Sunday, November 30, 2008

And it begins again...

OK, so looking toward that next race, I've got a couple of weeks to concentrate on speedwork. I've taken the 40-minute 10K version of the training plan I just went through for the 45-minute 10K and truncated it, removing the longer runs and focusing the speedwork. For example: Today it called for a 5 x 2K at 3:55 per kilometer. Outside of the fact that I don't think I CAN do that, I thought that was overkill in training specifically for a 5K. So I cut it down to 5 x 1K, and tried to keep to that pace. As it turned out, yeah, that was pretty quick. I got my first 1000M done in 3:58, but from there slowed to 4:07, 4:18, 4:21 and 4:14. Which is really all I had in the tank today. (Especially after yesterday, when I woke up dizzy and pukey, and only felt better in mid-afternoon.) Somehow found the energy, though, for a set of 10 bleachers as well...

Congrats to Amber who had the joy of calibrating her new Garmin Forerunner 50 this morning. No GPS, but lots of other cool data to track...


So things feel back in order in my running world now - I don't have one PR that's totally slow compared to the others. Looking at the paces for the four most common distances:

5K - 6:33/mile
10K - 6:58/mile
1/2 marathon - 7:09/mile
marathon - 8:56/mile

Yeah, I do need to get that marathon time down a bit - but come to think of it, I've never really trained specifically for a marathon. I've just relied on a base fitness level from long trail runs, and done a few weeks of work toward the marathon. Maybe next year I can concentrate on one in particular.

So the next thing I've got coming up is a 5K in a couple weeks, at which I'm hoping to Shave My 5K for Vanilla's challenge. Unfortunately, my "stubble" time - the time which I'll be trying to beat - is my PR. A PR that was set on a totally flat course that measured about a tenth of a mile short. The 5K that's coming up is called the Moonlight Madness - held in the evening, which s not my usual running time. And it's held in a local park which promises a twisty, non-flat course. So - should be interesting. I'm not holding out much hope of actually beating my time, but it sounds like it'll be a fun race, anyway.

Other running news - still unhappy with my current shoes, the Asics 2130s I've had for a few months now. Trying to decide where to go next. Thinking back to Adidias, maybe the Supernova Sequence. Kind of fascinated be End shoes, now, too...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Trottin'

Had a great run at the Sparks Turkey Trot this morning. Saw a few people I know - Amber and Dave from the library, and another acquaintance, Josh, who I didn't even realize was a runner (but who apparently just qualified for Boston - congrats!) It was a coldish, wet morning - rained pretty good last nigh - but turned out to be almost perfect running weather. Apart from the wet feet, and a few slippery spots, that is. I made my goal of breaking 45 minutes pretty handily, with a 43:16. New PR! Kinda proud of the splits below - fairly even pace throughout, with a little left in the last couple miles.

Headed out to in-laws now for well-earned feast. Enjoy, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stars and sprints

I know it's sappy, but I wished on a shooting star this morning. Running along the darkest, no-streetlight section of my 30-minute easy run, I was glancing up at the sky. "There's Orion, there's the Pleiades..." Whoosh! Right nest to the Pleiades went a meteor. First thought was "make a wish", and since I was on my last training run leading to a goal 45 minute 10K, that's what I wished for - to make my goal. Talk about a boring wish - at least I should have wished for an age group place finish or something. Oh, well...

Pretty good easy run, otherwise. Oh, except for the moment when it seemed like a good idea to do a little fartlek hill sprint up the biggest hill on the route (up Ives street from Rancho San Rafael towards Keystone.) Not sue what I was thinking - it winded me pretty hard, but I guess my recovery time is much better because I was back to normal only a minute after the top of the hill. I guess I'm ready for the Turkey Trot.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Looniness of the Long-Distance Runner

The Looniness of the Long Distance Runner The Looniness of the Long Distance Runner by Russell Taylor

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I honestly read the title "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner" until I was about a third of the way into it. Had I realized it was a humorous book about marathon running, written by a Londoner, I would have read it much sooner. Funny it was - kept me snickering all the way through. I'd be able to give this a much higher recommendation if the author hadn't beat MY marathon PR in his first race. Jeez...

View all my reviews.

Technical difficulties

Not running-related difficulties, thankfully, just technology. For one thing, my DSL connection has been wonky at home for a couple days now, but just inexplicably came back - not sure what happened there. Also:

Did another Team Library Dork track day in post-football game detritus at the UNR stadium on Sunday - 3 x 5 minutes at 10K pace, with 1 minute jogs. I was trying to watch the pace on the Garmin, but it was all over the place - first 8:34, then 6:45 when I was going about the same speed. Weird. Dunno if you can Decipher this, but laps 2,4 and 6 are the intervals - slowed a little on the last one, but not too bad...

After a few cool down laps, we did some sets of stains, but the bleachers were still a total mess. Made for a crazy-looking graph, though:

Just a 40-minute run this morning, which I did on the treadmill at the gym because I wanted to get a strength workout in, too. About 4 minutes into the run, I looked at my watch and saw that it wasn't reading distance - just tracking heart rate. Ahh... The battery in my footpod died. That's why the pace was all over the place at the track, too. Fortunately I had a spare at home, but I didn't get my workout tracked today.

30 minutes tomorrow morning, rest on Wednesday, and I'll be ready to blaze the Turkey Trot. Picked up my packet this afternoon - basically, number, directions and a pretty nice sweatshirt. Looking forward to seeing how this goes...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fun little neighborhood run

Just had a half an hour easy run to do, so I set off to run a few places I haven't for awhile. Kind of combined the beginning of one of my medium-length runs with the last part of my short loop, linked by a shortcut through a drainage wash, between some baseball fields and a park, and past our first house in town. Took a spin around a middle school track on the way by, just for fun.

Garmin Connect has a new feature - a "player" that lets you play back your run and watch the course, speed, etc. Not sure what the benefit of it is for training purposes, but it's kinda fun. Check out this run here - give it a minute to load. Let me know what you think...

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Runner's Christmas list

In an effort to de-crapify my Christmas list this year, I stumbled onto what I think is a brilliant idea for a runner: Request that instead of buying you STUFF, have people sponsor your entry fees for races you want to do next year. (Or, if you're really feeling altruistic, ask them to sponsor you in a charity fund-raising race.) Hopefully this will cut down on the strange gifts that you don't know what to do with a week after Christmas, as well as offer motivation to train next year AND save a few bucks on entry fees. Good idea?

Misc. stuff

Seems like I have a lot to talk about this morning.

First, I think I figured out what happened to my ankle. After the track workout last Sunday, Amber and I did some drills barefoot on the football field - the artificial turf feels really cool on your feet. Butt kickers, high knees, strides and crossovers. I think those crossovers - where you skittle sideways, alternating leg-in-front, leg-in-back - I think all that twisting did something to my left ankle. Fortunately, it feels fine when running forward. Maybe I'll get to rest it one of these days...

I won something! I answered some trivia questions over at Xenia's blog, and apparently got them all right (thanks, Google.) Full disclosure, though - I work in a library, and while I'm not currently a Reference Librarian (I'm a cataloger now) I have almost 10 years of search training and experience. Compete with that! Uh, anyway, apparently I'll be receiving a Popener (Papal bottle opener.) I kind of excited - the last time I won something was in Pinewood Derby in Cub Scouts, I think...

Oh, I ran this morning - 60 minutes. 9:00 miles. Kicked up the pace incrementally over the last 10 minutes, to 8:00, 7:30, and 7:00. Still trying to give myself some "dig at the end" power. Listened to audiobook, watched Sportscenter. Boring basketball and hockey right now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Whining and a fast(ish) 5K

Been a lot of whining around the running blogs lately - lack of motivation, too. I seem to have pretty good motivation recently, but I've got a little bit of whining to share.

Standing in line at the grocery store yesterday - just standing there, I swear, not moving or even holding anything - I felt a little twinge in my left ankle. One of those hard-to-say-exactly-where-it-is pains. By the time I had made it to the register, I could barely put weight on it. I hobbled my way back to my office and it felt a little better throughout the afternoon. Very strange. Still feels weird, but the second I started running this morning, it felt fine. Stopped running - a little titchy. Keeping an eye on it...

Plan this morning called for a 5k at under my 10K race pace, so 22:30 or better. I did it on the treadmill, and I'm glad, because it was HARD - I wasn't feeling it this morning. But being on the treadmill forced me to keep the pace - if I'd been running on the street or track, I don't think I could have sustained it. Probably not good to rely on the treadmill for that, though...

I meant to take Auto Lap off of my watch, so I could have one warmup mile, the 3.1 at speed, and then .9 cool down. I guess I didn't, though, so I had to do some math to come up with 22:30 for my 5K. Heart rate got pretty high for me, to, almost to 170.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 10 - longish

60 minute easy run this morning - did it on the treadmill because I wanted to get a little strength workout at the gym, too. Made for a really boring chart/graph:

Hard to tell from the graph, but you can tell from the splits - I did the last 5 minutes or so faster than the rest. Trying to make up for my apparent inability to dig for speed near the end of a race.

Listened to some more audio book, caught the end of some Hawaii basketball game. Pretty basic morning, really.

Rest day tomorrow, then a 5k at better than 10K pace (-7:14/mile) on Thursday morning.

Monday, November 17, 2008

No sleep till...

Wow, I didn't sleep well last night. Finally dragged myself out for a cold easy run at about 4:30. It's gonna be a loooong day...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Actual track workout

My plan for today called for 6 x 1K intervals, and I really didn't feel like doing them on the treadmill. Nice enough day outside, so I talked running buddy Amber into a Team Library Dork track session at the UNR stadium. There had been a football game yesterday, so it was a TOTAL mess - Student cleaners came and started roving the bleachers while we were there. Actually, for a while they were standing on the track getting organized, and we had to weave through them a few times. They were pretty cool about it, though.

I wasn't sure how it was going to go, doing intervals without the benefit of treadmill pacing. I was supposed to do them between 4:10 and 4:20 per kilometer, and I figured that was right around the 6:50/mile pace range. I just tried to keep the Garmin about there or a little below, and it seems to have worked out OK. My splits slowed a little, and the second to last one was just above 4:20, but I brought it back under on the last. I did have some confusion with the lap and start/stop button at the start of the first lap, so I only have data for 5, but I'm sure I did my first one just fine...

Pretty cool graph, too. I took the elevation data out, since it was all on the track (aside from the warmup jog over from where we parked.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Working watch

After yesterday's weirdness, the Garmin tracked everything flawlessly this morning. We,, almost flawlessly - there's a weird drop in speed right where I turned the corner from Virginia onto 4th Street this morning, and I'm pretty sure I didn't do anything drastic there. Anyway, a nice urban run including the phantom hill on 4th Street, which still wasn't there, but at least didn't show up on the chart this time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Easy run challenges

Had a nice easy run this morning - but was beset by challenges nonetheless.

First, I overdressed - shorts and a long-sleeve shirt would've been fine. I regretted wearing my vest, and was carrying my light gloves by halfway through.

Couldn't quite decide on a route - I was supposed to do a half hour easy, but my standard short run is usually about 24 minutes. Tried to tack a little onto that, and that's where things started getting weird.

Looked at my watch about a mile and a half in to see how my pace was doing (I've got the Garmin set to display average pace now.) It told me my average pace was 11:08/mile. Huh? I've run that same section lots of times, never over 9:00 pace. Strange.

Even when I tacked an extra loop on, I was only at 16 minutes at my turn point that would have taken me straight home in like 6 minutes. So, I made an extra loop that added more time than I meant to. Time read 38 minutes when I got home.

At home, the Garmin wouldn't upload. I decided to take a shower while it figured itself out, but when I came back out, it was still just sitting there. Apparently it won't upload while the clock is still running - I had somehow not hit "stop."

Once I did get it to upload, it looks like I didn't start the watch until a little ways into the run. No. Way. I started it in my driveway and looked at it under the first streetlight to confirm it was going. Don't know what's up there.

Anyway, it was a very nice morning run, beautiful sunrise just starting. Favorite time of the year...

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Day 5 - longest run, up to 90 minutes. Had to go out too early to really want to run outside, plus I didn't have a route in mind for that distance. Sooo, to the gym. A little core workout, then onto the treadmill. Set it for 8:36/mile pace (although my footpod read faster than that, about 8:22) and just cranked it out. Had to pause and reset the treadmill after an hour, a little blip on the graph for that. Felt strong all the way, though, and did the last 5 minutes at 8:15 pace.

Boredom was only alleviated by the audio book I had downloaded last night; Katherine Neville's "Fire", sequel to "The Eight."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Awesome intervals

Well, I already fudged on the training program I'm doing - day two called for a 30 minute easy run, and I just couldn't do it Monday morning. I think I'm glad I got the sleep, though. This morning, I got back into the groove and did the first of the hard speed sessions, a 4 x 2k interval session. I like to do speedwork like that on the treadmill - It forces me to keep the right pace, and it's easy to track. Had to do some conversion to figure out what to do, though:

Called for a 4 x 2K intervals, at 4:25/K pace, with 2 minute rests in between. I figured if I did 4 x 9 minute intervals (4:25 times 2) at whatever pace that was, I'd be good. The pace calculator told me that a 4:25/K pace was 7:06/mile, so that's what I did.

Five-minute warm-up, then started the first interval. The first couple minutes didn't feel great, but then I seemed to get into it. Unfortunately, I had hit Stop on my watch instead of Lap, and didn't realize it until almost all the way through that first 9-minute lap, so my Garmin only thinks I did three intervals, but whatever. Took a 2-minute walking rest, then into the second interval, and felt great. Felt so good through the rest of the workout, in fact, that I did the last interval at just under 7 minute/mile pace. Just felt like a rock star.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First day

Today was Day One of the little 19-day training program that Peter was nice enough to point me to in the comments recently. It's kind of a strange setup - the distances are in kilometers, which I'm not used to measuring in. Only one rest day a week, but quite a few 30-40 minute easy run days. Four speed days spread out over the 3 weeks, and 4 long days. I'm going to give it a try, to see how it feels, but I think I like a little more weekly structure - long runs Saturday, intervals Tuesday, Tempo Thursday, etc. Good to give other things a try, though, and as it's only 19 days...

Ran an urban loop this morning, up Virginia Street right through downtown Reno, then east on Plumb and back through the old Reno neighborhoods. Left before light, but the sun came up pretty quickly and made for a nice run. It had rained last night, and a little humidity was a nice change from the normal dryness around here.

Kind of funny - I went faster than I maybe should have, because I wasn't sure of the distance. I was supposed to go for 60-70 minutes, and it would have been longer if I hadn't pushed it a little. Not really the point of long runs; going fast. Oh well.

Crazy phantom Garmin hills in there, too - just before and after the Truckee River at mile 2. There may be a little rise after it, but certainly nothing before it...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Standard fartlek

Yeah, it is fun to say. One of the benefits of being a runner, really.

So I did a nice easy 3-mile loop this morning, trying to keep it slow. There's one part of my 3-mile loop, though, that I always do a little sprint on. Not sure why I started doing it, but it's kind of in the spirit of fartlek - "speed play." There's a stop sign on a cross street at the top of a little hill, and I just go all out to it, then recover on the flat section beyond. This is the view from the bottom of the little hill.

Standard fartlek

Friday, November 7, 2008

Speed and soreness

Did a couple mornings of speedwork this week; an interval session Wednesday and a solid tempo run this morning. Felt that nice, sweet soreness this morning afterwards. Hadn't got quite that feel for awhile.

Not much else to report here. Getting ready to start a little 19-day training program looking to a Turkey Trot, it'll be nice to be back on a schedule.

A Race Like No Other

A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York A Race Like No Other: 26.2 Miles Through the Streets of New York by Liz Robbins

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
A lot of running books out there lately. This is my second one about a specific race; I read one about Boston earlier this year. Well written and fun to read - flipped around between the history of the race, the battles between the leaders of the mens and womens races, and some great stories of people running at different paces throughout the race. I's organized by mile, so you get a feel of what parts of the city the race winds through.

This made me realize a couple thing: I've never run a race where you get to follow a blue line painted on the road, and noone's ever handed me one of those shiny blankets at the finish line. Are those East Coast things? Or just BIG race things?

View all my reviews.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thinking toward turkey

A bit inspired by Amber's goal-reaching run this weekend, I was looking forward to the next race I'll do and thinking about goals. There's a good Turkey Trot 10K in town, where my 10K PR happened last year: 47:01. Not so impressive, considering my 1:33 half marathon last spring, but the fall seems to be the time when I slack off the running a bit. Anyway, I'd like to run the Turkey Trot for a PR, preferalby below 45:00. Someday I'd like to break 40:00, but I don't think that'll be this fall...

Nice early run this morning - shorts, long-sleeve and vest weather. My normal 5-mile loop - felt good, but weirdly long. Garmin blip there, right before the second mile mark. Looks like a big hill and a drop in speed, but I can't imagine what it was.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Spark-a-delic 5K

Today marked a couple of firsts for me - the first time I paced someone trying to reach a goal, and the first time I've run costumed. The event was the Spark-a-delic 5K, sponsored by and run at the new supergigantic Scheels store at near the Sparks Marina. My running buddy Amber has been trying to break the 25 minute mark in a couple of 5Ks now, and since I'm blistered and haven't been doing speedwork, I thought that was about what I wanted to run today. Also, the race included a costume contest - psychedelic 70s wear - so I dressed for it in bright pink pants, lavender ruffle tux shirt with the sleeves cut of, and sparkly purple bow tie and cummerbund. Oh, and a purple wig. Best picture I've got:

I set my Virtual Training Partner on Lumpy to 8:00 miles, and we headed out. Stayed just ahead of him on the way out, but turning and coming back into the wind lost us a little time. I thought we were just going to miss the 25 minute mark, but as we turned and looked toward the finish, the official clock only showed 24:20. Picked it up a little bit and finished at 24:55. This pacing stuff's not so hard, Vanilla.

(Excellent elevation profile, eh?)

We milled around for awhile to wait for the awards ceremony - I thought I had a chance in the costume contest. Turns out Amber's the one that took home a prize, though - 2nd place in her age group! A medal and a $25 gift card - sweet! The costume contest was kind of a bust, though - only one prize, and it went to someone else. Big dang trophy for it, though.

Congratulations to Amber on meeting the goal! Great job.