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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Piranhas, Chipmunks and Deer (oh my!)

0.64 miles (est) - 5:58 (9:17/mile)
7.74 miles - 1:11:53 (9:17/mile)

total: 8.38 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 95%
course: Herrick Lake

I was late getting out the door. My ability to work my GPS is suspect. Then, I got lost. A deer jumped out from nowhere. A friendly chipmunk said hello every time I looped past his hole. A squirrel with human issues fired obscenities at me from his tree. Mosquitoes tore at my legs like piranhas.

A beautiful run. Slow on purpose. I needed this.

Haile Gebrselassie Runs 2:03:59 Marathon

Call me a Haile Gebrselassie fan. It's easy to be one. He's 35, when many elite runners are past their prime. Not him. He sets a world record in the marathon. Berlin Marathon. Again.

4:43 per mile. I'm pretty proud of having run a 4:44 -- once. This is unimaginable.

That's something to think about as I get ready to run long, albeit almost twice as slow.

I had a little survey on the left. Might be still up. A few of you (not me, I voted yes) were naysayers. Tsk, tsk.

Gebrselassie breaks marathon world record

BERLIN (AP) — Haile Gebrselassie broke his own marathon world record on Sunday, becoming the first runner to finish under 2 hours, 4 minutes.

The Ethiopian clocked 2:03:59 to win his third straight Berlin Marathon, beating the mark of 2:04:26 he set last year over the same flat course. He also became the first runner to win the race three times.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

PR in Long Race (or Not?) (Tailgate Trot 5K Race)

Official results

.5 mile warm up
3x50 meters striders
3.17 miles race (21:43 - 6:51/mile, 21:14 5K pace)

total: 3.76375 miles

prerace - 7:12
Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 100%

expected at race time
Current:Mostly Sunny
Wind: N at 2 mph
Humidity: 80%

Did I PR at the Tailgate Trot 5K Race 5K in Downers Grove, IL?

I saw two maps. One, just now, claiming a precise 5K as per the USATF. The other, at race time, also with USATF letterhead, that the race was 3.17 miles. The difference? A PR or not.

Either way, a decent race despite a rough night. Never pushed. Started slow, with a 7:01 mile. No one near me for the last 1200 meters, which would have helped. Second in the 40-44 age category. Nice red ribbon.

Mile 1 - 7:01
Mile 2 - 6:38 (?)
Mile 3 - 6:53 - 7:20 (?)

Met Mike Barret, a 58 year old runner who ran a 20:02, and, more importantly, has read this blog. Good guy. Low mileage, with roughly 20 miles per week. Last year, he took second overall in the Run for the Mind, just as I did this year.

Also met Karl, the guy I met at the St Mary's of Gostyn run. He's running again tomorrow in Plainfield.

Time to nap.

The Sun Also Rises: Thinking About the Race Before the Birds Awake

Darkness hangs around a heavy fog, joined like two hangmen waiting. Birds, too wet to chirp, consider with hope that today will be like yesterday. Birds don't know the sun always rises.

Today's race, Tailgate Trot 5K Race, starts at 8:00 am. I am expecting a small race, with mostly local runners, with no more than 200 runners. Although last week's race had a similar count, I don't expect to be as close to the front.

I'm up too early. Sleepless night, Five hours of sleep.

I adjusted all my goal times as I added a new race for November 1. If I generally improve each race, I will be happy. The day my times stop improving will my last PR. I am not there yet. The sun which sets also rises.

I have never read Earnest Hemingway's famous book. I should. My academic focus was American literature, and he is among the Americanist, right there with Poe, Twain, Sandburg, Steinbeck. He's from here, or, rather, around 15 miles east of here.

Racing. I'm drinking powdered cappuccino. Think gas station here, not Starbucks. Toffee flavored. It'll do. I'll be more awake, and all systems should be firing.

Under 22:00 is my general goal, but I will shoot for a 21:30. 6:56 pace. I will try to start at 6:50, if I can, hold to 7:00 for mile two, then charge through a 6:58 for the final 1.1.

The sun rises at 6:45 am. Race time weather is predicted to be Mostly Sunny, 58°F, with a huge 80% humidity. Mostly sunny is far better than all the way sunny. I prefer not to wear my sunglasses when I race.

Meanwhile, Haile Gebrselassie races the Berlin Marathon tomorrow. He broke the world record last year, missed the Beijing Olympics, and should be poised for a serious try at the WR again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bugs Dug As Run's Fun Done

1.29+ miles - 11:21 (8:48/mile)
10x100 (.52/mile - 836.9 meters) e3obu (every third one a build-up)

total: 1.81+

Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 47%
course: neighborhood half mile loop

Not quite the prerace run I expected. 11:30 should have been 25:00. I tried running my neighborhood loop, dodged cars, mosquitoes, neighbors, all of which jumped into my planning. Not that neighbors are a bad thing. We need neighbors more than we let on.

My watch acted funky, or, rather, I missed the correct button. 1.29 is probably closer to 1.60. One mile was a 7:32.

So I sit here, drained of blood from a TB test I took yesterday (no blood really taken, but it hurts), drained of blood donated to the Anopheles Family Blood Drive, sweating without having run hard.

My legs are tired. Lack of steady training. Harder 100s. Ten, with the build-ups.

More than last week's race. I am a little more tired, a little better prepared? Look here tomorrow after the race to find out how it all worked out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lonely Night on a Strange, Bloody Track

1400 meters warmup (15:36)
6x100 striders
2x200 f (100)[400]
1x800 change of pace -- 3:06 (93, 93)
f first 200
g next 200
f next 200
g last 200
jog 3:30 vf (550 meters)
5x150 f (50)
600 meters warmdown

total: 3.90625 miles

Wind: SW at 0 mph
Humidity: 50%
course: COD track

Just ran the math of my run... light workout all said (by mile count, not effort)- 3.90625 miles. I ran it all pretty tightly, done from start to finish under 60 minutes. Was surprised there was not much recovery listed.

2x200 -- ran too fast for first one, and adjusted 39, 44.

800 = 3:06 with even splits per 400. :47 my first 200. No idea about other times.

Felt very wiped by the time the 150s came around, but tried to hold pace. Hard to run those alone. Very hard.

How alone was I was suspect. Three guys -- two huge twins, and one thinner guy, were filming. One had fake blood covering his head and face. The two big guys raced each other for 50 meters, and the thin guy recorded it.

Lonely Days, Lonely Nights Bee Gees

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunrise? No, Sunset! 5.12 Miles At Dusk

5.12 miles - 42:34 (8:19/mile)

total: 5.12 miles

Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 47%
course: Briarcliff Loop

Wind: NE at 0 mph
Humidity: 51%

Where did the heat come from? Isn't summer over?

I'll miss the swelter come February, but tonight, I drip.

My 4.3 mile route has grown short. Jim's training method is based somewhat on time, and tonight was 40-50 minutes. Happily, I am fast enough to presume my time will be quicker. The trouble then, is adding a mile or two.

Google told me if I add a certain road, a mile will be added exactly. Not true. 5.3 miles is really 5.12 miles. I squeezed that in just under 43:00. Another half mile would be preferred - I want to run closer to 45-48 minutes.

The run itself felt fine, even in the heat. I never pushed it, but relaxed in a stunning sunset. Soon, though, as I start my new job, I'll be looking at sunrises when I run.

Third and 5000 - Three 5K Races Left

Three races left. More? Maybe, but this should get me through the next month.

Actual races may change, depending on my schedule, but a few are in the queue to get nicked off in quick succession. How quick? A PR each race. No, no. I'm not calling my shots, ala Babe Ruth. Just wishful thinking.

My increased pace is largely based on better weather. Certainly, if I don't pull off my September 27 goal, my October 4 race goal is in question.

Good weather, good courses, and training well these next weeks open the door. I have to run aggressively, but wisely for each. No margin for error.

The "Jack" race will be on a hilly course.

In other words, I have no idea how I'll do. Gotta have a goal, though.

Ideally, I'll find something for early November too.

One step at a time.

Sept 27: Tailgate Trot 5K Race 5K, 21:10 - 6:50/mile
Oct 4: Scarecrow Shuffle 5K, 20:45 - 6:42/mile
Oct 19: This Run's for Jack 5K, 20:30 - 6:37/mile

Monday, September 22, 2008

Low Standards Are My Way

Monday Check-in

128.8 lbs. (down)
48 - Pulse (down)

Strange week of running. A solid Thursday workout, decent race on Saturday, a nice easy run yesterday, but not many highlights beyond that for several weeks.

A bright spot? My weight seems to be tinkering down a bit here and there this month. A little up, a little down. Today is down further than it has been.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Quite 7 on 9-21-2008

6.77 miles - 58:59 (8:42/mile)
0.50 warmdown

total: 7.27 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: NW at 0 mph
Humidity: 56%
course: Butterfield Loop

Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 59%

Hotter than expected, and saved from a storm the Weather Channel scheduled, the run was particularly steamy. Thankfully, Jim had today set as 'vf' - very fresh. No pressure, I just toddled along as felt right. My pace varied, but I didn't care.

So ends an busy week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Run for the Mind: 5K Results - Smoked

0.25 mile warmup (slow jog from my car to the registration table)
3.1 mile race

total: 3.35 miles

At 8:06 am (race time is 9:00 am)
Wind: SE at 0 mph
Humidity: 100%

Predicted for 9:00 am
Feels Like 67°F
Chance Precip 10%
Dew 59°F
Point Humid. 75%
Partly Cloudy
Wind From W 4 mph

Official time -- 21:57.6 That's no surprise.

The surprise? First place male (yet I was in third). 215 runners in all. They gave me a little trophy. It was embarrassing. Actual first place ran bandit. No number, not counted. Next actual first place was a woman (I got chicked).

So, there I was. In third, yet first. I thought the last became first?

Mile 1 - 6:51
Mile 2 - 13:36 (6:45)
Mile 3 (3.1) - 21:57.6 (7:36/mile)

I didn't think I slowed that much, nor picked it up after the first -- making my second mile suspect (does USATF certification mean the total distance is correct, or the individual splits as well?). I ran entirely alone after 1.5 miles, with few people on the sidelines.

Still, going into the race late -- I went to the wrong place and no warm up, tired from Thursday, I think I did OK. It was very humid on this grass and crushed stone course, with mild hills, lots of tight turns, and, for the 5K runners, a sharp hairpin turn.

Good buddy Bob Vishanoff took out most of the 10K crowd, getting third in a spectacular finish.

You can see a video of my finish, with a few pictures.

Run for the Mind: 5K Forthcoming

A change of plans. My race list is inaccurate, as I found a good buddy is running a different race.

Today will be the Run for the Mind. Still a 5K, but this time, on a trail course. Hardly real trail running, but it will no doubt will slow me down.

Also slowing me down will be sluggish legs. I blew off yesterday's workout for no other reason than I let the day escape. I had time. The weather was nice. I just was caught up in other things, and lost track of time.

Today's plan requires that I go out slow. I am not expecting a PR.

1 - 7:00
2 - 7:00
3 to the finish, whatever's left.

It will be a small crowd, and as such, there will be few running around my speed. A few will be much faster, and a large group a minute slower. With this, managing my pace is probably going to be a solo thing. No help from my comrades of the struggle.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pain, Like an Elixir of Encouragement, Tells Me Good Things

3200 m warmup
6x100 striders
2000 m - 8:23 (400)
1600 m - 6:46 (400)
1000 m - 4:02 (400)
400 m - :82 (400)
600 m warmdown

total: 6.875 miles

Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 56%
course: Wheaton College track

Jim sent out a little note to the JSRC group with our workout a few days ahead of time. The distances were no big deal. They add up to a 5K, not counting recovery times. The hard part was the ranges of time. Each runner, based on their level, had different times to hit. I hit mine pretty close. My mile was a second slow, and my 400 was eight seconds fast.

Poor, or short workouts took their toll. So did a difficult night of sleep (just three hours) the night before. How much? Hard to say, but I felt the pain of pressing the runs in my core. Being winded, out of gas is not unusual, but the pain is. It was not a cramp. Just pain.

Pain is never good, but good can come from it. I need to find my limit apart from cramps and other controllables. This pain was the kind which comes from finding that limit in a workout. This same pain I need to find in a race context, knowing all I've got is right there on the road.

Unrelated, but good news.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Unexpectedly Down-and-Out (But Expecting To Up-and-Out Tomorrow)

Monday Check-in

129.8 lbs. (down)
49 - Pulse (down)

A little lower in both categories, and sick all around.

Salisbury Steak is my solace this afternoon, stuffed head. A leftover from running in the rain, or just the autumntime hayfever blues?

Today's a no training day, so I can afford to be sick. Eating is no thrill, and maybe I will lose another few ounces as a result. I need to eat, then a nap may be in order. The taste is strong enough the break through my existential misery.

All said, I've had better days, but I've had worse.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

High-stepping Through High Water: 4.29 in Murky Day

4.29 miles - 33:45 (7:52/mile)
0.50 warmdown

total: 4.79 miles

Wind: W at 4 mph
Humidity: 87%
course: COD Loop

Wind: SW at 0 mph
Humidity: 90%

High-stepped through Lambert, at Foxcroft Lake, thanks to flooding. Humidity high, overcast everywhere, but what we have is nothing like much of the area. Real flooding, electricity out. Our place is fine, just damp.

Back at it Tuesday.

2008 Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon Results & Video

Just got back - raining like crazy. Some friends ran this, and we went along to cheer them on.

Several videos in a playlist. Results.

2008 Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon Results & Video

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Four Visions of Rain: 5.69 Miles

5.69 miles - 53:45 (9:26/mile)

total: 5.69 miles

course: Butterfield Loop

Rain. I got wet.

See three visions of rain below, as seen from my porch. The fourth view cannot be shown. I wore that rain on my face, on my shirt -- the water filled my shoes, soaked my socks. That's the rain I ran in.

The summer is ending. Tonight, the water was warm, but the next time, it may be very cold. That rain intimidates me, but I have no choice. Or, at least, not a choice I want to make.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Four Hundred Three Times Three Times (Really)

3200 warmup
6x100 striders
3x3x400 (200)[400]
600 warmdown

total: 6.25 miles

Current:Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 7 mph
Humidity: 71%
course: Wheaton College track

A solid, albeit somewhat too fast, workout. Felt sluggish, then easier as I went along. No explanation for that. Held back when for the first 400 of the third set, could have broken 80 seconds finally, but I was already ahead of myself.

1:39, 1:43, 1:32
1:39, 1:25, 1:37
1:22, 1:30, 1:27

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is It 4:28 Yet? Another Run, Another Day

4.28 miles - 33:17 (7:47)

total: 4.28 miles

Wind: SE at 0 mph
Humidity: 52%
course: COD Loop

Wind: SE at 0 mph
Humidity: 57%

Just another day, another run. Two accidents on Butterfield resulted in a long wait at Park, wanting to cross.

My GPS tells me 4.28 miles today. Why not the 4.30 from last week? No idea. I must have cut the tangents closer than usual.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Winter Comes With Miles Foreboding

Monday Check-in

130.4 lbs. (up)
50 - Pulse (up)

Weight and pulse steady, slightly up. A bigger question is fitness.

Though (and perhaps because) mileage has wavered greatly, my workouts have been good. Friday's quickened pace, and Sunday's easy eight miles both felt right. Missing are miles. I do not want a break if it means overall, my times do not improve. My progress has been slowly built, but can be lost in a blink.

While I have stated goals in my race list on the left, I know that getting under 20:45 is not likely. A long winter of cold miles is ahead: running early in the morning; my body gathered tightly in turtlenecks, cotton gloves, hats and rain; eyes watering, feet slipping -- this is what stands between me and next March and running hard toward sub-20.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Negative Splits in a Positive Run: 8.08 in 68:15

8.08 miles - 68:15.44 (8:27/mile)

4.04 miles - 35:05 (out) (8:41/mile)
4.04 miles - 33:10.44 (back) (8:13/mile)

Wind: W at 0 mph
Humidity: 99%
course: Illinois Prairie Path - south from zero marker

Wind: W at 0 mph
Humidity: 100%

Easy Sunday morning run along the IPP, using my new, snazzy GPS watch. Still getting the kinks out, but I like the feature that shows me my per mile split (any split I want, but I set it at a mile). Also, learned the mile markers, at least the ones going south, from 0-4, are correct.

Ran with JRSC runner Jody Cantey, whose studying up for a half marathon next weekend. She was at ease the entire way, and should have no trouble.

Saw Frank and Paul, separately, and John Grebe near the finish.

Negative splits are encouraging, though we never pushed, nor intended to push.

Now, with a vanilla bean Gu in my system, I'm fresh, but ripe. Need to shower and head off to church.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

PADS 5K and 10K - Brief Recap with Pictures

Mike Demerrit brought out a good representation of the Jim Spivey Running Club. Frank, Lee, Rudi, Rich, Paul, Margaret, Steve, and Kevin were all there, as was I, to help raise funds for PADS.

Kevin and Frank smiling just before we got into action.

Had a fun post-race conversation with Mike's wife Valerie, who says she actually reads my blog.

I spent my time at a corner with Steve Hess and Nick, a policeman, who did the official traffic directly. I did little more than clap and cheer, but I was enthusiastic.

No real hitches outside of an overly grumpy business owner, convinced he was losing customers, and a few drives unhappy they had to go another way. Wheaton's downtown traffic is complicated, so I felt their frustration, but little could be done about it.

I missed pictures of some colorful dressers, a few race walkers and the overall race scene.

Mike directs us to what we'll be doing and where.

Entirely unrelated are two new YouTube videos I have posted:

Laptop Blogging Blues - A poem I perform with images of my garage about the struggles of blogging with borrowed WiFi.

You Gotta Shake What Your Momma Gave You - Just a silly video of a baboon dancing at Brookfield Zoo lazy weekend.

Friday, September 5, 2008

4xMile Mid-Day Track Intervals

PADS Run (western suburbs of Chicago)
I am volunteering. Join me. Show up at 6 am.
2800 meter warm up
6x100 striders
2x2xmile (300)[400] - (7:03, 6:32, 7:19, 6:51 - total: 27:45)
600 warmdown

total: 6.125 miles

Wind: W at 3 mph
Humidity: 81%
course: Wheaton College track

Rain waylaid yesterday's practice, so we hit the track this afternoon. Sparse crowd. Just Matt F, Margaret and myself, at that speed, in that order.

The gist was to run slower, faster, slower faster. My times were supposed to be 7:48 and 7:17, which turned out not to be reality. The 7:03 felt easy, with a first lap in 93, then slowed down purposely. The 6:32 took a lot out of me, even though I think I had a few seconds better in me. My third mile was slow, filled with fatigue, but I lived. Still OK within the structure of the workout.

My last lap was in 97 seconds, encouraging as I was tired. My middle two laps weren't much, but I'll take the good that I can.
Compare to a similar workout last October. Then, I ran 1:06 slower:
Mile 1 -- 7:10
Mile 2 -- 7:14
Mile 3 -- 7:14
Mile 4 -- 7:13
total: 28:51

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain: Mile Repeats Wait a Day

Rain is pouring, cancelling practice, rescheduling it for tomorrow at 11:30.

Mile repeats are the plan. I'm supposed to hit 7:48, 7:17, 7:48, and "?" I'm not sure what Jim means by this, but I'll know better when I get there. All out? Struggle to a 7:17?

In the meanwhile, I'll eat Chinese food, watch the John McCain speech, and see if he is the guy I will vote for.

Rhythm of the Rain - The Cascades

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Faster & Slower - 32:38 - Course PR

4.30 miles 32:38 (7:35/mile)
0.50 warmdown

total: 4.80 miles

Wind: N at 9 mph
Humidity: 71%
course: COD Loop

It's so groovy now, sort of. PRs all over. Tonight, for the big lap around the yard, I knocked off around a minute. My pace is the same, though. Doggone GPS told me so. That 0.12 miles not run told me.

The "sort of" has to do with the big drop in mileage the last two weeks. I don't know how much -- my thumb drive might be broken (big stress there), but the loss in training will make a difference later on.

I gotta feel good, though, about a minute drop. Even if the distance is different, the route remains the same, so the course PR is completely valid.

Felt good the entire run, relaxed throughout. Another cool night, and if I focus on running a steady pace, another minute could be eliminated.

Thursday night will be mile repeats, so I am curious how I bounce back. Tonight's run was after Friday was off, Saturday was a race (but low mileage), Sunday was a slow, short run, then Monday and Tuesday off.

"Let's Get Together" by the Youngbloods ("It's so groovy now")

Cancelled: Park Ridge Charity Classic Race 5K (Sept 27)

Quite bummed I am, as I learned that a race that serves as a personal best factory has been cancelled.

The Park Ridge Charity Classic Race has a great there and back course, though the hairpin turn halfway can be rough. Somehow, the times still rock. I ran 22:00 last year, and was hoping to hit a 20:30 this year. Streets are rougher now, though, as construction in Park Ridge, and throughout the course, hinders the race.

I just spoke with race director David Loomos, who said things will be up and running next year (pun intended). He e-mailed everyone who signed up online, but that left another 250 people like myself who signed up in person in the dark.

Send David an e-mail, and get on the mailing list.

David Loomos