Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 3,093: Braves Country 5K

Although I'd run in two previous Braves Country races under the 4-mile format, this was the first time I was running in it as a 5K race.

Not surprisingly, it was a hot morning at 78 degrees and I told myself that I would need to take it easy this time around. The person running the loudspeaker constantly told us to also mind the weather.

So when the race started, I took a comfortable pace. When I looked down early on, it said 7:20/mile. I was a little surprised since I'd gone a whole week in which I was unable to finish two separate interval workouts and a tempo run. So I wasn't sure what to expect.

My first mile seemed promising. The data shows it as 7:16/mile. I just continued on at what I thought was an even pace and I closed out the second mile in 7:18.

On the final mile I could feel people picking up their paces and I did so as well. I could feel myself double puffing right before Mile 3 and it really did feel like how I felt in those races in which I've logged a sub-7 mile. The data says I did this mile in 6:56, which would be the first time in any race in which I've run a sub-7 for the last part of the race.

I remembered to tell myself to not wait until we entered the field to kick since there isn't really too much race left at that point. So I did right after Mile 3 and really tried to motivate myself to kick hard on the warning track. I was running so fast that my shirt was riding up over my belly. 

Right before the finish line, I mean no more than 20 feet, some middle-aged guy stopped to catch his breath before continuing. It caused me to slow down and alter my path a little bit but I wasn't too concerned as it was the end of the race.

I ended up with 22:26, which is now my third fastest 5K time and the fastest 5K I've done outside of my PR at the May 30 Kettle Krush 5K. I felt happy that I ran a solid race and despite the race conditions (hot, hilly) performed well. My Saucony Type A6 shoes were again excellent when I needed them most. I think I might just use them in these kinds of races and do interval training with my older Skechers Go Run 3s.

Beets: We had takeout last night so I didn't make my usual beet salad. But the other day at Whole Foods I picked up Red Ace Organic Beet Performance Supplement, a 2-ounce bottle that claims to have 3 beets in it. I drank it -- it didn't taste bad at all -- an hour before the race started. I'll have to get a case of this stuff since my legs were not sore at all when the race ended.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 78 degrees but breezy
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Charles Harris 2009), shorts, Saucony Type A6.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Day 3,086: What turns an easy run into a tempo run? Music.

Today I had four easy miles on the schedule so I thought it would be a perfect time to try out my new 7th generation iPod and more importantly, a pair of wireless running headphones.

Back in the day I loved running with music but it was pesky to have the headphone cord sometimes yanked out. So when I saw the new iPods had this capability, I was very curious.

I bought a pair of Jaybuds Bluebuds X Sport Bluetooth Headphones after reading some reviews on different kinds of wireless headphones.

When I started running this morning I didn't think they were going to work well. The cord that connects the two earbuds together was flopping around behind my neck but later in the run everything was fine.

I found that the music made me want to run faster and I ended up running what I should have run Thursday for my 3-mile tempo run.

Bluetooth makes for a nifty way to listen to music during the run. The headphones offer decent, but not exemplary, sound quality -- I felt like when I was back at home the earbuds that came with my Galaxy S6 smartphone were better for overall sound so I plugged those in for listening around the house.

But for running, I may be hooked on workouts with wireless headphones.

Temp: 70 degrees (88 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (2014 Publix Half Marathon In Training), shorts, Saucony Iso Zealot.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 3,085 8 x 20-second strides

This morning I decided to incorporate strides into my easy run routine after reading an article about them in Runner's World.

Basically, the article recommended throwing in eight 20-second strides during easy run workouts to be able to better handle changing gears and speeds in a race.

I decided to do four of them after Mile 1 of my workout and the remaining four after Mile 2. When I was doing them, it felt like 20 seconds was such a short amount of time, that it takes me about that long to ramp up to interval workout speed.

My data shows that I ran similar to interval speeds during those short spurts: (5:56, 7:17, 6:46, 6:49, 6:20, 7:19, 6:27, 6:59).

It felt great doing some extra speedwork -- I felt like I was more alert in the run than when I am just trying to slog out four easy miles.

Time: 6:33 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees (94 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Marine Corps Marathon "Mission Focus"), shorts, Saucony Iso Zealot.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 3,084: 3-mile tempo run

This morning I headed out for my first tempo run of this half-marathon training. Because all three half marathons I'm signed up for are hilly, I decided to run it along the Summerfest 5K route that I just raced this past weekend.

I felt like being able to run it at a pace well below my goal tempo pace (8:04/mile) during the 5K would be a confidence booster.

But during the tempo run, my goal pace never materialized. The best I got was 8:34/mile for the first mile and then nuttin' after. I pretty much called it a day after the first tempo mile, although I finished the run for 5 miles total.

It was a nice enough morning to run even if I didn't make my goal.

This afternoon I received my confirmation email for the Peachtree Road Race and I got into Group A. It's been an interesting year. I guess with pushing a double stroller since the end of September has really strengthened me and continuing to do speed intervals has also helped give me speed and confidence that I never thought was possible, especially this late in my running career.

Time: 6:31 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees (100 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Publix Half Marathon 2014, shorts, Saucony Iso Zealot).

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 3,082: 12 x 400 intervals

Today was the first set of intervals for my half-marathon training plan. I came into this workout with a few goals in mind and that was apparently a few goals too many.

In the past I was quite content to run at a 7:17/mile pace for intervals but today I was swinging for the fences, trying to run sub-7 for each one, being recently tantalized by the idea of breaking my new PR of 21:27 with an outside goal of qualifying as a sub-seed for the Peachtree Road Race with a 20:14 or better 5K time.

It was hot and humid and I felt the effects quickly. I went 1:46.2 (7:05/mile), 1:46.4 (7:06/mile), 1:42 (6:48/mile) and 1:31.4 (6:06/mile) for the first mile.

The second mile came and I went 1:49.4 (7:17/mile) and then on the 6th interval felt like I did not want to continue doing 7 more intervals. So I stopped. I've had busted workouts before so it wasn't that big of a deal for me. Next time I might pick a pace that is in between what I hope to do and what I have been doing.

It was fortunate that I stopped, since when I was walking my way around Lake Clara Meer, I looked up at the Active Oval and saw Frank from Running for the second half of my life. I'd never met him before so I walked to where there were steps to enter the oval and quickly introduced myself.

It was a nice way to end a broken workout.

Time: 6:25 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees (89 percent humidity)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Doug Kessler 10K), shorts, Saucony Type A6.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 3,079: Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K

This year was the seventh running of the race for me and this year I didn't have high expectations for this race since I was coming off of a 5K last week that bested my PR by nearly a minute.

But it's a great community event and a nice family outing (little K. ran in the tot trot for the first time last year). Since the in-laws are in town, it was the first time in four years we did not have to run in the race with a stroller.

With typically more than 1,000 people running in the race, the start is nearly always congested on Virginia Avenue.

Somehow when the race started I was able to find an opening and run forward. Because the first part starts downhill there were lots of people in front of me that I wouldn't normally expect to run at a 7-minute-mile pace. But there were.

It seemed like it was no time when we reached the 1.5-mile point. I remember this because I had to stop and tie my shoe when I ran in the race in 2008.

At the second mile I recorded a 7:12 and after the worst of the hills were over with I looked down at my watch and saw I was blowing myself up with a 7:41 pace.

But it helped to know the rest of the course and I ended the third mile at a 7:33 pace. The very end I could feel myself accelerate and finished strongly but not at an impossible pace (5:44/mile).

I finished with my best time on the course in seven tries, 22:35, three seconds better than my then-PR of 22:38 in 2010. Of the 5Ks I've run in with hills this year, this is my fastest time.

Beets: We made the beet and goat cheese salad again the night before and then I had a small amount of beets in the morning with toast less than an hour before the race. I think I ate such a small amount it didn't really have any effect but regardless, my legs felt fine after the hilly race.

Time: 8:02 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Doug Kessler 10K), shorts, Saucony Type A6.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 3,074: It's harder to be a Peachtree 10K "A" lister

This year during registration for the Peachtree Road Race, the Atlanta Track Club removed their time standard table from their web site, making it unclear what time you needed to get into particular group corrals for the July 4th race.

Now that they are mailing race bibs out, the time standard table is back and it's clear that demand for Group A caused them to require slightly faster times for getting into the first non-seeded group in the 10K race.

Despite this, it became slightly easier to get into other stage groups.

This year, to get into Group A, you needed to submit a time of 47:39 for a 10K or 22:58 for a 5K. Last year all you needed was a respective time of 47:59 or 23:01 to get in. (In the recent past, all you needed was a 10K time of 50 minutes or better for Group A and 55 minutes for Group B).

This year, I submitted my 22:44 time from the Hawks Fast Break 5K and while I haven't received my bib yet, I think it will be good enough for Group A again.

A time of 51:05 for a 10K or 24:37 for a 5K is needed for Group B (last year it was 50:59/24:28). And for Group C, a time of 54:01 or 26:02 (53:59 or 25:54 last year) is needed. You can still compare the times with the 2013 time standards for the race that's still preserved on the Vinings Downhill 5K web site.

This year I printed out hardcopies of the time standards just for reference for future years.

Like any race (the Boston Marathon, for example) that uses time standards, if you're gunning for inclusion, it's best to set your sights for running faster than the standard since a glut of runners vying for qualification could cause the standard to be more difficult than in previous years.