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We finished another night at the track.  It was one of my favorite workouts so far – 5 4:00 repeats for a total of 20 minutes. 

I prefer longer intervals for training.  I doubt that I'll ever be a sub 6:00 miler, but I know there's a very good chance that I'll be a consistent 3:45 marathoner.  The opportunity to get into a groove, the chance to methodically hit miles in 8:00, the rhythmic circling of a track .. these are the things that I enjoy when I run repeats.

Last night, Coach Paul gave us simple advice – run @ the pace you'd be comfortable running for 45 minutes.  After some quick math, I decided that I could maintain 7:00/mile pace for 45 minutes if someone was chasing me.  In my head, I decided to run our workout between 1:42 and 1:45.  From that point, maintaining pace was simple.  I needed to hit the 100s in ~26 seconds. 

The first lap was a little tough.  I was running with a couple other people.  We sped up and slowed down as we hit the 100 meter marks (24 for the first one, 26 for the second ) we were struggling to find consitency.  Finally, we settled into a groove and hit the first quarter in 1:42, the next quarter in 1:41.  We were able to run this way through the first two 4:00.  Each quarter mile completed between 1:41 and 1:43 (some wind on the straightaway slowed us down).

On the third repeat, Coach Paul threw us a curve ball.  We weren't going to start from our usual spot where the 100s were clearly marked.  Rather, we were starting 50 meters further back.  We'd have to rely on the way we felt for managing pace. 

I've done enough of these by now to know what 1:35 feels like compared to 1:38 compared to 1:42.  When we started the third repeat, we were definitely @ 1:38.  I wanted to stick to my plan and slowed it down just a little bit.  This time, I hit the quarter in 1:40.  It felt good so I stuck with it.

For the next three repeats, the pace was between 1:40 and 1:42.  By the time the workout ended, I felt like I could have run that pace all night. 

That's the feeling that I'm hoping to have on October 29.  I want to get into a rhythm and just run. I know that without Coach Paul and my running friends I'd never be where I'm at today. 

Too many days off this week – hoping for more consistency next week

The stats from the week:

Total miles: 40.2 miles
Total time run: 5:36:32
Average pace: 8:22

Some of the highlights from the week:

  • Monday – a relaxing day off
  • Tuesday – a not-so-relaxing day off. I would have rather been running
  • Wednesday – double day … morning 7.5 and evening speed work for a total of 15 miles
  • Thursday – day off
  • Friday – a beautiful 10 miles
  • Saturday – back on the treadmill for just one day – company coming this afternoon
  • Sunday – 12 miles including some great mile repeats @ BHS w/ Kevin

This is one of those mornings where I understand why people question my sanity as a runner.

It's 4:30am. I've been awake for 30 minutes. Thanks to cup of coffee #2, the mental cobwebs are starting to clear.

I have an hour before I meet the guys @ the track for 12 miles of fun, and I'm trying to think of ways to speed up the waking process so that I'm not a zombie at 5:30.

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We have visitors for the weekend – friends from New Hampshire. They offered to kick my ass if I woke them to come running with me.  They weren't even a little bit tempted by the prospect of a relaxing 6-mile run along the ocean in Hyannis.   They're looking forward to the donuts that I'll be bringing home around 8am.

They, along w/ the Fravels, will sleep for @ least another 150 minutes.  I'll have run about 10 miles before they pore they're morning coffee and orange juice.  I'll run two more while they're dividing up the morning paper. I'll have burned 1500 calories before walking in the front door with 2000 calories worth of donuts for everyone.

I'll feel great all day, and eat relatively guilt-free. 

"Yes please, I will have another helping of dessert." will most definitely be something I say this afternoon.

I know how fantastic I will feel from 8am through bedtime tonight (probably @ 8pm), so why would I rather still be in bed right now w/ the blanket pulled up under my chin?

I definitely understand why people are questioning my sanity this morning. 

I woke up @ my usual time this morning (4am), and now find myself killing time before going for a run.

It's light out, so I'm heading out the door.  My intention is still to run 10 miles today.  I updated my running log and noticed that I only had 15.5 miles for the week (that shouldn't be a surprise – I've only run Wednesday this week … but it was still a little depressing). 

Monday was the planned day off.

Too much consulting work prevented my Tuesday run. I was up until 12:30am on Monday and then back in front of my laptop @ 5am Tuesday.

I made up for it on Wednesday with 7.5 in the morning. 5 in the evening, and 3 miles of speed work @ the track.

Here we are on Thursday. I slept until 7am, spent 3/4 of the day cranky, ate too much crap after getting home, and now I'm wishing that I got my butt out of bed this morning for 4 miles.

I'm hoping to make up for this slug-like behavior tomorrow morning. It's easy to say now, but I'm planning for @ least 10 miles in the morning. I'll be happy with 7, but would feel great if I could squeeze in10.

In my 13.2 mile recap from yesterday, I mentioned something insane about including hills in my Monday run.  

Well, it's Monday, and the only thing less inviting than a run today would be a colonoscopy.  I am exhausted.  My legs are sore, my head hurts, I've been sneezing this morning, and I actually slept until 6am – two hours later than planned.  I have no intention of running.  As a matter of fact, I'm sitting on the couch right now w/ Colin.  We're watching Caillou and looking @ his new monster truck book. 

I gave the full recap from my jaunt down the Service Road Sunday morning.  Other than that, the week was sluggish @ best.  

The stats from the week:

Total miles:  42 miles
Total time run:  5:49:20
Average pace:  8:19
Some of the highlights from the week:

  • Monday – a relaxing day off
  • Tuesday – a very fast 7.5 miles – ran it in 7:45 pace
  • Wednesday – double day … morning 5 and evening speed work
  • Thursday – day off
  • Friday – sluggish 6 miles – very heavy air. 
  • Saturday – disastrous five miles … when will the rain end
  • Sunday – 13 down the service road in Barnstable/Sandwich.   

We'll be back @ the track next Sunday.  For the rest of the week I plan to keep up what I've been doing – trying to maintain 40-45 miles.

Finally, some nice weather.  We have blue sky and sunshine this morning.

Keith, Rick and I met @5:40am for a planned 2-hour run along the Service Rd. I was a service rd virgin, but had heard enough stories to know that I'd be in for some pain.  True to the stories – our run starts off with an uphill on Oak St.  A left-hand turn onto the Service Rd and we're heading west for the next hour.

The first two miles go by smoothly, but then we hit the 5 Sisters .. 5 hills between exits 5 and 4 of Route 6 (there are other names for them, but 5 Sisters will work for now).  The first two hills are fine – just bumps in the road.  The third hill is a bit tougher.  Hills 4 and 5 are a blur of huffing and puffing.  On the 5th hill I'm pretty sure I lost feeling in my left foot and my quads felt like they were being stabbed with butter knives.  I wheezed a question along the line of "was that hill last one??"  

At this point, I started the mistake of looking @ my watch every 5 minutes to see if we were closer to our goal.  44 minutes .. not bad.  I try not to think about the fact that we have 75 more minutes to go.  Rather, I focus on the next 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, those next 15 minutes have about 15 more hills.  Keith and Rick are promising me that the way back is a lot easier.  I don't believe them for a second.  In fact, I'm starting to think that this is some sort of freakish initiation into the running club.  I start to entertain thoughts of hidden cameras along the service road.  They're taping my misery for public display later.  These assholes.  I bet they're really doing it.  I consider kicking them in the calves and pushing them into the woods.

Finally .. our turnaround point is in site – Exit 3.  We hit it @ 58:00.  Hmmm .. that wasn't too bad.  I feel pretty good right now.  I don't know what all that nonsense was about wanting to kick Keith and Rick in the calves.  This run is GREAT!  We should do this again next weekend.

My high from the turnaround fades within the first return mile.  Crap. I slog through the next mile, but out of nowhere, hit a stride for miles 3-5 that has me in a zone that I haven't felt in a couple of weeks.  The legs move effortlessly.  My arms are in perfect sync.  Heck .. I'm not even huffing.  I notice that Keith and I are stride for stride.  Our footfalls coming @ the exact time.  Rick is just as smooth.  He's about 1 pace behind, but  moving smoothly.

We cross Rte 149 @ Exit 5.  We're about 15 minutes from the end point.  My high is gone – I'm back to looking @ my watch.  I can do 15 minutes.  I think of all my other regular routes.  What's 15 minutes on the Loop Beach course?  What's 15 minutes on my Osterville Loop?  OK .. I put my brain in those spots and try to get back in the zone.  

It's tough to get and stay there.  The traffic is getting heavier (it's about 7:30am) and the road is a little narrower.  My concentration is broken a few times by trucks moving too quickly.

The last hilll is in site.  Keith has prepared me for it.  It's a rise, a plateau and then a rise, but then it's all downhill.  I have his description memorized, but my god, words don't do it justice. 

My pace slows to a crawl. 

I'm two strides away from walking. 

Keith and Rick are pulling further ahead – @ least 30 feet in front of me now. 

I keep moving my legs. 

I will not walk. 

I will not walk. 

I'm barely moving forward. 

I'm standing straight up. 

Don't Walk!!!   

I close my eyes. 

I will not walk today. 

I continue to pick up my feet.   

I'm moving forward again. 

I can see the our right-hand turn in the distance.  Keith and Rick are almost there. 

I will be there soon, too.

The pace is returning.  I'm within 100 yards.

It's flatter here.  I can get some momentum.

I make the turn.  Finally, I make the turn.

Keith and Rick aren't too far ahead.  I can't tell if they've slowed down for me or just naturally slowed down @ this point.  I don't care.  I can catch up to them.  My legs feel like they can carry me the last 1/2 mile.

10 feet behind

5 feet behind.

I can hear Rick's breathing.

I'm next to him.  

I'm cursing @ him for the hill.   He laughs and says it will be easier next time, and I know that he's right.

We made it back to the Rick's house in 52:30.  Our return trip was 6 minutes faster.   

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It's been 3 hours since we made it back to Rick's house.  In that time I've eaten enough for a family of five.  I've drank about 100oz of fluids.  My heads a little foggy, but it's Sunday, and I expect diminished mental capacity on Sunday.

I'm busy planning my runs for the next week.  I'm debating about how far to go tomorrow.  One thing is for certain – my run tomorrow will definitely involve a hill or two.

I found out this morning that I have a number for the Falmouth Road Race.

Accepted Fravels in the Falmouth Road Race

The race will be on Sunday, August 13, and if I make it to the finish line it will be my fourth FRR. I have yet to break 60:00 in this race. I've either been out of shape, new to running (and therefore just happy to finish) or stuck in a crowd and unable to break free. Last year was the most frustrating. I was in decent shape – I should have been able to run the 7 mile course in 56:00 or less, but I was stuck in an early crowd and then succumbed to the heat and humidity, finishing in 60:32.

For this year, I'm thinking about scrapping the idea of racing it, and actually running the course twice – from the finish line to the start in the early AM, and then lining up in my coral for the 10am official race start. This will serve two purposes – allow me to get in my mileage for the marathon, and mitigate any frustration I might have if I don't break 60:00. We'll see ..

I survived another Wednesday night track workout. It was one of the easiest that I can remember – before I knew it, we were on our last 3:00 interval.

Fortunately, the rain had stopped around 3pm so the track was mostly dry. The only difficulty was w/ the wind. On the northwest straightaway we had 35mph gusts hitting us in the face. My quarters were consistently around 1:43, but if I had to break those in half, I'd guess that they were :43 when running w/ the wind @ my back and 1:00 running into the wind .. it was just that fierce

Coach Kevin and Coach Paul won't be around next Wednesday. They've left instructions for us to do 8 2:00 intervals – basically quarter miles. I think I'm going to bring my whistle and play coach … maybe even make the group do pushups between each interval.