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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fun Race, Poorly Planned Morton Arboretum Fall Color Race 5K

5K - 34:37 (official)
0.5 wd (est walk)

total: 3.6 miles

Aliz, Ildi, and myself ran side by side, dodging stroller runners, little kids, and runners who could not make up their mind whether they would walk or run. We, however, started with an 11:28, followed by around an 11:22, finishing in a strong 10:42 pace.

As their first 5K, they saw the downside. The Morton Arboretum Fall Color Race 5K did not plan for success. With 2,000 runners, they were unprepared for the bottlenecking of traffic, of runners at the start line, and long lines just for water. Better signage, more volunteers, and perhaps a dual start might help tremendously.

Essentially a massive community race, as opposed to one looking for hardcore racers, they achieved this in droves. I have not seen any official results, but I'll guess the top 10 men and women were decent, but not especially speedy.

Next year? It probably won't be on our radar. It was fun, but there are better organized races which will offer a happier experience.

Want to gripe to them directly (by all means, feel free to do it here). Here's their contact information.

What a day for racing, though! Beautiful weather here, and, internationally, in Berlin, the marathon record was shattered by Haile Gebrselassie (2:04:26 - by 29 seconds - 4:44.96 pace).

EDIT: Morton Arboretum Fall Color Race 5K race results. Looking through the results, there are glaring problems: too many unknown runners (including the top female runner), and our friend Ildi is entirely missing. This indicates gross errors than suggest all kinds of data errors. Our time is accurate, but think if the Morton Arboretum marketing department is planning a 2008 race, they should hire competent third party race experts.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Relaxed 5.5 Miles

5.5 miles run - 51:47
.75 miles wd

total: 6.25 miles

course: Springbrook Prairie

Easy run. Cool weather. Enjoyed the view. Sun was bright, but not harsh. Just a calorie burner, keeping loose after so few miles the last week and a half. I'm expecting it to take two weeks before it feels right again.

Tomorrow Aliz runs her first 5K. All systems are go. We picked up our race bags today at Dick Pond's in Lisle.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Random Off-Roading

33:15 on random running, hills and what-not

total: 3.75 miles

74°F
Clear
Wind: N at 5 mph
Humidity: 33%
course: Danada Forest Preserve & Equestrian Center

A rambling run, harder than the 33:15 suggests, given the abundance of hills. Followed no course. Up and down the big hill several times. Calves and thighs ache some. Celebrated unwisely with chocolate cake and a chocolate shake from Oberweis.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

9x400 - A Good Workout

3200 wu
600 6x100 striders

Three sets of 3x400
400 (200) Fresh
400 (200) Fresh
400 [400] Good

400 (200) Fresh
400 (200) Good
400 [400] Fresh

400 (200) Good
400 (200) Fresh
400 Fresh

600 wd

Total: 6.25 miles

76°F
Cloudy
Wind: W at 12 mph
Humidity: 32%
course: Wheaton College track

It was a solid, hard workout for me. The weather helped tremendously, as everyone ran hard and well. Good is a few seconds faster than fresh, and my 'goods' were 86, 84, 86. My 'freshes' were largely around 93-95, with a 101 (seconds) for the second interval, and a 97 or so for my last one.

Jim hasn't yet sent by the official numbers, so I might be in error.

Good here is not just the overall solidity of my workout, but dealing well after a week without working out much and sickness. My fastest recent 400 was, and still is, an 84, run last night, and August 28 alone at COD's track. To me, more important than the fastest times, are my slower ones. The 101 was just John Grebe and I trying not to kill ourselves, trying to remember how far we've got to go (seven more 400s still at that point).

By the end, I was pretty sapped of juice, but felt good.

Afterwards, Rich hosted an absolutely wonderful birthday party for Paul. There's not enough to say about Rich's kindness and generosity. Not sure what variety of steak he grilled up, but it was fine, fine fine. I'm a red meat and potatoes guy, and, there were baked potatoes too. Who could ask for anything more?

Delicious, with terrific company. Most everyone made it, and a fine time was had by all.

Why?
What I don't know, would love to know, but cannot know is why I ran better tonight? Was it kind weather just allowing what me to do what bad weather impeded me from doing -- something in me, just waiting for cooler temperatures?

Or was it that the sickness kicked me into rest mode, and allowed for otherwise needed recovery?

I'd like to believe this is evidence of better fitness, that all those lonely runs at Springbrook and elsewhere are paying off.

Why, ultimately, doesn't matter. October 14 I take another swing at a faster 5K. The course will be much tougher than the downhill Park Ridge Charity Run, but will also be a solid three weeks of getting into better shape.

No idea yet what will be a good strategy, though dropping to 21:30 is a reasonable goal. Because of the course's presumed difficulty, I'll start more conservatively, and see what happens. Maybe 6:50:55? A 6:55 pace will take me just a decimal below 21:30.

Edit: Times
93 101 87 93 86 92 86 96 98

No Fan of Active.com Found at the Runner's Dilemma

I can't say if Active.com will become the next TicketMaster, but, this online registration service has aspects of a scam. It seems that road racing is going this way, or whatever competitors exist, but it looks like a good gone bad.

Here's the process, at least in my case:

  1. Went to event website
  2. Clicked through various pages to get to the www.Active.com site
  3. Registered an account. This only connect me to Active.com (free)
  4. Registered for a 5K, which included the usual waivers and credit card info.
  5. At the last page, after I completed registering, I receive a "Thanks" page.
    Congratulations ANTHONY!

    Just click "YES" at the bottom of this page to claim your FREE gift from Active.com for registering online for the Morton Abroretum Fall Color 5K.

    To thank you for registering for the Morton Abroretum Fall Color 5K, Active.com would like to give you a FREE $20.00 GIFT... Two Free $5.00 discounts off your next two event registrations on Active.com and a Free $10.00 discount off your online registration on Active.com to next year's Morton Abroretum Fall Color 5K. Plus you'll also enjoy the money-saving benefits of ActiveAdvantage, our premium online athlete savings program! Save money every time you travel plus enjoy all this FREE for the next 3 months...
  6. Was I excited? Sure! Free is good, and I'm the guy who picks up pennies in the grocery store parking lot.
  7. Way at the bottom was a disclaimer, which, there, was in very tiny print, telling me I will be billed $50.04 a year, unless I click 'no thanks' which is a button at the bottom.

    OFFER DETAILS: By clicking "yes", you will receive your free gift and a 3-month membership to ActiveAdvantage, compliments of Active.com. If you are 100% satisfied during your trial, do nothing. All your member benefits will automatically continue for a full year for just $4.17 per month, billed annually to your credit/debit card used here for this offer and renewed each year upon expiration, at the then current fee. A money-back guarantee is our pledge to you! If you're ever dissatisfied during your trial offer, Or thereafter, simply call ActiveAdvantage at 877-228-4881,x2 to cancel your membership benefits. You will be issued a pro-rata refund of the annual fee.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

4 Miles of No Great Mention

2 mile wu
1 mile hard
1 mile wd

total: 4 miles

70°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: NW at 5 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: COD track

finish
69°F
Clear
Wind: W at 5 mph
Humidity: 49%

Nice maintenance run on the track. I didn't have much time, and am still catching up after last week's sickness.

First two miles were at around 8:25 each. The third mile, after around a two minute stretch rest, was 6:38, with pretty steady splits. The fourth was in around 8:37.

My goal was what I did. Nothing complicated, as I have a track workout tomorrow, but something just to get me back into the swing of things.

Watch a couple of COD football players practice kicking. Impressive. One guy said he had a 46 yard field goal once in a game. Amazing!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cleansing 4.8 miles

4.8 miles
400m wd

total: 5.05 miles

76°F
Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 71%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Lee, Rich, Kevin, Linda. Rich and I briefly talked business-related things. Kevin and I discussed the troubles a divorce lawyer might incur. Lee and I chatted about the importance of avoiding bees and cougars while racing. Linda introduced us to her rental vehicle, a Nissan Versa.

The run accomplished what I hoped: to purge the crud I was feeling. Like a moving sweat tent, each mile took me further from stress, from whatever was aching inside and out. My day hasn't been bad, mind you, just not feeling 100%.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thinking About "This One's for Jack"

A 22:00 isn't so bad, is it? It is, after all, over three minutes faster than my first race this year. And, it is just :49 off of what I ran in 1999.

However, a 22:00 offers no laurel I really want. I want 20:00. I'll need another race before I accomplish that, and, probably several, at least. These 2:00 will be harder to drop than the previous 3:12.

Next competitive race I will be running is "This One's for Jack." It is a 5K in the rolling side streets of Glen Ellyn, IL, behind Glenbard West High School. It might be a similar course to the Freedom Four 4-Miler in which I had a less than braggable adventure.

Redemption time? I won't say. I will say my plan is the same. Start at 6:30-6:40, and hold on. Hopefully, I'll return 6:45s instead of 7:14s.

Factors impacting my result compared to the Park Ridge Charity Run --
  • Good: Cooler weather. Better health. A couple extra weeks of working out.
  • Bad: Hills. Potentially cold weather.
  • Best case scenario: 20:30 (6:35/mile pace, and I hold on throughout)
    Worst case scenario: 22:30 (7:14/mile pace. If I start too hard and choke.)
  • Summary expectation: 21:15-21:45.
"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. Nobody is going to win a 5,000 meter race after running an easy 2 miles. Not with me. If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself."
- Steve Prefontaine

I'm not able to say I have forced any pace, nor punished myself yet in a 5K. My mind is still weak, and my body is only starting to respond when I look to call it into another gear. I am expecting this effort to be on the ready in the spring. I'm still in the process of getting 20+ years of kinks out.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

PR at the Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K (22:00.84)

Park Ridge Charity Classic 5K

Time: 22:00.84
Overall: 154
Sex Group Finish Place: 121
Age Group Finish Place: 23
Per Mile: 7:06

Mile 1 - 6:39
Miles 2-3.1 - 7:18-7:19?

Don't about my other miles, except that I must have averaged 7:18-7:19/mile.

Not a 21:00, but a PR just the same. Knocked :31 off my time. I crashed and burned, but did not meet my goal. My feelings are mixed. I had a PR, so that is good. A real one too, a full 31 seconds. Where I am disappointed is, like the Glen Ellyn St. Pet's Run, I choked in the second mile.

I started on my intended pace, looking to be 6:30-6:40. No complaints there. However, I felt horribly, unusually tired. Never saw the two mile mark. I made the turn-around at 12:00, but that was not a true halfway.

Picked it up near the end, with a brief 50 meter kick.

Race day, today, started with being late out the door, unable to find a bandana. Then, I missed the turn onto Touhy, and had a hard time getting there. Normally, my sense of direction is good, but this time, it led me astray. I had just 15-20 minutes to sign-up, warm-up, and stand at the line.

Last week, I ran twice - Tuesday, an LSD 4.8 miler, and Thursday, the JSRC track workout. Felt dragged all week. Should have run yesterday, but did not feel well, and life's tasks kept me busier than expected at the times I might have run.

Rudi was there, ran well, in the mid-18s. He told me, but I can't recall his time. Another Jim Spivey Running Club runner passed me at around the two mile mark, but I did not recognize him... just his blue singlet. Met a guy named Manual with whom I chatted old running stories with - he graduated from Thornwood a few years before me and new people my brother knew.

I haven't picked my next race yet. In the interim, I need to shake this one off, get back on the trails, and put in some miles. I don't know what I really need to do, but I think, althought I've been at this since May, there is still a fitess component slowing me down. Lose weight, do some LSD, some tempo work, and start thinking about how I'll handle the next few months.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Quick Workout After Long Day and Three Hours of Sleep

1.25 mile wu
6x100 striders
3x200 (200)
6x100 striders
600 wd

total: 3.125 miles

course: Wheaton College track

After a late night, little sleep, poor eating, a long day in the Loop on a job interview, and a week with only one run (Tuesday), I wasn't much in the mood for running. In fact, I nodded off a few minutes, and had to rush out the door at 5:30, missing half the warm-up.

Jim adjusted my workout, as well as Rudi's and Brian's, for the sake of our races this weekend. I didn't time anything. The workout didn't lend itself, nor seemed to be able to benefit from timing.

Rudi's running the Park Ridge race as well. His best I've seen listed is 17:34, but he says he's done 16-something there. He's got the speed, and I can imagine in his younger years could tear up a course. He's just a few years older than me now, and has been recently hovering in the mid-18s.

Brian's in a triathlon at Purdue.

I'm quite dragged now, but that's a sleep thing more than a running thing. Long day tomorrow with an interview, and then a church activity Friday night. Saturday is sure to be fast, but my 'real' life might preclude the time I prefer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chicken Wings Meeting Post-run Hunger

4.8 miles

total: 4.8 miles

87°F
Clear
Wind: S at 17 mph
Humidity: 41%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

My first run since Thursday, since suffering a not quite gone cold. I felt better than expected, though I'll know better tomorrow how well I recover.My appetite has returned (I'm munching my way through around a 1/2 lb of chicken wings picked up at Jewel as I write), which hopefully portends good things for the rest of the running week.

Lee, Rich, and Linda made the weekly gallop a fine ride. A little warm a little buggy, but, as Lee would say, "a fine time was had by all."

As time goes, I don't know. Around 42 minutes. Forgot to turn my watch off. It is 1:56:10 since we started.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sick as a Sick Dog

Monday Check-in

133.2 lbs. (same)
54 - Pulse (up)

Status

Feeling under the weather. A cold has dropped me from running for a few days. Hopefully, the rest is a good thing as far as shins, muscles and joints are concerned, but with a race coming Saturday, I am concerned. All out of my hands. I'm sick, and need to attend to the repair and restoration of whatever ails me.

Yesterday was spent at church, then a picnic, then a two-hour nap. That is not the 8.5 mile run I had planned, but God was unwilling to negotiate.

My weight and pulse are filtered through being sick, and so knowing what progress is being made is too hard to say.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Johnny Tazbir and The Boston Marathon

Who Is Johnny Tazbir?

I don't know. Never met him. What I do know is in 2006, he finished the Chicago Marathon in 3:20:58, making him the last guy in my age group to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He had as much as 1.9 seconds to spare.

Bib # 22099. When the throngs of runners plowed through the finish line, he was among the throng. No where close to the front, in 2,923rd place, but he qualified.

You are reading thinking, "That boy ain't right. He can't even break a 20 minute 5K. Now what's he gone on thinking about a marathon that fast? He ain't even gone an' run 10 miles, let alone 26. And there's a point two after that 26, you know."

Right.

Still, what Johnny Tazbir did would be cool. It took finishing in the top 3,000 to do it. It also took roughly a 7:40/mile pace over 26.2 miles. Yes, that includes the point two.

That means running a 23:46 5K around 8.45 times. I have run that speed or faster twice. Just twice.

He has an excellent name for my purposes. That's really it. I looked him up, and he's a serious runner, and member of the Calumet Region Striders.

Backing up this great effort, I learned through some Googling he did even better at Boston with a 3:18:07 this April. Tougher course, even. Way to go!

I'll try to keep up with Johnny if for no other reason he is doing what I'd like to be doing: sneaking under the bar to qualify for Boston.

Running a marathon, not to mention running one fast, is a long way off. I have yet to meet even my minimum goals. As an older runner, the rules have changed. Boston is just as long, and the qualifying time is more or less the same, but I have found that things aren't going as quickly as I'd like. I started slower, was in worse shape, and have not progressed to anywhere close to where I expected. Finding a 3:20:59.9 marathon in the tank will be much harder than the 20:00 5K. The necessary speed is probably in there, but there's a tremendous amount of training and focus required: Lots of miles which are injury-free.

What's a goal? Is it something I have done? No, no, no. That means nothing. It means setting a point to reach that is both attainable and aggressive. Goals are not meant to be randomly chosen, nor are expected to be hit serendipitously.

The definition is important. A wish is not a goal. Saying, "I wish I could run a 2:05 marathon," is true in itself, but there is no way it is going to happen. No planning, no amount of will power, no great coaching can get me there. I wish I could, sure, but it is as attainable by me as running a sub-4 mile.

How attainable is a 3:20 marathon for me? I really don't know. It is still in that vague, "That would be cool" category. It is right up there with the equally vague, "I'd love to run under 18:00 again for a 5K." It is more than a wish, though. Both could conceivably happen. Those times are both fast, but are not unattainable. Setting them as a goal, at this point, would be foolish, though. I have too much water to cross before getting to the point of planning either goal. I still have that 20:00 5K to run.

Right now, in front of me, is a guy named Johnny Tazbir from Indiana, a 20:00 5K, and a beautiful day for a long run. As Robert Frost once wrote, "I have miles to go before I sleep."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hard Fought Mile PR - 6:37 (In the Middle of a Workout)

2 mile wu
6x100 striders
3x200 (100)
400 (200) (1:30)
400 (400) (1:32?)
1 mile (400) (in and out mile)
3x400 (60 seconds) (1:41, 1:34, 1:28)
600 wd

total: 6.1875 miles

78°F
Clear
Wind: S at 10 mph
Humidity: 30%
course: Wheaton College track

In and out mile - 400 fresh, 400 hard, 400 fresh, 400 hard
? 400 (?)
3:16 800
4:58 1200 (1:42)
6:37 1600 (1:39)

Wasn't feeling great going into the workout, so, though my mile time is weaker than I might have hoped, I did well. My 400 times were good, better in the scope of a fairly hard workout.

Even though tonight was a struggle, I achieved an outsude mile PR, dropping 11 seconds from 6:48 to 6:37.

The final 400, ran in 1:28, in my fastest 400 on a Thursday night. Margaret stole my bandana so I had to get it back. Unsuccessful in that, I still ran a little harder. She is deceptively fast. Her stride does not seem like the turnover is there, but, just the same, she get the intervals done well. I think her mile was finished at around 6:25. Not just intervals either. She finished a half marathon this weekend in 1:41 (7:42 pace). Quite an encouragement. She believes in me as a runner more than I do, I think.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Easy Does It - Fun Evening Run

4.8 miles

total: 4.8 miles

70°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: W at 17 mph
Humidity: 39%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

It was an easy, restful run. Same eastward course out to Lombard, with a couple of breathers at streetlights, but on a much cooler day. The last time I ran with Lee and Rich, bugs were not kept at bay. Tonight, with temps close to 65, and a low humidity, kept us cool, comfortable, and away somehow from what bugs us.

Linda and Frank made it. Frank, coming back from Rome, told of his adventures. He hardly made it through them all, so I hope to hear more Thursday.

Lee and I made a little surge up a hill on the way back. It felt good to find a steady second gear. hit the clutch and popped briefly into third gear, with fourth still waiting for a good day.

Without my glasses, I saw no hill until the end.

Last night's 8.5 miles took their toll, and I still suffer its impact. I would like to think, and am choosing to believe, that those extra 3.0 miles did more than 3.0 miles worth, Because they were tacked on to 5.5, something beyond the accounting of miles is happening.

I need more endurance, and at 23 miles a week, I will not get it. I roughed out my run schedule for the rest of September, and it looks like I'll be notching it up to around 32-34 miles a week. This should help me attack a 5K rather than merely running it.

Might break 500 miles by September 30.

Monday, September 10, 2007

In The Long Run - 8.5 Miles

.25 wu
8.5 miles (73:50/8:41)
.50 wd

total: 9.25 miles

72°F
Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 71%
course: Springbrook Prairie

Among my longest runs. Pretty consistent pace throughout, though my last half mile was in 3:40 (7:20/mile pace). No pushing, just ran harder. Cool, though humid. Few runners out in what looked like a rain ready. Felt good, though my shins hurt.

Not only was it my second longest run, it also culminates my second most week of total miles (36.4). I need to get the miles in that I can while the weather is good. It will go from cool to cold quickly enough, and the long run will be less joyous.

Looking to Break 21:00 (And Here's How)

My next 5K is September 22, 2007. The Park Ridge Charity Classic.

Any reader of this blog knows I suffer from three things: an intense desire to run under 20:00 for the 5K, an obsession with understanding my odds in doing so in an given race, and a less-than-perfect ability to do the mathematics needed to figure this out. Not wanting to ruin this dubious reputation, here is more of the same.

About the race, according to them:
A flat, FAST, out and back course with only two right angle turns and one 180. Split times at 1 mile and 2 mile. "Illinois' fastest 5k course" as 32% of the all-time Illinois age group records were set on the Charity Classic course (source IL T & F).


About the race, according to me:Very fast course is my guess.

371 in the race in 2006 - top 20 under 17:25 (5.3%)

Top 50 18:30 or better (13.4%).

Compare to Viking 2006 - 43 runners in 18:30 or better out of 504 (8.4%).

In the Viking Run 2007, where I had a PR, there were 576 finishers, 134 of which were in under 21:00 (23.2%).

Park Ridge 2006 - 124/371 under 21:00 (33.4%).

Either really fast runners are showing up, or the course is lightening. I'm willing to believe the course is extraordinarily fast, and, with that, I should find myself with as good of a situation to run well as any I'll find this fall.

My goal September 22 is under 21:00. While I think the fastest runners will look for smart, fast races, perhaps where there are good prizes, I don't believe this holds true for the next tier or two down. The bulk of runners under 18:00 I can see based only on the prize factor, but the next group is less motivated by what they can't possibly get. A 20:00 runner isn't asking, "Which race gives me the best shot at winning it all?" A few may ask, "Where might I run quickly?" but it seems unlikely to me that this is true here -- many of the 18:00-21:00 runners were from the Park Ridge area.

Running under 21:00, after missing my goal on Labor Day, is a stretch, but I feel, today, good about it. I will need to drop :29 per mile, a big chunk by any account. It is two weeks away, and three weeks from Labor Day, allowing for both natural improvement and better racing weather.

The pace = 6:46.5/mile. I'm still unsure about my approach, but going out in 6:45 will do the job, followed by 2.1 miles in 6:47. Whether or not I can do that is a different question, especially having never actually run a recent mile under 6:48.

A Few Pounds Never Saw the Morning

Monday Check-in

133.2 lbs. (down)
51 - Pulse (up)

Status

First Monday check-in in a few weeks.

All checks out well. My shins are sore, but the rest of me is happy.

Pulse is about the same, although on occasions has been in the 45-46 range. Might be the coffee I am drinking. More importantly is my recovery time, as indicated by how quickly my pulse returns to a resting state. I have not watched this carefully, but can say it seems to drop better than before.

My weight is down. Too early to say if I have turned the corner as weight loss goes. Still, 133.2 is lower than the 135 lbs I have hovered at. I do know I am fitter, as evidenced not just by my running, but also, but belt size. Pants that were likely to to require letting out now are suspect for being taken in. My face is thinner. Muscle definition can be seen in my calves and thighs. Still to go is the torso, which, though progress exists, has far to go. The pudge needs to budge. Too much jiggling where no jiggling should be.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Burned Three Ounces

600 meters wu
5.5 miles run
600 meters wd

total: 6.2 miles

81°F
Clear
Wind: N at 9 mph
Humidity: 44%
course: Springbrook Prairie

finish
76°F
Clear
Wind: NE at 10 mph
Humidity: 56%

Not much going on with this run. 6.2 miles all said, burning a few ounces @ 107 calories per mile. Slow, 9:26/mile pace. Never pushed. Small cramp under right back ribs. Monarch butterflies in full force, guarding the yellow flowers.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Loping Course PR - 5.5 miles in 45:02

5.5 miles 45:02 (8:11/mile)

total: 5.5 miles

84°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 21 mph
Humidity: 63%
course: Springbrook Prairie

It is noteworthy, in this case, to regard this as a course PR. I dropped my time around 1:30 from just a couple weeks ago. I also beat my Freedom Four 4-mile Race time from July 4.

Bug-riddled, I relaxed, and enjoyed the run, except for bugs biting, swimming on my tongue, and doing laps around my eyes. That I didn't like. It also was so dark by 2/3 through that if it weren't for the white crushed rock path, who knows what pond I'd be floating in.

My legs were aching going into it, thanks to last night's butt-kicking. I expect a slow trot in around 9:00-9:15. I worked hard to stay focused after mile 2 through mile 3.5, where the hills are, but the bugs really did me in. It was humid and hot, but didn't seem as much of a bother as was the ingestion of black things with wings.

4 miles 32:57.86/8:14 --- 4-Jul
5.5 miles 46:31/8:27 --- 25-Aug

Tonight
  1. Mile 1 - 8:26 (8:26)
  2. Mile 2 - 8:14 (16:40)
  3. Mile 3 - 8:20 (25:00)
  4. Mile 4- 7:45 (32:45)
  5. Mile 5 - 8:05 (40:50)
  6. Mile 5.5 - 4:12 (8:24 pace - 45:02 overall)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Strong Outing, 800 PR (Yes, Again)

3200 meters wu
800 meters 8x100 striders
600 (300) fresh
400 (300) fresh
3x800 (400) good
2x400 very fresh
600 meters wd

Total: 6.625 miles

79°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 12 mph
Humidity: 83%
course: Wheaton College track

finish
74°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 16 mph
Humidity: 87%

It was a workout I dreaded. Whatever is causing me to sleep terribly was at it again. I began the warm up dragging. First mile was a sluggish 9:10 -- not just the time, but I felt awful. I did my striders before Jim showed up, but then rain came. We all traipsed back into Gilligan's Island underneath the bleachers.

Anyway, when I heard 'good' in reference to the 800s, I was concerned. I don't know my pace for any of this yet, and my pace buddy John was already done with his workout. Jim suggested 3:38, but I didn't know if he was suggesting-suggesting, or just pulling a time out of a hat. I thought it sounded as good as any time, so 3:38 it would be. How would I know how fast to go, given I can't quite 'feel' a pace?

Lee stepped up to the plate. He was aiming for a 3:40. Follow his pace, then shoot up a few meters. Seemed easy enough, until ice skate racer boy Lee shot out of the cannon. Lee unapologetically claims from his ice skate racing days, that's the way it gets done, and hard habits are hard to break. Made sense. I felt good, and left him at the 150 m point.

First 400 = 1:39, finished in 3:25 (1:46)
Next 800, first 400 = 1:37, finished in 3:06 (1:29)
Next 800, first 400 = 1:31, finished in 3:00 (1:29)

I freaked out a little as I did the math. I knew my previous best was 3:05 (August 31), and I had just finished a 3:06. Realizing I did the 400 harder than I usually do single 400s, with another to go, it went to reason that I might not have the juice to get the job done.

Good advice as it related to 800s - the toughest part is the final back straightaway. Why? First 400, less tired. Last 100, that's easy to endure. But there is 200 meters, starting with around 300 to go, that Jim believes is tough. Could be. I haven't run so many yet as to know, so I tried it, and that point of view helped tremendously.

Looking back, as Lee and I discussed, maybe the 3:25 was too slow. Jim wanted us to run these at the same pace. I didn't. Might be 3:15s would have been better. No way to know where I could break equally on each, but to average each, it could mean I should have run 3:10s. Next time.

The victory is not the 3:00. It is that the track workouts are becoming more fun, and I am finding my speed. It makes the rest of the fall look tasty for running.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mosquitos and Beer

4.8 miles LSD

total: 4.8 miles

89°F
Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 9 mph
Humidity: 40%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Quick run, around 42-45 minutes, with Rich and Lee, during which I received some expert thoughts on first and second miles in a 5K, and racing internationally, plus an update about the jazz nightlife in Michigan,

Mosquitoes took what blood we had to give. The beautiful scent of hamburgers teased me each step. As I ran hungry, I fed baby mosquitoes.

Ran into Margaret running as she finished off 45 minutes or so.

Then, went home, roasted a Cornish hen, drank half an Amstel Light (that's an Amstel Light-Light), and a snack of Mac and Cheese. Now, off to bed. Yes, you too. It is too late to up reading blogs.

Encouraged or Discouraged?

I ran the numbers of my outdoors 5k/5000 meters run. This includes both races and solo track times, and does not include treadmill times. Since my goal is about an outside time, either a track or race will do, but a treadmill will not.

I must admit I took more hope from my treadmill times than apparently is realistic. I saw it drop to 21:52, and though, why not? It might be that yesterday's 22:31 was a bad race, that under other conditions, I might have ran better. There is no way to know that, so I'll just look at the facts.

In reverse order, these are my times for the 5K/5000 meters:
  1. 22:31 9-3-07 St. Pet's 5K
  2. 23:13 7-25-07 Geneva Viking Sunset race
  3. 25:12 6-2-07 Run for the Animals race
  4. 25:22.33 5-30-07 COD track
  5. 26:33.05 5-21-07 COD track
  6. 27:05 5-11-07 COD track (adj)
  7. 27:54 5-6-07 COD track (adj)
Looking at the spread of times and dates, the pace of my improvement varied greatly.

Seconds Improved Per Day (average between races)
  • 9.8
  • 3.2
  • 7.9
  • 3.3
  • 2.2
  • 1.0
  • 2.7 average from May 6 to September 3
Above, the numbers shown the decline in improvement. Improvement is, of course, still good. However, give the current distance between my present status, and my goal, if these numbers portray the continual trend, 20:00 looks far, far off.

A second a day? That's the average improvement from the July 25 Viking Run through yesterday's race. To achieve 20:00, I need another 148 or 149 days. That means January 29, and this only is true if the trend does not slope even slower.

There is a plenty of room to be discouraged since I announced I wanted to hit my goal by September 30. While my date was arbitrary, it looked for awhile to be possible.

With each run, each race comes a victory. That victory may be bold and exciting, like a PR, or quieter, like the completion of a consistent week of workouts. My times now aren't real PRs the same way a hardscrabble fought few seconds are nicked off a year-old time. Mine are the easy ones, shed with each successively lost pound. They are victories just the same.

As poundage goes, I'm holding tight. No weight loss to speak of. My resting pulse rate, as well as recovery time after hard runs is improving. When I started in May, my pulse would still be very high hours later. Now, it gets back to the low 50s quickly. My overall resting pulse has been inconsistent, but last night and this morning was in the mid-40s, with right now at 47.

Encouraged?
Yes. I'm leaner. Muscle definition is increasing my legs. My face is thinner. my pulse is slower. My blood pressure is better.

Yes. I'm faster. I have track and race times to prove it. I keep a spreadsheet of my best times in each distance, and every distance has improvement. I have outkicked any runner within five meters with 200 meters to go.

Discouraged?
Somewhat. All this improvement aside, and not taking away from the enjoyment I have in it, I want to run like I once ran. I see the times in the top 10 of the 5Ks in the area, and remember once running there. Mere pluck and hard work is not enough. Progress takes work, and the endurance not only to run the distance but to suffer through the pain of not getting there quickly.

January 29? Ugh.

Is all lost? Maybe as far as my September 30 goal is, yes. But the winter will bring good and bad things training-wise, and I'm not sure where it will land. I'm hopeful.

Lost weight, gained muscle. I'll be joining COD's Fitness Lab. It is essentially a basic gym. Treadmills, weight machines. Nothing complicated. I have not lifted weights in years, and when I did, not seriously. A winter of lifting should do wonders for my scrawny, untoned blobbish physique. I will lose weight, hopefully, finally, and be able to see for myself the benefits that come with this. Lots of treadmill LSD, little speedwork (not sure how the Jim Spivey Running Club manages this during cold weather). With all of this, few, if any, races to check against. When the weather warms, I will hit the roads with, in a sense, a new body ready to race.

And, when it all comes down to it, I want to run fast. I will not be satisfied with 22:31. Not 21:11. Not 20:00. I want to run in the 17s again. I want to race, not merely run. I want to look over the starting line and know who I have to beat. I want to crush him in a beautiful dueling sprint that leaves us both giving the other that nod that comes with knowing it was a victory earned, not given.

Today, I'm not a jogger. I am a runner. But, I am not also yet a racer.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Outdoors PR - 5K - Less Than Fantastic Race - St. Pet's 5K

St Petronille 5K St. Petronille 5K - Glen Ellyn, IL
22:31 - 7:16 mile (unofficial)
official:
61st place
9th age group (M 40-44)
22:32.8 (7:16/M)

.3 wu
3.1 miles

total: 3.4 miles

63°F
Clear
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 81%

finish
73°F
Clear
Wind: SW at 5 mph
Humidity: 68%


  1. 6:48 (6:48)
  2. 14:09 (7:21)
  3. 22:31.98 (7:37 x 1.1 miles)

As you can see from above, I started fast, finished slow. This was partly because of pre-race jitters, poor sleep and not feeling well the last two days, and a long hill just after mile 2. I also didn't fight like I should have to maintain pace. The biggest matter I could have controlled, I didn't. My plan was a 6:55-7:00 mile 1, but started faster, and paid dearly.

Still, the victory is that I knocked off about 45 seconds from my July 25 Viking Run 5K time, making it an official PR. Any PR is a good race.

The treadmill times are not 'fake', but do not achieve true outside conditions. I have a better race in me, so I am encouraged even by my weak finish.

Margaret ran well, winning her age group, despite starting fast well well. My friend Brad U. stepped in for a very impressive first race out of nowhere, in 29:41.9, after being cajoled into it yesterday. Better things to come from Brad, who showed a strong finish, and the will to power through the last 100 meters. If he sticks with it, gets in enough miles, he is bound to drop a few minutes quickly.

I don't feel great now, and will lay down.

Post-script: I added a fresh picture, after a short nap and long shower. A race picture isn't available. That's a long-sleeved t-shirt which came in the goodie bag.

Otherwise, the bag was filled with candy (cough drops?), race announcements, and a magnet that did not look very appealing.

The race itself was well-organized, despite being handled entirely by a neighborhood church. That's no crime to be a church organizing a race, of course, but I was concerned that a church might not realize the needs of a runner. Hats off to St. Pet's, which covered it all.

Volunteers were in full-force. I spoke with one guy who was cheering on runners near the final turn, "My job is easier than yours," he said with a smile. I disagreed, as "my job" was over in 25 minutes, while he had an hour of clapping out there.

The course utilized the Illinois Prairie Path, a local park, and the streets. The only downside was two quick left turns in the beginning, creating a bottleneck issue. No great matter, but it slowed down the middle-of-the-pack runners.

Water was offered at key points. For many 5K runners, the ones finishing under 30 minutes, this is less important, but to the ones out there longer, as the sun beats down amidst strenuous effort, it makes a difference. One stop, at least, was manned by the diligent and kind runners of the Glen Ellyn Runner's Club.

The finish was a funnel, which was a little disappointing. I had a good sprint going, but deferred to safety rather than running down the fellow I was about to pass.