Saturday, September 13, 2014

Day 2,823: My first 60-mile week

Today's 10-mile easy run gave me 60.41 miles for the week, the most I've ever run in a 7-day period.

I ran 58.99 miles for the week of August 15-21 in 2010 (just eight weeks before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon) but that included an 18-miler and a 20-miler.

For this past week, the most I ran in a day was a 16-mile run on Sunday. I ran 10 miles or more for four of the seven days.

Today's run was hot but not quite as hot as on Friday. Just before 5 miles I stopped into Colony Square and drank some very nicely chilled water from a water fountain in the W hotel. I was completely soaked by the time I turned around at the 5th Street overpass (lots of people tailgating for the Georgia Tech game).

Then around mile 7 I was thankful that Big Peach Midtown on Peachtree Street had a water cooler out. I drank about five cups of water there. Drank about two full bottles of Gatorade after I came back.

Time: 8:50 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Asics blue), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 2,822: Just crazy heat

At this point in my marathon training I normally wouldn't even bother to write about a measly 6-mile run but I'm doing so today because of the crazy heat and humidity.

It had rained earlier in the morning so outside it just felt steamy. I also noticed a difference when the handlebars of the BOB stroller were completely soaked. I don't even think I'd run 1.5 miles yet and I was looking for a dry spot to hold on to.

At about four miles my shirt and shorts were completely soaked, something that I can expect if I'm running for maybe twice as long as I was.

I thought about just shelving the run for the day but I kept at it and was happy to get home. I drank a full bottle of Gatorade even though I stopped for water twice in the park.

Later on when I saw my data, I couldn't believe it -- it was 75 degrees with 89 percent humidity! It will be nice when the cool weather sets in for the season.

Time: 8:44 a.m.
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (CS yellow), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Day 2,817: 16-mile run

Today was the first of three 16-mile runs I will do for marathon training. After struggling through the 15-mile run two weeks ago I wanted to make sure I was as prepared as possible.

This route I planned with having grocery stores where I could get water every four miles or so and other stores where I could purchase it in between. I also brought five GU gel packs and had a basic strategy of taking the first one after mile 6.

Things basically went according to plan. I stopped just after mile 6 to find a cache and then I drank a little bit of water and ate my first GU gel, one called salted watermelon. It was a little too salty for me and it had a kind of Jolly Rancher aftertaste.

Just after Mile 8 I was in downtown Decatur. I ran past the Big Peach store thinking maybe they would have a water cooler out -- they didn't but no matter, since there was a water fountain that worked in Decatur Square.

I turned up Claremont Avenue. In my original plan (since I didn't know about the Decatur Square water fountain) I would have run to the Kroger here to get water.

I also had planned to stop for water at the Publix store at North Decatur and Clairmont just before mile 10. But my water bottle was full so I didn't cross the street and stop.

At about Mile 10.55 I had another GU gel, Mandarin Orange. It had an ok taste, not really my favorite. About a mile later, at 11.66 at the top of North Decatur and Briarcliff I drank all of my water. I went the next 1.6 miles with an empty bottle until I stopped at the Publix on Ponce (really cold water here!).

Then I finished the last 3 miles in the neighborhood. On Virginia Avenue at mile 14.5, I had my third GU gel, the Tri-Berry flavor that I usually purchase.

I was pretty soaked and had brought a spare shirt but didn't change it during the run. I felt pretty good except the last mile. I made pace in 14 of 16 miles (the first and last miles being slower).

I have to find a way to have more water with me or drink more when I run. Maybe next time I will have to bring out my Camelbak.

Time: 7:19 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Champion grey), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 31.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 2,815: A gel in time and waiting on my Garmin

Today was the last of my 8-mile tempo runs. Next week it will be a 9-mile tempo run (11 miles total) and then four weeks later, the 10-mile tempo run (12 miles total).

Because the tempo portion of the run is just slightly slower than half-marathon pace, the runs kind of feel like doing a half-marathon race ... every week. During last week's 8-mile tempo run I realized as I entered Piedmont Commons with 1.5 miles left in the tempo portion of the run that I needed to treat the run like I would an actual race.

And that means taking GU gels. Normally I don't like to use them during training workouts since it's kind of like eating money (they cost about $1 a piece). But they have been magic for me in the past in the half marathon (I take one at Mile 9 and it usually is good for the next four miles to close out the race).

For the 10-mile run today, I decided that I would take it after running six miles (five miles of that in tempo), so it would cover the last four miles of the run.

It worked beautifully. Eating a gel at the right time in a race gives you confidence to finish strong. In today's workout I could tell that I had extra energy, or rather, wasn't taking energy out of my legs (although 2.5 miles after taking the gel I thought I could have used another one -- but I didn't carry any extras). After I finished running I just drank water instead of a Gatorade. The rest of the day my legs felt fine instead of feeling like I've just run in a race.


The other thing that I noticed today is how long it takes for my Garmin Forerunner 610 to determine my average pace. Normally in a shorter race like a 5K or a 10K this doesn't matter so much since I am just trying to run flat out.

But for the marathon, running at the right pace is crucial since running too fast at the start can sink you after Mile 20.

In today's tempo run I noticed that right after each mile split, it took a while for the Garmin to arrive at an average pace even though I was running at a steady pace! In one instance in Piedmont Park it took more than a quarter mile (and maybe up to a half mile) before it could decide on my pace.

About a month ago I was running on the PATH trail near The Carter Center when my watch just finished recording my second mile lap. Then I noticed my pace was very slow so I tried to run faster to counter this. Now I know that the watch was trying to determine my pace and I wasn't running any slower than I was before my second mile.

Time: 7:03 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Atlanta Beltline Southwest 5K), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5. (1 GU gel).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Day 2,814: The stroller + toddler speed test

I'd read somewhere that every extra pound you have costs you two seconds per mile. I was able to test that wisdom today dropping off the little guy to preschool and then running some more on a 7-mile run.

My data showed that on this easy run, I ran about a 12-minute mile for 3.5 miles with a 25-pound BOB stroller and a 25-pound toddler.

When I dropped him off, I ran another mile (to drop off the stroller) and I ran an 11-minute mile. It was actually pretty hard to run with an empty stroller. The front wheel kept on wanting to jump up all the time.

After I put away the stroller, my last 2.5 miles were in the 9:30-10 minute mile range.

I guess it seems obvious the more weight you have on you, the slower it's going to be pushing it all around.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Publix Georgia Half Marathon 2014), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 2,810: An eventful August

Today I finished the second of back-to-back 10-milers and was glad it was over. In doing so I ran 235.28 miles for the month, the most of any month that I've ever run.

I also crossed 10,000 miles for the streak this month and logged my longest run in a foreign country (10.65 miles in Munich on Aug. 17).

In August 2010 I ran 210 miles in the lead-up to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It's hard to tell whether any of this work will help on race day but I feel pretty comfortable running up some of the harder hills in the city.

Today it was cool out but the humidity made the run pretty brutal. I started out in Morningside checking on a few caches, then made my way to Piedmont Commons, into Piedmont Park and along Piedmont Avenue to the start of the PATH trail.

Then I followed the middle 5 miles of the ING half-marathon course until I was back home.

Time: 6:58 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees (100 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Charles Harris 2014), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 2,803: 15-mile run

This morning was one of the hottest it's been in a long while -- 74.6 degrees with 96 percent humidity. So those were the conditions in which I started off on my longest run in more than four years.

After doing the 14-mile run two weeks ago and having to run with a completely soaked shirt, I brought not one but two extra shirts with me for this workout. It turned out that I didn't wear either of them so was just basically carrying some dead weight the entire time.

It took me four miles until I was able to run at the training pace of about 9:30 min/mile. I'm not sure why I struggled with this but I guess it is true that this training program is designed to simulate the fatigue you're going to have in an actual marathon.

At about 9.6 miles I drank three-fourths of the water I had on me. I should have checked into the CVS then and bought some Powerade. Instead, I waited two miles until I was in Atlantic Station and finally bought some at the Publix there.

It took me three miles to get back on pace and I only made pace during this run for eight of the 15 miles. What's interesting about this run is the paces are very similar to my last run of that length. It could be that stopping for the Powerade threw my pace off each time.

One thing I have noticed in the last few runs, particularly the longer ones is that the stiffness of the Nike Air Pegasus 31s that I complained about previously actually feels good at the end of long workouts. My feet feel locked in and although I like running in the softer Saucony Kinvara 5s, I probably will go with these Nikes for the marathon.

Time: 7:07 a.m.
Temp: 74.6 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Champion gray, another great shirt to run in for these conditions), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 31.