Thursday, July 30, 2009

CTS 942: A new route, running buddy

Today I ran a great 6.2-mile route in the neighborhood. It's the route that my friend Marianne runs and I was curious to see what it was like.

I found that it is a great route! I also found that she runs a little faster than me, something that will help my running in general. We ran up some hills that a few years ago I would have been really afraid to run up.

But I think I held my own even though it was close to race pace for me. If anything it will help me get faster!

I noticed that I really didn't think about water in this pretty cool weather.

Time: 7 a.m.
Temp: ?
Gear: CFSST (ING Half '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CTS 940: Return to Cherokee Trail

Because I'd logged some great miles the last two days, I decided to give myself a treat and run the Cherokee Trail at Stone Mountain State Park. I had done this once before in April, (CTS 843) and it was pretty hard going.

This time I hoped that the run would be better since I am in much better shape. The good news was that I was able to run much more than I previously was. The bad news is that parts of it still kick my butt!

But it still is a very beautiful run -- you get to run along the shores of lakes and in a nice forest. I saw one friendly doe at the start of the run and by the lake I saw the oddity of four ducks and a turtle hanging out on a branch floating in the lake.

I think next time if it's still this hot I will go shirtless -- not too many people on the trail (I saw 2 the entire time) and my wicking shirt got soaked this time around.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 86 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Adidas Trail Response
Drink: water, 500mL (consumed)

Monday, July 27, 2009

CTS 939: Tour de Doc Chey

This morning I had planned to get up and run to Decatur's Big Peach Running Co. to sign up early for the Big Peach Sizzler 10K in September.

But my right leg felt a little taut from yesterday's run so I decided to just drive there. I was also still sleepy because of staying up late the night before.

I took a nap when I got back and was ready to run. I had some errands to do, so I headed out on North Highland, first to the post office and then to Doc Chey's for lunch.

I was going to cut back down Lanier and head over toward Reynoldstown for my usual 5-mile loop. But I decided to continue down North Highland and do the Emory loop.

I had done this loop once before last fall before The Weather Channel Atlanta Half-Marathon and still remembered the beyond-category hill from Briarcliff Way to Clifton Way on Clifton.

I knew I was in a lot better shape, so I thought why not try it?

The hill wasn't too bad, it was just sick in principle. Think of the biggest hill you know, then at the top have it break left around a curve. Once you round the curve it just goes straight up for a second hill to the top!

I ran it ok, huffing and puffing but knowing I tackled it much better than last fall. I came around Clifton to North Decatur and then made my way to Springdale where I have my usual route back home.

As far as challenges go, it was a nice one. I'm happy to have done it -- but I don't have to do it again for quite a while!

Time: 3 p.m.
Temp: 88.5 degrees
Gear: CFSST (ING half blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.
Drink: none carried.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

CTS 938: Sneakin' over a new bridge

This afternoon, after I procrastinated all day, I decided to run to Ikea. I hadn't been there in a long time and a 7-mile run to start off the week sounded very appealing.

When I started down Virginia Ave., some dude passed me immediately. I wasn't really planning on giving chase because 1). I just started my run and 2). I had a lot of extra stuff on me -- my bottle of water and extra shirt.

So I played it cool but as soon as he turned down a side street he stopped. So I took chase after him and passed him and then went about another 50 feet before looping back around and rejoining Virginia Ave.

This brought me on the front side of Piedmont Park. So I just ran up 10th Street to Peachtree and then turned and ran until 14th Street.

At 14th Street and West Peachtree, I noticed something strange -- it looked like the 14th Street bridge, which has been closed forever, was open. It wasn't open to cars, but still was completed. It had a lot of construction junk still on it.

So I ran down that way, and sure enough it was open. I ran across it and up a huge Category 1 hill to State Street, where I turned to go down to Atlantic Station. I made my way to Ikea, where I gladly took advantage of their cold water fountain.

The way back was more of the same although this time I took 14th Street straight to Piedmont Park and cut through it. I went on Orme to give me a slightly longer run (I think the 14th Street bridge makes the run not quite 7 miles round trip). I did an extra loop around Lanier to make 7 miles.

Time: 5 p.m.
Temp: 91.5 degrees
Gear: CFSST (ING Georgia Half Marathon '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.
Drink: water, 500mL (carried, not used).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

CTS 935: A fresh shirt, like a fresh horse on the Pony Express

Today when I woke up I knew I was going to go long. It had been a month since I had done the 9-mile route that follows the last half of the ING Georgia Half-Marathon and then zips back home using the Cornerstone route's Freedom Park PATH.

I brought a full bottle of Powerade even though I didn't think I would need it. But I'm glad I did. By the 2.6 mile mark I was really dehydrated and thought about not going any farther. But I bought a bottle of water at the CVS on Peachtree and it settled me down.

The hills on the entire route were no problem at all. By the time I reached my office building I was thankful that I left an extra cotton shirt there the other day -- the CFSST was completely soaked. So I went upstairs, changed shirts, left the soaked one there (!) and then got a cup of water and used the facilities before leaving.

And the clean shirt really refreshed me and made me think that I was only doing a 3.5-mile run now.

I ran into Sham going the other way on the PATH.

Time: 7:45 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees
Gear: CFSST (ING 1/2 marathon-blue), SST (Hillside 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.
Drink: Powerade, 591mL, water 500mL

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CTS 933: Introducing the CFSSTs

For the last few years races have been giving out wicking shirts for race shirts in both long sleeves (designated CFLST) and short sleeves (CFSST).

And for the last few years I've been putting the short sleeve shirts by the wayside because my belly always made wearing them look somewhat ridiculous.

But last night, on a lark, I brought them out of the drawer and tried them on - and they didn't seem so bad.

I saw a few advantages to wearing them instead of the short sleeved cotton shirts I normally wear -- they wouldn't get so clingy and heavy when drenched with sweat and they dry easily.

So today I tried one on, going up the Col du Cat spire, one of my hardest runs because it involves no less than five climbs in a circular spire that goes from Monroe and Piedmont all the way up to North Highland.

The shirt felt pretty good- it was light the entire way - I did get sweaty but it didn't seem to be that big of a deal. I could still use it to wipe sweat off my brow.

I do wonder whether the shirt, being plastic, makes you feel warmer than just wearing a cotton shirt. I also endured a little chafing on my left side of my chest.

But all in all, they are a great idea to wear and I'll likely be putting them into the rotation from now on.

Time: noon
Temp: 80 degrees
Gear: CFSST ('09 ING 1/2), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CTS 932: Cooler temperatures, but still need water

It's been pretty cool out since the weekend. I think it'll stay that way at least until the end of the week.

Because of that, I have been pretty lax in getting up early in the morning to run -- today I didn't head out until about 5:30 p.m.

I ran the Middlebear course but because of the lack of humidity I left my bottle of water behind, thinking I would rehydrate at the Candler Market if I needed to. But when I came down the hill, I thought I would be fine.

I probably should have stopped off in Little Five Points for water. But I continued on. The first thing I noticed was that my lips became extremely dry. And then my legs acted like they wanted to cramp up.

So at Buddy's I bought an entire liter of water. And drank the whole thing in the parking lot.

I don't like carrying water because of the weight and the jostling of the belt but I have to make sure I get it somewhere, even though the weather is only in the 80s.

Time: 5:30 p.m.
Temp: 82 degrees
Gear: SST (Braves gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Monday, July 13, 2009

CTS 925: Buying a shirt in Decatur

DECATUR, Ga. -- Today for my long run I decided to run to Decatur. It had been a few weeks since I had done so and the air was pretty cool and nice because it had rained earlier in the morning.

Once I got to Decatur, however, the skies parted and the sun beamed down and I was miserable.

My shirt was totally soaked and that's one of the few things that can demoralize me on my run. So I went to the CVS and picked out another shirt for $2.50 to wear.

That made me feel much better, although when I was coming down the hill at East Ponce toward Scott I realized that I must have dropped my original shirt somewhere -- back on the other side of the hill.

So I went back there and got my shirt, which was lying on the sidewalk.

Ugh. I haven't been happier to be back home from a run in a while. lol

Time: 2 p.m.
Temp: 77 degrees
Gear: SST (Carolina, dk blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

CTS 919: Deer sighting at Bemis

WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill. -- To keep my mileage up, I ran 8 miles today from my parents' home into the Bemis Woods forest preserve. It was actually a pretty easy run -- 2 miles to the forest preserve, then a Raptor one-five turnaround at the 4-mile mark using the Hammer of Dawn.

Right before the turnaround, I saw a deer jump across the path, a little ways in front of me. Still pretty cool to see.

Unlike in Atlanta, however, the suburban Chicago drivers have no regard for crosswalks. At the Wolf Road crossing, I had to stop traffic to let two women on bikes with toddlers in tow cross -- they had been waiting there for a while.

On the way back, this guy actually honked at me while I was crossing in the middle of the crosswalk. I was like, fuck you buddy, this is a crosswalk.

Hit me and I'll be owning your house and your SUV and you'll probably do more time than Donte.

That got me fired up to run the last 2.7 miles home.

I didn't bring any water on this trip -- I wanted to carefully monitor myself to see how I would do. I didn't drink any water during the Peachtree 10K so it was good to see what the limit is performance-wise.

Drank a bunch when I got home.

Time: 10 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees
Gear: SST (El Paso), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

CTS 917: If you're feeling it, then do it

WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill. -- Today after my flight touched down I went out in my parents' hood for a day-after-race run. I had in my mind about 4 miles, depending on how my legs felt.

Surprisingly, I had a lot in my legs, so I mowed through the rolling hills of Hinsdale and then continued on for another 10K distance run.

It helped that the prairie is so flat. Also it was a little cooler than in Chicago but the humidity was there.

Time: noon
Temp: 82 degrees
Gear: SST (Va-Hi Summerfest '04), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Peachtree 10K -- as a Peachtree 10K qualifier

My fifth running of the Peachtree 10K and the second time I've participated in Time Group 1.

This year is perhaps the most prepared I've ever been for this race. I had the benefit of running the course last Thanksgiving during The Weather Channel Atlanta Half Marathon and the double hills (Cardiac Hill and up to 14th Street) were brutal.

I'm thankful for that experience though because it taught me that even in the worst case scenario I can survive through it.

This time, 7 months later, I was a different kind of cat. Now I run the 10K distance 2-3 times a week and my Middlebear course in Candler Park is probably harder than the Peachtree.

Anyway, I got to the Group 1 corral with about a half hour to spare. The weather was pretty nice. The sun was out but there was a slight breeze.

When the race started, our group followed the seeded and sub-seeded runners. It seemed everyone in this time group ran -- I don't really remember passing many people until Cardiac Hill.

Looking at my data, I ran my fastest mile (8:00) up through Cardiac Hill. In the past, I've paid the price for attacking this hill by having a slow 5th mile. But this time my Mile 5, although slower than Mile 4, was faster than the first three miles, which are all downhill. I had a nice recovery and then ran a pretty nice finish.

Mile 1: 9:11 (2003: 10:25, 2004: 9:00, 2007: 9:33, 2008: 9:21)
Mile 2: 8:52 (2003: 9:43, 2004: 9:00, 2007: 8:47, 2008: 8:48)
Mile 3: 8:49 (2003: 8:48, 2004: 8:52, 2007: 8:58, 2008: 8:42)
Mile 4: 8:00 (2003: 8:40, 2004: 9:49, 2007: 8:32, 2008: 9:37)
Mile 5: 8:35 (2003: 9:35, 2004: 10:38, 2007: 9:38, 2008: 10:24)
Mile 6: 8:11 (2003: 9:07, 2004: 9:16, 2007: 9:39, 2008: 9:32)
Mile 6.2: 1:41 (2003: 1:45, 2004: 1:56, 2007: 1:55, 2008: 2:19)

My 53:13 time was more than 3 minutes better than my fastest time in 2007. It also qualifies for Time Group IB of next year's Peachtree. I'm pretty sure if I ran a 10K on a flat or even downhill course (like the Charles Harris 10K) I would drop below 50 minutes.

This is awesome. I can't even begin to say how nice it felt to not bonk after the double hills. I'll be basking in this accomplishment for a while.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: SST (Race for Research), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Friday, July 3, 2009

CTS 915: Thinking the impossible

The last three days I've tapered off my running although still keeping up with the miles to make sure that tomorrow's Peachtree 10K gives me more than 30 miles for the week.

After tomorrow, it's a kind of "what's next?" sort of thing. I easily hit 30 miles a week now, sometimes more, and it wouldn't be too hard to imagine me getting in 40, which is the minimum marathon guides say is necessary to start training for a marathon.

After I ran Portland in 2000, I told myself that I would never do another one. But that was because my base miles were poor, although I put the time in to gradually do longer and longer runs along Portland's Wildwood Trail until I could do 22 with no problem.

I'm a lot more disciplined now. I could probably do another marathon.

Problem is, I didn't realize how much planning is needed. I've always wanted to run in the Chicago Marathon. This year it will be on Oct. 11, which is the day the Atlanta Falcons are away playing San Francisco (I'm a season ticket holder).

Only problem with that is that the 45,000-person registration already is closed. I could gain entry by volunteering to raise $1,500 with a Chicago charity. That could be possible but I would have to think about that.

I looked up races in December -- the Honolulu Marathon and the Las Vegas Marathon -- both are during weeks in which the Falcons play home games, so I'm not likely to want to run then.

It's so tricky though, I feel you never know from year to year whether your training will be good enough to even attempt running a 26.2-mile race. I know I can do it this year because I've been pretty well-focused and ready and, knock on wood, injury-free.

Next year, who knows?

One of my other options could be running in The Weather Channel Atlanta Marathon on Thanksgiving Day. The course is pretty brutal, an out-and-back route from Turner Field up to Peachtree and to Chamblee, follwing the 1996 Olympic Marathon route.