Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 710:53
Distance: 101.83 miles

I put the time and miles in this week as you can see. The conditions were fun at times but the National Marathon is approaching quickly. I have a lot of fitness to gain between now and then if I want to be able to maintain 5:21-5:23 miles for the entire distance. So far I have been able to remain injury free (*knocks on wood) and highly motivated during this cycle. Coach Jeff thinks the training is looking good.

Pointless Run in the Snow

Time: 128:27
Distance: 18.04 miles
Pace: 7:07

I had my most miserable run of the year this morning when I thought it would be a good idea to run from the house out to McAlpine. The goal was to arrive just as the Queens team was starting their long run from Old Bell. I took most of the main roads out to the parking lot and didn't have the best experience. The roads were plowed just enough for a single car to pass, but that meant I had to jump in and out of the road to the shoulder of snow and ice. Driver's weren't acting too malicious this morning out on the thoroughfares.

It was almost exactly 8 miles from the door to Old Bell, I'll definitely keep this in mind in the coming weeks. However, those 8 miles were split at: 8:30, 7:30, 7:10, 6:51, 6:58, 7:06, 7:04, 6:16. Then I entered the park and it was a disaster. I had yet to experience bad footing on the day's run. McAlpine was awful. The snow wasn't soft enough to provide any cushioning and hard/beat up enough to make it feel like you were running in a riverbed. The next 10 miles were: 7:17, 7:09, 7:13, 7:24, 7:11, 7:08, 7:18, 7:03, 6:40, 6:22. The worst part was the fact that only 3 Queens athletes decided to show up this morning and 2 were females.

As you can see the splits were all over the place. The terrain basically dictated the pace and made every step a calculated placement. The only redeeming bit of fun on the run was my trusty iPhone that kept me company and provided some tunes to zone out. Late in the run I was joined by Benny and that made things a bit easier, but he was somehow ripping through the snow like it was a non-issue. I tried to pick it up to match his pace but that only made the run increasingly frustrating. The final two miles that clocked in under 7:00 minutes felt like they were sub-6:00 effort.

Multiple times I felt like calling it a day because I wasn't getting the true benefit of a long run. Yes, I was out there for over two hours, but nothing about the pace or effort felt natural. I know I'm going to be extra sore tomorrow due to all the little stabilizer muscles having to do extra work. I'm trying to find the positives to this run. I don't see any. Get me outta here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Charlotte Sees Snow

Time: 46:26
Distance: 5.73 miles
Pace: 8:06

I've had a pretty high volume week thus far and today I just wanted to relax. Meagan and I were greeted this morning with a few inches of snow. She thought it was fantastic, I thought it was going to work over my achilles. My days up in Providence taught me that running on uncleared, icy streets can be disastrous for training. The little bit of slipping at the end of each stride really adds up and causes extra stress to the achilles and calves. The marathon build up is going great so far and I don't want a little bit of snow to ruin things.

White stuff and ice make for a terrible running surface.

Ralphie's big sister?

Meagan and I ran to Run For Your Life and back for our route. We didn't expect there to be too much business, but evidently the snow didn't stop customers from needing shoes. The run turned into two, 20 minute runs as our break at the running store was at least 30 minutes. I needed a good day of recovery.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beat the Cold

Time: 99:10
Distance: 16.20 miles

W/u: 21:50 for 3.06
W/0: 2 x 5 miles at 10 sec. faster than MP with 4 min. recovery
C/d: 19:00 for 2.64 miles

With the coming storm, Meagan, Jess and I went out to Old Bell to get in a workout. The trail from Old Bell to the Footlocker course had been recently re-dirted making the footing rather soft. The warm up allowed me to check out part of my route beforehand, but I didn't know that parts of the Footlocker course would also be really soft. That being said, the hill was in great condition for a tempo run because of the maintenance work.

My route was going to be Old Bell to Footlocker course (2 miles), once around the Footlocker course (~5k). I would jog around for 4 minutes and then do the Footlocker course (5k) and run back to Old Bell (2 miles). Simple enough, fast route, a couple of hills, no problem.

5:30, 5:30, 5:32, 5:27, 5:25 (27:25 first 5 miles)
(4 min jog)
5:25, 5:26, 5:22, 5:23, 5:06 (26:42 second 5 miles)
58:20 for 10.50 miles total including rest

I knew today wasn't going to be the best of workouts and that I just needed to get through it. The ~5:10 prescribed pace was never going to be hit this afternoon. I didn't have the right mental state going into the workout to hit such splits. Furthermore, the wind in the face for the first 2.5 miles really slowed things down. I kept telling myself to finish up the first 5 miles at an honest effort, run the first 5k of the second set strong and then have fun the last two miles of the workout with the wind at your back. I was pleased to run 5:06 on the final mile and was only shooting to run 5:15. I was looking at the watch and seeing the pace drop from 5:16 1k from the finish to 5:12 with 800 to go and 5:10 with 400 to go. It's also good to see that the two mile splits with the hill were 5:27 and 5:26.

My cool down ended up being from Queens University back to the apartment because Jess and Meagan looked anxious to leave.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bull City Double

Time: ~52 mins
Distance: 7.09 miles

The second run of the day was with the guys from Bull City Running in Durham, NC. I messed up my watch at a street crossing and don't have accurate numbers. Jason Page took George and me on a loop through a few neighborhoods near the store. I was happy to put in some extra miles this evening before my drive back to Charlotte. Good day of work and a solid day of training.

Twice This Week

Time: 57 minutes
Distance: ~8 miles

I forgot my Garmin heading out the door this morning to another 6:00 am run with the Charlotte Running Club. There is really no reason for me to get up that early, but it is nice having people to run with. I stole the minutes and distance from Meagan's blog which means we probably ran 56:12 and 7.60 miles. She always seems to round up significantly. I think we ran a little bit faster this morning, but I don't really remember. I'm just trying to get this blog caught up to present date.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nightime Loop

Time: 38:02
Distance: 5.30 miles
Pace: 7:11

For whatever reason I didn't get back out on the roads until well after dark. The first order deadline for Craft is at the end of the week and I've been trying to hammer away at collecting orders. I probably wouldn't have doubled tonight, but knowing that this weekend's weather was going to be rough, I thought to put in some time on the feet. I ran a nice and relaxed loop through Freedom Park. I'm pleased with how the body responded to last night's workout. No real aches or pains, just some general fatigue.

Poor Choice?

Time: 52:59
Distance: 7.01 miles
Pace: 7:33

I somehow let Meagan convince me that it would be a good idea to get up at 5:30 am so that we could go run with the Charlotte Running Club at 6:00 am. I didn't get back home from Asheville until 10:30 pm, still had to eat dinner and take a shower. I was running with very little rest this morning, but I was about to hear Meagan brag, "I've run 7 miles this morning, what have you done?" It wasn't that bad in the end.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jus' Running Track Workout

Time: 69:06
Distance: 10.65 miles

W/u: 15:51 for 1.86 miles
W/o: 41:38 for 7.48 miles (4 sets of 1 mile, 200 jog, 1k, 200 jog)
C/d: 11:37 for 1.31 miles

My travel schedule today took me from Charlotte, NC to Greenville, SC to Asheville, NC back home to Charlotte. I hadn't had the opportunity to run with Jus' Running's Tuesday night track group and thought tonight might provide an opportunity to work out with Norm's Maggots. Norm Blair is the owner of Jus' Running and his store's team wins the Blue Ridge Relay every year. His Maggots can run and I wanted to see if I had the stuff to compete with these guys.

I was introduced to Norm my first trip up to Asheville and while I was there I met Taylor Little who was getting ready to race USATF Club XC Nationals. He ran a solid race finishing just behind my former teammate at Brown, Ari Zamir who now runs for New Balance Boston. It was my hope that Taylor was doing something that would fit into my marathon training cycle. As luck would have it, Taylor was running 4 sets of 1 mile hard, 200 jog, 1k hard, 200 jog. This was close enough to what I was planning to do tonight (5 x 1.5 miles).

I knew that Asheville was going to be a bit colder than Charlotte but I didn't expect mid-20s. I was freezing my ass off, yet the store still had about 20 people show up to the Tuesday night workout. They were going to do 6 sets of 300 hard, 100 easy, 700 hard, 200 easy. While a few members of the group were former 29:00 minute 10kers, I'd say most were your average running enthusiasts. Jus' Running definitely has one of the most committed training groups that I've seen in my two months on the job. Norm has created a great little community in Asheville.

The workout splits:
5:07.43, (67), 3:06.20, (69);
5:04.31, (74), 3:08.60, (74);
5:05.65, (81), 3:06.87, (74);
5:07.25, (82), 3:08.36

That was brutal. I got my ass handed to me by Taylor. Granted we tried switching off every 800 meters, but I usually dropped off the second half which meant he got to draft on me for the first 800 and then hammer away. I was left running into the wind the entire interval. However, I think we enjoyed having another body there for the workout. Tonight I only had one gear. I could run 76 and 77 second quarters on the miles and 74 and 75 seconds during the 1ks. That isn't much range as basically I was holding pace for the faster sections. I guess this is what marathon training does to your legs.

Nevertheless, I was really pleased with the workout. I mentioned earlier how the temps were in the mid-20s and the wind on the back stretch was pretty real (15-20 mph). At one point there was a snow flurry that I noticed in the middle of the workout. When the National Marathon comes in March and I'm able to throw down 5:07, 5:04, 5:05 and 5:07, I'll be really happy and tough to beat.

Long Morning Run

Time: 52:21
Distance: 7.29 miles
Pace: 7:10

I put in a few extra miles this morning with the thought that I might not have a chance to work out this evening. I'm hitting the road to visit some accounts in Greenville, SC. It will be a busy day. If all goes according to plan I will end the day in Asheville with Jus' Running's Tuesday night track workout. I have 5 store visits to complete before I get to mess around on the track though. If I don't get the chance to hit the track then I'll just double with an easy run.

And, go...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reminds Me Oklahoma

Time: 69:49
Distance: 10.31 miles
Pace: 6:46

I got out the door for another hour this evening on a course similar to this morning's run. I started off nice and easy with Meagan and then picked things up gradually later in the run. The wind was quite stiff this afternoon and took me back to my romps in Oklahoma. I became accustomed to dealing with the wind further west, but here it seems strange. I never tried to fight the wind today and just allowed it to press back on me as I neared home. I'm glad I didn't have a workout scheduled for this evening otherwise it might have been ugly.

Freedom Park Loop

Time: 45:33
Distance: 6.21 miles
Pace: 7:19

I took a spin through Freedom Park this morning with Meagan. After yesterday's long and rainy run I took things nice and easy. The legs aren't too banged up from last week's of training which is a good sign. The body is getting used to the pounding, now it's time to get it used to the pace.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 705:55
Distance: 101.04 miles

Meagan is not going to be happy when she reads that. Hahaha. I put together a good week of training here in Charlotte. I ran an okay workout in a cemetery on Tuesday night but really hit it on Saturday with an 8 mile tempo. Marathon pace is slowly becoming more and more relaxed. The next step is to be able to run MP, or at least average MP, over a hillier course than McAlpine's pancake flat layout. I think I have 8 weeks until the National Marathon which doesn't seem like a lot of time. However, in 8 weeks you can gain a lot of fitness and that's the goal. The training is moving in the right direction.

Long and Drizzly Run

Time: 146:12
Distance: 20.48 miles
Pace: 7:08

I met up with Paul Mainwaring and his buddy Tom at the parking lot in Freedom Park. It was a Sunday morning long run and I agreed to meet at 6:15. Not a smart move. I was out the door at 6:00 and had 2 miles on the legs by the time I spotted the other guys. Paul had a loop through the park and then the Dilworth neighborhood that brought us to about 9 miles. We didn't have a particular loop for the next 5, but we found them in the neighborhoods.

It was a good long, easy effort. The rain and low 40s made the weather to what I envision England/Ireland to be like in the summer. By the time the run was over I had been out for nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes. I was surprised at the length of time I was out there, but I guess when you run 20 milers it takes a really long time. The body continues to feel good. No real complaints or soreness after yesterday's 8 mile tempo. I also got to brag to Meagan about being more productive than her.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Extra Miles

Time: 36:30
Distance: 5.30 miles

I did a quick shakeout this afternoon mainly to boost my weekly miles. The legs were feeling pretty good post workout and I thought a short jog before Meagan got back from ETSU would help. The miles really took a hit yesterday, so this was to get things back on track a bit.

Back on the Horse

Time: 83:31
Distance: 13.26

W/u: 22:10 for 2.84 miles
W/o: 8 mile tempo at MP or 10 sec. faster
C/d: 18:42 for 2.42 miles

I hopped in the car this morning all bundled up for a drive back out to McAlpine. The car's windows are still bashed in and driving in the light drizzle was extremely discouraging. My spirits were lifted a bit when a bunch of other cars started arriving at the Old Bell entrance. There were probably 15 people on the 2 mile warm up prior to the workout. We even shared stories about past break ins at McAlpine. I guess you haven't experienced McAlpine or become a true McAlpine Harrier until something gets stolen out of your car from one of the park's parking lots.

The 8-mile tempo that was on tap yesterday afternoon was now this morning's workout. The plan was to run about 5:20s for the effort and maybe a little faster if I could get the legs turning over. The course started from the Old Bell parking lot, ran 4 miles out to the greenway and back. There would be a light breeze on the way out.

5:21, 5:16, 5:19, 5:25 (21:21 at 4 miles)
5:21, 5:20, 5:22, 5:15 (21:18 last 4 miles)
42:39 total for 8 miles

I thought the workout went well. I struggled the fourth mile which was slightly uphill. The pace felt fairly comfortable and the last mile was very much in control. The goal at the end of the workout was to feel like I could have gone an extra mile or two at the same pace, and I definitely think I could. Now I know I can run 8 miles at 5:20 pace, just gotta find the other 18.

Just Enough Time

Time: 23:01
Distance: 3.11 miles

That's all I got in this afternoon because during those 23 minutes Meagan's beloved Mini Cooper was broken into while at the main entrance of McAlpine. I started my warm up at 3:42 and returned to change my shoes in preparation for my 8 mile tempo run. That means I got back to the parking lot about 4:05 to find the car completely fucked. I quickly called the police on a Mecklenburg County Park officer's cell phone and the police arrived a short while later. The man whose cell phone I borrowed had been in the parking lot for about 10 minutes which means sometime between 3:42 (probably 3:45) and 4:00 the car was broken into.

I was parked closest to the bridge when maybe I should have selected a spot near the bathrooms. There were half a dozen people in the dog park and nobody saw a thing. A young group of three said they heard the glass breaking, but that was only after I told them the car's windows were shattered. At that point they realized what the loud noise was.

For whatever reason I didn't bring my bill fold with me so I didn't lose any credit/debit cards or identification. The thief, who was amateur at best, only made off with my cell phone. I'll give the guy/girl credit for having the balls to commit the crime in broad daylight in a very public area. However, I have to say that his/her methods were that of a low level repeat offender with little appreciation for James Bond style tactics. The dick decided it wasn't enough to break the driver's window and deemed it necessary to shatter the back window as well.

Question, why break both windows? Answer, because you're a joke and were getting pissed that all you got was a cell phone that can trace your whereabouts.

There are six windows on a Mini Cooper and two of them are completely gone. I would have posted pictures, but that whole missing cell phone thing poses a problem. The phone has since been turned off and hasn't been used to call or text anyone. He/she also took my Fuel Belt backpack that contained a shirt and a pair of sandals. Luckily, everything can be replaced.

The worst part is the hassle. I had to spend a decent amount of time speaking to Officer Saunders who filed a police report. I doubt anything will come of it. I missed the workout for the day as I didn't feel like running a pissed off 8 mile tempo run and feeling bad in the process. The car now needs to be fixed which means scheduling appointments and talking to insurance. I had to drive home with broken glass everywhere and it wasn't the warmest drive I've ever done.

It's time to regroup and tackle this one tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Watch Goofed

Time: 45:34
Distance: 6.23 miles

I ran with Meagan this morning through Freedom Park. She wanted to get 6 miles in so that meant we added a mini loop inside Freedom Park. I was just looking to get in some easy running before an 8 mile tempo this afternoon. I'll probably head out to McAlpine with Simon and Alex after the Queens team departs for a meet at ETSU. The goal is to run marathon pace or 10 sec. faster per mile which might be interesting given the conditions. I imagine that McAlpine is going to be a little sloppy.

I forgot to reset Mr. Garmin so it has combined my run from last night and this morning into one long effort.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Craft-y Outting

Time: 58:33
Distance: 8.52 miles

I didn't want to run this evening, but I thought about all the other athletes out there putting in their miles. It was raining in Charlotte and the sun was setting when I finally stepped out the door. I spent much of the afternoon sending emails and organizing my samples. Before leaving the house, I slipped into the Craft PXC Light Jacket which is designed for cross-country skiing, but works great for running. It's one of my favorite run jackets to date.

Out on the roads, I fell into a groove and liked having the park to myself. I took the miles nice and easy. It was just by chance that Théoden's most recent blog post is about dangerous intersections.

If you have ever run the "Booty Loop" on a rainy day, you will know that Queens Rd. drains poorly. As a pedestrian you have to jump over puddles as you cross streets which adds an troubling element to the already busy street. It wasn't a great decision to run on a dark, rainy and puddle filled course, but I made sure to be careful while traversing the intersections. Another day in the books...

Rushing Off to Work

Time: 54:18
Distance: 7.42 miles
Pace: 7:19

I had a slow start to the morning and got out the door with just enough time to run some errands and fit in a run. I was already behind schedule when I started driving up Run For Your Life- University. Luckily, there wasn't much traffic despite the drizzly conditions. I did what I needed to do in addition to visiting a few more accounts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Early AM from the DOWD

Time: 53:41
Distance: 7.00 miles
Pace: 7:31

I hit the streets early with Meagan and a group of other early morning runners from the Dowd YMCA. Meagan thought she was some sort of hot shot until she found the parking lot bustling with activity. It was nice letting the legs recover from last nights romp through the cemetery. My calves are a little sore from pushing up the hills and not being able to see where I was planting my feet. The easy miles this morning were the only ones I got today.

Facing the Dead

Time: 69:14
Distance: 9.97 miles

W/u: 12:55 for 1.62 miles
W/o: 2 x 1.5 miles, 8 mins up tempo
C/d: 23:34 for 2.94 miles

I met up with some of the CRC members of at the Dowd YMCA. We were headed in the direction of a cemetery to do this workout free from traffic. Earlier I had told Meagan about this plot and she thought it was a horrible idea. She might have been right. I had planned to do 4 x 1.5 miles at marathon pace or a little faster. I managed to run the first two on pace, but soon lost interest as I was having a difficult time seeing. I was running a bit timid because I didn't want to twist an ankle or run into a tombstone. My second interval went long because I ran across Jay, Aaron and Ben who were still on a repeat. I ran the last hard effort relaxed and was a bit more confident having bodies around me that knew the actual 1.25 mile loop. Previously, I was just running around lost trying to find 1.5 miles which also made the workout frustrating.

7:55 (5:20 at the mile), (3:02 recovery),
8:17 (5:20 at the mile), 2:00 at 5:18 pace, (1:58 recovery),
8 minutes hard (5:36 at the mile, last 2:24 at 4:59 pace).

Look at all that mumble jumble. Basically, I ran hard for a total of 24:12 and 5.41 miles in a period of 31:45. I got a decent workout in considering the dark conditions. Paul Mainwaring has a good recap of the workout which includes a scare with a group of cyclists.

Tonight's effort was nothing like this.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Damn Them Strides

Time: 35:57
Distance: 5.30 miles

I ran the standard morning loop through Freedom Park. The legs were feeling a little beat up. I think those strides yesterday helped with my form and mechanics, but really tired the legs out. Lifting today wasn't as smooth as in previous days. Tonight I'm meeting up with the Charlotte Running Club for a workout in a cemetery. Stay tuned...

McAlpine on MLK Day

Time: 46:20
Distance: 6.44 miles
Pace: 7:12

It looks like the Garmin connect website is down for repairs. I wonder if there will be new features added to the site or just the same basic interface. This afternoon I went out to McAlpine to run with Meagan and the Queens team. There was a little error in communication which brought us to the main entrance and took them to Boyce. I had already put in a solid morning run so I only wanted some easily miles on the dirt. I found them with Meagan as we ran the Footlocker course twice.

The weather was so nice this afternoon and because it was a holiday, scores of people were taking advantage of the park. Little kids rode their bikes, dogs were walked and harriers hit the trails. I ran 4 long strides after the run to stretch out the legs. It felt great to pick up the pace and inflict some turnover on the staleness of marathon training.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easy Eight

Time: 53:04
Distance: 8.01 miles
Pace: 6:37

After yesterday's long run at McAlpine I was looking for some recovery miles. I ran an easy eight miles this morning through Freedom Park ending at Run For Your Life. The splits for the first three miles were all over 7 minutes which told me that the legs were needing a day of recovery. However, when I came down past Queens University and through Freedom Park for the second time I felt a helluva lot better. I never pushed the pace, but started hitting low 6 min/mile. Again, the goal was just to recover today, but knowing that I could still rattle off 6:10 pace is encouraging.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 668:18
Distance: 98.30 miles

Damn, I almost hit 100. A few years ago I would have gone out for a 2 mile jog just to say I hit triple digits. I have to be smarter than that now. I put in some solid work this week and I'm not too banged up after the efforts.

My workout on Tuesday night was challenging without being too taxing. The longer threshold effort on Friday was as much of a test of focus as it was fitness. There will be longer workouts in the coming weeks, but that's the first 40+ minute workout I've done in quite some time.

I surrounded my workout days with easy runs with Meagan. It's important to keep your easy days easy, and the hard days hard. I don't mind running 7:30 pace on a Thursday, if it means I can run 5:10 pace on Friday.

I finished out the week with a good, but not great long run at McAlpine. Sixteen miles at this point is far, but I know there will be runs that are 30 minutes longer.

The workouts for the coming week include Tuesday's 4 x 1.5 miles at MP or 10 sec. faster and Friday's 8 mile tempo at MP or 10 sec. faster.

McAlpine Long Run

Time: 104:13
Distance: 16.01 miles
Pace: 6:30

There was a lot of exciting action on tap this morning in the world of running. I received a text from Ms. Aja Clark saying that Jerry was about to be caught by Shalane. I quickly ran to my computer and fired up FloTrack to catch the action's live coverage. I learned that Aja was down in Houston because she was supposed to race before getting injured. The lead vehicle that contained FloTrack's camera was focused on Shalane Flanagan's (former UNC Chapel Hill star) debut at the half marathon in Houston. I entered the action around 15k when Flanagan's lead was about 40 meters in front of the second place woman. Whenever the truck sped up I could see Jerry Faulkner (aka Jerry's Kids) running a few paces in front. It was fun seeing the old OK Runner singlet being worn by the hard worker, but I had to wonder why Shalane was so damn close. Jerry ended up running 69:34 to Shalane's victorious 69:41.

Next up was Queens' athlete Futsum Mehbratu running in the P.F. Chang's Rock & Roll Arizona Half Marathon. His race started just as we began our long run. Other top athletes in the field included Ryan Hall and Simon Bairu, and on the women's side Deena Kastor. I couldn't figure out how to track athletes via the's website, but after the race we found results. Futsum placed 6th overall with a time of 68:18 while the former Wisconsin Badger, Bairu, won in 62:47 followed by US Olympian Ryan Hall in 64:08. Deena Kastor won the women's race in 69:43. It would be nice to see a Deena v. Shalane race sometime in the near future.

My long run wasn't nearly as exciting as all the race action. I missed meeting up with the Charlotte Running Club from Providence Day and instead met the Queens team from Old Bell. I didn't realize it rained so hard last night as crossing the creek proved to be a chore. I put in an easy 9 miles with Simon and Devin around the Footlocker course before they headed back to the parking lot. I ratcheted down the pace after their departure and finished up with some solid splits. It started to rain at one point during the run, but it didn't make too much of a difference. I wore an old pair of Karhu that I didn't think had very much life left to them. The soft dirt certainly played a role in this.

7:30, 7:07, 7:09, 6:48, 6:59, 6:44, 6:30, 7:09, 6:44, 6:10, 6:22, 6:02, 5:53, 5:47, 5:41, 5:35

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Double Loop

Time: 41:58
Distance: 5.34 miles

Meagan and I fit this run in after she got off from work and before the heavens opened up. We slipped into our running costumes for some easy miles through Freedom Park. It was getting dark and definitely drizzling while we made our way through the neighborhoods along the bike path. I felt pretty good out there this evening and am showing few signs that I worked out so hard yesterday.

I dropped in RFYL a couple of times today and learned that Jay and a crew ran a solid 2 x 5k workout at McAlpine. That's some good work for a Saturday morning.

Recover to RFYL

Time: 53:06
Distance: 8.01
Pace: 6:37

I got in a few miles this morning from the house ending at Run For Your Life. It's still a little chilly out there (low 30s) but much nicer than the 20 degree mornings of days past. I was glad to find a loop that is exactly 8 miles from my door to the door of RFYL. There were lots of people out running and walking through Freedom Park and along the Booty loop. My legs aren't too beat up from the workout yesterday, no localized sore spots, even the general fatigue from a workout was minimal. I'll be using today as recovery and then Sunday it's back to McAlpine for a long run.

Friday, January 15, 2010

McAlpine Work

Time: 81:49
Distance: 13.18 miles

W/u: 22:26 for 3.04 miles
W/o: 2 x 4 miles with 4 mins recovery
C/d: 16:27 for 2.14 miles

I met up with some of the Queens boys at the main entrance to McAlpine. One athlete was running 300s, two were doing a 3-mile predator run and two were running a 5-mile predator. I was gearing up for a long 2 x 4-mile effort around marathon pace.

The warm up brought us the the one mile mark of the Footlocker course. The two runners who were doing the longer predator run (Oscar and Benny), had to run the final two miles of the cross-country course and then the course once more. I would be running the final two miles and the first two miles. A little confusing, but it worked out. I would run the same four miles on my second repeat, except in reverse. This meant on the first I would have to go up with hill twice, and on the second I would have to go up the hill twice, but in reverse (the steeper side). Writing this feels like a routine of "who's on first?"

5:29.49 (hill)
5:12.51 (10:42)
5:19.75 (16:01.75)
5:23.20 (hill #2) for 21:25 total and 5:21 average.

(4 mins recovery)

5:25.82 (hill reverse)
5:18.77 (10:44)
5:28.39 (16:13)
5:20.32 (hill reverse) for 21:33 total and 5:23 average.

I felt good on the first tempo as I had Oscar and Nelson out front to eye. I got a little aggressive on the second mile when I dropped that 5:12 but I felt easy doing it. I closed the gap that mile on Nelson who was stopping at 3 miles. I was able to attack the second hill and coast down the backside for a solid split. With 4 miles down, I ran a loop of the pond and took a minute to gather myself. Knowing I had to run the same course in reverse was a little intimidating but manageable.

I will admit that those two hills in reverse rocked my world. It felt like I was walking up the backside of the hill because I practically was. I went into the hill on the first mile running 5:10 pace and came down from it running 5:30. My splits were able to recover however. I'm not sure what happened on that third mile where I struggled with a 5:28. A loss of focus on my first workout like this certainly showed. Overall, I'm pleased with how things went. I think had this workout been done on a flatter section of McAlpine I could have averaged 5:15s with little effort. To throw in four hills made the workout honest and forced a mental toughness on the day.

Back to Q City

Time: 52:31
Distance: ~7 miles

I arrived back in Charlotte this afternoon and was picked up at the airport by Caitlin. Her requirement for the ride was that I had to run with her upon getting back to the house. Done! We ran through Elizabeth and over to Myers Park for a few extra miles making sure to return for her to fool Brian Moynihan. I won't say anything more.

It was good catching up with Caitlin and this was my first run back in Charlotte after the marathon. My legs were still sore but also recovery more everyday. Back at the Gore Hand Over Meeting, I sat out one of the "team" activities. I decided that it would be in my best interest to rock climb another day. My achy excuse was also a good way to get out of being embarrassed for my lack of upper body strength. I had no dream of continuing my triple digit weeks post marathon so I've been content to run as much or as little when others are going.

I sported the NB905s again this afternoon.

I'll Count It

Time: 20:32
Distance: 2.76 miles

I woke up this morning feeling dehydrated so I went to the kitchen to mix up some Gatorade Endurance Formula. It's great stuff. Tastes like traditional Gatorade with a hint of salt. As I was drinking my elixir I got to reading my RSS feed. My "running logs" folder had blown up with 32 new posts. Surely Owen, DeCoste or Da WeeMan hadn't got back on the training/blogging bandwagon. Turns out most of the posts were comments on Théoden's blog concerning the interview with Chris Lamperski. Actually, yesterday during my drive I chatted with Meagan who told me that Chris stopped by Run For Your Life to pick up some supplies. I won't go into my thoughts on posting anonymously and turning a personal blog into a critical forum, but let's just say that Chris is only doing good for Charlotte's active community.

I put in a little over 20 minutes this morning to shake out the legs. In a few minutes, I'm heading out to this park you may have heard of called McAlpine. I'm going to put myself through 2 x 4 miles in about 5:20 with 3-4 minutes rest. My coach, Jeff, calls for the workout to be at MP (marathon pace) or 10 seconds faster. I'm still unsure what part of McAlpine I will use, but I have a few routes that I'm considering.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Busy Day of Visits

Time: 50:22
Distance: 7.39 miles
Pace: 6:49

I hit the road this morning for a series of visits in the Raleigh/Durham area. I even surprised myself at how efficient my drive ended up being. I think once I arrived at my first account I was no more than 10 minutes away from my next visit. The driving time between stores was kept to a minimal which means I get to spend more time seeing people and learning names. I hit five stores before the day was up, finishing it off at Bull City Running. I love what the store is doing for the area's running community. Just as I was finishing up with the Craft FW10 showing, a group of about 20 people arrived to learn from a Garmin rep how to work their particular devices.

I fit my run in before leaving and considered doubling along the American Tobacco Trail that is just beyond the shopping center's parking lot. I figured that I have already logged enough miles for the week and could use a non-double day. I returned to Charlotte around 9:00 pm, just in time to meet up with some of Meagan's friends at Brazwells Pub near our house.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Continuing to Recover

Time: 64:51
Distance: 8.77 miles
Pace: 7:23

Man, that JCSU track is hard. The surface is of the famed Mondo variety that makes tracks wicked fast. However, a fast, hard track comes at a price of beating up the legs. Basically, the Mondo surface is great for racing, but bad for training. I prefer to train on a soft, slow track that is very forgiving on the legs.

I think Mondo first gained international recognition at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The times the Games produced were incredible at all distances. I remember hearing that Gebreselassie was slated to double in the 10k and 5k, but after racing on the track, he opted out of the 5k. The track simply beat up his legs too much for him to compete in the semis and finals of a second distance event with the best runners in the world. Plus, he was coming off an achilles injury. However, the one race that he did compete was simply incredible. Be sure to check it out even though the quality isn't the best.

My run tonight was with Meagan. We did nice easy loop of Booty. My calves are still a little tight from last night, but nothing to be concerned about.

Recovery Miles

Time: 36:51
Distance: 5.30 miles

After last night's workout I was needing a good solid recovery day. I ran my standard morning loop through Freedom Park about a minute slower than usual. I let Mr. Garmin sleep in this morning and relied on my trusty Timex. It's still pretty cold out there, but I think it's going to warm up later this week.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Twilight JCSU

Time: 84:25
Distance: 12.08 miles

W/u: 8:31 for .91 miles
W/o: 6 x mile with ~70 sec. recovery
C/d: 38:35 for 4.86 miles

Tonight I met up with some members of the Charlotte Running Club at the Johnson C. Smith University track. We were lucky to have the lights left on for us tonight which made seeing and judging pace much easier. I guess the crew has worked out in the dark in weeks and months past. I arrived late so I missed most of the warm up from the track and only got in about a mile before the group was ready to start.

I was supposed to do this workout last Friday and opted out. It was just coincidence that the CRC was running a very similar session tonight consisting of 5 x mile with a minute rest. My very short pre-workout jog and the upper 30s meant I was going to have to use the first two intervals as part of my warm up. I ran the first interval with jacket and full tights on, the second mile I shed the jacket and finally by the third repeat I was comfortable enough to don the half-tights.

This post is late coming and I appreciate the comment from Allen who writes:

Hey, I was the old guy slogging around in the outside lanes Tuesday. Didn't get a chance to introduce myself as a) You're too fast to catch and b) I was too busy wheezing to speak more than the 'how's it going?'

Just wanted to say: 1) GD dude, those looked like some fast repeats. Hope you post splits soon. 2) Are you sure you don't want to run Shamrock instead of the National? Our 1 sub-2:40 guy, Chris Lamperski (see Theoden's previous blog for a very lively comment debate on him) decided not to run it either. So we are now studless. For some reason, I'm thinking my 3:20 (if I'm very lucky!) is still not good enough to help us secure a team victory and 3) Just what did Aaron say Tuesday that 1 time he passed you?
Allen, I did see you out there and recognized you. Here are the splits:

5:24.19, (63), 5:26.98, (76), 5:01.48, (90), 4:58.29, (76), 4:52.75, (79), 5:09.53 for 37:19 total and 6.31 miles.

I felt in control and pretty relaxed during this effort. Despite the cold temps the legs felt like they had a bit of pop to them. I felt good toeing off and kept my form throughout. On my third repeat I let Jay Holder and Paul Mainwaring get about 15 seconds ahead and I used them as a target to run down. I focused on inching into their lead each stride and not going out too hard. Aaron took off on what I thought was the final interval which is why the split is significantly faster. We covered the final 800 in about 2:24. Jay and Paul decided to toss in a sixth repeat which I jumped on and tried to use the interval to recover while still working. I didn't feel great, but managed to keep things together.

On the cool down I ran back to Queens University. It was longer than I wanted or expected but I was feeling good by the end of it. I'm pleased with tonight's effort and enjoyed having company out on the track.

Oh, and I'd repeat what Aaron said, but it's not family friendly. I will say that it was essentially a gentleman's challenge of manliness.

Morning Loop

Time: 35:59
Distance: 5.31 miles
Pace: 6:46

Back to my creative ways this morning. I did my standard 5+ mile loop through Freedom Park. There is little to report on this run other than the fact that I was trying to keep it nice and easy. I going to meet up with some members of the Charlotte Running Club this evening at the JCSU track. I don't need to ruin my workout with a short run.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Old School Karhus

Time: 58:24
Distance: 8.84 miles
Pace: 6:36

This afternoon Meagan and I drove out to Old Bell to meet up with the Queens squad. The team wasn't at the lot when we drove by so I went off in search of some petrol. Of course, once we pull up to the Shell station we get a text saying they are at Old Bell. Meagan and I spent the first mile trying to run down the team and we wouldn't actually catch them until closer to the Footlocker Course. However, there was some excitement along the way.

We were near the mile marker when Meagan and I ran by a guy jogging in jeans. It wasn't his running costume that caught me by surprise, but rather his shoes. He was rocking an old school pair of Karhus. I had to ask where he got them and he said they were purchased somewhere up north. If I had any money on me I would have offered to buy them right there. They were that sweet. I own a couple of pairs of Karhu that are retro remakes which are cool, but not the real thing. This guy's looked authentic. I had to wonder when the last time three pairs of Karhu were being run in at McAlpine as Meagan and I were both sporting our Fast Fulcrum_Rides.

Not many people know the brand Karhu... yet. I plan on changing that in the Carolinas and especially Charlotte. A little history on the company will take you back to its founding in 1916. The first products developed by the Finnish company were javelins and discuses. Since the beginning, the company has been focused on forward momentum, a philosophy that is reflected in the brand's current shoes. During the 1920s, the brand was renamed Karhu meaning "bear" in Finnish. The Flying Finns including Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals on the track wearing Karhu spikes. As an aside, when I went to Finland for my father's 50th birthday, I got to see the statue of the legendary Finnish figure outside of the Olympic stadium in the nation's capital.

During the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Karhu earned international recognition as a leading athletic manufacturer. Also during this period, Karhu sold its three stripe trademark to Adidas for two good bottles of whiskey and 1,600 euros. That's a hell of a deal for Karhu if you ask me. In the 1960s, Karhu took it to the streets. Shoes were designed for the roads as the brand becomes well-known by top runners worldwide. The shoe's M-symbol is unveiled for the Mantyla brothers who were responsible for the design and function of the brand (I did not know that until researcher this. I always tell people that the "M" is for momentum).

In 1972, Olavi Suomalainen wins the Boston Marathon in 2:15:39 wearing Karhu Champions. The 1980s saw Karhu R&D design the "Fulcrum" technology that is currently used today. A decade later, Karhu, in collaboration with the University of Jyvaskyla, tests the evolution of Fulcrum technology and prove Karhu shoes provide a measurable difference of energy transfer. In 2008, Karhu is acquired by Huub Valkenburg and Jay Duke (Duke grad). Most recently the Karhu Strong Fulcrum_Ride won Runner's World's Best Debut Award.

Wow, wasn't that a good little history lesson for me. I paraphrased where necessary and all this information is available on the Karhu website which I linked to earlier. So what does it all mean? Well, to start the Fulcrum technology works with the foot's natural abilities. The shoes are designed to allow for a more natural and efficient ride. Some brands complicate the mechanics of running which has essentially been the industry standard. I won't say that Karhu is a "minimalistic" shoe, but it does allow for the foot's natural gait cycle to occur.

An old school Karhu shoebox I spotted at Bob Ronker's Running Spot in Cincinnati.

More specifically, the Fulcrum technology acts similar to a teeter totter which transfers the downward motion of the body into a forward motion. The heal-to-toe transition occurs more quickly than in other shoes reducing the amount of time that the runner is in the "dangerous" pronation phase. There are less body stresses because the pressure loads are more evenly distributed, leveraging elastic energy. Furthermore, in high-speed tests, there is no loss of stability during transition from heal to toe.

I can go further, but I will stop here. There are a lot of brands currently on the market that make great shoes. I have run in most of them during my time working at a running specialty store in Oklahoma. When we decided to carry Karhu at OK Runner I was impressed with the shoe's ability to transfer energy. I've never been a big fan of cushioning because it feels like all of your energy is being lost to the ground. I don't like running in sand and I think cushioned shoes sacrifice a lot of the runner's ability to toe-off. I used to love running in Adidas before they went to a shoe that was focused on bracing for impact. I've been very happy with the quick transition that gets me on to my next step smoothly.

I am fortunate now to be repping the brand here in the Carolinas. Currently, TrySports is the only local store that carries Karhu, but it's my hope for a few more stores to carry the shoes in the near future. I know there are feet out there wanting to try Karhu. Keep your eye out for a pair of Karhu on a shoe wall near you.

That's not even a third of them, I've run in everything. Can you spot Karhu?

In 2009 Mr. Kinley wore these bad boys to victory in the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon.

Starting Off the Week

Time: 35:48
Distance: 5.31 miles
Pace: 6:44

It feels good being in Charlotte this morning knowing that I was going to be in town all day. I started this week with a few cups of coffee before I laced up the shoes. I put in a nice easy run through Freedom Park. I haven't seen this week's forecast but I hope that it warms back up to the 40s and 50s. My laundry bin always seems to be full with running clothes. The college days of having my laundry washed, dried and hanged back in my locker are long gone. "You know Brown had one of the top 20 equipment rooms in the country." Sorry, inside joke that DeCoste or Da WeeMan might appreciate.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 652:51
Distance: 94.69

Not a bad week considering I had to take Tuesday off due to travel. I'm healthy and ready to start hammering away at this marathon cycle that will get me fit for the National Marathon. The weather here in Charlotte has been extremely cold and unusual which brings me to a global warming discussion. Just kidding, this is a training blog and not a political one. I thought the winters here were going to be mild compared to the cold and wind of Oklahoma, and snow/wintry mixes of Rhode Island.

The plan for the rest of January is to stay healthy and fit in workouts when I find the time. I have a fairly substantial base of training that will allow me to really get after it in the month of Febuary. It's has almost been a full year since getting injured (knocks on wood).

The Captain and the Cheerleader

Time: 89:07
Distance: ~14 miles

It was a bit brisk out there this morning. Maybe it was crisp. Either way I was glad to have on my Craft thermal running tights with brushed polyester on the inside. Is there a difference between "crisp" and "brisk?" A former teammate of my used to say they were the same thing except "brisk" had a bit of wind thrown in.

I met up with Paul Mainwaring and Billy Shue this morning for a 12 mile long run cut down. The Captain and the cheerleader (Billy challenged me to guess which sport he competed in while in college, I lost) jogged over to meet me at Old Bell at 8:00 am. We weren't even the first people there despite the 22 degree temps. Impressive Charlotte!

We took the first 4 miles easy and talked about upcoming races and recent training. The middle 4 miles got the pace moving and we closed things out with an honest sub-6 minute pace effort for the final 4 miles. I didn't feel fantastic on this run because I was up late and didn't sleep too well, but I'm glad to have people to run with.

After chatting in the parking lot for a few minutes post-run, Billy and Paul ran off and I sneaked in 2 extra miles to keep warm before Meagan arrived. Our complicated effort that you can read about in her post meant that I had to hurry home and cook up some apple-cinnamon pancakes. I enjoyed all aspects of this morning's run, even the cold weather.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Feeding Jackie and Sydney 2000

Time: 46:32
Distance: 5.97 miles
Pace: 7:48

I spent this afternoon on the couch staying warm and watching football. I took a nice nap too. I think I deserved it since I was on the road at 5:00 am on a Saturday. When Meagan got home from work I changed back into running clothes and hit the streets for some more miles. I tried not to tell her how far I went this morning, but I justified that it was a really long easy run. She would thank me for coming later as we ran back through Freedom Park and it was nearly pitch black. We wouldn't want the boogie man to take her or anything.

Our run took us to the pups that we are dog sitting this weekend. Sydney 2000 and Jackie were fed, let out to play and scratched before we headed home. Meagan's recap about our run can be enjoyed here.

I also put in a run this afternoon that is almost not worthy of being counted, but I don't want to fall a few miles short of my weekly total.

Time: 14:08
Distance: 2.02 miles

FF Winston-Salem

Time: 126:04
Distance: 15.00 miles
Pace: 8:24

Yes, you read that right. It took me over two hours to run 15 miles. This morning I was in Winston-Salem for a wear test run at Fleet Feet. I brought a bunch of Craft base layer pieces and let the marathon training group run their 15 miler in them. We had perfect weather for the event as the mercury showed sub-20 degree temps. I think 9 people tried running in the tops and all gave good feed back about the warmth and comfort the base layers provided.

Our group ran around some very nice neighborhoods in Winston-Salem and I learned a little bit about the tobacco industry. I also learned that Hanes and Krispy Kreme play a large role in the W-S economy. I love donuts. Normally running over 2 hours at a trot would be torture, but the conversation was good and the sights were nice. I enjoyed taking it easy this morning with the group and was glad I got to make their run a bit warmer and dryer.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Doing a Loop

Time: 36:24
Distance: 5.60 miles

I put in some time this morning through Freedom Park. The sun was yet to rise and I was one of the few people in Freedom Park. I'm glad I found the time to run before visiting an account up in Winston-Salem as I got back to Charlotte a little later than expected.

Miles with the Feet

Time: 55:40
Distance: ~8.55 miles

I layered up in my gear and got back out there for another run this afternoon/evening. I was supposed to run a workout but scrapped the idea because of the cold and wind. I had a little motivation to hit the track for 5 x mile with a 60 sec. rest, but the weather played a part in just going for a run.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Texas v. Alabama

Time: 55:31
Distance: 8.54 miles
Pace: 6:29

On the drive home from visiting Off'n Running in Greensboro, NC, I dropped in to see what was going on at the Fleet Feet Huntersville store. It is my newest account and I wanted to see the location for the first time. I've been following one of their new employee's status on facebook and he said they were hoping to open in the 7th. Well, they definitely weren't ready to help customers, but you could see the store taking shape. It looked like Birkdale Village is an ideal location for a running store other than being within a stones throw of Dick's. The store plans to open next week sometime.

The FF Huntersville Fuel Belt selection. Very colorful, looks good.

The best socks on the market prominently displayed near the shoe wall.

The run this evening was the same as yesterday morning's. The body felt good, but it wasn't fun seeing Meagan have to turn back with her calf niggle flaring up.

Tonight's BCS Championship game looks to be a good one between Texas and Alabama. I'm not sure who I will root for, but all signs are pointing to the Crimson Tide. I don't hold the true hatred towards Texas like many other Oklahoma fans and I would like to see the Big 12 team represent the conference. However, I think Mark Ingram deserves this one. I doubt that I will be able to stay up for the entire game. It's so much better watching sporting events from the west coast. Come home from work, turn on the tele and the game is on. Perfect set up. Some people like California because of the weather, I like it because it enables me to be a better sporting fan.

Dreadmill or Biting Cold?

Time: 27:00
Distance: 4 miles

I didn't feel like driving to a place to run this morning and opted to jump on the treadmill. It was cold outside and a little dark when I made the decision to avoid the trails or roads around Raleigh. I figured that I would be back in Charlotte with plenty of time for a second run of more substantial distance. I ended up watching Mike & Mike in the Morning for the run's duration. There is something a little odd about watching a radio talk show. The fitness center didn't have a remote so I was stuck with the Mikes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

American Tobacco Trail

Time: 40:27
Distance: 6.02 miles
Pace: 6:43

After visiting a few accounts today and ended my day at Bull City Running in Durham. I was hoping that I could get in a run with Jason or George who can hold there own out on the roads. Unfortunately, we weren't able to hook up, but I was able to find a few miles along the American Tobacco Trail. I started the run at dusk and finished when dark with an out and back along the ATT. I had a successful day at all my accounts and with pleased how I managed to get in a couple runs to start and finish the day.

Rude Awakening

Time: 56:27
Distance: 8.60 miles
Pace: 6:33

It was a cold and dark one out there this morning. I somehow scheduled an appointment to show Craft FW10 this morning at 9:30 in Raleigh. I didn't see how I was going to get in a quality run this afternoon so I decided to put in some miles early. Really early. I was out the door before 5:00 am and running through Freedom Park with the skunks and possums. It was a little fun being one of the few people up and out the door moving at that hour. I saw one other walker and maybe a dozen cars by the time the run was complete.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Traveling East

Time: none
Distance: none

It is time to head home back to Charlotte this morning. It was my hope to put in a few miles on the treadmill at the condo's fitness center but the doors don't unlock until 6:00 am. So much for getting up at 4:40 to put in work. Meagan and I took the dog for a short walk which allowed us to loosen up the legs before heading to the airport.

The travel was smooth as we went from Palm Springs to Denver to Chicago O'Hare to Charlotte. I think it got colder each stop farther east. Our bags even arrived in CLT despite the four airport cross-country tour. Well done United.

Last Day in the Sun

Time: 64:58
Distance: 10.39 miles

W/u: 16:22 for 2.21 miles
W/o: 6 mile continuous alternating pace every 800m
C/d: 16:59 for 2.18 miles

Today was our last day in Palm Springs. Tomorrow, I head back to the east coast where I hear it's perfect Craft base layer weather. I took the opportunity to run a workout in ideal conditions along with Meagan. She is coming back from injury and is looking to get in top form for the approaching indoor season. It's nice to pair our workouts whenever possible.

Today's effort had me doing a continuous 6 mile run on the track. I also had the task of pacing Meagan on her 800 meter intervals. She was aiming to run 6 x 800 in about 2:45. I decided her workout would be my recovery and that her rest would be my uptempo interval. Saavy? It might be more clear just by seeing the splits:

2:30.38, (2:48.55), 2:30.36, (2:49.45),
2:30.45, (2:46.15), 2:32.70, (2:45.55),
2:30.70, (2:43.77), 2:30.78, (2:39.09) for 31:37 total and a 5:12 average.

As you can see now, I basically alternated 800m at 2:30 and 800m at 2:45. I felt strong for the first 3.5-4.5 miles and then I really had to concentrate. I'm pleased at how easy it has been to shift gears to 5:00/mile pace.

A couple things about the workout should be noted. First, there was a lot of action out there this afternoon. Some private school looked to be having "track day" and little kids dressed in there green and white uniforms were every-freakin'-where. One of the instructors was good about reminding them to stay out of lanes one and two. There were a few close calls, but I luckily didn't have to put a shoulder to anyone. Second, the PSHS girls' soccer team is not impressive, and neither is their field. Third, I believe the track was a quarter mile and not 400m. My splits were taken every two laps so they are really half-mile splits and not 800m splits. Details, details.

Back in Palm Springs

Time: 40:13
Distance: 6 miles

I am going to do a workout this afternoon on the high school track. This morning I decided to put in some miles in order to front load this week's training. I will most likely have to take tomorrow off due to travel and on Wednesday I might not be able to put in that many miles.

After working for a few hours and I laced up the shoes for a jog. I ran easy on the loop that Meagan and I were doing before heading to San Diego. I took the run nice and easy so as to remain fresh for this afternoon. It felt good to run on a flat route since most of the runs in San Diego had a bit of an incline.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 600:57
Distance: 85.02 miles

YTD: 35 miles

I'm content with the training this week. We have entered a new year and the desire to train for another marathon is high. I'm leaning towards running the National Marathon in DC near the end of March. Jeff hit me with the new training cycle that looks manageable, but will definitely be a challenge. When I toe the line for my next marathon, there is going to be no messing around. The goal is to run fast. I have two 'thons under my belt and was able to compete well within my abilities. It's time to see how fast I can run at the distance. The training is designed for a 2:20 to 2:22 performance. Who can say if that's possible, but I'm going to give it one hell of a shot.

My workout on NYE is indicative of my current fitness. I ran a controlled 5.66 mile continuous workout averaging 5:13 pace. The workout had me switching gears between 1ks and mile repeats. In the coming weeks my aerobic fitness will only get stronger, but hopefully not with the sacrifice of some speed. Ideally, I will run a half-marathon in the lead up to the National Marathon.

Here is a link that shows the 10-11 week build up to the race.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Balboa Park Finale

Time: 61:17
Distance: 8.61 miles
Pace: 7:07

The last run in San Diego for quite some time. I couldn't have asked for better weather and would have run skins had I not needed to pick up a rental car at the end of the run. Meagan and I ran what she's dubbed the "Oompa Loompa Loop" because it runs up a healthy hill on Upas and that kinda sounds like an orange slave from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I finished the run near the airport which wasn't nearly as far away as I thought or hoped. I considered doubling in the afternoon, but opted to eat instead.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Balboa Park Double

Time: 42:56
Distance: 6.01 miles
Pace: 7:08

I headed out this afternoon for a few more miles around Balboa Park. Meagan and I lounged around the park this afternoon taking in some sun and reading our books. I'm halfway through Omnivore's Dilemma and Meagan is on her ninth book of the trip. Remember, books don't help in board game skills. Last night she jumped out to an early lead in Trivial Pursuit, capturing a couple of pies within the first few rolls. I patiently caught and gained a one pie advantage by the time we decided to stop playing. We kept getting questions that only our parents would know. The worst category of the Genus Edition 1955 (I'm not sure what year it is from, but it's outdated) is Entertainment. Let's see if you can get these:

What was the nickname of black dancer Bill Robinson?
What actress was the top box-office draw during WWII?
What couple lived at 148 Bonnie Meadow Road, New Rochelle, NY?
Whose legs were featured on TV's Richard Diamond?
Who portrayed the doomed schoolteacher in The Birds?

The run was fine. I did two loops around the park.

Exploration Run

Time: 59:58
Distance: 8.18 miles
Pace: 7:20

I decided to switch things up this morning and head down to the San Diego Harbor. I have only driven by the airport a few times and noticed there is a bike path/jogging path that runs along the harbor. I thought it would be nice to run somewhere other than Balboa Park.

Meagan and I wound
our way through the neighborhoods and ended up by the water. Our run took us along a cluster of boats and past various piers. Eventually we ended up by a pirate ship, a couple of cruise ships and a battleship. Man your stations. It was a nice change of scenery on an absolutely perfect morning. Great weather for the run as I ran skins.

I continued exploring the waterfront and around 4.5 miles it was time to start thinking about running home. After getting around the convention center and past the Padres stadium we entered the Gaslamp District. It was a little stop-and-go with the traffic lights, but soon we were in the familiar surroundings of Balboa Park. A quick pass through the park brought us back to the condo.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Double Duty

Time: 40:34
Distance: 6.02 miles
Pace: 6:44

I ran the same loop as this morning. The action in Balboa Park picked up considerably from this morning. The park was bustling with dog walkers, joggers, volleyball players, bike riders and homeless people. I kept to myself and put the miles in partially on the grass and some on the roads. It's good to start the year off healthy and fit.

A New Year

Time: 45:27
Distance: 6.08 miles
Pace: 7:28

Last night Meagan and I had a grandiose plan of running through Balboa Park at midnight. We thought it might be a lucky way to ring in the New Year. However, considering the facts that Meagan was sound asleep at 11:15 and had a good workout in the morning, I thought it be wise to scrap the run. Since the run was going to be our NYE celebration, we didn't end up doing anything exciting. At least this morning we didn't wake up with a hangover.

The run through Balboa Park this morning was just delightful. Actually, Meagan was feeling and looking terrible. There weren't nearly as many resolute runners out and about as I thought. Maybe they hit the streets later in the day. The run for me went well as it was easy time on the feet.

Year in Review

Total Miles: ~3,325
Total Time: a lot of minutes and hours
One serious injury in February
Two marathons
One trip to Japan

There's a lot to reflect on for 2009. I ran my first marathon, raced in the Izumo Ekiden for the second time, moved to Charlotte and got a new job.

The year started with me training for the Austin Marathon in February. In the build up I got injured with my only severe setback of the year. My achilles hindered my training and I missed the race, but was still able to watch Owen run his first 'thon. I would have to wait another couple of months to debut at the marathon distance.

Through March and April I was back to training for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. My ambitious goal of debuting sub-2:25 was out the window, but I still wanted to run a competitive race. In what were mediocre at best conditions I ran 2:27:19 to win the 9th Annual OKC Marathon. It felt good to finally run a marathon and not suffer the late race debacles. The distance takes a lot of patience in both the training and the race itself.

The marathon was my first race that was longer than 10k. Most people usually run a half or 15k prior to stepping up to the legendary distance. Not me. I decided that for my next race I wanted to run a half-marathon in Joplin, Missouri. The Boomtown Days Half-Marathon was offering some prize money and I wanted to go cherry-pick the winnings. Well, a few Kenyans caught wind of the race and came down from Columbia, MO. I failed to run aggressively and missed out on the cash. I also discovered that the half-marathon is an awful distance. Maybe it was just the hot weather and hilly course, but I was in rough shape afterward. There is no time to relax in the half-marathon, it's like 10k effort, but for twice as far. In the marathon I warmed up the first 10, in the half you're racing hard from the gun. Not fun. I need to run another one at some point, but this race put a bad taste in my mouth.

I spent the rest of the summer training for the 5k. I planned to move to Charlotte at the end of the season and since I didn't have a job lined up, I thought I might as well race the CVS Downtown 5k. The race serves as the qualifier for the Ivy League Ekiden team that is sent to Izumo, Japan each year. I didn't run nearly as fast as I hoped, but I still qualified to race in Japan. My training continued to focus on the 5k distance up until leaving for Japan. Since I was living in Charlotte, I took advantage of being around the Queens University team. Meagan was injured at this point of the season, but I managed to workout with the Queens men a few times.

My trip to Japan was great fun but the race was a disappointment. We had a great squad of guys including a handful of sub-14 minute 5k guys. Ben True, Dave Nightingale, Lucas Meyer and Zac Hine were all on the trip to Izumo. It was fun meeting and running with those guys for the week. Looking back now, I was pretty rundown and over-trained by October. I ran a terrible split and the team finished outside of the top 10 which is the yearly goal.

Upon returning to the states I was able to attend a former teammate's wedding and catch up with some great friends in DC. When I got back to Charlotte I started an internship and learned "real world" big kid stuff. The internship didn't last long because I was offered a job in Austin, TX. I accepted and started working with some great brands immediately.

I didn't really have anything to train for during the rest of the year. I was healthy and motivated to run, but had no grand plans for a big race. I wasn't sure what the spring was going to bring me and I decided, along with my coach, to build a base. A couple illnesses derailed my true base efforts and I found myself limping into December with fewer miles than I had planned. The Thunder Road Marathon was coming up and a few days prior I had the thought of running. I managed to run better than expected. That race served as a jump-start to my training for 2010. The potential to run fast for 26.2 miles is a definite possibility. I look forward to training smart and racing hard in the New Year.