Sunday, January 30, 2011

315 seconds

315 seconds, that's all I need to shave off my last marathon PR effort. That race was a huge PR, but also a big jump in training as well. This cycle the long runs don't seem to be coming as easily and the training is about identical to the previous cycle. Maybe that's due to only doing one gel. Or starting out a little to quickly. Or I'm 2 years older and damn near 50. This mornings long run went ok. Easy slog of 5 miles and then 13 miles on the Cedars of Lebanon Frostbite 1/2 marathon course, plus a couple more miles to get my 20 miles. Nice to have the fellas pull me through 13 miles.

I know the 2 points where I gave up all of my time in the last marathon. The first spot is the hill at mile six. That's easily 150 seconds worth of effort that won't have to be expended on the mostly flat Snickers course. It's not Chicago flat, but appears to be a little less rolling than the Huntsville Rocket City marathon, where I got my Boston Qualifying time. The rest of my lost time was the slow down in the final 3 miles and backing off the pace after the half way point. Should be able to avoid the slow down, by being a little more conservative in the early miles. Plus, this time, no slow down in pace on the back half. All or nothing.

Target race is 5 weeks out from yesterday. One more trip out to Percy Warner Park to double the 11.2. Looks like we won't have to deal with snow this time. A couple more fast finish long runs and one half marathon just to have a race under my belt before the big race. Sub 3:00 marathon or blow up trying.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

thought I was stronger on the hills

Good thing it wasn't cold this morning. 25 degrees, little to no wind most of the way. Sure seemed to cool off towards the end of the run, though. Just me and the fast master this morning from Lascassas Baptist Church. I had a fast finish long run scheduled and he just wanted 22 easy miles. I compromised and ran his route, he compromised and ran my pace. Should have been win, win for both of us. Only problem, I couldn't seem to hold back in those early miles. Kept the heart rate at or below 150 bpm for the first 12 miles. (but still to close to marathon pace)

From the start, I knew we were going 22 miles. (good thing we actually only ended up with 19.8) So I was only drinking every 4 miles. Felt really good in the early miles. Pretty nice route, I'd ridden parts of it on the bike, but never ran the entire loop. It is one of the go to routes for the fast guys. Geez, I can see why they are so tough. The early hills are deceiving, no big climbs, just lots of little rollers. Good times.

It was at 12 miles in that I was going to click into marathon pace and then hold that for the last 8 miles home, or so that was the plan. First mile was tough to get into pace, looking at the map, I can see why, it was a slight rise to a monster hill. So much for marathon pace up the hill it wasn't happening. Really thought my lungs were going to explode. Coming back down the other side was the only thing that keep me going, next mile missed MP by 12 seconds. Arggh. Then another little climb. Only 3 miles into the MP effort and its all falling apart. The next little hill sucked the rest of the breath out of me and I caved. Stopped, tried to catch my breath and pee. Nothing coming out, guess I hadn't been drinking enough, and probably should have taken one more succeed cap.

Thankfully, the fast master hung around at the top of that little hill while I had my little pity party. We then slogged up the last Spain hill, coming from this direction, its the 3rd or 4th hill and the steepest. Decided to try and make the best of the workout and go MP home. It's all downhill so it should have been a piece of cake. Well, the heart rate said I was going MP, but the actual pace was slowing for the last 3 miles. Starting cramping in my neck and jaw in the final mile. So, I guess slightly dehydrated. I stopped when we got to the car. The fast master went ahead and tacked on the difference so he'd have 20 miles.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The treadmill sucks

I hate running on the treadmill. This morning was probably the 2nd time in the last 6 years or so. We got just enough snow, that turned into a solid sheet of ice on all of the roadways. This forced me indoors this morning. I could have waited until this evening to attempt a workout on the roads. But, the chances of it thawing enough and actually getting it done, weren't really in my favor. That and I had a speed workout scheduled for today. Didn't even try to do the planned workout, instead modified it and cut it in half. Still only ended up with 5 miles total on the treadmill. Time just stands still.

I guess the biggest thing about the treadmill is that its so warm inside. I start slinging sweat after 5 minutes. The little fans on the treadmill help some, but still way to warm for me. ('course this particular gym didn't even have that) Seemed like I was thirsty after only a mile or so. Must be the dry indoor air?

It is pretty nice to be able to dial up a pace, that's great for doing some speed workouts. I didn't even try to do that for the scheduled minute on/off workout. I bet it could be programmed into the treadmill, that would be cool. Manually increasing to the desired pace and then decreasing for the recovery just seems so awkward. I felt like I'm about to land on my face at any minute.

The gym I was at, only has 2 tiny TV's which are impossible to see. Perhaps at a nicer gym with lots of BIG tv's I could get into the treadmill. At least a distraction to make the time go by quicker. Thankfully I had my Ipod.

I'll be glad when this winter is over. Just a little bit to much snow this year for me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Set up to fail

Pretty disgusted with my speed workout this morning. Felt good for the first mile. I wanted to go 3 to 5 miles at tempo pace. G is going to race this weekend and only wanted to go a mile with me. Seems like I started to struggle to maintain pace after he peeled off. By the end of the second mile, I stopped to recover. Seemed like way to much work. But looking back at the splits afterwards, I hit the numbers I wanted. Should have toughed out one more mile. Instead, I did a little recovery and attempted another 2 miles of tempo. Stopped after a half mile. I couldn't get up to speed. Blah.

Couple of things come to mind that may have affected my lack of concentration. I decided that I was going to cut back on my coffee consumption. Yesterday was day 2 of only the morning cup of coffee versus the additional cup when I got to the office and then another in the afternoon. The first day I was only kinda grumpy in the afternoon. Day 2, I got a headache in the afternoon. The biggest surprise was lying in bed for over an hour trying to get to sleep instead of just dozing off like I usually do. The thought behind the cut back to only one cup of coffee was so the caffeine powergel would have more kick in the latter stage of the marathon. Plus, reading about carb loading, the diuretic effect of coffee is something to avoid in the carb loading phase.

First thing I noticed this morning when I went to the bathroom was my day glow yellow pee. Uh, oh classic sign of dehydration. Need to make sure I drink some water before heading out for my speed workout this morning. Didn't happen. Actually went out the door without my water bottle. Just a little to rushed this morning because of a spam email that was sent from my email address. I had 98 email messages this morning in response to "my email". But, I didn't send it. It was one of those I get from time to time from someone you know, but it contains a link to some website. I always just delete those.

Bottom line, I caved on mile 2. Guess, I need to race a little bit more to get my edge back. One good thing I noticed was lower my resting heart rate. Last cycle it was 42, this morning it was 38.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Seven weeks out

Little less than 7 weeks to go until the marathon. Training went well this week despite the snow. Who would have thought we'd have snow stay on the ground for a week in Middle Tennessee. Can't really complain, it has been a little cold this year, but haven't really had the cold rain runs. What really blew my mind was how much snow was still on the road in Percy Warner Park. The fast master and I went back out there to double the 11.2 on Sunday. Ended up just going one loop, plus the Luke Lea overlook because it was to slippery. Lots of black ice, and sections of road which were still completely snow packed. We still got our 20 miles, but had to add on Page road and Belle Meade Boulevard.

Got lulled into doing a marathon pace effort on Friday by BQ1 and his brother on Friday. They were doing a AT run and I didn't have a workout scheduled. (In hindsight, it was a down week in preparation for a big week coming up) Started out at their pace and it just wasn't clicking for me. So, I picked it up just a tad and tried to get into marathon pace. Ended up running about 6 or 7 miles worth and it felt really good.

Wednesday had to do my Yasso 800 workout on the road, because of the snow on the track. That was definitely tough. Not so much because of the rolling hills, but the inability to see where I was pace wise. At least on the track, you have instant feedback. My splits came in pretty close to the target, so it wasn't a complete bust. Plus, it's always a little tough to do that workout solo. Last cycle BQ1 pulled me through on some of the repeats. Sure makes it easier to chase or be chased, versus the solo effort.

The week ahead calls for a tempo run on Wednesday, 20 x a minute on/off on Friday and then a fast finish long run on Sunday. I'll probably be at about the maximum mileage for this training cycle, high 70, perhaps even 80. (not counting the 100 mile week with the 50k) That may really end up to be more of a setback, just because of the amount of time it took to fully recover from the effort.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Pretty decent little snow storm overnight here in Murfreesboro. We measured 3.25 inches of snow on the back deck around 8 am. Dylan and I went to the closest hill to the house, the overpass on Thompson Lane over Old Nashville Highway. We were one of the first 2-3 people out sledding. Still snowing with some big fluffy flakes. We used some of the old sleds from when I was a kid. A german made sled and a Flexible Flyer knock off, both easily 40 years old. Both went pretty fast down the hill. We sledded for almost 3 hours before I got cold and we headed back to the house.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

100 mile week

Time to reflect on the training in the attempt to go sub 3:00 at the Snickers Marathon, in Albany, Georgia on March 5th. This week I should be racing to see where my fitness lies. Instead, the prior week I ran the most miles ever, 102.5 miles in one week. That number was achieved by a 22 mile double of Percy Warner Park on Sunday, roughly 10 miles per day afterwards and followed by 31 miles on Saturday, January 1, 2011.

Doubling the 11.2 at PWP is something I've used in the past to gauge my fitness level. I would like to make the trek to Nashville for this run, about every 3-4 weeks. This trip was complicated by about a half inch of snow that covered everything. Luckily, no ice under the snow, but slippery enough to be left wondering how we didn't manage to fall even once on that outing. The fast master hung around with me for the first 14 miles or so before I told him to go ahead. I was slowing him down. Found some new soreness afterwards as well because of the slippery road. Note to self: Trail shoes next time in the snow. But, wow PWP is great covered in snow!

In hindsight, going over 100 miles was primarily just a silly stunt. The part that I didn't count on was the recovery needed afterwards. I ended up breaking the little running streak I had going. Only 14 days or so, but that had only been interrupted by a single day off before the 40 other days of streaking. Streaking is another silly stunt. Though I do seem to run better without days off or minimal days off. Probably should have done a taper before the 31 miler. Next time.

My fitness has improved, just wish I could find a race to gauge by how much. Attempted a speed workout on Tuesday. That really showed how much recovery is needed after such a big week. I only needed 5 x 2,000 meters at tempo pace. I started struggling to maintain pace on the 3rd repeat and decided to try the next one at marathon pace. Couldn't even get to marathon pace for the 4th repeat and the 5th was even worse. Very long morning.

It wasn't until Thursday that I finally seemed to have the old spring back into my stride. Friday's workout went extremely well. I think my body has recovered from the previous week. The fun part of this workout was starting out with most of the guys and then chasing after them for the entire workout. I was doing a 20 x a minute on and a minute off at about 5k pace, chasing the Wich's who were doing a steady state run. The fast guys were ahead of us, doing their own workout, after we'd all warmed up together. Never did catch the fast guys, but did get close enough that we thought we'd be able to reel them in. The Wich's and I did the yo-yo thing we'd done before with this workout. I'd reel them in, and then do my recovery as they sped away. Then I'd chase them down and repeat. Fun stuff, breaks up the workout anyway.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dirk's Fat Ass 50k number 5

These are the only pictures I took during the race. Have to blame the rain for the blurry shots. Really pleased with the turnout this year, 30 starters. We had the biggest number of finishers ever for the 50k at 12 (David, Chris, Greg, Karl, Rick, Wade, Paul, Naresh, Oldman) with Jennifer, Lisa and Joseph going 33 miles to celebrate his birthday.

The rain this year was a welcome change to the cold of the previous years. At least until the end of the second loop when the trail started to flood. About the time the rain stopped. A few braves souls continued on the trail through waist deep water, while the less hardy of us detoured through the weeds, woods and briars. Only 1 finisher to complete the entire "course" before it was completely under water. The rest of us added on miles at the battlefield or on old Nashville highway to get the distance. Naresh's race report.

Naresh, Wade, Karl, Paul and Rick

David Jones and the rest of our finishers, had already left or were still on the course adding additional miles when this finishers picture was taken.

Start time: 8 am, Saturday January 1, 2011.

Location: General Bragg HQ's trailhead,1540 W. College St., Murfreesboro, TN, 37129

This is an unofficial Fat Ass run so there is no entry fee, no awards, and no wimps. There is some aid and some post event refreshments. It's an out and back course so you can do any distance you want.

I'll provide water, gatorade, and some type of warm salty food to share at the aid station (General Bragg HQ). Please bring something to share as well.

The course starts at the General Bragg HQ on the Stones River Greenway and goes out to Stones River Battlefield, around the battlefield and back to the greenway and on to Cannonsburg and then back to General Bragg's HQ for one loop. One mile to the battlefield, a two mile loop and the one mile return to the pavilion at Bragg. From there, a six mile out-and-back to Cannonsburgh. Each loop is around 10 miles and only minor elevation changes, no hills. Bathrooms at the battlefield, the start and at Cannonsburgh. The 50k distance is 3 loops. The pavillion at General Braggs HQ's serves as the starting and ending point, as well as the aid station.

The inaugural run.

Year 2.

Year 3.

Year 4.