Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Early Morning Marblehead Fartlek

Time: 89:54
Distance: 19.06

W/u: 25:21 for 4.29k
W/o: 5 x 3 min (2 min), 5 x 2 min (1 min), 5 x 1 min (30 sec)
C/d: 16:47 for 3.22k

It was an early start to the morning when the alarm went off at 5 AM. Meagan and I were out the door around 5:40 AM to start warming up for what would be an effort based fartlek around the neck. I somehow coordinated this workout with the KNA sales meeting which was forward thinking on my part as she easily could have been doing something more stressful like 8 x mile. Fortunately, that wasn't the case and we had the slight luxury of not having to hit any demanding splits.

We warmed up from the fort to Beach St. where we stashed our jackets in the bushes as the morning was relatively nice for this time of the year in New England. After some light stretching we were off with me setting the pace out to the neck and Meagan following closely behind. We would be making two loops of the neck and ending near the start.


Avg Pace

It was a solid effort and I am pleased at how Meagan was able to run strong as such an early hour. She was averaging well under 3:44/k pace for most of the hard efforts. The terrain of the neck definitely played a role in some of the splits, but overall the exertion level remained the same. Just another workout in the books for her as the marathon trials quickly approach.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

EMS Bushwhacking

Time: 55:08
Distance: 6.88k
Pace: 8:01/k

After my workout this morning, I picked up the Karhu CEO and we drove to Peterborough, NH where we had a meeting with Eastern Mountain Sports' (EMS) footwear buyer. We showed him the collection of shoes and got to see their flagship store under the corporate headquarters. When we wrapped everything up, it was time for a run.

We all changed into our running costumes and headed off for the trails. I was content to run slow and recover after this morning's workout, but I wasn't prepared to bushwhack through the woods of New Hampshire. We started out on a bike path that was groomed and perfectly flat, but soon we turned off on what kinda looked like a trail. I followed behind as we ran over puddles, rock, roots, bushes and ducked under tree branches. We soon came to a pond where our options were to either run around or go out and back along a nearby trail. We chose to loop the pond which was going fine until we lost the trail and spent a good 10 minutes wandering through the woods looking for the right direction. My feet were proper soaked after tromping through some mud, but overall it was a good time. The footwear buyer, myself and our CEO were able to chat about many things running, shoes and the industry. Next time though, I'm bringing our new trail shoe which debuts in fall 2012 even if I have to cram my foot into a size 9.

Crash Course 5k Training

Time: 65:04
Distance: 14.68k

W/u: 21:56 for 4.47k
W/o: 2 x 200m, 4 x 400m, 1 x 1600m, 4 x 400m
C/d: 15:35 for 3.01k

I came up with a mini-workout designed to get me somewhat accustomed to running 5k pace next Friday in Austin. It's a bit of a crash course in 5k training similar to a crash diet for a bride. It's guaranteed to work!

I ran a long route over to the track and did some light strides as I geared up for this workout. I didn't have specific splits in mind, but I wanted to make everything faster than 3:07/k minute pace. The two 200s at the start were just to get my legs turned over at a pace faster than my comfort zone for 400m.

I started the 400s and was comfortably hitting 72 and 73. My stride felt strong and the lungs weren't taxed. Going into the 1600m effort, I thought if I could have lap splits of 75, 74, 73, 72 it would be a win. I came nowhere close to getting faster each lap and had to pick up the pace after a opening 800m of 2:30-2:31. Fortunately, I was able to recover relatively quickly and have four faster 400m splits during the second set.

Splits (200m jogs):
2 x 200 - 34.90 (72), 34.25 (70);
4 x 400 - 72.48 (68), 73.30 (69), 72.48 (66), 73.53 (70);
1600 - 4:57.97 (86);
4 x 400 - 69.92 (73), 70.42 (72), 69.30 (71), 67.37
27:33 total for 7.20k

Overall, this was a workout bringing me in the right direction. I was never maxed out or even close to red lining it. At this point the goal is just to get the legs used to running at 3:07/k pace or faster and hope the lungs follow.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week Starter

Time: 67:53
Distance: 16.03k
Pace: 4:14

I let Meagan head out the door before me as I wanted to get in some of my own pace work. My loop took me from the fort, to the trail, out around the neck and back to the fort. The legs were feeling good and I was soon clicking off splits in the sub-4:10 range (see the chart for conversion) for the remainder of the run. The Running Event 5k is quickly approaching and there isn't much time to get fit.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week in Review

Time: 637:03
Distance: 138.72k

This week had a lot of driving between Marblehead, MA and Mason, OH and back. Despite the travel, I was able to get in some decent running that is taking my fitness in the right direction. I raced the 102nd Annual Thanksgiving Day race in downtown Cincinnati and turned in a 32:06 performance for 8th place. That was the extent of my real workouts while the rest of the week was spent in the car or hanging out with friends and family. Overall, a really fun week.

Back at State College

Time: 60:53
Distance: 13.01k
Pace: 4:41

Meagan and I left Mason, OH a few hours after the long run which made for an interesting drive back to State College. We were sure to drink lots of fluids which meant Meagan was asking to stop every hour. I was able to safely bring us to the Residence Inn where we stayed for the evening.

In the morning, we were up and out the door for a run through Penn State. This time we were much more direct in getting over to the bike path near the golf course. Somehow we took a slightly different route and ended up running what seemed to be part of a cross-country course. The trail ran out just was the clock hit 31 minutes and we turned heading for the hotel. It was a smart move to get the long run done on Saturday so today we could run an easy hour and get back on the road for Marblehead.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Buckeye Running Co. Long Run

Time: 149:10
Distance: 33.11k
Pace: 4:30

After the race on Thanksgiving, Meagan and I struck up a conversation with the woman who placed third overall. Her name was Amy and in our brief chatting we learned she lives in Mason not to far from my family's home. We had hoped to get her digits after changing into warm dry clothes, but couldn't locate her after the swarms of people had finished. I put out a message hoping to find her via Facebook and thankfully Amy was able to reach out to Meagan.

On the way back into Mason, my uncle pointed out a new running store called the Buckeye Running Co. Meagan and I visited yesterday during an outing and ended up chatting with the owner Steve. He told us that a group was running long at 7 AM from the store which provided the perfect venue for us to meet up with Amy.

Meagan and I shuffled over to the store and met some of the other runners in the group. We learned of the route and then grouped up for what would be my longest run since last year's Thunder Road Marathon. The route would take us down to the Loveland Path that runs from Cincinnati to Cleveland. Meagan and I have done workouts on the path path before and I have run here a number of times. It's a little sketchy getting down to the path, but then you are welcomed by a flat, paved blacktop that runs for miles along the Little Miami River.

It was fun hearing about Amy's story and her husband who works for Peet's coffee. I see a trade for some shoes and apparel in the near future. Meagan and I did some pickups which simply consisted of 5 x 1 minute hard with about 4 to 5 minutes rest. I wanted to get the legs turned over to break up the monotony of the long run. I was actually feeling pretty solid running with the two women and considered picking up the pace, but realized I was content to just put time on the feet.

We finished up back at the running store and were treated by bagels and chocolate milk. I didn't partake in the bagels (the whole gluten free thing), but that milk tasted damn good. And, it's good for recovery. I see it becoming a common sight in our refrigerator soon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Easy Double Before Eating

Time: 32:39
Distance: 6.79k
Pace: 4:49

Meagan and I were out the door for some more before sitting down to eat again with friends and family. Our gluten free diet has taken somewhat of a backseat the last couple of days. There was no way I was going to pass up on dressing or pie and since our first rule is "don't be an asshole," I couldn't say no to homemade fixings. I have been good in other areas like not breaking the rule for Wheat Thins during snacking before yesterday's Thanksgiving meal or eating pastries at Starbucks like I usually do.

Easy Recovery with Uncle Dave

Time: 67:45
Distance: 13.25k
Pace: 5:07

Meagan and I had a relaxing morning post-Thanksgiving gorging. We were set to run with Dave on a loop around Mason that took us to familiar sites. My legs were a little beat up from the race yesterday, but nothing overwhelmingly painful. I had pretty good range of motion and I was still riding a mini-high from running relatively well. Considering my training has been focused on getting Meagan in top form for the trials, I've taken a relaxed approach this fall. I do have a 5k down in Austin that I want to run well at so the focus continues to be based on not embarrassing myself of Karhu down in Texas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

102nd Thanksgiving Day Race

Time: 58:25
Distance: 14.74k

W/u: 19:43 for 3.73k
Race: 32:06 for 9th place in the results, but 8th place in reality.
C/d: 6:36 for 1.01k

Meagan and I were picked up by my uncle Dave at 7 AM this morning and we drove to downtown Cincinnati to register for the 102 Annual Thanksgiving Day Race. I'm pretty sure that it's the oldest turkey trot in America, but perhaps I'm mistaken. One hundred and two years, think about that. Wicked old.

We got registered without a hitch by forking out $40 a piece that didn't get us a t-shirt, hat, or gloves. Steep! We then headed back to the car to get ready for our warm up. Dave headed off to a friend's work building to stay warm and take advantage of the cozy gym bathrooms instead of the foul shit receptacles in the Paul Brown Stadium's parking lot. We headed out on the streets and shuffled around for just under 20 minutes. I tried giving her the best sense of the course as possible, but, frankly, didn't remember much from previous years other than it sucks running through Kentucky.

With about 10 minutes to go, we headed up to the start line for some last minute strides and preparation. The field look pretty strong this year and I mentioned I would be happy with a top 10 finish. There were a ton of fast looking dudes mingling about with their racing costumes and flats. Meanwhile, like a dummy, I forgot a singlet and was left with three options: shirtless, a Craft t-shirt or the race t-shirt. Option 3 was out since they didn't hand out race shirts and option 1 just isn't my style. Where are you going to put the race bib? I can't remember the last time I actually raced in a t-shirt and don't want to make a habit of it. Oh well for this time.

I felt pretty comfortable on the starting line and made the mental note to just run within myself as the training hasn't been geared to anything specifically in recent months. The countdown had us off the line with a swarm of guys sprinting to the lead while I held back hoping to run the tangents as much as possible. With a field of about 15,000 the streets had to be wide for a race like this.

3:13.3, 3:05.7, 3:02.5, 3:10.8, 3:10.7, 3:15.4, 3:19.6, 3:31.7, 2:56.8, 3:05.4, 17.18 for 32.09 and 10.11k according to the Garmin.

The first mile was hit in around 5:05 and I was probably in 20-25th place feeling really strong. I was continually picking people off who had gone out to fast and was making up ground on guys up front. I knew at a certain point this would end and I would find myself in the right group which occurred just before the first bridge. I had moved up to about 12 place and started the bridge with a small group of guys that soon fell off as I looked to catch a group of 3-4 up ahead. Just as we were cresting the hill/bridge I was able to latch on and relax for the downhill portion into Kentucky. There was another group of 3 running about 60 up ahead that kept the pace honest.

I would push the pace for about 2-3 minutes trying to close the gap, back off and let someone else in the group lead for a couple of minutes while I recovered before hitting the front of the group again. This pattern repeated from 4k to 7k where I urged us to catch the guys in that next group. We were working together really well and seemed to be catching them, but could never bring the gap to within less than 30-40 meters.

As we approached the second bridge to head back to Ohio I started to realize that this was going to be a battle for places 8-10. My top 10 goal was within reach, but I could end up 8th which sounds so much nicer. We hit the bridge and I immediately fell off by a few strides. I had little power going up the hill and couldn't match the pace being set. I relaxed and maintained a solid effort hoping they wouldn't increase the tempo too much so I could catch back up on the downhill into Ohio. That's exactly what happened running near the 8k mark as I was able to close the gap and then draft to regain my strength.

Coming off the bridge is a long straight with the wind at our backs and I maintained my position just behind a tall kid from Spalding University (later found out to be Abram Deng who is the USCAA National Cross Country Champ) and another guy racing for some local team. When we the turn I glanced over my shoulder and say a guy dressed in all black about 60 meters back and figured he would be a non factor the final mile. The three of us ran together as the crowd started to get thicker. I was feeling more and more recovered from the bridge and recognized this was going to be a sprint finish.

There are two 90 degree turns the final 600 meters, one right after another and this is when we all realized the group grew to four. Somehow the dude in black had closed the gap despite our efforts at keeping the pace honest. I now could end up 11th if it all went wrong. The pace started to accelerate farther from the finish line than I would have liked, but I was latched on to the back of the back just getting hoovered along. We came to the final cross road about 150m from the finish, I pulled wide and shot to the front. I went for the tape and raced it in to take 8th place even though the results have me listed as 9th. Here are the pictures to prove it. The guy in yellow is Tim Kaiser and the guy with blue half tights if Abram Deng.

After the race I had a brief chat with Tim about our little pack and the race for top 10. I realized that Meagan would be finishing soon and got near the tape around the 34:30 mark. I only had to wait about a minute and got to witness a great finish as she placed 2nd just behind the winner. You can read her recap here.

I'm pleased with the effort as I "won" the race within the race for top 10. It was fun and told me that I'm a 32 minute 10k guy at the moment. I've run this course twice before and was in much better shape at the time finishing with slightly faster times. In 2007 I finished second in 31:38 and 2006 I finished fifth in 31:38 under the name "Ruben Tucker."

I gotta give props to the winner, Eric Finan, of the University of Cincinnati who ran just over 30 minutes after placing 25th at NCAA XC Champs on Monday. Great run! I also have to thank my moms and family for braving the cold weather to come watch the race. It has been many years since they've seen me toe the line and I definitely didn't want to run like crap with some eyes watching the finishing clock.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lil' Bro Shakeout

Time: 23:53
Distance: 4.38k
Pace: 5:27

Upon arriving to Mason, OH around 7 PM after another long day in the car, Meagan and I knew that if we had any hopes of running decent at the turkey trot we needed to shakeout the legs. This gave my little brother an opportunity to put on his shoes and come out for a jog with us. He's intrigued with the sport and has run a few 5ks recently with our uncle Dave. Tonight he was plenty glad to be running along with Meagan and I as we illuminated the streets with our nerdy headlamps. He clomped alongside us with his Converse basketball shoes making it impossible for him to ever sneak up on someone.

Our loop took us from the house, through the neighborhood park, by the high school and back to the house just under 5k total. It was just what we needed to end the day with family after driving another 400 miles.