June 2006 Archives


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I might have done a version of this awhile ago, but Bria tagged me so I'll try it again!

On the bike path, pt. 2

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I planned on running from my house for today's 10 miler, but that didn't quite work out. I was about ready to head out the door, when I noticed that my Garmin not only wasn't on the charger, but had been left on all last night. It claimed it had 1 hour of battery left, but even if I trusted that, it wouldn't be enough. So I had to go out to the bike paths to have a marked route.


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On the bike path, the stupid bike path, the runner plods along ... sing along! (tune of "In the jungle"). Today's run didn't start off that great, as I had a side stitch immediately after starting. It got a little better as the run progressed, but it was pretty annoying.

Happy Birthday Molly!

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There is no running content to this post, it's all about my puppy who is now a whole 1 year old!

Running in the rain


I really need to learn to not say things like "it's going to be a great day!" when referring to the weather. By the time I was ready to head out the door, it was raining. At least it was warmer than last time. I almost headed out the door in a sleeveless shirt, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided on a short sleeve shirt. You wouldn't think a few inches would make a difference but I was glad I went with the shirt instead.

Pre-run Procrastination

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Letting my oatmeal settle before heading out to run. It's going to be a great day! We had massive thunderstorms roll through yesterday which cooled everything off. It's only 61 degrees right now! I'm glad because I slept longer than expected; I'd wanted to be out the door by now, but with cooler temps and clouds it doesn't matter. I haven't figured out where/how I'm going to do my 12, but I figure I'll just head out to the bike paths and run around.

Slow 'n easy

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So today called for a 4 mile "recovery" run. I'm not sure what I was supposed to be recovering from, since the 9 miler was on Thursday, and my long run is tomorrow. I checked my book before heading out, and it said this should be one of my slower runs for the week. I started running down my street and the forced myself to slow down. I ended up running mostly 9:20s, which felt really slow after the paces I've been running lately (but probably should've been even slower). I messed up and ran my last mile too fast, but didn't realize that until looking at my splits just now. I guess I got excited about being done?

General Aerobic 9

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First real day of training ... I got home from work and felt a little hungry, and spotted the package of Cran-Razz blocks I bought several months ago. I thought they would be a good pre-run snack, so I ate 3 before heading out. The flavor was pretty good, but the consistency/texture/something was just too weird - like eating a block of jam. I got a little crampy in the first mile, and the run just kind of went downhill from there. It wasn't a horrible run or anything, just kind of blah. I think my legs are probably more tired from Tuesday than I expected.


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Schedule called for another rest/XT day, so I opted to take Molly out walking. I've got a knot in the middle of my right quad, so walking felt pretty good. The area we went today isn't one I spend much training time in, because there is no shoulder on the road. I've been meaning to go and get some pictures of the hill from the 20K so that's where we went. The road section is behind one of the wooded bike path sections. (For those keeping track at home, this would be the westernmost section of bike path).

Plan + goals

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As marathon training is now officially underway, I thought I'd post a little about my training plan and goals. I always like to know what people are up to and why, so I'm sure someone out there wonders the same about me!

I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm going to follow the 18 week/55 mpw program from Advanced Marathoning (Pfitzinger/Douglas). I really recommend reading the book even if you aren't interested in the training plans; I've read through it a couple of times because I find it really interesting. This program is a lot higher mileage than what I've done in the past, but I think the buildup is slow enough that I should be okay. I also think it's a fairly well-balanced high mileage program. I like Hal Higdon's plans, but when comparing his 50 mile weeks to this plan's 50 mile weeks, I think this plan will be a better fit for me. Increasing my mileage has, in the past, usually resulted in a speed gain so I have faith that moving up will lead to success on race day.

I think what's also going to make a big difference for me this time around is that I have a slightly better base going into training. In 2004, I peaked at 26 miles before starting the 18 week plan and I was running around 26-28 mpw before starting training for Freescale. My peak this year was 38, and I've had several weeks in the 30s.

In addition, I've been really good about stretching and "sticking" my ITBs every night. I've also been doing hip raises after (most) workouts. Time will tell if these things made a difference, but in the past I've gotten pretty lax about my ITB when it's been behaving, which led to problems. I haven't had problems yet this year (knock on wood), but maybe that's because I've been good about the stretches and trying to follow the 10% rule.

So that's the training plan. What's the goal?

My main plan is to go for my BQ (sub 3:40:59). I guess my "back-up" goal is a PR (sub 3:55:50), but to be honest, I'm going to consider anything less than my BQ a failure. Barring injury, of course - although injury is the only reason I haven't already run my damn BQ. If it weren't for my ITB, I probably would've run under 3:45 at Med-City in '04 and then been able to train for Twin Cities and BQ there. OR if it weren't for my stupid ITB, I'd have BQ'd at Freescale last year. I almost hate writing stuff like that because it sounds like I'm making excuses, but I believe I was capable of running those times in my previous marathons. Oh well, shit happens.

I haven't finalized it yet, but I'm most likely going to train/target 3:35. I think this is a reasonable goal for me. I was on pace to run near that for the first half of Freescale, and I felt great (until the ITB rebelled). Putting some of my race times in the McMillan Running Calculator yields marathon predictions right around there. While I know calculators aren't totally reliable, I feel I'm probably in better shape right now than I was when I ran those races. I think half-marathons/20Ks are probably one of the most reliable distances to use; I ran a pretty decent 20K this year (1:36:12, 7:44/mi.), but I wouldn't say I'd particularly trained for it. I've always read that the calculators assume equivalent training, so it stands to reason (to me at least) that if I'm better trained for the marathon than I was for the 20K, I should be able to approximate the prediction (or better it even).

So that's the plan and goals in a nutshell. This might be my last marathon B.K. (before kids), so I'm going to try and make the most out of my training. (Athough if things go poorly on race day AGAIN, I am seriously going to hang up the marathon shoes and move onto shorter distances. This will be my 5th marathon, and I've only been satisfied with my first. That's really sad; I think running 4 "bad" races in a row will be a sign from the universe that I have to move on!)

"It's supposed to not feel good"


So today was the first real day of marathon training. My schedule called for 7 miles with 10 sets of strides. I didn't follow the schedule, though, because I chose instead to run the All Comers Mile. I ran it last year, and decided to run it again to get some more Grand Prix points. With the prizes this year being gift certificates to the new running store, I'm a lot more interested in winning. And a free race is hard to beat.

Marathon Day 1


First day of marathon training! So how did I mark this exciting day? I ... wait ... walked Molly! Woo! Like a lot of other people, my first day of training didn't have a run scheduled. My schedule gave me the option of resting or cross-training. I chose XT; the elliptical probably would've been the better choice for cardio, but walking Molly is usually more fun. Plus, it gave me a chance to take some more pictures! (This time I'm using thumbnails so hopefully this won't be as slow as last time).

Let's see what "extended entry" does.


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Thanks to Jeff, I have a new blog home! I thought my first post here should maybe be an introductory-type post, since I don't think I've ever bothered doing that before.

Weirdo on the trail!


Remember a few months ago, when I encountered serial killer gloves man? I haven't seen him again, but I have spotted another strange person on the DT. I've basically run the same route this past week, with the only difference being where I turn around. Either yesterday or Tuesday, I spotted a woman walking alone on the trail. She had on gloves, and was carrying a small wooden bat. (It's slightly smaller than my travel stick). I thought it was a little odd, and swung pretty wide when I needed to pass her. I saw her again today, and am still wondering what's with the bat? I almost want to ask, but if she's crazy, I'm not sure I want to talk to her.

I like hot weather?


Apparently, I really like this hot weather. I had another decent run today; I'm still surprised that I ran the pace I did because it doesn't match my effort level. No complaints about that, though!

Had a stupid moment at the beginning of the run. I set my watch on the walkway so that it could link up while I was putting on my shoes. As I was sitting there, I heard Molly crying from inside the house. I initially figured she was just jealous I was about to run without her, but after she whined again I thought maybe she did need to go outside. I went in to get her, and yeah, she apparently needed to go. She probably would've held it until I got back, but I didn't feel like chancing it.

So my stupid moment ... since I got distracted, I forgot to reset my watch from yesterday. I never reset it until I'm about to use it. I didn't realize I hadn't reset it until I was out of my subdivision and went to see if I was near my mile mark. Instead of seeing something in the 0.9x range, I saw 3.9x. For a second, I thought I hadn't started my watch and I almost panicked. I don't like to run without a watch; I can estimate distance if need be (I did manage to get by without GPS for many years), but I like to know what my total time running is. I quickly realized my mistake, which wasn't a huge deal just kind of annoying in terms of determining my turnaround point.

temp: 80s
1 | 8:43
2 | 8:32 | 17:15
3 | 8:23 | 25:38
4 | 8:36 | 34:14
5 | 8:41 | 42:55
5.11 miles | 43:46 | 8:34/mi.

CD with Molly:
0.75 miles | 6:33 |
walk 0.25 miles | 3:51


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I took Molly over to the lake, and this time I remembered to not only bring the camera, but the battery and flash card. We parked up by the firestation and then walked towards downtown. Some of my pictures are a little blurry because I didn't stop to take them.

Training week: June 5 - 11, 2006

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Running: 5:52:10 | 38.9 miles (63.46 mi MTD | 551.89 mi YTD)
Walking: 1:23:06 | 5.28 miles
Total activity: 7:15:16

Dirty Girl


Got a little dirty this morning:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Not as bad as I thought it would be since we got 2-3" of rain last night, and there was a lot of mud on the trails today. I was sliding around at several points.

Funny/strange thing: I'm from St. Louis, most people I meet around here are either from here, or from either the bordering states or Michigan. (A very high number of Michigan State alumns seem to live here). After the race, while waiting for the awards, I notice a kid wearing a red sweatshirt. It says "West Plains" on it, and that catches my attention. Once I read further and see "Zizzers," I get really curious as to what a kid in MN is doing with a MO high school sweatshirt. (West Plains is a team that dominates at cross country in MO. I don't know what the hell a Zizzer is, but that's their mascot, and they used to always wear red and white striped shorts). Maybe West Plains has a camp, I think, and that's where he got the sweatshirt. I decided that instead of sitting and wondering I should go ask. Turns out the kid is actually from West Plains, and he's up visiting his mom. I mentioned I went to LHS, and he remembers running against them at Hancock. We talked a little about how tough JB is, and it sounds like they might still be running the same course we ran my senior year. (Which sucked, in my opinion. The course my sophomore and junior years was awesome - it was tough, but you could still run fast there. The new course my senior year was tough but IIRC I ran like crap on it, especially at Hancock that year which had previously been a kick ass meet for me).

I just thought that it was really funny to run into a kid from MO! Almost as funny/random as the time I went to see Dave Matthews Band at Soldiers Field and had awesome seats on the field. My buddy Drew and I started chatting with the girl and guy next to us, and while I though the girl looked familiar, I didn't think much of it until she said something about being from StL. I then blurted out "Did you go to LHS?" It turns out she graduated 2 years ahead of me. That was pretty random!

I saw my first running skirt in person today. It looked pretty cute and comfortable. If I weren't trying to conserve money, I might look into getting one/some for myself.

Anyway, I don't actually have much to say about the race. There were about 20-25 minutes in the middle where I was completely alone and didn't see any other runners. I got pretty bored of running around the woods sometime around that point. I also started to worry that I'd somehow taken a wrong turn. I ran much smarter this year, compared to last year. I didn't hammer as much in the beginning, and as a result I walked a lot less on the hills. I probably could've run harder on the downhills, but they were making my right knee a little achey, and I was also kind of worried about my footing because of the mud. Pounding in the woods reminded me of why I used to wear through shoes so fast back in high school, however. Running in the woods was a lot tougher on my feet than the roads seem to be.

As seen in the pictures above, I did wear my Polar today. I thought I was going to be so smart - the Forerunner wouldn't work in the woods so I'd use the foot pod to know distance, and maybe I'd be able to see my MHR on the hills. Last night, I found all the pieces but forgot one key thing. See, I haven't used the foot pod in at least a year, and I have no idea when I last changed the battery. Everything was great while I warmed up, but as I started heading towards the finish line I noticed that the foot pod was blinking red instead of green. Crap! It died before the race started, so I was able to turn off the speed option (I don't know what happens if the pod dies while the timer is running). I was a little annoyed to have a non-functioning pod on my shoe, but I didn't notice it while running so it wasn't so bad. My heart rate actually wasn't that high ... I averaged 177, which is about an 86% PE for me. (As comparison, during last year's 20K I averaged 189/93% which is more what I would expect if I were running full out for 10 mi). I maxed out at 192; I probably could've gotten it higher if I'd run up all the hills but I was trying to balance running hard with not killing my legs. I didn't see the point in killing myself out there, especially since I was running alone for so much of it and running harder wasn't going to improve my placing. Plus, you know, I've got official marathon training starting 6/19 and I'd like to reach that date in good condition.

One last thing - I do not get Minnesota weather. Just for the record:
4 weeks ago, the rain and wind made it feel like the low 30s and I almost got hypothermia
2 weeks ago, it was in the mid to upper 90s and they shut down the marathon
Today, it was back in the uppers 40s/low 50s. Sitting around after the race, I started to get really, really cold, even though I'd put on pants and both a short sleeve and long sleeve shirt.


Gut Buster 10 mile trail race | 1:36:55 | 9:41/mi | AHR 177

Trying again

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Not that the pictures are anything special.

Someone's getting ready for a hot summer/marathon training. Interesting that there's so much yellow.

Molly hangs out on the deck after running:

Then she moves over where I'm stretching:

This one's blurry, but I like it.

Good day


Damn blogger is down again!

From 11 am on, today's been a pretty good day. I came home for lunch and played Frisbee with Molly. We actually made it 10 minutes today. Yesterday I was too hot to stay outside, and she often gets too overheated to want to play. (Contrary to what we were warned, Molly does sometimes stop herself when tired). Back at work, it was someone upstairs' birthday and they sent out an e-mail that there were treats available. Triathlete and I went upstairs to check it out, and it turns out the upstairs lab manager had made the treats (she's a good baker). I don't remember exactly what she said they were (nestle tollhouse cheesecake bars?) but they were pretty tasty. I was glad we decided to go check it out. After work, I had my 6 month dental cleaning appointment. My hygienist told me that my teeth were "awesome" today. Whatever I've been doing, I should keep it up. No cavities either! Yay! They also did the thing where they check your gums and mine are in much better shape than when we checked them in '04. So yay for that, too!

I got done at the dentist around 4:45 and still needed to run. I had thought about just skipping today and running tomorrow, but decided against it. I think I want to run the Trail Race of Doom again, and would rather take the day off beforehand. I had stopped at home before going to the dentist so that I could let Molly out, and decided to bring stuff with me so I could run from the dentist. In theory, I'd be done at the same time if I drove home and ran from there, but I have a way of futzing around and wasting time. I changed into my running shorts and sportsbra, and then put a t-shirt and pair of mesh shorts over. I brought a bag with my watch, sunglasses, socks, singlet and shoes. So after the appointment, I went out to my car and changed while my watch linked up with the satellites.

My run was pretty good! The dentist office is along the 10K course that I run in October, so I followed the course through a neighborhood and then met up with the DT. I ran to the DT trailhead, and then ran over to the Engineer's work. (Sidenote: they've started closing the gates on weekends, so that you can only get onto the campus by going through one of the 2 gates with badge readers. Of course the gate closest to our house doesn't have a badge reader so the Engineer has to take the long way around. I find it kind of funny, however, that I can just run onto the campus from the DT and I don't really belong there). Apparently a lot of the nerds bike to work, because I saw a lot of people on the work bike path. Some of them even have bells that they used to let me know they were coming up (as opposed to saying "on your left"). I don't know why I find 40+ year old men with bells on their bikes funny, but I do.

Apparently I don't totally hate the heat, because I seem to be running pretty well in it. BQ pace is 8:24/mi, and I averaged 8:36/mi without much effort today. (Granted, 7 does not equal 26.2). I actually ran an extra mile because I was feeling so good. I'd been thinking lately that it had been awhile since I'd had a run that I actually felt good about (as opposed to "just okay" or "crap") so that's nice, too.

1 | 8:46
2 | 8:45 | 17:31
3 | 8:36 | 26:08
4 | 8:38 | 34:47
5 | 8:25 | 43:12
6 | 8:24 | 51:37
7 | 8:37 | 1:00:15
7.03 miles | 1:00:30 | 8:36/mi.

The Engineer has been leaving the TV on HGTV a lot lately, so I've seen some of House Hunters and National Open House. Those shows make me so sad because so many of the houses are so crappy. The House Hunters show makes me really feel like a spoiled brat because I wouldn't want any of those houses/I want to build and get a brand new house when we finally get around to leaving this one. The Open House show makes me sad when they show people who buy houses or lofts that cost so much more than our house and yet are small, old, and/or just generally gross. As much as I may whine about things here, at least real estate is fairly reasonable! I've told the Engineer that I refuse to live in California or New England, and the high cost of real estate is a large part of that.



Back when I was in high school, almost every house in the neighborhood had a sprinkler system. We moved in a year or two after everyone else, so I don't know if they came with the houses or if everyone just decided that they needed them or what. But there were tons of sprinklers, and most people set the timers for early in the morning (ours was set for 5AM). This worked out well for me, because I could usually run through 1 or 2 on my way back from running. Few things feel as good as a sprinkler after a hot run.

June 6


Since I was running 6 miles this morning, I was also tempted to be super cheesy and run 6.66 miles but that would've taken too long. So instead I ran 6.04 in 53:30. I forgot to post about this, but a few weeks ago I decided that my "aha" moment was wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but sleeping pills aren't the whole cause for running slow in the mornings. I've run in the morning a few times without the pills and was still slow. I have now decided it's a combination of having only woken up 15 minutes before running, not eating before running and the dark. Running in the dark feels faster, therefore a slower pace will feel faster in the dark than it does in the bright sun. I used to enjoy doing track workouts at night because it felt like I was flying. So I think this time I may have solved the mystery. Today it wasn't that dark at 5 AM (funny thing - I think we now have fewer hours of darkness than we have hours of light in the winter), and I possibly solved the eating issue by downing a carb-boom gel before running. I should eat gel more often - I only have 2 half-open boxes that expire in August.

Fast response!


It will be Gatorade Endurance. We do not know the flavor at this time. It is normally Lemon-Lime however this has not been confirmed at this time.

Marathon Office Staff

For additional information please link to: http://www.chicagomarathon.com

Plus / Minus

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- not getting up early to get out while it was slightly cooler
- deciding to run up a big hill
+ running back down the hill
- deciding against bringing the Fuel Belt since it was "only" 10-11 mi
+ Kwik-Trip being located near the house/bottom of big hill
- Kwik-Trip not having a water fountain
+ Putting a dollar in my shorts before running
+ Kwik-Trip having a wide variety of sportsdrinks
- Cheapest sportsdrink being $0.99 + tax
+ Nice Kwik-Trip cashier letting me have 6 cents from the "take a penny, leave a penny"
- Damn Gatorade bottle being difficult to open, hurting my hand
+ Gatorade

New Rule


One thing has been made abundantly clear: if it's above 70 degrees, I have to wear the Fuel Belt for runs 10 miles and up. I'm too old/have been running too long to continue to be this stupid.



I really need to start going to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier and get running before it gets really hot. Thankfully it hasn't been *too* bad this week, but if we're already getting 80s in June, it's going to be a long, nasty hot summer. I just finished my oatmeal, so now I have 30-45 minutes to let it settle before I can go out for my long run.

Running errands

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Today I had a 4:30 appointment to get my car's oil change. Hard to believe it's already time for the first oil change ... If you take out the trips to see family, I really don't drive that much, probably less than 100 mi/week, maybe even 50 mi/week. (I just realized that this summer, I might run more in a week than I'll drive. That's crazy!)