Saturday, May 31, 2008

Foiled route

Skipped my Wednesday easy run two weeks in a row now - gotta get back on the motivation track. Had to put my Thursday tempo run off until Friday morning, then forgot to bring the Garmin along to track it. Ended up only doing 4 miles; a warm up, two at 7:00 pace, and one more slow. Kinda felt lame.

So this morning, I barely dragged myself out for a long run. It WAS a perfect morning, though - it rained last night, but was just a little cloudy this morning - and once I got started, I felt OK. I headed through one of the little downtown Reno parks, Wingfield, and it was nice to see it without a bunch of people around. Peaceful. Took a looping route to West McCarran Blvd, then headed uphill. When driving here, I've often noticed that the Steamboat Ditch Trail goes right by it, and I've never been on the trail that near town (I have done it much farther west of town.) I was hoping to hop onto it there and run it out to the access point near the Patagonia warehouse, then come back home however felt right. After looping for a mile of so through the snooty Caughlin Ranch neighborhood backyards (I think trampolines and hot tubs are mandatory there) and crossing a few streets, the trail hit a huge fence/gate with a sign on saying "trail access closed" or something. The trail seemed to continue on the other side, but it was a REALLY serious gate - no getting around it. It's too bad - that would have made a great loop, partly on dirt. Fromm looking at the photos on Google Maps (zoomable map on the Garmin page), it looks like the trail is closed mainly because that's where the super-nice houses are, and they don't want people running and biking so near to their house. Can't say for sure, though, but that kind of bums me out. Anyway, I turned around and wound my way through well-groomed but empty paved trails in Caughlin Ranch back to McCarran, then up and over to King's Row and back home.

(I never knew that there was a pedestrian tunnel under McCarran on the Ditch Trail. The only other tunnel under McCarran I know of is the one by Rancho San Rafael...)

My mileage said 14 miles, and that's fine - I was aiming for 15. Probably would have been longer if not for that fence. At one point, though, I looked down and my watch was stopped - I hit Start again and it started going. I can't find a gap on the map or the elevation profile that would tell me what happened, though...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Got the footpod to work better with the 405 this morning by doing three things that I read about while scanning the Garmin forums for answers:

1. Recalibrated it by distance, not GPS, on the actual treadmill where I'm going to be using it most. I came up with a calibration result of 1009, as opposed to 980 something by the other method.

2. Turned the GPS off. Didn't realize you could do this, but I guess it makes sense to do while you're just using the footpod. It's in the GPS menu, which I don't really use otherwise.

3. Jammed the footpod on my shoe in such a way that it wouldn't move or shift at all during my run. Apparently if it moves around at all, it can throw things off.

Anyway, after all that, here's what I came up with:

That's a half-mile calibration, then easy run out to ten minutes, followed by 3 x 5 minute intervals at 6:30 pace with 3 minute recoveries at 10:00 pace, then a 9 minute cool down. Looks about right. I wonder why the lines are still so wavy and inconsistent, though? I'll have to look around the forums more for that. And THEN I'll need to figure out the heart rate monitor...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Should've known better. Went out for a short run too soon after lunch today, and felt a little queasy most of the way through it. Granted, lunch was pretty healthy - a tuna sandwich and some banana gingerbread - but it felt like I might see it again there for awhile. Managed to avoid that...

Started out on one of my standard runs, but on a whim, I took a detour through a neighborhood I don't usually get to. Nobody really does, because the whole neighborhood has only two entrances, and one is a dirt path above a runoff washout. Funny how these little pockets are spread around... Anyway, this neighborhood has those theme-named streets, all named after San Francisco streets like Geary, Polk, Van Ness and Telegraph. I exited at the bottom back into my area, where all the streets have "regal" themes - King Henry, Majestic, Windsor. (Planners have had to get more creative with this naming recently - some friends of ours live in a newer section of town where all the streets are named after different kinds of hops (!). They live on Fuggles. OK...)

Nice to run on a humid day again. Wasn't actually raining, but everything felt different, smelled different, looked different... Nice change.

(That spike in the pace line right after I started? Slowing down to cross Keystone. I love the Garmin...)

Saturday, May 24, 2008


We don't usually have humidity here in Reno. Like, at all. Paint dries on one side of the room before you're done painting the other side, wet shoes dry out in a matter of hours, skin and lips crack and peel. Now, I lived for a number of years in different parts of Oregon, and grew up in the Midwest, so I'm familiar with humidity. (At one point living in a dumpy Eugene, OR college rental house, I actually had mushrooms growing in my shower...) So it was a nice change this morning to go for a run this morning on such a drizzly, humid day.

After being in the 90's last weekend, the end of this week dropped to the low 60's and rain. It absolutely poured last night, but there was a break this morning, so I left home around 5:15, just as dawn was breaking. It was nice and peaceful down by the river, and I pretty much followed the course from the Rock-n-River Half marathon a few weeks ago out to the Patagonia warehouse. Looped around it and came back on 4th Street, then decided to stretch the run out a little and do the big hill up McCarran to King's Row. That gave me just under 13 miles, which was good - I was hoping for 12.

Kept my pace pretty consistent, about 8:15 except for that big hill. Happy but tired. Lumpy performed admirably...

In other news, I made the weekend splits over at Half-Fast! Uhh, dubious honor, I think...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More footpod fun

Despite my intentions (and a bunch of talk about "finding out what motivates me") a couple days ago, I wasn't able to motivate myself out the door to run yesterday. It was pretty crappy outside; after a beautiful weekend here in Reno, the weather has gone a bit weird again. Windy, cold, threatening thunderstorms. I did make it back to the gym for a workout and treadmill run this morning, though. Had some more fun with the footpod...

Things started out pretty well - I did a mile warm up at 9:13 pace, according to the treadmill. Watch showed the pace as closer to 9:00, but was just behind on the mileage. I thought that was weird - it showed me going faster, but not covering as much ground. After a mile, I bumped the treadmill up to 7:03 pace, which the watch seemed to register as a pretty consistent 7:25. But the mileage seemed to keep up with the treadmill, for some reason. Then, about the 4 mile mark, when I slowed back down to 9:13 pace on the treadmill, things got kooky again - the watch data goes all over the place, and it starts tracking GPS data.

I'll try to do a recalibration of the footpod tomorrow or over the weekend - I wasn't going very fast when I did the original calibration, maybe it doesn't like the faster speeds. Further bulletins as events warrant...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New plan

So. Done with the half I was training for, and looking ahead to a few more things this summer. Problem is, I don't have a plan.

I'm the kind of runner that has to have a plan. I need something written down that tells me what I need to do each day. Way back in 1999, I ran my first marathon using the book 4 Months to a 4-hour Marathon. I got sick partway though the program, didn't fully train, and finished in 4:37, but also, it wasn't the best course to run a first marathon on. Just recently, I trained for a half marathon using a training plan I found in Outside Magazine. Didn't quite make my goal on that, either, but came pretty close. In between those two training plans, I used a bit more, um, relaxed method. Mostly, it was to run when I felt like it. That worked out sometimes - well, not that often, really. That's why there's such a big gap in my race results... Anyway, I feel stronger right now than I ever have, mostly because I've found what motivates me - having a plan written down, and sticking to it.

Having had all the experience of going through two very different training programs, eight years apart, I seem to think that I'm now qualified to come up with my own program for myself. To be fair, I've also done a bit of reading on the subject - I'm a librarian, and as a group, we tend to take the "I can learn this - there must be a book about it" attitude toward stuff. Runner's World has been helpful, both some recent articles and their online Smart Coach. So I've come up with a plan for the next month, to lead me into a relay up at Lake Tahoe that I'd like to hold up my end of. And I've got some ideas for training for a fall marathon, probably starting a plan in late July. Now I just need to figure out what to do (other than adding miles and altitude) to train for my first ultra, the TRT 50k in mid-July.

Footpod freakout

So I'm going to make more of an effort to run outside, now that it's not 28 degrees at the time of the morning when I need to run. I still want to make it to the gym once in a while, though, to keep some full-body strength going. I think I've settled on a schedule that will get me to the gym (and treadmill) twice a week, and running outside 3 times.

I want to move my workout tracking to the Forerunner and the Garmin site, so when I bought Lumpy, I got the Footpod attachment as well. The GPS watch only works to track your speed if you're moving across the surface of the earth - if you're staying in one place, like on a treadmill, the GPS doesn't know that you're running your heart out. Most of the non-GPS running watches/pace monitors use footpods as their main form of measuring speed and distance - you just have to calibrate them really well by, say going to a track and running a set distance, timing yourself, and entering that into the watch. The Garmin was supposed to be easier to calibrate because it could use the GPS to do it - just hook up the footpod, set the watch to "calibrate", and run around until it tells you it's ready. That's what I did - I found it really easy, and it told me that I was calibrated at 972, what ever that means. I assume that's the quality, out of 1000, of the calibration it did. Not sure if that's good or not...

The first time I used the foodpod attachment on the treadmill, it worked pretty well. It was an easy run, about 3.5 miles at about 8:15 pace. Here's what it looked like:

Steady pace, splits are within tolerances. Seems about right.

This morning I tried it again, this time on a speed workout. I did a 10 minute warm up at 9:15 pace, then 5 x 4 minute intervals at 6:30 with 2:00 rests in between at 10:00 pace, the a 7 minute warm down back at 9:15. This is what that looked like:

Huh? It's all over the place, from 6:50/mile on up to 50 minutes/mile. It has me going 4.7 miles - the treadmill gave me 5.67. I don't even know why it was tracking elevation, but apparently I topped out at 5135 feet, from a starting point of 4647. Strange stuff. This needs some more looking into...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

First trail run of the year

All this treadmill and road work; I needed to get out on the trail and get some dirt under my feet. Went out early this morning to a spot less than two miles from my house - a Reno classic, Keystone Canyon. Also a favorite mountain biking spot. Makes a great loop if you go up Keystone Canyon, east at the top to the next canyon over, Evan Creek, which has a very well built and maintained trail system.

I parked at the bottom on Evans Creek canyon and ran up McCarran to the trailhead for Keystone Canyon. Legs felt heavy to start after a longish run yesterday, but they warmed up. Pretty solitary this morning - I started at 5:50 and didn't see anyone until I was almost back at my car. Here are the splits and elevation profile from my watch:

So, a very good weekend. I'll rest tomorrow and get myself back on a training schedule starting Tuesday...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hot mornings

I meant to get out early-ish for a run this morning, like around 5:30 or six. I love heading out when there's just a hint of light, and watching the sun creep out and the world wake up. For some reason, I wasn't motivated to get out this morning, so when I found that my Garmin had run out of charge, it was enough of an excuse to put the run off for awhile. Checked email, blogs and the newspaper instead.

An aside: When I did the setup for my Forerunner 405 on the computer, it had me give it a "nickname." I didn't feel like calling it "Turi's watch", but couldn't coming up with something really creative.

Looking at the watch, it's not as wrist-laptoppy as the 305's were, but it's still kind of clunky and globby. I decided on a tribute to David Feherty's nickname for PGA golfer Tim Herron. My Garmin is named Lumpy.

Anyway, after it was charged (and a smoothie breakfast, and a few cups of coffee) I decided to get on it. I had been two weeks since the half, during which I had done one run, half an hour on the treadmill. So, about 8:30, I headed out for one of my favorite loops:

Here's the data from the Garmin on it..

I knew it was supposed to be one of the first warm weekends, but jeez! By the time I got home an hour later, I was absolutely covered in sweat. Regretted those coffees, too - I was feeling kinda dehydrated. Walked into the house, slammed a glass of water, and headed for a cold shower.

Usually I'm a cold shower wuss - I let it warm up, get in, then dial it back to luke warm. Not today. Got in cold, and when it started to warm up, I cranked it back to full cold. And I was still sweating when I got out.

It's only May, and all of 80 at this point in the morning. Guess I'll have some acclimitization to do before any hot summer runs...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Half training wrapup

Since the half marathon a week and a half ago, I haven't done much running-wise. Had a few recovery days, got on the treadmill for half an hour once, but events have conspired to not let me have any time to run. This week my wife is out of town, and the single working parent life doesn't give me a chance to get out at all. Probably just as well that I take a couple weeks off and get back into the training starting this weekend.

I thought I'd throw down some totals from the half marathon training that I just finished, though. Keeping stats on everything has been fun, so here are some of them:

Total miles: 369.82
Treadmill miles: 261.44
Road miles: 108.38

On shoes:
Adidas Supernova Control 10: 342.99 mi. ($.20/mi.)
Adidas Adizero LT DC: 55.75 mi. ($1.08/mi.)

Guess that's about all I've got. Nest I'm looking toward a couple of relays in June, then my first ultra in July. After that, a fall marathon, maybe in Portland...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Half marathon results

Results posted finally - as a zip file , which was kind of a weird way to do it. Looks like I won the Clydesdale (200 lb. +) division, by about 23 minutes. That was good for 4th in my age group. Pretty happy with that...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Reno Rock-N-River Half Marathon

(THIRD try on this frustrating post; something keeps going wrong with the Preview function and erasing most of it...)
(Tried to post this last night, but something went wrong and I lost everything. Trying to recreate it from memory...)

It was perfect weather in Reno for the Rock-N-River Half Marathon - 40's in the morning, to a high of 72, light overcast, barely any wind. Unfortunately, that didn't offer me any excuses for not making my goal time of 1:30:00.

The race start was just downtown by the Reno arch, so I rode my bike the mile and a half downhill and parked about half a block away. Got a little warmup jog in, and a few stretches before I found my friend Amber, who was also running. By that time it was a few minutes away from the start, so we lined up and off we went. Here's the approximate course:

My plan was to go out at about 7 minute miles, then come back in a little faster on the downhill return. I kept pace for about three miles, then slipped back closer to the mid-7's. At the turnaround by the Patagonia warehouse, I was about 2:30 back of where I'd planned to be. I was meeting another friend, Chris, at mile 8 and he was going to pace me back in, so I hoped I could make a little up. Not long after I met him, though, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to push it much; in fact, I barely held on to the pace. The most I could do was fend off someone trying to catch me in the last quarter mile. Ended up finishing at 1:33:33, good for about 34th place (official results haven't been posted yet.) That's a half marathon PR for me, by almost 6 minutes. Amber PR'd, too, finishing under 2 hours in 1:58 something. Nice job!

I'm a little disappointed that I didn't make the time I was shooting for, but at least I still have a goal now. And you learn something about yourself each time you race...

A few pics:

I'm the second runner in this shot; I didn't have the energy to chase down the first guy, but was able to hold off the guy behind me. Didn't realize he was so close. The guy in the white long-sleeve shirt to the left is Chris, peeling off so he doesn't go through the gate. Thanks again, Chris -

For some reason, this shirt makes me look pregnant. Gotta stop wearing it to races. Great picture otherwise - nice shot, Mich!

After the race, getting a big hug from Julien and my mom. Note Sofia's crown in the foreground...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

5/3 Easy run

Last little jog before the race tomorrow. 12 weeks of training, all down to this. I kinda just want to get it over with, at this point - see what I can do.

20-25 min easy run

Went on a similar route to the one I did a couple days ago, but cut shorter.

Here it is from the Garmin website.

Just took it easy, and cruised around. Feeling pretty good; I think I'm in about the best place I can be as far as being ready for tomorrow...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

5/1 Easy run

First run outside with the new watch. A little chilly this morning, but not too bad. I did the same route I did on Saturday, but without the intervals around the lake - I wanted to concentrate on the pacing functions of the watch. Worked pretty well - Set the "Virtual Training Partner" to run at 8:15, and tried to keep up with him. He got ahead by almost a minute going up the big hill, but I caught back up on the downhill. Fun; I hope that will motivate me. Someone please see how the info looks on Garmin Connect. After I run the half, I'll probably move all my tracking there from Mapmyrun, so I don't have to do everything twice...

25 minute run, finish with 6 x 20 second strides (mile pace) with 1 minute rests in between

27:32 run at 8:07 pace
3.39 miles in 27:32