Sunday, January 31, 2010

CTS 1,127: Trouble in paradise

KIHEI, Hi. -- Because the trip fell on the marathon training schedule, we decided to get in the long run while in Maui.

On tap: 16 miles. We had the benefit of running at sea level (Atlanta is about 1,000 feet elevation; Kula where my grandparents live is about 3,000 ft. elevation).

I decided to run from the beach area of Kihei to the resort area of Wailea to Makena, mainly because I thought it would be flat and there would be plenty of services.

So we got there early in the morning, parked at a beach park and then ran out 8 miles.

Only thing was in Wailea and Makena, the road was full of rolling hills. And at the turnaround I became incredibly thirsty. Luckily, a vendor van was just setting up shop at one of the Makena beach parking lots, so we were able to buy bottled water.

The way back was fine, and then, right on a hill at about 13.75 miles, I just couldn't continue. I stopped.

I had to stop and go for a little more than the next two miles. Ran a total of 15.93 miles, according to the watch.

It was disappointing but I have to think the preparation and temperature came into play. The weather climbed to about 81 degrees on the tail end of the run. I probably should have carried water.

I still think I can run in the marathon next month. I just have to focus more on preparation. This will not be as easy as I thought it was going to be. It also has made me hesitate to register for October's Chicago Marathon -- I would have to start training in July and August, during Atlanta's hot summer.

Time: 7:45 a.m.
Temp: 65-85 degrees
Gear: SST (AIDS run '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 1,122 Running in Kula country

KULA, Hi. -- Quick recap -- just finished 7.59 miles on country roads near my grandparents' farm up here in Kula.

Some of the hills have been doozies, as usual but at the same time I've been able to run up them.

Today we saw some bikers come off a country road near the Fong General Store so I asked them how far it went back -- they said 1.5 miles. So we added that to the loop, and it was beautiful and wonderful -- a couple of hills in between but still nice.

Yesterday we did a 3.3 mile loop along Lower Kula Road -- basically from Rice Park to the Holy Ghost Church.

Weather has been good, about 50s. Still aiming for a 16 mile run on Sunday.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 50-55 degrees
Gear: SST (AIDS run '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Solving the iPod shuffle 3G headphone issue

So as I mentioned in a previous post, there's a huge problem running with my new iPod shuffle 3G: You have to use their headphones because the controls for the device are on them.

Unfortunately that means the earbud always falls out of my left ear.

I've already ordered a free iPod Nano but that will take a few months to arrive.

Meanwhile, I've researched some options. A blog on the Chicago Tribune lists some pretty good options, including add-ons to the earbuds.

But in the end, after reading a discussion on the Apple forum, I've opted to get an adapter that plugs into the iPod and lets you use the headphones of your choosing.

So we'll see what happens!

CTS 1,119: Running -- "I have an app for that"

This morning when I was getting ready with the gf to do our 14-mile training run for the ING Georgia Marathon, I noticed that the Hammer of Dawn was completely dead. I think I must have left it on when I tossed it into my bag last night before we went out.

I had some options -- I could have driven back home and picked up a regular digital watch that I use as a backup for running (that I bought last August in Las Vegas) but I remembered there was an app on my Palm Pre that might do the trick.

It's called JogStats, and it uses your cell phone's GPS to track how far and how fast you have run. You can download a 7-day free version; the permanent one costs $4.99.

So we turned it on and went off along the course. It worked out really well. It tells you how far you have gone in a thumnail without having to log into your phone. When you do log in, it tells you more details, including your pace, altitude and time elapsed.

Of course, the Hammer of Dawn is my primary GPS watch. But it's nice to have backups for times like these, when I forget to properly re-charge it. Additionally, I'm likely to buy the Nike iPod sensor when my free iPod Nano comes in a few months.

The run itself was ok, my knees felt pretty stiff through the first seven miles, then I kind of received a second wind and finished pretty well. I feel fine even afterwards, although I've chowed down on a bunch of food at Manuel's and Park Tavern.

Looking forward to next weekend's 16 mile run ... in Maui.

Time: 11 a.m.
Temp: 44 degrees
Gear: CFLST (Atlanta Half Marathon '09), SST (Las Vegas-blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CTS 1,115: A dead iPod

Today before my run I noticed my second-generation iPod Shuffle that I've used since March 2007 before the inaugural ING Georgia half-marathon didn't want to work. It wouldn't charge and it wouldn't turn on.

So I looked around online -- that variant of the shuffle is older technology as there's a third-generation one out there. I could find some second generation ones but I definitely wouldn't get them in time for my trip next week.

So I hoofed it out to Best Buy and bought a 2GB third-generation shuffle, something to use for the time being. I really felt like I had a hard time running today.

Only thing is the headphones also are the control for the device and the remote is right by your cheek. I might have to just wear it in one ear while running.

I can't imagine it will be too long before I buy a trusty, dependable second-generation iPod shuffle. Apple really did runners a disservice by going to the third-gen.

Time: 2 p.m.
Temp: 60 degrees
Gear: SST (Carolina, gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Monday, January 18, 2010

CTS 1,114 Enjoying the weather

The last few days, in comparison with the cold out, have been wonderful. Yesterday I ran 11.22 miles -- with a break at Zucca's in Decatur Square. It was warm enough for just a T-shirt and shorts -- there was a threat of rain but I was glad that I didn't bring a windbreaker.

It was 57 degrees -- a pretty nice temperature for January.

I took the long way there -- 6.86 miles along the ING Georgia Marathon course. The last time I ran it the sidewalks were icy and having to be careful was pretty unpleasant and exhausting.

This time running along College Avenue it was a course of rolling hills. Not too bad if you're trying to break down a marathon course.

Today I ran out to the new Bakeshop on Peachtree and the run was pretty pleasant. Ran back with a jar of carrot cake and, unlike one of my recent IKEA runs, I didn't even drop my cargo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CTS 1,110 Back in the booth

Once again it's on, I'm back in the booth...
-Young Jeezy

After a 12 mile run on Sunday over a very hilly Decatur half of the ING Georgia Marathon course and not really knowing what I wanted to do, I finally wrote out the $20 check that covered the difference between what I paid in August for the ING Georgia Half Marathon and the full marathon, and put it in the mailbox.

It's a relief to have a new focus, to be back in training for my second marathon after a hiatus of nearly 11 years. After I finished the Portland Marathon in 2000 I swore I'd never run in a marathon again.

But times have changed. I'm a lot better about keeping up with my running than a decade ago. I have a better idea of how to manage my training -- and a good running partner to keep me honest.

And, having had the last decade under my belt, I've realized how easy it is to fall out of training to the point where even a 5K seems like it would be a stretch to do. I know that you never can tell what kind of running shape you'll be in from year to year, as you can always be waylaid by an unexpected injury.

So, with being able to run the half-marathon distance as a training run, I feel that a March 21 marathon, even a hilly one, is my closest window to completing a marathon.

When I entered the year, I had two marathons in mind: the October Chicago Marathon and the December Honolulu Marathon. But I can't tell what the summer will bring, whether I'll be able to train in Atlanta's heat and humidity.

So the line gets drawn here.

In other news I just ordered a new pair of running shoes -- a pair of Nike Air Pegasus 26's. I ordered them online, the first time I've done so. But the shoe sizes for Nike usually are consistent and with the Air Pegasus line I know what I'm getting.

My current running shoes already have more than 200 miles on them and my knees have felt like it's already time to start thinking about a new pair. Plus at this rate they would have 400-500 miles on them by the time March rolls around and I would need to break in a new pair.

Short run today, enjoyed the above 40 degree weather.

Time: 12:50 p.m.
Temp: 43 degrees
Gear: LST (Shamrock 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

CTS 1,106 First long run for the marathon

Today we headed out for the first long run to train for the ING Georgia Marathon -- 12 miles.

Basically we ran along the back half of the marathon course -- the part that is mainly in Decatur.

I guess what surprised me the most about this run is that it is pretty hilly and not as scenic in my mind as the first half of the course.

Although I was happy that we ran this amount pretty well, I'll probably focus the rest of the training on the first half of the course adding in other routes and loops.

Time: noon
Temp: 25 to 34 degrees
Gear: Marmot windbreaker, Outdoor Research hat, CFLST, SST (Las Vegas blue), shorts, running pants, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

CTS 1,105: Melting snow

Headed out around Piedmont Park today -- it somehow heated up to 33 degrees so we saw a bunch of snow melting. Still slippery in some spots.

The pond at the park was halfway frozen over, leaving the geese and ducks that inhabit the pond just a little bit of room at the corners to swim around in. I was pretty amazed that they were able to swim around in what must have been chilly water.

I wore too many things and when I got to my house, just left them there. Getting ready for a long run tomorrow.

Time: 11:30 a.m.
Temp: 25-33 degrees
Gear: Marmot windbreaker (went around my waist), North Face Ultrawick pullover, CFLST ('08 Atlanta Half Marathon), SST, North Face Ultrawick running pants, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Friday, January 8, 2010

CTS 1,104: Mix of snow and ice

Not much snow on the ground today, maybe like a 1/2 inch or so, but plenty of ice. I did a short route today and wore all of the North Face Ultrawick clothes that I bought for the same temperatures (20 degrees) in Chicago.

The gear was pretty nice, I sort of wished I had something to cover the lower part of my face during the start, but I didn't need it near the end of the run.

In Chicago I have some pretty decent Nike snow running shoes -- basically like a light hiking shoe, Gore Tex-lined with some pretty good traction on the bottom.

But here, nothing of the sort. I just wore an older pair of running shoes. Things were ok starting out -- I didn't really run that fast and just tried to avoid ice.

At the turnaround point on Lanier for the Summerfest 5K, I crossed the street and slipped. I put my left hand down involuntarily to break my fall but was lucky to not get injured that way.

I kept on running and at the next turn on the course route, the road was completely ice. So I just went back on Lanier and then finished the run, making a stop at a grocery store.

Time: 11:30 a.m.
Temp: 20 degrees
Gear: Marmot windbreaker, North Face Ultrawick fleece pullover and pants; CFLST, SST, heavy gloves, Nike Air Pegasus/D4.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

CTS 1,103 A reprieve

Today it was 39 degrees -- didn't feel like it when I was out -- but it was nice enough that I could wear shorts and not worry about a windbreaker.

I could have used my new hat but the gloves the gf gave me for my birthday this month continue to be excellent -- unlike my other Nike fleece gloves that I really love, my hands don't overheat.

I made it down to the Edgewood Shopping Center then back along Oakdale Ave.


I've inquired how much it will cost me to change from the half-marathon to the full marathon for the March 21 ING Georgia Marathon and ... it's only $20. So I've printed out the forms and likely will mail it out tomorrow.

I'm not sure what it was that got me thinking about trying the full marathon on a pretty hilly course but I guess I just have been running a good bit of the course for training. Hopefully putting the entire course together at once won't be too bad of a deal, once the long runs have been completed.

Time: noon
Temp: 39 degrees
Gear: CFLST, SST (Claddaugh 5K), gloves, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CTS 1,102: The Atlanta Project - Frozen water

Wish I had the pictures here, I might post them later. I ran into midtown for my second day of The Atlanta Project -- pictures around town for my Hawaii relatives who most likely will never see these sites themselves.

Ran through Piedmont Park, getting some nice shots, including a partially-frozen pond. Then up 14th St. to the High Museum of Art.

But it was the way back that really caught my eye -- a fountain completely frozen over, all down its sides, looking like a well-loved candle.

The weather was really more of the same, although I had to keep my gloves on the entire time.

Time: 11:30 a.m.
Temp: 25 degrees
Gear: Marmot windbreaker, CFLST, SST, gloves, running pants, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

CTS 1,101 Post office run plus

It was cold again in Atlanta. I waited as long as I could but still the temperature only got to about 25 degrees or so.

So I went up to the Post Office, with two packages in tow. Luckily the line wasn't so long and before I knew it I was running along the gf's course again.

It seems like the cool air is easier to breathe. I felt that halfway through the course I was just starting on a long run and could do a lot more. Wore my new hat today -- I wasn't sure I totally needed it during the run but it felt pretty good to keep on the entire time.

Had to switch up on my windbreaker today -- I put my trusty Nike windbreaker on and it stank of stale sweat, so it went right into the hamper. My red Marmot windbreaker is flashier but I rarely wear it -- why switch up gear that's been more than dependable in races?

Was talking with a co-worker today who said he couldn't just do one form of exercise. I liken it to all-purpose yards versus a specific type of gain. If you can get 30 miles week in and week out, five hours of exercise in, does it matter what kind of exercise it is?

Additionally you have to get the all-purpose yards first. It takes a lot of discipline to be consistent at exercise. And being a specialist isn't all that bad -- logging more than 1,450 miles in a year means you won't ever wonder where the activity is coming from.

Time: noon
Temp: 25 degrees
Gear: Marmot windbreaker, gloves, CFLST, SST (Race for Research), running pants, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Monday, January 4, 2010

CTS 1,100: Cornerstone

Today I had to go to work to fill out some timesheets for the end of the year. So I decided to run there, on one of the coldest days out there!

Before I left it was 19 degrees out. When I ran yesterday, I had a cold ear tip plus a pretty cold toe. Today my toes were pretty warm but my fingers were really cold.

In the middle of the run I had taken my gloves off, only to find that my skin was so cold it was starting to chap. I put my gloves back on but it was still pretty brutal.

When I got to work I really worried what it would be like when I had to run back. But it had warmed up about 10 degrees making the run pretty nice and pleasant.

I stopped at the grocery store and ate nearly an entire homemade pizza. lol

I need to get myself to REI to get a hat!

Time: 11 a.m.
Temp: 19 to 29 degrees
Gear: windbreaker, North Face Ultrawick fleece pullover (did not need, I wore it around my waist after about five minutes), gloves, CFLST, SST (Las Vegas, blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

CTS 1,098: Running when inspired

Faulkner once was asked if he wrote every day or if he wrote when he was inspired and he said i only write when i'm inspired but i'm inspired every day.
-Cormac McCarthy

I only had about a mile and change to make 30 miles for the week but the gf inquired about a long run today. So a cat thought, why not?

I took some time last night reviewing the ING Georgia Marathon course, particularly the back half of the course, as I'd already run most of the half-marathon course on Friday.

There's a lot of great territory the race course covers. (Here's the map).

I thought about just running the entire half but then wanted some flexibility, in case my legs didn't have the energy after running 10 miles the day before.

So I opted to run from Virginia-Highland to where the half marathon and marathon splits, on North Avenue and North Highland Avenue (where Manuel's Tavern is).

We ran down North Avenue, went up a short, steep hill by Mary Lin Elementary School and down McClendon to the Candler Market/Flying Biscuit intersection.

The race course turns north on Clifton Road but instead of turning and following the marathon course at Ponce, we went through the intersection and took it all the way to North Decatur, where we rejoined the course.

We headed up Lullwater, which I have never run the entire length before, went up Ponce to Oakdale, followed the course route to North Decatur and back to Springdale. From there we connected to The By Way and then followed Briarcliff to St. Charles and then back home along North Highland Avenue.

It was nice, if not somewhat hilly. It probably isn't my favorite part of the ING course but it got me thinking that if I kept adding parts of the course to my long routes, I could be in a position to take a stab at the full marathon in March.

The hills are brutal along this course but it's something to think about.

The gear was fine- I was warm enough but I never was able to take off the windbreaker. I did remove my gloves during the route. Could use something to cover the tip of my left ear.

Time: 9:30 a.m.
Temperature: 23 to 29 degrees
Gear: windbreaker, gloves, CFLST (Atlanta half '08), SST (Claddaugh 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.

Friday, January 1, 2010

CTS 1,097: First run of the year

Today I went on a long run, mainly because I had nearly 12 miles to do in the next two days to make 30 for the week.

So I did my pick-and-choose course of the ING Georgia Half-Marathon route. It was a pretty pleasant day to do it.

Of course along the more popular parts of the route, two dudes tried to pass me -- one on Virginia Avenue into Piedmont Park and another right before going up the Euclid Avenue hill into Little Five Points.

My thought is this -- if you're going to try to pass someone, you need a little panache. Don't pass the person on the same side of the street, for starters. It also helps to monitor the other person's running for a while to see if you can actually do it.

And, in the case of the Euclid Avenue dude, even if you look like you can pass someone, don't do it pulling two dogs. Because the passee might just turn it on up the entire hill knowing that your dogs aren't built for that kind of pain.

Time: 10 a.m.
Temp: 38 degrees
Gear: CFLST ('09 Atlanta half marathon), SST (Carolina-gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D5.