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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Recovery, but Not Recovered

3200 meters warmup
6x100 striders
1000 f (300)
600 f (300)
400 f+ (200)
3x200 fgf (100)[600]
800 f (300)
400 f (200)
3x200 f (50)
600 meters warmdown

total: 7.3125 miles

Wind: S at 3 mph
Humidity: 89%
course: Wheaton College track

Tonight was a recovery workout, but still difficult. It was a good night to focus on form.

I held well to pace, running with Matt Jewell. He's speeding up greatly the last few months and imagine this time next year he'll be reporting much quicker times in his races.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Missed the Mark: 23:06.26

Me on the way to the Viking Sunset 5K, trying to look tough
Viking Sunset Race Results

1 mile warm up
4x100 striders
3.1 mile race - 23:06 (official)
400 meters warm down

total: 4.6 miles

At 5:25 pm
Wind: NW at 15 mph
Humidity: 51%

7pm Sunny
From WNW 12 mph

weight 131.

7:49 (final 1.1 miles)
23:06.26 (7:27.1)
finish: 179th
gender: 137
age group: 20

That's all. Not good. I stuck as well as I could to plan, and choked.

My kick was strong, though not long. I planned to suck it up for the last 800 m, gradually working it up, but the tank was dry. I did have something the last 200 m, especially the last 75 m, and caught several people.

Good? No. Why not? Passing people is good. Right. Being passed by a guy the last 5 m is bad. I passed everyone in front of me that I could, but a guy shot up to me, then snuck by with a few steps to go. I relaxed just before the chute instead of finishing the race. When I realized he was there, it was too late. He had momentum and I couldn't get my leg turnover up. This boils me. I should have beaten him.

picture: Me on the way to the Viking Sunset 5K, trying to look tough

see last year's race report: 5K PR - 23:13 - Viking Run

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Easy Does It, Or, So I Hope: Prerace Relaxing Jog

2.3 miles -- 20:08 (8:45/mile)
6x100 meters striders

total: 2.675 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 1 mph
Humidity: 71%
course: neighborhood half mile loop

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 2 mph
Humidity: 73%

Easy 20 minutes getting ready for tomorrow. The night was exceptionally humid, and there's every reason to think tomorrow's race time will be similar.

Race plan: 7:10 mile to start, hold steady for mile two, then see what's left. I need a 6:58 pace for the last 1.1 miles to get my PR, but that, I think, is less up to me, or more dependent on the weather.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Strong Running, Much Confidence

3200 meter warmup
6x100 striders
3x200 f (100)[400] 3:38
1x800 g (400) 3:18
3x200 f (100)[400] 3:44
1x800 g (400) 3:07
3x200 f (100) 3:39
600 meter warmdown

total: 6.25 miles

Wind: NW at 0 mph
Humidity: 42%
course: Wheaton College track

My times for the 800s were supposed to be 3:16-3:22 and I was concerned about hitting them. After the first, in 3:18, toe-to-toe with Dave Christensen.

A good workout. I ran strong, but never all out. It is my last hard workout before Wednesday night's race. It has me feeling confident that something in the mid-21s is very possible, even if it means dropping over a minute from this year's 5K.

Trivia: Yesterday and today each finish 37.48 miles for the previous seven days.

New on Jim's site, Workout of the Week, from his days as an elite miler. His workouts are not extraordinary as far as what he did. The difference was speed, but that's something God gave him. At some point, there's no amount of hard work that will achieve those times without someone divinely intervening.

No relevance to this song, except that I am listening as I write:

Billy Preston - Will It Go Round In Circles

Racing My Brain: Running a Week Before the Gun

A 7:05 mile pace will get my a smidgen under 22:00, and a new PR. It will also keep my starting pace at something manageable. If I hit it square-on, I'll see a 21:57.5.

Factors: I'm getting in better aerobic shape. Better, I think, than anytime last year. I'm more disciplined about pace. Heat: 87° is predicted. If true, going out gonzo the first mile would drain every corpuscle of usefulness.

If I start at that 7:05, and I have a great race, the best I think I can do is a 21:15. The worst? I think 22:30.

A decent race will get me under 22:00. A 21:30 (7:05 + 2.1 miles x 6:52) could be in the cards. The hard part will be starting slow.

Other goals (be aggressive)
  1. A strong second mile.
  2. A racing mentality: can I pick off the next guy?
  3. Work the hills
  4. Pick up at 19:00: no matter how far I have run, I need to surge gradually. I should have less than a half mile to go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunny at Dusk: Workout Course PR

4.42 miles fresh -- 33:50 (7:39/mile)
0.50 warmdown

total: 4.92 miles

Wind: N at 3 mph
Humidity: 35%
course: COD Loop

Wind: NE at 1 mph
Humidity: 40%

Finally, some semblance of weather that has no resemblance to an Amazon rain forest. That is, discounting the abundant presence of mosquitos.

Ran a little later, hence, 'dusk', and encouraging it was, this run. It felt right to move well. It felt sunny.

Each stage had good times for each corner. 1:52 at Lambert and 22nd. 9:45 (1.3 miles) at Lambert and Butterfield. 15:07 (?) at the Lutheran church. 18:48 at Butterfield and 53 (2.5 miles). 23:40 (?) at 53 and Glen Valley (3.1 miles). 27:34 (?) at Glen Valley and Park (3.6 miles). 29:09 at Park and 22nd (3.8 miles). All summing up to a nice 7:39 pace.

The first few pieces of the route are downhill, through 2.5 miles, to Butterfield and 53, when a slow incline carries through for the next 1.1 miles, to Glen Valley and Park. A sharp, but brief incline, then an equally brief downhill takes me to Park and 22nd, finishing with a long uphill slope all the way to my place.

Come on, George, take it home:

Here Comes the Sun, George Harrison

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What a Day ('s Rest Can Make)

5.47 miles fresh - 46:37 (8:31/mile)

total: 5.47 miles

Wind: NE at 3 mph
Humidity: 64%
course: Butterfield Loop

Wind: NE at 1 mph
Humidity: 68%

What a difference a day makes - tonight felt easy, as if everything was downhill. The humidity never seemed to factor, thanks to a cool 74°F air (and dropping).

While an 8:31 pace is hardly blowing out all speed records, it is nicely following up a many-miled week. Through tonight, the previous seven days add up to 36.98 miles.

On my mind, then, is what happens when weather and humidity are good? Hopefully, such convergence can be found next Wednesday evening for the Viking Sunset race. I'm still at a loss what time I should try for. Thursday's workout has me slated for a bunch of 1x800s and 3x200s, with the 800s at 3:16-3:22. This should give me an idea.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flies, Heat and 4.42 Miles

4.42 miles easy -- 41:23 (9:21/mile)
0.50 miles warmdown

total: 4.92 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: W at 2 mph
Humidity: 59%
course: COD Loop

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 3 mph
Humidity: 65%

Another steamy one, and I don't mean page 347 in a Harlequin Romance. Initially, running the complete 4.92 was the plan, but I stepped out onto my black tar driveway and realized it would be a tough run. Took it out slow, and never picked it up. Yesterday's long run is still in my legs, limiting how much oomph was in the tank. Added a slow hakf mile warmdown just to clean out my legs and burn a couple of extra calories.

All the heat, tired legs and a few bugs didn't discourage me. I count it as a decent workout. In fact, those are the reasons it was good. I ran well all week, especially compared to the week before.

Bugs, you ask. Yes. Flying things. Bees, mosquitos, odd dragonflies, and a confused bird. A few nasty looking flies hovered around too. None decided to chomp, thankfully.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Longest Run Yet - 11 Easy Miles

11 miles easy -- 1:45:59 (9:38/mile)
53:16, 52:43

total: 11 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: N at 2 mph
Humidity: 86%
course: Springbrook Prairie

Wind: SW at 0 mph
Humidity: 73%

Saturday morning
Pouring rain since the middle of the night means my 9:00 time to run is delayed. Almost 9:30 now, with no signs of stopping. WWND? What would Noah do?

Thinking about my next race, I will aim for around a 21:45, just under 7:01/mile pace. Looking at my log, I am trying to find evidence to support this. I am not sure I see it.

My overall training and fitness is better, though I am not sure how to compare my times last year to this year. Too many variables. By last year, I mean the two weeks preceding my September 22, 2007 22:00 5K PR. Then, I regularly was running quicker single miles than now. To believe I can run 3x7:01 is hard. This year, though, I have more miles and as such, a better aerobic base. Part of what limited me last year was inconsistent training and a poor base. How will this add up? I don't know.

I do have October 4 of last year a similar workout as last Thursday: 4xmile 7:10, 7:14, 7:14, 7:13. Thursday, I ran 3xmile 7:16, 7:10, 7:13. That's encouraging, especially as I held back this week in order to stay within the range Jim gave me (7:10-7:25), plus the heat. I also see October 8 I ran four miles in 32:24, and this year, June 22, I ran 30:42 (7:40).

Weather will be a factor, as always. Evenings in the Chicagoland area can be cool, but can just as easily be dreadfully hot and humid. The race is 11 days out, and too far off for a reasonable prediction. It is also completely out of my control.

The goal has not changed: 20:00. As it will not happen July 30, I need to look at whatever my race result is as a stepping stone. If I run 25:00, and somehow, that was the best way to get me to sub-20 this summer, so be it. It comes back to trusting my coach.

Saturday evening
Rain subsided. Great run. Longest run in years. All felt good. My pace range probably from about 9:00 to 10:00, but there are hills to endure.

My time was better than my 8.5 mile run at Springbrook last month (or was it May?).

Now, a few hours later, my legs are tired but feel pretty good. My overall energy seems OK too. Tomorrow morning is where the truth will be, however.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Loose Run, Nice Run

4.42 miles 37:23 (8:27)
0.50 miles warmdown

total: 4.92 miles

Hot. humid
No idea what weather really is.

course: COD Loop

Felt loose. Expected the heat to knock me down, so I started as relaxed as I could. Encouraged as I simply never have handled heat well and today was among my better runs for this loop. In fact, scrolling through my log, I can see that my times are much better than for similar conditions than in June.

Real improvement speed-wise, or just as far as fitness goes? Fitness is fine, and I need that too, but I'm all about speed. With July 30's Viking Sunset race coming up, it is time to plan. I have 12 days.

Tomorrow is a long run day, and I am hoping I can get in 11 miles. It will be a new farthest distance. It will be two times around Springbrook Prairie if all goes as planned.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Three Mile Repeats and a BBQ

3200 meter warm up
6x100 striders
3xmile (400)
600 m warmdown

total: 6.25 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 4 mph
Humidity: 54%
course: Wheaton College track

Good run tonight, despite the heat. I needed that. My goal was to hit 7:10-7:25. Did that. Felt OK throughout.

  1. 7:16
  2. 7:10
  3. 7:13

Met Matt Fausey, a guy I met at the Freedom Four while catching my breath afterward. We watched the people coming into the track for the final 150 meters or so. I had forgotten, so was surprised when he made it. Good runner. He kicked out a 24:55 at that four miler.

Aftwards, Margaret had us over for a BBQ. Great hospitality (especially after screaming out some 6:40 miles).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slow, Good Run

4.42 miles - 39:27 (8:55/mile)

total: 4.42 miles

Wind: S at 3 mph
Humidity: 65%
course: COD Loop

Wind: S at 0 mph
Humidity: 63%

Hot and all. The good? My bad days are better than last year. Sub-9 pace even though the temperature is high, the humidity is swampy, and the roads are hilly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Around the Block With Mark

3.0 miles (est) 29:39

total: 3.0 miles

Wind: S at 5 mph
Humidity: 41%
course: random park run (Briarpatch Park)

How long I ran? 29:39. How far? Hard to know. I tried mapping it on to no avail. Just couldn't remember the course.

Ran with buddy Mark, whose wife runs on the Jim Spivey Running Club. He is where I was last year: former runner trying to find his sea legs.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Crummy Run Cut Short

3.40 miles run
1.59 miles hard walk

total: 5.0 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 2 mph
Humidity: 63%
course: shortened Butterfield Loop

Lousy run. Quit the run early. I hate quitting. Felt entirely out of gas.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wiped Out, Exhausted

3.72 miles - 37:19
0.6 miles warmdown

total: 4.42 miles

Wind: SE at 1 mph
Humidity: 59%
course: COD Loop

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: S at 3 mph
Humidity: 59%

There you go. Tired. Enjoy the song more than I enjoyed my run.

The Ventures - Wipe Out

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rain, Rain, Went Away (But Came Back)

2000 meters warmup
6x100 striders
2x1000 vf (300)[400], 4:33-4:50
3x200 f (100)[400]
1x800 vf (300), 3:42-3:50
2x200 f (100)[400]
various bounding and skipping
400 warmdown

total: 6.625 miles

Wind: W at 0 mph
Humidity: 85%

Pouring rain now at 7:45 p, but a short window of sun allowed us to run. Smaller crowd, maybe six of us, but a good workout.

I didn't wear my watch, and can't remember my times, but I know was a bit too fast. While this should not be a problem on the surface, the workout was structured to accomplish things other than pure speed. Our coach is pretty known for his focus in this kind of thing, which, though somewhat above my head, does make sense.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

4.42 Miles Striding Well

4.42 miles -- 35:46.63 (8:05/mile)
0.5 warm down

total: 4.92 miles

Wind: SW at 3 mph
Humidity: 36%
course: COD Loop

Wind: SW at 3 mph
Humidity: 46%

What a difference humidity makes. Still as hot as yesterday, but 14% less humid. Still a sweaty afternoon, but I felt in stride. I have been working on being relaxed, and today, mostly, I was.

Now, I need a shower, change into dry clothes, and grab some dinner.

Numbering Success: Not Much to Work With

I never wanted to be a statistician. I got my wish. I'm a writer. As a result, all of the following will demonstrate I know nothing about numbers.

One runner I know ran last year's Freedom Four 4-miler in 25:47. Then, he ran in last September an 18:38 5K at the same race I had my current PR of 22:00.84. I wondered (and still wonder) if I can take anything from this.

I ran the numbers. In the 5K, he ran each mile at 0.932502033 of each mile of the 4-miler. Some of that relates to the hilly course, the distance, how he felt that day, and so on. Some, I am hoping, can be attributed to training throughout the summer.

Taking my official 4-mile time and multiplying it by 0.932502033, I get what comes down to a 21:18 5K (6:52/mile). Not good enough. 20:00 is the goal.

That runner is very consistent with his training, and has been in good shape for years. Maybe his time will reflect less improvement than mine will. My consistency is new, and so I might still be moving forward in my "leaps and bounds" of improvement. He ran a 26:25.69 last year, while I ran 33:05. His improvement: 0:38. Mine: 3:36.

The sum of it all? The data is not good enough to correlate any likely sub-20 PR by the summer's end. I am expecting to break 22:00 my next 5K if everything keeps going as it has, ideally getting beyond these silly questions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hard Run on a Hot Day - 4.42

4.42 miles - 37:32.45 (8:30/mile)
0.5 miles warmdown

total: 4.92 miles

Wind: SW at 3 mph
Humidity: 62%
course: COD Loop

Wind: SW at 2 mph
Humidity: 69%

Jim sent out an e-mail cautioning us about bonking. Water is not enough, nor is coffee or tea. He mentioned his son ran out of gas playing soccer. Lots of water, but needed electrolytes. In light of this, I dropped my intended run from 5.5-6.0 miles to around 4.5.

Despite this, I ran well. Second best time or so for this loop. My best was on a much cooler, less humid day (75°F/40% humidity). I felt hot, but in general, was OK. My hydration has been better. I'll drink some OJ in a few minutes, once my body cools some.

Same run probably tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hot and (Legs Are) Heavy - 4 Miles Checked Off

4 miles fresh - 34:55 (8:43/mile)

total: 4.0 miles

Wind: S at 4 mph
Humidity: 40%
course: Wheaton College track

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SE at 2 mph
Humidity: 45%

Slower than it looks. I was at 8:30, 8:23 for the first two miles, but by 2.5 miles was tanked. Decided just to get it done. Heat. Humidity. Drained for two harder days (one fast, one far).

Progress is on, but not always as obvious. My job is to get in the workouts, and believe that they will take me there.

Time to watch the Trials.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Notching Out an Easy Eight at Eight

8.07 miles - 1:14:42 (9:15/mile)

total: 8.07 miles

Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 93%
course: Prairie Path north to Geneva and back, then south to Weisbrook and back

Wind: SE at 0 mph
Humidity: 58%

Lovely morning run. Lots of club runners from CARA, Glen Ellyn Runners Club and others.

Frank, Lee, Jody and Kevin. Picked up Brad mid-run. Ran north, then Jody and I ran another 3 miles, heading 1.5 miles south and back.

Felt good, though thighs hurt from yesterday.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Freedom Four 4-Mile PR (29:28.41)

Official results
29:29.5 time
144 overall place
116 sex place
35 age group
7:22.3 mile pace

14:39 (7:34)
21:05 (6:26?)
29:28.41 (my watch) (8:27)

Those are the splits I heard, though my finish time is accurate as per my watch. Mile three split is so off it puts the other times in question. Management should go to a chip-based system next year.

Good kick at the end. Maybe too good.

Overall, a solid race for me. Started exactly as intended, lost little ground. I held my pace better than I had been, though there is room for a stronger mid-race.

Freedom Four 4-Mile Glen Ellyn results are online:

Time to Celebrate the Fourth - Race Time

Time to leave. Had a cup of coffee. Not much sleep.

Weight: 131.2

Wind: NE at 3 mph
Humidity: 94%

Weather will change; the race starts in over an hour.

Goal remains 29:00 (7:15/hour). Anything under 30:00, and it will have been a good race.
July 4: Freedom Four® Four-Mile Run
Join the biggest event of the running season! The star-spangled 4-mile Freedom Four starts off from behind the Glenbard West football field at 8 am “sharp” on July 4. This year there will be 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 will be guaranteed to every pre-registered participant and given to day of race registrants while supplies last. Postcards will be available on site within 20 minutes of your finish time to every participant with their race time and place in both their category and overall. Total results will be posted by 2 pm at the band shell during the afternoon festivities as well as on the Web at Race packets for pre-registered participants will be available for pick-up between 8 am and 6 pm. at the Spring Avenue Recreation Center (185 Spring Ave.) Saturday, June 21st. Day-of-race registration and packet pick-up will begin at 6 am and will end at 7:30 am. So if you haven’t picked up your packet or still need to register, get there early.
Age: All
Glenbard West football field
8 am

See you there.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Jus' a Taste, Mister, Jus' a Taste: Two and A Quarter, and Then Some

3200 m warmup
2.25 miles - 21:32
6x100 striders

total: 4.625 miles

Wind: NE at 4 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: COD track

Easy around a few laps, getting ready for tomorrow. Ran with Jody at COD. Not much to tell. Good weather.

Freedom Four tomorrow. 29:00 or bust.

Spivey on the Trials: 2008 Olympic Trial Thoughts

My coach has posted an article about the Olympic Trials that might be of interest.

2008 Olympic Trial Thoughts
Insight into the Olympic Trials, the Races, and the Runners
by Jim Spivey

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pre-Race Workout: Short and Sweat

3200 meters warm up
6x100 meters striders
3x200 f (100)[400]
1x400, g first 200, f last 200 (400)
2x150 build ups (150)
600 meter warm down

total: 4.34375 miles

Wind: SW at 4 mph
Humidity: 37%
course: Wheaton College track

As you see, a careful workout, looking toward Friday's race. I held my own despite not running for several days.

For the 200s, I hit :44, :43, :44. For the 400, I passed 200 meters in :39, finished in 1:26.

The build-ups: new to me. Slow for first 50 m, up a gear each 50 m, then, pretty quick last 20 meters.

Ran into the SunJoy running club, traded lanes with them.

A post-workout Fanta Grape hit the spot.

Druthers, Not Drudges Sought in July 4 Race

Are you racing on Friday? I am. Come on, pilgrim. You know you'd love to.

If I have my druthers, I will run perfect splits Friday at July 4th's Freedom Four in Glen Ellyn. I'll hit 7:15 miles mechanically. 7:15, 14:30, 21:45, and whammy! 29-flat.

Will it happen this way? Of course not.

There's the bottleneck beginning, so I will need to burst out of the gate, at least for the first half mile, just to get through the masses. Not so much, though, that I run out of rocket fuel. I'm still a middle of the pack runner, and cannot get my brain caught up into thinking I am a front runner.

There are hills that will cause trouble. I must fight them, yet respect them. While, if I can run a 22:00 5K, I should be able to hit a 28:45 or so, this is not the ideal course to accomplish it. Spotting myself :15, not quite :04/mile, hopefully will be enough.

A trouble common in my races is that I fall asleep. Gotta race the whole race, not just the first and last third. Inconveniently, the race only will give me mile splits, not nicely organized 400 meter splits as listed below.

1 - - 1:48
2 - - 3:37
3 - - 5:26
4 - - 7:15 - - Mile 1
5 - - 9:03
6 - - 10:52
7 - - 12:41
8 - - 14:30 - - Mile 2
9 - - 16:18
10 - - 18:07
11 - - 19:56
12 - - 21:45 - - Mile 3
13 - - 23:33
14 - - 25:22
15 - - 27:11
16 - - 29:00 - - Mile 4

44 at 41: Pulse is Slower Than Molasses

My pulse was 44 this morning. A new low. A few days of rest have helped.

Molasses, Molasses (It's Icky-sticky Goo) by Spike Jones