Saturday, February 28, 2009

9 Miles - Long run - Peter Snell Documentary

This week has been a recovery week for me so my mileage has been down compared to previous weeks. This week I'll finish in the low 50's for mileage and in previous weeks I have been running in the low 60's for mileage. This explains running only 9 miles for my long run, and I welcome it. I've put my miles in consistently for a while now so when I get the opportunity for a short run, I relish in it. Currently I run 7 days a week but Sean has given me the liberty to take a day off when I need it. So far I have not needed it. It's been a long time since I took a day off, I can't even remember when. It's not like the miles have been tortuous either because most of my time is spent running at relaxed easy paces. Also mileage has been a piece of cake since the marathon training. So I'll keep my fingers crossed because this week will be challenging as I go back up in mileage and do a challenging speed workout mid week.

It was cooler than previous days. It ended up being in the 50's with a lot of strong winds. Even with that, I ended mile 1 at 7:10 pace. This gave me a chance to apply Bill's Law - If the first mile is 7:30 or lower then the training run will be a fast one. This law ended up being true once again. Here are the splits:

Mile #Pace
Average Pace6:50

During mile 6 Sam joined me on my run. He was in the middle of a 22 mile long run. We chatted it up, talking about his upcoming Boston race and his training. He is in the middle of 70 something mile weeks and is doing it the right way. I'll be pulling for him to have a successful race .

A couple of weeks ago coach Sean sent me a documentary link about Peter Snell and his training on his way to be an Olympic champion. He was coached by Arthur Lydiard and some of the training sequences reminded me of some of the training we do at the Kenyan Way. I think it may be inspiring to you running junkies out there. Check it out


Friday, February 27, 2009

Easy Run 7 miles and using less effort to improve

Today was the day after speed work so normally I would call today's run a recovery run. But there was nothing that was "recovery" about this run. It was a little warmer out this morning and I have discovered a pattern that when it is warmer I run faster. I think it has something to do with me warming up pretty easily in warmer weather. Well today was one of those faster days so instead of a recovery run lets just call today's run an easy run.

The first mile started at 7:35 pace. Well that brings me back to my rule that whenever I run in the 7:30s or faster for my first mile while warming up, then it will be a fast day. And so it was, here are my splits:

Mile # Split
1 7:35
2 6:34
3 6:26
4 6:33
5 6:33
6 6:39
7 6:36
Average 6:43

Andrew jumped in at the end of my run. It looks like he'll be doing the Rodeo Run tomorrow. I wish him luck and I'll be rooting for him to run well.

I also had a chance to speak with Tuan for an extended period of time after our runs. It seems we agree on a lot of things about running. We seem to both agree that if your body feels tight when starting a run, then you shouldn't force yourself to jump to a certain pace. I think he thought it was good to see that I also run 8 minute pace to start a run if my body tells me too. I think sometimes this sometimes has to do with confidence and assurance that you are doing the right thing in your training. You should be confident in your ability to get faster and be assured that you are doing the right things to get faster. Sometimes we feel we have to do a little, maybe a lot extra to improve really quickly. Many times the quickest path to improvement is to avoid the injury pitfalls that keep you from running for extended periods like weeks at a time. The guy that stays injury free and runs more often will be faster in the long run than a similarly talented runner who puts more effort into running yet has frequent injuries.

And another thing, don't use addiction to fuel your running. Keep a level head. Remember that.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Speed Work

I was a little anxious about today's workout. The reason is I didn't really get a lot of sleep last night. Another reason is that I didn't quite do so great at the previous workout. So I debated whether or not to postpone this workout until Friday. I could have done it and it wouldn't have really messed my schedule up. I decided against it because I really enjoy the challenge speed work brings and it would have killed me if I had to wait another day to do it.

I got to the park 30 minutes later than usual and then started on my 2 mile warm up. The first mile I got warmed up pretty quickly and I flew by at about 7:15 pace. The theorem is whenever I run low 7 minute pace or faster then my run will be really fast and today was no exception. The second mile I flew by at 6:30 pace. Wow, maybe my speed workout will not be that bad. This is a good sign. But I thought to myself, maybe I used up some of my speed on the warm up. So I proceeded to get ready for my workout.

Today's workout was to consist of 3 x 2ks. The 2ks were to be run between 5:07 and 5:12 pace with 4 minutes rest in between. 2k is roughly 1.24 miles and change. I started the first repetition really really fast. But it didn't feel like I did. I looked at my Garmin and it read 4:25 pace, so I backed off a lot. It seemed as though I was jogging and it took me quite a while to get back on pace. So I kept up the run, and right at the end with about .14 to go I was running 5:04 pace so I decided to back off and I jogged it in and finished exactly at 5:12.

I rested 4 minutes and was fully recovered by the time I started the second repetition. This time the run felt even easier than the first since I was warmed up now and once again I slowed to a jog the last .14 to come in at 5:11. It seemed if I put any effort at all I could easily run 5:05 or even faster during the run. Hmmm interesting.

I rested 4 minutes and started the last repetition. Once again I was fully recovered and now this time it felt easier than ever. I was barely breathing, breathing softly, and ran in the 5:05 range for much of the lap and at the end I had to make a decision of whether to finish up at low 5 minute pace or to slow it up and call it a day. I decided to do the latter and jogged it in once again to finish at 5:10 pace.

After I was done I did my cool down for a total of 7 miles today. A very good workout indeed. Here are the splits once again.

2k repeats

Lap 15:12 pace
Lap 25:11 pace
Lap 35:10 pace

I guess this shows why sometimes you can't really predict how well you are going to run without getting out there and doing it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Thoughts

Why is that I (the only runner out of all my coworkers) am the one least likely to run across the street as we walk to our lunch spot?

8 miles recovery

I got to the park and the legs didn't feel to bad. Usually the day after hills my legs usually feel good for whatever reason. They felt good today as I averaged 7:12 pace with the last 5 miles at sub 7 pace. Tomorrow will be interesting because I'll do a speed workout that should be pretty challenging.

This weekend will be the Conoco Rodeo Run. From what I hear its a pretty big race. Normally I would be all over this race, but I'll have to pass this one up. I have family obligations and not to mention the fact that I raced this past weekend. But this should be a fun race with up to 10,000 participants in both the 5k and 10k. Also the race will kickoff the Rodeo parade so there are spectators lined up, so you can pretend you are finishing a marathon(Thanks Andrew for these little tidbits).


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hill work

I postponed my hill work until this morning. My total mileage was 7 miles. My legs still felt sub par but they felt better than they felt yesterday. I did my warm up and then ran to the Shepherd and Memorial location to do the hills. The last time I did hills I managed run 2.91 miles, but I didn't count the number of reps I did. I made sure I counted them today and I totaled 18.5 reps in 20 minutes for a total of 3.06 miles. A definite improvement over last session. I started out pretty tight but gradually loosened up and ended up with these splits:

  • Mile 1 6:51
  • Mile 2 6:33
  • Mile 3 6:16
  • Mile 4(.06) 5:07

Cool, now I have a baseline to compare on my next hill session if I end up doing the same circuit.

Monday, February 23, 2009

8 miles easy

Not much to say about my extra slow pace today other than the fact I raced Saturday and did my long run yesterday. So my legs felt dead today. I was scheduled to do hills today but I decided it would be wise to take a flyer on that. I may do that tomorrow. I ended up running slower than an 8 minute mile pace overall with the last 2 or 3 miles at sub 8 minute mile pace. Hopefully my legs feel a little better tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Long run

I can't write much because it's soooo late and I have to get to bed. So I'll skim over the details. I ran for an hour and 45 minutes. That ended up being 13.99 miles which ends up being 7:30 pace. It was a good run. I ran into my best friend Josue and he spent about 6 miles with me. I also saw two other friends in the park. After the run, took the family to a farm and we got to play around, feed, and ride the animals. Not bad. Not bad at all.



Park to Park 5 miler race recap

My main objectives going into the race were to get a top 5 finish and to average about a 5:18 pace per mile. Earlier in the week I had done a workout where I ran 2 x 1 mile at 5:18 pace. I wasn't physically spent or anything, but I had to do a lot work to maintain that pace. My legs either wanted to go a lot faster or a lot slower. That reared its head in the race on Saturday as I never felt comfortable with this pace. But overall I accomplished both objectives and I believe I did well overall. Let's start from the beginning.

The worst part of racing is actually getting up out of bed, getting everything ready and driving myself there. I still don't have downtown completely figured out yet but I'm getting better. I got there in good time, went to pick up my chip and I saw Gerardo Mora. He's a guy that I have been running races with since 2006 and he has some kind of streak where he has run 20 something HARRA races in a row. That takes a lot of durability. Anyway we exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes and went our separate ways. On the way back to the truck I ran into June, a fellow Kenyan Wayer and NY marathon finisher. She had her new kicks(shoes) the Adidas Boston shoes on, of which I also have pair. She was worried about them being appropriate for the 5 miler. I reassured her they would since I had run the marathon in them. She would end up PRing big time by 4 minutes in the race. I knew I was right about those shoes :) Well anyway I got back to the truck and began my 2 mile warm up and saw that Joe Flores, Chris Bittinger, and Vaughn Gibbs were also warming up. I ran by and said hello, while they were stretching out. I did my 2 mile warm up and then went to the start line. The race had  a little over 600 participants. When I spoke to June she said she was always surprised that this race didn't attract more runners. Even with that being the case a lot of the top runners come anyway. Sometimes I like a smaller race because it is easier to navigate to where you need to go. I kind of scoped out who was competing and here is who I saw in no particular order:

  • Luis Armenteros - local elite and definitely one of the top 5 runners in the city. Also a Kenyan Wayer and someone who I go to for good advice
  • John Hedengren - another local great, I believe he was a track contemporary to my brother. I also believe he was nationally ranked in high school
  • John Yoder - Strider buddy and team mate, also a 2:36 marathoner
  • Wilmer Bustillos - local masters star, 2:32 marathoner
  • Colin Carroll - fastest local time at the Houston Marathon 2:30
  • Tom King - fast masters runner
  • Tuan - another fast masters runner
  • Joe Flores - I believe 48 year old and able to still throw down 16:20 5ks?
  • Vaughn Gibbs - Sub 16 minute 5k runner
  • Chris Bittinger - fast master runner
  • Gerardo Mora - Highly decorated masters runner and one of my personal favorite guys. He loves to talk trash.
  • And some other fast guys who I don't know.

I lined up, listened to the Star Spangled Banner and after a few minutes the horn sounded and we were off. During the initial minutes I took my time to gather myself and settle in to my pace. The pace was supposed to be 5:20 so that is what I was running. During the initial minutes I was in a pack that included John Yoder and Tom King. The front pack were already distancing themselves by quite a bit from us. I really was not able to settle in to a rhythm. I just kept changing speeds. At first I would move ahead of our little pack, then I would realize I was going too fast so then I would slow down and John and Tom would run past me. It was a pretty choppy pace for me. I finished the first mile at 5:18.

By the second mile I had realized that there was no tail wind. The tail wind is what has given the course its reputation as a fast course. Not only was there not a tail wind but we were running into a headwind and you could clearly feel it. Early in the second mile into the race I caught up to Gerardo and another guy. They were moving pretty good, probably low 5:20s. The goal for the second mile was to put in a 5:20 mile. Because of the direct headwind it was really difficult to do this. I would end up speeding up, running too fast, then slowing myself down. When I would do this Gerardo and the other guy would let me go and then catch me and overtake me when I slowed down. We did this dance several times until we ended mile 2. My split ended up being 5:22.

At the beginning of the third mile when I saw that split I decided to pick up the pace. Headwind or no headwind I knew what I wanted to run and a 5:22 was not going to cut it. After I picked up the pace I found myself next to a high school runner. He was running pretty good. He didn't seem to be over exerting himself and had a good sense of pacing. I didn't run with him for long and after a few minutes I found myself about 50 meters behind Joe Flores and Wilmer Bustillos. They were still running pretty strong but I found myself still gaining on them. I really wasn't trying to gain on them as much as I was trying to settle in to 5:18 pace. This proved difficult to do with the headwind. I ended mile 3 at 5:19 pace.

By the start of mile 4 I knew that the wind was definitely playing a factor in my race so now instead of focusing on pre-race paces I now adjusted my plan to be less ambitious. Even with the abandoned plan I was still gaining on Wilmer and Joe. I finally caught them and ran with them for a little while. Directly in front of us, about 40 meters was Vaughn Gibbs. By now I realized that the important thing was to try to stay sub 5:20 for these last 2 miles. If I could do that then I would have a good chance against these 3 guys. The reason is there was still a lot of work to be done and if I could keep pushing and pushing the pace, these last 2 miles would be tough for anyone, me included. So I pushed. At times I would push too hard so I would have to slow down. Then Wilmer pulled up beside me. When he pulled up beside me I realized I was running too slow, over 5:20 so I put in a burst of speed. All during this time Vaughn was coming closer and closer. Eventually I was about 15 to 20 meters behind him and gaining. I ended mile 4 at 5:20 pace.

I was still gaining on Vaughn, but it wasn't necessarily because he was slowing down or falling apart. As a matter of fact I was a little surprised with how long it took for me to gain any ground. By the start of mile 5 I knew that it was now or never. I was going to run 1 mile as fast as I could. No slowing down. This didn't mean I was going to go all out in a blaze of glory. Rather it meant I was going to go as close to 5:10 pace for as long as I could go because this was the last mile. A quarter into the mile there was a left turn we were supposed to make. It was a drive way with an exit lane and an entrance lane. The cop at this drive way motioned for Vaughn to take the first entrance. Now Vaughn still had a gap on me and this probably could have made a difference in the race but he made a mistake. Instead of taking the first left he took the second left. I saw what he did and I took the cop's direction and took the first entrance. By the time we had converged on the course we were side by side! Uh oh, now the race is really on! We still probably had about .75 to go so this was going to be a case of intense tactics. Vaughn now moved very close to my left shoulder. We were almost touching. We were side by side. I relaxed and just started measuring the distance we had left. By now I was moving pretty good. I had hit my stride and for the first time in the race I was moving smoothly. To Vaughn's credit he ran stride by stride with me. We eventually could see the finish line. Nobody made a move. We both stayed pretty cool. We got closer, nothing. We got closer, nothing. About 150 meters from the finish Vaughn made a break and he went. So I went. It was close. We both kicked.

image image

I narrowly eeked by. The finish happened pretty quick. I had no idea what place I had gotten because the lead guys had already broken from my view before mile 1. Rather than wait around I did a 2 mile cool down and hoped that I got top 5. After doing the cool down the results were in.

  1. Luis Armenteros 25:46
  2. Colin Carroll       25:56
  3. John Hedengren 26:06
  4. Me                    26:51
  5. Vaughn Gibbs    26:52

One thing I ended up finding out was that in addition to it being adversely windy, the course was probably at least .07 too long. Quite a few Garmins seemed to agree as well. My Garmin read 5.07 miles and here are my splits:

  • Mile 1 5:18
  • Mile 2 5:22
  • Mile 3 5:19
  • Mile 4 5:20
  • Mile 5 5:14
  • .07 4:15

Race Average 5:18

I'm pretty happy with my result. Although I couldn't help but think I ran an inefficient race. At the end of the race I had a lot in the tank. Also I never got into a groove until the last mile of the race. The first 4 miles felt like a contrived pace. This is probably due to my lack of experience at 5 miles. All in all I'm happy with my results.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The day before the Park to Park 5 miler

I did 3 miles easy today, just to get the blood flowing. My legs felt pretty flat and mentally I was so glad I only had to do 3 miles. Tonight my legs still feel flat so I don't know how I'll run tomorrow. I'm still excited about running tomorrow. Racing is the reason I run.

9 miles recovery

There isn't anything too different to report the last few days. This is how it goes with training. I wish I could write about a bunch of exciting stuff happening on my training runs but...nope... it's the same stuff as usual. One good thing to report is that I've finally been catching up on some sleep and hopefully I can make this a routine thing. Sleep is necessary as the body needs to repair itself after all of this training.

I did 9 miles recovery yesterday and was moving along at about 7:45 pace for the first 3 miles when Sean and Luis came along so I hopped along with them for a ride. Or at least it seemed like a ride, so my pace increased to about 6:50 pace. That was cool though because they helped the miles go by real fast. It looks like Luis will be running the Park to Park. I ended up running the 9 miles at about 7:45 pace.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A little bit of speed

Today got started off on the wrong foot. I woke up late so I ended up getting to the park a little late and therefore got to work a little late. No worries, my job function is based off of the amount of work done and not how many hours spent doing it.

Well anyway I got to the park a little late and the plan was to do a total of 9 miles with some speed work in the middle. The speed work would consist of 2 x 1 miles at 5 mile goal pace (5:18) with 4 minutes rest in between. So I did my 5 miles which went pretty well, probably low 7 minute pace. Then I started the speed work. When I started the first mile I purposely started a little slow and worked my way to up the pace. What I found was that when I sped up my body wanted to do 5:10 pace. When I tried to slow down my body wanted to do 5:25 pace. 5:18 pace seemed like a hard pace to run, not because of the speed but because my body was not used to this pace. Only faster or slower than this pace. Well this is the pace I will be attempting to run Saturday so my body better get used it! I ended up finishing the 1st mile at 5:17. I ended up speeding up quite a bit to get to 5:18. After the first set, I wasn't too fatigued. The mile took some effort but I still felt pretty strong. The second set was a lot easier than the first set because by now I was warmed up. I still found it quite awkward to run at 5:18 pace. I ended up running at about 5:14 pace for 75% of the mile and then I just slowed down the rest of the way to slide in at 5:17 pace. This second mile was a lot easier than the first. I don't think this workout indicates much but it was good to get some speed work in and I felt that it was good for my pacing and turnover.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The last 2 days

I don't have much time to post tonight. I have been really lacking for sleep the past few days and that isn't good for a runner. My running has been ok despite this. Monday Sean set up a new course I had never done before that went up a side road off of Memorial. It was a medium grade slope that I enjoyed. I don't really have metrics for the course but I can say that I ran a total of 9 miles for the day. Also, I was a bit of a moron and didn't pick up the cones after I was done running the course. So Sean had to actually come back for the cones. I blame that on lack of sleep :) I'll have to start keeping track of how many loops I do on the hill courses on Mondays because Sean keeps asking me how many I did and I respond with an idiotic response of "I don't know". It's just so against my nature to count when I run. I'm a bit of a robot on auto pilot when I run. No thinking, just running. This is a good thing and bad thing. It's a good thing because I'm pretty relaxed when I run. It's a bad thing because sometimes I run off course!

Today was supposed to be a recovery run. I ran a total of 9 miles around 7:14 pace. I felt pretty good throughout. I ran under 7 minute pace for about 3 miles.

Tomorrow I'll do another 9 miles with a speed workout sandwiched between. It will 2 x 1 mile with 4 minutes rest at 5 mile goal pace which will be about 5:18 pace.

I'm going to register for the Park to Park 5 miler tonight. This will be a first for me and I am very excited. I expect there to be quite a few good runners.

That's it for now.



Sunday, February 15, 2009

7 easy miles

Lately it seems that I'll have 1 day out of the week where I just feel great and end up running well. This happened a couple of weeks before the Rockets 5k, when I first noticed that I was pretty fit while doing an easy run. It has been happening about once a week since. Today was one of those days. My mission was to do 7 easy and get the circulation going in my legs after doing 15 yesterday. Usually when you are trying to flush the gunk out of your legs you end up running pretty slow and easy. Well that didn't happen today. Right off the bat I did a 7:35 first mile. Usually when I run 7:30's or lower first mile that means my legs are pretty strong. That is what happened today. I usually don't rattle off my splits for easy runs but today was abnormally strong. Here they are:

  1. 7:35
  2. 6:58
  3. 6:54
  4. 6:41
  5. 6:41
  6. 6:45
  7. 6:36

6:53 pace/mile

Tomorrow I'll be doing the routine Monday hills. Later in the week I'll probably be doing the park to park 5 miler race. It will be a great opportunity to race some of the city's and state's best runners as I believe it is the Road Runner Club of America's Texas State Championship(RRCA) for 5 miles.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Kenyan Way long run

My long run was scheduled to be 15 miles. The only question was whether my strain that I had from yesterday would make another appearance today. The answer to that question was an emphatic NO. I had a great run today in that respect but otherwise my long run was pretty mediocre. That's fine by me, I just need to get those 15 miles in.

Today Sam Rodriguez joined us. Sam is a pretty good runner. I always try to keep track of how he does because he is capable of some very good performances. When it comes to training I have to bring my "A" game because he always brings his. Currently he is training for Boston and so he had to do 19 miles today. Andrew, my long run training partner, was there as well. Andrew is also training for a spring marathon. He had done 4 miles earlier and did the remaining 15 with me. Now I wish I could post the splits, but currently it seems my Garmin has died on me. This could be a problem. Well anyway, I had checked my Garmin earlier and it said Andrew and I ran 15 miles at 7:13 pace. Towards the end of the run Sam ran ahead while Andrew and I stopped at a water stop. Sam seemed to be gathering some steam at the end and I learned that he finished his 19 miles at 6:55 pace. That's outstanding. There is no way I was going to attempt to keep pace with that, because of the strain. I'm just glad my legs felt pretty darn healthy during the run. Now I just need to run a relaxed and easy 7 miles tomorrow.

Training and how a beginner can get faster

Yesterday I ran 6 miles. The schedule said to run 7 but I rebelled. Ok, I didn't rebel :) I ran 9 miles instead of 8 Monday so I felt I had the liberty to cut the mileage short today. It was a good thing I did because I have started to have this recurring tightness in my inside thigh, groin area, after my speed workout. I started feeling it at various times during my easy run. I've had this type of thing before and usually I just took my speed workouts off until it resolved itself. I'll have to see how it works itself out. On other fronts my achilles feels better and doesn't bother me running or walking around anymore. I have been stretching it out and had been icing it as well. Back to my 6 mile, it was a mixed bag. On the one hand my legs felt great and strong and felt like they wanted to move fast but I had to make a conscious effort to run slowly because of the inner thigh, groin, tightness coming now and again. All in all I did 6 miles at about 7:45 pace.

A coworker at my job asked me for the 2nd or 3rd time how she can run faster. I guess the first 2 times I didn't answer her question well enough. I think its a question most runners have. Very few runners are content with how fast they run. So I in turn asked her why she wanted to run faster. Her reply was that she was competitive and her main competitor was herself. Wow, doesn't this sound familiar, I am one of my fiercest competitors. So then I asked her another question, what distance does she want to get faster in. Is it the 100m, 400m, 5k, etc? She said she did 1 loop around Memorial regularly and does about 12 miles a week. Ok, so she wanted to be faster in distance running, cool I have a little bit of experience with that. This is what I basically told her to hopefully answer the question a little better than I did the first 2 times. In order for her to get better she is going to have figure out what her training paces are. She can do this by running a 5k race. She's in luck because there are many going on at this time. She should run it like a race. She will be able to figure out what her basic level of fitness is after this race. Then she can go to sites like the Mcmillan Running Calculator, or just add 90 seconds to her 5k pace. So if she ran an 8 minute mile in her 5k then she would train at 9:30 pace during her easy runs. After figuring out the training pace, another good idea is to increase your mileage by 10 percent for 3 or 4 weeks and then drop it back down during the following week. For example if you are running less than 10 miles a week then just add 1 mile a week. Then drop it back down a few miles during your "recovery" week. You'll need the recovery week before you start increasing your miles again. By increasing your mileage alone you will start to get faster because of the economy of efficiency you'll start to gain in your running form. Also the longer you run you will gain functional strength in your legs. You must not increase your mileage too fast or run too fast or you will increase your chances for injury and this would only impede your progress. You want to be running consistently for a long period of time. I told my coworker that distance running training is a strategic sport and not a tactical one. No one workout is going to be the answer or the one that puts you over the hump. It's just the slow repetition and buildup of many miles of running. My coworker said she was disappointed, because she was a very impatient person and wanted to get faster quickly. I didn't know how to respond to that other than to tell her to fight that urge if she truly wanted be a better runner without burning out.

The previous ideas were only a VERY basic idea of how to begin to get faster as a pure BEGINNER. There were other things I left out like hill work, track sessions, tempo runs, finding a coach or joining a running group. I also left nutrition out of the equation which plays a major part of performance in running. Hydration, part of nutrition, has a major impact in performance. I could go on and on and on but this post would be more like a book than a simple post. Well anyway, I have to get ready for my long run.



Thursday, February 12, 2009

Speed Work

Unfortunately I may have to be extremely brief in the near future because of the way my schedule is looking. But I will definitely make an attempt to stay current because I enjoy talking about running and reading everyone's comments. With that said let's get to the meat of the bone.

The plan was to do 8 miles total with a 2 x 2 mile workout with 4 minutes rest in between. The goal was to run both reps between 10:28 and 10:36. I did the first 2 warm up miles very slow, probably way too slow, which probably affected my workout. I'm pretty embarrassed to say how slow I did the warm up. After the warm up I moved on to the workout. The first rep I started breathing hard almost immediately (about a .25 into the run). I knew this was a bad sign. I toughed the first rep out and hit the upper limit ,10:36. I pretty much gave an all out effort on this first rep so I knew the second one wasn't going to be good. During the second rep I started out fast and I was running below the 5:14 pace pretty easily but I knew that I would be toast if I kept the pace up. So I backed off and slowed down to 5:20. This felt so easy and I actually thought I had a chance to hit my goal. But I fell apart at the end and I ended up running a 10:48. This is actually the first time in a long time that I did not hit my goal during speed work. What does this mean? Hmmm, I prefer not to care right now because I know if I put in the work and stay injury free, the performances will come. Sometimes your body just doesn't have it. And today was one of those days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Easy Day 8 miles

I'll make this short and sweet. 8 miles at 7:28 pace. A little soreness in the achilles region. So I stretched it out a bit. I've never had achilles issues before. Sean seems to think its because of the recent hill work and 5k race. It might be. Hopefully it just kind of fades away like most of my tweaks and soreness does. Tomorrow I do speed work and hopefully knock it out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The merits of a coach

Today I was to do a recovery run since I did a hard hill workout yesterday. I went ahead and got that in and the average was about 7:25 or thereabouts for 8 miles.

During my run I started thinking about the benefits of having a coach. Don't ask me why I started thinking about that but I just started thinking about it. Maybe its because I was reading a blog by a guy who was a professional Ironman athlete who was coaching others and coaching himself in running. The guy seems pretty knowledgeable, he reads a lot and has some insightful thoughts. I don't agree with a lot of what he says but he knows more than I do. Well he broke down and hired a coach. I think this was a good idea. There are several benefits to having a coach manage your training. One of them is pressure. When you build your schedule and start training yourself you immediately look at expectations. You start to make goals during certain time periods. You start to say I want to run a race at x time in y time period. Sometimes when you don't make quick progress you may have self doubts. So you raise the intensity, or switch workouts, which could leave you injured or without results. Sometimes it takes a cool and steady hand like a coach to tell you, "Look its ok, you are slower now, but your efforts will pay off at the end of the month". There is no panic and you can leave all your worries on their shoulders. A coach can also give you a very objective assessment of your merits. Sometimes we are a bit delusional and think we can just outwork everyone else and the success will come quickly. Sometimes we just think that we have more talent than we really do. Whatever the case, many times it is good for someone else to really tell you what you can and can't accomplish in the given time period. It's a good thing. Distance running is a very strategic thing and planning must be done with the long term in mind. That is very hard to do on your own. As for me, I'm glad I have a coach.

On a side note my ankle started hurting at work. It was sore from yesterday's hill workout. There was some slick and loose footing and I had a minor tweak in my ankle because of the footing. I didn't feel it at the time but I definitely felt it today. I'll skip speed tomorrow and take it easy again.



Monday, February 9, 2009

1st Day Kenyan Way Spring Training

Wow what a difficult way to start training today. Did I just rhyme, well that was unintentional :) The morning started off pretty rough. In the 60's and wet. When I say wet, I mean it was drizzling pretty noticeably. So much so I decided to take off my shirt because I didn't feel like running with a wet mop on. Eventually the rain slowed and it didn't turn out too bad. Even though it was wetter than desired, there were quite a few people out. I didn't hang around long enough in one spot to look closely, but I think I noticed a lot of new people, or at least people I didn't recognize. My personal goal was to run a total of 9 miles with the hill work in between. We ended up running the hills for about 20 minutes straight with half of the path slow jog and the other half up hill at full speed. I don't have any speed stats to report but I did run pretty hard. It at least felt like I was moving pretty fast. Just looking at my Garmin and thinking back to last year, I think I ran faster last year. But that's ok, plenty of time to hone the speed. As I was running I was feeling all kinds of muscles I hadn't used in a long time. Many of my movements were inefficient because I started to feel some pain underneath my toe because I was pushing off too hard. I also was tightening up too much and not being fluid with my motion. Eventually I eased up and let the speed come naturally as the legs loosened up. I'll have to remember to ease up next time. My running has been so controlled the past few months. No sprinting, no hard quarter intervals, no mile time trials. So I have to shake off the rust and re-learn. Afterwards I cooled down with Geoff and Andrew.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

3 miles easy

I just ran 3 miles today to get the circulation going in the legs. Since I have a hill workout in the morning, I wanted to be physically ready for it. This means not working too hard today. That's it for now, good night.

Hour and a half easy

Now that I'm done with all of the hype and hoopla surrounding the Houston Rockets 5k, its back to business as usual. The daily grind, the solitary consistent running. The type of running that runners don't get any accolades for. That's business as usual for me and that's the type of running I did yesterday. Family life took a priority yesterday so I had to postpone my long run for the afternoon. I was a little concerned that I would burn up and have a unnecessarily painful run. That wasn't the case. Since I got out there really late I decided to adjust my goal to running an hour and a half instead of an hour and 45 minutes(I want to be ready for hills on Monday). I got out there at about 2:30pm and made a concentrated effort to keep the effort level easy. With that being said I was able to run pretty well. I believe I run better on my easy runs in 60 to 70 something degree weather since my body really feels lubricated. Sometimes when you are churning those miles in your training runs in very cold weather it feels like you are the tin man in the wizard of oz. I would show my splits but my Garmin is upstairs and I really need to conserve my energy :) The things I do remember is that the splits averaged out to about a 7:05 average and I ran about 12.70 miles.

I forgot to mention that there was a really important race on Saturday. It was the Buffalo Wallow 6k. It is the first race in the HARRA (Houston Area Road Runners Association) series(Geoff gives a really good background history of the race). During the spring season there will be a total of 6 races and 3 of your top performances will be used in your score. The top runners get cash prizes at the end of the season. Two of my marathon training buddies Andrew and Geoff ran that race and it would be interesting to see how they did. At the end of the Buffalo Wallow 6k they give out the awards for the fall season.

On another note my coach ,Sean Wade, is racing the USA masters championships in Florida today. I believe he has the opportunity to win 2 cash prizes. One for best overall time and another one for best age graded time. I can't wait to see the results on that as well.

As for me. Nothing interesting, no races. I'm just going to put in a 3 mile run to flush out any junk in my legs. Then it will be off to do family things.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

2009 Houston Rockets 5k Channel 2 Interview

The old saying is everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame. Well I got about 20 seconds :) Channel 2's Adam Clanton interviewed me after the race and the piece showed Sunday (June is that correct?). Well, let me give props to Adam. He was a good sport and gave me a copy of the piece and even thanked me for doing the interview. No, buddy, thank you for giving ME the interview. Check it out. There is even a cute little kid in there for good measure. As for my interview, it's pretty short, but it's at the end. I did another interview with a Spanish station but who knows what happened to that interview.

On another note pictures from the race are available. Here are a few I like.

imageimage image image

Easy Miles

I went out there this morning and my legs felt alright for a while but then they ran out of steam. I was supposed to do 9 miles easy. At mile 6 I was having thoughts of stopping right here. But then I thought to myself, this might be one of those times where you start to feel better as you keep running. Well, I didn't feel any better and by mile 7 it was clear I wasn't going to feel better so I stopped at 7.67 miles. I was thinking that training starts next Monday and there is no use beating myself up before it starts. I need to be fresh enough to where I can go at it pretty hard and get some good quality workouts in. My pace was 7:30 on the button.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

9 miles easy

Today I decided to do 9 easy. For some reason I was looking forward to a 9 mile run at nothing but easy pace. Also I was feeling much better than I had felt the previous couple of days. Many times I feel rejuvenated the day after speed work. I don't know what the physiological explanation behind that is but I'll take it.

I started off slow (8:29) and gradually increased the pace until I hit the last 4 miles at below 7 minute pace. The overall pace was 7:17 pace. My legs started to feel like they were getting some strength back towards the end of the run. It would be nice to feel rejuvenated at the end of the week.

Tonight I attended the Kenyan Way orientation. I wasn't able to make it Tuesday, but I made extra sure to attend it tonight. It was cool, I got to talk to Luis Armenteros for a little bit. Unfortunately he probably had the flu otherwise I could have talked to him all night. He and Sean seem to be on a roll and I expect good things in the future. I spoke with Sean and he told me what my upcoming schedule was supposed to look like in the coming weeks. It was a good group of folks although I didn't recognize too many faces.

I'm pretty excited about starting this Spring season. I'm going to bust my butt on the speed work and just have fun. First things first, hills on Monday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Speed Work

Today was the day that I was to do speed work. I was going to do the speed work yesterday but my legs didn't feel so great. So I started off with a warm up for a little over 4 miles. My entire plan was to run a total of 9 miles and somehow fit 6 reps of 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes rest. The 2 minutes fast were to be below 5k pace or by feel. So after the warm up here is how the workout went down.

  1. 5:12
  2. 5:00
  3. 5:09
  4. 5:06
  5. 5:04
  6. 5:09

I concluded my running with a 2 mile cool down with Andrew. All in all I put in about 8.22 miles. A little short of my 9 mile goal, but I was running late for work.

A couple of things to mention here. It has been so long since I have done speed work that I forgot to do the pre-workout routine of butt kicks, strides, high knees, etc. It probably didn't affect my workout too much, but it would have certainly helped. The workout was pretty mediocre. I didn't feel the spring or power in my in my strides like I did this past Saturday or in my runs last week. I had to put in more effort than expected to complete the workout.

Based off of this workout, I'll try to run easy the rest of the week and throw in the usual long run but at a very easy pace.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

9 miles easy

This morning I made a concerted effort to get my core work in. I've been slacking in recent days but it has been ok since I probably should be taking it easy until training picks up again. I just hate missing core sessions though, and I feel guilty when I do miss them. So I got that out of the way and then headed off to the park to do 9 miles. I was supposed to do speed work today but had to switch plans because my legs just didn't feel up to it. So the plan was to do 9 as easy as I wanted to so I could be prepared for some speed work tomorrow. I jogged with easy effort and my legs definitely felt better than yesterday. I saw Andrew jogging so I broke off and joined him for a bit and talked a little about training and upcoming races. It was good that I did this because it made my remaining miles go by quickly. It didn't make me any faster though. I finished 9 miles at about 8:14 pace. I should be good to go by tomorrow though because there is no soreness or tightness left in my legs.

Oh and another thing. I think tonight is orientation night for Kenyan Way spring training(for all of you speed seekers). I believe it starts at 7pm at Luke's Locker on West Gray. There is another one this Thursday at 7 also, I believe. See ya there!

Monday, February 2, 2009

45 minutes easy

This morning my legs felt a little tight and sore. It looks like yesterday's 1 hour and 45 minute run contributed towards this feeling. I took it out real slow and ended up running my miles at 8:30 pace this morning. Today I'll try to eat well and go to bed early and see how I feel tonight and tomorrow morning. I was going to do some speed work tomorrow but I may postpone it. Oh yeah, the Super Bowl was a real heart breaker. My wife was rooting for Pittsburgh so she ended up pretty happy. Somehow when Arizona scored at the end I was still worried. My worries were confirmed when the Steelers drove down at the end and scored. This is why I don't watch sporting events from beginning to end 90% of the time. My wife felt a little bad for me and offered me some consolation. She told me that next time she would root for my team since whenever she roots against my team we always lose.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Long run

Today I really procrastinated. I was supposed to do a 2 hour run. I debated in my mind whether to do it at the local dirt track, that would be torture, or do it at Memorial Park. I was sort of leaning toward doing it close to home but then I changed my mind. I was planning to start around 9am but that was squashed(Just too lazy today). I ended up starting my run at close to 1pm at Memorial. Luckily I ran into Sean so I accompanied him on his 6 mile easy run. We had an interesting conversation and he gave me some really good tips. He also told me to cut my 2 hour run to a 1:45 hour run because I had raced yesterday. This is why I think coaches are so valuable to serious runners because many times the coaches are the ones to reel the runners in and keep them from hurting themselves. If left to my own devices I probably would be pushing myself too hard. During our run Brad jumped in. He had just come from running a 2:49 in the Chevron Houston Marathon. After Sean dropped off, I hung around with Brad for a few more loops. I learned a little more about him and his interesting background. He came from a BMX background and was a serious biker in high school. Later, after he quit competing competitively he picked up running and it grew on him. He's not built like your prototypical runner. He's built more like a running back, very muscular and boxy. Well anyway, we talked and eventually he finished his run. So I was by myself again but I was almost finished with my run. I received two surprise drive by cheers by my family during my run. They drove by and started cheering my name. Almost like my marathon :) Well anyway I ended up traveling 14.32 miles at 7:20 pace. A nice little run. I'm glad I decided to run at Memorial today.