Training Widget

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 120 - 4 months complete

One third of the way through the year and 500+ miles logged! April was another good month for me as I logged 135 miles and had a great finish in the Charlottesville 10 miler. I have run everyday this year and am 120 days closer to my goal of running at least 1 mile for 1000 straight days.

I'm looking forward to May and the warmer weather and logging another 31 days.

Today was a short two mile recovery run before I was really even awake. Nothing exceptionally exciting about the run, just another day in the streak.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sometimes I wonder why I even try to plan

Day 119 - April 29, 2009

Wasn't it just yesterday that I said I was going to keep it short for awhile and let my legs heal up a bit? So, what do I do today? I take my car in for an inspection and decide that would be a good time to go for a long run. I met up with two of my running friends and we ran up to Camp Holiday Trails. It was great morning for a run. A cold front moved in over night, and dropped the temperatures about 15 degrees and there was a light breeze. The leaves are just coming out here, and under the heavy cloud cover they glowed almost neon green along the dirt road leading up to the camp. It was a perfect morning but now my hamstring is not happy with me. Probably not the smartest thing I've ever done.

We'll see how this plays out over the next few days. I'm going to try and run through it, but if it really flares up, I'll cut back my mileage. And I really mean it this time - really.

I also crossed the 500 mile mark for the year. It took me 23 days to get from 400 to 500. Not bad, but not the 21 days it took to get from 300 to 400.

Today's run - 10.3 miles (YTD 505 miles)
Today's time - 1:17:34 (YTD 65:02:25)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Much better

The new shoes were the ticket - the leg pain was much less today and I think it is more about residual soreness than anything. Hopefully in a couple of days I'll be back to 100%. Until then, I'll keep it short and keep the streak alive.

Today's Run - 3.3 miles (YTD - 495 miles)
Today's time - 0:24:29 (YTD - 63:44:52)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Time for new shoes

Day 117 - April 27, 2009

After three straight runs with leg pain, I decided it was time to hang up the Asics 1130's and buy a new pair of running shoes. Over the last two years I've floated between the 1100 and 2100 series of shoes. Sometimes I made the decision on price, others on how the cushioning felt, and sadly at times, on the color choices available.

With the higher mileage I've been running this spring, I decided to go with the more cushioned Asics 2140. I wasn't crazy about the extra $15 for the upgrade, but if it keeps my legs feeling fresher, than it will be worth it.

I've pretty much run in Asics for my entire running career. In high school I ran in Reebok (back when they actually focused on making running shoes) and Nike, but eventually settled on Asics. I am a big fan of the gel cushioning and the great durability of the shoe. I typically get 400+ miles out of a single pair and have even gone as high as 500 miles on occasion. With a style of shoe for every foot, body type, and running form, I highly recommend having a running shop professionally fit you to the right shoe in the Asics line-up. I know I'm looking forward to breaking in my new shoes tomorrow.

Today's Run - 5.1 miles (YTD 492 miles)
Today's Time - 0:40:11 (YTD 63:20:22)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Running with the girls

As I was lacing up my shoes today, Sarah asked if she could run with me. Not wanting to discourage her, I said sure. She got ready as fast as she could and we were out the door. Being a miniature version of me, she wanted to tackle the hardest hill in the neighborhood and insisted we run the loop in that direction. To her credit, she did it and finished the run faster than we had run the other day when we ran down that hill. I took her back inside, and was ready to head out for my run when a small voice from across the house asked if she could run with me. So, Molly and I headed out and ran the reverse of the loop that Sarah and I had just completed. She did a great job and was 15 seconds faster than her little sister - yes we are that competitive :)

With 15 minutes of running complete and me still standing on my front porch, I decided I would run the loop one more time as fast as I could and call it a day. I'm sure my workout today breaks all the major rules of training, but it was good to spend a few quality minutes with my girls out on the road.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

After the storm

When the thunder finally stopped and the rains gave way to clear skies, I headed out for a nice evening run. Just shy of five and a half miles, it made for a good addition to the week's total.

Today's run 5.4 miles (YTD - 472)
Today's time 0:42:45 (YTD - 60:47:06)

Monday, April 20, 2009

110 days complete

The running streak has reached 110 straight days. I'm finding it much easier this second time around. If you are new to the blog, my first attempt to log 1000 consecutive days of running ended on day 365 when a nasty flu-like virus kicked my butt! I guess when you've done 300+ straight days, 110 is a piece of cake.

Tonight was a late run after the severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings ended. Thankfully we only had rain and lightning. It was a rather uneventful run. With the heavy cloud cover it was really dark and all I saw were rabbits running across the road in front of me. Everything else was lost in the darkness.

On to Day 111.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two more runs to keep the streak alive

Day 109 - April 19, 2009

Saturday I was hurting from Friday's 14 miles. My legs were dead and sore. I took it relatively easy and went with my safety run - the 3.6 mile run I do when I'm not pressed for time. It was good to work out the kinks and get ready for today.

Today felt better, but it may have been the company. Molly and Sarah both wanted to run with dad today, so I took them out for a quick loop around the neighborhood before I did the bulk of my run. It was great to get them out and talk about pace, and road safety. This was Molly's first run, and even when she wanted to stop and walk, she didn't complain. It was a lot of fun. I dropped them off at the house and set out for 4+ miles on my own. I hope they will stay interested, but if not, I'll enjoy it while I can.

Friday, April 17, 2009

14 Miles of Perfect Weather

Day 107 - April 17, 2009

I can't imagine a more perfect evening for a long run. The temperature was in the low 80's when I started out, but there was no humidity and just a very lite breeze. The sun was low on the horizon and cast a warm glow on the green fields and budding trees. Just a beautiful night. All the tough weather of the last two weeks was worth it, even if it was for just this one night. I'm glad I didn't waste it on a 2 mile run!

Today's Run - 14.1 miles (YTD 455 miles)
Today's Time - 1:49:29 (YTD 58:30:02)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Better late than never

I didn't make it out until 9:00 tonight for my run. Pretty uneventful, unless of course you count the overly aggressive dog who wanted to tear my leg off. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt since it was dark, I probably scared him more, and he did stop charging when I shouted at him.

All in all, a good night for a run with NO WIND or RAIN!!!! YEAH!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The running streak continues.

Day 104 - Random run around the neighborhood - 5.4 miles.

Today was one of those days where I just had to get out and get started. I procrastinated as long as I could and just didn't feel like running, but I'm glad I had the streak to make me do it. Once I was on the road I was fine, but I've been feeling really sluggish the last few days.

After the run and my shower, I decided to step on the scale. It had been about 10 days since I last checked my weight. Man was I shocked. I had dropped seven pounds. I couldn't believe the scale was right. So, I got dressed and came out and fired up the Wii Fit. Sure enough, 7.5 pounds in 11 days. My BMI had dropped a full point! I'm guessing that explains the sluggishness.

Maybe it was a one day fluke. I'll keep an eye one it. Or maybe, the 100+ straight days of running is finally starting to pay off.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SpringHill 6

This afternoon, I went out for a leisurely 6 mile run. Today was all about getting enough miles to put the weekly total above 30, without draining myself before tomorrow's long run. The wind has been relentless here for the last week. I'm really hoping for a calm day tomorrow.

Trying to break 4 minutes in the mile

What a way to celebrate my 100th straight day of running. I started the day off with a 1 mile run with my 6 year old daughter and wife. It was a nice run around the neighborhood. Then I got an email that there would be a one mile race at UVA at 7:00pm. Three of UVA's All-American track stars were going to take a shot at breaking the 4 minute mile mark (you didn't really think I was going to race that fast did you?). I figured this was going to be pretty cool, so I made plans to be there. I even called the Media Relations people to see if I could get a press pass to cover the event. It was a long shot, but I figured they weren't going to be over burdened with media for a track meet, even one with the hype of a sub 4 minute mile.

Well, my request was denied, apparently a blog with less than 10 subscribers doesn't meet the university's definition of a media source, but the people I spoke with were very nice and suggested I take any photos I like from the areas that the general public would have access to. I didn't figure this would be a problem for the running shots as I could get right up next to the fence along the track.

I then had to quickly get my afternoon run in before dinner (the run with the family didn't meet my time requirement for a fast enough mile) so I'd have time to make it into Charlottesville. I had hoped to do a longer run for my 100th, but the track meet trumped the miles.

The University of Virginia has had one runner in school history break 4 minutes in the mile. In 1982, Vince Draddy ran a 3:58.2. For Virginia to have three runners poised to break that mark, and possibly set a new school record, is very exciting and over 100 fans came out to Lannigan Field to see fourth year Andrew Jesien, second year Emil Heineking, and first year Sintayehu Taye take their shot at the 27 year old record.

Seven competitors toed the line for the start, with two runners slated to be dedicated rabbits. The rabbits job is to ensure that the pace of the first two-three laps is fast enough that the chaser will have enough cushion on the last lap to hang on and break the goal time.

At the gun, the rabbits quickly established the lead and provided a wind break for the Virginia runners. In the first corner, everything looked good, but a stiff head wind on the back stretch was waiting for the group as they came out of turn two. Playing it smart, Heineking and Jesien tucked in tight behind the pace setters and let them block the wind.
At the 200, 31 seconds had ticked off the clock, a little bit slow, but considering the wind, not a bad start. The group stayed stride for stride through turns 3 and 4, but failed to pick up any time in the home stretch of lap one. In fact, they had fallen a good 3 or 4 seconds off pace, crossing the line in 63-64 seconds. I was concerned at this point that it wasn't going to happen, but every runner is different. I was expecting the rabbits to take them through the first 400 in 57-58 seconds, but some runners are second half racers and take it out conservatively to save for the kick at the end.

As the runners entered the first turn of lap two, Heineking was right on the heels of the rabbits, with Jesien and Taye just a few strides back. The pace picked up a bit on the second lap as the leaders continued to push the pace. The rabbits led the way with an 800m split of 2:03, still slow, but much faster than the first lap.

There seemed to be some confusion about where the rabbits would pull out of the way and when Heineking and company would make their move. You can see in the photo, Heineking was forced to the otuside of lane 1 as they entered the corner. At this point, I would have thought the rabbits would move outside and let the chasers squeeze every inch out of the inside rail that they could. In a race of this magnitude, tenths of seconds matter. To add to the confusion, as the runners came out of turn 2 on the third lap, Heineking appeared ready to make a move, but the rabbits went two abreast, forcing Heineking out into lane 2. I'm not suggesting that the rabbits hurt the overall finishing time, just that it looked awkward and not how I would have imagined it being scripted out.

On the third lap, the Virginia runners made their move and took over the top three slots. I missed where the rabbits pulled out, but as they hit the 1200m mark, Heineking was in first at 3:02, Jesien was second just a second behind, and Taye another two seconds back. The last lap was going to have to be blazing fast!
As the runners entered the first turn of this final lap, you could see from Heineking's expression that the last lap was going to be tough. With 300 m to go, Heineking took one last quick peek at the clock with the hope of running the fastest 300m of his life. Jesien, in his own effort to break 4 minutes started to close the gap and prepared to make his move on the backstretch.

The crowd's excitement continued to build as Jesien moved up on Heineking's shoulder entering the third turn. When the runners broke out of the final turn for the last 100m, I thought they had gained a few seconds on the clock and there was a legitimate shot at making the time. With 50m to go, the crowd was on their feet, wishing for time to slow as Jesien had moved into first place and was racing toward the finish. But the clock refused to slow and Jesien finished in an amazing 4:02.18, followed by Heineking in 4:04.80, and Taye 4:05.38. Despite not breaking 4 minutes, all three runners assured themselves of another chance by qualifying for the Eastern Regional with their times.

Congratulations to all three runners. You gave the Charlottesville running community something to come out for and we were glad to witness your attempt at entering an elite club. I wish you the best at Regionals and look forward to hearing of your record setting times.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 99 - Hill run

The wind was still blowing today, but it was thankfully much warmer. The route I chose for today is a series of hills with almost no gentle or flat stretches. I consider it one of the harder runs that I regularly run. Today it seemed especially hard. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why my legs were so dead. At first, I thought maybe it was because I sat at the computer almost all day and I just didn't move around enough. Then I thought maybe I wasn't recovering from my last race very well. Surely five days later I would have bounced back to normal.

Then it dawned on me. I had gone out so early that I forgot I had done it today - I push mowed my lawn this morning for an hour and a half. I forgot how much that tires out your legs, especially early in the spring when the grass grows so thick. I guess I should have chosen an easier run for today :)

Tomorrow's 100th straight day of running will feel all the sweeter after today's hard workout! I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Will the wind ever stop blowing?

We have had high winds for five straight days. I'm ready for a calm day.

Not a lot of time for a run today, but I did sneak in almost 4 miles right before dinner.

One more notch on the 1000 day journey.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Recovery and breaking the 400 mile mark

Today was my third recovery run from the 10 miler and the soreness is just about gone. I was back up to 5 miles today. I guess the legs felt ok, because I was totally lost in my thoughts today and really don't remember anything from the run.

Yesterday's 3.5 miles put me right at 400 miles, exactly 21 days after breaking 300 miles. I can handle 100 miles every three weeks. That would be a great total for the year.

I don't intend to run to hard the rest of the week - I just want to keep the streak going and hopefully log ~30 miles.

Today's Run - 5.1 miles (YTD 405.8 miles)
Today's time - 0:39:49 (YTD 52:06:23)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

2009 Charlottesville 10 Miler

April 4, 2009

Race Day.

The rains were gone and the skies clear for the 34th running of the Charlottesville Ten Miler.

I positioned myself about 10 people deep in the pack at the starting line. I intentionally wanted to get held up by the hordes so I would be forced to run slow the first mile. Last year the strategy worked great for me when I went out in 7:50 for the first mile, then picked up the pace to the point of averaging 6:50's for race. So I held back at the beginning and settled into a spot for the first 300 m or so as we climbed the starting hill and turned the corner onto Alderman. Once I got on Alderman, began to weave in and out of the groups of runners ahead of me, not really trying to pass anyone, just trying to find space to run without having to break stride. I missed the split at the first half mile, but I assumed I was running somewhere around 7:30 pace.

I kept up the weave until I reached St. Thomas Aquinas church, where I should say their band was rocking it out, moved to the outside, and let the downhill carry me past about 20 runners. I then settled back into pace as I approached the mile mark. When I could finally see the clock, was shocked to see I was well under 7 minutes. Uh-oh - that could be too fast. I crossed the mile in 6:57, over 30 seconds faster than I had anticipated.

Well, nothing to do about it now but stick with the plan for the second mile and hope that I could hang on at the end. Around the stadium and up past the parking garage I continued to pass runners and focused on running a consistent pace. Mile 2 came and went in 6:40 - faster than planned, but comfortable and controlled. Mile 3 was about the same, more runners coming back to me and at my preferred pace, 6:43. I had expected to get to mile 3 in ~21:40 like last year, but with my faster first two miles, I was only 20:20 into the race.

The fourth mile starts up a slight grade on Rugby Ave, then turns downhill on Grady and Preston. This is always the fastest mile, if you are careful at the start, and this year was no exception. I continued to catch runners and move past them down the long hill. At one point, I noticed a female runner about 15 yards ahead of me whose legs were really flailing out to the side. The running coach in me started thinking she could be really fast if her stride was more controlled and she didn't waste all that energy bringing her legs back. I followed her for probably a minute before it dawned on me...hey dummy, if her stride is so bad, why is she in front of you? :) That was enough motivation to put on a burst to get past her and finish the 4th mile in 6:24.

The fifth mile is where things start to get interesting. Once you get to the bottom of Preston, you have to climb back up the downtown mall, turn up 5th street to get to the mile mark (6:27), then take on the roller coaster of a hill on 2nd street, before finally tackling the hill on Northwood. The best part of that climb is the music - just about every year I'm treated to the Rocky Theme song, what better to get you pumped back up on the climb. I think I ran a bit too hard on the 5th mile because I started to get side stitch when I turned onto Jefferson just before 2nd street. I probably slowed down too much trying to get my breathing back under control and after passing the annual doughnut station, reaching mile 6 in 6:56.

In my pre-race planning, I thought if I got to 6 miles in 41:40 I would be in good shape for beating last years time. Today at six miles my time was 40:08. Four miles to go and a minute and a half ahead.

For the next mile, I just focused on getting up the hills on Lexington and Maple. I really can't say if I passed anyone or if I got passed in that mile. I think this is the second hardest section of the course and really just wanted to get to the top. The last quarter mile takes you back down to the downtown mall and out onto Water street which is a nice reward for reaching the top of Cemetery Hill on Maple St. At the 7 mile mark, (6:55 - 47:03) I started feeling the relief of knowing it was less than a 5k remaining.

The long straight straight stretch up to mile 8 was uneventful and by that point, I was running with a group. One person would challenge for the lead, and the rest would counter. Someone else would take the lead and everyone else would counter. This continued to the mile mark (6:58 - 54:02) and on to the Corner.

From mile 8 to 9 is by far the toughest part of the race. You have a long hill up around the Corner, then you turn and have to run back up McCormack. Add in that you are starting to run out of energy, and it makes for a slow mile. This year, surprisingly, wasn't as slow as some years past. I wasn't able to keep the pace under 7, but 7:11 was respectable, but the slowdown meant that I was going to have to work the last mile if I was going to break 68 minutes. At nine miles, my time had slipped to 61:13!

Knowing I needed a 6:43 for the last mile, I decided to push the downhills and shorten up my stride on the hills to maintain my leg turnover. I was really running out of gas, and I didn't think I was going to hold on. But once I crossed the bridge over the final railroad tracks, I got passed by two people. I was back in high school - no one out kicks me :) I immediately went back past those two runners and tracked down a few more finishers. Time on the clock - 67:49! I had broken 68.

The only thing left was to see if I had cracked the top 100 - a secret desire I had going into the race. I went over to the scoring table to check the posted results. That's the great thing about chip timing - instant race results. There I was on the third page - #77 with an official time of 1:07:49 and chip time of 1:07:41! I'm still not sure how many runners finally finished, but I do know there were 2607 entries.

Overall, I'm really pleased and looking forward to next year. With another year of the streak under me, I hope to run even faster.

Friday, April 3, 2009

As good as its gonna get

Day 93 - April 3, 2009

The training is over - now it's all about getting mentally prepared for 10 miles.

The day before the biggest race of the spring and pouring rain - you gotta love a running streak. I wonder how many of the 2000+ runners in tomorrow's Charlottesville 10 miler decided to take the day off?

I would have preferred some better weather today, but I'm thankful it isn't going to rain tomorrow. Today I started out in a mist which quickly turned into a downpour. I'm hoping I can get my shoes dry before morning. But, I plodded along through the puddles and mud for three and half miles and am now ready to take on tomorrow's challenge.

Just a side note: as I sit here typing this, less than 30 minutes after finishing the run, the sun is out with blue skies overhead! Gotta love the irony in that timing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quick Two Miles

Day 92 - April 2, 2009

With just two days remaining until the Charlottesville 10 miler, I wanted to get in one more run with a quicker pace, but short enough that I wouldn't have any recovery issues. For me, that meant a conservative two miles at just over what I hope to be race pace. I've also shifted my run to the same time as the race, which meant I wasn't completely awake or loosened up. After a slightly slower start, I hit the mile mark in 7:17. Not too bad.

At the turn, I didn't really notice that I picked up the pace, but I was feeling better and found my breathing to be much easier. I intentionally ignored my watch for the rest of the run. I didn't want to turn today's effort into a mini-race. I kept my stride comfortable and thought about different sections of the course for Saturday. When I reached my driveway, I clicked the watch and was pleasantly surprised to see that I was just under 14 minutes. That's a 6:43 second mile.

One more easy run tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Running between rain showers

I haven't slept well the last two nights and was not feeling it today on the run. I stuck to my plan to run four and half miles, but it was pretty slow. I'm going to try and get to bed early tonight and see if I can get some energy back for a quick two miles tomorrow.

Three more days until the big race.