May 2004 Archives

Marathon Training Week #1; May Report

Marathon Training Week #1, May 24 - 30

Running: 5:56:00 | 35.35 miles
President's Challenge points: 3655

Monthly Report: May
Running: 22:58:50 | 147.73 miles
Elliptical: 0:55:00
Weights: 0:32:00
President's Challenge points: 15294 | Silver Award earned

Race report

Here's more details on my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (I loved that book when I was little, and love the hyperbole of that title).

Forgot to mention what I ended up doing about my clothing and gel dilemma. I stepped outside this morning around 6 and noticed that it was already kind of warm (60s). So I went ahead and wore the shorts and sleeveless shirt. I was a little cold at the start line, but I was fine once I got running. And since it got warmer and was humid, that was definitely the right choice. I saw so many people with shirts tied around their waists in the early miles. (I was also amazed at the number of people wearing cotton. By mile 6, their shirts were soaked, partly due to the humidity I think. Cotton is bad enough when sweating, but I think it's even worse for humidity since it soaks up all the moisture and traps it in). I'd hate to have to lug around extra clothes for the whole race. For gels, I decided to use the Nathan 5K pack that I got last month. It worked really well! I had 3 gels in there, and the pack didn't bounce or annoy me. I also pinned my race number to it, so I skipped wearing my race number belt.

Oh, I also got a sunburn on my shoulders today. My face looks okay, but that's probably only because I went ahead and wore sunscreen. I know I should've used it everywhere, but I honestly thought it was going to rain and I hate feeling slimy from lotions.

Back from the race

Thanks for all the good wishes and encouragement, everyone. Unfortunately, today was one of the worst running days of my life.

Things that did not happen today:
1. I did not break 3:45
2. I did not break 4:00
3. I did not PR

Things that did happen today:
1. I set a new 1/2 marathon PR
2. I got a massive blister during the first couple of miles.
3. I majorly hurt my knee, and can barely move it right now.
4. I ran a marathon PW.

To say that I'm upset and disappointed would be an understatement. I can't even write a full report right now because I don't want to remember this race. I might get around to it tonight; I'll post if I do.

Short little rainy run

57 degrees | wind 20 MPH | 93% humidity - raining

Well I guess that was a preview of tomorrow. The rain wasn't actually that bad, although I wasn't out there that long. My hat does a pretty good job of protecting my face; I'm really glad I finally added a hat to my daily running wardrobe. I'm now trying to decide what to do about tomorrow's clothing. I was pretty set on wearing my blue shorts and white sleeveless shirt. But now with the rain ... hmm. Part of me thinks I should still wear that because it's less wet, potentially heavy, clothing to deal with. But then I think about how the wet might make me cold and think having a long sleeve shirt would be a good idea. I'm thinking about wearing my New Balance hoodie, because being able to zip the front up and down is really great. But the hood on it drives me nuts in the wind. Sometime I need to look for a shirt like it, but without the hood. Once I see what the temperature is tomorrow, I'll decide.

I have decided to just wear my normal running watch tomorrow. I'm not sure how the Forerunner will perform in hours of rain, and I'd rather not find out during a race. Besides, the main advantage to wearing it would be the auto split feature. Since the distance doesn't work in the woods or where the river bike path goes under the streets, the auto split will be useless. And when the distance is wonky, so is the pace feature, which would be the other reason to wear it. So my chances of running a too fast first mile are fairly high, but I think I'm better off wearing the watch I know I can count on working.

Pretty easy run this morning, although I did throw in four 1/10 mile strides. They didn't feel really hard, but it did feel good to stretch my legs out after being lazy for 2 days.

Need to go pick up my packet in a little while. There are a few parts of the course map that I'm confused about, so I'm hoping someone there will be able to go over it a little with me.

2.02 miles | 18:26 | 9:07/mi.

Getting ready ...

Getting ready to go for my last pre-marathon run. Just a little 2 mile jaunt. I'm not even going to leave my subdivision!

I've been a slug for the last 2 days, hence the lack of updates. I've been kind of oddly calm about this whole thing. The weather is the only thing weighing on my mind, to be honest. I've been checking weather channel frequently, hoping the forecast will change into something I like. But it's still showing thunderstorms with a high near 70 ... and today it added 20-22 mph winds to the forecast. I hope it doesn't rain. The past couple of nights, we've had storms. Wednesday night, I woke up because the rain was coming down so hard. But it's usually cleared up by 8am, so there is a chance the same thing will happen tomorrow.

I still haven't figured out my gel situation. I realized the problem with the safety-pin idea is that while I take gel 4 times during the race, I only use 2 packets. So even if I pin the gels to my shorts, I'd still need the Gu Pocket to store the half-empty packet. Although I bet the pocket would bother me less if it weren't really filled with heavy packets. Hmmm. Apparently I still need to give this some thought.

I managed to organize my archives for printing yesterday. I don't know if it annoys anyone else, but I hate how blogger organizes the archives with the newest post on top and the oldest on bottom. I like that format for the main page, but I think the archives should be organized chronologically. Sometimes when I find a new site, I want to read their archives but it's such a pain to read them in order. Well, anyway, I decided that I wanted to create some PDFs of my entries, but in chronological order. This task took me forever. I cut and pasted the entries into the right order, but then had to reformat everything. The reformatting took a long time, and then I had to experiment with Acrobat to get the PDFs to look right. I was so happy to get that done, so that I could wait the hour for my printer to spit out my hard copies.

I should go run.

President's Challenge

Apparently I earned my Silver Award today. It feels like that took forever, but it was just 3 months. Now I only need 69,794 points to get the Gold Award.

Gel carrying problems

55 degrees | wind 12 MPH | 64% humidity

Well I might have done something stupid. I'm a big believer in testing things out prior to the race. I've practiced my gel taking intervals. I've worn the shoes, socks, shorts, sportsbra, shirt and hat I'm going to wear. I've run basically the entire course. I've got my pre-race breakfast down. But I forgot to try out my gel carrying method.

See, when I do my long runs I wear my Fuel Belt. I normally just clip my Gu Pocket to the side, and put my PowerGel packets in there. I recently bought a gel flask that clips to the side of the belt. The only problem is that I'm not going to wear my Fuel Belt during the race, which means attaching the carrier to my shorts. I should've been trying out the flask and pocket during my shorter runs, but I forgot until today. Even though the flask didn't work out as well as I wanted during my last long run, I was still hoping to use it in the race. Not having to open the packets (especially if it's raining) seems like a big plus to me. I decided that the solution to my problem with getting the gel out was to add a little water to the flask to increase the gel's viscosity. Apparently I added too much water, because it was pretty sloshy. I barely got to the neighbor's house before the bouncing was driving me nuts. So I took off the flask, and decided to see if the Gu Pocket would work. Weight-wise, it was fine. However, I couldn't get it in a comfortable position and it got pretty annoying.

I'm not sure what to do now. I did buy a very small waist pack that is still an option. But I only have the 2 mile run on Saturday left to try things out. I'm wondering if the flask will work without so much water in it, but I don't know. I guess I could re-fill it with gel and less water and just run down a few houses to see if it bounces too much.

I continue to get confused about what I should be eating this week. I think I liked things better when I didn't care what I ate.

4.08 miles | 38:19 | 9:23/mi.

Weather and nutrition

54 degrees | wind 17 MPH | 82% humidity

Ran to the Engineer's work and back. Nothing too special, just an easy run.

Just looked at weather channel for Sunday's forecast
High: 81F
Scattered T-Storms
Wind: From the South Southeast at 15 mph
Precip: 40 %
Max. Humidity: 63 %
UV Index: 8 High

Ugh. I like accuweather's forecast a tiny bit better:
Sunday 5/30
Showers and t-storms possible
High 74 F

60s would be pretty good, but I'm not so sure about 70s. I think I'm adapting to the warmer weather, but I'm not sure. I don't know about the rain ... I've never run a wet marathon.

At least I'm clearer on what I should be eating this week. I decided to check what "Coach" had to say:

And mind what you eat this week, as I write in Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: "Begin carbo-loading seven days in advance. Forget what you read years ago about depletion and three days of a low-carbohydrate diet before switching to a diet high in carbohydrates. (The theory was that the depleted muscles--'starved' for carbohydrates--would then be able to suck up even more carbos than normal and thus provide the marathoner with even more energy on race day.) Stick with a high-carbohydrate diet throughout the week. You don't need to eat spaghetti all seven days: Focusing on fruits, vegetables, and grains will keep you above 60 percent carbos even if you have lean meat as a main course. If you haven't eliminated between-meal junk snacks, do it now."
60%? No problem. I eat 60-65% most days anyway. I think I'll move the carbs up to 70% at the end of the week.

3.05 miles | 28:03 | 9:12/mi.

Cleaning as XT?

Why is everything broken today? I can't get HaloScan to work on my site or half the sites I've been to today that use it. And one of my addresses is being stupid. Outlook keeps downloading the same 3 e-mails over and over; I know I have new messages but Outlook won't download them. I submitted a trouble ticket with my hosting company, but the solution they gave me didn't work. So annoying.

At least my bathroom is pretty again. Today Hal Higdon gave us the choice of cross training or resting; he suggested the rest day would be best. I decided to cross the two and clean my bathtub. I wouldn't call hardcore scrubbing (we forgot to refill the water softener for almost a month, so there was a lot of hard water buildup) real exercise, but it involved more effort than sitting on the couch. Since I was putting forth the effort to clean the tub, I decided to completely clean the rest of the bathroom, too. Part of my cleaning involved throwing out our shower curtain liner and buying a new one. Our tub is a really weird height; most of those corner organizers don't fit and curtain liners are all too long and bunch at the bottom and get gross. But not anymore! I am so crafty - I bought the non-heavy duty liner and cut the excess off with a pair of scissors. I feel so accomplished today.

8 miles and weekly wrap-up

| No TrackBacks

56 degrees | wind 13 MPH | 93% humidity

I lucked out today. Weather Channel's hourly forecast pretty much shows thunderstorms for all of today. I went outside to start my run, and it started sprinkling/misting. But that stopped pretty quickly, and held off until after I was back. Although come to think of it, maybe that isn't lucky. I haven't had a chance to run in the rain yet. As much as I hate it, running while soaked is a good training experience. And there is a decent chance that it'll be raining next Sunday, since it's been so rainy here lately.

Pretty boring run today. I didn't do a very good job planning my route so I had to go run down a side street to get the miles in. Since getting my Forerunner, I've put very little thought into where I'm going to run. Most days I decide on a general direction, and then just off and run around. Most times that works out fine. Other times, I misjudge my turnaround point or end up having to turn around early. Then I get to run around the block until I get the distance I need. (It's really fun when that happens when I've driven somewhere and I start doing laps around the parking lot). I sometimes need like 0.12 miles, so I'll just run to the end of the street and come back. I'm sure the neighbors think I'm a big weirdo.

8.03 miles | 1:14:53 | 9:20/mi.

Marathon Training Week #2, May 17 - 23

Running: 24.19 miles | 3:44:53
Elliptical: 1.70 miles | 0:25:00
President's Challenge points: 2604 | 89495 total

Short run

64 degrees | wind 12 MPH | 88% humidity

Thanks everyone for the recent comments. I've been meaning to make a word/pdf backup of my posts, and I think now would be a great time to do that so I can go back and read everything I've written since January. That should help with the nerves.

Yesterday was my break day, and it was fairly relaxing. I slept in past 8 (the curtains, while not totally light-blocking, are helping a lot), and had some apple-cinnamon waffles with peanut butter for breakfast. I watched a lot of TiVo, and I think I only have 5 shows left to watch, and they were from this week. The Engineer and I also went bowling with some friends. The last time I remember bowling was high school, so I wasn't expecting to do very well. We both started off with some gutterballs, and then I improved a little. I got a lot of spares, and a couple of strikes. My high score for the night was 109, which leaves room for me to improve next time. He sucked for a long time, and then came back strongly in the last game and bowled a bunch of strikes and ended up with a 132. (I beat him overall, though).

So today was a nice short run. I haven't had a 3 mile run on the schedule since early March. It took me longer to get ready to run than it did to actually run. I tried something new today - not eating before I run. I'm a morning runner, and I've always had to eat something before I run. There was a period of time where that something was just the corner off of a PowerBar (so like 1/16 or 1/32 or some small, insignificant portion), but mostly it's something in the 100-200 calorie range (1/2 balance bar or oatmeal) unless it's before a long run (200-400 calories). I know other people don't eat before running, and from what I've read it isn't really necessary. I think some of my need to eat is psychological, and I've wondered about breaking that. Today seemed like a good day to try it out, since it was a short run. (I prefer to test stuff that I'm not sure about on 3-4 mile runs). Anyway, I didn't really notice anything different while running. So maybe I don't need to eat. I'm not going to test this further until after the marathon, though - I need to keep things as much the same as possible next week, I think.

I think it's time to retire the Peg3s. (My shoe numbering system is so creative - shoe name followed by a number. I'm up to 4 pairs of Pegasuses. My longest streak of wearing the same model is either 10 or 11 Structure Triaxes). They have 275 miles on them, which is a lot for me. The forefront cushioning hasn't felt as soft over the last couple of runs, and today it felt almost non-existent. So I think they may actually be shot. I've already been running in my marathon shoes (the Peg4s), and I think I'll just wear them for my last few runs. They'll have about 75 miles on them at the start line, and that seems like a good amount.

3.05 miles | 28:46 | 9:26/mi.

Tapering insanity

66 degrees | wind 15 MPH | 90% humidity

I definitely felt the humidity today. It wasn't that hot, but I got that nice layer of sweat midway through the run, and by the time I got home I wanted nothing more than to rip off my semi-soaked shirt. (I guess it's about time to break out the sleeveless running shirts). I'm glad I run in CoolMax/Dri-Fit, because I can't even imagine how gross I'd have felt otherwise.

The Engineer has a double-header of softball games tonight, which means I really need to go to the store and find one of those bleacher cushions. My ass gets sore after 10 minutes of bleacher sitting, so I don't think I can take 2 hours. He plays on 2 teams, and they both have games tonight; normally, they play on different nights. He subbed for a 3rd team last night, but I didn't go to that game. It looked like it was going to rain, and maybe I'm a bad person, but I don't like softball enough to sit in the rain for it. Have I mentioned that I think I hate rain more than snow?

I turned off the auto-pause feature on my watch today, because it made me angry. I have it set to stop the timer when I stop. Usually it resumes as soon as I start running again, but yesterday it took it a few seconds. Today, I started running and the watch auto-paused and then auto-resumed, all while I was actually running. So I stopped, went back to my driveway and turned off the misbehaving feature. I think the auto-pausing might be why I was getting some funky distances and stuff. We'll see what happens.

I'm in the full throes of marathon taper insanity. My favorite symptom is the almost paralyzing self-doubt. (Note to any marathon runner that hasn't experienced that: bottle it and sell some of that confidence to me, please!). I worry that I haven't done enough long runs, that I've been running too slowly on my daily runs, that I ran too fast on my pace runs, that I'm setting my sights too high, that I didn't lose enough weight, that I'm going to gain weight during the taper, that I'm not eating correctly and on and on. I know it's stupid, but that doesn't make the thoughts go away. I'm also noticing an increase in my laziness (something I didn't know what possible) and my irritability (again, didn't think that was possible). May 30, hurry up!

4.03 miles | 37:07 | 9:12/mi.

New Site Name

Trying out a new title ... needed something more interesting than what I had. Although I don't know if "Ugly Toes" is the best title. It's the truth, though, as the Engineer is quick to point out. Maybe I'll come up with something better.

5 miles

58 degrees | wind 20 MPH | sunny

A-ha! I think I've figured out how to get my accurate splits off of TopoFusion. Maybe I shouldn't be so proud of that, considering how simple it was. I don't know why I didn't bother exploring that before. I ran under some trees today, and I knew that the distance for that section was kind of off. It's kind of annoying when that happens because I couldn't always isolate where the distance went off and that made my splits useless (if I took them).

Today was another easy run, except that Hal Higdon recommended throwing a MP mile in somewhere. If you look below, you'll see that I am still not very good at hitting my target MP (8:30). The only good side is that if I manage to actually run on target pace, it should feel really easy since I've done so many of my speedy runs at a faster pace. One advantage to be bad at judging pace, I guess.

I'm still debating whether or not I should wear the Forerunner next weekend (holy crap, it's next weekend!). I think being able to see the pace (even if it isn't always 100% accurate) would be pretty helpful. Plus, I really like the auto-lap feature. The only thing is that the marathon goes through several areas where my Forerunner loses the signal and drops distance. So I know that the distance reading is going to be really off - which makes the auto-lap feature absolutely pointless. I might wear it with auto-lap turned off, but it is so big and I almost think I'd be better off with just my regular watch. Decisions, decisions. At least I know what clothes I am wearing.

1.00 | 09:18
2.00 | 18:45 | 9:27
2.55 | 23:58 | 5:13 (9:29/mi.)
3.59 | 32:27 | 8:29 (8:09/mi.)
4.59 | 41:39 | 9:12
5.07 | 45:55 | 4:16 (8:53/mi.)

Articles: Tapering and Weight/Performance

52 degrees | wind 12 MPH | 80% humidity

Not much to say about my run today ... I went out and ran slowly/easily for 4 miles and then I was done. I'm being really careful about watching my footing. I was reading a message board yesterday and a girl there stepped off of a curb funny the week of (or before) her marathon and scraped herself up pretty badly.

My curtain-buying expedition yesterday didn't go as well as I would've liked. I guess I didn't explain the reason for my quest on here, but it was prompted by being at my parents' house. When I visit now, I sleep in a different room than the one that was "mine" before. And my husband and I both agree that we sleep so much better in that room than we do anywhere else. A large part of it is the bed - it is so incredibly comfortable. We think it's due to the mattress pad and egg crates, which is why I wanted to find a new egg crate pad for our bed. Another reason for the good sleep is that the room there is really dark - the curtains are pretty thick and block almost all light from coming in. So after being there for a week (and sleeping so incredibly well), I decided I needed to buy some curtains since our blinds don't do a whole lot in the light-blocking department. I found the same curtains as at my parents' house, but they are $30/panel. I don't want to spend $60 on curtains, even if they are awesome. Despite going to 3 stores, I couldn't find any cheaper curtains that would block light. I picked up a pair of curtains on clearance at Wal-Mart, and they are ok. Light still comes in, but it's better than not having the curtains. My quest will continue.

I have 2 articles to share today. The first is about marathon tapering, and it's a completely different approach than I've seen before. (Thanks to Chris from LCAR for posting the link). Most training programs have a 3 week taper where you cut mileage and intensity. This article suggests a 4 week taper where you cut mileage, but not intensity. I think I might incorporate some of the strategies in my next training session.

The next article is from that same site, and it's about weight and performance. A lot of people have heard that you will speed up as you lose excess weight, and I've recently been informed that research shows a 3 second/mile increase in speed for every excess pound you lose. (That's over the course of a marathon; shorter distances won't have as great an increase in speed). Here's what I found interesting:

No man six feet tall and weighing 176lbs (79.8kg) will ever win the London Marathon, and it is unlikely that a woman five feet six inches in height and weighing 130lbs (58.9kg) will ever do so either. Why? To answer this we must consult Dr Stillman's height/weight ratio table. He fixes the non-active man's average weight for height with a simple formula. He allocates 110lbs (56.2kg) for the first five feet (1.524m) in height and 5 1/2lbs (2.296kg) for every inch (0.025m) thereafter. He is harsher with women, giving them 100lbs (45.3kg) for the first five feet and 5lbs (2.268kg) for every inch above this.

Having established the average, he then speculates on the ideal weight for athletic performance, as follows:
Sprinters (100-400m): 21/2 per cent lighter than average (6ft/176lbs - 2 1/2% = 4lbs)
Hurdlers (100-400m): 6 per cent lighter (or 9lbs)
Middle-distance runners (800m - 10K): 12 per cent lighter (or 19lbs)
Long-distance runners (10 miles onwards): 15 per cent lighter (or 25 1/2lbs)


Ok, I know that elite marathoners are pretty tiny. I did the calculations, and I'd have to lose another 14 pounds to be at the "ideal weight." Aside from that weight putting me into the underweight category, I think I'd look pretty gross. I think I could maybe lose another 5 pounds (putting me at around 8% below), but anything over that would be unhealthy for me or would take unhealthy measures to achieve. If I believe that article is right, I guess I'll never see my true potential as a distance runner. I think I'm okay with that, if being scary bony is the price I'd have to pay.

4.01 miles | 38:12 | 9:32/mi.

XT Day

25 minutes on the elliptical today while watching soaps. I have a ton of stuff on the TiVo to watch since I was gone last week. I was able to catch a few shows at my parents, but I didn't have a chance to watch any daytime or cable shows. The Engineer and I are TV addicts - we have over 40 shows set up as TiVo season passes. (I doubt we'd watch as much if we didn't have the TiVo). Of course, the TiVo also allows us to be more efficient when watching TV - by skipping the commercials, a 30 minute MTV show can be watched in 10-15 minutes. And I like being able to completely skip past storylines and characters that don't interest me.

Target was a great disappointment yesterday. They didn't have the right kind of egg crate, for starters. And the curtain selection was pretty sad. There wasn't a single set of curtains that looked like it would block the sunlight. So now I'm going to have to head over to Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kohl's or Wal-Mart. I'm annoyed that Target didn't have what I wanted since we have a gift card for there. We went to bed early last night, but I couldn't fall asleep for awhile. And I woke up around 6 AM and then slept in spurts until the Engineer left for work and I decided I should just get up already. I have decided that the egg crate and dark curtains are the keys for me to get good sleep.

This is a really boring, pointless post.

Elliptical | 20:00 Cardio/5:00 CD | 16:19 in zone | 1.70 miles | 387 cal.

Long run and weekly wrap-up

| No TrackBacks

63-67 degrees | wind 17 MPH | sunny

Back in Minnesota again. I'm supposed to be getting ready to go to the store (we have no food), so this will be short. I ran in the woods again today, and it was fairly relaxing. I was kind of tired, since the sun wakes me up at 6AM here. (Dark curtains are on the shopping list). There were a lot of people out today, including a guy riding the stupidest motorized scooter/bike-type thing I've ever seen. I wish I could find a picture so you all could have a laugh, too. I'll look some more later, because words just cannot do justice in this case. I realized today that running along the river really sucks when you're thirsty. I don't like to carry water for runs under 2 hours, but I started wishing I had brought some around 9 miles. And of course the last 3 miles were right around the river, which made the thirst worse. I don't get why there aren't any water fountains along the bike path, at least the downtown section. I should call Parks & Rec and ask about that.

12.10 miles | 1:53:42 | 9:24/mi.

Marathon Training Week #3, May 10 - 16

Running: 32.52 miles | 5:00:06
President's Challenge points: 3252 (96% to silver)

Shopping and a short run

Yesterday was my break day, and my mom and I spent it shopping. We went to pick up my wedding photo album from the photographer, and then headed over to Woodfield Mall (a big mall in the Chicago suburbs. I've read in various places that it's one of the biggest malls in America, but I don't know about that). I wanted to go there because they have an H&M - I wish there was one in MN! That store is so cheap. I got a skirt for $7.90, tanktops for $5.90, a couple bikini pieces at $7.90-9.90/each ... The only real bad thing is that the sales tax there is 8.75%!! I'm not used to paying sales tax on clothing, so that hurt a little.

We also had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I decided to be a little adventurous (I always get a pasta there) and ordered the eggplant sandwich. It was really good, even if half of it fell out as I was trying to eat it. I think it amused my mom to watch me try to keep the sandwich together. We were seated next to an annoying couple. Apparently the woman kept talking about my mom's food and speculating on why she'd ordered what she did! I couldn't hear it, but my mom did and she was really glad when those people left. We did split a dessert (their anniversary cheesecake) and it was reallllly good. We had lunch kind of late, but that worked out because then I was full enough to not really need dinner.

So yesterday was a pretty decent day. Today it is a little colder, but there is no rain! It was pouring buckets for most of the day yesterday, so I wasn't too sad about not having to run. Today I went over to the middle school, so that I could run down its street and then connect to a trail I'd spotted. Since today was my last MP run, I wanted a route that would minimize my interactions with traffic. One thing I think I've taken for granted about running at home is how many miles I can run without having to cross a street or deal with cars.

The trail was pretty nice, and I wonder how far (and where) it goes. I'm not sure how to explain the surface. It's not paved. I think it's a combination of hard-packed sand, dirt and crushed rock? It's not really a hard surface like pavement, but it's not soft enough that you'd have traction problems. I had 2 miles of running on it and that was nice. I ran a little too fast this morning, but that pace just felt good, not too hard. I do need to be careful about running slow enough of the next 2 weeks.

1.0 | 8:12
2.0 | 8:08 | 16:21
3.0 | 8:13 | 24:34
4.0 | 8:09 | 32:43
------------------------------
4.06 miles | 33:13 | 8:11/mi.

5 miles

70 degrees | 90% humidity | 7 mph wind

I don't have my watch downstairs at the moment, but today's run was just over 5 miles in 47 minutes. I ran on the big busy road again, but turned off of it around 1 mile and ran along a road that wasn't as busy. I veered off to run in the park on my way back, and was disappointed that the trail I'd seen on the way out didn't go for very far. I added a lap around the retaining water pond on the trip back to finish out my distance. The pond is lined with a soft surface trail, and has 9 exercise stations. Each station has instructions on what to do (they are things like pushups, sit and reach, touching toes, jumping jacks), how many repetitions, and how fast you are supposed to go to the next station (walk, jog or run, depending on your fitness). I've never actually seen someone use the stations, though.

I answered the door here a few days ago and was asked if my mom or dad was home. My mom had no idea who the person was, so it wasn't someone who knew that I wasn't the homeowner. I guess I don't look old enough to be the owner of this house. That's actually not that un-true; I know of very few 25 year olds that could own homes in this area. Now, if that happened at my own house, I'd be pretty annoyed. I'm not yet at the age where being mistaken for younger is a compliment.

I finally found a dress for that wedding next month. I found it on the clearance rack at Ann Taylor Loft, and the best part is that it rang up even less than the tag said. It's just a basic black dress, which means that in theory, I should be able to get a lot of use out of it. Women's vanity sizing is pretty messed up, though. It's hard to be excited about being a small size when I don't feel like I should be wearing it. I can't explain that very well, but I hate clothing shopping sometimes.

I'm supposed to be watching a garage sale, so gotta go.

Warmer weather

77 degrees | wind 15 MPH | humidity 64% | sunny and clear

Looks like I got that warm/hot weather I was wishing for! I ran in basically direct sunlight this morning and got pretty warm pretty quickly. I didn't really like my running route today - I ran along a busy 55mph speed limit road that is frequented by semis. Having a semi blow by you at 55 mph is not fun! The only reason I ran on that road is because it has a really wide shoulder. The shoulder is actually pretty soft, which would normally be good, but after pounding the pavement for months the soft surface felt kind of odd.

My watch matched up with what I've measured multiple times in multiple cars, and I think the direct sun and clear sky helped. I'm now even more convinced that yesterday's route was undermeasured, since I felt like I was running the same as yesterday (maybe a touch slower) and my average for the day was 9:30/mi. Oh well.

6.02 miles | 57:10 | 9:30/mi.

Humid and tired today

59 degrees | humid

I felt pretty tired this morning, since we were all up late welcoming my brother home. We left to get him around midnight, and his flight got in around 12:50am. We had been warned that discharged recruits might not want to talk about their boot camp experience for awhile, but not my brother. He started filling us in while we waited for his bag and on the car ride home. When we got home, he showed us all of his "stuff" and told us more. (Running shoes, btw, are called "go fasters"). I didn't get to sleep until almost 3 am, but I didn't mind since I was so glad to see my brother again.

I was tempted to sleep more this morning, but I heard the distinct sound of no rain and decided I should get up and take advantage of that. We've had thunderstorms rolling in and out of here for the last few days. I could tell it had been raining because it was really humid this morning. It was also really overcast, and I think that affected my watch. I didn't bring the computer connector cable with me, so I am not able to analyze my runs with TopoFusion until I get back. I definitely need to take a look at today's track. My watch says I only ran 5 miles (in 49-something minutes), but I really don't trust the distance accuracy today. My run started off under trees (on an actual dirt trail, as opposed to the paved trails I run on at home), and I think it started dropping distance immediately. I know I don't have the best grasp of pace, but I usually do know when I drop below 9:30 and if I'm approaching 10mpm. According to the watch, I averaged close to 9:50s, and I really don't think I was running that slow. I accept that I could be wrong, and that after having 2 days off a slow pace could feel fast, but I don't know. Guess I'll wait and see what happens when I pull the run up with the software.

Running: 6:41:35 | 43.52 miles
President's Challenge points: 4163

Still congested

48 degrees | felt like 44 | wind 8 MPH | overcast

5.05 miles | 48:21 | 9:34/mi.

It took me forever to get out the door today, all because of my stupid nose. I kid you not, I blew my nose for 5 minutes straight this morning. Where does it all come from? So gross.

Once I finally got outside, it did feel pretty good to be moving. I had an itty bit of residual soreness in my right hip, and it feels much better post-run. I took today's run pretty easy to make sure that it would be an actual recovery run. The congestion did play a role, too. I've got the next 2 days scheduled as cross-training days, and hopefully the cold will clear up in that time. I'm not thrilled about going into the taper with a cold, but if I have to be sick I'd rather it be now than in a 2 weeks.

I'm heading down to my parents' for the next week, so I'm not sure how frequently I'll be able to post updates. Aside from my brother coming home, I'm not sure what will be going on this week. It's hard to know what he'll be up for until we actually see him.

Last real long run

47-56 degrees | felt like 41-56 | wind 18-22 MPH | sunny

Bleh. Stupid cold. I posted elsewhere about today and am going to just cut and paste it here because I am way too lazy to type it out again.

Note: if you don't like to hear about snot, you might want to skip the rest of this post.

10 Things Real Runners Must Do

While reading random sites last week, I came across an article where the author suggests 10 things every runner should do if they are a serious/real runner. It stirred up some discussion, and I found the list pretty interesting in what was and wasn't included.

I've already completed items 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9. If you count being on the Special Olympics planning and organizing committee, I've done #2. If track relays count, I've done #7. I've heard all the names in #4, but haven't read most of them. Having run high school track and cross country puts me at an advantage (list-wise) over people who started running as adults because that's how I learned to score xc, how I ran cross country races, and how I ran a track mile (well, 1500m and 1600m but I don't know many places that race the real mile). I do agree with the author about the value of spending a summer training for a mile. The summer before my senior year, I continued my 1500m training throughout the summer as I was running USATF youth meets. The speedwork paid off during my cross country season. Anyway, I thought I started keeping a running log during my first year of running, but I can't seem to find it so I must be wrong. I did keep a pretty detailed log starting in 1995; I've shown my anal color-coding before and I've started transcribing my workouts which I might post here if I can find a decent format. I think I keep a better record now, though - I write about running here, along with keeping an barebones excel log and a detailed paper log. I've seen both Pre movies, and own one of them on VHS. (It was in the previously viewed bin, so buying was cheaper than renting).

Item #1 is kind of an interesting inclusion. I'm not sure that you need to run a marathon to be a "real runner." There are lots of real runners out there who focus on the shorter distances. I thought of myself as a real runner in high school, and I was nowhere near training for a marathon, much less completing one. I also don't know that you need to run twice a day and do 50-70+ miles/week to "red line" it either. I think I've taken my marathon training this time around pretty seriously, and my weekly mileage will peak without going over 45 mpw and I run once a day. I am going for a PR, and have done the split calculations. I do agree that racing a marathon is a totally different ballgame than running/completing one, but the explanation of that item is odd to me.

I think a good item to include would be to run a big race. Running with 100 people is completely different from running with 1000 people or 10000 people. Although maybe that would fit better on a top 10 experiences every runner should have. Maybe I should make my own list of things. I'm sure I could come up with at least 10 things I'm done that I think every runner should experience or signs you take your running too seriously.

I need to go to bed if I'm going to get enough sleep for a 20 miler tomorrow.

Ugh

Stupid stuffy nose.

Random stuff

Random stuff:

Two things that made me happy re: the marathon:
1) I took the long way to the grocery store today and drove over a section of the course that I thought contained the hill. If I read the map correctly, I am wrong about there being a hill. To run the hill, we'd have to go off of the main road and the map indicates we stay straight on the main road.
2) I got my confirmation postcard, and it says that the race will be chip timed! I thought that I'd read that somewhere, but when I looked at the website and race flyer a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't find any mention of that. I was kind of disappointed that there wouldn't be a chip time, since I'll need every second to make the TCM first wave start. So yay, chip timing!

I also took a look at the past results from the marathon, and the age group finishes were pretty interesting. Depending on the field and my day, things could end up pretty cool. Also, the track club decided to make the marathon a part of the Grand Prix Series, so just running it will count towards the series. (You have to run at least 3 GP races total, even if you don't score points in all three).

Galloway has come up recently on some of my groups ... I haven't contributed since I don't see the point in stirring up controversy (I posted an article here a long time ago that represents a lot of my issues with him and his theories). Which reminds me that I think I'm going to try the "straw technique" at the marathon. Too bad I won't get a chance to practice it, but it doesn't sound that complicated - bring a straw with you, and use it to drink from the cups. I'm used to drinking on the run with my bottles, so I think I can handle drinking through a straw. My goal is to not stop at the aid stations because, again, every second is going to count. I really don't want to have to run a 1/2 marathon in Chicago in August! The last half I ran in Chicago heat and humidity was a bad scene, and I'm not too eager to do that again.

My brother called my mom today and he is flying home on Monday. He's supposed to call back on Friday with more details.

I remembered that I have 2 cartons of ice cream in the freezer, so I had a serving of Tagalong/Peanut Butter Patty ice cream tonight. Yum! I should try to remember the ice cream more often, because otherwise it'll get freezer burn before I have a chance to finish it.

I did a load of white laundry this morning; I knew I needed to wash whites but couldn't remember why. After I'd started the washer, I found the reason why: the new shirt I got at the running store last week. It needs to be washed before I can wear it. Doh! We have a front loading washer, so it wasn't like I could just throw it in (the door locks once the water starts). Guess I'll be washing a tiny load of whites tomorrow.

Bed time ... hope my throat feels better in the morning.

MP run

56-60 degrees | 15-16 MPH wind | sunny

I'm back to being annoyed by dog owners. I was running along the bike path today and had an unleashed dog run up to me. It's owner was pretty ineffective, and I was pretty damn annoyed about stopping my pace run. (After being chased/tripped, I decided it was probably safer to just come to a stop until the owner grabbed the dog). I finally told the dog "GO AWAY!" and it went back to it's owner. Why can't people leash their damn dogs? I saw another dog off-leash, and it was a big dog. It was with it's owner, who was running. Luckily, they were far enough away (or the dog is well-trained, who knows) that it didn't see me and want to chase after me.

Run went okay today, despite my feeling like crap this morning. A sign of how tired I was is that I didn't even hear the Engineer's alarm go off. I always hear his alarm - most days it wakes me up better than it wakes him up. I completely slept through it today, though. But I felt mostly okay during the run, and my nose wasn't any runnier than usual. I decided to do my MP run today, so that I can take tomorrow off and be better rested for the 20-miler. Having tomorrow be a rest day (instead of today) works better with next week's schedule, too. My brother should be home the beginning of next week, so I think I am going to drive down to my parents' house this weekend.

I ran out half a mile to see how I felt (I gave myself the option of just running this as an easy run if I really did feel bad), and then started running at MP for 4 miles. I then dropped by pace for the last half mile so it could serve as a cool down.

.51 mile WU | 4:47

4 miles MP:
8:27
8:25 | 16:52
8:24 | 25:16
8:21 | 33:37

.51 mile CD | 4:43
------------------------------------
5.02 miles | 43:07 | 8:35/mi.

Sick

Crap. I'm getting sick. I don't have time for that right now! I am so stuffy and my throat feels a little swollen. Of course, once I start running, my nose will go from stuffy to drippy. Ughhhhhhh. Why do I always get sick in May?

8 miles

57 degrees | wind 18 mph | sunny

8.17 miles | 1:14:43 | 9:09/mi. | 817 cal.

Construction on the bike path caused me to change my route today, and I wasn't too happy about that. I had planned on running out to the lone hill on the marathon course, running up it and then turning around. I figured this would get me my 8 miles for the day. But there was a construction truck blocking the path around the 2 mile point, so I had to turn around without getting to run the hill. I think I'll head over that direction tomorrow so I can run up the hill. It's the same set of hills from the 20K race, only we'll be running it the opposite direction. Since the uphill is what I ran downhill, I want to see how hard it is.

It's gotten warmer here, and I quickly found my long sleeve shirt unnecessary. I wore one of the new pairs of shorts, and I liked them a lot. Hmm, not much else to say really.

5 miles

46 degrees | felt like 39 | wind 16 MPH | sunny
5.03 miles | 46:32 | 9:15/mi. | 510 cal.

Not much of interest to report with today's run. I didn't enjoy the wind blowing my shorts up, exposing my upper legs to all the cars passing by. I also really didn't appreciate the semi that almost ran me over. Jerk! I did like the guy in the blue car that let me cross the busy road before he made his turn, that was nice. But mainly it was just a normal boring run.

I came up with a running-related "project" to work on today. I could clean the house, but where's the fun in that?

Forerunner stuff

Richard - thanks for the tips/suggestions about the Forerunner. I think I've found your posts about it more useful that the mailing list I'm on. I'm really glad you reminded me about the firmware update. I did that last week, and noticed that on my long run I now have 4 numbers in the distance box which was a great improvement. (ex: 11.04 vs. 11.1). I'm going to take your advice and start pulling my runs off the same day. I think I'm also going to delete some of the old runs off of the unit, since I don't think I'm getting any benefit from them being on there.

Running: 5:26:38 | 35.75 miles
Elliptical: 0:30:00 | 1.94 miles
Weights: | 1:02:00
President's Challenge points: 4034

XT Day

Today the remote to the TV died while I was on the elliptical, leaving me trapped on VH1 Classic. I had extra batteries downstairs, but I didn't want to pause my workout to retrieve them. The last time I paused the elliptical to get something, my heart rate dropped and I couldn't get it back up fast enough. Since I was doing a short workout, I thought maybe I could handle being stuck on the same channel. (When it comes to radio stations and music channels, I have ADD. I am always flipping through the stations/channels). Unfortunately, I must have caught the crap music hour, because out of the 7 videos I was subjected to, only 2 were decent. The other 5 were really, really bad. I was so glad when my 30 minutes were over so I could turn the TV off.

weights | upper body | 32:00

elliptical | 25:00 cardio/5:00 CD | 21:37 in zone | 1.94 miles | 436 cal.

Not again!

Forgot to mention the most annoying thing of all today: another blister! ARGH! I knew it was happening during the run because I could feel my toe getting irritated but I don't understand why. This blister is on my baby toe, on the top side. I was wearing my seamless socks, so it wasn't because of seam friction. And to make things even more confusing to me, I had slathered my feet with Vaseline before running. So I really don't get what caused this blister. Stupid feet.

Long Run

45-51 degrees | felt like 41-51 | wind 8-15 MPH | sunny

Nice weather today.

Once again, there was some kind of walk-a-thon going on near downtown. I only really ran into the groups at one point, and I'm thankful that there weren't more encounters. I really liked all the people spread out across the path that saw me approach and left me little room to get around them. They're lucky they didn't get an elbow in the rib - I ran cross country and was trained to run with my elbows out through packs of people. It's a habit for me, and I won't feel bad if I actually do elbow some jerk that won't yield to me. (Disclaimer: I realize the previous statement may make me the asshole). The real jerks were the 2 people walking their big dogs on a narrow section of the path. They saw me approaching, and made no move to give me room to pass. So I had to run off the path, onto an uphill grassy section (meaning I was kind of running sideways).

There were actually 2 walks going on today, and some kind of race. I'm not sure what the race was - it's not on the track club calendar, but since I saw a bunch of kids around, I'm assuming it was some kind of family thing. My plan for today was to run the last 6 miles of the marathon course. I started near the finish line and was going to backtrack my way to the 20 mile point. I had to change my route because of the race - it was on a section of trail that I had needed to go down. But that wasn't too big of a deal, as I was able to run most of the last 5 miles of the course. I decided that since today was a shorter run, that I would turn part of it into a MP run. I think I did a decent job of that, although I got off track for about 2 miles. But the ~8:30 pace felt pretty good, and I didn't feel like I was racing at all. That's good because I want to be comfortable while pushing during the marathon.

Had another GPS error, but this time I knew where it was and why. The first mile that I ran was along the river, and there were a bunch of underpasses as the path went under the road. I knew my watch's distance was off when my first mile clicked at 9:44, because I was pretty sure I was running in the low 9s. I also knew it was off when I passed the path mile markers and my watch didn't match up. Thanks to TopoFusion I was able to delete the crazy track point and get my correct distance.

01.07 | 9:44
02.07 | 9:07 | 0:18:52
03.07 | 9:06 | 0:27:59
04.07 | 9:02 | 0:37:01
05.07 | 9:15 | 0:46:17
06.07 | 9:09 | 0:55:26
07.07 | 8:29 | 1:03:55
08.07 | 8:16 | 1:12:12
09.07 | 8:12 | 1:20:24
10.07 | 8:28 | 1:28:53
11.07 | 8:26 | 1:37:19
12.07 | 7:50 | 1:45:10
------------------------------------
12.15 miles | 1:45:46 | 8:42/mi. | 1103 cal.