Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 1,460: The four-year run

Today was a short run around the hood in an (unsuccessful) attempt to find nearby geocaches.

But the end of the year also marks one of my best running years, in terms of:

-Consecutive day streak (1,460 consecutive days)
-Yearly mileage (1,776.55 miles)
-Two PRs (5K, marathon)
-Two marathons (Chicago, ING Georgia)
-Four half-marathons

Here's looking to more running -- and fun -- next year!

Time: 3:03 p.m.
Temp: 50 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (Champion C9, gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 1,458: Half marathon course in reverse

A few weeks ago I thought about what running on the Georgia Half Marathon course would be like in reverse, going clockwise instead of counter-clockwise around the city. I foolishly thought it wouldn't be as hilly.

Today, with a bunch of daylight free time and nicer weather than the past few days, I set out to test that theory.

In all, the run wasn't too bad and I think I ran my fastest training pace for a half marathon distance.

A little after 7 miles I stopped by work for a cup and a half of water, even though I didn't feel thirsty. At 10 miles, about at Peachtree and 5th Street, I felt thirsty. It wasn't a problem, though, because I didn't really think about it at the end.

Time: 11:36 a.m.
Temp: 46 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Atlanta Marathon promo), T-shirt (Inman Middle School 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 1,456: Running in snow

RICHMOND, Va. -- It started to snow here on Christmas Day (yesterday) and by nightfall there was a good amount on the ground.

This morning when we woke up it was beautiful out, a nice snow-filled scene. I thought it would be unpleasant to run in it but it turned out to be wonderful.

The streets were covered in nice and fluffy snow and we ran in tire tracks or sometimes, when cars drove by, in fresh powder.

About halfway through my fiancee's 1.91-mile loop we saw two or three different tracks from running shoes.

A great experience all around.

Time: 11:47 a.m.
Temp: 27 degrees, snow flurries
Gear: Tech T (Nike dark grey, Atlanta Marathon promo), shorts, running pants, Outdoor Research hat, gloves, Nike Climafit windbreaker, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 1,455: It's cold in Richmond!

RICHMOND, Va. -- My second run here in Richmond where my fiancee's parents live. Am liking the elevation -- just under 400 feet above sea level, compared to the nearly 1,000 feet in Atlanta.

Snow flurries today and basically what I wore at the Grand Canyon earlier this month still works here.

Merry Christmas, all!

Time: 9:43 a.m.
Temp: 33 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Nike dark grey, Atlanta Marathon 2011 promo), running pants, Nike Climafit windbreaker, Outdoor Research hat, gloves, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 1,445: Still cold!

Went on a run today to Atlantic Station and although it was warmer than the last two days, it still was cold. Thus I wore clothes based on previous posts. I was a little cold in my hands at first but by 3.4 miles I warmed up.

A very nice day to run. Recently I downloaded more of my old songs into my iPod Nano and now listening to Pixies songs reminds me of running days that weren't nearly so easy.

Time: 10:44 a.m.
Temp: 31 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Asics black), running pants, Marmot windbreaker, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 1,443: It's cold in Atlanta!

Today went out for a run on what must be one of the coldest days of the year here in Atlanta.

The nice thing about running in such temperatures is that you're not likely to find other people out on the road!

The cold weather gear I used at the Grand Canyon last week served me well here. The tips of my ears got cold at times and near the end of the run I had to put my gloved hand over my chin.

But the run got done!

Time: 8:51 a.m.
Temp: 22 degrees, snow flurries
Gear: Tech T, long (Nike black, Atlanta Marathon preview), running pants, Marmot windbreaker, gloves, hat, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 1,442: Lottery winner

ABOARD DELTA AIR LINES FLIGHT 2202 -- Headed back home from Las Vegas and our excellent 10-day trip.

When I was waiting at the gate, I received an e-mail notice that my credit card was being billed for the 2011 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.

The lottery period closed two days ago and we were notified that we'd receive notice of payment being charged if we got in. I haven't received official notice yet but this pretty much suffices!

The last two days I was happy to run at Las Vegas' 2K feet elevation. Mainly did a short loop that went from Excalibur down to the Harmon street overpass by the new Cosmopolitan and back to the Excalibur.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 1,439: Running at 7,200 feet

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. -- Today's run was designed to get us to where we wanted to catch the sunrise -- Yaki Point, but where no cars were supposed to go.

So we parked at a place where it was OK to park and then ran .5 miles on the Rim Trail to the South Kaibab Trailhead. Only thing was access to Yaki Point wasn't there, it was off another road that the trailhead connects with.

So we ran down the main road to Yaki Point and finally got there after about 1.7 miles. As usual, it seemed hard at first and the road to Yaki Point had some elevation.

But we made it! This definitely is the highest elevation I've run at!

Time: 7:33 a.m.
Temp: ? maybe 33 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Locomotive Half Marathon '10, Nike grey), running pants, Marmot windbreaker, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 1,438: Running at 6,900 feet

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. -- Today's run involved a very short loop along the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon Village (South Rim).

We already had been out for the sunrise at 7:24 a.m. and later changed into running gear. We set out for the Bright Angel trailhead and that was pretty much downhill, so it wasn't too hard.

But coming back, along an incline, I really felt my legs and lungs do work. It reminded me of trying to race up a big hill near the end of a race.

But still, we did it!

Time: 8:33 a.m.
Temp: 29 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Nike grey), running pants, Marmot windbreaker, Outdoor Research fleece hat, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 1,437: Running at 4,300 feet

ZION NATIONAL PARK, Utah -- Halfway through the Grotto Trail, I notice something grazing in the field.

It's a deer. And not one deer but he has a friend with him. And three more a few meters away near some trees.

It's moments like these that I love running -- and especially running on trails. I quickly exited my Nike+ iPod workout session to try to record them using my iPod's video camera.

After a few minutes, I ambled away down the trail. At 4,300 feet, the altitude is twice that of Las Vegas, where I ran in the Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon a few days prior. And more than four times the 1,000 foot elevation of Atlanta.

I've found that during the short runs I've done in Zion the last two days that it takes a little bit of effort for me to start out but later on I'm running fine. This is probably the highest altitude (nearly 1,000 feet higher than the 3,400 feet elevation of Kula, Maui) that I've run in since this streak started more than three years ago.

Time: 7:28 a.m.
Temp: 33 degrees
Gear: Tech T long (Nike grey), Tech T short (Charles Harris 10K 2009), running pants, Marmot windbreaker, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 1,435: Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

LAS VEGAS -- A really nice race. I'll write more later but it was extremely fun to run among the city's iconic landmarks.

Time: 7:05 a.m.
Temp: 40 degrees (increased to 51 degrees halfway)
Gear: Tech T, long, SST (Sabre-toothed lime), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 1,432: Downtown Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- An early flight this morning meant we had to get in the run on the road today -- in Las Vegas.

I love staying downtown just because of its history and buildings that you don't see on the glittery Strip.

It was warmer than in Atlanta, so that was a bonus. The elevation here is just above 2,000 feet (Atlanta is about 1,000 feet elevation).

Time: 1:51 p.m.
Temp: 59 degrees
Gear: Tech T (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 1,431: Back in the cold

Despite enjoying a very nice day in the 50s yesterday because of a storm system, the cold was back today.

I used this blog to find out what I'd have to wear for 38 degree weather and was happy to find out it was the usual -- shorts and a technical T-shirt.

My hands were cold for a little while but they warmed up. It was a pretty pleasant run along a regular route.

Afterwards I packed everything up for a trip out West. Can't wait!

Time: 9:30 a.m.
Temp: 38 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon training), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 1,426: A no-watch run

This morning, still sore from running in yesterday's Atlanta Half Marathon, I ventured up North Highland Avenue with the fiancee. I wore an older pair of running shoes since my current ones (as well as my two Garmin watches, my Nike+ iPod sensor) were at her place.

I used an old-school stopwatch plus she had her Nike+ iPod. Either way, having run the route to Freedom Parkway and back many times, I was familiar with the 1.5 mile distance.

Nice day to be out, though. Today I made sure I had all of my running gear for tomorrow's run but I can't imagine that I'll do too many miles heading into next Sunday's Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon since my strategy of low miles a few weeks into the race seemed to help out yesterday.

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Temp: 56 degrees
Gear: Tech T (Champion C9 gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 1,425: Atlanta Half Marathon

Nice weather greeted us today for the Atlanta Half Marathon. After the Atlanta Track Club ditched the full marathon for this year (it'll be back with a new course at Atlantic Station on Oct. 30), the half started and ended at Turner Field with a new course.

Because I didn't get out of my car until about 15 minutes before the race start, I ended up at the very back of my corral, which left second at 7:34 a.m. It was extremely congested at the start and maybe well past the first mile, which was 9 minutes for me.

Because of that, and the humid weather, I mentally discounted the thought of going for any record pace. But in the end, I ran my fastest half marathon in Georgia, and my third fastest half marathon time (I ran in the Aug. 1 Rock'n'roll Chicago Half Marathon three seconds faster).

Early on the course was pretty gentle and it was a nice boost to be running on home court surfaces, passing my office building, running along Marietta Street in the opposite direction of the Georgia Marathon/Half Marathon course (which is identical to my marathon training).

Then came 17th Street in Atlantic Station, also along the marathon training course. In Midtown, I took the 14th Street hill (which I ran up in the 2009 Four Seasons Race for Research 10K run) at an extremely good pace and then followed that course into Piedmont Park.

When the 10th Street hills came and later when the course turned down Juniper's rolling hills (that I raced on during the 2008 Peachtree Road Race's variant course end at Juniper and Ponce de Leon because of drought restrictions in Piedmont Park), I no longer had the decent acceleration that I had and basically just tried to keep a good pace.

For whatever reason the second part of Juniper that runs downtown always seems to suck the life out of me (as it did earlier this month in the Strong Legs 10K). But I tried to maintain a good pace and prepped myself for what I thought would be the last major hill on the course, up Auburn Avenue past the Martin Luther King Center.

Unlike in the Strong Legs run, I had no acceleration up this hill. I was thankful we turned down Boulevard but not real happy that the intersection with Memorial also is a hill. (It's funny the stuff you never notice in a car).

But around mile 11 I got a second wind and started to regain my pace. I still held back a little for the double hill at Mitchell Street next to the state Capitol and the I-20 overpass that I usually dread going.

But there weren't any fast kickers at the end here and I developed a nice kick of my own to the end. I was soaked in sweat and pretty tired but happy to do this race for the third time.

I think it's the first time I've had a pair of shoes that I've run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon and a full marathon in.

Time: 7:34 a.m.
Temp: 54 degrees
Gear: Tech T (CS yellow), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 1,424: A day to relax

With just a day before the Atlanta Half Marathon, I took the opportunity to take a very easy run to get my haircut and to hit two grocery stores for things that we need for our Thanksgiving Day meal.

I hope everyone is healthy, happy and safe for the holiday.

Time: 9:29 a.m.
Temp: 57 degrees
Gear: Tech T (Big Peach Sizzler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 1,423: Atlanta Marathon announcement

The Atlanta Track Club today announced the new iteration of the Atlanta Marathon, an event that had been held since 1963 and predated the formation of the track club.

This year, possibly for the first time, they decided to not have a Thanksgiving Day marathon and instead offered a half marathon that starts and ends at Turner Field. (In the past, half marathon participants like myself would have to go to Chamblee and run pretty much the length of Peachtree Road and end in Turner Field).

So the next Atlanta Marathon will be held on Oct. 30 and will start and end in Atlantic Station. Of course, not everyone is happy that the race will be held outside of Thanksgiving.

The date was selected apparently to allow marathoners to run both the full and half in the same year:

"We think this will allow folks to do the marathon on Halloween and come back three weeks later and do the half," said Tracey Russell, executive director of the track club.

At this morning's press conference before the expo for the Atlanta Half Marathon, Russell said the entire marathon course would be "entirely in the city of Atlanta."

She said it would include Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Tech, the CNN Center, Philips Arena, the Georgia Aquarium, Turner Field, the Martin Luther King Center, Grant Park, Virginia-Highland, Piedmont Park, Buckhead and Peachtree Road.

This does away with the previous course, which followed the marathon course of the 1996 Olympic Games -- start at Turner Field, run up Piedmont to Peachtree and up to Chamblee before turning around and pretty much following Peachtree back downtown and finishing at Turner Field.

"With a super-scenic course, we feel it's going to be a good opportunity for first-time marathoners," she said.

The race will include a marathon relay.

The club already is offering registration for this race. Until Dec. 31, the registration is $25 off, or $55.

It's really something that I'll consider, to run in a new course very close to home for the first time. I'd already put aside time to run in the 36th Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 30, but I may belay that to do this race.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 1,413: Race2Recycle 5K (PR)

Talk about a last-minute decision. We'd discussed possibly running in the Race2Recycle yesterday. Piedmont Park is less than a mile away so how lazy would we be if we didn't run in it?

This morning, it seemed nice to stay in a sleep a while. But still, we made our way to the park for registration.

It was a pretty small group but a really nice day to run with temperatures about 40 degrees.

We started out with a fast first mile. I couldn't initially get my watch to start when the race started (there were a bunch of pre-race speeches and my watch went back to hibernation).

I thought my watch said "7:05" -- so my thoughts already were on trying to break my personal best, set June 5th in the Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K run. The Garmin data, below, shows I ran about a 7:27 first mile.

I felt pretty comfortable after the first mile and when we got to the bowl section of the park (near Park Tavern), I tried to work my way to a group of three runners. My plan was to just try to settle in with them and then figure things out for the rest of the way.

But around the curve I ended up breaking free of them. I continued my way around the bowl and up its ramp. The course wound around a short side of the lake. Luckily I was probably about 100 feet behind a female runner who had a good pace going up the hill. (She eventually became the first overall female runner about 20 seconds behind me).

I caught up with her at the top of the hill that's just above the park's track and then started to make my way down it toward the finish. When I turned the corner and passed "Mile 3" I looked at my watch and then just gunned it in about three waves.

I beat my PR by about 17 seconds and finished 11th overall in the race. My fiancee placed first in her age category and was the fourth female overall.

I think the relatively flat race helped me, plus being able to pace myself behind the fast female runner at the right time of the race. I'm probably lighter than I've been in the past and running at least 4 miles a day also helps.

But what a nice way to finish the week and start out the day.

Time: 8:36 a.m.
Temp: 40 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (Atlanta Green Dash 5K), Tech T long, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 1,408: The Georgia Half Marathon course

After running over the weekend in temperatures that were in the low 30s, the weather returned with a treat -- temperatures in the 60s.

I woke up late to fully take advantage of this and I'd been thinking of doing the Georgia half marathon course for a while. In the past, I'd done the greatest hits of it, mainly not running up the hill at Freedom Parkway and also back along North Avenue and not running on Piedmont all the way to North Avenue and up the challenging Central Ave. hills.

Today I was feeling pretty good about it, so I headed off, catching the course at Virginia Ave. and Park Place and running through the park.

The one thing about the warmer weather was that I got dehydrated pretty easily. I drank a bunch near Edgewood and Piedmont avenues and then again when I stopped back at my place to check on the cats at mile 12.8.

On the way back, I had a pretty nice sprint.

I'd say that most of the hills that I used to fear on the course are no longer a problem.

Later on, however, after the route, my legs felt sore, probably because I decided to go light on hills when I trained for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

But now I've decided to add hill training in earnest to my courses for hopefully an enjoyable Thanksgiving Atlanta Half Marathon.

Time: 12:04 p.m.
Temperature: 64 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (Big Peach Sizzler '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 1,406: Strong Legs 10K

Today was the coldest Strong Legs 10K race in the last three years that I've participated in it.

More used to 50 degree starts, this morning it was 33 degrees. I brought a bunch of different clothes to the Turner Field parking lot but in the end didn't wear my hat or gloves.

After the first mile, my windbreaker came off and was wrapped around my waist. In between the 2nd and third miles, I thought about a way to rid myself of the light running pants I was wearing (running shorts underneath). But since there was no practical way, I just left them on. I probably would have warmed up had I just worn shorts.

Overall, I ran a pretty consistent race, even though I was about 1:20 off of last year's time. Compared to last year, I felt like I ran evenly the first two hills (up Auburn Ave.) and then later in the Central Park neighborhood.

But what surprised me was that after that 4th mile hill, I felt like I was done. There was one more difficult hill, the overpass on Juniper over Georgia State and I was surprised I didn't lose a bunch of time in the fifth mile.

In the last half-mile, I settled in with a group of three runners. They helped me around the curve toward Turner Field but on the last hill I had broken free and kicked my way in to get under 50 minutes. It's the fourth consecutive 10K I've run in (dating back to last year's Strong Legs 10K) that I've qualified for Group A of the Peachtree 10K.

I think I'll resume some more hill training runs. After being very comfortable with the hills in the Doug Kessler Lightning 10K and the Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon, I was a little surprised to have trouble with the race's third hill on the overpass.

Time: 8:04 a.m.
Temp: 33 degrees
Gear: windbreaker, CFLST, SST (Carolina gray), running pants, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 1,404: The new shoes are back

Yesterday I started wearing my newest pair of running shoes, the ones that I used for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10.

I'd only had about 350 miles on my previous pair, but recently I felt more aches in my legs and knees after running in them.

I know that manufacturing varies from shoe to shoe and this year my mileage has varied from shoe to shoe -- from about 500 miles with the all-black shoes that I ran the ING Georgia Marathon in at the end of March to 400 miles on its successor.

I usually like to keep two pairs of shoes that I can run in at any given time, so I guess that means I'll have to look around for a new pair.


Also recently rain and cold weather have come this way. Last month I was pretty spoiled as it was warm enough to run in short-sleeved technical T-shirts -- I actually had to go into the closet and bring out the box where they were all packed up.

Soon I imagine I'll have to put them back in the box -- the last few days I've been wearing their long-sleeved counterparts.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Milestone: 1,400 days

Today's run was short, after much procrastinating. But once I got out, I was enjoying being out there and running.

My only goal from here on out is to be consistent ... and to not procrastinate as much before runs.

Time: 9:56 a.m.
Temp: 51 degrees
Gear: CFLST (Atlanta Half Marathon '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 1,399 Be the One Run 5K

This morning I returned to Atlantic Station for the Be the One Run 5K. My fiancee knew about it for work, so I thought why not?

It was the first 5K I've run in since the Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K in June. It was the first time I ran in a 5K at Atlantic Station since the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation's "Race for Research" in 2006.

I was wearing a fleece pullover at the start but decided at the last moment to pull it off and wear it around my waist. So for the first couple of blocks, I was pinning the race number to my shirt while I was running!

There's a pretty big hill about midpoint in the race. I felt like I was able to accelerate up it halfway and then just settled in for the rest of the race. When I reached the bottom of the second hill and the intersection with IKEA, I imagined my marathon training runs along 17th Street. It made sense, and I had a steady run the rest of the way.

Overall the race was pretty well put together. Atlantic Station's Central Park is a good meeting/finishing place for events of this type. This race had "D-Tag" timing, which made things nice, although I don't really know if anyone needs a D-Tag time for a 5K.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 41 degrees
Gear: CFLST (Atlanta Half Marathon '08), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 1,397: 8 mile run

Today I ran back along part of the training course I used for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

It was the longest run I've done since the Oct. 10 race, although I did a 7 mile run last week (the previous post).

I also used my brand-new Sennheiser PMX-80 headphones that I got in the mail yesterday. The sound is much better than the Nike Motion Sport headphones I'd been using, although the latter have been dependable enough.

The run was OK, although it was still about as warm and humid as days in August. I wonder if I should continue building up miles as I approach the Nov. 25 Atlanta Half Marathon and the Dec. 5 Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.

Either way it was nice to be back on the route that helped me with my third marathon.

Time: 9:26 a.m.
Temp: 71 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach Five Miler '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 1,390: Milestone: 1,500 miles

Today's run put me past 1,500 miles for the year. And there's two full months left to go. Last year, I ran 1,451 miles, which probably was a record for me somewhere.

New headphones were the quest for today's run. I found what I was looking for -- Sony's MDJ J10 headphones yesterday. They were cheap enough and I thought I would try them out as soon as I left the store since they had packaging I'd have to tear open (and likely non-refundable in that state).

Unfortunately, the headphones kept on falling out of my right ear and the sound wasn't like the wrap-around headphones I bought from Best Buy a few days ago.

So in mid-run, I decided to just go with the other headphones and the new Sonys went into my pocket.

Later on today I decided to break down and buy the successor to my old Sennheiser PMX70s -- the PMX 80s. It doesn't look like Sennheiser makes the 70s anymore. I'm used to the better sound.

And with these, there's a 2-year warranty. Hopefully I can just return them if I have any problems.

Time: 9:09 a.m.
Temp: 51 degrees
Gear: CFLST (Locomotive Half Marathon), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 1,389: Testing out some headphones

So I ran with my new headphones today. They were ok, the sound wasn't as good as my other headphones, but they were light. And didn't fall out of my ears.

But then I saw this article in the New York Times, "Battling the Earbud-Wearing Blues," and found new hope!

Specifically, I went online and ordered a pair of Earbudi clips to attach to my iPod earbuds.

I also will probably look for these Sony MJR J10 headphones as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 1,388: New headphones

After returning a pair of headphones I bought yesterday from the Big Peach in Decatur (one of the earpieces kept falling out of my ear), I bought a pair of headphones that have a band on them so no earpiece can fall out. We'll see.

At the running store I also signed up for the Nov. 6 Strong Legs 10K. It will be my third time running the race. It's a fun race, kind of hilly, but it's for a good cause -- Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

I guess now I should be training on hills!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 1,386: Headphone troubles

When we ran this afternoon, my brand new Sennheiser PMX-70 headphones had a short in them. They're not very old. Best thing I can think of is they were at the bottom of my bag when I went out of town this weekend and maybe the wires got pulled.

I can't see myself buying another pair of these, especially since I've had to buy two so soon. Maybe I'll go to the store tomorrow and see what I can come up with.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 1,380: A day later...

WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill. -- After I ran in the ING Georgia Marathon in March, it took me four days before I could run a mile in less than 11 minutes.

Today, right off the bat, I was able to do that in the first mile of my short run. In my second mile, I did under 10 minutes and I even hit 8:16 at the end, which is very close to my fiancee's training run pace.

So I'm thankful for conditioning.

During the marathon, I developed a blister on the heel of my left foot, probably a condition of only having about 30 miles on my shoes prior to the race. As you can see in the photo above, it became a little aggravated during this short run (reminding me of Curt Schilling's bloody sock during the Boston Red Sox's World Series run) but everything's fine.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 1,379: Bank of America Chicago Marathon

For my third marathon, I came back to my hometown for a race that I've always wanted to run in: the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Flat and fast, the race attracts elite runners from all over the world and people like me who want to have a decent marathon time.

And it worked out. By the end of the race, I found myself with my best ever marathon time (since March's ING Georgia Marathon) and my best ever 30K time (since the 1998 Circle the Bay 30K in Coos Bay, Ore.) and 20K time (since the 2000 Millenium Run in Portland, Ore.).

My goal was to keep up with the pacing groups. But my start corral was far ahead of the 4:00 pacing group. I decided I would just do what I could, keeping at a 9-minute mile pace.

This worked for the first 20 miles. At that point, I knew I just had to run at the 9-minute mile pace for another mile or so and I would have a good chance of breaking 4-hours.

But this was not meant to be. Just a few tenths of a mile after I had that thought at Mile 20, my right calf started cramping up, just a tinge, so I had to drop off my pace. I knew at this point it would be difficult to run 6.2 miles in less than an hour, so I just gave myself an easy pace and dealt with the cramping as it came up.

Despite that, I finished in 4:06:39, which still makes me really pleased. It had become warmer along the course, from 61 degrees to 75 degrees plus I now know that in marathons, you reap what you sow. Four 20 mile long runs to top off my training is not enough -- next time I'll want to hit 22, 23 and maybe even 24-mile runs.

But I'm extremely happy with my run. I used more planning than sheer gutting it out and all races are different. I'm extremely proud to have a third marathon medal to put on the wall.

Time: 7:05 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees, 75 degrees by finish
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia, red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 1,374: With regret

Dear Runner,

We regret that we have to advise you that your application to run in the 2011 Virgin London Marathon has not been successful due to massive over-subscription.

I received this e-mail today, making me 0-2 in lottery registrations.

Oh, well. I knew the chances would be slim, as they only accept 1,000 overseas registrations. Plus April is very close to our May wedding and there is that issue with the recent State Department alert.

I'll just focus on the races that I have registered -- Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Thanksgiving Atlanta Half Marathon, and the Publix Georgia Half Marathon on March 20.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 1,373: Time for the long-sleeved shirts

With a morning at 47 degrees and nursing a cold from over the weekend, I brought out my long-sleeved technical T-shirts for the first time on a run to get a haircut.

I think I've been the most nervous before this year's two marathon races because I'm not sure how to properly taper. I've been taking it easy. I hope the training will do the trick.

My plan so far is to try to run with either the 3:55 or the 4-hour pacing groups. My corral, D, for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon has the 3:55 group as its slowest, so I'll see how it goes. It would be nice to run even 2 -hour splits and try to see what kind of reserves I have at the very end.

That said, it'll be great to just finish the marathon cleanly -- no calf issues, etc. Every race is different and I have to make sure I just enjoy it.

Time: 10 a.m.
Temp: 47 degrees
Gear: CFLST (Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 1,370: Bringing out the new shoes

My current pair of running shoes have about 270 miles on them, well short of the 400 or so before they typically would be retired, but with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon coming up in 10 days, I decided to bring out my new running shoes to break them in.

I compared the two pairs and the new ones have a lot more tread on them. I think it'll be a good choice for the marathon. Hopefully I can break them in the next few days.

Today's run they didn't give me much of a problem at all. My right foot had a little pain starting out but they were fine.

Time: 9:15 a.m.
Temp: 59 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach Sizzler 10K '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 1,369: More headphones

After having good experiences with the Sennheiser PMX 70 headphones (my first pair lasted 13 months and my second lasted 20 months), my most recent pair already has developed a short in it after a month and a half of use.

So I've ordered another pair, hoping that the 5-9 business days it will take to arrive from will come before I leave for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

If not, a cat will make do.

Today I ran down Piedmont Avenue to the United Way building to donate some Atlanta Falcons tickets. Then I came back up Highland to the PATH and ran back home. I feel pretty good, am just wondering if it'll be enough for the marathon.

Time: 9:10 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 1,367: Publix sponsors the Georgia Marathon

Today before work I headed downtown and made my way over to Centennial Olympic Park. The event was basically a news conference to announce the new sponsor of the Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon, which for the last four years was run by ING.

The race organizers invited up to 200 people to register for a short fun run (advertised as a 1/2 mile but actually was only a 1/3 of a mile) and a T-shirt and goodies afterward).

Even walking up to the registration tent, it was pretty obvious who would be sponsoring -- Publix. It was on the tents and on the side of the goody bags "Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon."

At the same time, it was their event so I decided to not Twitter and Facebook it to the world.

Publix has been a good sponsor of races in the area. For this year's ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon, they gave out nice reusable grocery bags plus a training log filled with about $30 in coupons, meaning you were getting back a good bit of your registration fee for the race.

For the Peachtree Road Race, they've always given out food and cold drinks, usually Powerade and Cokes or Diet Cokes (which I've come to appreciate!).

After the announcement we all ran around part of the perimeter of the park behind the Falcons mascot and a couple of dignitaries. The organizers gave out great goody bags, which consisted of a reusable grocery bag filled with a lunch (turkey wrap, chips, cookie, apple and bottle of ice tea) and our free T-shirts, which are awesome technical Ts with the new logo.

It was a nice afternoon event to be a part of and I can't wait for next year's race!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I've registered for the Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon!

Finally pulled the trigger and registered for the 2010 Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.

As Zappos is the sponsor, the $10 promo code ROCKWITHZAPPOS worked and is good until Nov. 28, I think. Yet the savings is negated entirely by the $11.04 Active network processing fee. Yikes!

The goal will be to earn the "Desert Double Down" medal for running both the Las Vegas Half Marathon and the Rock'n'Roll Arizona Half Marathon on Jan. 16, six weeks later.

It's a pretty smart move by the Competitor group, which runs the series of marathons and half marathons around the country. They're taking a page from video game play to encourage people to earn "achievements" by running in more than one of their races in a year.

For example, you can earn a 26.2 miles Rock'n'Roll encore medal for running in two of their events in a calendar year.

Day 1,366: Trouble at Tabby Crossing

On the Summerfest 5K route (and the ING Georgia Marathon route) I call an intersection "Tabby Crossing" after seeing a tabby cat cross there once.

Today, when I was running the Summerfest route, there was big trouble at Tabby Crossing! I saw a bunch of people dressed up in SWAT gear and I passed by a guy in a business suit with a black bulletproof vest marked "Police".

The several semi-trailers plus assorted wires and lights meant that it was some kind of filming for a show. As I ran up Stillwood, just past the Mile 20 marker for the Georgia Marathon, I confirmed this with an actual Atlanta police motorcycle officer. He didn't know what TV show it was for, though.

It's always interesting to see how your regular route changes from day to day.

Time: 9:30 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 1,364: Doug Kessler Lightning 10K

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- This was my first running of this 10K race, which is a nice community event tied to the Sandy Springs Festival.

I didn't have any goals in this race, I just mainly wanted to run well. Last year this race was on the same day as the Big Peach Sizzler 10K and so I chose the Big Peach race. Unfortunately I feel their shirts are ugly, an opinion confirmed in my mind as I saw someone wear last week's Sizzler 10K shirt at the start line of this race!

The start felt a little congested and it set the tone for the out and back course. By the first mile I was able to free myself up a little.

Mt. Vernon Highway is a pretty drive, lined with trees and a few Civil War history markers. It mainly felt like it was downhill the first half of the race and then rolling hills/uphill for the last half!

Still, this felt like it was to my benefit. I pretended the race was the Big Peach Fall Five Miler, which has its share of rolling hills.

I used the muscle above my left knee as an indicator of fatigue. It felt really good so I kept pushing and attacking the hills. I had a pretty nice kick at the very end of the race and just made it under the 50 minute time to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree Road Race. This would be my third consecutive race qualifying for Group A.

I can't really say how this will prepare me for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon but it's good to be in running shape leading up to the bigger event.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia, Red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 1,362: Virgin London Marathon notification nears, a 1-mile race

Today I received an e-mail from the Virgin London Marathon saying in a week's time "accepted" and "rejected" notifications for entry into the April 2011 race will be sent via mail.

Very suspenseful but it's very unlikely I'll be accepted -- only 1,000 overseas entries will be taken.


In other news, I think I'll sign up for the Oct. 24 Morningside Mile race, mainly because it's $20 to enter and they offer up a technical T-shirt! I've never run just a single mile in a real race format, although in cross country in high school I remember us doing a mile to see how fast we could go. I think my mile was in the 6-minute range.

Interestingly enough, there's another 1-mile race tomorrow in Midtown Atlanta -- the Midtown Mile Road Race. It used to be you'd never hear of races of this distance and now there's two!

Would also be interesting but I'm signed up for the Doug Kessler Lightning 10K in Sandy Springs.

Today's run was a very pleasant course around Piedmont Park. 70 degrees is pretty wonderful for a run.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (N. Carolina), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 1,361: A 1/2 mile race (free)!

This afternoon I received an e-mail saying that the sponsor for the 2011 Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon would be made at noon Tuesday in Centennial Olympic Park.

Even better, they're having a 1/2-mile race (maybe around the park?) for the first 200 registered participants, including a bib, free T-shirt and post-race snacks!

How can I pass this up? It's 1). free and 2). near where I work!

So hopefully I signed up in time!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 1,357: Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon

KENNESAW, Ga. -- This was supposed to be a tuneup race for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Instead, the Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon's hilly course turned into a great run, my fastest half marathon in Georgia and my third fastest half marathon time.

I got up early in the morning and got out there pretty early. But I didn't find it at first, because I turned down Cobb Place thinking I would easily find it. I didn't. It was just dark and there weren't many cars out.

So I turned around and turned back on to Barrett Parkway and turned into the next shopping center. There a few cars were turning into it and I followed them -- I found the place. I had plenty of time before the race started, maybe 30 minutes or so.

I started out slowly, not wanting to get out too fast because the 5K race started at the same time. When the two races split at 1.9 miles, I found that the course was heavily rolling.

The race director warned of the "hill" in between miles 5 and 6. This was true, there was a hill. It wasn't bad to plan for and climb. But there was another, steeper hill between miles 6 and 7.

In doing my training for the Chicago Marathon, I've tried to stay away from lots of hill climbs. But everything seemed ok today. After about three miles I found myself able to accelerate on them at will. I started at the back and passed person after person in the race. I thought I would pay for this at about mile 10 but I was able to keep on going.

The end of the race goes back into the shopping center. I made a bad mistake when I came close to the finish. You have to do a full loop of the shopping center before turning into the finish. I started my kick early and then realized that I couldn't yet turn into the finish -- I still had a whole lap to go!

This was ok though, although I didn't really have any kind of kick at the end.

All in all, it was a great community race and maybe a nice race for someone doing their first half marathon.

Time: 7:08 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees (?)
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia Red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 1,356: Running into a 5K

When we ran this morning and crossed North Highland, we saw a bunch of runners with race bibs assembled at the fire station. It turned out this was the FirED Up! 5K, which judging by the cones along our route, uses a version of the Springfest 5K course.

Luckily the race hadn't started yet and we were able to run the route without any interference along the way.

Now that I'm reading the description, maybe I should have signed up -- preregistration was only $20 and that included a technical T-shirt.

Maybe next year.

Time: 7:58 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach Sizzler 10K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 1,354: No Bison Stampede this year

The last two years, Ted's Montana Grill here in downtown Atlanta has had a great October 5K event -- the Ted's Bison Stampede.

What's great about it? It has a nice community atmosphere. Last year they handed out bison-horned fuzzy baseball caps to wear during the race (although myself and others didn't wear them). After the race, they hand out bison sliders and Sweetwater Brewing Co. gave out samples of beer.

It even received a small write-up in the races section in an issue of Runners World last year.

It's been a fun time for me, with the 7 Bison Sliders I had after last year's race and a great year during the inaugural race even though I left my race bib in the car minutes before the start.

But this year there's been no word. Only information and write-ups on previous stampedes on the Internet.

I e-mailed the race organizers from last year's event and received confirmation that the chain decided not to host it this year.

Too bad! I hope Ted's reconsiders hosting this wonderful 5K in the future.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 1,353: Lottery abandoned?

Today I wanted to find out when next year's Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler is. It's April 3.

More importantly, it looks like on the website that they've abandoned this year's lottery entry process.

Being "bounced" out of the lottery wasn't much fun, although I received a free race entry because of it.

Now it just says that notifications will go out a few days before the registration opens in mid-December and that the 12,000 race limit is expected to fill up quickly.

I imagine the lottery process wasn't very fun for organizers or participants.

I'd like to get in the race next year, expecially since the Atlanta Braves will be in town that weekend to play the Washington Nationals and start off a new season.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 1,352: A two-watch system

Before Friday's 20-miler I realized that the Hammer of Dawn had no juice so I used my replacement Garmin Forerunner 405 that had 54 percent battery life in it.

Now I'm making a point of keeping both at full charge, because I never know when one will have power and one won't.

Comparing the Garmin Forerunner 205 (which no longer is being sold?) and the Garmin Forerunner 405, they both have advantages and disadvantages.

Garmin Forerunner 205 (The Hammer of Dawn):

+ The display is large enough to see your distance and split times in addition to the overall time.
- It can take a longer time than the Forerunner 405 to find a satellite signal.

Garmin Forerunner 405:

+ Quicker to find satellite signal
+ Uses wireless downloading of workouts to Internet
- Touch bezel can be hard to use
- Split times and distance displays are too small for the watch.

I think I'll try to use the Hammer of Dawn more often because it's such a workhorse. And it's a lot more difficult to accidentally stop the watch during a workout with it than with the 405.

Today's run involved me running to the Edgewood Shopping Center to pick up some auto glass cleaner at Target. I always like browsing the store. It wasn't too hard to run back with the bottle of cleaner, although I had to switch hands from time to time.

Time: 9:45 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9 blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 1,349: Last of the 20s

This morning I got up and out a little later than I normally have. The Hammer of Dawn was completely out of charge and I contemplated not doing the long run until Saturday when I discovered my Garmin Forerunner 405 that the factory sent me to replace my previous one had 54 percent charge.

I headed down the way. It was pretty cool out. No FOX News truck that was out at the 17th Street bridge like last week.

I made the Atlantic Station turnaround and headed up Peachtree. Like last week, the cooler temperature meant I didn't get into my Gatorade mix until about 6.8 miles. I drank half of it there and then another quarter at my building at about 8 miles and then continued on and did the Georgia State loop and drank the rest when I returned to the building at 9.34 miles.

I probably drank another bottle of water as I changed my shirt. Ate another GU pack (Blackberry, which isn't as good as TriBerry) then headed on my way.

Along Marietta Street, I didn't realize my Forerunner wasn't on for about three-tenths of a mile.

At 5th Street and Spring I drank some of my water as I waited at a long stoplight. Near the half-marathon mark by the HIGH Museum of Art, I ate a small sample bag of Sport Beans.

I was pretty dehydrated when I stopped at the grocery store in Atlantic Station, drank another bottle of water here.

Usually at this point I'm pretty psyched about finishing the run, because a lot of it is downhill.

I entered the park and decided this time to not use the restrooms by the dog park. It didn't take me long to convince myself that I needed to, about at 18.6 miles. Thankfully they have many restrooms in the park!

I was dragging at this point but happy that I only had less than 1.5 miles to go.

This run seemed harder than the last but I wasn't nearly as sore as the first time I did a 20-miler. I'll just have to focus on good running in the remaining days before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

But for now, I'm thankful to taper.

Time: 6:20 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom), SST (Inman Middle School 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 1,348: Atlanta Half Marathon course announced

The Atlanta Track Club today announced its half marathon course. It looks to be a pretty flat one, starting at Turner Field and passing by Centennial Olympic Park on the way to Atlantic Station and Piedmont Park.

It then comes back toward downtown, going along historic Auburn Avenue and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, turning on Boulevard and coming back past Oakland Cemetery before returning to Turner Field.

This course has the potential to be fast. I'm glad they came up with a nice downtown course that complements the route used by the Georgia Marathon/Half Marathon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 1,342: 20 mile run

Today was my third 20 mile run in preparation for the Oct. 10 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and my sixth of seven long runs for the race.

When I started out I could tell this one wouldn't be as easy as last week's 20. I really struggled the first three miles and my right knee didn't feel right -- no pain but just different. It righted itself after the fourth mile.

I had eaten a small square slice of lasagna and had some Diet Coke before the run. I felt thirsty pretty early, at four miles, although I didn't drink my Gatorade mix until I was on Marietta Street, at about 6.7 and 7.4 miles.

I continued on and did the Georgia State loop before going to my office for water and a shirt change. I ate a GU pack then and then set on my way.

At 10th and 14th streets I drank most of my water. I was a little thirsty going into the turnaround at Atlantic Station but knew that I'd be able to get some water soon at the grocery store.

There, I drank a bunch of water (two sips of about 20 seconds each and a third of 32 seconds) and then refilled my bottle.

Going back wasn't too bad. I decided to turn into the park to the dog park and was happy for the restrooms at 17.75 miles. Drank about half of my water bottle here.

On the way back, I could have used some Sport Beans. I didn't think I needed another GU pack but this time I could have snacked on the jelly beans, which I didn't bring this time around. Just goes to show that you really don't know what you'll need or use on a run, so it's better to have a good variety.

Time: 6:11 a.m.
Temp: 68 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom, Champion C9 gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 1,338: Half marathon registered

Today I registered for the Atlanta Half Marathon, on the next-to-last day of early registration ($45 through Aug. 31).

What I didn't realize is this year's course will be new. In the past, the full Atlanta Marathon (following the 1996 Olympic course) started and ended at Turner Field and the half marathon started halfway along the course, in Chamblee.

This year, the Atlanta Track Club is not holding the full marathon so the half marathon can start and end at Turner Field. The downtown area is among my favorite places to run, so it'll be interesting what this course ends up looking like.

Today I had a nice run in pretty cool weather. I woke up with pretty tired legs (we biked from The Carter Center to Decatur along the PATH yesterday) but I found that my pace was pretty good today. Wonder if the biking helped with that.

Time: 9:07 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 1,335: 20 mile run

This was the first time that I've run more than a single 20-mile run for marathon training.

I'd sort of dreaded doing so because I thought my motivation would be pretty low to do this and I wouldn't reach my goal.

But it was much cooler (71 degrees/84 percent humidity) than previous long runs, so it really helped. Plus I did the long run six days after the last one, as opposed to every five days.

I found the cooler temperatures led to drinking my Gatorade mix a little later than normal, near the 75/85 overpass on 5th Street.

I checked into my office building right after 8 miles. I ate a GU gel and drank a lot less water than I previously have.

Then I went and did the Piedmont Avenue loop before returning back along the course.

Near the HIGH Museum, I ate a second GU pack and it carried me through the next five miles or so.

I refilled my bottle at Atlantic Station again and then continued back along 10th Street.

This time, I cut inside Piedmont Park and went along the new path along the dog park. They have a nice water/restroom facility. The path doesn't yet connect to Monroe Avenue.

So I looped back and did another half circle in the park before returning for 20.08 miles. My 18 mile time was a few minutes faster than my best 18-mile training run time on Aug. 16. I also finished the 20 miles about five minutes faster than my last run of that distance six days ago.

Time: 6:10 a.m.
Temp: 71 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom, Champion C9 red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 1,333: Finally, cooler weather

I've been waiting for this day. Finally much cooler weather out for running. Before the marathon long runs started in earnest, I wasn't sure how I was going to survive training in hot Atlanta summer heat.

But the answer came from running early and having plenty of short-sleeved technical T-shirts. Lots of Gatorade mix also helped.

Tomorrow will be the 5th of eight or nine long runs I've planned for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I've been extremely happy that I've found a nice course that allows me to stop for much needed water along the way.

With cooler weather, I hope to not have to require as much water and go through as many shirts.

Time: 8:21 a.m.
Temp: 74 degrees (94 percent humidity but felt really cool out)
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9 gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 1,329: 20 miles

For today's run I had to get myself out the door quickly if I wanted to match the same start time as my other three starts.

Pretty misty out, a slight break on the weather, 75 degrees, but with 94 percent humidity. My right foot gave me a little bit of pain the first two miles but disappeared completely.

Today the strategy was the same -- do the 4-mile loop in Atlantic Station, then head downtown. This time, though, I added about 1.3 miles by continuing down Marietta to Piedmont Avenue, as along the start of the ING course, looping back to my building.

I think this was extremely helpful as it meant I only had to do about a 2-mile loop in Piedmont Park at the very end when I was the most tired.

I drank my Gatorade mix the same place again, after mile 5 on 5th Avenue and the rest of it pretty much right before my building at 8 miles.

Once I did the Piedmont loop and came back to my office, I drank about two bottles of water and ate a GU gel.

It really gave me a nice pick-me-up at about 12 miles when I was coming through Georgia Tech (a lot of kids moving in) and up to Peachtree. In fact, I had really nice acceleration here!

At 10th Street again I ate two bags of Sport Beans, they tasted really good and then stopped into the Atlantic Station Publix just after 14 miles to refill on water. Was really dehydrated here.

Interestingly enough, I carried that full lumbar bottle the next six miles without even using it. I think it had something to do with the overcast weather.

In Piedmont Park at about mile 18 I felt pretty tired but I continued with my loop. On the way back on Park Place, I just told myself it was just another run back home.

And the distance worked out perfectly, just .03 miles over at the finish.

Time: 6:13 a.m.
Temp: 75 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (ING Georgia '07, New Balance red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 1,328: Shoes are shot

The last few days I've felt my day-to-day running shoes have been shot. I can usually tell when I need to get new ones because I'll either feel like I'm running flat-footed or I'll feel quirks in my knees that I am not used to.

Either way, today's run put more than 400 miles on the shoes, the low end of when it's time to replace them. I got 500 miles out of my last pair, but all shoes are different.

I've relied on the Nike Air Pegasus for several years, but I'm tempted to see if a deal at the Big Peach Running Co. works out for me. If you buy $75 or more in Saucony shoes or apparel, you'll get a free entry to the Big Peach Sizzler 10K. That normally costs $30, so it seems like a great deal.

Today I had to rely on my third backup for timing -- my Nike iPod+ sensor. The Hammer of Dawn was uncharged and when I tried the Garmin Forerunner 405 that the factory sent me as a replacement for the one I sent in, it was out of charge.

UPDATE: I just purchased another pair of Nike Air Pegasus+ 26's, this time blue instead of red. I found a great deal online at the Foot Locker, with a 25 percent off online code that made the shoes about $58 with another $8 for shipping.

Time: 9:32 a.m.
Temp: 77 degrees (87 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 1,324: 18 miles

Today I felt like it was pretty nice just to sleep in. But I got myself up and out at pretty much the same time the last three starts.

It seemed to be a little brighter out and breezy, although really humid. I had my first bit of Gatorade from the lumbar bottle on 5th Street, about 5 miles in.

Really soaked when I reached my office building at 8.1 miles. Swapped shirts, drank the rest of the Gatorade and some water, filling up my bottle and I was off.

I drank some of the water after 10 miles and ate a bag of watermelon Sport Beans at Peachtree and 10th Street, about 11.2 miles. I was a little low on water at this point but it didn't bother me too much.

At 13.4 miles, I had already passed the Atlantic Station turnaround and made the Publix there. I drank a bunch of water (really dehydrated) and even though I was really soaked, I decided not to swap out my shirt.

I carried on. This time I went back home for a full loop at 16 miles and then took Park Place into Piedmont Park, turning around past the swimming area for mile 17 and back.

I've usually had some kind of doubt whether I could finish between 10 and 14 miles but by the time I reach 10th Street again it's pretty much all gravy. I sort of wonder if I should have done 18 miles so soon but for me it's a substantial psychological barrier so I decided to go for it since the weather wasn't terribly brutal.

Time: 6:12 a.m.
Temp: 77 degrees (90 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom run, Champion C9 red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicago Marathon: A seeded cat

I just learned that I made the seeded starting corrals of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon -- by 37 seconds -- with my finish at the Aug. 1 Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon.

They say the groups include the 12,000 fastest participants of the Chicago Marathon!

At the time I was disappointed that I missed breaking 1:50 by 23 seconds. It was my second fastest half marathon time -- I logged a 1:46:30 in the Vancouver Lake Half Marathon in Vancouver, Wash. in 1999.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 1,319: 16 miles

Today's long run came from an observation I made five days ago when I ran my 14.5 mile run -- my new predawn route through Atlantic Station and to my office takes 8 miles, so why don't I turn around and run that loop again for 16?

And pretty much everything worked that way, although when I was on Peachtree Street I decided to run the ridge to Marietta. But I lost nearly a mile doing that (which I had to make up in Piedmont Park at the end).

I ended up just using my lumbar bottle instead of the big CamelBak. The reason was that I would nearly always be pretty close to places where I could buy a bottle of water or Powerade if I needed it.

Just like during the 14.5-mile run, I drank some of my Gatorade in the lumbar bottle about mile 6. It was about half full when I reached my office at 7.15 miles.

There, I drank the rest of it and drank a full bottle of water before refilling the bottle and changing my shirt.

I didn't start drinking the water until about 9 miles and by 10th and Peachtree streets at 10.15 miles, it was all gone.

In between then and about 11 miles, I started to get hungry. I ate two bags of Sport Beans, which kept me pretty good the rest of the way.

I made it to the Atlantic Station turnaround and then stopped into the Publix at about 12.4 miles to get more water and to change my second shirt.

It was 14 miles on Peachtree before 10th Street. Running along the edge of 10th, I knew I wouldn't have enough distance for 16 miles so I entered the bowl and exited the park on Park Place and headed back up to Virginia.

The run was pretty good. Hopefully I will use this course as a basic template and continue to add on loops in Piedmont Park at the end.

Also today I broke out my new shoes, which I'll use for long runs. The first few miles my right foot didn't seem to like this idea, but they were perfectly fine the rest of the way.

Time: 6:17 a.m.
Temp: 76 degrees, 79 percent humidity start (end 77 degrees, 76 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom, Patagonia Red), SST (Levi), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 1,317: Low humidity

Today it was hot, 98.6 degrees out. But the humidity was in the 42 percent range. Made for an ok run out there.

Yesterday, on my other blog, I was contemplating running in the Dec. 5 Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.

Time: 4:17 p.m.
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9 blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 1,314: The 5-day long run rotation

Since my marathon training had been a little topsy-turvy lately, I decided to experiment, borrowing a page from baseball's starting pitchers. Until it seems too foolish to do so, I'm going to try to increase my marathon long run training mileage every five days instead of seven.

I feel the seven day increase is a little too static for me, that once something happens where I can't (or won't) go long during my "long run day," I'll give up on it.

Also I feel that my own training needs longer runs to be closer together.

This morning I got out and running by 6:12 a.m., a veritable record for me, for what turned out to be a 14.58-mile run, five days after the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon.

It was still dark but was getting light. My thoughts on this was to run under the cover of night where it is pretty well lighted and then rejoin my regular routes when it was clearly daytime.

It really didn't take long -- I was seeing what I felt was light by the second or third mile, while I was in Atlantic Station.

Some interesting waypoints for me:

Mile 1: 10th Street and Piedmont Ave.
Mile 2: Peachtree and 17th Street
Mile 3: 17th Street and the intersection before the overpass

Instead of going on State street and cutting through the Georgia Tech campus, I decided to run back to Peachtree for Mile 4 and then ran along the road. Mile 5 was at Peachtree and 7th Street. Mile 6 was back on my course just before North Avenue.

I hit mile 8 just before my office building. I had started drinking Gatorade from the lumbar bottle I carried with me at about 5.3 miles and it was done by the time I reached my office building.

I was also carrying two technical T-shirts, one of which I changed at my office building. I drank about one and a half bottles of water (about 24 ounces) at work and then re-filled the bottle.

I purposely told myself I wouldn't drink any more until a mile or so and by mile 9.13 I was drinking water again.

At 10.44 I was in a little bit of a panic -- I started to get really hungry and I had left most of my energy snacks back at work -- I only had a small sample size of Sport Beans.

I ate those and drank the rest of the water. I was still in a little bit of a panic because now I had no water or food but kept plugging away. It actually did me pretty well for the next 2+ miles and I made it back to my place in Virginia-Highlands ok.

At home, I drank a quart of energy drink (random packet samples I found from the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon) and changed out of drenched shorts, T-shirt and socks.

I had to run an errand at the Post Office, so that was a few additional tenths of a mile and then finally I was headed back to my starting point.

I felt pretty good. I may run long runs in my new running shoes (Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C) because my right foot felt flat in my current shoes that have about 340 miles on them now. I also developed a little chafing on my chest when I wore a technical T-shirt up to the Post Office. I switched to a cotton T-shirt for the last seven-tenths of a mile to my starting point and was fine.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the little strap holder on the wristband of my Garmin Forerunner 250 (the Hammer of Dawn) broke off as I was leaving my place. So I had to order another one -- $22.99 total. So that's how much my run cost me today.

Time: 6:12 a.m.
Temp: 77 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9 red, Champion C9 blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 1,313: Engagement hill

Today an errand brought me out to the Ansley Mall shopping center. Afterward I hiked it up Piedmont to the top of the hill that I'll now call engagement hill.

I basically followed the rest of the fiancee's course through Piedmont Park and back. It made for a nice run, although I still was totally soaked.

I guess I'll have to start running after 7 a.m. instead of 8.


Today I noticed that the Nike Air Pegasus+ 26's have finally gone off the market. There are only its successors, the Nike Air Pegasus+ 27's, online. While I don't necessarily like the basic appearance of the shoes, I can at least delay having to get them -- I have about 330 miles on the current pair and a fresh pair that I have yet to use.

Time: 8:08 a.m.
Temp: 76 to 80 degrees
Gear: CFSST (UNC), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 1,312: Soaked!

I had a couple errands so I decided to combine them all in a 7.43-mile course. By the fourth mile, somewhere in Druid Hills, I was completely soaked.

As I came back to my place to prepare something that needed to be mailed, I had a complete outfit change. Usually when I come back to my place in the middle of a run, I'll "Pony Express" my shirt, usually by hanging the drenched one up and then taking the one that I'd put to dry the day before.

This time, everything went up on the rack while I wore a fresh change of running gear.

It wasn't too hot out -- 83 degrees. The humidity was about 80 percent, making me wonder if this is how it will be.

Time: 8:18 a.m.
Temp: 76 to 83 degrees
Gear: CFSST, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 1,310: Post-race run

Today I was tempted to cut my run short because I could tell there wasn't any gas in my legs. Later on though I felt like my legs could handle Atlanta's hills and so I continued on, thankful for a really cool (73 degrees) morning, even when I set out after 11 a.m.

My shoes were still a little wet from the race. Hope they dry off soon.

Time: 11:11 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Garmin has a pretty nice preview of the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon course. I'm glad I didn't find it until now because I'd be watching it over and over. It lists the interesting sights along the way.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 1,309: Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon

CHICAGO -- Wow. This was one of the nicest run races I've been in. For starters, the corrals all made sense on a very wide road so I didn't have to start the race outside of it (like the Atlanta Half Marathon or the Atlanta 13.1 Marathon).

Al Roker from the "Today" show ran in it, his first half marathon and last year's winner Kara Goucher (this year preggo) spoke before it.

The race was extremely flat and the weather (maybe 64 to 77 degrees) was extremely cool. It was scenic, taking you over the city's canal bridges and offering really nice views of Lake Michigan and the skyline.

We ran a nice pace the whole time, felt like a training run. All in all, if I can train for the marathon this way, things will be looking great!

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 64 to 77 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 1,308: A cavalcade of running

CHICAGO -- Today was expo day for the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. After a nice 4-mile run in the Bemis Woods Forest Preserve, we ended up downtown.

It was one of the best expos I've been to. Mainly because McCormick Place is a pretty big space and it didn't have a super crowded feel to it.

And Brooks, the running shoe maker, added creatively to what's normally a bazaar of stalls of people trying to sell you things.

Their take on it was the "Cavalcade of Curiosities," which was a carnival set up. You filled out a drawing a the "Tickets" booth, then went to see what you won instantly. I won a neat blue Brooks water bottle. My mom and the fiancee won "Running Freak" bumper stickers.

They had other games as well and a running "fortune teller" booth. Plus another drawing for shoes at a carnival sideshow called the "Human Jesus Lizard." It was kind of Brooks running company meets Dead Red Redemption.

Brooks had cool shirts and other items to buy -- I bought another Chicago Half Marathon wicking T-shirt and a like-themed guitar magnet.

They were offering $55 entries to next year's Chicago Half Marathon (Aug. 21, 2011) but I couldn't pull the trigger. That's because I can't wait to run in tomorrow's race.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 1,307: Tune-up races

Today I paid my entry fee for the Sept. 19 Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon. This race is exactly three weeks before the Oct. 10 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

On Sunday, of course I'll be running in the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. Pretty excited about this. Even though the course won't be the same as the Chicago Marathon, it will be in the same general area.

Today the Hammer of Dawn had no juice in it, so I relied on my Nike+ iPod sensor to keep track of my run.

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Temp: 78 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 1,306: Beltline (Monroe to Freedom Parkway)

This morning we went along the Beltline after I saw the Art on the Beltline website.

What made me curious is the start is so close to Piedmont Park. You can pick it up on Monroe after 10th Street ends. What you get is mainly a rough gravel path, somewhat in need of weed-wacking in parts. You amble by art projects, the occasional stolen shopping cart, and pulled up rail ties.

What makes the run fabulous to me are the pedestrian bridges over Ponce de Leon and North avenues. I'd never been across them, so it was very novel to see these main arteries from above.

We reached the Freedom Parkway overpass (and a big arty yurt underneath it) at 1.65 miles. It was a little bit of a climb to get back on the Freedom Parkway PATH but nice to be running on paved ground again.

Time: 7:29 a.m.
Temp: 75 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach 10K '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 1,304: The urban way to train for a marathon

I've always envied my aunt and her city for the ease with which she can train for the Honolulu Marathon each year.

It's so dense in that city that you don't have to run too far without shops and other places to get water or even find a bathroom.

Now that I'm training for the Chicago Marathon, I've been torn between running on a nice suburban rail-to-trail or running around in the 'hood.

The Silver Comet trail would give me the exact distance I would need. There are no cars out but I'd have to make sure I carried enough water.

Today, I ran out in the 'hood. Following the ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon routes make it easy, especially the half-marathon route.

At about 5 miles into the run I'm able to duck inside my office building for some water, restrooms and most importantly, a place to swap out my shirt.

Even though it was about 74 degrees out, my shirt was completely done by 5 miles. I now store extra cotton T-shirts at work for whenever my technical T-shirts are too soaked to continue.

At the Highland-Baker/Piedmont intersection, I wavered between continuing on Piedmont to North and back up Central Park like in the ING route. But the truth is, I hate the Central Park hills and was worried that it would stall out my run. One advantage of running to North Avenue is the Publix there, which would provide anything you need.

At times once reaching Euclid Avenue and Little Five Points, I've thought about stopping for Powerade at the corner Chevron. But each time I've talked myself out of it knowing that I can probably make the less than a mile to Buddy's on North Highland and North avenues, or even the CVS on North Highland about a half-mile more away. A little off the course, there's a Publix just west of Ponce de Leon and North Highland avenues.

So I just continued on and ended up stopping back at my place to swap out another shirt before finishing the last mile of the run. I drank a quart and one glass of Gatorade, as an example of how dehydrated I get. I'm glad that I've bought the bulk Gatorade powder from my last trip to the 'Comet and the Hiram WalMart.

At the very end I thought about turning into the park to round out 13 miles but then thought it's unnecessary since I'm going to run in the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday.

I'm about a week behind where I should be on my running but as long as I find ways to get out there for a long run -- and get out there early enough -- I hopefully will be ok.

Time: 8:15 a.m. (should get out earlier!)
Temp: 74 degrees (increased to 81 degrees by end of run)
Gear: CFSST (New Balance red), SST (Full Tilt), CFSST (Shamrock 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 1,300: A thousand-mile cat

Today I got up for a short but brutal run. Already about 80 degrees and 85 percent humidity. The good news was that I was about to hit two milestones.

The first is 1,300 consecutive days of running. The start seems so far away now. Every good thing that's happened in the last three and a half years stems from that New Year's Day in 2007.

The second is that I've reached 1,000 miles of running for the year. It's probably the quickest I've reached this mark -- last year I didn't get there until Sept. 25, the day before my 1,000th consecutive day of running and the Big Peach Sizzler 10K.

But there are other things to worry about ahead -- how to plan for the Chicago Marathon amid really brutal heat and possibly an equally hot Chicago half marathon the weekend after next.

Time: 8:45 a.m.
Temp: 80 degrees (85 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 1,295: A new clip case

Today after our run, I noticed that my iPod nano case had detached from its clip. It turned out the part that snaps the clip into place with the clear iPod case was broken and after five months it was time to get a new one.

Not that big of a deal. I went to Best Buy and bought another Griffin iClear case. This time they were discounted to $23 from the $30 that I paid for it before. I see on Amazon clip cases are even cheaper, like 1 or 2 cents, so I might get one of those as a backup.

Not too much to report today. I started out sluggish but now note from my data we ran mile 1.5 to 2.5 at a 7:53/mile pace, which is probably the fastest we've run a mile for just training in recent memory.

Time: 11 a.m.
Temp: 78 degrees (81 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9 red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 1,294: An inexplicable mild day

This morning, even though we weren't out until a quarter til 9, it was a very nice day to be out and running. A nice breeze plus it was slightly overcast so it didn't feel too hot out.

Did the IKEA run. It actually wasn't open yet (its restaurant opens at 9:30 a.m.) so we returned over the 17th Street bridge and then up Peachtree to 14th and back into the park.

Time: 8:44 a.m.
Temp: 74 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 1,288: Back on the Silver Comet

DALLAS, Ga. -- It's been 14 months since I last ran on the Silver Comet but today I woke up late and knew I should try to get in a quality run in.

I decided I would go to the Paulding Chamber of Commerce trailhead, even though I had never been there before. I tried to use my Sprint GPS navigation on my cell phone but ultimately the reception out there was too shoddy to use.

The Hiram trailhead is pretty easy to find. You just drive down the highway until you see the Home Depot in Hiram and then just turn down Depot Drive. It's maybe less than a mile down that drive, through a 4-way stop.

I continued on the highway and saw a sign that indicated that you should do a U-turn for the Silver Comet parking. Once I did that, I saw another sign telling me to turn right. The sign for the Paulding County Health Department is easily seen at the turn.

I parked and then got out my new 100-oz. Camelbak and went on my way, taking pictures. My goal was to go to the Pumpkinvine Creek Trestle, about 3.5 miles away, cross it, then turn around and possibly link up with the trail in between Milepost 16 and the Paulding trailhead that I hadn't run yet.

About a mile out from the Paulding trailhead is the Tara Drummond Trailhead, which contains water fountains, parking and restrooms.

I continued on and about a mile from the trestle is the Rambo Trailhead, which I believe has the same kinds of things.

I started drinking from my CamelBak about 2 miles in and about every half mile or so.

Once I crossed the creek on the trestle, I turned around and headed back. I felt okay but near the end of my run I felt like it was too hot for me to do the last loop. I was fine for the long run that I'd done for the day.

This segment was really beautiful and there were lots of bikers along the path.

Time: 2 p.m.
Temp: 93 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom 10-Miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 1,287: Hammer of Dawn offline

Today the Hammer of Dawn was out of juice so I just decided to run with my Nike iPod+ sensor instead. It usually shorts me three- or four-tenths of a mile when I run but I just decided to run with it anyway.

Went to do a cat check but also wanted to do a run to close out the week. So I did the Spring Street loop. When I started the weather was really nice and breezy -- like 76 degrees or so. That rose to 81 and felt a little warm but in the end things were ok.

It was nice having a leisurely week after the Peachtree 10K but now I should start doing my long runs in earnest. Hopefully the weather will cooperate -- July seems like it's been pretty mild compared to previous years.


Today I also was able to recover my Cannondale mountain bike from a friend who had borrowed it for about a year and a half. I rode it down the Freedom Park PATH and it was quite fun, even though the tires were half flat. I didn't have a helmet, something I don't usually do, but I was pretty careful with the ride and it turned out ok.

Time: 9:45 a.m.
Temp: 76 degrees to 81 degrees
Gear: CFSST (New Balance red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 1,286: High noon, high heat

Today I ran really late, after it was noon. It probably was one of the hottest days I've ever run during the streak.

But the humidity was pretty low and there was at least the slightest of breezes. All of it reminded me of running in Sunset Park in Las Vegas.

Just less than a block from my fiancee's place a lady shouted out "On your left." So irritating. The spandex-shorts-jogging-bra blonde was running past me with a dog. It's really your responsibility to watch out for the dog, not to bother other runners.

Time: 12:15 p.m.
Temp: 96.9 degrees (39 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26B.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 1,285: Heat is back

Had a nice run around my Edgewood loop today after dropping the fiancee off at the airport.

It started off at 76 degrees (77 percent humidity) and increased/decreased to 86 degrees and 61 percent humidity. I struggled on the Stillwood hill and was happy to make it home.

Had some time to do some calculations. Today's 5-mile run makes it 4,083.01 miles since the streak began 1,285 days ago. An average of 3.17 miles a day, a 5K a day for more than three and a half years.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 76 degrees to 86 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach 10K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 1,281: A Peachtree 10K "A" lister

On my sixth running of the Peachtree 10K, I had a nice thought in mind -- to qualify for next year's Time Group A.

That meant running the race in less than 50 minutes. Last year was my best time and I did it in 53 minutes. That was good enough for Time Group B. (A few months later during the November 2009 Strong Legs 10K, I qualified for Time Group A).

The things I had going for me was 1). The weather. It was about 67 degrees at the 7:30 a.m. race start.

I also had my speedy running partner. We started out and although we were running at a really good clip, it felt like a training run. We kept a fast pace through the first three miles of the course and my time during mile 4, up Cardiac Hill was 7:48, which was faster than last year's best time at that mile, 8:00.

In all five past years, I paid the price for Mile 4 by losing time on Mile 5, the second set of double hills. Last year I only lost 32 seconds in the mile. This year I lost only 4 seconds, running it in 7:52.

Each split time this year was faster than I've ever run a split in the Peachtree. My fiancee got about 3 seconds ahead of me in the last mile of the race, but I caught up with her right at the very end and we crossed the finish line together at 48:14.

I was super happy at the finish, knowing that I accomplished my goal. I have to wonder that with another race I might break my 10K PR, perhaps at the February Charles Harris 10K.

After the race, they had lots of great things for the first time -- including Georgia Peaches and Blue Bell ice cream. I was a little bummed though that this was the first time they didn't give out Diet Cokes at the end. It was always a nice feeling to know you'd be doing a hard race and would be greeted with some liquid sunshine at the end.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 67-71 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia red), Mizuno (red stripe) shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 1,280: The Peachtree Expo

This year you had to pay an extra fee to have your Peachtree 10K race number and packet mailed to you. Since I work near the expo site, I decided to pick up my race number today.

Generally, race expos are pretty fun -- there are plenty of free samples of things, drawings to enter and neat gear to buy.

I didn't get out of there without paying $20 for a red New Balance technical shirt. I picked up a couple of reusable grocery bags and even got a mini Moon Pie.

This afternoon I spent most of the time analyzing my split times for recent races, fast training runs and even previous Peachtree 10Ks.

I guess it's hard to tell how well you'll do until you're in the middle of it. Like many races I don't plan on working too hard although those are the times that I end up with good race times.

I'm definitely ready for the race, the only thing that remains now is to have fun through it.

Light run today, hopefully this week's long taper will help!

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Green Dash 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 1,278: The next 100 days

Today I noticed on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon's website that the race is a little more than 100 days away.

Unlike in January when I decided I would run in the ING Georgia Marathon, Chicago seems so far away.

I feel like my conditioning is just as good as then, if not better. I think the main thing is that I won't know until race day whether I've truly prepared for the race and who knows what wrinkle will be created, like getting leg cramps at Mile 15.

Despite this, I feel like my focus is pretty good. All of my training now has the race in mind. I'm still planning on running several races in between now and then, including Sunday's Peachtree 10K, the July 31 Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon and possibly the Sept. 6 US 10K Classic.

But I won't be specifically training for them, although each race likely will help my overall conditioning and mindset for the marathon.

So who knows? Who knows if I'll be able to do long runs in Atlanta's very high heat. But I will give myself every chance to cross the finish line -- in 100 days.