Saturday, December 18, 2010

Squishy soft

Googled the web for a picture of "squishy soft" and all I get is stuffed animals. Not quite what I had in mind with that title.

Got 3 miles worth of trails on this mornings 10 mile shake out run. Hadn't even planned on running on the trails, just a last minute decision when I ran through Stones River Battlefield. This was the second run this week in the snow. This one was 1,000 times more enjoyable than the other. Sure wish I'd brought the camera.

Still working on lots of different stuff at the battlefield. The most interesting thing for me was all of the different running surfaces. The main road was resurfaced in some of the rougher sections. At least one of the asphalt trails was resurfaced with asphalt with smaller rocks and not as much tar? Really made the surface springing, almost like a track.

Couple of the paths have been surfaced with just a gravel bed and a layer of finer gravel on top, packed and rolled. That's one of my favorite surfaces. Almost similar to a packed dirt or a cinder path. Only down side to these surfaces is the length. They are all just short pathways to monuments or earthen works.

The only trail of any substance is about a mile and a half long. They put wood mulch on it after the tornado for about a third of the distance with the rest of it primarily single track through the woods. That was the most fun part of this mornings run. Just enough snow to cover the path, so I could see the deer tracks. The single track through the woods has just enough tree roots and limestone outcroppings to keep you dancing over or zigging or zagging around. Fun stuff.

Eleven weeks out from the marathon. Last weekends long run was the first run this week in the snow. We had only planned on running 14 to 16 miles, but ended up with 17 miles on the day. It was a progression run broken up into 3, 30 minute segments after a couple miles of warmup. Brutal wind all morning, made the 29 degrees seem frigid when it was in our face, but almost warm when it was at our backs. The fast master warmed up with me and BQ1 and then did his own 20 miles worth of marathon workouts. BQ1 hung with me until the last 30 minutes worth of marathon pace work. That really helped. Really surprised my splits came in on target, given the wind and the hills on the course. Tough day. Waited for BQ1 to catch back up with me for the final 3 or 4 mile slog back to the car. That's when the snow started. The wind was blowing so hard that the snow was coming in sideways.

Wednesday's workout was hill repeats and yesterdays workout was 45 minutes worth of steady state. Did it at marathon pace. Wasn't that tough of a workout, other than a another day of battling the wind. Down week for mileage at 65 miles. Next week is going to be a bruiser. 20-22 miles for tomorrows long run and then an extra quality day. Mileage will be back up into the 70's.

Let the running streak end on Tuesday, at 40 days. That was the morning after the snow and ice. Just didn't want to risk falling on the ice. I packed my bag to run on the treadmill, but decided against that. I hate running on treadmills.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Seeing how much of a difference it makes to have some rest and recovery. First off the rest. Big difference between my normal 7 or so hours of sleep and one extra hour. Wow. That's one of the reasons I like to run on my own at least twice a week. Sleeping in that extra hour or so. The other reason for the saturday solo run is to try and soak up a little bit of sunshine. Another big plus, is to be able to run my pace either nice and slow the whole time or whatever I feel like.

On the recovery side, I hadn't really thought about the extra hours a morning versus afternoon workout would yield. Sleeping in and then running in the afternoon, almost gives 36 hours worth of recovery from the previous days workout. Then on the flip side is the next morning workout is done within 12 hours, so almost the same as a double. Doubt very seriously I'll be getting any doubles. I could see the benefit to shake out a hard morning workout with a double in the evening, but the odds of that actually happening are slim to none.

This week is going to be a down week, mileage wise. Only looking for mid 60's or so. Progression run tomorrow instead of the typical long run. These workouts always seem tough for me, especially at this point in the cycle. Still 12 weeks, so lots more improvement in fitness to come. Plus, hope to some of the fellas out to pull me along and keep me company. Sure makes the miles go by quicker.

The running streak is still intact. Think its 33 days or so. Next few days may be tough with the threat of snow and some cold weather. Sure don't want to get out and try and run on any ice. Snow, no problem just slow down and enjoy the day. Ice, I'll wait until it melts or worst case skip the day or run on the dreadmill. Rather skip a day than jump on the dreadmill.

Think I'm going to take Jeff's advice and just stick in the 70's mileage wise. Could get into the 80's, but doubt that little bump is what's going to make or break my next marathon effort. Biggest thing is getting the miles in without getting hurt and getting most of the quality stuff done.

The minute on/off workout this week was a little tougher than it should have been. Guess I went out a tad to quick for the first set of 5, the next set was a little tougher and the last set were really work. Actually was kinda fun, I started out with the Wich brothers. They did their workout and I did mine. Just about every time I'd catch them, the minute was up and time to recover.

On the other hand the hill workout on Wednesday actually wasn't that bad. Looking back at some of the runs we did last year in the cold/rain, it was actually almost pleasant running in the mid 30's. Almost like a heat wave in comparison to the 15 degree run with the fast master this same week. What a difference 10 degrees can make. Especially if the wind is involved. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Monster mile week for me, 75 miles. Mid 70's again next week and then cycle down a week in the mid 60's. Training has been going really well. Other than the fact that I can't read a training schedule. Last weeks long run ended up being 19 miles with 2 miles worth of fast finish. Hadn't planned on the 19 miles, really only wanted 18 miles. But, in order to get my miles, I started earlier than everyone else and ran the route they were running. It was a 14 mile loop, instead of the 11 mile loop. No big deal, that's why I like running out in the country from that point a couple of different loops of varying lengths and lots of hills. Nothing like Percy Warner Park, but hilly none the less.

Way to earlier in the schedule to be doing the fast finish stuff. The Fastwich decided to pick it up coming off the last hill of the day and I went with him. Actually felt good to click into marathon pace. Did decide to only do 2 miles worth and then slog the last 2 miles home. Still, great feeling for that first long run to have enough energy for some fast finish. Those workouts really helped on my last marathon.

Guess I'm just feeling really strong right now with the increase in miles. Watching the workouts that the Fast Master is doing in his prep, almost has me feeling unprepared. Probably why I got sucked into doing a couple of miles of fast finish.

Running streak is still going, but I'm willing to let it end at any time. The coming week will be a real test with some of the lows predicted to be in the low teens. Ten degrees is about the lowest I'm comfortable running. Only downside to taking a day off is going to be trying to get the miles where they need to be.

Watched the Rudolph Run go by twice in front of our vantage point at BB Kings. (great live music) Interesting to watch the different foot strikes and running styles among the front runners. What was really baffling was how much the bare foot runners foot slapped the ground. He was up towards the front and running about a 6:20 or 6:30 pace. The way he ran almost reminded me of the Fred Flintstone character. Hard to believe he was going at that pace. Not that its quick or anything, that's the pace I ran last weekend at the Boro Dash.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

14 weeks out

Knew I was 14 weeks out, but think I've read my training plan wrong. No harm done, lots of time to get in the right workouts. I had already adjusted one of the workouts because it just seemed to easy. Plus, I'd been doing some Jack Daniels speed workouts to try and sharpen up a little bit of speed for the Boro Dash. Biggest improvement was probably just from the increase in miles. Low 60's for the past two weeks.

The Boro Dash was well represented by those of us in town from our little running group. One overall winner, one first place age group award, a second place and a third place. Not bad for a bunch guys over 40. For a first time event this really turned out well. Champion chip timing for the first 1,000 runners and they ended up with over 1,600. Everything seemed to run smoothly. Only complaints were to be expected, those who didn't get chips, didn't get times. Maybe next year, they can give chips to only those interested in being timed, similar to what they do for the Boulevard Bolt.

Pretty happy with my time for the Dash. Not quite as quick as I would have liked but, it shows that my VDOT has increased to a 50. I should be able to get to a 52 or 53 by the end of this training cycle. Unable to match the fast Wich's pace when he passed me before mile 2. Almost thought I'd be able to reel him back in, but he gapped me by over 30 seconds. I was surprised to beat his brother, BQ1. It wasn't by much, and I didn't even know he was coming.

I did manage to chase down one of the young ladies who passed me just as we crested the rise in front of the basketball arena. They passed me with about 1,200 meters to go. I couldn't match their pace. One went on for the first female and the other is the one I chased down on the track and just barely caught at the line. (picture above)

Monday, November 15, 2010


Start of the new marathon training cycle. March 5th, the Snickers Marathon in Albany, Georgia. This is my first attempt at a sub 3:00 marathon. Never would have even thought the time I had at the Flying Pig marathon would have been possible. It put the 3:00 bubble in my head.

The training program this cycle is going to be a carbon copy of what I used for the Flying Pig, from McMillan. The only modification will be to up the mileage, just a smidgen. I want to average mid 70's, but have every 3rd week or so top out in the low 80's. Also, will increase the pace on some of the key workouts by a smidgen.

Ran this morning, instead of taking the day off. The past 2 weeks my mileage has been in the mid 50's. Want to hit the mid 60's this week and the only way to do that without doubling is to run 7 days a week. I've done it before, but this time if the streak is broken to take a day off to rest, so be it. One thing I've finally figured out is the importance of rest and recovery. Either, slogging the day before a hard workout or the day after one; or just sleeping in and taking a day off. (not really any brainstorm on my part, but rather some things I've read, in print and on line.)

Fun little marathon this weekend in Percy Warner Park. The 5th running of the Flying Monkey Marathon. Trent has done a tremendous job with this marathon. Each year has a different theme, this year is a 60'ish, kinda monkey groovy, laid back, peace, love and lots of hills. I've run this race once, and volunteered once. This year I'm going back to volunteer, plus run the half marathon. (or at least half of the course and whatever it takes to get me back to the starting line).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

Be thankful for our veterans and those who continue to serve in our armed forces.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Middle Half Race Report

I've been thinking about this race all week. Baiting BQ1's faster brother and talking smack about not racing. But, it is going to be a race. Knowing that I'm not in shape to run a PR for the distance, but right on the edge to be able to think about placing in my age group. A month ago I would have only thought a 1:35 or so would be doable. This week I've been talking myself into thinking a 1:30 is possible. Especially if I'm ever going to run a sub 3:00 marathon. A 1:25 half marathon should be my PR, yet I'm stuck at 1:27. I've run that time in at least 3 attempts, but in the last 2 it was always in a marathon training cycle and with no taper. This week I'm doing a teeny taper. Nothing as drastic as a marathon taper.

BQ1 and I have been joking about how long we will be able to hold pace before we blow up. His main goal is to keep his brother from going out to fast and keeping him under control to run at least a 1:30 Crazy thing, this pace is my goal marathon pace in the coming marathon training cycle. Still a couple of weeks away from the start of that cycle. That's thing that keeps sticking in my mind. This pace should be doable, question is for how long. Can we really keep it going for 13.1 miles or will we blow up at 8 miles? It'll be fun lining up with at least 4-5 of us that are all in pretty similar shape and racing against each other. It'll be only the second time I've raced head to head against any of these guys.

Couldn't ask for better weather for racing, clear blue sky, no wind and temperatures in the 40's to start and only low 50's by the time we finished. The fast Wich was able to PR, huge and not get pulled out to fast by me. His splits were a perfect negative split. I settled down after the first mile and ran according to plan, right around 6:50 pace. Few little surges when someone would yell my name or the crowd got me pumped. Blow up came a whole lot earlier than expected. Both me and BQ1 separated from the fast Wich, and then I couldn't even stay with BQ1. I struggled home slowing mile after mile. I slowed enough that I got passed by 5 people, but still was able to pass 3 runners who blew up worst than me. Personal worst for me 1:33.

It was fun to watch the race unfold for all of use trying to run 1:30. I never could catch the first pack, but the fast Wich caught at least 2 of them. After we left Oakland's mansion going up main to the square I was in the second pack of only about six. All of these guys, plus the pack ahead of us were able to go 1:30 or quicker. BQ1 barely missed the 1:30 mark.

Post race was celebrated with some Beck's Octoberfest and BBC Dark Star Porter. Found a shady spot to enjoy the beer and wait for the results. Only one of our group placed in any of the age group awards and his was a time was about like mine, 6 or more minutes slower than last year. Nice to have a race like this in our hometown.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Finally fall and the fifth annual fat ass fifty k

Beautiful morning for a fall run. Went out to the greenway here in Murfreesboro and everyone else must have thought the same thing. Don't think I've ever seen so many runners and walkers, even a couple diehards on their bikes. Ran into a large component of the Murfreesboro Ultra family, MUF? Voted and it was decided, lets do another Fat Ass. This will be the 5th year. I'll update the info on the link to the left with the correct date, but it will be on January 1st. Just like every other year. Everything else is the same. Free, no tshirts, no times, no clock.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

defecating ecstasy

The first week of the 10 week base build up is behind me and I couldn’t be happier. Finally starting to feel like a runner again, even slogging along listening to the Ipod by myself. Did a couple of dumb things this week, that I hope don’t come back to bite me in the ass. Also, did a few smart things, hopefully to offset some of the dumb moves.

Doing dumb things usually always leads to an injury. One quick way is to increase mileage to quickly. The old rule about not increasing your mileage by 10%, is pretty sound advice that I always seem to ignore. This time I went from a long run of 9 miles to 14 miles. I hadn’t run 14 miles in 3 months. But, the boys were running that far, I needed a long run and it felt good. I did ice my legs afterwards, not really ice so much as cold water in the shower, but same end result. Legs felt great.

On the smart side of training, I am doing my own workouts. Yes, I’m training with the guys 2-3 times a week, but we all are pretty much doing our own paces for most of the workouts. I’ve resisted the urge to try and run their paces or distances. Maybe, in a couple of weeks, not yet though. (Except the 14 miles) Actually running by myself a couple of days per week is beneficial because I don’t get sucked into someone else’s workout.

Still putting music on my latest Ipod (third generation Nano). This will be the third Ipod I’ve owned in the last 3-4 years. I wore out the first generation shuffle, and inherited Dylans second generation shuffle. It’s still working, but I couldn’t pass up an 8 gig Nano display model that was on sale. I’ve been pretty lucky with my Ipod’s, The first one lasted close to 3 years, before the battery would no longer hold a charge. Speedy has destroyed a number of different MP3 players, because electronics and water don’t do so well together. I just put mine in a plastic baggie. He must sweat more than me. I know he runs a lot faster. All of the newer generations of Ipods don’t appear to be very runner friendly, especially with the touch screen.

Heard the Bowie lyric this morning on my slog. Forgotten how much I enjoy listening to the MP3 player when I run by myself. Listened to the new Tom Petty CD/album, Mojo, this morning while I was surfing the net with my morning cup of coffee. Really like the bluesy guitar, evident in almost every song. Need to pick up a couple of Mark Knopfler CD’s, more great guitar work.

This Bud's for you, for free. Ha, no thanks. I'll take a craft beer any day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Freight train, really?

The plantar seems to be in remission for the last couple of runs. Thank goodness. I've been running pretty hit or miss lately, plus trying to get out on the bike, just to keep my trim figure. Didn't realize I'd lost so much fitness. I knew everything was a little bit more effort, but it wasn't until the other morning when the fast guys pointed out how hard I was breathing. Reality check. Use to be I could keep up with these guys on their slow days.

I've decided to slog on the easy days and use some threshold runs once a week for the next 10 weeks to build back up my base. I'd like to be ready to jump into a marathon training program in early December and target another attempt at a fast spring marathon. Fast for me being a sub 3:00 marathon.

One great thing about keeping a log, is the ability to go back to the beginning of a training cycle and see the level of the workouts. This really helps to ease the angst/displeasure/loath of running a 25 minute threshold run this morning at a 7:14 pace. (the beginning of the last cycle it was closer to a 7:05 pace for the same amount of time and heart rate.) Nice to know that the pace will gradually come down in the next several weeks, as the time spent running increases.

I've got lots of work to do in the next 10 weeks to increase the weekly mileage to at least around 35-40 miles. Plus, I'd like to get the long run up to about 13 miles. I haven't run farther than 10 miles, since the RC Cola Moon Pie race.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Starting back yet again. This will be about the second week of the ease back after my plantar continues to annoy me. Went for my longest run in quite some time, 9 miles. What a set back, wasn't so long ago that 8 miles was the daily run. Still, happy with the 9 miles. Started out with just a couple of the fellas this morning. Only good for about 3 miles before I needed to slow down and they needed to speed up. Damn, be glad when the grove is back completely.

It isn't only the comeback from the plantar, the heat has been stifling lately. Wasn't so bad this morning, actually a little cooler around 74 degrees. Still, to warm for me, I took a succeed cap before I started and another after 45 minutes. That, must have been the difference maker, actually felt really good after I finished. Probably could have run some more, but still easing back.

Tried a couple of different beers over the last week. (litttle bit of money fell my way) Otherwise, I can't justify paying $12 for a bomber of beer. That's only 22 ounces, roughly a pint or glass and a half of beer. Much happier spending $9 for a six pack of Hop Devil. That's some good beer. All relative, some like it hoppy, some don't. Anyway, we bought a bomber of Delirium Tremens, a bomber of Stone Ruination, a bomber of Schlafly Tripel, a six pack of Caldera IPA and a six pack of Victory HopDevil Ale. Sixty bucks worth of beer, damn could have bought a keg. But, it's all about trying something different.

First off the delirium tremens. A belgian strong pale pale, 8% ABV. It was ok, at best. To fruity tasting for a pale ale. Definately taste the alcohol. The Belgian mystic must be something I'm missing. These beers are ok, but not worth the extra cash. This is one stlye of beer that I think I'm going to stop trying all together. Almost wine like, in the fruity taste and sweetness. Plus, what a waste with the foil, wire cage and champagne cork. Marketing overkill. Doubt I can reuse that bottle with any of my homebrews, unless I get another cage and cork.

The Schlafly Tripel wasn't much better. Really the only reason I picked it was because it was in a bomber. Rather be out only a bomber of something I don't like versus a six pack. Plus, the IPA from Schlafly was really good. Won't be buying this one again either. I'm not really familiar with the tripel style. It was a decent enough beer, just doesn't justify the price premium.

Don't get me wrong, both of the previous beers were good. Just not something that would get me to pay a premium to bring them home, versus a sixer of say the Hop Devil. Damn, that's some good beer. They had it discounted to $8.99 a sixer. Love this stuff. Guess, not everyone is a fan of the hops. Sadly, I've heard one of the big beer makers bragging about all of the hops in their beers. Come on, don't believe the hype people. Yuck, they're the one's that make the Lime beer. BLAH.

The Stone Ruination is a very good beer. But, it's priced to high. Come on, $6 for a 22 ounce bomber. This is a beer I'd buy every day, if it were in the same price point as the Hop Devil or Caldera IPA. Do they even sell a six pack of any Stone product for distribution outside of California? Hate to say it, I've fallen for the media hype, shit I've got an Arrogant Bastard bike jersey, another good beer. Perhaps they've figured out the ideal distribution and product output to maximize profit. Bully for them. Good beer, just a touch to pricey to buy regularly.

On to the good stuff, Caldera IPA. $11 for a six pack of beer in a can that isn't better than 6% ABV. What the hell? Yet, this is the one over priced beer that I continue to buy. Love this stuff. It's a great hoppy beer, if that's what you like. This is the style of beer that I plan to try and duplicate the next time out with the home brew. Will be really hard to get that much hop at the same price point.

Finally, the Hop Devil. Yummy. Probably, should go back and buy a another couple of sixers of this stuff. Perhaps, it's only being discounted because its only 6.7% ABV. That's pretty low compared to the other high ABV stuff in the liquor store. That may also, be part of the problem with the distribution of beer in Tennessee in general. The stupid law that makes it illegal to sell beer of greater than 6% ABV, except in a liquor store. That's the reason for the beer store next door to the liquor store.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The long way home

Older picture of the Serotta Hors Categorie at the Stones River Battlefield

Maybe I should have just parked the bike today. When I first stuck my head out the door it was raining lightly, so I decided not to bike. Instead, I found my frame pump and put it on the bike. It hasn't ever been mounted on the Hors Cat. Haven't even put the saddle bag on it either. The old saddle bag mounting strap was dry rotted and broke as soon as I tried to mount it. Put on a bigger one that came with one of the bike's I'd flipped last year. Now I'm ready for any kind of mechanical issue on the bike. Though after gettig home, I should consider myself lucky that I didn't get cursed with a flat. It's been well over a year since I've flatted.

Looked back outside and the roads were dry. Must have been a very brief shower. Decided to go ahead and ride my usual ride to the Stones River Greenway and multiple loops of the Stones River Battlefield. Only problem with starting later and a Saturday, everybody and their dog is out.

I've ranted before about how I hate the MUP's, (Multi Use Parkways). Let me count the ways. I failed to take into account how greasy they are after any rain, especially the bridges. Lots of water, puddles, mud and people to dodge. Some big team gathering money was out walking in mass and clogged up the entire pathway. Someone really needs to let them know they have to share with everyone else. When someone says "on your left", that means maintain your line, I'm coming by you on the left. Don't move to the left. And for gosh sakes, get the hell out of the way. Don't maintain your chorus line across the path. I know its going to hurt me more than it does them if they suddenly make a move into my path and I can't avoid hitting them.

So, after almost going down twice. Once, on the bridge, my front almost slide out from under me. Think black ice, except this is greenish brown slime? The second time, some women was kicking something out of the path and I couldn't figure out which way she was trying to go. I announced myself on her left, but I still almost came to a complete stop when she wouldn't commit to one spot in the path. She did thank me for announcing and said she wished everyone would do the same. I'm with her on that. I like to know when I running that a biker is passing, 'cause sometimes it scares the bejebbers out of me.

I rode home through town, only after being forced out on the road because the train parks on the track, blocking the greenway and the roadway. The trip home was uneventful. Almost safer on the roadway than on the greenway. The greenway is great for everyone except someone on a road bike wanting to go faster than 14 mph. Sure wish I'd get the bunny hop thing down. One of the bridges has almost a 2 inch curb that I seem to hit dead on with my front wheel every other time I ride over it. I'm afraid it's going to bend the wheel.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

No #8, no podium

Bike picture would be better, but really wanted to show the torture device for us PF sufferers, but hey if it works. What the hey?!

The Tour de France is over for Lance. Really did think he had enough to make a go of it one more time, but fate kicked his ass in today's stage. "The tour is finished for me." He finished down almost 10 minutes to all of the big general classification contenders. Seems like everyone has crashed in this years tour. But, Lance has hit the deck twice already. Once on stage 3 and again on todays stage. (Velonews said 3 times today?) Today's fall cost him lots of energy to catch back to the peloton. The second wreck today he just shook his head in disbelief. Sure hope Levi can make it to the podium or maybe even Lance could get a stage win. That would be sweet.

It was good to see that Alberto Contador didn't have enough to reel back Andy Schleck. Great stage win for him. Should make for some more great racing in the mountains between those guys and all the guys they dropped on todays stage. Wonder if they would let Lance get away in a breakaway? That would make for an exciting stage. Lot's more racing. I'm a Lance fan, but won't stop watching.

Like to see this young man in yellow for the tour and the podium in Paris.

" Good morning! 7am surprise anti-doping blood control. about 21 hours ago via UberTwitter " from Lance's twitter this morning. Wonder if the French will start to harass someone else, now that Lance is out of contention? At least the Lance haters can finally give it a rest, Maybe?

Rode my bike today for the first time in a week. Real easy tour of the little hills around Lascassas. My plantar faciitis is rearing its ugly head again. So, I haven't run in a couple of days. The bike didn't really aggravate it any, only made its presence known when I got out of the saddle. (Not much of an issue, I just stayed in the saddle and spun the biggest cog on the back going up the little hills) Did manage to get going 42 mph down one of the hills. That's always fun. Still don't think BQ1 has been swayed on his opinion of the bike. He's ready to run again. I'd rather run, but enjoy the bike.

I've been wearing the Strassburg sock the last couple of nights. It made a tremendous difference after the first night. This time I kept it on all night. I think in the past I've tried to make it to tight. All it really needs to do is keep the toes from pointing down and almost flat footed. No soreness the next morning, but it did become sore as the day wore on. Day two, the soreness wasn't as intense and actually allowed me to get on the bike today. Plan to wear it a couple more days and not run for at least 3-4 days. Think I'll get on the bike again tomorrow morning, granted I can get up early enough to get a ride in before work.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

real hill *

Bike ride number four for the month. Met G. at the MTSU parking lot across from the frat houses. He rode from home and had already ridden 4 miles. Pretty humid morning but not to warm. I'd forgotten how much shade this particular route had compared to some of the others I've ridden. Lots of little hills and twisty roads. Little to no cars on the way out. (mostly because we started at 6 am)

Rode all the way to the top of the hill at Burks Hollow road this time. This was only the second time I've ridden up the hill. This time though we went all the way to the top. The elevation is 1,367 feet according to the Tennessee County High Point web site. Rode the brakes almost the entire way down because of the 90 degree turn with gravel. Actually went faster down Rock Hill road.

Short Mountain in Cannon county appears to be the closest high point at 2,096 feet. All of the other adjacent counties high points are about the same as the one in Rutherford county. No telling how the roads are leading up to or close to those points. Think that will be the next "hill" climb bike ride. Need to get some more time in the saddle before I'll be ready to attempt that ride. I don't even know if the road up is paved. I talked with someone once and I think he said it was gravel?

It's been a week now since I've run. The foot seems better, may try it out tomorrow. Really enjoy riding the bike. Going to try and get a couple rides in a week and maybe attempt the Hot 100 on august 21st. Maybe even the 100 mile route.

* Edit to add, for the middle Tennessee area as reminded by the fast master.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Break away

Watched a few stages of the Tour de Suisse last week. Some guy named Lance Armstrong finished second overall, with Frank Schleck taking the overall win. Lots of great scenery and drama. Lots of big names riding and a couple of serious crashes. Really gets the bike bug going. I've ridden my bike three times now in the month of June. Time to get in some serious bike time in preparation for the Tour de France.

Sunday was the second day of bike riding the day after the RC Cola Moon Pie Race. The race was typical for this time of year; hilly, hot and humid. The bike is different, don't really seem to feel the heat as much until you stop. The greenway was packed with runners and walkers. I don't care to ride on the greenway for just that reason, but wasn't quite ready to head out into the country for the open road and hills.

Monday, I decided to head out for the country. No more slow cruising on the greenway and dodging the runners and walkers. Though you do have to be aware of the cars, but mainly just on the way out of town. Forgot how much fun it is blasting down a hill and leaning into a curve at 30 mph. That's the big payback you get for suffering up a hill on the bike. Don't really get that when you're running. I rode the Spain Hill loop which has almost become a running staple the last couple of months. I only got up to about 41 mph coming off the big hill, but that was without really any pedal on the descent, just a tuck and fly. Great to have the wind blowing in your face.

One of the down sides to riding the bike versus running is the time to get out the door and even the time in the saddle. Biking is some much more time intensive. But, it's the simplicity of running that has me hanging up the shoes for a week or so this time. I can't understand why the same brand and size of shoe can wear so dramatically different. This third pair of shoes has one foot hurting after every run. I thought they were worn out but the sole actually has lots of tread left. I made the mistake of wearing them for the race on Saturday, after feeling better and not wearing them for the last couple of weeks. You'd think I'd learn by now............

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

humbling heat

The heat and humidity the last several days have been mind numbing. Temperatures in the uppper 90's and super soaker humidity levels. The only edge I may have is getting out in the heat every day for a couple of hours with the boys while we've been fishing. Though throwing the casting net and wading in the creek or river doesn't really count as fishing. Guess the time spent building LuAnn's pergalo on Saturday, helped as well.

I've been doing speedwork for the 16th Annual RC Cola Moonpie 10 mile race. Even doing one speed workout a week in the heat, with EB's help again. 2 weeks ago, I decided to sit out the race. I really enjoy the race. Racing 10 miles in the heat, not so much fun. After our long run on Sunday, I was even more convinced I didn't want to race.

I've decided to run Moonpie. This will be the 4th time. Wishy, washy, huh? It'll be to warm to race, so plan to go out easy and then pick it up after the hill. Tried that last year and it was a success only in the fact that I did run a negative split. Main goal this time out will be to start slow. No warmup before the race. Start at the back of the pack and chit chat and have a good time until we reach the hill and then it's go time. (if the heat hasn't sucked all of my energy by then)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Running lately has been in a funk. Aches and pains seemed to have disappeared lately but that was only part of what's been going on the last couple of months. Plantar Fascia only talked back a little bit this morning. Just haven't really been able to pinpoint the problem. Speed workouts have been pretty good actually. Long runs seem to be a lot of work, but mostly because I'm trying to keep up with the faster guys. Some of it is the warm weather, it just slows me down.

One thing is for certain past performance is only a indicator of potential not a standard that can be readily recalled. That was really evident in this mornings workout. Yesterday, I overslept and never did do a speed workout or even a slog. This morning I planned on some kind of speed workout, at least a progression run or tempo workout. Ended up only running 4 miles worth of steady state at slightly quicker than my old marathon pace. Just couldn't seem to get the legs to turn over any quicker and the breathing was way to labored.

Shoes seem to need replacement. That's about the only thing left to change to account for the soreness in my feet. I'd thought a stress fracture was forming in my 3rd metatarsal, yet again. That's the reason for several days off and even the one day off per week the last month or so. I've been alternating shoes every other run, so typically no successive days of running in the same shoes. In the past, my shins were usually the first indicator of worn out shoes. Strange.

It's all relative though. Stepped off the curb this morning and rolled my ankle, but still able to loosen it up enough for a mediocre speed workout. Only after the battery on the mp3 player crapped out and I fought the swarms of mosquito's. As I finished my workout this workout it all was good, some poor commuter on their way to work drove by with a flat tire slapping the ground. At least I'm still running, slowly.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rain and repeats

Woke to rain on the back deck when I let the dogs out this morning. The radar showed the showers moving eastward. Yet, on the way to meet the fella's at Greenland, it sprinkled rain, poured rain and stopped raining. BLEAH. Big crowd to start, eight of us total. Biggest group ever for a 4:30 training run? We broke into two groups, the fast guys went out for some kind of tempo workout and the rest of us headed out for 5 x 3:00 with a 1:30 recovery.

Today's workout was BQ1's from some kind of McMillan 10k plan. He planned on running 5k pace, I was thinking more of 10k pace. My plan was to go out at my pace and try to speed up at the end. Worked out pretty well. BQ1 would blast off and I'd chase, and never quite catch him. Always about 10 seconds back. Far better than the last couple of workouts where I went out at his pace and caved in the last half of the repeat.

Best part of the workout was that it was pain free! All of my little aches and pains didn't show up today. Don't know what's going on with that. Last couple of workouts have been better. So, perhaps everything is starting to come together. Sure hope so.

Nasty cut on Lance Armstrong from yesterday's crash, 13 miles into stage 5 of the Tour of California. Good news, nothing broken, but the cut below his eye required 8 stitches. Floyd Landis crawled out of his hole, to accuse everyone around Lance of doping and to change his story as well. This kind of crap really gets the forums all jazzed up, sort of entertaining but just more of the same old same old.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Queen of the house

Haven't updated the blog in quite some time. Not that I don't have anything to say. Plenty on my mind, but this is predominately a running blog. Sure don't want to weigh it down with my current situation. (though the guys I run with do get the benefit/drudgery of listening to my whining) But, it's easy to see how things can change one's perspective. Take all of the recent flooding in the middle Tennessee area. Incredible, loss of life, home, livelihood, and even sense of well being.

Training has been stuck in a rut lately. Felt like I had a hernia since late last year. Still haven't figured out what's going on. Been to the doctor twice and ruled out a hernia. Speed workouts have almost been stuck in third or fourth gear. Just can't seem to upshift to that final gear.

Went to the golf course this morning and it felt good to be on the grass. Time to put that back in to the training mix. I'll have to do those workouts by myself. Just seems better slogging along really slow and not risk stepping in a hole, until the sun comes up. Then it feels great to open up the stride, somewhat and push the pace slightly. Still slow enough to be a recovery run.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moon Pie

BQ1 has started a program for a fast 10 miles at the RC Cola Moon Pie race in June. I've always wanted to run this one fast, but it's never happened. Jeeeez, can't even manage half marathon pace. The heat is what seem to get me. The little hill at mile 4 isn't that big of deal. Last year we ran faster the week before when it was cooler in training than on race day a week later.

I'm doing my own training for this one. Little speed work in the heat once a week with EB and a second speed workout later in the week. Trying to keep the long run around 14 to 16 miles to keep the endurance up.

Training this year just doesn't seem to be going right. I can hit the targets, but come race day it isn't happening. My mental toughness seems to have slipped. I just can't seem to keep the pace going. Don't know the answer. Speedy suggested another time trial. Perhaps. That seems to be what turned the corner when I finally did get a sub 19:00 5k. A couple more weeks of training and the Wich brothers should have enough speed training to make this happen. It would be a good test for all of us. Then once more before the target race.

Thought marathon training was the answer, so I started another running streak in January. Stopped it last week, at around 82 days or so. Took 2 days off. More miles seems to work the best for me, but it isn't working this year. Perhaps its' the lightweight trainers I've been using. I do alternate a beefier shoe every other run. Barefoot sure as hell isn't the answer. BUT, I do think the form drills are definitely helping, though that is what tweaked my glut/piriformis. It's been sore for at least 3 or 4 weeks.

Maybe it's just age. Damn near 50 years old. Frustrating, plus I'm still looking for a job.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Purity Moosic City race report

Dylan decided to race the one mile fun run, yesterday. This was his first race. He's 8 years old. Can't remember how old Darrell was for his first race. We started towards the back of the pack, almost to far back. We had to go around a few walkers. I pretty much just chased after him. He did pretty much what I told him. Start slow and pick off runners. At the turnaround, a half mile out he'd worked his way up to 3rd overall, passing two older girls. He battled with the 2nd place runner most of the way home and finished 3rd overall. He won a nice boom box for his efforts.

My race didn't pan out as well. My only hope of beating the Wich brother's was to go out hard and maintain to the finish. First mile pretty well told me it wasn't going to happen. BQ1 passed me around mile 2 and then an entire truck load of UPS runners. Just couldn't maintain the pace. Ended up with a 19:40 or so, good enough for 3rd in my age group. BQ1 got 3rd master for the 5k and his brother got 1st in his age group (plus he beat me). The 10k guys did well, taking 4th and 5th overall. Which placed them as the 1 and 2 masters runners in the 10k. (those guys are in a whole other sphere of racing, their pace for 6.2 miles was quicker than we ran the 3.1 miles)

This race is great for the kids. The Wich's had 2 vans worth. The herd all won some hardware. Great day for a race, the weather couldn't have been any nicer. Just cool enough for the runners, but not to cold for the spectators.

Friday, April 9, 2010

spring ?

Plenty warm last week, almost like summer. Lots of sunshine and temperatures in the mid to upper 80's. Dylan was out of school for spring break. We went fishing most every day. Caught plenty of small fish, but no keepers. Darrell went with us a few times, just enough to get sun burnt. He's pretty fair skinned like Paula. Dylan on the other hand almost seems to have a built in tan. Not much on the job search. Started that in earnest this week.

Picked up Paula's little girl on Easter sunday. Her name is Zoe. Not sure how she's going to spell it. She's a tea cup, long hair chihuahua. Super tiny dog. Really funny watching her and Harley. She's smaller than his head. He plays real gentle with her. Lance on the other hand wants nothing to do with her. He almost acts like he's afraid of her. She makes him look big and he only weighs 11 pounds.

Darrell and I had a small beer sampling on the deck one day. We compared our California common to the Anchor Steam. Similar, but ours wasn't as malty. Plus, ours seemed to have more of a hop flavor. Also tried the Hop Devil. Think that may be our next brew, something really hoppy. Only downside to the real hoppy beers is the price of the hops. It adds up pretty quick. That and the amount of sludge left in the fermentation bucket afterwards. Should be able to avoid that by using a straining bag to contain the hops.

Making another sub 19:00 5k attempt this weekend at the Purity Moosic City Dairy Dash 5k and 10k. (plus the kids one mile fun run, perhaps Dylan will jump in ?) BQ1, his brother and I will be racing in the 5k and the Fast Master and Preacher will be racing the 10k. All of us will start together. The 10k group splits around mile 2 and the 5k group heads to the finish. We should have plenty of time to find a spot to watch the 10k group push it to the finish. Think this will be the largest concentration of the herd in one race, yet. (herd is the name bestowed on the small running group that meets at "o dark thiry" quite a few times a week)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Batch 3 All Grain

Octoberfest age group award mug.

The mash.

Bag of crushed grain, ready to mash.

Last bottle from our first brew of brown ale.

Darrell and I did our first all grain batch of beer on Sunday. It was an Irish Red picked for the amount of grain (wanted around 10 pounds) and Darrell wanted to try an Irish Red. Used this recipe,Quaffable Irish Red, from the Home Brew Talk forum. Didn't notice the ingredients were measured in tenths of a pound and not ounces. I converted on the fly at the brew shop, while the clerk measured out the grains. Little rounding here and there, plus on the hop addition during the boil because we don't have a scale. (note to self, need to buy a small scale, yes Paula like some use to weigh dope;)

The difference between all grain brewing and extract brewing is similar to the difference between making a cake from scratch or from a box. The extract beer kits have a can of malt syrup and the other ingredients to make the beer. With all grain, you take the raw malt grains, crush them and bring them to temperature to convert the starches to sugars. The sugars are sparged from the grain hulls and the liquid is collected to boil. From that point the brewing process is the same as with the extracts.

We picked Sunday as our brew day because of the rain that was due to hit in the morning. Me and the Wich brothers lucked out on our morning long run and made it home before the rain started. Good thing to, it turned into a soaker later in the afternoon. Hope, it washes all of the pollen out of the trees. Anyway Saturday was to nice of a day to be inside. We went fishing instead. (first frickin' tick of the year as well)

The brew itself went extremely well. We used the Zapap method to sparge our grains. I drilled a million holes in the bottom of a four and a half gallon icing bucket from the local bakery for the lauter tun, on Saturday morning. Still brewed on the stove as in the previous brews. Had to use an additional pot to boil water to temperature for the sparge. Think we could add at least another pound and maybe a half before we hit capacity in our 5 gallon brew pot. Still looking at a 30 quart turkey fryer setup which would eliminate this capacity issue, but like everything it's just another expense.

The grains/hops used for this brew: 9 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) America, 14.5 oz. Caramel Pils Malt, 5 oz. Special Roast Malt America, 2.5 oz.Biscuit Malt, 2.5 oz. Chocolate Malt, .6 oz of Galena hops, and 1.2 oz of Goldings hops. Also this was the first time we used a liquid yeast. It was the smack pack, Wyeast 1272 American Ale II. Really smelled great throughout the brew. This was a about a 5 hour event from start to finish. Lots of cleaning, double sink in the kitchen just isn't quite big enough. Would be nice to have a dedicated double laundry sink size set up. But, not to worry. Lots of folks brew in apartments with great results. Our original gravity reading was 47 verus a predicted 48. So we did pretty well. This batch should have and alcohol content in the low 4% range, versus our previous batch which is in the upper 5% range.

Did a couple of things different with this brew. Darrell really wants to get a clearer beer, so after we'd cooled the wort, we strained most of the remaining hops out while pouring the wort into our fermenting bucket. This was before we pitched our yeast. Also, we plan to transfer to a secondary fermentor once fermentation has stopped in a week or so. Plus, before we bottle we're going to try to crash cool the secondary fermentation for a day in the refrigerator to force any remaining sediment to the bottom, so it doesn't end up in our bottles.

Would also like to either purchase or build a wort chiller. The size I'm looking at is around $70. I'd like to build one if I could purchase the parts for around $35, otherwise, just as well to buy the one already built. This time it took at least an hour or more to cool our wort enough to pitch the yeast. Started off with the pot in the sink but ended up moving it into a larger keg sized container filled with cold water to speed up the process. I'd thought about just letting the wort cool overnight to room temperature, but wanted to have the fermentation process started before the weekend was over.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


New mug to add to the collection. Picture of my Octoberfest beer mug, didn't turn out? But, doesn't really fit the theme of the coffee mugs. Calling this a mug is a stretch, it's almost as big as the liter beer steins from Germany and about as thick. It's the age group award given out at this years Tom King 5k and half marathon.

Nothing special about this mug. Just an age group award from the running club in Texas. RAW. Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers. But, it's the one mug that's used every week with the morning coffee. More race directors need to take note, a mug makes a better award than a trophy that sits on a shelf or in a box in the closet.

This mug was from the 2000 Peachtree Road Road race. This race is a 10k on July 4th down Peachtree in Atlanta, Georgia. At one time it was the largest 10k race in the world. Nike gave a mug to the first 1,000 runners across the line. Tough part was getting seeded to be at the front of the race to have a shot at being one of the first 1,000 runners. The mantra for this race is the three H's, heat, hills and humidity.

One of the first mugs I ever got from a race. Not an age group award, they gave a mug to everyone who entered. This was my 3rd marathon? In 1998. The Blue Angel Marathon in Pensacola Florida.

The mark has been set for the upcoming 5k season. According to the Jack Daniels VDOT tables yesterdays race effort at the Tom King 5K, gives me a 50. I need to raise that to between a 53-54. This should yield a sub 19:00 5K or better yet around a 18:50.

Only good thing about the race was winning my age group and no rain during the race. Temperatures were perfect. Only reason I managed to squeeze out a first in my age group was because the Fast Master, won Masters and the rest of the fast guys were running the half marathon. Did win a cool coffee mug. Its about as big as the German liter beer steins and almost as thick. One of the better age group awards I've won over the years.

I think I'm better suited to longer races. The 5k race is over to quick and has to be run almost out of control from the gun. My first mile yesterday was right at my target pace, but then I slowed. Sure didn't seem like I slowed. I kept pace with the runners around me. Passed a few people, actually only eleven runners finished in front of me. Chased some little girl for the last mile and a half towards the stadium. She ended up being the first female and only finished seconds behind me. I didn't get past her until less than a half mile to go. Sure did worry that she might out kick me at the finish. But it wasn't her that beat me to the line. Another runner pasted me right at the line and finished 1 second ahead on gun time, but a second behind on chip time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

spring is in the air

Snow run from a few weeks ago on Riverview and the last house hit by the April tornado last year. Really need to get in the habit of grabbing the camera for some of the slower slogs.

Sunrise from a few weeks ago, that I just now pulled from the camera.

Paula and the boys have been sniffling the last few days. Don't know what's blooming other than weeds. Some of the trees have started to bud and the grass is starting to show some green, mostly weeds. Glad my allergies haven't started up yet. Was nice running in shorts yet again this morning. Here's to stowing away the tights again until the fall. (seriously doubt that will happen)

Rained last night and looks like more rain on the way. What's really going to suck is running Tom King in the rain yet again. Perhaps, we'll get it in between showers. I've only run it once in the rain, last year. The prior year I was out that morning in the rain and wondered how in the world they were going to have the race with all of the lighting. (evidently they didn't have as much in Nashville as compared to Murfreesboro)

Darrell and I brewed up our second batch of beer over the weekend. This one is a Anchor Steam clone or California Common. I've never had the Anchor, but it also compares with the Flying Dog, Old Scratch amber lager. We got the ingredients from Rebel Brewer in Goodlettsville. They have a storefront in the Space Park North business complex off of interstate 65. Little bit of everything in the store. They put together the beer ingredient kit as we waited. (according to the web they were out of the ready made kits)

The more I read about all grain brewing, the more I'm ready to take the plunge. Think batch number three will be all grain. Only thing I want to get besides the grain and ingredients is another bucket to sparge/mash. One of the better web sites I've found for research is Home Brew Talk.

One mistake we made with the first batch was dumping the entire fermented batch into the bottling bucket. The trub, left over grains and hops were a couple inches deep in the bottom of the bucket. That shouldn't have made it from the brewing kettle into the fermentation bucket. Ooops. That made our finished beer a little cloudy, plus we didn't wait but seven days to bottle. Perhaps this second batch we'll let settle for a little while longer until it clears completely before bottling.

Beer brewing bible, bottles ready to be delabeled/cleaned and ingredient kit.

Beer brewing kit from All Season in Nashville, plus brew pot.

One liter flip top bottles before bottling our first batch of English Brown Ale.

Dylan's lego castle.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

hills build strength

Target race is coming up in two weeks. After six plus weeks of 60 plus mile weeks, I'm still not in race shape. Didn't realize how much was lost until Speedy mentioned his VDOT and I looked up mine. Pretty eye opening the gap that needs to be closed to be in the same shape as my last decent race. The 5k race coming will just be a bench mark to build on for the remainder of spring and summer 5k attempts. The short speed stuff is coming, but I lack the strength or endurance to pull it all together for 5k.

Decided to go run a long run on the hills with the fast guys again this weekend. Thankfully they weren't in any big hurry with a pace that was manageable for me. One thing that really stands out in all the different programs all of the guys are using for all of the different race distance they're training; is hills. Everyone is doing some kind of hill workout. For me, its the hilly long run. Ideally Percy Warner Park every three weeks is a great strength builder. Haven't been out there in forever. Maybe this spring.

Wore my new Road ID on the long run as well. First time I've ever worn one on my ankle. Comfortable enough, didn't even know it was on. It's been a long time since I've worn any kind of ID when I run. In the past I'd go to X Mart and get a dog tag engraved with my name, address and telephone number. I'd lace it to my shoe and forget about it, until I changed shoes. Since I've moved back to Tennessee, probably 7 years have gone by since I've worn one. Plus, I wear a different pair of shoes on each run. Usually only 2 shoes, but never on successive days.

Bottled up our batch of home brewed English Brown Ale the other day. Color is a rusty almost caramel and the ABV calculates to 4.4%. Pretty successful brew, the flat beer tasted pretty good. Real test will be in 10 days after it's carbonated and settled some. Went out to Mom's and picked up a case of 750 ml Fischer Pils bottles with the flip tops and a case of Grolsch 16 ouncer's with the same. The Fischer's are from the early 70's when we lived in Germany. Cool old bottle, the stopper portion is ceramic versus the hard plastic used on the Grolsch. She also gave me an old 5 gallon carboy that my grandmother had picked up in Mexico. Sadly, we did manage to break one old wine carboy. It was probably older than the other one, looked to be blown glass, little thinner and almost a round shape. Luckily neither of us were cut when it broke.

Monday, February 22, 2010

sunny days

3 days straight of sunshine here in Middle Tennessee. Bring on spring! Able to get two runs in with shorts instead of tights. Saturday warmed pretty quick and lots of runners on the greenway in shorts. I'd worn tights and actually felt overdressed. Sunday's long run was in shorts, but did wear the calf sleeves. Much to the amusement of the guys. Today's run was even warm enough to leave the Zensah calf sleeves at home. But, the gray has returned and talk of snow again this evening. At least another month of cold weather, but the trend should be towards warming.

Saturday, Darrell and I made a trip into Nashville to All Seasons Garden & Brewing Supply. They are one of the few places in the area that sell beer brewing supplies. I've been wanting to home brew for several years. Last year I made a batch of beer with one of those 2.5 gallons Mr. Beer kits. I did several things wrong, but the beer turned out ok. I have a case of one liter flip top bottles from that brew, so just need another 6 pack or so of 12 ounces bottles to brew a 5 gallon batch. We bought the Brewers Best beer kit, which included everything for a brew except a brew pot and the ingredients for the first brew.

Sunday we brewed up our first batch of beer, a Nut Brown Ale. Brewing beer is pretty much like brewing tea, with an added step to put in the alcohol. Darrell wanted to go for the all grain brew, but we decided to stick with the malt extract kits for our first couple of brews. (part of the kit is a can of malt extract, the other option is to use all grains to create your own "extract"') One item I thought would make the next brew easier would be a floating thermometer and a wort chiller. But, after reading a thread in a runningahead forum decided next time to let the wort cool overnight.

Should have our first bottles of beer to sample around the time Darrell turns 21. We went by the Yazoo brewery with the intention of touring the brewery. But after standing in line for awhile, the decision was made that it would be more fun if Darrell was able to have a sample and a pint or two in the tap room instead of watching me indulge. This was my first trip to the brewery and they should be moved down into the Gulch in the next month or so. This will enable me to run by at lunch and fill a growler pretty easily. Don't know why they are moving, the old Marathon factory is a pretty cool looking old building. I'd imagine it'll probably be torn down in the next couple of years if no other business moves into Yazoo's space. (edit to add) When Yazoo moves out of Marathon — clearing the way for locally owned liquor company Corsair to start building a unique distillery on the premises — the taproom will be blissfully three times larger. And the restrooms will be heated!(from the Nashville Post)

Monday, February 15, 2010

2 pounds and 4 weeks

.........and a whole lot of speed to build up. Made the decision last week to switch from the half marathon to the 5k at Tom King this year. I've run the half 3 times at Tom King. Twice in 1:27 during marathon training. I've only trained once, for the half distance only and that was a 1:28, but that was in Memphis. Just can't see attempting another half when I'm not in shape to run it to my potential. Last year, while in marathon training, I thought a 1:26 was possible and just about got it. Perhaps with a little more taper and not after running a 20 miler the week before. But, after training this spring, it seems the marathon training is what got me in good enough shape to run those times. Or the buildup from my last injury is just taking longer.

Maybe I'm just a little impatient this cycle. I jumped into half marathon training about 3-4 weeks after BQ1. I seemed to chase after him more times than not. The fast finish long runs were probably the most revealing. I just couldn't keep the pace going. Plus, the last couple of steady state runs were way more work than last year. It's coming back but slower. Fourteen miles chasing the fast guys on the hills on the St. John hills were tougher and I couldn't maintain pace attempting a fast finish, even with the downhill to assist me. Part of this was because of the form drills from the previous day. The drills were a bit more work than I anticipated. Good stuff, hope to see some results from those in the coming weeks.

The forms drills came from Pete Magill's, Younger legs for Older Runners. This is a great web site. I was really interested in his 10 week program for the 5k for the upcoming Carlsbad 5000. But, he's pulled it from his website after 2 weeks and is going to write it up for Running Times. Scratch that, its still on his site.

So, with four weeks until the race I'm going to concentrate on speed and form. I've only got two more pounds to drop to get to 155, which is the lightest I've ever raced. Dropping the weight is a non issue. The speed on the other hand is going to be tough. Thursday I tried some repeats at race pace and it was tough to find it and to consistently hold it. Probably need to go back to the track. That's what I did in 2008 for my only sub 19:00 5k in the last 10 years. Somewhere, somehow I've got to build some strength and endurance. I'd have thought the 60 miles weeks would do that.

This mornings run should be interesting. We got a couple of inches of snow overnight. I really enjoy running in the snow, but this will be the 3rd day straight with snow. It's ok for the easy days, but really makes getting the quality runs difficult to execute. Ready for winter to be over.

Monday, February 8, 2010

5 weeks out from the Tom King half marathon and 5k

Worked the Predators 5k on saturday for my last tokens to run in the Tom King race. Big turnout for the race with 1,600 preregistered. Sure don't see how anyone can run that quick with the wind and cold. It was around 34 degrees at the start, which wasn't bad. I was actually to warm at times, because I'd dressed for the wind. It was chilly. Can't imagine running downtown, with the wind tunnel effect, in shorts and a singlet. Brrrrrrr. The winning time was 16:07. First winter race for me at the finish line, and the number of puking runners just seems to stand out. Hot day, I could see. Always cool to see everyone coming across the line.

Training this week was ok. Only did one quality workout, seven miles at steady state. One more this week for eight miles and I'm switching to shorter, faster stuff. Maybe back to the hills for some repeats to continue and build strength. Did manage to get 60 miles this week on seven days of running. That makes fourteen days in a row, running. Not trying to have a running streak, but really is the only way to get the mileage without doing doubles. Not that I'm against doubles, they're just to hard to pull off.

Did manage to drop 2 pounds with the increase in mileage. This should help come race day. Not that I've got that much to lose. Probably why it takes several weeks worth of increased miles before those pounds actually drop. In the last 4 weeks I've averaged 60 miles per week.

Sending off my registration for the race today. Can't believe its' $50 for a half marathon. Guess I'm just a little out of touch with the race fees. I only race maybe twice a year. Seems like the last couple of marathons were around $65. Best deal out there is the State Park running tour. This weekend is the Frostbite half marathon. If, I was in shape and could swing being gone all day that race is a bargain. One of these years perhaps we can get a group together and race one of them a month and trade off on driving or something. The fact that they usually start around 11 am is the deal breaker for me. One day.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

6 weeks

Started talking about the snow that was coming on Monday or Tuesday. We finally got it on Friday morning. Probably had around 4 or 5 inches worth before it changed over to freezing rain sometime in the night. End effect was a coating of ice on the trees and the top layer of ice an inch or so thick on top of the snow.

BQ1 changed his workout to Thursday because of the predicted snow. I already had my six mile steady state run planned for that day. Worked out well because Sol needed a workout and he agreed to pull us through the workout. I'd hoped for around a 6:50 pace and the first mile came in around 6:46. Dialed in pretty close to half marathon pace but should be doable for six miles. I ended following off of BQ1's shoulder for as long as I could hang on with Sol pulling us both. Ended up with about a 6:45 or so average for the six miles, quicker than my average pace from my last 10k.

Slept in on Friday morning and again on Saturday morning. Did get out for runs on both days, with a nice run in the late afternoon on Saturday in the daylight. Snow was still crunchy, only 24 degrees and a gray sky all day long. Tough run on the trail out at the Stones River Battlefield. Most of the trail under the trees was just snow covered without much of a ice buildup on top. Sections of the trail out in the open were ice covered and ankle deep snow. Fun stuff.

Sun finally came back out today and the snow was starting to melt on the last 20 minutes of my long run. The first few miles were cold and hard to keep my thumbs warm. Saw P man out on the last couple of miles of his 20 mile run. I'd slept in yet again and missed starting with the guys. Mine was a solo effort all around town on the busy roads, because they were the most snow free. Did run for about a mile with P man when he overtook me around mile six for me, which helped bring my average pace down a little bit. Didn't think I'd find any good shots for the camera on a urban run, but was surprised by the amount of ice on the trees and the reflections of light from the rising sun. Darn, to gray on Saturday for any shots and to cold today. Should have just stuck in my pocket anyway. Oh well.

Dylan and I sledded for a little while on Friday afternoon. We weren't really dressed well enough for the cold, so didn't stay out more than an hour or so. Thought I'd broken my shoulder on one of the runs. Just a tad to old to be flying down those hills that fast. We went back again on Saturday morning with his cousin and stayed even longer, but we were dressed for it this time. I only did a couple of slides and stopped after bruising my hip. Still sore today.

Monday, January 25, 2010

seven weeks out

Hit 60.9 miles this week on 6 day days of running. Didn't run this morning, so still just streaking for 6 days at a time. Seems like every other run this past week was in the rain. The long run last week was pouring rain as was this weeks. Steady state run on Thursday was raining the entire way as well.

Weight is still stuck at 160 pounds. Seems like the same thing happened when I increased the mileage last year. Still hope to drop five pounds by race day. I did start back on lifting weights twice a week. At least that helps to keep the arms firm. The big mileage is about the only thing that seems to melt that last few pounds around the middle of the belly. Never have been able to maintain a constant regime of crunches or sit ups.

The guys I've been running with (the herd) are mostly all back running. Some are running strong, some are coming back from injury and some sharpening up the speed or focused on the next race. All of this diversity makes some of the training runs really interesting. We all usually start off together for a few miles of warmup and then separate as everyone gets into their individual workouts or comfort zones. Nice when we are all able to run from start to finish together, but that is really difficult with the different levels of training/fitness/talent.

BQ1 was able to defend his masters title at the Zoo run on Saturday. He's running super strong. Even able to come out in the rain on Sunday morning and pull me through 11 miles of the Spain loop. We did the loop backwards to get "the hill" over with first. Doesn't really matter how you do that loop its rolling hills the entire way. His scheduled workout called for 20 minutes of "moderate". We started that after the last major hill. Pretty tough workout 14 hours after racing. I was able to keep pace most of the way. Lost ground on the uphills, gained it back on the downhills. Still he pulled away in the last 5 minutes. Guess he was either ready to be done or wanted to see how much gas he had left in the tank. I'll just be glad to maintain that kind of pace for six miles this coming thursday.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

8 weeks out

Not really enough time for a proper buildup for a half marathon. But, at least it gives me a target to aim at for the next several weeks. The Tom King Half marathon is March 13th. I've been able to sharpen up the speed in five weeks the last couple of years off a marathon base. This time around I'm still struggling to get back up to speed and that was only for a 5 mile race.

Still not following any schedule. Been doing BQ1's workouts with him on Tuesdays. Kind of sorta following McMillan on my second speed workout of the week and for the long run. Today I wanted 14 miles. Most of the guys showed up even though it was raining and 47 degrees. I was secretly hoping everyone would stay home and I could either slog on my own or go back home. P man and BQ1 had some Hudson plan workout that was way to intense for me. Speedy and I let them go after about a four mile warmup. We were running the Lascassas loop which has enough hills that I wasn't up for any type of speed workout in the middle.

Looking at the radar this morning before I finally made it out the door, gave me the impression the rain would slack off a hour or so into our run. That never happened, in fact at times the rain picked up and never did slow to more than a steady drizzle. Not to bad for the first 10 miles, but I was ready to be done coming back to the car at around 11 miles. BQ1 and P man were headed back out, so I turned around with them to add some more miles. Couldn't keep up with them and didn't until they'd turned around again and headed back to the car for the cooldown. Thankfully P man pulled me out for one mile out and back to the car to get my 14 miles before he headed back out to finish the rest of his long run.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Tough getting out the door this morning. Yesterday was warmer than it has been, plus most of the guys were running so that was easier than this morning. Way to easy to sleep in or get up for the run, but decide to take a day off. That's what I did on Monday. First mile this morning was cold, 12 degrees and I felt most of it in my fingers. They warmed up by the second mile and the rest of the run was pleasant. Sunshine made it the running highlight of the week.

Going to be tough to drop five pounds to get into racing weight. Stuck at 160 pounds which is about where I always end up running about 40 miles per week. Most people wouldn't even be able to tell the extra five pounds. I know my running friends look pretty skinny when they whine about being fat. Increasing my mileage to around 70 miles per week should get me around 155 pounds. No need for any special diet or fasting required. Jeez, that's one of the key reasons for running is so I can eat what I want and enjoy my beer.

Tougher thing is the comeback from being injured. Still struggling to keep up with the guys. Pretty encouraging workout on Tuesday in hindsight. It felt pretty rough when BQ1 and I were running it. Or should I say as I chased after him. But, when I looked up the times as compared to last year, the times were actually quicker this year. Huh? who'd have thought the speed is still there, just no endurance.

Tougher yet, is going to be racing BQ1 at the Tom King half marathon. Last year I ran it as a PR of 1:27 something. This year I'd like to go sub 1:27. BQ1 is halfway into his training and super strong right now. I've got a long way to go, but should be ready come race day. Personal record? Doesn't look good right now, but the body is pretty amazing in how quickly it builds and adapts.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Holy smokes it seems to take forever to build back the strength once its allowed to lapse. Pee man and BQ1 showed me how much I'd lost this morning. We met at Lascassas Baptist Church to run the Spain hill loop. Coldest day of the year, 8 degrees to start and 10 degrees when we finished. I finished dead last, BQ1 finishing strong and Pee man going back out for seven more miles.

Lots of snow still on the roads out here in the country. Most of the hills were snow covered. The guys waited on me at the tops of all of the hills. Pretty embarrassing that I couldn't keep up. This loop is eleven miles with the last hill crest at eight miles. The last three miles home are almost level. Great for a fast finish long run. The guys took off at around a 6:30 pace which was way to much for me. I'd hoped to run the last three miles at marathon pace or so. Hah, actually only able to muster a 7:11 for the first one, 7:19 for the next and only able to squeak out a 7:15 with the help of Pee man pulling me in the last quarter.

Snow was pretty and the footing wasn't that bad. Little to no wind and despite the cold a pretty enjoyable run. Hands were to warm for periods, the ski mask wasn't needed most of the time, but thankful to have it.

Went back and checked the log for the quickest I've run this loop. Almost a full six minutes faster, yet this wasn't the slowest time either. Lots of strength to build before its time to try another race. I'd hoped to run a spring marathon. After checking out the options it just doesn't fit into more current schedule. I'd need another month, probably May before I'd be in marathon shape. To late in the spring for any of the marathons that are close enough to drive. Think I'll just target a fast half marathon at Tom King. Just hope BQ1 doesn't dust me. It should be a good battle.