Friday, August 28, 2009

Racing the HHFMM (Flying Monkey)

I've been following the sub 3:00 marathon thread on runningahead for a couple of weeks. Saw a comment the other day about going sub 3:00 at the HHFMM (Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon). Wow, that would take an incredible effort or would it? Talked with different people about how much they think the HHFFMM course would slow someone from their marathon PR. I've heard from 5-15 minutes. More of a dependent factor is the type of runner, as McMillan talks about.

Sub 3:00's at the HHFMM aren't undoable. From the inaugural 2006 race, 4 sub 3:00's. Only 3 in 2007. Last year saw some quick times; 3 under 2:38, including a winning time of 2:36 and a whopping 6 sub 3:00's. The bar has been raised. Personally I'd be happy with a 3:30, just a smeasly 8:00 minute pace. Though a 3:20 was what I secretly was hoping for when I toed the line in 2007. I'd like to take another attempt, perhaps this fall as a bandit.

The hills at the HHFMM aren't really monsters. Ultra runners probably could run within 5 minutes of their PR's, just because they are use to much more elevation gain and loss. The elevation loss is what beat me up. I even tried to train to run faster down hills in preparation. Only should have been actually running on the course instead of the local hills. That's the cool thing about this marathon it's only 45 minutes away.

Most people would probably get closer to 10 minutes plus as compared to their marathon PR. Even if they have the resolve to hold back on their pace, the downhills quickly negate those efforts. Perhaps a high mileage runner wouldn't be as beat up by the hills as someone who doesn't run as much mileage. Just a guess. Still think getting within 5 minutes of their PR is probably only doable by the ultra runners and the true speedster type of runner.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

not on track

Crap. Chikin 10k is less than 3 weeks away. My speed isn't where it was at this point in my training in the spring. The track workout this morning was 6 x 1,000 meters at I pace. Should have been 3:45, but all came in several seconds slower. Just couldn't keep the rhythm going. Next set was 4 x 200 meters at :41, this actually came in easier than the 1,000's. I pace and the 1,000 meters just never have came very easy. This wasn't really an exceptionally difficult workout, just not quite where it should have been.

Perhaps the decision to trade one speed workout a week for a hill workout wasn't as smart as I thought. I've been to Percy Warner Park 3 times in as many weeks. This past Tuesday's 7.34 miles of trails was actually the toughest yet. Don't know if it's because EB pushed the pace more or if I was just tired from the long run on Sunday. It sure seemed warmer and more humid, plus the bugs were everywhere. The trail is still dry even with all of the rain.

I'm a big Lance Armstrong fan. How cool is it that he can send a tweet and get a group of 1,000 to ride with him. I've only been watching his tweets since the Tour de France. Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Red, white and done

Damn, think I whined louder than the dog this morning when I first got out of bed. Dog wanted out around 2:00 am, my foot was really sore, my plantar facia was yelling at me. But, that's the only real soreness and it was gone after this mornings recovery run. Ran the red and white trails at Percy Warner Park with EB, last night.

We started at the stone gates on Belle Meade Boulevard and immediately starting climbing up the steps to the entrance of the white trail. Guess this counts as single track. All kinds of surface, mostly soft or packed dirt, loose rocks, big rocks, tree roots and trees as big around as a small car. It was awesome. Only thing missing was a creek crossing. Only water was a spring which was really the only slippery spot on the trail.

Good thing EB made me bring some water. We stashed it at the trail head for the red trail. Only got two big gulps of water, but it was needed. I'd started the run with my excuse to run slow, "I'd run my long run the day before". She offered up her's, as well. Regardless of whether the pace was slow or fast. She led the whole way. It was all I could do to stay within about 20 steps. No wonder she's such a strong runner. The trails either climb or drop, no level track, just up or down, it was great. Little secret, (I walked up some of the extra steep stuff)

I'll be back. I'd wanted to run the red, white and blue trails, but gave in to common sense and skipped the blue on this trip. Don't know if this is really a good alternative to a second speed workout, but is good training for a bandit attempt at the Flying Monkey Marathon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A win, Howl at the Moon 5k Race Report

I'll take it, first Master. Pretty embarrassing time. Hadn't even planned on running in this race until Wednesday. One thing's for sure, I sure can't run a fast 5k on mileage alone. It takes alot of 5k specific speed training. Jeez, my overall pace was about where I want to be for the Chikin Run 10k.

I knew going into the race the masters winning time from last year was pretty soft. I gave the fast guys another soft target, for next year. Pretty well run race. Dave Milner timed it. Loads of door prizes, with the big one being a set of Bridgestone Tires. Didn't hang around long enough to see if I'd won those. Used all of my luck up in the race. Thunder called me out at the start, whining about my running. Guess he's never run with me before. He ran a very strong race, but not where he wanted to be.

Ran the course as a warmup with EB, the eventual winner and the Philosopher. Man o' man, it was hot and humid. Tough night for a morning runner. Started out conservatively letting the young kids burn themselves out in the first half mile and letting the leaders pull out. Purposely left my Timex and Garmin at the car. I didn't want to know my splits. Heard the first mile anyway, a 5:57. Just about where I wanted to be. Used Thunder as a gauge for that first mile and settled into pace. It was so dark at the turnaround I couldn't see the leaders coming back out, only the one runner ahead of me. Passed him just after we got back onto Murfreesboro Road. That stretch of road seemed to last forever. Picked off another HS kid who must have gone out to fast and set my sights on the only other runner I could see ahead of me. In my mind I still thought I was running at around 6:00 pace. But, I should have known better. It was tough coming home, but not the "gonna bust a gut, puke" pace. Never did reel in that last runner, but no one passed me the entire race. Paula and Dylan were at the finish and yelled for me across the line.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

hello old friend

Went back to Percy Warner Park on Tuesday after work instead of doing speedwork. Haven't been back since the HHFM (Flying Monkey Marathon)It was a two fold mission, get some hills and to see if running the HHFM again would be doable. Not that I could get in, the race has already filled for this year. Just need some redemption from last years race. I still believe a 3:30 is obtainable. Jeez, I averaged 8:14 pace in the rain on this trip.

I started from the stone gates on Belle Meade Boulevard to a light drizzle and started the climb up 9 mile hill. Easy to see why I was seduced into walking it during last years race. Just as much oxygen debt as a speed workout, only the interval must be a mile and a half long till the top of Luke Lea. Couple little chances to catch your breath on the way up, but they don't last very long.

One good thing about the rain, other than it would help to cool things off from maybe the upper 80's to low 70's, would be the absence of bikers. Wrongo, guess because it was a weeknight, loads of bikes. Seeing as how I was running against traffic, salmon, I could see the bikes coming for the most part. This was a big advantage. Only problem is all of the blind curves and the fact that the bikes like to take up the entire road. I tried to stay to the right side of the road, but still had to jump off the pavement into the ditch on one occasion or get creamed by a biker. Ok, I love to ride my bike, and I've even ridden in PWP once in the rain. Still, bikes and runners, walkers, dogs, lovers, and cars are all just alittle to much for that park.

Still love PWP, favorite place in middle Tennessee for a run. You seem completely isolated from everything, yet turn the corner and meet a group of runners, bikers or walkers. Not just on the road either. The trails run parallel and crisscross the 11.2 main drive almost for its entire route. Except for maybe over by the golf course or Iroquis steeplechase and that's a different environment from the rest of the route. Wide open, about the only places on the drive where the sun actually hits the road.

Don't know if it was the constant rain, but only saw a few birds. American gold finches are my favorite, but the turkeys are always kinda cool as well. Did see just one deer the entire time, until my cooldown when they were starting to come down into the field by the stone gates. Almost bumped into the one deer on the run. Thought to myself that is one big ass dog, wasn't until it moved that I realized it was a deer. Plus, the musky smell was probably what woke me up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Another warm morning. I should be getting used to it, but don't seem to be. Sweating buckets and chafing in all the wrong places. YUCK. This mornings workout was supposed to be 2 x 2 miles at T pace with 2 minute recovery followed by 3 x 800 meters with the same recovery and then 3 x 400 meters with the same recovery.

Pulled into the parking lot to meet BQ1 and the whole herd was there. Kinda surprised me. We all started out together, but the fast guys went one way and BQ1 and I the other. BQ1 is coming off his second week back to running so wasn't sure how he'd do with the speed workout. He hung right with me for about 3 quarters of a mile and fell off. The first mile came easily enough, but the second was tough. The recovery went by way to quick and the first mile of the second set actually felt easier. The second mile was a struggle. May have been a little to optimistic with the VDOT table and may have to adjust downward one level. Splits were 6:31,6:34,6:38,6:42. Target was 6:32, probably should have been 6:38.

We ran our warmup out to MTSU and did the tempo workout around the campus, so we could do the other stuff on the track. Made it to the track without BQ1 and started the 800 repeats. The first 200 meters came in on target, but I couldn't hold it for 400 meters and stopped. Tried again with the same result and bagged the workout. Just couldn't get the legs to turn over quick enough. BLAH.

I'll need to either change my target paces or change my plans. May try and do a McMillan/Daniels speed workout, one of each per week with a long run on the weekend. Still have about 6 weeks to try and get some speed before the next race. I'm ready for some cooler weather.