Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 2,810: An eventful August

Today I finished the second of back-to-back 10-milers and was glad it was over. In doing so I ran 235.28 miles for the month, the most of any month that I've ever run.

I also crossed 10,000 miles for the streak this month and logged my longest run in a foreign country (10.65 miles in Munich on Aug. 17).

In August 2010 I ran 210 miles in the lead-up to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It's hard to tell whether any of this work will help on race day but I feel pretty comfortable running up some of the harder hills in the city.

Today it was cool out but the humidity made the run pretty brutal. I started out in Morningside checking on a few caches, then made my way to Piedmont Commons, into Piedmont Park and along Piedmont Avenue to the start of the PATH trail.

Then I followed the middle 5 miles of the ING half-marathon course until I was back home.

Time: 6:58 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees (100 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Charles Harris 2014), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 2,803: 15-mile run

This morning was one of the hottest it's been in a long while -- 74.6 degrees with 96 percent humidity. So those were the conditions in which I started off on my longest run in more than four years.

After doing the 14-mile run two weeks ago and having to run with a completely soaked shirt, I brought not one but two extra shirts with me for this workout. It turned out that I didn't wear either of them so was just basically carrying some dead weight the entire time.

It took me four miles until I was able to run at the training pace of about 9:30 min/mile. I'm not sure why I struggled with this but I guess it is true that this training program is designed to simulate the fatigue you're going to have in an actual marathon.

At about 9.6 miles I drank three-fourths of the water I had on me. I should have checked into the CVS then and bought some Powerade. Instead, I waited two miles until I was in Atlantic Station and finally bought some at the Publix there.

It took me three miles to get back on pace and I only made pace during this run for eight of the 15 miles. What's interesting about this run is the paces are very similar to my last run of that length. It could be that stopping for the Powerade threw my pace off each time.

One thing I have noticed in the last few runs, particularly the longer ones is that the stiffness of the Nike Air Pegasus 31s that I complained about previously actually feels good at the end of long workouts. My feet feel locked in and although I like running in the softer Saucony Kinvara 5s, I probably will go with these Nikes for the marathon.

Time: 7:07 a.m.
Temp: 74.6 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Champion gray, another great shirt to run in for these conditions), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 31.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 2,796: Running in Munich

MUNICH, Germany -- There was a 10-mile run on my marathon training schedule for Sunday. Only I was far away from home in Germany and I didn't even know what it would be like to run on the roads.

Luckily we were staying at a hotel near the airport, which is nestled in the countryside along farm roads. I set out nearly an hour before sunrise, pretty much running in the dark along one of those farm roads. The weather was pretty cool and felt wonderful.

Even at that hour, planes were landing at this busy airport. When it got lighter along my run, you could see places where they even put in benches for planespotters.

The area was pretty flat, which also was good for the run. I basically made it a 5-mile out, 5-mile back run and I was back before I knew it. The new shoes were great again and I guess there will be a little bit of competition to see whether I run in my Nike Air Pegasus+ 31s or those.

It turned out to be the longest run that I've done outside the United States, surpassing a 7.62-mile run with the wife on Dec. 6, 2011 in London.

Time: 5:22 a.m.
Temp: 48 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (pathtags), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 2.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 2,794: The double-switch

Heading into the weekend, I had a dilemma -- as my schedule existed I would have to run 26 miles in 3 days in Munich, Germany.

But then I used a trick in baseball -- the double-switch. Here are the days I needed to rotate:

Schedule: Wednesday, 1 mile run; Friday, easy 6 miles; Saturday, easy 10 miles; Sunday, easy 10 miles.
Switch: Wednesday: Easy 6 miles, Friday, easy 10 miles, Saturday, 1-mile run; Sunday, easy 10 miles.

It turned out to work very well. I ran 6-miles on Wednesday, just a day after doing my interval workout. Then on Friday, after doing my 7-mile tempo run (9 miles total), I did a 10-mile run that took me downtown to the famous spot of where Rick Grimes enters the city of Atlanta on horseback.

I did that run using my new Saucony Kinvara 2 trainers. They felt extremely great out of the box and it was that performance that earned them a ticket to Germany for my overseas running.

It also was fortunate that I scheduled myself only a 1-mile run on Saturday. After taking a 9-hour redeye flight from Atlanta, I was pretty tired and not really wanting to do a longer run. We really didn't have the time anyway to stop for more than that, since we also did a road trip to the Czech Republic.

Time: 7:07 a.m.
Temp: 62 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Publix Georgia Marathon/Half Marathon promo), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 2.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 2,793: How to derail a loyal running shoe customer

                           A brand-new pair of Saucony Kinvara 5s.

If you looked back at my 10,000-mile running streak, all you would see on my running logs are workouts using Nike's venerable Air Pegasus shoe. In fact, my love affair with this model of shoe dates back all the way to March 5, 2001, when I broke in a new pair on a 3.425-mile run.

Before that I had been wearing Nike's Air International Max trainer, which at the time reminded me much of the shoe that I loved the most, Nike's Air Max Triax. That shoe carried me through top running events including the Hood to Coast relay and the Portland Marathon.

The reason I bring this up today is that today I received a special delivery, something I have not done in 17 years. I purchased a non-Nike trainer with the intent that it could be a replacement.

In June I dutifully purchased Nike's new version of the Air Pegasus shoe -- their 31. I was happy at the time, as I always am happy to buy the next iteration of something that I love. The 31s look and feel fast and do not have the dull monotone colors that I hated in the previous year's 30 version.

But the 31s also did something last year's shoe does not -- added stiffness that roils my feet during runs. I've mentioned in the past how it would take me 70 miles or so to break in a new pair of shoes so my feet would not have such excruciating pain. Even during today's 9-mile run that same stiffness came into play.

My Nike 31s have 242 miles on them, prompting me to look into a new pair to have some choices before the Oct. 26 Marine Corps Marathon.  Between now and race day, I will easily run another 500 miles -- the point when it's recommended that you replace a pair of shoes -- so I want to make sure that I have shoes that agree with me on long runs.

So when I read that the new Saucony Kinvara 5 was an Editor's Choice pick in Runners World magazine, I felt it was worth a try. I haven't worn Sauconys since I was in my 20s living in Japan. (Interestingly I started off in high school wearing Nikes and then went to Saucony and New Balance during my time in Japan and eventually came back to Nikes).

These new Sauconys look aggressive and feel great. If they run great then I will have some decisions to make, probably not something a shoe company that had me locked into their brand for 17 straight years wants to hear.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 2,791: The difference four degrees makes?

Today was interval day and I was looking forward to the challenge. On the schedule I was supposed to do 3 x 1 mile intervals, with a .35-mile recovery.

Last night I read a new version of the training program I am using (actually the half-marathon book) and it mentioned that the most gains come from intervals being run between 2 and 6 minutes in length and that if my pace exceeded this 6-minute threshold I should not do the longer distance. The older version -- my marathon training plan -- does not have this extra sentence.

Since my last interval pace was more than 7 minutes I opted instead today to do 4 x .75-mile intervals with a 1/4-mile recovery.

It still felt cool out despite the added temperature but I could feel that I wasn't going as fast as I'd been. Maybe it was the temperature and maybe it was the added fatigue of just having done a 14-mile run at (long-run) pace two days earlier.

In any event, I decided to not worry about the pace since all four intervals still fell within my training goal (7:32, 7:30, 7:16, 7:43).

There's only two more weeks of speed training left and then the rest of the way is strength training.

Time: 7:12 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Champion, red), shorts, Skechers Go Run 2.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Day 2,789: 14-mile run

Today was my first 14-mile run in three years and my second long run at pace (9:30/mile or so). I had a bunch of caches to check on/maintain so the route was easy enough, following the PATH trail into Decatur.

It was a humid day again so it wasn't too long before I was soaked. I got pretty thirsty at mile 9.67 or so and stopped at a store for some Powerade. I drank 3/4 of the 32-ounce bottle (I finished off the bottle two miles later and was pretty much fine for the rest of the run).

I thought about buying a T-shirt at the store but was glad I didn't. Even though I was pretty soaked, the air made my shirt feel cool when I stepped back outside.

I think I made pace for most of the run. It will be hard to tell, though, since I accidentally erased the data or it erased itself for me.

I guess what counted is that I got the workout in and now tomorrow is Week 8 of my marathon training.

Time: 7:09 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Doug Kessler 10K, which is probably the best shirt I have to wear in situations like these in which I know I will be running with a soaked shirt), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 31.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Day 2,778: 10,000 miles!

It's funny that just eight months ago I knew that I would eventually hit 10,000 miles for the running streak but did not know whether it would be in 2014.

Today I reached that mark, crossing the 1,186.11 miles needed for the year to reach the five-digit running threshold.

It really hasn't been too much on the mind as of late, since my marathon workouts have been pretty intense. Today I finished 8 miles for the day to have 49.5 miles for the week. Tomorrow is a 14-mile long run.

I had some caches to check on so I ran in Midtown and to Atlantic Station. Although it was hot, the run was pleasant. There was no set pace that I had to run at and really nothing in particular I needed to do later on.

When the watch beeped at 8 miles, I paid attention to the next two-hundredths of a mile -- the exact point where I would cross 10,000 miles for the streak -- and then finished out the run.

Now it's a 14-mile run and 10 more weeks of training until the big race.

Time: 7:49 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Atlanta Track Club), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 31.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Day 2,774: Climbing the ladder

Today was my first ladder workout and I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.

A ladder is an interval progression. It involved a quarter mile run, followed by a half-mile, three-quarters mile and then a full mile and on down to three-quarters mile and a half mile. There was a quarter-mile recovery run in between.

Add a mile warmup and cooldown at either end and you're looking at a 7-1/4 mile run.

I actually looked forward to the shorter intervals on the ladder since it has been a while since I've been able to tackle them. Sure enough, on the quarter-mile, I ran a 6:57/mile pace.

The others were also decent enough: 7:06, 7:09, 7:16, 7:20, 7:17. The pace was fast yet I still felt like I had a bunch in the tank.

It was nice to see that after a few weeks of intervals I've developed a little more speed.

Time: 6:45 a.m.
Temp: 68 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Georgia Marathon), shorts, Skechers Go Run 2.