were mediocre, I wouldn't be itching as I am to run Saturday's race.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

200 times a bunch: short speedwork

2 mile wi
6x100 striders
200 (100) x 4
400 recovery
250 (150) x 3
400 recovery
250 (150) x 3 (200, then 50 in the grass)
600 wd

total: 5.34375 miles

Wind: E at 10 mph
Humidity: 43%
course: Wheaton College track

Today's butt-kicking was charged with hoping to see a break-through. The only break-through was that I started my second official month running with Jim and company. I held my speed mostly steady, running the 200s around :49-52.

I'm hungry, and spaghetti's on the boil. Tomorrow is a rest day, or a light, easy run under three miles. With the race coming up, I want to be as fresh as possible, well-fed, well-hydrated, with a good night's rest prior. For any foodies out there looking to carbo-load, or otherwise dine on exotic comfort, try some Hungarian goodies, namely, chicken paprikiash. Maybe grab a movie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

4 miles - 34:50.09 (8:42/mile)

4 miles - 34:50.09 (8:42/mile)

total: 4 miles

Mostly Cloudy
Wind: W at 12 mph
Humidity: 37%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Same path as yesterday. Two miles out, two miles back.

Slower than yesterday, but close enough to feel OK about it. Rather uneventful run, other than I felt hot quickly. Mile three I zoned out.

The cicadas were quieter, though a bullfrog was lowing. Mosquitoes, I am pleased to say, have been mild. I have a few bites, but, given the terrain, it could be worse.

Tomorrow's Spivey track workout will be tough with two days prior harder runs. Might rain.

T-Shirt Tales: Crete, IL 1983, Crete-Monee Pow-wow

Crete-Monee Pow-wowI once wore this with great pride. It is thinner now, though I am fatter, and so it remains in storage, taken out just so I could scan it here.

The Crete-Monee Pow-wow cross-country race was legendary in Illinois. 70 teams, seven flights. As it says, it was (is it still?) the largest high school invitational in the USA.

A high school cross-country team fields seven runners in a race. Usually, the top five score by adding up their respective places: If the top five of a team finishes in 8th, 12th, 15th, 23rd, and 50th place, then their score is 108. Best case scenario = 1-5th place, a score of 15.

With flights, however, each runner scores. Unlike a regular race in which every runner races the rest, flights organize each runner by his or her respective position on their team. Each best runner of each team race the other number one runner. The second best runners race each other, and so on, down to the seventh position.

The Race
The course was short and fast. Maybe it was 2.95 miles? I'm not sure anymore. I think they've upped it to 3.1 miles these days, but this was 1983. I started fast, maybe 4:55 or 4:58. My second mile was, if I'm remembering right, 5:05 or 5:07. The finish, I don't know, but it added up to a 15:37. Clearly, I slowed down in the finish, but in all, it was a fun, speedy event.

It was here where I felt like I established myself on our team. While I had been running well, here, I ran harder and faster than my teammates, and the long summer before of training paid off.

Dick Pond was there with his shoe van. At that time, he was selling the stuff out of his home in Chicago's western burbs, and was known for having whatever a runner needed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

4 miles - 34:31.65 (8:37/mile)

4 miles - 34:31.65 (8:37/mile)

total: 4 miles

Wind: W at 18 mph
Humidity: 37%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Felt good. Didn't push, except for a minor pick-up near the last 600 or so. To a degree, I floated into a comfortable stride, but have much room to improve. My form held up, with my posture, stride, and arm movement working in sync.

Was hoping to run with my old running buddy Glenn, but we missed the connection. It occurred to me a running buddy for longer runs could help from time-to-time. Something I should think about.

Saw my friends Judd and Barb from church, riding along on their bicycles, but didn't realize it was them until they had passed.

It was a good day.

T-Shirt Tales: Fresno, CA, 1983, AAU Nationals

This t-shirt no longer fits me to a T. I physically no longer fit in it, but also, can barely run two miles in the time I once ran three. However, it carries with it fond memories when both were possible.

As you'll see, back in mid-December, 1983, I ran in Fresno. A strange collection of flukes sent me to run in what would later be understood as the biggest race I would ever run.

The process - in 1983, I was a high school junior at Shepard High School, running decently. While I'm no longer sure of my PR, I had a few 3 mile races in the low 16s, a bunch in the 16:40s, and the Crete-Monee Pow-Wow, then a short course, in 15:37.

A team of local runners, from Stagg, Richards and a few other high schools were gathered and raced against a few other teams at Conkey Woods in Crestwood, IL. All in all, it was a sparse showing in the cold of November. We stood between races warming up at a fire built in a trash can.

Atomic Balm muscle ointment filled the air with its medicinal stench, partly for aches, partly as insultation. Snow already was on the ground.

Willye White, five-time US Olympian, shot off the gun.

Maybe I was third or fourth. I still have the medal dashed into a box somewhere. Our team won, and off to Louisville, KY we went for the regional championships.

In KY, it rained hard, and I was up late the night before. The course was sloppy with mud, and so many runners who were within a minute of each other. Elbows knocked while I fought a headache. My inch-long spikes met the ground with no avail. I staggered through to 20th or 21st place with maybe a 16:43. Could have been 17:03? We won by one point, and wound up being sent to the National Championships in CA.

We flew to CA, but did not have enough to field a full team. I ran terribly. Part nerves, part exhaustion from travelling, and part inexperience. It was the first time I ran against such a great number of fast runners.

While I hardly won every race in high school - far from it, there usually weren't that many ahead or around me. Here, I was overwhelmed with solid runners, and summarily, had my butt kicked and handed to me. My time was basically the same as in Louisville, but should have been a PR. I think Joe Falcon won. I, on the other hand, finished in something like 150th place.

My coach was not a runner, and, as I learned later, would later be fired for child molestation or some variety of related abuse. I was never touched, or aware that this was going on, but my point is that he was neither serious nor qualified to train runners who were committed to excelling.

The race came and went. I missed a crucial driver's ed class, and wound up not getting my license until I was 19.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wanna Race? Bud's Run, June 23 - Aiming for 24:15

Saturday, June 23, I intend on running Bud's Run, also called "Celebrate Life Run," also called the Bud Swanson Memorial 5K.

My goal is a 24:15.

That's roughly a 7:49 or 7:50/mile. Last year's results would put me at 86th place for 24:15 and 7th in my age group, or 105th for the 25:12 I did at Cosley.

269 finishers in 2006. The winner came in at 16:26.4 (5:18 mile). 25th was a 19:16.1. 50th = 21:54.4, 75th = 23:29.8.

My time range, since I will do my best to start at 7:50, is from 23:22-25:00. I think the negatives in the Cosley race will be compensated for. As to how fast I can really go, in a best case scenario with two 7:50 miles, I don't see myself beating 7:00/m pace for the last 1.1 miles, hence, the 23:22.

I have a few reasons to believe I can pull it off, but also, a few arguments against.

For: Since Cosley (June 2, 25:12), a humid race in which I started too fast and had lots of people around me, I have had a few good workouts and increasing aerobic runs. I'm a pretty disciplined runner, so, if I can feel the pace, or otherwise know I'm hitting it, I am not likely to deviate until the third mile. Then, whatever's left gets left on the course.

Against: Although I have done some speedwork indicating I can run at a faster clip in a longer run, I am missing the experience of faster miles. To my knowledge, I have run only one mile faster than 8:00. All the 400s and 800s aren't 1600s. With only one race behind me, determining where I am likely to land in a race is, in part, a guess. I simply have not run that fast, and do not know what it feels like.

It is a 5K, organized to remember a high school cross country coach who passed away from sarcoma.

All proceeds from this race will be given to the Sarcoma Foundation of America to fund research to find new and better therapies with which to treat patients with sarcoma.
According to their website:

USATF Certified Course #IL-05011-JW. Start and Finish are on Fountainview in Town Center near the huge white tent. The run/walk will be primarily on runner-friendly paths through residential lakesides and Armstrong Park. This race uses the ChampionChip timing system.
Put on your sneakers and run.

I Feel Good (I knew that I would now)

Monday Check-in

135 lbs.
52 - Pulse

Feeling good. Upped my miles, and survived adequately. All body parts feel no inordinate pain. While my weight and pulse appear to remain steady, both, in fact, have toured lower numbers. Why on Monday morning when I do my 'official' check-in they will not drop to proportions appearing as progress, I don't know. I expect in a week or two for a break-through to happen, but that is of no real consequence so long as I keep on.

My pulse was last night 48, and, earlier this week, my weight was 130/131. The weight was after a run, and likely a hydration issue, but it was nice to see the fluctuation. My weight may have lowered already, but could be remaining steady as my appetite increases and as I build muscle.

All I can do is run. The rest falls into hands far superior to mine.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

June 10 - June 16 in Review

Sunday, June 10, 2007 -- rest
Monday, June 11, 2007 -- 6.75 miles
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 -- 5.63 miles
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 -- rest
Thursday, June 14, 2007 -- track workout, 5.31 miles
Friday, June 15, 2007 -- rest
Saturday, June 16, 2007 -- 8 miles

Total: 25.69 miles

Summary: Not the week I hoped, but there were some highlights. I hit my LSD goals, including one 8 mile run (today)n. Mileage is increasing by a few notches.

Some of these miles will add directly to my running fitness, while others, like the warm down miles, will do more for pure calorie burning. Today's run equals roughly 897.6 calories, even as it will benefit me directly as a runner.

I need to burn 3,500 of these babies to zap a pound of fat. As I am running, adding muscle, with an increased appetite, it gets more complicated, but the gist is still true: more miles, less food = weight loss. This month's Runner's World tells me 10 pounds lost will, in and of itself, drop 1:02 from my 5K time. They admit this is an average, and other factors will influence it all, but, again, the gist is still true. Carry less weight = run faster.

The Spivey track workout was not my best - I felt dragged, but, those will come again. No run, on the track or otherwise, begins when I get there, but is the culmination of everything I have done and not done. On that day, I brought a tired body and mind. I hope I left it there.

Passed the 100 mile mark June 12. Through today, I am at 118.79. At my current rate of 25 miles a week, I'll double that within five weeks. Hopefully the rest of my life will allow for this. I'm aiming to gradually sneak up to 50 miles a week. Get there, and I'll know strong results in overall fitness, weight loss, speed, endurance - all that, adding up, ideally, to good, solid workouts leading toward a faster 5K.

Looking FWD: The present is looking good. Body aches seem to be taking vacation, but I need to follow good sense. Jim pointed out the need to relax, and that's not so easy. Getting that in my brain is going to take time.

This week: I hope to run at least three days at five miles LSD, and race Saturday. The weatherman is talking heat Sunday and Monday, with a minor reprieve on Tuesday, but hot weather through the week. Early, early mornings. Not my will. Not my will.

Eight Miles - 1:24:12

Eight miles - 1:24:12 (10:30.5/mile)

Total: 8 miles

Wind: W at 8 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Went from the 0 marker at Liberty & Carlton, to the four mile marker and bad. Hardly fast, but successes abound:

  • Farther than I have since starting
  • Steady pace
  • Never looked at watch

Wanted to look at watch. It will take time to clear that desire. Hot, and somewhat humid.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Impatience Only Hurries Frustration

With yesterday's hard-chugging work-out, Jim responded that I need to get off the track and hit the Prairie Path without concern of time.

Happily, for all of last night's drudgery, I recovered well. No aches. No pains.

When Jim cut me (and some others) off from the rest of the workout, it bugged me. I wanted to run more. I wasn't done. Or, rather, I was done, but I was upset with the truth. No more gas in the tank yesterday. Keeping in with another few 400s would not have accomplished much more than misery.

Why is that so hard for me? The idea makes sense, but there is an allure to knowing exactly how fast I am going at any given moment. Still, since not only does he know more about such matters than me, and I agree on top of that, I need to shake it.

My compromise will be that I'll click my stopwatch, but not look at it until I finish. That hopefully will feed enough of my constant curiosity and numbers running (or is that running numbers?) and yet, allow me to run unencumbered by the details. I'll try to run a specific distance, and can do basic division later.

As for getting onto the IPP more, what choice do I have? I have knees, calves and other body parts I need to protect. What good am I if I blow an Achilles? it is important I remember than although I see progress, I hardly have much of a base. I'm not sure how the impact of each footstep is being absorbed.

I am still out of shape. So long as I'm wearing the belt of fat, so long as I can't run 10 miles with relative ease mentally and physically, I am out of shape. The miles are getting longer, and the fat is slowing coming off, but I is where I is, and that is still a way from fitness.

I'm impatient. Progress is encouraging me, but I can't hurry. For starters, no amount of hard work will get me to sub-20 in a month. Grit ain't enough. Maybe if I were already generally fit, but I'm not. Will power might help me get through a workout that is slogging, but it won't speed up fitness. I don't like it, but my liking or not liking things won't change anything.

The heat will continue to be unbearable today and this weekend. I need to get up and out early. I missed that window this morning, and am unsure about this evening. The weatherman says dire things about tonight's heat. I have always run best during cooler days. I had hoped to do a 5K time trial on the track in the next few days, but it might need to wait. I'm looking to see that I've gotten faster, not to point out how awful a 90-degree run can be.
  • Fri 89°F 61°F
  • Sat 88°F 64°F
  • Sun 90°F 67°F
  • Mon 91°F 66°F

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Varied Workout - I Showed Up

2 mile wu

800 (300)
600 (200)
400 (200)
400 (200)
400 (200)
600 (200)

800 wd

total: 5.3125
Wind: E at 13 mph
Humidity: 35%
course: Wheaton track

Once again, my numbers might be questionable. I went into the warm-up feeling sluggish, and struggled from there. I think I was hydrated OK, and otherwise well-fed, but just had less juice than last week. My focus wasn't there.

No worries. I feel pretty good now. No aching, just tired. I'll run again tomorrow.

Met John Gregorek. Good guy. Seems he works with Jim now. He was a contemporary of Jim's, and mighty fast himself. He had a 8:50 3200 m in HS, and later, a 3:51.3 mile and a 2:16 marathon. Also, 1980 and 1984 Olympic Teams in the 3000 meter steeplechase.1

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

5 Miles - LSD @ 47:59

5 Miles - LSD @ 47:59
1000 m wd

total: 5.625 miles

Wind: NE at 10 mph
Humidity: 35%
course: COD track

Felt OK in the heat, though I was slowly chugging along.

Birds were water dancing in the pole vault notch, in a puddle. Made good sense to me. I was hot, and now, am just cooling. My banana was drenched. Robins chased each other noisily, keeping me entertained while I trudged through the steps.

Monday, June 11, 2007

6.75 miles, Thinking About Henry Rono

2 miles - 16:35
400 recovery
1 mile - 9:45
400 recovery
2 miles - 17:32
200 hard (200)
200 hard (200)
1200 wd

total: 6.75 miles

Wind: E at 9 mph
Humidity: 42%
course: Wheaton College track

Intended to run 6 miles easy at 8:45-9:00 pace, but started too fast. I won't get in good LSD until I can relax.

Feeling tired, I remembered how 55 year-old Henry Rono must be feeling in his comeback. And I saw a football camp in the field in gear, all of whom must be hotter.

No Change, Good or Bad

Monday Check-in

135 lbs.
52 - Pulse

Feeling good. Started stretching more. My miles remained the same this week - 21.88 miles. Yesterday's rest day seems to have worked out some aching, but, until I'm fit, I expect more pain.

The Spivey track workouts continue to feel more comfortable. I have much to learn and relearn. However, to make them work best for me, I need more going on the other six days. The real discipline will not be in the next few weeks, but in remaining focused. My goal of 20:00 is not going to be easily attained, nor instantly, if at all. To even approach it by September, I need solid, regular progress.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

June 3 - June 9 in Review

Sunday, June 3, 2007 -- 1.5 miles
Monday, June 4, 2007 -- rest
Tuesday, June 5, 2007 -- track workout, 6.375 miles
Wednesday, June 6, 2007 -- rest
Thursday, June 7, 2007 -- 3.5 miles
Friday, June 8, 2007 -- 4.5 miles
Saturday, June 9, 2007 -- 6 miles

Total: 21.88 miles

Summary: Most of my successes came from working hard this week. Found a little fun running a couple hard, but not all-out, 400s under :90. Nothing amazing happened, but I am feeling good about working through the fear of the struggle. However, the corollary is that most of my rest time was the result of working hard the day before. I need consistency, not to flame out.

I did not hit last week's goals with LSD or a mile time trial. The mile time can wait, but the LSD needs to be there.

Looking FWD: Need to continue with general slow miles, and should include some faster, but controlled longer runs. I need to get out on the Prairie Path or some other softer, straight surface for longer runs -- my calf aches might be somewhat resolved by that, though Jim reminded me I need to stretch. Not only should I stretch my calves, but also, whatever else which can be stretched.

This week: I hope to run at least two days at five miles LSD. Presently, I have that scheduled for Monday, with a paced six mile run, and Tuesday, a more leisurely six mile run. The weatherman believes it will be in 82/86 those days, so I should hit the IPP early.

6 miles, Leisurely on a Pleasant Saturday Morning

6 miles
3 run (about 10:30 pace)
3 walk

Wind: SW at 13 mph
Humidity: 42%
course: Illinois Prairie Path @ Wheaton Center, north

Calf aches a little. Tomorrow, I'll rest it, stretch. Now, eggs and bacon, and some coffee. No Gatorade required. Need to rest up for a potluck this afternoon.

Friday, June 8, 2007

400 - :86

3 miles (27:50)
400 recovery
400 - :88
400 recovery
200 recovery
400 - :86
400 recovery

total: 4.5 miles

Mostly Cloudy
Wind: NW at 16 mph
Humidity: 44%
course: COD track

Felt OK. For the 3 miles, things were just lap-to-lap, like a long warm-up. For the 400, I just did it for fun, to see what I had. After the :88, I felt as if that was as fast as I have in me, then, I dropped in another 2 seconds.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

LSD - 3 Miles - 29:53.97

3 miles
mile 1 - 10:22
mile 2 - 10:04
mile 3 - 9:27

800 walk

total - 3.5 miles
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 26 mph
Humidity: 48%
course: COD track

The heat, the wind, and my lack of conditioning made for a tough afternoon. I intended to run 5-6 miles today, but opted out.

While I ran well at Tuesday's Spivey workout, I also was sore yesterday and took it off. God has more control around my workouts, and he said yesterday was a rest day. I didn't negotiate. Instead, I ate Sloppy Joes.

I still dread the ever present pain that will continue while I get back in shape. I have 10 lbs to drop, lungs to engage, and muscles to awaken.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

My Weekly Butt Kicking V.2

Yesterday, I received my Jim Spivey Running Club singlet. It is yellow. Cost me $15.00. More than that, really, as it has also cost me $40.00 to join the group per month. $40.00 spent, and each new month, another $40.00. That's unless I upgrade to the $65.00, which I intend to once I get into the kind of racing fitness that would appreciate Jim figuring out daily workouts. Presently, I'm still getting into shape. That extra $15.00 would be a waste.

Either way, I've got a singlet. It represents more than a few bucks, and says more than how I spend Thursday evenings.

Why hire a guy like Jim Spivey? Can't I get into shape on my own? Thousands of runners race well each Saturday without the benefit of a coach.

At first glance, the easy answer is, "Jim's run a 3:49.8 mile," and then go on to list his other PRs. So what? He did not run that fast just because of a good coach. He's 5'10", a good height for middle distance, and, apparently, was born with muscles that could accommodate speed and endurance. Just because he has good genes hardly means that I will likewise run faster.

So the easy answer is really a flop. The real answer is that, to run the 3:49.8 and not be stuck at the 3:55 mark (not to knock that!), he needed a coach to squeeze it out of him. Workouts, form, and various intangibles are all part of what a coach brings. He's had Benji Durden and Ken Popejoy along the way, plus others. And, he's run side-by-side with the likes of Steve Cram and Seb Coe, and watched numerous others at a variety of other distances. And, he does his homework.

Homework? He knows his stuff, from things related to VO2 max, pulse rates, and bone density growth during sleep. I'll guess he's a stats junkie too. He is on top of the running scene, knows what's going on, and remembers it all. He's famous for his attention to detail as far as his own workouts and races go, recalling splits from races umpteen years ago.

The group is not a pile of speed demons. There are several who are certainly speedy, but no young bucks are walking cocky. Who could be cocky when Jim could put on his togs and give him the what-for on the track? I don't know what kind of fire power Jim's still got, but it is fair bet that even at 46, he can still take on the rest of the locals. No one challenges him - they, we trust him.

I don't know what yet to attribute to the specifics of Jim's workouts, and what improvements have come from just good ol' running regularly. I do know that on May 6, the day after my first JSRC workout, I ran a 27:54 5000 on the track, and on June 2, I ran 5K road race @ 25:12. Do the math -- that's a 2:42 improvement, a :52 a mile improvement. Not a bad month.

Getting out with the group each week reminds me I am not a jogger. My 20:00 5K goal is still out there, waiting for me. I am training for that. No one else will care. No one else will feel the same elation I will when I post a little note, just like this one, on this blog.

As I say in the description of the blog: What is the runner's dilemma? He must run, no matter what shape or situation he is in. The dilemma is finding a resolution despite being older, fatter, slower than when running was graceful.

That's the thing. When it all boils down to it, my victories are private. Even though all of it is blogged for the world to see, I'm the one sweating, aching, stumbling around this next morning. Alone, in my home office, typing these comments, my audience is small.

Who is impressed by a 20:00 5K? If I ran some amazing time for a 40 year-old, I might get a few pats on the back. Someone would buy me a beer (Bass Ale is a fine choice should this ever come around). 20:00 is nothing stellar. A few non-runners will be impressed, not realizing I wouldn't even win my age group. That's OK. I'll feel pretty good about it.

As I move forward, as my times drop, as my workouts are less about getting fit and more about fine-tuning my speed, working out under Jim's guidance will be clearly influential.

All that adds up to working out with Jim's club as a great thing for me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Getting Stronger - Good Track Workout

2 mile wu
6x100 striders
3x200(50) [200]
3x200(100) [200]
3x200(50) [200]

Total: 6.375
Wind: NE at 12 mph
Humidity: 83%
course: Wheaton College track

I wish I took notes. That (above) might be the workout spot-on, or off. Either way, I think that's what we did. It'll do unless someone tells me otherwise.

I ran hard, felt strong, and overall, had a good workout. Ran the 200s as fast as 44-45 and the 800s as fast as 3:34. Neither were all-out efforts, nor intended to be.

Ran the 800s around 7:08-7:15 mile pace. I'm improving. The distance between a 20:00 5K and today is getting smaller, so I am encouraged. I felt dogged toward the end, but time will resolve that as I put in good miles.

Finally kept up with a few people. My form is getting better, but Jim reminded me to keep my hands at my pocket during arm swing. It's the most miles I have run yet, but, in this way, is not the same as a long galloping run.

To celebrate, I'm eating Chocolate Chunk Dark Chocolate Nantucket Crispy Cookies, washed down with Welch's Grape Juice with Fiber. They're very good. Try 'em.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Making Headway

Monday Check-in

135 lbs.
51 - Pulse

Feeling good, though my right leg seems to need some coddling. My miles steadied this week - 22 miles. Ran through some hard days, and survived adequately enough.

My speed is yet hiding, but has peaked out to say hello. With my base becoming aerobically stronger, I should be seeing more strength indirectly. My weight seems to be dropping an ounce at a time, but each ounce less means less to carry, and, therefore, easier runs all around. I need, if for no other reason than confidence, to run some tests at each distance, just see what I have got. Not today, though. Calves ache, and the Spivey workout is tomorrow. It would be nice to have enough gas in the tank when he lines us up.

The Spivey track workouts are feeling more comfortable, though I am still learning the code (Lee clarifies it on his marathon/triathlon blog. Scroll to see Jim's key to understanding his workouts). While it all makes sense in the code master's mind, and maybe to Lee and everyone else, I have a learning curve.

Jim's patient with me, the slowest one running each week. I hope this will change, but, so long as the others remain healthy, it may not. One way or another, I am sure my own times will drop, even if theirs do in concert.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

May 27 - June 2 in Review

Sunday, May 27, 2007 -- 6.25 miles
Monday, May 28, 2007 -- rest
Tuesday, May 29, 2007 -- 3.25 miles
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 -- 3.75 miles
Thursday, May 31, 2007 -- track workout, 3.81 miles
Friday, June 1, 2007 -- 1.69 miles
Saturday, June 2, 2007 -- race, 3.1 miles, plus wu

Total: 22.0 miles

Summary: Humidity raged on. Ran five days straight, six days total, and notched my mileage up a smidgen. Race decently, given the humidity, but no excuses as I felt at a point in the middle or near the two mile mark, I mentally was lazy. Humidity or not, I should be stronger.

Looking FWD: Need to continue with general slow miles, and should include some faster, but controlled longer runs.

This week: I hope to run at least two days at five miles LSD. I hope to run a hard mile, just to see what kind of speed I have. I'll try to break 7:00.

Race Report - 25:12 - Run for the Animals - Wheaton, Illinois

Run for the Animals - Wheaton, Illinois

  • Time - 25:12 (8:07)
  • Place - 282
  • Age group - 19/59

Wind: S at 6 mph
Humidity: 93%

Mile 1 - unknown
Mile 2 - 16:08
Mile 3 - unknown

My goal was 25:00. I ran 25:12. Close, and better than my recent 25:22, but not a 25:00. Next time.

Starting the race, without the advantage of knowing my pace, was hard. I tried running briefly with Lee, a seasoned marathoner from the Jim Spivey Running Club, but realized he was going too fast for me. Apparently, according to my two mile split, I was on track, but slowed greatly during mile 3. Lee seems to have slowed a lot after the 3 mile mark, given his finishing pace of 8:21. He had some injuries lately that may have acted up.

Humidity took its toll.

The winner, Kyle Brady, finished in 15:21, knocking off 19 seconds from last year's third place at 15:40. Not bad at 18 years-old.

Comparing numbers, though, it was slower than last year's winning time (15:15). In fact, at every number point, times were slower. Fewer runners finished as well. My own time would have earned me 30/94 in my age group, and 337th overall in 2006. Was the humidity that big of a factor?

My friend Bob V. finished nicely in the 10K with an excellent sprint the final 300 meters, taking out at least four competitors before hitting the chip pad. He ended with 44:34 (7:11), pretty good for a humid day.

Jim Spivey Running Club pals all did well. Rudi took home hardware, winning his (and my) age group).

128 place -Margaret Ford - 5/52 (age group) 46:46 (7:32) - PR!
238 place - Lee Crumbaugh - 5/16 (age group) 51:48 (8:21)

46 place - Rudi Schick 1/59 (age group) 19:58 (6:26)

The basics are I need a better distance base. That takes time; my muscles will not grow faster because of will power. I also need to find a bit of speed. By the end of June, I want to have knocked off a minute, and jogging won't cut it. I need to average a 7:44 mile, and to do that, I need to, I think, be able to run under 7:00 for one mile. Rudi averaged 6:26. I have not even run one mile at that pace.


Friday, June 1, 2007

The Race Day Cometh

1.5 miles
three striders

Total: 1.6875
Wind: S at 15 mph
Humidity: 47%
course: Ramblewood circle

Running the striders I ran a little harder than usual. My arms felt like heavy weights. Since I began this adventure, I have yet to go into a sprint. That's partly wanting to avoid pulling a muscle, and partly not having a sprint to go into. I felt good going harder today, but, outside of tomorrow's race, I'll run harder.

Humidity seems far worse, but, at 47% is still nasty.

My shins hurt a little. With the race tomorrow, I'm concerned. Today's run was lighter, slower, and hopefully I can recover enough by 7:30 a.m.

The race plan tomorrow is simple:
  • Warm-up between a half and full mile.
  • A couple of striders
  • Start at 8:00 first mile.
  • Second mile 8:05.
  • Third mile 8:06 or whatever's left.
  • Starting a little faster might ease up the jitters.
Rain is the forecast, so all bet's might be off.