Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 2,587: A high-mileage month

Today I finished out the month with a 6-mile recovery run, giving me 37.14 miles this week (a short 6-day week) to end out the month.

I haven't run that much in a week since the week of Nov. 7-13, 2010, when I ran 38.61 miles, capped with a 5K PR in the Race2Recycle, which still stands as my best time for that distance.

Incorporating the half-marathon training program gave me 138.47 miles for January, the most miles I've run since October 2010, which I ran 137.59 miles, including the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 2,586: Yaktrak Pro review

A few years ago there was snow and ice in Atlanta and I found out the hard way how slick my favorite running shoes -- the Nike Air Pegasus series -- were.

Enter 2014's Atlanta snowpocalypse and already I was wondering how I would stick to my half-marathon training schedule.

Today I decided to pull out my Yaktrax Pro. I bought these more than three years ago, about the last time the city had an ice storm.

Already some of the sidewalks in the neighborhood had melted but there still were icy and snowy patches. So I decided to follow my schedule, embarking on a 6-mile tempo run. I brought a fanny pack in case everything on the route was dry and that way I could just put them away.

It turned out that I did need them on the snowy patches and that the PATH trail had large sections that were still snowy and icy.

Each patch of snow/ice I decided to really test out these devices and ran hard through them. They worked like a charm. Virtually no worries but I did note that on very short/steep inclines there was a slight slip, but nothing that put me onto the pavement.

It wasn't bad either running with them on dry pavement. You probably wouldn't want to wear these every day but these are well worth the $29.95 I spent on them in 2011.

Time: 2:43 p.m.
Temp: 36 degrees
Gear: T-shirt, long (Kevin's Cup), Nike windbreaker, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30, Yaktrax Pro.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day 2,585: 11 degrees and snow!

Only a few hours after my post yesterday it started snowing. Given that I wore shorts during my 10-mile run a few days ago it never would have dawned on me we would have snow that would stick a few days later.

Today was to be a rest day on the schedule but because of the streak I'd already penciled it in for a 1-mile run. With all of the snow/ice on the ground this morning, the most I could have done anyway was a 1-mile run!

I also couldn't believe the temperature when I saw it -- 11.6 degrees! That definitely is the coldest it's been during the history of this blog.

So I threw on my heavy hoodie under my windbreaker (and over my two technical shirts), got my hat and gloves and went out.

It wasn't too bad running although I tried to avoid the icy footprints of people who'd walked on the sidewalk before me. I kept my fists balled tight since I didn't want to slip and throw my hand out if I fell. Still, I had a lot of confidence in my trail shoes (Note: regular running shoes can be extremely slick and I wouldn't recommend them for running in these conditions).

There were a few people out walking, or walking their dog. One car made it over the hill at North Highland near the post office.

Tomorrow I am to do a 6-mile run but with a projected high today of only a degree above freezing I doubt I will be able to.

Time: 8:03 a.m.
Temp: 11.6 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long x2 (Locomotive Half Marathon, Fall 5-Miler), Old Navy hoodie, Nike windbreaker, running pants, hat, gloves, Salomon trail shoes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 2,584: My first intervals (6 x 1 mile)

Today on the half-marathon training schedule was a set of strength intervals. Since I had never done any before, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Basically the schedule said I should do six 1-mile intervals, with about a quarter-mile rest in between. The pace of these intervals was to be about 10 seconds per mile faster than my goal pace for the half-marathon.

Luckily, my Forerunner 610 allows me to program what kind of workout I want, down to my warm up and cool down run.

So I did that and headed down to Piedmont Park. Only it was one of the coldest days of the year again (21 to 25 degrees). I The actually had to do my second interval back to my house to pick up a hat and gloves, it was that cold!

The park was a great place to do the intervals since it is basically flat and easy to get around. I followed what is to be the course for the St. Patrick's Day 5K race in March.

I loved the watch's workout program, it basically beeps when your desired interval is up and then you push "lap" and then it sends you to the rest portion of the run. I didn't like that it only showed me the time that had elapsed for that part of the workout instead of my pace.

I really struggled with my pace, as only my sixth mile got me down to what I would consider my half-marathon pace. But I guess I should chalk everything up to the weather conditions plus the fact that it's my first kind of interval training ever.

It was pretty enjoyable though. Running between two sections of the park kept it from being too monotonous. The breaks helped disguise what ultimately became an 8.51-mile run.

Time: 7:50 a.m.
Temp: 21 degrees to 25 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long x2 (William's Run, 2013 Atlanta Half Marathon), Nike windbreaker, running pants, gloves, hat, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Day 2,582: 10-mile run

For the past week I've been working on the half-marathon version of the training program that I will use for the Dec. 14 Honolulu Marathon. I've liked the philosophy, especially because the writing style is much like Ed Miller's books on poker.

Today was the first time I've run 10 miles for training (non-race) since Aug. 26, 2011, when I inexplicably belted out 14.1 miles. I even ran 14.56 miles the week before on Aug. 19, 2011. (There are no blog entries for either of those runs so I don't know why I decided to do it other than likely for some whim).

For today's route I followed the Publix Georgia Half Marathon route from Park Place into Piedmont Park and then up the rolling hills of Juniper to 5th Street and Georgia Tech. Then the course enters Marietta Street into downtown.

Because it is both hilly and scenic it is one of the best training courses in Atlanta.

I felt ok during the run, although at mile 3.5 near Bobby Dodd Stadium I felt a tinge in my right hamstring that went away. At mile 8.5 I actually felt pretty loose and willing to run the rest of the way.

Afterward I felt drained like I ran in a road race. We will see how this training goes, next week it's a 12-mile long run.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 32 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long x2 (Atlanta Beltline, Atlanta Half Marathon 2009), Nike windbreaker, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 2,580: 19 degrees!

Even the little one was antsy trying to wait out the cold this morning. Finally we got outside but it was hard to tell it was any colder than it's been.

It turns out that today's 6-mile run in 19 degree weather is the coldest recorded in this blog! I've been trying to follow the marathon training program that I will use for this December's Honolulu Marathon for the March Publix Georgia Half Marathon.

Yesterday it called for a 6-mile tempo run. I got that and a little more, finishing after 8.8 miles. Today's run was six easy miles. A few months ago doing six miles would have been anything but easy.

I bundled the little one in four layers and away we went. It actually warmed up a bit on the way back -- it is 29 degrees now.

Time: 11:35 a.m.
Temp: 19 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long x2 (Fall Five Miler, Thanksgiving Half Marathon), running pants, gloves, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 2,577: Breaking out the new shoes!

Because it had been raining so much the last two months, I'd been relying on my previous pair of running shoes, (Nike Air Pegasus+ 29/A), in those waterlogged workouts.

That's because it always takes a few days for wet shoes to properly dry and I don't like subjecting my current shoes to the rain.

But those older shoes always reminded me of why I replaced them in the first place -- the cushioning had worn down and I could always feel it in one of my knees when I ran. So I am planning to donate those shoes.

I still need a second pair of shoes to run in during bad conditions and with my current pair having more than 278 miles on them already, it was time to start thinking about the next pair.

So last week I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and picked up a brand new pair, thanks to a very nice gift card the in-laws gave me for my birthday. I even used a 10 percent coupon from one of the recent race goody bags to boot!

Because I knew that I'd do a very easy run today after yesterday's 5K race, I broke out the new shoes to start breaking them in. It took 40 miles for my current pair to be broken in and after I wore them in the Atlanta 10-miler, I could hardly walk home because my feet were so sore.

Time: 9:20 a.m.
Temp: 46 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Atlanta Half Marathon 2011), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30/A.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 2,576: A solid "B" (MLK Day 5K Drum Run)

I had this race in my sight for a while with its home field location of Piedmont Park (not a mile from where I live), the place where I made my 5K PR, not more than a month after I ran in my third marathon.

I had high hopes that this race would give me a time under the 23 minute cut off for Group A of the Peachtree 10K road race. Yet the last time I ran a sub-23 time was that same race in which I made my personal best time.

Instead it turned out that this fun race gave me a time solidly in Group B of the Peachtree's time standards. Basically I ran the first two miles in under 15 minutes, giving me a chance to close out the race with the sub-23 time but after that, I could feel myself need to slow up.

Near the end of the race when I saw my watch pass 23:01, I started to ease up since I knew that at that point this would not be the race in which I qualified for Group A. It felt like I had gone slower than 8:10/mile but I was surprised to see that my third mile was in 7:52.

It still is my best 5K race time in nearly three years and gives me a pretty solid place to stand as I start up on my half marathon and marathon training for this year.

The race course was extremely fun -- you start off in a mad dash across the meadow of the park, then run on the paths out to the newer section of the park and then down by the dog park before coming back on the paths to the park's gravel track. There you run about half of it and then are back on the paths around the pond before a quick downhill on the grassy meadow to the finish.

Near the crest of all of the hills on the course they have drum lines playing and it was really awesome to have in this short of a race.

I'll definitely run in this race again in the future!

Time: 9:05 a.m.
Temp: 37 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Locomotive Half Marathon, Nike black), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 2,571: I signed up for the Honolulu Marathon!

Draped in a leopard mink, girl standing next to me/
Probably should have washed this, smells like R. Kelly's sheets ... piss/
But shit, it was 99 cents!
 -"Thrift Shop", Macklemore

It's been 3 years and 3 months since I ran in the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Then, and now, I felt that while the experience was great, it was frustratingly like being 10 yards away from the Super Bowl.

After nearly bonking out of the 2010 ING Georgia Marathon, because of leg cramps at mile 15, I trained the hardest that I'd ever trained for a race. I was doing long runs every 5 days and completed four 20-mile runs prior to 10-10-10.

On race day, everything was going according to plan. I'd run a little faster than my marathon pace and at mile 20 I was tenths of a mile away from putting away a sub-4 hour marathon. That's when my leg cramps set in and I had to slow it down, coming in at 4:06. (I always think of the quote from the movie Aliens, "Ripley, you've blown the transaxle, you're just grinding metal. Ease it down." That's how it felt).

I'd set three PRs that day -- for the marathon and the 20K and 30K distances. And the rewards for all of that training came a month later with a PR in a 5K and then the following February with a PR in the 10K.

I really walked away from marathons that day, since what else could I do. So why would I be so crazy to sign up for another marathon?

It turns out I must be a road race cheapskate. For several years I'd run in the ING Georgia Half Marathon and its incarnations because of the day-after race blitz. I've run in the races for as little as $25.

Today I was looking at the Chicago Marathon website and found the registration does not start until March (and fills up extremely quickly). I then thought about the Honolulu Marathon, a race I'd always wanted to run in since my aunt has run in it several years.

When I clicked on the fee page, I could not believe my eyes -- the race registration (through Jan. 19) is $55! I got an email the other day for a 5K race in Philadelphia which was $50!! The 2010 Chicago Marathon cost me $135.

So it is exciting to have a new focus, although the Honolulu Marathon does not look like a likely place for me to finish in under 4 hours, as it looks like only 6 percent of runners did so in a recent running.

Either way, as long as I train and show up, I have a great chance for my fourth marathon medal.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 2,563: Another 21 degrees

Although it was 5 degrees this morning, no way was I going to go out, especially with the little one. We waited until after midday and it was 21 degrees.

Still, this was no walk in the park, and it seemed even colder than the other day when I ran on the PATH in Clarkston.

For one, I really needed to wear my gloves. On the return portion of the run, my ear tips got very cold and I needed to put my hat back on.

I wore three layers plus my large hoodie. It felt like one too many layers after about a mile. My fleece running pants are perfect for this kind of cold.

Time: 1:34 p.m.
Temp: 21 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (x2), T-shirt (Inman 5K 2013), fleece running pants, hat, gloves, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 2,559: 21 degrees!

DECATUR, Ga. -- The one thing about having a running streak is you have to run every day, no matter what.

Today was one of those days it would have been nicer to stay inside. It was 21 degrees out and already I was thinking about not running very far.

So I decided to skip my regular running routes and took the jogging stroller out on the PATH trail.

But first I had to get into my car. The button on the door handle that unlocks the car was frozen shut. So I had to dig into my pocket for the key fob. Then the doors were frozen shut. I had to try a couple times before they would open.

Forget about the windows. Three of them wouldn't even open until later in the drive when the sun was out.

We got to the trail and it seemed no different than other days. The Thanksgiving Half Marathon was 23 degrees, one of the coldest races I've run in a while. It was 20 degrees in February 2011 when I ran around Dallas. I ran in the snow a month earlier in January 2011 but it was a little warmer in Atlanta -- 27 degrees.

Our 2010 trip to Zion National Park changed the way I dress for cold weather. Because I packed light, I didn't have a lot of heavy fleece clothes. Instead I doubled up on technical shirts and covered that with a windbreaker shell.

Today I did that and I wore my running hat for part of the time and gloves some of the time. The tip of my right middle finger felt numb.

At the same time, the run was nice. I think the previous cold spell helped me get used to today's weather.

And it's supposed to get colder, with a low of 9 degrees on Monday. You can bet I'll be writing about that day, if nothing else so I can remember what kind of running gear is needed the next time it gets that cold.

Time: 10:56 a.m.
Temp: 21 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Atlanta Half Marathon, Eastside Beltline 10K 2012), Nike windbreaker, Outdoor Research cap, fleece gloves, fleece pants, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.