Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CTS 1,032: A nice spring day thrown into the mix

Unlike yesterday's all-day downpour, today's run was quite nice. Ran the gf's route and it was a nice, sunny 61 degrees out.

They were setting up a bunch of tent stalls in Piedmont Park for some kind of upcoming festival -- I wasn't wearing sunglasses so I just ran under them for some instant shade!

Time: 10:30 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees
Gear: SST (Atlanta Braves, gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D4.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CTS 1,031: Rain here

After two enjoyable days running (CTS 1,029, 1,030) in Savannah, Ga. I left running at sea level for Atlanta's 1,000-foot elevation.

Despite the easy runs the last two days running around the city's historic squares and monuments, my legs really felt pretty tight. Perhaps it was the 3-hour, 20-minute drive there.

At any event, today was different. I got speed going pretty early and maintained a decent pace even despite the rain. At the end everything was pretty much wet but not soaked. Good armor here.

Time: 11:30 a.m.
Temp: 55 degrees (rain)
Gear: Novarra rain jacket, CFLST (Fall 5 Miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D3.

Friday, October 23, 2009

CTS 1,027: Unseasonably warm

Today I got an early run in by taking my car to get the oil changed and dropping it off.

I'd brought running clothes for what I thought would be weather in the high 40s to my gf's place but it turned out it's more like 65 degrees out.

A pretty nice reprieve for what will only be colder weather.


I've found that playing video games makes for a nice post-run cool down. The last couple days I've plopped down in my living room and have been playing Fable 2 on the Xbox 360.


Last night I began my running wish list for 2010. This included researching races for next year, including the April 24 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, the Chicago Marathon and the Honolulu Marathon.

The lottery sign-up for the Cherry Blossom run will start on Dec. 1. Would be cool to run in it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CTS 1,022: Atlanta AIDS Walk/5K run

This is the second back-to-back race I've done this month. I felt like I ran the Big Peach Fall 5 Miler pretty hard and really had no thoughts of running this one hard.

But the race started and I ended up with my fastest 5K race in Atlanta and my fastest since I made a PR in the distance at age 27 on March 28, 1998 in Eugene, Ore.

I'm really not sure why the conditions were such. The race started and my gf and I started fighting through the backfield up the rolling hills of 10th Street. I decided I would just run with her and although I am a strong hill runner, made sure my pace kept her close.

I even had to stop for a moment at 10th Street and Juniper as law enforcement allowed cars to pass (?).

The run turned onto Peachtree and we ran until about 15th Street, ducking into the Ansley neighborhood. It's rolling hills here but I had a really good groove. My feet felt pretty good and I didn't feel like I was expending very much energy.

After Mile 2 though is a huge beyond category double hill. I attacked the first part of it only to find it go up incredibly steep and I wasn't liking it. At that point I had totally lost the gf so I waited at the top of it, on Piedmont Avenue, for about 10 seconds before resuming the run with her.

The race then went into Piedmont Park. About the middle of it, a big dude passed me and I thought he was setting up a kick so I re-passed him and then we made the final turn of the race near the finish line.

I held my own until the Mile 3 marker and then did a poor man's kick in the last .1 miles. I went deep into the red zone, hitting a 5:46/mile pace.

Also of interesting note, I wore race number "1" for the first time in my life, lol. What happened was you could sign up in person at the Big Peach stores. I signed up at the Big Peach Atlanta when my gf went there the other day to pick up her gift card for placing 2nd in her age group in the Big Peach Sizzler 10K.

No one else had signed up in person for the AIDS run, so they gave me the very first bib number. It was cool, since all along the race, people shouted out "Go No. 1!" And that was a pretty nice push for the race.

Time: 1:46 p.m.
Temp: 55 degrees
Gear: LST (Jingle Bell Run), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D4.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

CTS 1,021: Big Peach Fall 5 Miler

MARIETTA, Ga. -- I signed up for this race right at the early deadline figuring it would be a great race to do, even though the distance is atypical for this area.

I convinced the gf to also run in it and so we headed toward there in the early morning, especially a very cool one. I was able to use my GPS navigation on my Palm Pre so finding it was pretty easy.

The course is pretty nice. It's a rolling hills course and one that's pretty much to my advantage as a strong hill runner. But of course that's not all you have to worry about during a race.

In the first mile my left shoelace came undone. I waited until after the first mile marker to tie it. At the time I was running pretty much with the gf but when I stopped to tie it I waved her on to continue.

I thought that I would use a little extra energy in the second mile to catch up with her (I went from an average of 9:23 in the slow first mile to 7:47 in the second) but it was pretty impossible. So I just concentrated on trying to finish well.

My stomach felt a little queasy during the race so I also had to contend with that. Near the end of the race I took off the windbreaker I wore at the beginning of the run (it was pretty cold) and tied it around my waist.

But at Mile 4, there was a dude with a true miler's kick and he turned it on. Another dude ran with him at the outset but faltered and I ran him down. The miler's kick guy ended up with a very nice pace to follow, although he probably was about 10 seconds ahead of me at the very end.

I had a nice kick at the end and finished strong. I was probably about a minute behind the gf.

I am pretty happy about my race paces now. I now have about an 8 minute mile pace to fall back on and pretty consistently run under 8 in recent races.

It was a really fun race and worth doing. Would be nice to do again next year. Nice Asics CFLST also for in-store registrants.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 44 degrees (?)
Gear: Nike windbreaker, LST (Jingle Bell Run), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/A4.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

CTS 1,014 Four Seasons Race for Research 10K

I am not a fan of loop race courses but the thought of running a race in home territory (Midtown, Piedmont Park) was too irresistable to pass up.

It turns out the Four Seasons Race for Research is a very nicely put together local race.

Went with the gf and we signed up for race day registration. The course starts a little west of the hotel on 14th Street and continues into Piedmont Park. You wind around in the park and then get out on 10th Street and run up to West Peachtree and back to 14th Street for the first loop.

We took this one pretty easy, running about 9:30/mile the first two miles and then kicked it up the last three (I haven't downloaded my data from the Hammer of Dawn yet) but kicked it up the last three miles with somewhere around an 8 min mile pace.

The post race extravaganza was great -- the Four Seasons staff had lots of water, juice, coffee and sports drinks available. There were the typical apples, bananas and bagels available plus yogurt and danish.

I was pretty happy that for the fourth consecutive 10K this year I've qualified for the Peachtree. What once was a challenge is routine.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 65 degrees
Gear: SST (Firecracker 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D4.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

CTS 1,008: 13.1 Marathon "I'm born again"

This should be agony. I should be a mass of aching muscle -- broken, spent, unable to move. And, were I an older man, I surely would ... but I'm a man of thirty -- of twenty again. The rain on my chest is a baptism -- I'm born again.
--Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns

This morning I was fortunate for the drop off by the gf to the 13.1 Marathon at Oglethorpe University.

I wasn't sure how I would be -- I had two straight days of hard 6-mile runs and then the Ted's Bison Stampede 5K, where I ran my fastest 5K in five years.

So my strategy was to take it easy and just finish.

I started out slow, with a just under 10-minute mile pace. The start was bottlenecked with runners and I didn't pay any mind. I intentionally didn't look at my watch for the first 6 miles of the race.

But I didn't realize that my mile splits were starting to drop, a regression to the mean. I ran 9:15 in the second mile, just under 9 minute pace in the 3rd.

And then I started running at the 8:40/mile training pace I run with the gf. That remained steady until mile 9, which had one of the largest hills in the race, a steep climb up Ashwood-Dunwoody. I hit that at an 8-minute mile pace.

By mile 10 I realized that the only way I wouldn't break 2 hours for the race (my best time in recent years in the 2007 ING Georgia Half-Marathon) would be if I seriously bonked and ran the last three miles at an 11-minute mile pace.

I kept things steady at mile 11 (8:35/mile) then turned it up a little for mile 12 (8:17) and then had a nice kick with .3 of a mile left in the race to end with a 7:41/mile pace.

I finished in 1:53:03, which is the fastest half-marathon I've done since doing 1:52:00 in the Capital City Half-Marathon on May 17, 1998 in Olympia, Wash.

When I resumed running in Atlanta I thought my faster days (and these times aren't even that fast) were over.

But training with a speedy gf helps and I'm enjoying a nice resurgence in my pasttime.

Time: 7:13 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: SST (El Paso), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D4.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

CTS 1,007: Ted's Bison Stampede 5K

After having a great experience in the inaugural Ted's Bison Stampede 5K last year, I didn't hesitate to sign up for this year's race.

This year, my friend Sham selected it for his first ever 5K race. He'd been training all summer, so why not be rewarded at the end of it all with free Bison sliders and Sweetwater beer?

Although I'd run about 6 miles at race pace each of the last two days, I decided I would just go out and try to run as well as I could. When the gun started, I was jammed up in the pack and was only able to break out of it on the incline near CNN Center.

The first mile didn't end up being too bad, about 8:30 or so. The second mile, on a Pryor St. hill that really got me last year, was even better, 7:21. On the third mile, I had really picked up my pace and was able to accelerate through other hills, such as the one near the United Way building off of Central.

I hit a 7:11 pace for the last mile and the Hammer of Dawn recorded my top speed at 16.3 mph, which is probably the fastest that I've run in a while. I had pulled behind a dude who had a great kick and followed him in.

It was my fastest 5K race in 5 years, second to a Downtown Dash for Diabetes race I did in 2004.

Last year I said that I could run this race pretty well if I increased my mileage -- and a year later, that shows.

Celebrated the end of the race with ... 7 Bison sliders, lol.

Time: 9 a.m.
Gear: SST (Race for Research), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D4.