Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 2,616: 178 miles

Today's easy 6.01-mile run put me at 178.41 miles for the month, the most I have run in any month except August 2010 when I was training for the Oct. 10, 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

That month I put up 210.84 miles, with nearly half of that mileage coming from long runs --a half marathon (the 2010 Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon), a 14.5-mile run, a 16-mile run, an 18-mile run and two 20-mile runs.

The last five weeks I've run more than 43 miles a week. Despite constantly having to think of places to fit in six- to 12-mile runs all the time, I've felt pretty good about the training so far and it's probably a healthy way to go about life.

It will be interesting when I'm training for real starting in mid-June for a marathon.

Time: 8:48 a.m.
Temp: 27 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long x2 (Big Peach Five Miler, Chicago Marathon in training), shorts, Nike windbreaker, gloves, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 2,614: Entered the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon

Today I entered the lottery for the Oct. 26 Marine Corps Marathon. It was the wife who suggested I use my summer/fall marathon training for a marathon that I could try for a good race time for and then to just enjoy running in the Dec. 14 Honolulu Marathon.

It makes sense, as the Hawaii race is hot and humid and has a large crowd of slower runners/walkers.

I won't know until March 19 whether I will be in the race. If I'm not selected, I still have the option to enter the lottery for the Oct. 12 Bank of America Chicago Marathon (lottery period ends April 7).

If I get into the Marine Corps Marathon, Week 1 of my training period would start on June 23.

So far with one month of the half-marathon training under my belt, I feel like I've been able to follow it pretty well. I've enjoyed running the extra miles, although it's made me really think about different routes and it's a little insane to think about the overall mileage (I'll have about 175 miles by the end of this month).

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day 2,610: Charles Harris 10K

It had been three years since the last time I ran in this race but I was hopeful that I would be able to run it in under 48 minutes -- the time needed to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree Road Race.

Unlike past years, this time I followed my half-marathon training and did a warm-up run prior to the race start.

The start of the race was probably the fastest that I've run in a while -- 7:08 minutes -- but I didn't feel like I was exerting myself too much.

I wanted to make sure that throughout the race I was running at a pace between 7:30 and 7:40/mile -- pretty much where I wanted to be if I wanted to qualify.

The first two miles were in that range, and so were the next two. I knew it could be a possibility I could come close to my PR of 46:29 but I kept telling myself that I was here to qualify and not here for a PR.

The last mile came and while I knew there were two hills on the last stretch, I didn't realize one of them was pretty soon after you turned into the neighborhood.

The second one I worked on. Thankfully I was behind two guys who had a decent pace to the finish.

I finished in 46:49, which was 20 seconds off my PR from the 2011 race but not even a time I was expecting considering that just a month ago I struggled at the end of the MLK Day Drum line 5K.

I definitely credit the half-marathon training -- the last four weeks I've run more than 44 miles a week. I think if I were training solely for a 10K I would have done more speed work.

But I'm extremely happy to not have to worry about qualifying for the Peachtree for another 3 years. :)

Time: 7:48 a.m.
Temp: 39 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Big Peach 5 Miler), T-shirt (Race for Research), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30/A.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 2,606: 2 x 3-mile intervals

If today was a normal run, I probably wouldn't note it here. But the night before I went to bed with chills and a slight fever. I wasn't even sure if I would do a mile today.

But today was my first 2 x 3-mile strength intervals on the schedule (1/2 mile recovery). I set out thinking I would at least see how I was before trimming off the run.

It turned out I was able to do the run. I was a little surprised. I didn't try to run faster than my 1/2 mile recovery splits but the data ultimately shows that I did. Halfway through the run I had some gastrointestinal issues and I was trying to figure out where in Atlantic Station to dip into a restroom.

Eventually, I made my way to the IKEA and felt a lot better, although I was dehydrated on the way back (even though I drank water from a fountain there).

I don't know if I really needed to run 7.78 miles total today. In the middle of the run I thought that a day like this would really tell me what I was made of. I think ultimately I was hoping I was less sick than I was but at least another training run was accomplished.

Time: 9:19 a.m.
Temp: 45 degrees
Gear: T-shirt, short, Nike windbreaker, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 2,604: 12-mile run

Two weeks earlier after I ran my first 12-mile run (that wasn't in a race) in recent memory, I really felt it. I was super drained afterward, and it felt a lot like I had run in a half-marathon.

Today the same distance was on the schedule. Instead of running along the hilly PATH trail into Decatur (and along the hills back home along Ponce de Leon Avenue) I followed the Publix Georgia Half Marathon route into the city.

Incidentally, that route was part of my query to a European dude later on.

I'd just made my turnaround and was back on Marietta Avenue when I got passed by the dude. I followed cautiously, telling myself not to break pace to try and pass the guy, who was wearing one of the Atlanta Half Marathon finisher's shirts from the past few years.

But after going for a bit it seemed that he wasn't really going that much faster. So I increased my speed and when I went by him, I asked, "Are you doing the Thanksgiving half-marathon route or the ING?"

When he said, "Neither, I'm doing my own route," I wished him well and then gradually stepped it up and passed him.

I felt pretty good and was a little relieved when I was passing Bobby Dodd Stadium and knew he wasn't following me.

My split data shows that for mile 9, I ran it in 7:38! lol

Anyway, after coming home, I felt pretty good the rest of the day, not being too sore from the run.

Time: 8:34 a.m.
Temp: 36 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long x2 (took one off before the return trip), Nike windbreaker (took it off mid-run), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 2,601: A winter wonderland

Today's run was to be a 7-mile tempo run, including a mile each for warm-up and cool-down. Since it had snowed a day earlier, I did my best to try to think how I was going to accomplish such a feat. In the end, I decided to put the YakTrax on and see how far I could get.

But I also wanted to see the road conditions, so I followed a route that went around Emory University. Part of the run reminded me of the Atlanta 10-Miler in October, as the course comes up on Johnson to Briarcliff. At this intersection, it was really novel to just cross it and not see a single car in sight.

It had been a while since I ran up the big hill on Clifton to what's now the Emory Point development. This hill is so large that I immediately felt like I was overheating and took my windbreaker off. After that it was a nice downhill jaunt to Lullwater Preserve, a beautiful little retreat on the grounds where the university's president's house is.

Although there were lots of footprints in the snow, it was wonderful to run on. There were only a few people

out along the snowy paths. I made a mile detour to run along these paths before continuing on along Clifton to North Decatur Road.

It's pretty much downhill through Emory Village and then the road picks up a hill as it approaches Briarcliff. I decided to see how the other side of the road (Rock Springs) would be and ran down the road's steep slope. I don't know if I'd ever run up Rock Springs to North Highland Avenue before but this was the second largest hill of this run! And by hill, I mean hills that I won't want to do again for a while.

The YakTrax were great but running in them slowed my pace by about a minute a mile. I did notice that one issue with them involved crossing a snowy field in Lullwater Preserve -- a bunch of snow will clump on the bottom of the YakTrax/shoe like a clump of mud will, making things a little awkward. But it doesn't take very much to clear off the snow.

On Clifton, the bottom of part of my running pants got caught on the bottom of my YakTrax, making it really difficult to remove the fabric. I finally did and I have to make sure I don't wear running gear too long for me in the future!

It was extremely fun to tromp around in the snow on what became an 8.5-mile run. Those huge hills will probably keep me from doing the same course again for a while.

Time: 9:39 a.m.
Temp: 32 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (x2), Nike windbreaker, running pants, Solomon Ultra X2/13.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 2,599: 3 x 2-mile intervals

If it turns out that I qualify for Group A of the Peachtree Road Race on Feb. 22 or break four hours for a marathon for the first time in the Dec. 14 Honolulu Marathon, I'll have days like today to thank.

Light rain, a temperature of 36 degrees to 40 degrees and having to do three 2-mile intervals on the schedule. That was in addition to a warm-up and cool-down run and a half-mile recovery in between each set (8.5 miles total).

It was cold when I started. I went down North Highland and didn't start the first interval until I crossed the Moreland/Ponce light. Then I ran along the Olmsted Linear Park parks until getting to Clifton and then turned right and went down to the Candler Market area.

The first set ended just after Candler Park. I really regretted not having gloves on this run because my fingertips were extremely cold. My shoes were long ago soaked but my feet still felt warm. Because I wasn't used to the interval program on my Garmin Forerunner 610, I accidentally hit the "Lap" button and skipped my 1/2 mile rest period. So my second 2-mile interval started immediately.

I turned down Oakdale and then ran up along North Avenue to Moreland. I decided here that I should cut up into Little Five Points to possibly return to the PATH for my third interval. But at L5P I decided to go down Euclid and connect with the Eastside Beltline trail.

This was perfect because it gave me a steady downhill that would resemble the downhill Charles Harris 10K course. There were only a few runners the entire length of this 1.9-mile section. So I opened up on this section and my split times for the final 2-mile interval were 7:38/mile, something that I probably have not done in a long time outside of a race.

Time: 9:04 a.m.
Temp: 40 degrees, light rain
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (2013 Atlanta Half Marathon), North Face windbreaker (more waterproof), hat (AP), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Day 2,598: I signed up for the Charles Harris 10K

Today I popped into the Big Peach store in Brookhaven and signed up for the Charles Harris 10K. The downhill course is popular with people -- including myself -- who want to have a fast qualifying time for the Peachtree Road Race.

This will be my fourth running of the race ... if I run in it. Last year I signed up but decided at the last minute not to race in it.

The qualifying times may change but for 2013, 47:59 was the cut-off to get into Group A of the city's most famous 10K race.

Hopefully I have history on my side. Two of the three times I've run in this race I've run the course fast enough to qualify -- 47:57 during my first time in 2004 and 46:29 in 2011, which bested a PR that I had for 12 years.

If anything, I hope my training will be peaking at the right time. I've been running lots of miles and have added strength and tempo runs as part of my training for the March 23 Publix Georgia Half Marathon.

So with less than two weeks to go, I guess we will see what happens ...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Day 2,597: 10.81 miles

There were a bunch of geocaches downtown that I hadn't gotten to so today for my 10-mile long run I decided I would run downtown and go get them.

It's kind of a novel way to create a running route because it adds variety and you definitely see things you might not on your regular routes.

I went as far south as just south of I-20 and then made my way back to Memorial and past the state capitol. Then I did a short tour of the building that houses the Western & Atlantic Railroad's zero marker and a short stop of the Georgia State campus before finding my final cache at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

Then I ran up Auburn Avenue, like you do in the Publix Georgia Half Marathon and Marathon. Only thing was the street is still cut up from the trolley construction under the Interstate 75/85 overpass so I am wondering if they will have to change the course since the race is only about six weeks away.

On Auburn Avenue I passed the graves of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. This street is one of my favorite places to run in the city.

I came back along the PATH trail from Boulevard and let myself pick up the pace a little the last 2.8 miles.

Time: 9:19 a.m.
Temp: 40-45 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Big Peach 5-Miler), Nike windbreaker (went around my waist at about 1.3 miles), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Day 2,596: The 9,000-mile run

There's just a single notation on my running log/day planner for Jan. 1, 2007. The 4.7 and 3/4 mile run predates this blog and at the time I never even would have thought that nearly 2,600 days later I would still be running and would cross 9,000 miles.

But now, with 9,002.81 miles under my belt, 10,000 miles for the streak doesn't seem so far away. And with it, my goals, to maybe run a 4th (or even a 5th marathon) this year.

Today's run was on one of my favorite routes, my mgrathon training route through Atlantic Station via Piedmont Park and Peachtree Street, also among my top places to run. I love 17th Street because it is so flat and the relatively new development reminds me of places I've been in Europe.

The 6-mile run was categorized as "easy" on my training program so I just tried to enjoy it and not work too hard. I'm thankful to be doing more miles again and to have a structure, which is something I need for my workouts.

Time: 9:28 a.m.
Temp: 38 degrees
Gear:  Long-sleeved T-shirt (Jingle Bell Run '98), shorts, Nike windbreaker, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30/A.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day 2,594: Captured on YouTube!

Two months ago I went out for a light run on the Beltline and to buy some food at Trader Joe's. At the Virginia Avenue overpass there was a film crew from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They told me the agency was going to give the city an award for creating this unique corridor and asked me if I would talk about how I use it.

So I did. After many years of interviewing people, it was a lot harder to talk on the fly. They also took video of me pushing the stroller along the Beltline. We continued along our route and then came back to Trader Joe's for our groceries. When we went back on the Beltline, they were there and filmed even more of our run.

Today I received an email about the award and sure enough, there was the YouTube video. It was kind of novel to see myself back at that day. They used just a snippet of the interview, but that was good enough for me!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Day 2,592: 4 x 1.5 mile intervals

Today's run was a little different, in that I didn't stay in Piedmont Park for this workout except for the very last interval.

The run took me along the streets to Atlantic Station and back. And like my 6-mile tempo run on Jan. 23, it involved the stroller.

I don't mind doing these workouts with the little one since I just estimate the weight of the stroller (about 25 pounds) and the weight of the little one (about the same) and then just multiply that by 2 seconds. That's the amount of time per mile I would be slower than normal.

The workout was to be 4 x 1.5 mile intervals with a half mile rest distance in between. Somehow I didn't save the right rest distance so the watch only let me rest for a quarter-mile instead. It ended up being ok.

Despite having run crazy distances the last few weeks (33+ miles two weeks ago, 43+ miles last week), I haven't felt too bad during these runs/workouts. The last 3 days I've run more than 25 miles.

Near the last interval my left knee felt a little banged up but feels fine now.

Time: 8:18 a.m.
Temp: 45 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long, Nike windbreaker, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day 2,589: 12-mile run

Today was time for a 12-mile run, something I hadn't done in a long time. Because I had a geocache near the Avondale station that needed maintenance, I decided I would connect with the Atlanta-to-
Stone Mountain PATH trail in my neighborhood and work my way over.

I was pretty amazed how long it had been since I'd run this section of the PATH trail, mainly because of how hilly it was!

I reached Avondale station after 6.5 miles of running. Because of that (and knowing I didn't want to have to run up some of the huge hills I'd run down on the way into Decatur) I decided to shorten my route and run back along Ponce de Leon.

After about 6.5 miles I felt hungry, as I'm sure I'd burned off the half peanut butter and guava jelly sandwich I had before the run, but I didn't break into my bags of Sport Beans or GU that I had with me. At about mile 8 I felt fine.

I was pretty pleased with the data, as it showed that I steadily got faster from mile 1 to 12 and I was happy that I didn't run too much over 12 miles to get back home.

Time: 8:48 a.m.
Temp: 48 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Atlanta 10-miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 30.