McMullen tempo, speedwork, shoes

Started out the new running week (running weeks start in Saturday) with McMullen Creek from 51 all the way to Rea (including the steeplechase construction portion at Johnston). PM was up for a 6:30am start, which was a good thing since the lot was already starting to get busy. DJ showed up and seems ready to resume his Boston quest this year, and PM’s friend R joined us for the first time, and according to PM was there specifically to “kick my ass”; good thing I brought my heart rate monitor for the first time in over a year!

First six out were mild 8:15-ish miles, and I stuck a solid 120bpm all the way out. R and I took off on the way back, intending to run about a five-minute negative split, but we ended up running mid-to-low 6’s (I think) for 4.5 miles; all I’m sure of is that I was at 140bpm for the first two tempo miles, 150 for the third, and then popped 160 over the last mile. He seemed to have plenty of speed left, but I was pushing all out. Awesome getting to chase, which is exactly what I need to get some speed for the Fall. Nobody human runs 2:50 marathons at a 120 heart rate, after all.

Plus, R is on our Blue Ridge Relay team, which means I won’t be the fastest on the team. Sweet! I’ll still happily take spot 2, which is going to bring a new meaning to the name “Crazy Legs”.

In other running news, speedwork on the track has gone well for the past two weeks, though I might finally puke the next time we do 10x400m in 100F temp. Asics finally released the new rev for my favorite racing shoe, the Gel-Speedstar 3, and I have a pair on order. I’ve been doing my speedwork in some new two-models-old DS Trainers I pulled out of the closet and might try the new ones if I don’t love the Speedstar 3 like I did the 2.

Uwharrie 2008

I had a wonderful time at the Uwharrie Mountain Run last weekend. The race is very well organized, with good coordination at the start and finish and great support along the course. Very highly recommended.

Showing off 20-miler finisher pottery

I ran the 20 miler as my final long run before a fast attempt at Myrtle Beach next weekend, and was able to avoid any major injuries despite the tricky footing (wet feet, minor blisters, and very sore climbing muscles don’t count). While I tried to remain very conservative and not race (I started mid-pack and cautiously stayed behind traffic for most of the first 8 miles), I was happy I ran every hill except the first. I still finished in 3:28 and some change, good enough for 18th overall. I want to return next year and race it.

Susi deserves congratulations; she finished a very respectable 18th female in her first long trail race. Jeri, out with a big ankle sprain, was great to have there in support.

More photos behind the link

Regarding my running log

One of my intentions for 2008 was to keep a more diligent log of my exercise. So far, I’m succeeding, and it’s already helping. I suspect most readers of this don’t much care about the daily details of training, so I’ve moved the updates to pages that won’t spill over into the blog. January is here, February here. Feed subscribers rejoice, all three of you.

Why log training activity? This may sound crazy, but my mental window of focus is only a few days wide, and glancing at the past few weeks of training work helps a little in regaining confidence. When I’m not having any trouble with focus or motivation (not-coincidentally, this is usually when I’m mostly group training, but that’s worthy of its own discussion) a training log is little more than a bragging point, and can help a little with a final psyche-up for a big race effort. A daily log is more useful, however, when I’m almost completely distracted, and daily motivation is at a low. Like right now. My past few weeks have been very light, with my ability to get up and motivated in the morning very difficult, due to a mix of some late nights I’ve been putting in and a bit of injury. Due to weekend long runs I’ve still kept overall mileage up around 40 or so, but I don’t feel like I’m doing anything. Why not? I honestly can’t remember what I did just last week unless I write it down, and I get depressed very quickly, panicked that my training base is slipping away.

Are you having trouble staying motivated after setting yet another yearly goal of losing some weight, getting in shape, or just sticking to a plan? Maybe a secret to accomplishing these goals is keeping daily logs.

Running progress

Readers of this may find it hard to believe, but before this morning I had not run since last Sunday. This was mostly due to a sore ankle I was allowing to heal, but later in the week laziness simply got the best of me. I paid for this activity on the 22 miler with Martino and Dougherty this morning; even though most of my discomfort was due to some stomach cramps that started around mile 14, my calf muscles got crampy and hurt for the last half. I was happy to have a group to fall back on.

Biggest news is that Charlie appears to have separated his shoulder on a ride and won’t be able to do the upcoming Uwharrie race. Dude! I was looking forward to seeing them at the race, even if we were going to be on different races.

Regarding Uwharrie, Jeri, Susi and I visited the northern trail head last Sunday and checked out the top half of the course. The elevation changes were serious, but not nearly as bad as I was fearing. Footing is often sketchy with all the rocks around, but wouldn’t be so bad in the Spring when the leaves are gone. My aforementioned ankle/achilles was very evident toward the end of the run.

So, Uwharrie and Myrtle Beach are coming up, and I’m not yet at 100%. Still, with an easy pace on the trails I think I can still be ready to break 3 hours two weeks later.

Training Log

With two weeks until Thunder Road, I started the Sat-through-Friday week with the large group run of the second half of the course. It’s definitely not a flat course, but I’m not discouraged from attempting a fast time.

I felt a bit sick late Sunday, and took off from running until Wednesday.

  • Saturday: Pre-run 6ish miler, followed by about 14 miles along the second half of the Thunder Road course.
  • Sunday: 5 or so miles out at the Whitewater Center trails with the ladies.
  • Wednesday: 15 minutes on the treadmill at the gym. Felt decent considering the time off.
  • Thursday: 7-8 miles in the afternoon. Normal 7.5 miler, but I continued down Queens at the college and finished up Morehead.

Big 3-hour solo run yesterday (my 15 miler out to the hospital, followed by the same run I did Thursday), and about 12 easy miles this morning with Jeri and Susi. Feeling a bit sluggish mentally, but I think my legs are there.

Training Log

Thunder Road is in four weeks, so keeping up a base training schedule. I’ve done a morning 15 miler some time in the last two weeks that I haven’t logged, though I don’t think I missed a run this week:

  • Saturday: Dowd Y Half Marathon (13.1 mi), very fast.
  • Monday: 10 miles in the morning.
  • Tuesday: 7.5 miles in the morning.
  • Thursday: 7.5 miles in the morning.

38 miles, which is a good place to build for Thunder Road. I did 21 this morning (13+ with Paul, retracing the Dowd race route, then my normal 7.5 mile loop solo) and I felt very strong. My legs were tired with the distance (I did not eat at all during the run), but my cardio felt great. Thunder Road might be a good opportunity to rip a fast one.

Training log

Three weeks ago:

  • Sunday: 26.2 blazing fast miles in wonderful Portland, OR.
  • Wednesday: 7.5 miles in the morning, plus 20 minutes on the treadmill at the gym. 10 miles.
  • There was another run in here somewhere?

Two weeks ago:

  • Saturday: 12 miles at McMullen with Paul.
  • Monday: 7.5 miles in the morning, 20 treadmill minutes. 10 miles.
  • Wednesday: Repeat of Monday; 10 miles total.
  • Thursday: 10 miles in the morning with Susi and Jana.

42 miles, mostly pretty easy. Pretty tired, but feeling pretty strong considering this is recovery time.

Last week:

  • Sunday: 15 miles in the afternoon, extending my 13 miler out to the hospital.
  • Monday: 7.5 miles in the morning. Pretty slow, still tired from the afternoon run the day before. Skipped the gym, easing up.
  • Wednesday: 7.5 miles in the morning; almost six minutes faster than Monday. 20 minutes at the gym, for 10 miles total.
  • Thursday: 7.5 miles in the morning, in the rain.

Total of 40 miles for the week. Strangely enough, I feel like I’m slacking.

One week until Portland

Moving made running difficult during the past week, but tapering at this point is to be expected.

Weekly recap:

  • Saturday: 21 miles from the Dowd, all solo. I did my cross-Providence 13+ miler first, followed by the Freedom Park hill 7+ miler.
  • Monday: 2.5 miles (or whatever I do in 20 minutes) on a treadmill at the Siskey YMCA.
  • Wednesday: 10 miles from the Dowd in the morning, solo.
  • Thursday: 7.5 miles from the Dowd in the morning, solo.

A little over 40 miles for the week. Not bad considering my scheduling difficulties. Current forecast for Portland weather looks to be cool and clear. I’ll be happy enough just with cool.

This morning I ran 8+ from the Dowd at a reasonably brisk pace by myself, then met Udit for the Hit the Brixx 5k. With a little help from my “professional” pacing services, he was able to cut his personal best down from a 31+ minute 5k to under 29 minutes. Congratulations Udit! Susi and Jeri ran the 10k and finished well, and Jeri’s sister April joined them for a nice cool-down 5k. I hear Mark and Barb were also in the 10k, but I didn’t see them.

Two more weeks until Portland

On Monday I had another gym-inspired attack of the back pain. Have I finally learned my lesson? I tried out some light shoes (Gel-Speedstar) that I plan to use during the marathon, and got more Landreths for training.

Weekly recap:

  • Saturday: 23.5 miles from the Dowd. Starbucks 10 mile out-and-back with Dan, then my Sterling/Roswell/cross Providence 13ish miler. Brutal but I did fine.
  • Monday: Fast 1.5 miles on the treadmill after lifting weights.
  • Tuesday: 10.5 early-morning miles from the Dowd with Susi.
  • Wednesday: 10.5 just like Tuesday, but with more back pain.
  • Thursday: 10.5 just like Tuesday and Wednesday. Back pain mostly gone, but tired.

Not quite 60 miles for the week, but topping 50 tired me out this week. I’m feeling a lot more confident about my endurance base.

Three weeks until Portland

This week I’ve finally acclimated to my new gym routine, and my running form has been strong. I’m still very weak when I lift my arms to almost any position, but it’s a pleasant, constructive feeling. My core is just fine.


  • A particularly tough outing at the Whitewater Center, where I ran every trail. I probably set new personal bests on Goat Hill and Toilet Bowl trails, and felt great at the end. Mike’s chase to the finish put it over the top.
  • Before dawn on Thursday I saw and heard a huge owl perched on a stop sign on Roswell St. His hoot and wingspan were very impressive as he took flight; I don’t think he is a very big fan of runners.

Weekly recap:

  • Saturday: 20 miles, as stated earlier. Very strong.
  • Sunday: 6.5 miles from the Dowd with J & S, nice and easy.
  • Monday: 1.5 miles (10 minutes) on treadmill, fast.
  • Tuesday: 11 trail miles at Whitewater Center with Mike. Felt great, pushed very hard.
  • Wednesday: 1.5 miles (10 minutes) on treadmill, very fast.
  • Thursday: 10 miles from Dowd, easy pace.

Total is about 50 miles, with plenty of energy for my 22 miler tomorrow morning. I plan to go the first ten at a easy (8:30?) pace, then run the last twelve at around a 7:30 pace. I’ll likely be solo for the second part, which will be good mentally.