Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 2,837: Another monthly mileage record

Today's 9.52-mile strength interval run gave me 246.85 miles for the month (8.23 miles a day average), the most I've ever run.

Of course, marathon training helps. It surpasses my all-time high last month of 235.28 miles.

So far I've run 1,602.44 miles for the year and it puts me on pace to break for the first time 2,000 miles in a year. I came close in 2010, the last year I had a marathon push, but could not break the mark with 1,776.55 miles that year.

That's probably the most miles I've run in any year. So I imagine next month, along with a marathon to run, I'll be on track to exceed that milestone as well.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Day 2,828: 16-mile run

Today was my second of three 16-mile runs I will do in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon.

I decided to use this run as a shakedown of my hydration and fueling plan. Last week they announced that CamelBak-style hydration packs will be allowed in the Oct. 26 race. So I decided to test this out in a run.

First, I went downstairs and pulled out my old CamelBak. It hadn't been used in four years -- I used it in my training runs for the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon but did not use it during the race.

When I finally got myself running, right away I liked that it wasn't in the way like when I carry that 20-ounce bottle on the hip belt. The water in it bounced around but I didn't worry about it too much.

My plan was to consume more gels than I'd ever done in training, basically every 2 miles. So I consumed 7 GU gels at that rate. It was ok although I did feel like the gels really stuck to my mouth on miles 12 and 14.

Since I didn't really know how much water I would consume, I told myself I would just take six swallows of water every 2 miles. I did this although in mile 14 when I knew I was about to finish the run I took 14 swallows since there was a bunch of water remaining. During the last mile I drank 24 swallows and there still was water in the pack.

When I finished the run, I drank about 18 more swallows of water and the pack probably has about 6 ounces left in it.

I ran along the Emory neighborhoods that were my downfall in the 2010 ING race. I decided that if I needed to, the Publix on Ponce or the Emory village shops would be available if I needed water or a toilet on the run.

But luckily, there's so much construction going on in this neighborhood that there were plenty of portapotties. I was thankful to use one 4.8 miles into the run. But I also saw them at 5.1 miles, 5.4 miles, 6.7 miles and 7.5 miles in. I only had to use it once but it was reassuring to see so many on the run.

My Nike Air Pegasus 31s hurt my feet in the first 3/4 of a mile but eventually didn't the rest of the way. After I showered my right foot hurt a little but didn't bother me the rest of the day. I hit my pace 12 of the 16 miles so I feel that was a success.

Because I waited so long to start, it got to 80 degrees near the end of the run. Around mile 13 I really wanted to quit but I told myself most of the rest of the way would be downhill. It seemed like a struggle to keep the pace but I eventually did.

The gels did help in that my legs don't seem so tapped now. I wonder if it would be better if I took them every mile.

That will be something to think about for the future.

Time: 9:50 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (rose to 80 degrees)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Braves Father's Day 4-miler 2012), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 31.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day 2,825: Bloody nipples!

So I went on my 9-mile tempo run today and when I was cooling off in the driveway, I noticed something different about my sweat-stained shirt.

There were faint blotches on my chest. When I took a shower, sure enough, I discovered I had one of running's oddest maladies -- two bloody nipples.

I'm only writing about this because I think it's the only time in training that it's ever happened. I think it only happened once in a race, the 2010 ING Georgia Marathon. That time I only suffered one.

I blame it on the silk screen on my technical T-shirt. I'll have to be a little more wary in the future.

Time: 8:15 a.m.
Temp: 66 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt (Doug Kessler 10K), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Day 2,823: My first 60-mile week

Today's 10-mile easy run gave me 60.41 miles for the week, the most I've ever run in a 7-day period.

I ran 58.99 miles for the week of August 15-21 in 2010 (just eight weeks before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon) but that included an 18-miler and a 20-miler.

For this past week, the most I ran in a day was a 16-mile run on Sunday. I ran 10 miles or more for four of the seven days.

Today's run was hot but not quite as hot as on Friday. Just before 5 miles I stopped into Colony Square and drank some very nicely chilled water from a water fountain in the W hotel. I was completely soaked by the time I turned around at the 5th Street overpass (lots of people tailgating for the Georgia Tech game).

Then around mile 7 I was thankful that Big Peach Midtown on Peachtree Street had a water cooler out. I drank about five cups of water there. Drank about two full bottles of Gatorade after I came back.

Time: 8:50 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Asics blue), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Day 2,822: Just crazy heat

At this point in my marathon training I normally wouldn't even bother to write about a measly 6-mile run but I'm doing so today because of the crazy heat and humidity.

It had rained earlier in the morning so outside it just felt steamy. I also noticed a difference when the handlebars of the BOB stroller were completely soaked. I don't even think I'd run 1.5 miles yet and I was looking for a dry spot to hold on to.

At about four miles my shirt and shorts were completely soaked, something that I can expect if I'm running for maybe twice as long as I was.

I thought about just shelving the run for the day but I kept at it and was happy to get home. I drank a full bottle of Gatorade even though I stopped for water twice in the park.

Later on when I saw my data, I couldn't believe it -- it was 75 degrees with 89 percent humidity! It will be nice when the cool weather sets in for the season.

Time: 8:44 a.m.
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (CS yellow), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Day 2,817: 16-mile run

Today was the first of three 16-mile runs I will do for marathon training. After struggling through the 15-mile run two weeks ago I wanted to make sure I was as prepared as possible.

This route I planned with having grocery stores where I could get water every four miles or so and other stores where I could purchase it in between. I also brought five GU gel packs and had a basic strategy of taking the first one after mile 6.

Things basically went according to plan. I stopped just after mile 6 to find a cache and then I drank a little bit of water and ate my first GU gel, one called salted watermelon. It was a little too salty for me and it had a kind of Jolly Rancher aftertaste.

Just after Mile 8 I was in downtown Decatur. I ran past the Big Peach store thinking maybe they would have a water cooler out -- they didn't but no matter, since there was a water fountain that worked in Decatur Square.

I turned up Claremont Avenue. In my original plan (since I didn't know about the Decatur Square water fountain) I would have run to the Kroger here to get water.

I also had planned to stop for water at the Publix store at North Decatur and Clairmont just before mile 10. But my water bottle was full so I didn't cross the street and stop.

At about Mile 10.55 I had another GU gel, Mandarin Orange. It had an ok taste, not really my favorite. About a mile later, at 11.66 at the top of North Decatur and Briarcliff I drank all of my water. I went the next 1.6 miles with an empty bottle until I stopped at the Publix on Ponce (really cold water here!).

Then I finished the last 3 miles in the neighborhood. On Virginia Avenue at mile 14.5, I had my third GU gel, the Tri-Berry flavor that I usually purchase.

I was pretty soaked and had brought a spare shirt but didn't change it during the run. I felt pretty good except the last mile. I made pace in 14 of 16 miles (the first and last miles being slower).

I have to find a way to have more water with me or drink more when I run. Maybe next time I will have to bring out my Camelbak.

Time: 7:19 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Champion grey), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 31.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 2,815: A gel in time and waiting on my Garmin

Today was the last of my 8-mile tempo runs. Next week it will be a 9-mile tempo run (11 miles total) and then four weeks later, the 10-mile tempo run (12 miles total).

Because the tempo portion of the run is just slightly slower than half-marathon pace, the runs kind of feel like doing a half-marathon race ... every week. During last week's 8-mile tempo run I realized as I entered Piedmont Commons with 1.5 miles left in the tempo portion of the run that I needed to treat the run like I would an actual race.

And that means taking GU gels. Normally I don't like to use them during training workouts since it's kind of like eating money (they cost about $1 a piece). But they have been magic for me in the past in the half marathon (I take one at Mile 9 and it usually is good for the next four miles to close out the race).

For the 10-mile run today, I decided that I would take it after running six miles (five miles of that in tempo), so it would cover the last four miles of the run.

It worked beautifully. Eating a gel at the right time in a race gives you confidence to finish strong. In today's workout I could tell that I had extra energy, or rather, wasn't taking energy out of my legs (although 2.5 miles after taking the gel I thought I could have used another one -- but I didn't carry any extras). After I finished running I just drank water instead of a Gatorade. The rest of the day my legs felt fine instead of feeling like I've just run in a race.


The other thing that I noticed today is how long it takes for my Garmin Forerunner 610 to determine my average pace. Normally in a shorter race like a 5K or a 10K this doesn't matter so much since I am just trying to run flat out.

But for the marathon, running at the right pace is crucial since running too fast at the start can sink you after Mile 20.

In today's tempo run I noticed that right after each mile split, it took a while for the Garmin to arrive at an average pace even though I was running at a steady pace! In one instance in Piedmont Park it took more than a quarter mile (and maybe up to a half mile) before it could decide on my pace.

About a month ago I was running on the PATH trail near The Carter Center when my watch just finished recording my second mile lap. Then I noticed my pace was very slow so I tried to run faster to counter this. Now I know that the watch was trying to determine my pace and I wasn't running any slower than I was before my second mile.

Time: 7:03 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Atlanta Beltline Southwest 5K), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5. (1 GU gel).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Day 2,814: The stroller + toddler speed test

I'd read somewhere that every extra pound you have costs you two seconds per mile. I was able to test that wisdom today dropping off the little guy to preschool and then running some more on a 7-mile run.

My data showed that on this easy run, I ran about a 12-minute mile for 3.5 miles with a 25-pound BOB stroller and a 25-pound toddler.

When I dropped him off, I ran another mile (to drop off the stroller) and I ran an 11-minute mile. It was actually pretty hard to run with an empty stroller. The front wheel kept on wanting to jump up all the time.

After I put away the stroller, my last 2.5 miles were in the 9:30-10 minute mile range.

I guess it seems obvious the more weight you have on you, the slower it's going to be pushing it all around.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Publix Georgia Half Marathon 2014), shorts, Saucony Kinvara 5.