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.