Thursday, July 30, 2009

9 and 90

Weather has been hotter and more humid the last couple of days. Feels like I'm in Oklahoma or Texas.

Thursday 7.30.09
AM: lifting routine
Taking the day off from running (as planned). Still did my usual lifting routine (back, shoulders, chest, etc) at the YMCA.

Wednesday 7.29.09
AM: core work
PM: ~12 miles in 84:50
This was a 9 and 90 workout. It might've been 90 degrees too. 9 and 90 translated means 9 minutes hard running followed by 90 seconds of recovery. I did that 4 times.
The humidity really got to me today and by the end of the run I was dead. That's what I'm looking for though; those runs that leave you dead but also give you the feeling that you're getting in better shape. I'm glad I did this workout b/c if I didn't, the run would've been even more painful. When I wasn't running hard my body fell into a slow-paced rhythm. I could feel the heat just zapping my legs out there. All in all, it was a good day and has been a productive week. Today, I figure I put in about 6 hard miles and 6 easy ones (4 at the beginning and 2 at the end).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Sneakers

Cool Running has the Blessing of the Fleet Results posted.

Tuesday 7.28.09
AM/PM: 33 miles on the bike and 2.25 miles on the treadmill
PM: core work
This was intended to be a bike to and for work day. However, due to the massive potholes on one of the major roadways, I warped a tire and had to call in Jen for a pickup. Odd thing is that I didn't get a flat tire; I got a warped tire. It didn't flatten but it did warp itself in such a way that the wheel rubbed against the break pads whenever it revolved. Looks like I'll need to go to the bikeshop. So, I did a two spot the the t'mill b/c I figured I needed to get a little more cardio in. I'm still simmering from the warped tire. How much will that cost me?

Monday 7.27.09
AM: core work
PM: 12.5 miles in 84:40
Probably did more than 12.5 but most of it was on trail so it's more difficult to measure. Was pissed at Sunday's slow pace so attacked this one from the gun. It was 86, sunny, and humid at the start; it didn't take long to get a good sweat. To increase the punishment I ran in all black. I wanted to feel this one. I was thinking about my Blessing performance and thinking about all those guys who just did the Lake Placid Ironman and thought to myself: I'm such a slacker. With that as motivation, I took it out.

Worked hard to get to the WHS trails and once there I thought I'd ease up a little. Something told me not to, so I didn't; I kept pounding through the trails to the powerlines. I was on Edge City as Mark Wetmore would say. This was an out-n-back run and I wondered if I'd be dragging arse on the way home. I kept a hard steady through the trails all the while telling myself I'd pick it up again w/ 5k remaining. Back on the roads w/ 3 to go and I increased the pace again. Last three miles ended up being 6:16, 6:31, 6:10 (penultimate largely uphill). Not super fast but the effort was there. My legs were still pretty sore from Friday night's race and the sun offered much heat. I know the last 5k can avg. sub 6:00.

Also broke in a new pair of New Balance 1223's. I hated the 1220 due to the rollbar but that's gone now and the 1223's seem well cushioned and comfortable. I think I ran hard today b/c I didn't want my new sneakers to think I was slow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Road Race

The Skinny:

10 mile time: 56:52
place: 17
division place: 1
pace: 5:41
1- 5:22
2- 5:45
3- 5:28
4- 5:54
5- 5:36
6- 5:54
7- 5:48
8- 5:50
9- 5:45
10- 5:30

The Full Length Report:

The race had an ominous start to it. Directions to the high school indicated it would take 79 minutes to arrive. 2 1/4 hours later (and one wrong turn) I arrived at a parking lot about 0.6 miles from the registration area / starting line. Not knowing how far away I was at the time, I decided to change into my flats and racing gear. I did a couple of stretches and headed out after a couple of stretches. The warmup was helter skelter and this is not the usual method I employ prerace. I'm a ritual guy and my prerace process was muddled and disconnected. In all, I got in most of my stretches and probably jogged about 2 miles.

I edged my way over to the starting line, and there was a hasty corral cordoned off for any runner w/ a bib # below 100. My #3568 excluded me from elite company. When the gun fired, I was a few rows deep and on a sidewalk.

This was and up-down-up race for me: good start, horrible middle, solid but not spectacular finish. First 1/2 mile seemed so slow. I was running next to Mario and he had the same comment. I was at the back of a ~25 man lead pack. One shmoe was way ahead but was gobbled up by everybody after the first mile marker. The second half of the first mile was downhill and at that point I said to myself: "Okay, we're not crawling." Split was 5:22. Exactly what I didn't want. Too fast for my current level of fitness. I would pay. The 5:22 tightened up the left calf just a bit, but it was nothing alarming. The pack was spreading out and I was perturbed at myself for running about 20 seconds faster than I should've.

Slowed down for the 2nd mile (5:45) but when I saw my split I didn't think I slowed that much. Rebounded w/ a 5:28 3rd mile and was feeling pretty good. Going a little fast but didn't want to go slower.

Fourth mile was by far the windiest of the race. I was a few meters from a group of three and made a concerted effort to catch them so we could work together against the wind. When I caught them I thought the pace too slow. However, I decided to keep it tactical and tucked in behind the group. Caught a glimpse of a flag and it was unfurled straight out in our faces. Split = 5:54.

We turned the corner and I opened up the pace. Big mistake. I was too ambitious and hammered after getting the 4th mile split read out. This 5th mile was on a flat shadeless road. I ran the first half mile of it too hard and at 4.5 cramped up. I cursed the prerace peanut butter crackers. On this road I took water for the only time in the race. The side stitch was acute and I lost contact w/ my group of three. Through 5 in 28:05 and feeling like burnt toast. Actually thought I'd be running 6:00 pace or slower all the way home. Still cramped up and feeling like dirt at 5.5 but a lone runner was coming back to me and that helped me out. I pushed out the stitch and tried to get back on my horse.

Over the last 3.5 I tried to gain some momentum back. We made a turn onto a bucolic road w/ great fan support. Despite my feeling a bit better the split was 5:48.

Caught up to a runner in the 8th mile and we duked it out together. Thought the split would be faster but it was 5:50. Maybe running next to a guy like that actually slows you down. Two to go and feeling like I could quicken the pace a tad. Out of nowhere a young gun flew by me and I had not answer for his charge. After the race he told me he ran this as a training run: first 5 easy, last 5 hard. Didn't exactly make me feel better.

At the 9th mile marker I started recognizing territory. Hit the split in 5:45 and after that I was determined to run sub 57:00. I thought the opportunity to do so was long gone in the middle miles. Good thing I didn't pack it in. Worked hard over the last mile for a 5:30 split. To my surprise, the runner I was duking it out w/ slowed to a jog w/ 100 meters to go. The finish had a huge crowd and I didn't click my watch until already in the chute.

My goal for the race was to run 5:40 pace or sub 57:00. I was happy w/ my time but not w/ my race. Didn't run it at all the way I wanted too. Too fast at start. Too inconsistent in middle. I did learn, however, not to bag a race even if it's looking ugly in the middle.

Overall, the race had lots of fast college kids and even an Olympian (Amy Rudolph won the women's division). I came in 17th but was first in my age group. I was a bit embarrassed for the 30-39 year olds to be honest Not so embarrassed, though, that I didn't claim the prize of an Asics hoodie.

The race is mostly flat but it's not a pancake. There are some ups and downs but nothing major. Tremendous crowd support. This seem to be a whole-town event. My friend Joe called it his Boston before he ran Boston.

This Week in Running: 7.20.09 to 7.26.09

The week wrapped up w/ one hard run (Blessing of the Fleet 10 Miler--race report forthcoming soon) and two easy ones (Sat. and Sun.).

Saturday 7.25.09
AM: 7.25 miles in 51:50
Did this one about 14 hours after the race. Soreness didn't get the chance to settle into the muscles yet, so this was a good run. A tingle of compunction here b/c I fear that I should've gone longer and swapped today's run for tomorrow's. Blood blister on the left big toe did not affect the run. I lathered it up w/ Vaseline. Finished with ice, stick, stretch.

Sunday 7.26.09
AM: core work and 10.5 miles in 86:06
Wow, was this a slow run. Quads were sore and legs felt lethargic. It was very humid too. So humid that it started raining for a bit. I ran 100% on trails. They were water-logged and slow. I do this run a handful of times per year and have noticed that all terrain vehicles are eroding the trails. They are becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate: more exposed rocks and tree roots than ever before. Topped the day off w/ a good 3 hours of yard work.

This was a quasi-cutback week. Down 7 miles from last week and that was in part due to Sunday's run and Friday's race. It should've been a full cutback week but I have a conference coming up in two weeks and know that will likely become a cutback week by default.


Numbers for the week
55 1/4 miles in 5 runs
5 core routines
1 lifting sequence
96 minutes on indoor trainer (bike)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seeing Ms. Langston

Toward the end of my run today, I had a great surprise. It being my mom's birthday, we were over in my hometown. Before the celebration began, I scooted out for a run. The run started out normal enough, and I was feeling good. So much better than last Wednesday. I was working on changing up my pacing and got going pretty good in the middle/end. On my way back home through the sheep pasture, I passed two women. After passing them, I said to myself, "That looks like Ms. Langston." I doubled back around and sure enough, it was her. We caught up for a minute or two and even exchanged a hug, which was amazing b/c this was a woman I couldn't have imagined hugging as a frosh in high school. But in reflection, I have thought about Ms. Langston often, and she was/is a fantastic teacher. I learned so much from her. I was glad I bumped into her and had the opportunity to thank her for influencing me as an impressionable young teenager. I still remember the personal narrative, the vocabulary tests, and Pride and Prejudice. Thanks again Ms. Langston. You made my run.

AM: core work
PM: 12 miles in 81:34

Tuesday 7.21.09
AM: bike (indoor trainer)
PM: core work
The steady rain kept me off the roads and on the indoor trainer today. I did the bike in two short sessions, 53 and 43 minutes. Got a real good sweat both times. Kept the pace steady and smooth the whole way. A good day of cross training.

Monday, July 20, 2009

She's Back

After taking a couple of weeks off, KJ is back on the blog with 61 new pictures. Many of them feature her latest couch adventure w/ the famous J-dog. Let's just say their relationship is progress a little faster than I'd like. The latest album is "Kerin13" and you can access it by clicking on her link in the right-hand margin.

In less exciting news, this is what I did to the body today:
AM: core work
PM: 10.25 miles in 73:13
Legs felt okay, but I was tired and heavy. Just one of those days. Ran from the Medfield Public Library w/ the hopes of hooking onto some good trails off of 27. No such luck. Every trail I tried was a disappointing deadend. It was a bit of a wild goose chase. Highlight of the run was coming up on a young male deer. He lept then stopped and watched me. I wasn't more than 30 feet away from him. I could see the antlers just beginning to sprout. It was cool.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This Week in Running: 7.13.09 to 7.19.09

Not a bad week in running. It would've been a very bad one if the week had ended on Wednesday. Friday and Sunday turned the bad week into a mediocre to good one. Highlight of the week was the 19.5 I did on Friday. Still happy about that one. Looking to continue with progress this week and maybe even racing on Friday night (Blessing of the Fleet 10 miler in RI).
I ended this week in running w/ an olde time workout.

6 x 6 minutes hard w/ 1 minute recovery

Warmup: 6k
Workout: 41 minutes
Cooldown: 5k

In total put in 13.25 in 92:58.

Ran the warmup in around 7:30 pace and the cool down averaged 7:15-20 pace. Trying to go a little faster on the cooldown. Pretty tuckered out after the pickups so had to concentrate. The pickups themselves were good. Definitely running sub 6:00 pace. Ran the intervals almost exclusively on trail as to protect my left calf. It was tight but not bad. Problem w/ running on trails is that it's difficult to get splits. At one point I was running 5:50ish pace but that was only over a 1/4 of a mile. Decided to make this a continuous run as opposed to a track workout b/c I feel that when I'm on the track I'm more conducive to tightening up the calf. I think I still need a few more faster paced continuous runs. 5:50 pace is too slow for this workout. I'm hoping I was running faster than that for the majority of it. If not, I'll be putting up a stinkbomb on Friday.

Weekly Numbers
62 1/4 miles in 5 runs
4 core routines
1 lifting routine
1 day of biking (39 miles)

Other notes:
Probably put in a good twenty hours of hard manual labor this week out in the yard. I mean I needed to ice my back afterwards type of work. Good news is that the place is looking better. Thanks to my old man for helping me out w/ the powerwashing today. More good news: KJ rolled over for the first time today.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Good Long Run

The last two have been the best two days of the week. Had an awesome long run on Friday morning and followed it up today w/ an easy recovery run through the hazy humidity at Adams Farm. The details:

Saturday 7.18.09
AM: core work and 7.25 in 52:08
On the road and the air was thick and heavy. Glad that today was an easy run. Took me about 20 minutes to wake up and at that point the pace naturally quickened but nothing crazy. Easy all the way. Need to gear up for a harder run tomorrow. Finished the run w/ stick, ice, stretch. After lunch, back out to the yard for three more hours of yard work. Capped the day off w/ some ice cream from Bubbling Brook. It was the first ice cream of the year. That shows you the type of summer we've been having.

KJ has been on the planet 4 months as of today. Pictures coming soon. We need to get camera batteries. There'll be some good ones in the next batch that feature her boyfriend.

Friday 7.17.09
AM: 19.5 miles in 2:22.28
After feeling knackered all week, things finally turned around, not until 39 minutes of running though. Good route planned and that helped. Ran over to Rocky Woods and did too long loops there before heading home. It takes about 5 miles to get there and my body was still feeling out the run at that point. Once I got on the trails, I started to feel better and my pace naturally got faster. Cruised through the trails and feeling good the whole way. Only concern was of thirst. Jen had put out a water bottle for me back on the road and knowing that was waiting for me really helped. It also broke the run up into chunks. Just get to the water bottle; you'll be there in two miles. Got the water and a power gel at 1:50 and couldn't believe how good I felt. Just before the water/gel I clocked a 7:06 mile that's majorly uphill. After the water/gel I hooked onto the AF powerlines trail and popped back out onto the roads w/ a little less than a deuce to go. Couldn't believe how much energy I had and how good I felt. No bonking in sight. This was just the run I needed. Feeling strong on the last mile and put down a 6:13. That's good for me b/c I often am dragging my arse home over the last 5k of a long run. When I marathon, I often die in that last 5k so finishing strong is something I'm consciously working on this season. Friday was a good sign. Got home did the usual routine and soaked in an Epsom salt ice bath for twenty minutes. Jen putting out that water/gel really helped me have a good run. Thanks J!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Doornail

Have been as dead as a doornail all week. Maybe the yard work double sessions are catching up w/ me. The first half of this week has been UGLY. I have my harder runs planned for the next three days, so I'm hoping the deadness will egress from my legs.

Thursday 7.16.09
AM: lifting routine
Went to the Y prework to get in some lifting. Still five lbs. heavier than last summer but I attribute that to increased muscle. I don't feel five lbs. heavier and I can lift more in the gym now than I ever have before. And when I say lifting I also include all the core exercises like planks, pullups, pushups, situps. Finished the day w/ an Epsom salt cold water bath in hopes of recharging the legs.

Wednesday 7.15.09
AM: core work
PM: 12 miles in 91:30
For the second run in a row, I was dead from the gun. This usually doesn't happen to me. Usually after a dead legs run, I follow it w/ a good one. Not this week. Have been tired and dragging. I was determined to get 12 in and after 20 minutes knew I'd have to run more like 90 than 80 to get in a dozen. Bad news: I was dead tired and heavy for the entire run. Good news: I was dead but still mentally strong enough not to bag it after 7. Calves did loosen but left one is still hanging on to the tightness a little more than I'd like.

Kerin is awesome. She's my kid. She giggles now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Green

Tuesday 7.14.09
AM: 39.3 miles on the bike
PM: core work
Going green today as I commuted to work on my bike. It's a good way to get a workout in w/out it feeling like a workout. I did this last week too. The distance is slightly shorter today b/c I didn't miss any turns. Good day of cross-training. My calves are still sore from Sunday's workout. I'm paying close attention to the left one.

Monday 7.13.09
AM: core work
PM: 10.25 miles in 77:12
Couldn't shake the 7:30 pace today. The plan was to start nice and easy and then get it going on the back nine. Two things prevented that from happening: 1) calves were slightly sorer than anticipated and body felt tired 2) GI trouble. Can I not eat a single veggie burger w/out paying for it 20 hours later on a run? I'm trying to eat healthier, but my body doesn't like it. Didn't feel like I was totally doggin' it. Just got in a rut and didn't have the umpf to get out of it. Finished w/ plenty of stretching, sticking, icing (as usual).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This Week in Running: 7.6.09 to 7.12.09

Week ended w/ 3 good ones. I feel like the training is coming along nicely and I actually stepped on the track today and did the workout faster than I anticipated. Almost feel like I did double sessions Thursday through Sunday as every afternoon was marked by loads of yard work. My back is a little sore from it and I'm exhausted right now. The yard, however, is looking better.
Here's how the week ended:

Friday 7.10.09
AM: core work and 18 miles in 2:11.22
Travelled over to Blue Hills so I could get this run in on the soft surfaces. I explored some new paths and ended up in Braintree (all on trail). The run went really well. I found a water fountain at about 97:00 and that helped. A few minutes later, I had to stop and remove a perturbing pebble from my shoe. Hit the wall somewhat at that point and was looking to get back to the car where I had more water and some energy chews stored. Made it to the car in 1:45 and took the water and gummies. Did a small loop and headed out for twenty more minutes. The power bar gel chews gave me the burst of energy I needed to get through the last 20:00-25:00. I'm glad I hid them under my car. Overall, first half was solid and the second half I had to manage not boinking. I had in my mind the whole way that there was no way I wasn't doing 18.

Saturday 7.11.09
AM: 7.25 miles in 52:53
A 10:00 appt w/ the dentist had me on the road pre 0700. Once I woke up, the run was smooth and relaxing, just as an easy recovery day is intended. Did the usual Adams Farm route. Was checking in on my body during the run, and everything seemed fine after yesterday's long run. Thought I'd see some deer, but I didn't. It's a good feeling to be done with your run before eight o'clock in the morning. Went to the dentist (no cavities), took a deep breath, and then hit the yard for five solid hours. Thanks to my old man and Monz for the help.

Sunday 7.12.09
AM: 11.5 miles in 84:45
Had been looking forward to this workout for most of the week. Haven't done a track workout in quite some time (esp. w/ the tracks being covered w/ snow for most of the winter). Was interested to see where my fitness is even though I got some sense of it from last Monday's pickups. My plan for the track was 6 x 1200m w/ ~2:00 recovery. I wanted to do them between 5:20 and 5:30 pace. Here's how it played out:

warmup: 30:32
rep #1 - 4:03
rep #2 - 3:58
rep #3 - 3:56
rep #4 - 3:56
rep #5 - 3:55
rep #6 - 3:57
cooldown: 22:34
recovery for all the reps was ~85 sec jog and ~25 sec walk to line

I felt strong and in control. I exceeded my planned pace. Was happy with the middle splits as I was focused on running. Thinking about form and economy. Thinking I need to do this to get in good shape. Last one hurt the most. Wasn't totally dead on the cooldown, so that's a good sign. Legs felt mostly healthy for most of the track work. Calves a bit sore on the cooldown. Am watching the hamstrings too. Finished up w/ stretching, sticking, icing. Should do some extra stick work and icing tonight.

Numbers for the week:
3 core workouts
41 miles on the bike
1 lifting sequence
62 1/4 miles in 6 runs

I hope to build off this week and springboard into next week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Switching It Up

AM: lifting routine at the YMCA
PM: 2.5 miles in 18:35
Let me explain: I only ran 2.5 today because I was intending not to run at all but felt too guilty about it so jumped on the treadmill for a light jog. I am planning on going long tomorrow and am on a cycle to take two non-running days this week. Ergo, I biked Tuesday and hit the Y today. That meant, however, that I had a non-running, running, non-running three day sequence. Running only once in three days proved too much to bear. That's why I shook it out for 2.5 today. It allowed for some good stretching that I otherwise would have skipped.

I'm going long tomorrow b/c I have Fridays off in the summer. As a result, I will alter my training to look like this from Fridays to Mondays: long run, easy run, workout, progression run. We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Noon Hill

AM: core work
PM: 12 miles in 84:59

Met my buddy Rich in downtown Medfield today and from there we headed over to Noon Hill for some trail running. By clicking on the link below, you can access a map of the reservation.

http://www.thetrustees.org/documents.cfm?documentID=61

The trails were beautiful but wet. Many puddles on the ground. As a result, we had to stay on the main trail so we wouldn't get totally soaked. After 71 minutes I dropped Rich off at the library and circled around for another deuce for an even dozen. Felt a little tired but healthy. I'll take that. No ill effects from yesterday's bike ride. We kept the pace healthy. The only thing that may've slowed us down (unintentionally) was negotiating the slick and puddled dirt paths. I would like to run this trail system again and check out some of the more technical ones.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back from Philly


I'm back from Philly, and you can see lots of new pictures of me by clicking my link on the right. My newest album is called "Philly Fun." Now my dad wants to tell you what he's done on the roads (yawn).

Tuesday 7.07.09
AM: 41 miles on the bike
I decided to go green today and bike to and from work. I've never taken the backroads, so didn't know how far or how long it would take. I guestimated about 20 miles and 90 minutes each way. I was close. The total roundtrip was 41 miles. The total clocktime (estimated) was about 2.5 hours. I usually swim on my off day, but the chlorine has been killing me, so I decided to give it a break. The ride was enjoyable and exciting, although I could've done without the rain for the last few miles.

Monday 7.08.09
AM: core work
PM: 11 miles in 79:34
The key part of this run was 3 x 10 minutes hard/threshold pace with two minute recoveries. I ran a hard thirty minutes last week in six minute segments, so I did the same amount of hard running time-wise but in a different format. Next time I'll need to increase the amount of time I'm running hard.

1st 10 minutes: on trail; no split
2nd 10 minutes: mostly on trail; split pace 5:40
3rd 10 minutes: mostly on pavement; split pace 5:40

Didn't feel great and was surprised to see a 5:40 split. Thought for sure it'd be above 6:00. A sign of encouragement: despite the longer intervals, I ran a faster paced workout than last Monday. I hope that means I'm getting in better shape. No soreness from the pickle (run) to speak of. Am looking forward to a run with Rich later in the week.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This Week in Running 6.29.09 to 7.5.09

I didn't run as many miles as I would've liked this week due to the Pickle Run (see Race Report) that I did on Saturday. Really, the difference is only three, maybe four, miles but I tend to obsess over these miles (this is a habit I'm trying hard to break).

No ill effects from the trail race. My body is feeling good and I'm looking forward to another week of building miles and increasing intensity. It's obvious I did the race on Saturday. Here's what I did on Friday and Sunday:

Friday 7.03.09
AM: lifting routine at YMCA
The regular sequence.

Sunday 7.05.09
AM: core work and 7.25 miles in 51:29
Didn't get out the door till a few minutes passed 11:00. That's attributed to the late night drive we did back to home base from Philly. The drive home was cool in that there was no traffic and we could watch fireworks all the way up Route 95. The drive home was uncool in that it ended after 2:00 in the am. Today's run started off very slowly, but by the end I was moving pretty good. Easy today. Hard tomorrow.

The Numbers
53 miles in 5 runs
64 minutes on bike
1 lifting sequence

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Race Report: The Pickle Run

The Pickle Run was set at Linvilla Orchard in Media, PA. The course negotiates the perimeter of the apple and peach groves before delving deep into the wooded but well-groomed trails. The course definitely makes this race a trail one as opposed to a cross country race because of the incessant turns (many sharp), numerous creek crossings, felled tree trunk traverses, and steep hills. Despite the many obstacles, this race was one of the best marked trail races I've ever run. Usually during a trail race a runner happens upon multiple moments of confusion (which way do I go?), but that never happened on the Pickle course. Good job race staff.
The day, however, didn't start off auspiciously. Wanting to run the course as a warmup before the race, I arrived early. When I asked two teenagers who were setting up the chute which way the course goes, all they could tell me was "up that hill." I ran for about two miles off course before hooking back up with the little orange flags. Good thing it was only the warmup.
8:30 race time approached and with his bullhorn the race director made the requisite pickle jokes. I had a feeling that the race wasn't going to be too competitive when he had to implore people to come to the front of the starting line. The director blew his whistle and off we went.
Now would be a good time to mention that the Pickle Run is a prediction race, meaning that there are no mile markers on the course and all participants must compete sans watch. I'm not used to this, but for the next half hour I felt like one of those zen runners who run based solely on feel. It wasn't that bad. By the way, a prediction run bases its awards on who runs closest to his predicted time. Place doesn't matter.
We started the race with a loop around the Linvilla farmhouse and orchard. I was feeling pretty good. From the get go, no one was near me. I kept pushing the pace on the orchard perimeter knowing that it would undoubtedly slacken once I got into the woods. Turning one corner on the outer edge of the grove, I ran right into a family of woodchucks. We surprised/scared each other. Two of them immediately bolted for cover. The third immediately bolted too, but he recognized his cowardice and acutely pivoted to bare his fangs at me. He hissed and growled and lurched. I jumped and avoided his teeth. I quickened my pace and didn't look back. Around the next corner, I announced my arrival with a "hip-hip." Didn't want any woodchucks or moles or any other such vermin chewing on my ankle. Those teeth looked sharp.
After a steep but short uphill it was into the woods. The pace immediately slowed due to the twists, turns, and bridge crossings. Despite that one uphill, I couldn't help thinking that most of the race up to this point seemed downhill. That would change.
The second half of the course had only a few straightaways in which you could open up your stride. There were several acute turns and several steep hills. The hills weren't overly long, just steep. I almost took a wrong turn after a creek crossing but that was mainly due to my momentum taking me in the opposite direction more than anything else. I crawled up the last couple of hills before heading to the finishing line. I knew I was going slow up those babies, but I had no idea how slow - no watch. I doublebacked toward the finish line and that was enjoyable as runners crossed paths with one another. We shouted words of encouragement back and forth.
The race ended with a smooth downhill. I was first to cross the line, but I really came in 15th. 15th because I predicted my time to be 29:18 and it was 31:52. Ouch. That's slow. Every "workout" I did this week was faster than 6:23 pace as was the last 8 miles of the 15 I did a week ago. Double ouch. It's funny because as I warmed up on the trails, I kept adjusting my predicted time. 28:20...28:50...29:20...Guess I should've run more of the course. I was way off. I'm not too upset about it because I didn't really know what to expect and I don't know who accurate the 5 mile course is (the shorter race is advertised as 3-ish). Plus, the trails were tough.
Post-race, I stretched for a few minutes, then set off to run the course again as a cool down and to log some more miles. When I returned, the awards ceremony was wrapping up, so I'm not sure if I won anything. I wasn't exactly comfortable asking a 6 foot tall man dressed in a 4th of July pickle costume if I missed out on something. As prizes were awarded to closest predictors, it's doubtful that I won anything. I was 15th closest in my prediction.
This race certainly has its followers. Many runners seemed entrenched in pickle culture and lore. Race officials even hide pickles out on the course for people to find as they're running. You find a pickle; you win a prize. That's cool. Overall everyone had a chance of winning this race because all you had to do was be the most accurate predictor of your time.
It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun. This was my first race since March 1. It was good to be out there competing again. My legs felt strong and healthy.
In short:
5 mile time: 31:52 (it was trail!)
pace: 6:23
place: 1st/15th (to cross line/in predicting)
warmup: 4 miles
cooldown: 5 miles
14 total miles
You may want to check out the below link for complete results and details.
I was sad that I forgot my camera b/c there were many good photo opportunities out there on the course.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

6 Easy 5 Hard


AM: 11 miles in 77:28
PM: core work

I slugged out the run today. It was humid on Forbidden Drive. I think the trees trapped in some of that heavy air. Still a great place to run as there aren't any cars to worry about. Here's what I did:

~23 minute warmup
1 x 2 mile pickup at 6:02 pace
1.5 miles of easy running
1 x 3 mile pickup at 5:51 pace
~12 minute cooldown

The pace increases didn't come easy. Sucking wind for the first one, I thought the second one would come easier. That didn't really happen. No groove. Shoulders felt heavy and the legs felt like they were running in quicksand. Despite that, each mile split was faster than the previous one on the second interval. I'll take that as a positive. Not sure how accurate the mile markers are on Forbidden Dr. b/c I didn't feel like my splits were getting faster. I was hoping my pace for the hard miles would be nearer to 5:40. Today's run was better than Monday's but not as good as Saturday's.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cobbs Creek

Hit the mean streets of Philadelphia today and didn't think about Rocky once. What does that mean?

Wednesday 7.01.09
AM: 10.25 miles in 74:30
PM: core work
It wasn't that hot out, but it was humid. Did a new course today. Trekked out from DH and into Philly. Ran up to 69th St. and over to Cobbs Creek. A paved pedestrian path parallels the creek and it's okay (it's no Forbidden Drive) for running. From Cobbs Creek I hooked onto the Baltimore Pike and cruised in from there. I felt so-so. Not great, not horrible. I would feel strong in some moments and tired in others. I plan to do a harder effort tomorrow on a dirt surface. Finished the run with sticking, stretching, and icing.

The core work is coming along. I'm much stronger with pushups and situps than I was a year ago or even six months ago. Hopefully the planks, the ab work, the lower core stuff will keep me strong and injury-free. I'm working on it.