Saturday, July 30, 2011

I have intervals on my training plan.  Honestly, I love intervals at some level. But not 800s.  Last week, my training plan called for those annoying little half mile intervals with a 400 recovery.  When I got up that morning, I had zero desire to run those intervals, and it showed when I did them.  I ran the three of the first four at a 3:18 pace, which is pretty cool, considering I was around 4:00 when I first started.  By the end of the fourth interval last week I really wanted to stop running them, head home, and get ready for work.  I finished them, but they were all over the map.

Fast forward to tonight.  I had 6 miles on the schedule, and they were supposed to be 1mile repeats with 800 recoveries.  But I didn't really want to do those miles, I really wanted another crack at those 800s.  Redemption, the theme I kept telling myself as I was running the 800s tonight.  I run using my phone, so all I know is when to start a new interval, not really how fast I am going.  These are the times I after I checked the coaching part of the app on the website.
  • 1 - 3:16 - This felt really good.
  • 2 - 3:06 - I felt good in the moment, but looking back this was a bit harder than the others.
  • 3 - 3:12 - Another good interval.  It was a bit hard but I kept telling myself I was half way there.
  • 4 - 3:19 - I know I am slowing down a bit, but don't know how much.
  • 5 - 3:20 - Felt good but I know that I am almost out of steam.
  • 6- 3:29 - I thought I was moving faster, but knew that this would be the slowest in the end.
When I looked at the rest of the info, I noticed that the recoveries were almost right on with the intervals as far as times went.  After the workout was finished, I felt really good, that feeling you get when you have had an excellent workout, knowing that you put in your best effort.  Redemption was mine; I conquered the intervals that had kicked my butt the week before.

I killed the 16 this weekend to closeout July.  These long runs have been really nice since my friends ahve been helping split the miles up. 

Have fun out there!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oh What a Beautiful Morning! (A 10k RR)

It felt like just a run. A run you would normally have if you got up, looked at your training plan, saw 6 miles, strapped on your shoes and pounded the pavement. It was a run with aches and pains, mostly from starting an increase in mileage again, more likely, because of a new found every other day running habit (up from three times a week). Whatever the causes, this didn’t feel like a race until the end.
The weekend prior (7/17) I had perhaps my best long run ever, you guys know, that long run that reminds you why you run like this week in and week out. I completed a 14.1 mile run; I did 6 miles by myself, then added a friend at the 6 mile mark, then added yet another friend at the 10 mile mark. It was an amazing run; it didn’t really feel like running 14 miles. The week started off as it normally does for me, taking a rest day Monday. Tuesday I escaped the office to get in an Easy 4 mile run (more on this at the end). I finally hit the speed work again last Thursday, and paid for it, 4 of the 6 800s were great, hitting the time I was aiming for 3:20, but completely missing it on the other two. Then Saturday was race day.
I had circled this date on my calendar back in March, as a way to judge any improvements in my running based on 10k efforts. Many people don’t realize that the SE part of Washington State is actually a desert. Normally the July weather has us sitting in the 90s to low 100s during the day, but, unlike the East Coast, out here we are having a very mild summer, topping out in the low 90s on our hottest days. (You may all commence being jealous) I was originally concerned about the heat for a 7:30 AM start this late in July, but as the title for this post states, it was a beautiful morning indeed. 
I awoke to a chill in the bedroom; outside temp was in the upper 40s, so I knew race time was going to be perfect weather for a run.  My goal for this race was a sub 50 minute time, but I knew I wasn't going to be speedy enough to achieve that when I woke up; I was achy, tired, and really, just wanted to sleep for another hour or 12. No biggie, just go and push a comfortable yet fast pace and see where you end up.
I got to the park at the south end of town with a few minutes to spare, and decided I would try to run a lap around the park, to get the blood flowing and see if that would help. I did that and went on over to the starting line (behind the finger nail, a performing arts stage). There were about 250 or so people at the start running either the 2 miler or the 10k event. We go through a quick overview of the races and then we are off. I start the RunKeeper app on my phone right away, and take off. 
The Fingernail - From the other side it looks like a fingernail (I promise).
Mile 1 – 7:57 (these are from memory and only mildly approximate) – We are still in a throng as we pass the .25 mile point. As we pull up on the dike, I start wondering where exactly the turnaround for the 2 mile race is. I know this path well and feel as if I should see that soon. I look ahead and see people turning around down by the restrooms, I know they have gone too far for a 2 mile run. Oh well, I am feeling good, still pulling past a few people.
Mile 2 – 7:57 – I was excited to see that these times were identical. I fell into a good groove here. Though suddenly it seemed as if I were running alone as there were a couple of guys ahead of me, but I couldn’t tell if there was anyone behind me. 
Mile 3 – 8:17 – I knew this was going to be a bit slower as I stopped to grab water at the first aid station. Picked back up right away and hustled on down the path. We have now gone from the park at the south end of town to the one at the north end of town. Passing the tennis courts and the boat launch signifies the end of the trees. There is about a half mile to go before we turn away from the river and run through part of the neighborhood. I check the phone for the first time when I see the 3 mile mark on the path, I am at 3.05 miles, good enough for me.
Mile 4 – 8:20 (or so) – About the same as the last mile, grabbed water at the 3.5ish mile mark, and got back after it. This part of the run goes through the neighborhood and curves back into the park to meet up with the walking/bike path heading south.
Mile 5 – 8:50 range – I slowed down twice during this mile. The first to grab another cup of water at the aid station, then the second time to try to stretch out my calf and hamstring which seemed to be arguing. “Let’s finish this, we can rest at home and think about tomorrow’s run later.” This is what went through my mind here because I really wanted nothing more than to just stop, and cancel the long run the next day.
Mile 6.2 – 8:30 (for the whole thing) – The path brings us back by the bathrooms we passed in mile 2. The woman in front of me has been slowing down to a walk off and on for the last half mile or so. Finally, as we head to the top of the dike, she starts walking again, I know that we only have about .5 or .6 miles to go at this point, and use the speed boost from rolling up the hill to pass her. I had forgotten that the race ended short of where it began. So when I reach the other side of the dike I am excited to see that the finish is closer than I thought. I put down the hammer, or at least what was left, and push it for the last quarter mile. Then I hear footsteps as someone is approaching from the rear. No way! I am not going to let that happen. Well it did, the woman I had passed, managed to out sprint me to the end and finish a whopping one second in front of me. 
I finished with a final time of 51:39, a new PR by almost 4 minutes. I still felt like I could move faster, but the body was rebelling a bit. Had the race been on Friday, I probably would have met my goal. In the end I still felt good, even if I did get chicked, I even met with my friends and ran the 8 miles the next morning. 
I promised more on that 4 mile run. Really, it has to do with favorite distances and times. I find that if I head out with no plan, I almost always end up at 4 miles in between 30 and 36 minutes depending on the day.  So I ask you, what is your favorite distance, speed, and time, what have you? . 
Have a good one out there. Stay safe and have fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good Neighbor

I was the good neighbor, but we will have to get to that in a bit.  
Last week I was off, physically, mentally, whatever the reason, I just did not feel the exercise demons demanding to be released.   It was my first week back at work since the baby was born and I think the switch from sleeping until 7 to getting up at 5:30 put an odd strain on me.   So needless to say I did not feel like hitting the pavement early in the morning to complete my runs.   Everyday that went by I felt more and more guilty about not running, or really doing anything at all.   Until Thursday, I guess my wife suspected something.  After I got my oldest into bed, I suggested that I might go for a run, and she quickly said, DO IT.  Yes dear!
t was after 9 PM when I went out for the run.   I had no plan, no time goal, no distance goal, just go out an try to run for 30 minutes to clear my head (This didn't stop me from taking my phone and using the RunKeeper app).  So I went.   I have run through my neighborhood enough to know rough distances and use this as a guide to choose a stopping spot.   I ran slow and steady maintaining and 8:30 to 9:00 pace until I reached that stopping spot.   Once there I saw that i was at 3.83 miles or something close to that.   Well, now I can't just leave that last .17 hanging there.   So I decided to run down one more street, use the cul-de-sac and make the last bit of distance.

This is where the good neighbor thing kicks in.   As I approach the corner of the next street, I see a guy out in front of his house pushing a trailer towards the side of the house.   There is a pretty steep hill (if you are trying to push a trailer up manually) on the side of his house.   As I run past I start to think that maybe I should go back and help, so I do, I turn back around and run over to his house.   I stop my time and ask if he could use some help, as he as now all but abandoned the trailer at the bottom of the hill.   About 5 seconds after I stop, so, too, does a local police officer, offering his help.   The three of us take about three minutes to push the trailer up the hill to the side of this guy's house.   He thanks us, and we part.   I had reached my 4 mile 'goal'  , so I just walked back to the house.

Now, I am a total believer in karma.   I also believe that some things happen for a reason.   I am not saying that I was meant to go out specifically that night at that time so that I could help that guy, but what if I wasn't out, what would he have done?   Probably just hooked it up to the truck and backed it up the hill.   Either way, apparently it was exactly the run I was looking for, as I felt better physically, but also that I could help someone.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Camp Patriot Fun Run (A late 5k RR)

I am behind.   At least in the blogging department.   I last posted about the birth of my second son and promised a quick report on a 4th of July fun run I did.   But I have decided that race report might be a bit out of date now, and would rather just catch up on the runs or lack of runs in the last two weeks.
Oh, alright, I will give you cheapie report on the 4th.  I had seen the Camp Patriot Fun Run on my local running calendar for a while and had written it off because it was on a Monday, and Mondays are rest days in the training plan (like I don't do nothin' rest days).  Because I had not run at all the previous week (the whole taking care of mama, a new born, and a three year old thing) I decided I could break my 'Don't Run on Monday" rule.

Monday of the race, I get up and get ready to head over to the starting area.   I needed to be out there before 7:45 AM in order to get registered and ready to go.   That wasn't happening apparently, as I awoke at 7:15 and scrambled to get out the door in time to make it there at the absolute last second.   I arrived out at the softball complex at 7:50, ran over to the registration area and asked if it was too late (I suppose when you are willing to write a $25 check to the Camp Patriot, it is never too late to sign up).  I got signed up, pinned my bib on, and ran over to the start area.   At the start area there was a quick announcement about the run, then the playing of the National Anthem.   A little after 8 we were off.

I started at the back, mostly because I wasn't sure how I was going to react to being back out there.   I quickly realized that I was going to have a great run, and started moving past person after person.   Around half a mile in, a little kid decided that he wasn't going to let me go past him (he was maybe 7-8) and started sprinting to stay ahead.   I just held pace and he eventually slowed down to run with his pop. I thought this was kind of cool anyway.

At the first Mile marker I grabbed my phone to check my progress.   I saw 0.95 miles and a time of 6:55, sweet, just a little off between the two. Let's get rolling.   The course at this point had wrapped around the softball fields and was on a long straight stretch heading past the soccer field and down past the tumbleweeds, out along the interstate.   A quick calculation told me that the turn-around down here would be right around mile 2 to get us back in at 3.1.

I cruised along, passing up water at the turn-around, as I normally do during 5ks, and headed back up a slight hill towards the finish.   Near the bottom of the largest hill, I checked the phone again to see distance, 2.2 miles.   We can finish this thing out strong.   I picked a few more people to start trying to pass and just pushed past them.   As I got to the top of the hill approaching the turn to the finish line I passed a guy who was visibly struggling.   I know he finished but I kind of wondered if he needed help (of course I thought this after I had finished).  I didn't really push the final 0.1 miles like I normally do on a 5k.  I just ran through the finish and picked up my ribbon.   I stopped the RunKeeper app with a time of 23:00. That is my fastest 5k yet, and a nice even number too.   I really need timed events around here to set an actual PR, but for the time being I am claiming victory.

Columbia River - The path travels the river through all three cities.

I managed to run every other day that week.   I went out for an 'easy' 30 minute run Wednesday the 6th, ran 3.1 miles in the 95* heat, under beating sun, not the smartest run I have had recently.   Met my friend for an easy 6 on Friday the 8th, a really enjoyable 6 as we ran along the Columbia River.   I went back out on Sunday for a long run worked 9.1 miles into that long run, as I was trying to make it to the 300 mile mark for the year.   It was easily one of the worst long runs I have had in a while, I wanted to stop after 3 miles (of course the car was 3 miles away at that point).  But I persevered and pushed through the 9 reaching my milestone.
  • 4th - 3.1 mi, 23:00
  • 6th -3.1 mil, 30:00
  • 8th - 5.9 mil, 58:30
  • 10th - 9.1 mi, 1:28:35
  • Total Week - 21.2 mi
  • Total for the year (through the July 10th) - 301.1 mi
This is a huge accomplishment, as I had not run more than a single mile since high school, and now 300 in one year.   That's about enough for now.    I have a couple more exciting running stories to share from last week as I continue to catch up to the present.   Remember - Have fun out there!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't Say Aww! (Baby Pics)

I have been away for almost two weeks.   But not for a bad reason.   I am excited to announce the birth of my second son, Ethan.   My DW and I did not find out the gender of this child, just as we didn't with our first son.   DW says that there are only a few true surprises in life and the gender of the baby can be one of them.   I (after much consideration) love not finding out til the end, it is fun, especially when the nurses find out that it is a surprise.

I will give you all the quick version.   DW called on June 29 to inform me we needed to head to the hospital. Sweet!But mostly that was to sit around and wait, we got to the hospital just before noon, and assumed that we would be holding baby within a few hours.   Wrong!   We had to go through two rounds of antibiotic before they would even start working on evening up the contractions.   Just before 6PM they introduced the drug to speed up the labor, and we truly began waiting.   Our night nurse was sure that the baby would be born before Midnight, and therefore put the 29th on just about everything (and we all know about counting chickens).  The doctor came in to check around 7 saying that everything looked good and that as soon as the contractions were consistent she would come back and break the water and we would have a baby.   She failed to mention that she had surgery scheduled at 8 to deliver twins, so we waited for the end of that, assured that we would be first.

Being first wasn't not meant to be.   When she got out of surgery, she immediately delivered two babies within 15 minutes of each other (maybe more like 5).  Then a third not even half an hour later.   So it was after 10:30 when she finally came in to start DW's true labor.   Within and hour my wife was ready to push, and the nurse insisted that we needed to wait another ten minutes to try to even things out.   Well, 10 minutes we went from steady even contractions to one on top of the other, by the time the nurse came back the baby was crowning, and the doctor only had time to glove up before the baby was born.   Of course, the baby wanted to be the first of day, not the last, so his birth date is 6/30 not 6/29.

Let me just state for the record that my wife is AMAZING.  She has given birth to two amazing sons, and puts up with me.   Not only that but after spending a week at home, cooking, doing laundry, watching the 3 yo and generally trying to keep up with life, I have a better understanding and appreciation for what she does at home all the time.   I am in awe of her abilities.

Ethan at home

I decided to take last week off from work (Woohoo for three vacation days to earn an entire week) and got to spend some quality time with my three year old (Tyler).

Tyler spending some time with his new brother.

A shot of me and my boys getting ready to leave the hospital.

I didn't run at all the week Ethan was born.   I got back after it on the 4th, with a 5k fun run, which I will post on later.