Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day, 2,557: The seven-year run

Today's short run of 2.54 miles completed seven consecutive years of running and 1,115.56 miles for the year. I've run 8,813.89 miles during the streak and have 1,186.11 miles to go to reach 10,000 miles!

This year was a little bit of a challenge in that I only ran 100 miles or more in a month five times, including this month. But it was a year in which I made my first PR in 2.5 years.

I guess we will have to see what lies ahead for running in 2014!

Time: 10:17 a.m.
Temp: 37 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Nike, Atlanta Half Marathon 2011), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 2,553: A natural "30"

Last month when I ran in the Atlanta Track Club Thanksgiving Half Marathon, I did something that I hadn't done since August 2012 -- I ran 30 miles in one week.

I was surprised it had been that long, especially since I ran in the 2012 version of the half marathon -- 13.1 miles could be a huge chunk of 30 for the week.

This week, however, I did something that was equally rare -- I ran 30 miles for the week, but in a week in which I had no races.

Having parents and in-laws over obviously freed me up to go longer during several days. I ran to Candler Park, enjoyed running along the Publix Half Marathon course to the edge of Georgia Tech and put in a run to Atlantic Station, along a training route that helped me complete two marathons in 2010.

It was nice to see that my running is still doing ok and that maybe I will be able to do longer distances in the months ahead when the little one starts preschool.

Time: 9:46 a.m.
Temp: 46 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Atlanta Half Marathon 2011), T-shirt (Be the One run), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Day 2,546: Atlanta Christmas 5K

 Members of Delta's #cheercart gave out hats, scarves, luggage tags and bottled water after the race.

This race has been on our radar for a while -- only we've been out of town most times that it has run. This year though, the timing was perfect for it. Even still, I think it took a $5 active.com coupon to get us to register.

Unlike last week's rainfest 5K, this morning had nearly perfect racing conditions -- 57 degrees, kind of cool, not hot at all.

We walked down to the starting area. There were a lot of people with Santa hats (you get them with the $35 race registration), so I was already thinking that this would not be a race that would give a fast time. Add to that the course has a HUGE hill in the middle of it -- I have had the pleasure of having to run up it in October 2008 when I was just treading water as a runner.

Anyway, the race started, and it felt pretty congested. Getting down to Ponce de Leon Place was a blur and then as soon as we crossed over Virginia Avenue, I felt that home court vibe kick in, since it pretty much was in my neighborhood.

I ran up the Courtenay incline and when the main hill came, I felt like I brought a rocket engine compared to the rest of the field making their way up the hill. On the downhill on the next street over, I recall some teenage girl was actually sprinting down it to create separation but I was pretty emboldened and caught up to her at the bottom of the hill (my stats show I went sub 6:30 to do this).

Back on Courtenay with barely a half mile left in the race, there's another hill leading up to North Highland Avenue. I gave another push past the runners here, including a pair of guys who I felt could outkick me at the end. But I did it anyway and then made my way to Morningside.

I held up until the turn and then tried to just kick it in. There's a downhill here and it was a fast finish. No one outkicked me here and I felt extremely good at the end.

With slow starts in congested races, it's hard to say if I have enough in me to put together a complete race to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree. I think the odds right now are that I won't be able to run a sub 48:00 10K in February but races like these provide a focus of what kind of running I need to do to get there -- and confidence that I still have some legs left when I need them.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 57 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Braves Father's Day 4-Miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 2,539: Inman Frosty 5K

After living in Atlanta for more than 10 years, I don't think I've ever run in a race in which it actively was raining.

Until today, when we ran in the Inman Frosty 5K. But it was more like rainy and frosty. I brought out my old Nike Air Pegasus+ 29s from the donation bin because I hate having to wait for my daily running shoes to dry after getting them soaked (takes a few days).

We ran in this race last year and back then I noted some problems with their check-in and course. This year there were improvements -- perhaps because of the rain, they had all of the check-in inside the school's gym. They had more than two spots to get your race bib, which was great.

It was nice to warm up a little bit in the gym, although our stroller (and probably us, too) was leaking water on the gym floor!

We all made our way outside and the start was similar to what I noted last year. We staged on the sidewalk and on the road.

Only this time I think because of the rain it didn't seem to be that big of a deal. It wasn't long until the gun sounded and we were off.

Although the rain was starting to soak through my windbreaker, the temperature felt perfect. When we were about a mile into the race, my shorts were totally soaked -- it felt like I was swimming!

We took it easy in the race and the pace seemed pretty leisurely. The race comes and goes on the Beltline but this year it didn't seem to be much of a problem with runners being in each other's way.

When we came off the Beltline onto Ponce de Leon Place I couldn't tell if the end of the course had moved from the intersection with Virginia Avenue.

But it didn't ... and we finished the race. I ran it 1:10 slower than last year but I think the weather had a bunch to do with it.

In any rate, it was cool to support a community group and the T-shirt was nice, too!

Time: 10 a.m.
Temp: 46 degrees, rain
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Locomotive Half Marathon), Nike windbreaker (red), shorts, Atlanta Braves hat, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 2,537: A Nike gift card deal

I was submitting some points at mcr.com (My Coke Rewards) and found they are offering $25 Nike e-gift cards at half the redemption cost for the holiday season.

That is, 500 My Coke Rewards points for the $25 card. It turns out to be $.05 a point.

In the past, I would save up 2,000 points for a $50 gift card ($.025 per point) and my recent deal for my current pair of running shoes gave me a $35 gift card for 1,610 points ($.021 per point).

If you have 1,000 points, you're really in luck because you can redeem up to two gift cards per account.

It's come at a good time since I am about to donate both pairs of my backup shoes -- my last pair of Nike Air Pegasus+ 29s, which have 438 miles on them and my $30 Costco Adidas shoes (which have 358 miles on them).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day 2,523: Atlanta Half Marathon

              23 degrees at race start for my 23rd 1/2 marathon!

I'm from Chicago originally so I guess I shouldn't be a stranger to cold weather. But race day turned out to be the coldest in more than a century.

I ran a 5K in early December in Chicago when it was 17 degrees and it snowed another time in Downers Grove.

But this really was the coldest race I've run in Atlanta! Luckily I did my research (it helps keeping temperature information and what I've worn in this blog) and came up with the right gear for the race.

It turned out, though, getting there was the problem. Last year, they charged $5 for parking in the Turner Field lots. I complained about it in this blog and I'm sure other people did, too, because this year the parking was free.

Only it was a "be careful for what you wish" moment. I pulled up to Turner Field with a half-hour to spare, easily more than enough time. The traffic near the Olympic Torch was bumper-to-bumper but I had confidence I'd get into the lot.

The minutes creeped by and people started bailing out of their cars. When we got in view of the Blue Lot, it looked like it was full and traffic in my direction was unable to get in.

So I got in the other lane and made my way south behind Turner Field. It turned out the reason for the traffic backup was a carnival was taking up the entire silver lot! Just like that a big chunk of what would have been available parking gone.

At this point, I hoped to just find street parking but it was really unclear whether street parking was permitted ... and whether my car would not be broken into by the time I got back.

I found myself also on one-way streets. I must have gotten pretty far from the park. It was about five minutes before race start. I told myself though that I didn't have to be there by then, I could just slip into another corral and the B-TAG chip timing system would record my time.

I turned down another street ... and luckily this was the back entrance to the Gold lot. I turned in it and could not believe my eyes -- there were spaces aplenty here! I parked quickly and ditched my gloves and hat in the car.

I climbed over the barrier fence to my corral. It was 7:32 -- the corral start time was in three minutes.

So the race started and all I could think about was just taking it easy -- one year when a former colleague was running it for the first time I told her to just take it easy until Piedmont Park, after which the really hard hills come.

So that's what I did. I enjoyed the run and noted its more interesting moments, such as having to be careful for ice on the road (the volunteers did a great job of coning it off and alerting people) and at the water stations, as water and powerade became road slicks on the ground after runners dropped their paper cups.

When we entered Piedmont Park, it was really uplifting for me, since it felt like I was on my home course.

Taking it easy on the hills seemed to give me more in reserve for the rest of the race. The only thing was I really wasn't running all that fast, not that it really mattered. It looked like I would end up with a finish time of over two hours for the first time since 2009. I really tried to keep up with two women who wore the "2:00 pace team" bibs on their backs.

But well into Mile 11, something happened. I started to get warm -- I took off my windbreaker and put it around my waist. I rolled up my sleeves and started to run.

I had two miles left and felt very fresh. It was going to be like running a 5K to the finish! In years past, I've paid the price for burning my glycogen early. Even the flat spots up to the state capitol seemed very tiring.

After we crested the I-20 overpass, I was in full swing. I kept behind one dude for a while and then passed him. No one outkicked me to the finish, which I did in under 2 hours with seconds to spare.

I've run faster races before but this one felt memorable because of its difficulty and the likelihood I would have finished over two hours. It also pushed me past 1,000 miles for the year.

Time: 7:35 a.m.
Temp: 23 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long-sleeved x2 (Big Peach 5 Miler, 2008 Weather Channel Atlanta Half Marathon), shorts, running pants, Columbia sportswear Portland Shamrock run fleece vest, Nike windbreaker, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 2,522: Thanksgiving Half Marathon Expo (or how chance hooked me into signing up for the 2014 Publix Georgia Half Marathon)

Blame it on chance ... and a GU.

I came to this year's Atlanta Track Club Thanksgiving Half Marathon expo with the thought that I'd buy a GU, also known as an energy gel. I usually take one of those at Mile 9 of a half-marathon. (They will usually give you them along the course but I usually rotate older ones first).

But I didn't have cash on me and I thought it would be silly to put $1.50 on a card.

All that concern seemed to disappear when it dawned on me that I could get one ... by chance.

The booth for the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon had a "plinko" board. Basically it's a board with pegs and you drop a chip down the top of it and the chip will meander its way past the pegs to the bottom, where you win a prize. The prizes included free T-shirts ... and a GU.

It was so easy the family in front of me got one ... and they didn't even know what a GU was.

So I signed up for a chance to play plinko. I tried to use a strategy where the chip would fall its way down to GU.

But it fell on $5 off a race entry. Add that to the $10 discount the expo booth offered and a half-marathon entry could be had for $65.

Uh, oh. The Publix Georgia Half Marathon easily is one of my all-time favorite race courses, since it winds through Atlanta's iconic neighborhoods in a way that really no other local race does.

Since I've lived here, the hilly course also is a true gauge of my fitness. I've completed it four times and did the full marathon once.

Yet in March I didn't run in it even though I was signed up for it, because I didn't feel like I was fit enough to enjoy it. We went to Jekyll Island instead, and had a great time.

Reluctantly I filled out the registration form and gave them my card. They gave me a lime green technical T-shirt that proclaims that I am in training for the 2014 race.
And so it begins again, in four months.

Time: 11:19 a.m.
Temp: 36 degrees
Gear: short sleeve T-shirt, shorts, Mountain Hardwear running pants, Columbia sportswear fleece vest, Nike windbreaker, Adidas running shoes.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 2,495: Minor mystery solved!

Today was the first day since the Atlanta 10-Miler in which my legs didn't hurt when I ran.

I was pretty surprised at how long it took to recover from the very hilly run, especially since I thought I would be in decent running shape for it.

I was worried at the start of what would be a nearly 2-mile run to close out 100 miles for the month (for the second month in a row) because my right foot started hurting. It was the first time since the race that I wore my new running shoes.

Immediately after the race my right foot was really sore, almost bruised. I took off my shoe while I waited to get my VW Triple Peach medal and then gingerly walked to the sidewalk. I still had about 2.4 miles to walk home and I wasn't even sure about walking 5 feet!

Eventually I was able to walk a little, then a little more. Several people during this walk asked me if I was ok. But I managed and returned home.

It serves me right, since I'd only run 15 miles before the race in those shoes. In the past, it would take me 70 miles to break in a new pair of shoes to get my feet to stop hurting. In recent years, I felt like the manufacturing process was better and it was easier for people to break in shoes. Now I think I was just lucky for a few years.

Anyway, we rolled into Orme Park to play and I see this grandpa with his grandson, who is holding a homemade guitar. I'd just read in the neighborhood listserv that a child had misplaced this and parents were looking for it.

But it was impossible to explain this to the old man since he spoke no English! But eventually the kid handed me the guitar and I got it to people who knew the parents who made the request.

Mystery solved.

Time: 10 a.m.
Temp: 62 degrees
Gear: T-shirt, short (Be the One run, white), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 2,491: Atlanta 10-Miler

After running in 10-mile races in Washington, D.C. and Oregon and knowing other cities have them as well, I've always thought that Atlanta would do well to have this distance.

So on March 26 when I saw the Atlanta Track Club would hold one, I immediately signed up! It seemed like a great deal at the time, at $43.95. A total of 1,070 people finished the race, with way more women (644) than men (426) doing so.

But this likely will be my only running in it, since it is so hilly.

It's easy to see how this hilly course was created -- the 10-miler is basically the last 10 miles of the new Atlanta Marathon course, starting near Mile 16 and conveniently just outside the western edge of Piedmont Park.

I didn't really know much about the course but when I saw it, I knew already there are hills that I don't even like to run in practice runs -- up Rock Springs, up Johnson Road. These are the reasons why I never wanted to try the Atlanta Marathon!

The race started near the top of the big hill at Piedmont Road, still a half-hour before sunrise. So everyone ran in the dark and I just tried to take it easy. The course was on the roads but coned off and especially when we spilled into the Morningside neighborhood, it seemed like the width of the one-lane cones wasn't enough for all the runners.

After reaching Briarcliff, the course turns on Shepherds lane near the QT, dipping down a sharp hill and then up one to Lavista. I've driven this route many times and never noticed how steep the hill is!

Lavista becomes Lindbergh after Cheshire Bridge and then the course goes down Peachtree Battle after dipping under the freeway.

The course reaches Peachtree and then ... ha ha, you are at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill as in the Peachtree 10K road race.

I don't think I've come upon so many people walking up hills in this race. Sadly, Heartbreak Hill wasn't the end to the hills. You turn on Deering Road not too long after (I was thinking we would turn on Spring), which is both parallel and behind Atlantic Station.

This is another soul-killing hill ... that leads to the 17th Street bridge near IKEA, which is another fierce hill before the end of the race.

Luckily, I took all of the hills strongly. I didn't really have much of a kick at the end, but I also didn't care that much. I just wanted the race to be over.

Walking back the 2.5-miles from Atlantic Station to home, I felt sorry for the marathon runners who were just exiting Piedmont Park and had 10 miles to go. They had no idea what they were in for.

I wonder about the future of this event, with only 1,076 people finishing. A quick search of the Soldier Field 10-Miler in Chicago reveals they had more than 11,000 finishers. The 2013 Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington had 17,000 finishers. How can the city with the largest road race in the world have such paltry attendance in other events?

I know the cities are different but you can't have such a hilly inaugural and hope that word of mouth will help the next go-round. It seems however convenient a much less difficult course will help get better attendance.

Time: 7:15 a.m.
Temp: 45 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Big Peach 5-miler), Technical T-shirt, short (blue Asics), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus + 30.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 2,486: Wearing the Nike Air Pegasus+ 30s!

Yesterday when I was out for a 5.1-mile run, my right knee felt a little funny. Usually when that happens, it's time to wear a new pair of shoes.

So today I broke out my new Nike Air Pegasus+ 30s, which I've had for three weeks but haven't worn yet. I was hoping to get my current pair, my second pair of 29s, to 500 miles but they are only at 434 miles.

And for the last week or so when we were on vacation, I wore my trusty cheapo pair of Adidas shoes that I bought at Costco for $30 many moons ago. These shoes have been great -- I wore them as my regular walking shoe on the trip and ran in them. They have nearly 333 miles on them so their use has been a bargain at less than a dime a mile.

With less than a full week before the Atlanta 10-Miler, I'm hoping I can break in the new shoes, although they were pretty wearable today. It felt like running on a cushion of air! I tend to forget about that cushioning as the miles pile on.

Time: 9:30 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees
Gear: T-shirt, short (2011 Va-Hi 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 2,464: A new pair of shoes!

A brand-new pair of Nike Air Pegasus+ running shoes will be coming my way, thanks in part to my love of Diet Coke.

Each year for the last four years I've saved up points in the My Coke Rewards program. When I get to 2,000 points, I typically redeem all of those points for a $50 Nike gift card.

Today I reached the required number of points -- but when I looked, there only was a $35 Nike gift card for 1,610 points.

I looked up on Nike.com the cost of the new shoes -- this year the neutral, cushioned trainers are $100, up $10 from the $90 they've been in the past.

But $65 for the shoes still is better than what I can find online, so I ponied up for a new pair.

This year is the fastest I've accumulated 2,000 points. In previous years, it's taken me about a month longer to do so and I usually am writing this post in November.

I'm glad to be doing it, since in May I had to pay full boat for a pair of Nike Air Pegasus+ 29's from a local running store after my previous pair of running shoes (with just under 306 miles on them) were presumably stolen when my luggage went missing after flying from Rochester, N.Y. to Atlanta on a Delta flight.

The replacement shoes now have more than 388 miles on them and I typically don't run in the same shoe for after I get 500 miles out of them. (Although in March I donated my Nike Air Pegasus+ 28/A's after running in them for more than 661 miles. I donated the predecessor of that shoe after running nearly 554 miles in those).

I lost a few running shirts I liked and also had my Garmin Forerunner 405 in there. That prompted me to replace it with another, refurbished unit. Unfortunately that one only lasted until the beginning of this month, when it no longer seemed able to acquire a satellite signal.

Now I am sporting a sleek, new Garmin Forerunner 610. I really like it but I much would have rather not had to replace my running watch twice.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 2,455: Children's Hospital Foundation 4-Miler (PR)

RICHMOND, Va. -- With a half-mile left in the race, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I decided to kick to the finish line, something I never have done before, at least from that far out. With .3 mile left in the race, I found sub-7:00/mile speed. With just .05 mile left, I found sub-6:00/mile speed.

The effort was worth it, since I broke by a second my personal record for a 4-mile race that was set in the June 18, 2011 Father's Day 4-Miler at Turner Field. It also broke a dry spell of more than 2.5 years since the last time I had logged a personal record in any distance. It also was the first time since the week of Jan.6-12 that I've run more than 25 miles in a week.

It also was a good day for the wife, who placed first in her age division. It's the third time she's placed in the last three races, including a first place showing in the last race.

When I knew we were going to be in the area, I started to scan for races. We found this one and how could we not support a children's hospital? So we signed up.

When we got to our in-laws yesterday, I kind of felt lazy. It felt far to drive from the suburbs to Richmond and I kind of wanted to sleep in instead of having to get up early to make the drive. But we did it.

Because this race comprised walkers and runners, we did something we usually never do -- we stood about three rows behind the starting line. So when the start came, we were a-running.

As to be expected, the start was pretty fast. The second mile was even faster as the course went downhill. For Mile 3, we slowed our pace a bit -- this wasn't the Indy 500 after all and my wife has not run very much recently.

In the past, I would have waited until I got as close as I could before sprinting to the finish. Today I just wanted to see if I could do it.

This was a well-put together race that I'm sure will be on our radar in the future, if our schedules make it possible. Not 2.5 hours after the race started we received e-mails detailing our overall place (20th), our age division place (3rd) and our pace (7:41/mile). It's a nice touch, especially when you might wait for days just to see results get posted.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 66 degrees (83 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (CS yellow), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 2,434: Powhatan 4-Miler

POWHATAN, Va. -- In the middle of this race, I thought, "I don't have my gear today."

We decided to run in this race at the very last minute. It looked like this race was in the next town over from where my in-laws live. It's usually never very pretty for me to run the day after I've been in a plane or a car for a long time.

But hey, it was $14. Can't beat that!

I thought for sure, given that we had just run in a tough 5K race last week, that we were going to take this one easy. I've had some strange left ankle pinging when I'm not running and I really didn't feel like going all-out in a race in which previous race data made it seem like the locals could run pretty fast.

As expected, this race had a really fast start. I felt myself even trying to slow myself a little bit. But I guess I just tried to fall into a good rhythm the first mile. The second mile came and went and our split was something like 16:12.

I was a little surprised of that pace and then just felt like I wasn't really in the groove today. But then the third mile came and I wanted to keep ahead of a few people we had passed. I intentionally didn't look down at my watch until it was 3.54 miles.

The turn to the park where the finish was came soon enough and I willed myself to try to catch up to the couple of people ahead of me.

After I finished I turned around and saw the wife making her way up to the finish. I didn't see many female runners near her so I knew she had a great chance of placing.

So we waited for the awards -- and sure enough, she placed first for her age division! Then it turned out that one of the people I passed in the end had a time good enough for third place in my division!

I was pretty psyched then ... and happily picked up my 2nd place medal. The 4-mile run also gave me 100 miles for the month, which is something I haven't done since January.

Looking at the data, my best mile was the last one, with a 7:26/mile finish, which was decent but I had been able to log two of those in the 5K only a week before.

I guess it's one of those things, each race is different and your mileage may vary when it comes to race performance from week to week. This race was great -- I think we surprised the race director when we showed up from out of state for this race -- and I look forward to running in it next year!

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Asics neon blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 2,427: Adams Realtors Run for the Park 5K

This was a last-minute entry but one that I thought would be pretty fun. It also was the first time I'd seen a stroller run division for men and women, which I thought would be great since it seemed like the wife was the only female who ever ran with a stroller in these local races.

Or so it seemed. The race started -- as with local races, there's always some kind of quirk, and this one was that when the gun abruptly sounded, I wasn't even sure where the starting line was! So I set my watch and then started running with everyone.

There was one lady with a triple stroller who was just really booking it. It seemed hard to believe she could even continue her pace.

Somewhere before the first mile with that stroller lady leaving us in the dust, the first big hill came and I decided I would just run at my own pace instead of with the wife and stroller. As we crossed back over I-20, I didn't even think I would be able to catch the triple stroller lady!

But as it turned out, she stopped for water at 1.5 miles and then had to stop after that because one of her children was crying. I continued on.

I felt like I was running good and my effort really only was about 70 percent. Near the end of Boulevard on the course I fell in behind some dude with a San Francisco Giants T-shirt jersey. The pace was good but I passed him as the course turned down a pretty decent hill.

I settled in behind another guy but when the road went uphill, I quickly passed him. Then I passed another guy, who right near the end of the race started to outkick me. Here I thought, "OK, I've been outkicked before at the end of races."

But as I followed him, soon I had a pretty good burst (turned out it was 5:44/mile pace!) and passed him and two other people as I ran into the finish line.

The gun clock said 24:18, which is good enough for Time Group B of the Peachtree 10K next year. My watch time said 23:53, which is a pretty good showing from the race I ran in last month.

When I got home I looked at my splits and despite having a slow 8:30/min mile, my last two miles were at a 7:26/mile pace, which is more than decent to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree (you need a 7:37/mile pace in a 5K for that).

So things are looking good. Since the last race I've basically been running at least 3 miles a day, so I guess the extra effort paid off.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees, overcast
Gear: Short sleeve T, technical (Doug Kessler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 2,403: The streak in review

I was a little curious today of where I am in the streak. So I pulled out all of my old running logs. Here's what I've tallied:

2007: 1,037.775 miles
2008: 657.26 miles
2009: 1,452.975 miles
2010: 1,776.55 miles
2011: 1,469.13 miles
2012: 1,303.88 miles

That's 7,698.33 miles over a 2,192 day period, for an average of 3.51 miles a day.

So far this year through today there have been 211 days and I've run 620.88 miles. In total, that's 8,319.21 miles over 2,403 days, for an average of 3.46 miles a day.

That means by sometime near the end of next year I will cross 10,000 miles!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day 2,385: The Southwest Beltline 5K

When I first signed up for this race, I did so knowing that the shirts I've seen from past Beltline races were pretty cool.

When I ran the 5K today, I was hoping that I would have a shot at breaking 23:01 to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree 10K.

But what was in between was a bunch of question marks, as I really haven't run any race in recent memory in the speed needed to qualify for Group A.

The race course starts along an unimproved dirt and grassy section of the Beltline trail. Just as in the Eastside 10K last December, I was expecting the start to be congested -- and it was. I eased into the start of the race along uneven and sometimes rocky terrain. When the first mile ended and I saw I ran it in 8:20, I knew that I would have to shelve hopes of a Group A finish.

So I shifted into Plan B, which was to have miles at a pace under 7:43/mile, which is what is needed to qualify for Group A in a 10K (you have to run an average of 7:24/mile to qualify for Group A in a 5K race).

First I settled in behind a runner who seemed to have a good pace. But I soon passed him along the rolling hills of the race.

Although I had never run the race before, I knew from looking at the course map that the race would continue along neighborhood streets and then return to a paved portion of the Beltline for the finish.

I settled in behind another runner who seemed to be doing pretty well. Two other runners joined us near the Mile 3 mark, but this dude started to kick and although I was able to keep up behind him (my Garmin says at a 6:06 pace!) he easily finished two seconds ahead of me. But we dropped the other two runners at the finish.

Although I missed Group B by 16 seconds, I feel pretty good about the race. I had good strength on the rolling hills and had a little bit of speed at the end. One of my miles was 7:40 so I feel like I'm in a decent spot when it comes time to run a flat 5K. It was a nice way to get my feet back into a racing season and I still have my Group B parachute from running the Eastside 10K in 50:07 last December.

And I got another cool technical T-shirt for my collection!

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (83 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Big Peach 5-miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+/29A.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 2,377: Peachtree Day After: Blisters

The soggy day led to soggy shoes for me on the Peachtree 10K course yesterday, and ultimately something I haven't really had in a long time -- blisters all over a bunch of the contact points of my feet. So today's run in Piedmont Park was kind of slow going.

I guess it's from my lower weekly mileage but I was surprised how I felt the day after the race -- a little stiff going down the stairs and a slower run through the park. It was more like what I would expect after a half marathon but not a 10K.

To further complicate things, my Garmin Forerunner 405 never acquired during the entire run, I guess because of the overcast skies. Luckily I have the endomondo app on my phone and I use it when I don't have my running watch.

In other news, I finally hit the button and signed up for the July 13th Atlanta Beltline Southwest 5K. I've actually been out to this area twice before for Geocaching but haven't run on the beltline. The main reason I'm running in the race is that I was a little envious of the cool shirts the Beltline racing series had last year, when I saw people wearing them at the Eastside 10K.

I also need to start running more races again to try to requalify for Group A next year!

Time: 7:13 a.m.
Temp: ?? overcast, light rain
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Cherry Blossom 10-Miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 2,376: Peachtree 10K

As I often say in this blog, all races are different.

This was the case with today's Peachtree Road Race. With a 100 percent chance of rain, it looked like we were destined to get wet. I hadn't run in a rainy race in quite some time and certainly never in the previous eight times I've participated in the Peachtree 10K.

In the early morning when it was time to make our way to the MARTA station, there were a few drops of rain here and there. The radar looked like rain certainly was possible any minute. So I brought along a rain jacket and a hat. We left at 6:20 a.m.

After being dropped off at the MARTA station, we waited for a train to come our way. There were two southbound trains -- one after another -- with hardly any riders. Ours finally came and it was packed. (I mean, packed for the United States. Plenty of room for Japan).

We arrived at the Buckhead station and made our way through the station and up the steps (this took a long time) before exiting on one side of the mall. This year you had to enter your corrals from Lenox Road so that took some time. By the time we got to Group B (I ran in my wife's corral), we had a minute before the race start!

The start of the race was fairly slow, although everyone was running and, unlike other corrals behind, there wasn't a single walker. Eventually the lanes started to open up. At this point, the rain jacket was around my waist. It wasn't that big of a deal, since I've run many races in the Pacific Northwest where you either had to have it on or carry it.

Our pace was pretty pleasant, although coming over a cold I felt dehydrated at Mile 3. At Mile 4, when the hard hills came, I made a point to get some water. It perked me up a little and once we were at the top of Heartbreak Hill I knew that the race would get better.

There's a second set of hills, a long slope up to 14th Street, that defines the next mile and while that wasn't pleasant, we were trucking along. After we passed Mile 5, I knew we were going to finish!

Although it didn't rain during the race, Piedmont Park after the race was a sloppy mess. So many people walking through the areas meant a lot of muddy puddles. We made our way around from water (so thankful for this), the traditional finisher's T-shirt, a finisher's picture and then a long line for Mellow Mushroom pizza. I'll take it!

This year they continued the great tradition of peaches. PNC Bank was giving out flip-flops (probably should have changed into those on the muddy field) and King of Pops popsicles, which i had never had before.

I was pretty thankful once we reached the Powerade area and the traditional cat's reward for finishing a race ... a Diet Coke. Although I didn't drink it this time because of my sore throat. Toddler K. loved Blue Bell's ice cream sandwiches!

It was a pretty good race considering my cold and running few miles (about 20 miles per week now). My legs are a little sore, so maybe a lot more training is in order if I want to requalify for Time Group A again.

Time: 7:35 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees, overcast
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Charles Harris 2011), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 2,354: Break out the Powerade

Today was the first day in which I felt thirsty while running. We didn't get out until a little bit before 9 a.m. and it was hot but I didn't really think anything of it.

Today's path took us through Virginia-Highland, through the Carter Center grounds, on the PATH trail and then the Beltline into Piedmont Park.

Luckily I noticed on the way back that we had a bottle of water in the stroller that we must have had in there from the day before. I gulped it down.

At the end of the run, I opened up the garage fridge and was rewarded with an ice cold Powerade -- one that was probably there since last year's Peachtree 10K. It was good, too.

Time: 8:45 a.m.
Temp: 87 degrees (65 percent humidity)
Gear: T-shirt, technical (Strong4Life 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 2,350: Strong4Life Superhero Sprint 5K

A week after running our seventh stroller race with Mr. K., I had no idea how pleasant this race would be.

First off, it's in Piedmont Park so that means it takes less than a mile to get to the race start. We could actually hear the music and the pre-race warmups as we walked over.

Then, the race course was really well thought out. You started by the swimming pool, do a once around the old racetrack and then back over around the bowl (where Park Tavern is) and then back around the old racetrack to the finish.

It was wide enough that it didn't seem crazy to bring a stroller in it.

The last two races I've really just wanted to enjoy it -- basically with the race being our normal weekend run with a T-shirt and snacks given to us at the end of it. We both enjoyed the fact a technical T-shirt was given out for this 5K race, which isn't always the norm.

When I realized where the course was taking us, about a mile into the race I grabbed my phone and started using it to play Ingress and hack portals. Might as well, I said at the time.

Anyway, it was a thoroughly enjoyable race. We ran a little faster than we did in the Summerfest 5K -- no huge hills to worry about here.

And we'll look forward to doing this again next year!

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: Technical T-shirt (Champion gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 2,343: Summerfest 5K

The other day, I found a well-worn white T-shirt with a faded orange sun on it. It was my 2004 Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K race shirt, one of my favorites.

Race-wise, there really wasn't much glory from that 10-year-old race. I had qualified for Group I for the Peachtree 10K that February with a nice run of the Charles Harris 10K. After that, I proceeded to not run at all until June, when I decided to run in the Summerfest.

I told a friend at the time that I was running in the 5K "to see where I was at."

It turned out, where I was at wasn't really that good. I did well for the first two miles but then hit the wall after that. My showing the next month in the Peachtree 10K wasn't that much better. I still beat an hour for the race but paid for it afterward with having two huge calf cramps at the same time. Not fun.

This year, it's hard to say what my motivation was for the Summerfest. My mileage is down for the year, even though the streak continues strong. Most days, I push more than 45 pounds of extra weight with my son and his BOB stroller. I don't run fast but I enjoy running.

But at least we were starting this race in better condition than last year, when I was coming off my end-of-work party and the related hangover.

This year, I felt pretty fresh. I knew the course pretty well, after running it a few hundred times as my regular training course and scoring a PR for the time in 2010.

They improved this course this year by moving the race start a little farther back on Virginia Avenue so there isn't the crazy log jam. Part of the reason is that they have chip timing this year and need everyone to start from the same spot.

This resulted in a decent and not very crazy start. We were actually able to run, even with a stroller.

It felt like I floated up the first hill. Then we made it past the turnaround and onto the Rosedale hill. A lady at this point said there were only two more hills to go. But I knew better as you end up climbing three huge hills by the time you end on Lanier.

In the past I would have been totally gassed at the end of the three hills and trying to find some kind of way to finish. But the run felt effortless (luckily I wasn't pushing the stroller!) and I ran side-by-side with my wife to the finish.

It was nice to run this race as it should, as a training run with a T-shirt and snacks waiting for you at the finish. It was also great to participate in a long tradition in my neighborhood.

And now comes the Peachtree. I feel extremely good going into this race, knowing that I will be ready for the July 4th reward for running.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (humid)
Gear: T-shirt, technical (Charles Harris, 2009), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+/29A.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 2,332: A five-fingered flight test

I've owned a pair of Vibram Five Fingers running shoes -- you know, the ones with the funny-looking toes -- for several months.

Today is the first time I've done any kind of running in them.

As a runner who has run every day for the last 6-1/2 years, I've been interested in reading about the barefoot running movement. Although when I've thought about doing it myself, I'd always think, Ouch! Wouldn't that hurt?

Today I was prompted to try running in these shoes for the first time, after my checked luggage disappeared on our trip home from Rochester. Inside were my Nike Air Pegasus+ 29 shoes. All of my older shoes, including my last pair that I ran in for nearly 700 miles, I've long since donated.

Yesterday I ran in my old Solomon trail shoes. I would have run in the Vibrams then but my kitty Forrest has a way of moving shoes around the house.

Anyway, I've talked to people who run in Vibrams and I've done enough reading about it to know that you can't run the same way. Traditional running shoes allow you to strike the heel of your foot as you run but Vibrams are made for the ball of the foot.

In recent months, I've noticed that I may not be a heel striker at all. I find myself many times striking the ball of my foot first.

It's a more natural way of running, proponents say, and can keep people from developing running injuries.

Yet how would this affect someone who runs day in and day out and never gets injured?

I was about to find out.

The first thing I noticed is that I started out with shorter strides. My running stroller seemed almost too fast for me down the first hill. And it felt like I could pick up every rock that I ran on.

I made a concerted effort to not strike my heel and after a while I felt like I got into a good groove as I entered Piedmont Park. It sort of reminded me of running in flip-flops. My legs definitely felt less encumbered and I felt like I was flying along my regular running route.

Around mile 2, the inner sides of my feet started to chafe from the stitching, which wasn't very comfortable. And I could tell that as I got tired, I wanted to cheat a little bit by striking my heel.

With my feet irritated, I was only about a quarter of a mile away when I must have stepped on a piece of metal in the sidewalk. It wasn't really pleasant.

I ended up at home after my 3.5-mile trial run. Later on, I could tell my right calf muscle was a little sore but that wore off later on in the day.

My impression of the shoes is that they definitely are novel and felt good in some instances. But for someone who can run day in and day out without worrying about the wear and tear, I think I'll stick to traditional shoes.

Time: 8:40 a.m.
Temp: 72.6 degrees (96 percent humidity)
Gear: Short-sleeved T (Carolina), shorts, Vibram Five Fingers.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 2,314: The power of Ingress (for running)

It's been a while since I've updated, so I thought I should write a post about what I've been up to.

Last month I crossed 2,300 consecutive days of running! It's nice to know that's still happening. Today, and more recently, my runs have focused on the Piedmont Park area, where I can get a good run with baby K. in the stroller and gain some points in Ingress, Google's augmented reality game.

Basically you get points by either setting up or destroying virtual "portals" which are typically located at historic or public places. There's a few in Piedmont Park and a bunch in the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

So it makes it quite easy to run down the hill into the park when there's some work to be done.

Since I last wrote, we spent half a week in Miami, where the wife had a conference. Because of space issues, I used our Maclaren umbrella stroller, instead of our all-terrain Bob Revolution SE.

And on the pretty flat terrain around downtown Miami, the stroller worked just fine. We brought it last September to Missouri, where we went for a wedding, and the wife pushed it around then.

I'll update more later!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 2,290: Hot already

Today we went to Piedmont Park. Only mid-morning, I didn't think I'd have to worry too much about the weather.

But almost immediately I could tell that it wouldn't be one of those regular, pleasant runs I'd been having. Halfway into the run, I was sweaty.

Then it turned out that K.'s spare bottle was missing from the stroller. I must have dislodged it going over a curb.

So I turned around, left Piedmont Park and we retraced our steps back home.

About halfway home I noticed K. was playing with a new toy -- the missing bottle. It must have fallen down into his seat.

Anyway, I'll have to start running earlier -- and more often to get used to the heat.

Time: 10:45 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: SST (Va-Hi 5K 2010), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+/29.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 2,279: I've registered for the Atlanta 10 Mile!

After participating twice in the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington, D.C., I always thought it would be great for Atlanta to have a 10-Mile race.

Actually this year there are two new 10-mile races. There's the Historic Roswell 10-Miler on April 13 and on Oct. 27, the Atlanta Track Club will host the Atlanta 10 Mile run in conjunction with its marathon and a 5K race.

I've always thought the 10 mile distance was a good one. Especially if you're someone like me who has not done a bunch of long runs.

Back in 1999, I ran the Centralia (Washington) Half Marathon with my longest run being 4 miles at the time. I got to mile 10 and then really hit the wall.

See what I'm getting at? Now I can run to my heart's delight without paying the consequences!


Recently, with our move putting us even closer to Piedmont Park, I've been doing the bulk of my running that way. It doesn't have the distance as say running the length of the nearby Eastside Beltline trail, but still fun to do nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 2,256: I've registered for the Peachtree 10K!

I was in a tizzy last night. I saw on the Atlanta Track Club's information site for the Peachtree 10K road race that we were supposed to have been mailed information related to ATC members' early registration for the July 4th race.

I couldn't find mine. I received membership information but no registration information. Thankfully after an e-mail, the ATC sent me my registration info.

This year they have add-on options for a technical T-shirt (which I wish they would just provide for all finishers since in July in Atlanta, it's a better option to wear than a cotton T-shirt that gets soaked immediately in the humidity) and a commemorative medal.

Call me a sucker -- I ponied up for both ($27.50 for the T-shirt) and $10 for the medal. The T-shirt because it's practical -- I'll wear it all the time. The medal, only because it's the first year they are doing so.

This will be my 9th running of the race. After you run in it 10 times I think you get special consideration if you try to register in the lottery but don't get in.

It also may be my last running in Group A. My eligibility under my PR race that I ran in the 2011 Charles Harris 10K ends this year, forcing me to start looking up races if I want to get a sub-48:00 time. (Laziness prompted me to not run in this year's Charles Harris, even though I'd already signed up for it. It was for a good cause, anyway).

I've already qualified for Group B with a 52-minute race in the Eastside Beltline 10K in October. I don't know if it matters that much to me, it's better to be in B than to start in the back.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 2,229: A new ANT+ stick!

A few months ago, my Garmin ANT+ stick broke. Well the cover on it broke, exposing the circuit board beneath.

I ordered a new one but discovered that just plugging in the circuit board was good enough to download my Forerunner 405 files.

Well, the circuit board finally crashed the other day. I had no idea where the spare ANT+ stick was, it got lost in the move.

So I ordered a new one. It came today. I thought I'd have to pair it with my watch but when I plugged it into my laptop, it found the watch, transferred the data and downloaded it to the Internet.

So now I have a few days worth of logging to do, adding titles to the downloaded courses.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 2,225: I've signed up for the Charles Harris 10K!

DECATUR, Ga. -- Today I had to check on a cache in town, so I packed up the kurokitten and we went on a stroll along the PATH trail.
 On the way back, I stopped into the Big Peach store and signed up for the Charles Harris 10K. This will be the fourth year I have run in it. It's very popular with people trying to get a fast qualification time for the July 4th Peachtree Road Race.

I have one more year before my Group A qualification expires. To get it, I had to run a PR in the 2010 Charles Harris race.

This year I am not sure I can do it. I ran a 52-minute 10K in the Eastside Beltline race. After being outkicked near the end of the race, I added a 5.4-mile route as my main training route, eclipsing my older 4-mile routes that used to be a staple of my weekly miles.

So we will see. In any event, it should be a fun race to do!