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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring time in Mississippi

Thursday I regrouped on the bike trainer front. I did the same 7 intervals (1 minute on 2 minutes off – warm-up / cool down of course). But this time I dialed back the intensity a fair bit. The working sets were conducted at 16% less than before. A little bit of a letdown but a complete workout is better than an aborted workout any day. And besides, it was good for my mental health as well. These intervals might have been just a hair too easy but I can always add to it later. I needed to have the success on the trainer.

At lunch I did a nice 5 miles outside. The weather was beautiful. An easy warm-up followed by progressively faster miles. I was running with some work mates and just enjoying the spring like air (it will turn cold again - but not like the midwest or all points North). The miles progressed as follows:

1. 7:40
2. 7:02
3. 6:55
4. 6:43

And on top of that I was running easy. It felt good. Now I just need to put together 18.6 of those last miles for this weekend’s “THE WALL” 30k. Sunday will be a challenge. This race will set up my paces for the marathon. I am going to try to excel and leave it all on the levy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Clockwork mornings

Tuesday morning I hopped on the trainer. I had a bright idea to start adding some intensity. I plotted out a workout that would involve a warm up followed by 7 – 1 minute intervals at very hard intensity with 2 minutes of easy recovery. I stopped after the first interval. I just do not have the intensity on the bike right now (or the tired legs – or whatever). This is where my training has always suffered. How do you fit 3 hard bike workouts while doing 3 hard run workouts? Which follows which? I am still working on that – I can do either hard bike workouts or hard run workouts – it just breaks down when I want to do both.

I had class at lunch and I was planning on doing some run intervals at the track after work. I was not looking forward to the track but I knew that once I got there it would be cool. And it was. I decided on the fly that I was going to run a couple 1200’s and call it an easy day. I ran a mile or two with Charles and the crew and then started the intervals. These would be challenging but obtainable. I wanted to round the track every 1:35 – this would put me at a slower 6:20 minutes per mile or 4:45 for each 1200 interval. I was a little bit fast the first two at 4:39 (6:12 pace). These were feeling easy – well not easy but not all out either. I felt good. Then it hit – “IT” has hit me the last 3 times at the track. Major GI distress. This is simply not like me. I have a cast iron stomach. Nothing much bothers me. But when I have been running hard in the evening (and only when I have been running hard in the evening) I feel like I am going to crap my pants. This is not much fun. So I completed the third 1200 and feeling like a deer in headlights I headed towards my vehicle. Charles and the crew asked me if I was done and wanted to run a few cool down laps – NOPE – I headed towards the elementary school – it looked like there was an open house or something – maybe I could slip in and do my damage. While walking towards the school – in just a minute or two - everything was better – no, I did not go into the school – the pain and discomfort subsided. I think that since I am a morning type of guy – between first and second cup of coffee – like clockwork – when running hard in the evening, the food that I eat all day just gets jostled around. I have been eating a pound plus of carrots during the day. I have only ran on afternoon / evening race in the last year and that race was not a problem (5KPR 19:09). I wished that I would have gotten one more 1200 but I have given myself a pass.

I hit the gym on Wednesday morning feeling great. I ran around the indoor track with Jodie for a few laps warming up and just chatting. I then made it to the treadmill where I wanted to do a set of Tabata Intervals. If you remember, these are 8 sets of 20 seconds on / 10 seconds off. The on is at an all out / break neck pace. Getting all 8 sets is hard. I set the treadmill and the stopwatch up and prepared with a little more warm up running. I started at 8 minutes per mile – this was easy stuff. I inched the speed up to a 6:18 minute per mile pace. This also was not too hard. I was feeling good. I set the treadmill for 12 MPH (5:00 minutes per mile pace) and began the Tabata Intervals. I completed all 8 sets without problem – sure they got harder but this was the easiest that they have ever been. Afterwards, feeling pumped, I hit the weights. But still feeling strong, I ran some fast straight-aways on the 200 meter indoor track. I had a great workout!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Easy swim and recovery

I slept in on Monday. I needed it. My legs were tired. I watched the Colts and Saints at the Keg and Barrel on Sunday. They had an all you can eat BBQ buffet. After logging the miles I was first in line. On a positive, I did not have a single beer. I have noticed that alcohol really does affect my recovery – so I am getting smarter.

At lunch I went to the pool for an easy swim. Chris was there and we talked for a minute or two. He had a swim workout that he found somewhere. It was challenging – a ladder up and down progressively faster. I attempted the workout but it got too quick for me. I need to work on the swim. I had forgotten how much better I swim with a structured workout – the time few by!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


On Friday I got up early and put together a good, solid 8 mile run. I started at a 7:30 minute per mile pace and tried to increase the speed each mile. I finished up the run at just about 7:00 minutes per mile with an average of 7:12 for the 8 miles.

I was planning on running again at lunch but got wrapped up in a racquetball game. It was good fun and probably a good idea to skip the run – I was already committed to running after work.

I wanted another 8 miles after work. I met Jim at about 5:15 and I was running home. Jim was going to run the first couple with me. This run was at an easy pace. I did, however, cut the run short. It just plan got dark – QUICK. I got 6 miles and called it a day. After I cleaned up - my legs were sore. Much more sore than they would have normally been. I guess it was just from the accumulating fatigue of 3 exercise sessions.

Jim came over to the house early on Saturday. We had planned on putting together a pretty long run. There was also a group ride a little bit later in the morning that I had wanted to do.

We went out at an easy pace. It took about a mile for my legs to loosen up. Jim dropped off at about mile 9. At the 10 mile turn around point I stopped and spoke with some cyclist. Jim never showed up. I turned towards home and put together some of my fastest miles – even up hill. This was the best that I had ever felt at the 10 mile mark. This feeling kept up and I felt great at 12 miles. At mile 14 I was still feeling pretty good – then it started to hurt. The last six miles were tough. I kept the pace up and I even ran mile 19 deep into the 7 minutes per mile area. I was a little sore after the run. I got 20 miles for the run and 34 miles in 2 days. Jim was waiting at my house when I finished. He got about 18 miles.

Sunday I was going to do the group cycling ride but laced up the shoes again. I headed out on the trace and my legs were slow and sore. I was thinking about only running 3 miles. Then I saw Neil heading my way. I turned around and ran with him for 2 miles. He had just finished up an 8 mile tempo run. I did the 2 mile ‘cool down’ at about a 7:20 minute per mile pace. I was now headed towards campus and would end up with 12 miles. I kept running and I was doing the numbers in my head. This was an easier run than the 20 miler the day before and if I just got 16 miles total I would complete 50 miles running in 3 days – a long weekend if you will. And that is what I did. 50 miles for Friday / Saturday / Sunday. I did something similar to this over the winter holiday and had a minor peak for the First Light Half Marathon. I am hoping for the same for “the WALL” 30k next weekend. So much for training smart.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Short, fast, hard – FAIL

It has been a little while since I failed at one of my exercise sessions. It is frustrating but that is part of the game. I went outside this morning and wanted to put together a 5 mile run at a 6:30 minute per mile pace. McMillan says I should now be able to run it at a 6:22 pace (in a race and all of that) – in addition my 5k times are in the low 19’s (sure it has been a year but I am sticking to it). I set up the GPS ‘virtual nemesis’ guy for said distance and pacing. He did not start out as slow as he usually does but at a manageable pace. I thought, “Not too bad”. My legs were still sore from the speed work on Tuesday night but I have seen sore legs before. At the start of almost all of these races over the last 6 weeks my legs have been sore at the starting line. I have had my doubts at each of these starting lines but the legs have not let me down. And today it was a little warmer - the temperatures in Southern Mississippi have returned to normal – 65 degrees and 100% humidity.

I was just not on game today – not physically or more importantly mentally. At the mile and a half mark I was holding steady but then I let me slip away. I pulled up – I let the digital nemesis go – he had been holding my shoulder and waiting for a break - he passed with authority and never looked back. I turned around at headed back to base camp. I was a dejected. During the much slow run I was able to pick myself up by my boot straps. FAILING is part of the process. Every night I push that trophy just a little further away. I remember when I thought it was too far out of reach in the past. I look at those lines in the sand. Some of them took years to cross (breaking the 20 minute barrier in the 5k) – but I step over them regularly. They are easy now. Some of the milestones are now easy training days. I remember the fear and trepidation of swimming 10 laps in a row in the pool much less the panic of my first 1/3 mile swim in a triathlon. I failed in the pool way back when. I failed at my first open water swims. Those are nothing now – I mean not even a warm up!

We like to succeed. We like to succeed all of the time. It feels good to accomplish things. However, these days it seems like so many accomplishments now are so easily achievable. They require no real work and therefore they have no real value. The successes are only worth the effort involved! If I don’t push the trophy a little further away each day then what value does a trophy have if you only have to walk across the run to get it?

I failed today – I pushed the limit and came up short. I like to say – “I’m never down. I’m either up or in the process of getting back up!” Today I am getting back up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10 YASSOS!!!

With an extra day off I rested. My legs were tired after the race. I got up early but took a nap in the early afternoon. However, the weather was beautiful and I took the bike outside for the first time all year. I put together an easy 30 mile ride. My legs were a little tired but the day was so nice.

I got up early on Tuesday and wanted to get in the water. I got to the gym early but the pool lights were off. I was not the only one wanted to swim. I guess the pool guy slept late. Having this happen to me in the past I had a contingency plan. I changed into workout clothes and went up stairs and put together a tough strength training workout.

I did quite a few sets of chest, back, legs and abs. I am sure that I will be sore for a couple of days. There was no workout at lunch do to classes starting up.

After work I went to the track. I saw several pacers but Jim was absent – he was a no show. The plan was for 10 Yasso 800’s! This would be hard. The original plan was to do them at marathon pace – but that is a moving target right now. Last week I was able to do several at below 3:00 – that would be my mark tonight. I started out too quick – the first one clicked off at 2:51 – way too fast.

I tried to slow it down a bit but the second clicked off at 2:55. I now had to slow it down or I would blow up. I slowed it down and was able to complete the set. Slowing down made the sets challenging but achievable.
01. 2:51
02. 2:55
03. 3:00
04. 3:06
05. 3:05
06. 3:04
07. 3:05
08. 3:03
09. 3:06
10. 3:02
Ten Yasso’s were the goal when I started and I can check them off the list. Now I just need to get a little faster or extend these repeats out to 1200’s!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Larry Fuselier State Championship 25K Race Report

I got up early this Sunday morning following a wonderful Saints playoff win. I went over to Jim’s house and watched the game. Charles was there also. Jodie made a kick ass Saints cake for the game. I ate too much and drank a couple of beers.

For the 25K race in New Orleans I had to get up at 3:10 AM. I thought to myself – Who’s idea was it to do these races. Such an early morning after a Saints playoff win – remember, you have to celebrate these – this has only been the 3rd win in history.

So, we got to New Orleans at 7:00 AM about an hour from the start of the race. I was definitely not feeling good for the race. I was a little scared about the distance. Sure I had run 15 miles before but I have never raced the distance. I was unsure of my pacing.

I decided to set the GPS watch for the same time as last week – 6:55 minutes per mile. This would be a challenge. This 25K race (15.5 mile race) is on a levy along the Mississippi River. This means that there will be a wind – a strong wind. I started out and tried to follow the virtual trainer and I was successful for the most part. The wind was brisk but tolerable. I soon found myself in a group of strong girl runners. I tucked in behind them to break the wind. I kept with them for several miles. They started to break up and slow just a bit and I had to take the wind on by myself. This was brutal. I got caught up in no man’s land. I trudged along. As I neared the half way point the wind got even stronger. It was in your face. Another runner caught up with me. He was wearing a 70.3 New Orleans shirt from last year. I started to get chatty. We talked about the race for a couple of miles. I asked him his age to make sure that I would not get beat out – he was 30 – 34.

As we rounded the turn around the wind just stopped. There was no wind on the way back – the air was still – it almost got hot. As we talked he said he was from Hattiesburg – we had not really looked at each other but I quickly realized that this was Chris S. – a local triathlete – I know this guy. This is a small world.

I had been chasing a guy in a purple Louisiana shirt for all of the race and he was a few hundred feet ahead of me. Chris and I had run along for a couple of miles but I picked up the pace with 4 miles to go – Chris fell back a little bit.

I was on my own but my pace quickened. I was making good time and gaining on the man in purple – just not gaining quick enough. According to the virtual trainer guy I had lost 200 feet to him at the turn around but I was making time now. At mile 11 or so I broke even with the virtual trainer guy. And I just tried to put more time into him. I never caught the guy in purple – he finished 15 seconds ahead of me but I did put 300+ feet into the virtual guy. I finished 10th overall with a 1:46: xx time for the 25k averaging 6:53 minutes per mile. I saw one of the girls after the race and thanked her for breaking the wind the on the way out – she got a kick out of that!

Jim was not happy with his run at 2:01 but Charles beat his time of 2:20 by a minute. These races have been hard but they are paying off!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mid week tempo

Wednesday was an easy day – my legs were tired after the Yasso 800’s from Tuesday. So I only did an easy bike on the exerbike during lunch. I did this just so that I could read a book. I followed the short bike with some strength training.

Thursday, I did the bike trainer in the morning and I prepared for a tough run workout during lunch. I had arrived at work early so that I could take a little longer at lunch. My training plan called for a short warm up with a tough 10 mile tempo run. Working the FIRST training plan all of the workouts are challenging. The pace in that the plan called for was at a 7:26 minute / mile pace. This is for the 3:15 marathon training plan. This pace seemed too easy. I flipped to the 3:10 marathon training plan and it demanded a 7:15 minute / mile pace. This was also not as challenging. I was perplexed as to my pace.

I decided to go out at a 7:10 minute / mile pace. This seemed comfortable – almost conversational. Heading out from the university is very slightly uphill. I tried to stay at the designated pace but it quickened at the turn around. It was hard turning around. I was about an eighth of a mile from my house. The pace topped out at 6:50 minutes / mile – the pace that I ran Sunday’s half. I finished the run with an average pace of 7:02. It did get hard. This was a solid run for the middle of the week.

I am reevaluating my pacing for the marathon. I can play it safe or hug the edge.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Yasso's

Monday was a ‘recovery day’. I got in the pool for lunch and did an easy 1500 yards (3 x 500). This was much better than last week. I did not time any of the repeats but the swim is coming back. It has still been cold at work so I took it real easy and jumped in the sauna for about 10 minutes. It felt awesome.

Tuesday was back to the plan. I woke up and the legs were tired. Trying to get back into the routine following the holiday – I jumped on the bike trainer for a 45 minute spin. As I said, the legs were tired but I was glad that I did it.

Lunch time was going to be another easy workout. I was either going to jump in the pool again or do easy spinning on the exerbike (read a book). However, I ended up playing racquetball for 30 minutes. After the racquet sports I headed upstairs for just a little bit of strength training. This would be easy stuff. I have not worked out with weights in a while and wanted to take it easy so that I am not so sore that it affects my running. I did three sets of the bench press and then a couple sets of stiff legged dead lifts. Nothing heavy but I did feel it – and I am sure I will continue to feel it for the next couple of days.

The real workout for the day was right after work – at the track. I wanted to increase the Yasso 800’s by two. I completed 6 sets last week with an average time of 3:05 for the 800 meters. I met Charles and Jim at the track and we worked out the details for the 25K race this Sunday. It looks like we will be driving down the morning of the race. The temperature should be much better than last week’s race – more like 40 degrees. This will be perfect weather. This race is along a levy near New Orleans – the wind could be a factor. Looking at the McMillan Running Calculator (turn down your speakers) my times are falling into line. It indicates that my 25K pace time should be 6:56 minutes per mile – and on top of that my marathon time is now projected at 3:08:41 at a 7:12 minute per mile pace – we will see about that!

Back to the track workout– I wanted to complete 8 of the 800 meter repeats at 3:05. I started out too fast, as usual, and completed the first set at just under 3:00 minutes. These were hard but achievable. I tried to keep the pace up. My times were as follows:

WU - 800 repeats
1. 2:59
2. 2:58
3. 2:59
4. 2:59
5. 3:01
6. 3:02
7. 3:00
8. 2:59

Monday, January 11, 2010

First Light Half Race Report - PR

My legs were tired on Saturday. There would be no running prior to the race on Sunday morning. I did, however, jump on the bike trainer for 45 minutes. It was cold in the house (good for the trainer) and I did not turn a fan on me. This was a mistake. Even at a comfortable pace I was dripping sweat within minutes. I took off my shirt and continued to spin away.

For the First Light Half Marathon I left the house at 4:00 AM and picked up Jim at his house. It was COLD. I brought 2 large mugs of coffee with me for the 2 hour drive and even picked up a third cup during the drive. At packet pick-up I even topped off my mug. I picked up a couple of extra race packets for people that were not able to make the race. The race people asked me if it was because of the temperature – I’m sure it was a factor. It was in the very low 20’s at the race start. I ran a few warm up miles (a couple of blocks – not miles) to determine how much clothing to wear. I had compression socks (knee highs) on my legs, compression shorts covered with tights, a compression shirt covered with a long sleeved zipped shirt, some old socks with the toes cut out for arm warmers and an ear warmer type headband thingy. Although my feet were frozen – and would stay frozen for a couple more hours – I decided to ditch the tights and put on shorts. This would work out well. Prior to the start we ran into Neil and Aaron. They were both at the Ole Man River race. At that race I tried to hang with Neil (who went out at a 6:35 pace) and I blew up at about mile 2. That was a tough race – a PR but a tough race. Today I would race my own race!

This race does not use timing chips so I inched my way towards the front. I had set my gps watch for 6:55 minute miles (for 13.15 miles – just to be safe). I was going to try to follow my pacing as close as possible. I started off and made my way through the crowd. There were people passing me but I was working the plan. I did not see Neil or Aaron at all. So the weather was cold – and it was also very windy. Working my own pace, it soon left me in no man’s land – and into the wind. I saw a group of runners a couple of 100 feet ahead of me but it would have been too hard to close the gap without blowing up. At about mile 3 I could hear foot steps behind me. I was pleased that someone was passing me and I jumped on their shoulder and let them carry me to the pack ahead. In this pack I got a little chatty – I was running at my goal pace and I was still chatty. One of the guys had a Boston Marathon jacket and I said that I was working on getting one of those. This guy and one other were running the marathon and shooting for a sub-3. Just about my pace. I jumped in line with them. At mile 7 we passed Neil. He had gone out much slower than in the last race – I had seen him just head for a long time. I tried to get him to jump on as we passed but he was hurting a little bit. He said he was going to try and log some 7 minute miles – I was a little faster at this point.

I enjoyed the ride from these marathon guys but had to leave them at mile 8 – where the half and full split ways. I was alone again and I would have to pace myself now. I was all alone for about 2 miles and about 2 tenths of a mile ahead of my ‘virtual trainer’.

At mile 10 a strong runner in his 20’s passed me. I grabbed his shoulder and got pulled along. This was a hard pace. At the water stops I had to slow and walk a step or two while I drank – he was able to drink on the run. I mustered the strength and got back on him again. However, he started pulling away. I had also heard someone behind me with much labored breathing. They were slowly gaining and that encouraged me to keep the pace up. I knew it was not Neil – it was a girl. I tried to keep her from passing me but she was persistant. I never slowed she just steady gained on me. As she overtook me with 2 tenths of a mile remaining she said – “Come on” – or something to that effect. I dug deep and tried to sprint out the end but it was just not there (my last tenth of a mile was at a 6:30 pace – just not fast enough). If it had been Neil I might have been able to pick it up more – but…

This was the smartest race I have ever run. The first half of the race felt too easy. It was very hard to maintain this ‘easier’ pace. The race did get hard and it was tough but SO MUCH EASIER than all of my recent races. The splits were much more even and the heart rate had few spikes. This is how you are supposed to run these races. I am glad that I decided to race so much for this marathon training. Not only are these races more valuable than training runs in fitness – they are much more valuable in race experience and strategy. The plan is coming together.

I ended up in 14th overall and I won my age group with a sub-1:30 (1:29:38 – I also think the race was a little long – not by much – but several people recorded 13.2 miles – no biggie). By my watch I ran a 6:47 pace and by official time it was a 6:50 pace. It was evening paced with one slow mile and one fast mile - back to back.  There might have been a small hill.  My average heart rate was 179 beats per minute- three beats per minute faster than my last half. This is interesting because I went out so much easier. My confidence is building for a Boston Qualifying Mardi Gras Marathon.

Next weekend is the 34th Annual Larry Fuselier RRCA Louisiana State 25K (15.5 miles) Championship.

Splits for the First Light Half

01 0:06:44
02 0:06:52
03 0:06:42
04 0:06:52
05 0:06:38
06 0:07:01
07 0:06:29
08 0:06:53
09 0:06:52
10 0:06:46
11 0:06:45
12 0:06:47
13 0:06:48
0.15 0:06:31

Saturday, January 9, 2010

First Light Prep

It has been a hard week getting back into the groove of work. First, the gym was closed on Monday and Tuesday. This threw off my schedule. I only ended up making it to the pool on one occasion. Second, the cold weather that has moved into Southern Mississippi has been brutal. I know that this is not like other parts of the country but it has been difficult this week – my office at work has finally warmed up some – I still wore my jacket all of Friday while at work.

On Friday at lunch I was supposed to go for a run outside with Jim – to make up for the missed tempo run from Thursday (freezing temperate and heavy rain). I suited up with a couple of base layers as well as tights. I almost never wear tights but thought that they might be a good idea. After I was completely dressed I ran into Jim – he said that we would have to run indoors – he did not have the proper clothes for an outside run. I offered him some of my extra base layers and extra jackets and even the tights. No go! So we ran on the indoor 1/8th mile track. This track circles above several basketball courts and is always cold. To simulate the colder temperatures that I would experience on race day I wore thin running shorts and a running singlet. It was pretty cold. We warmed up for a couple of miles in and around 8 minutes per mile. I’m not sure why but I pushed the pace on the 3rd mile to 6:40. The fourth was slower but mile five was faster. It ended up being 6:35 for the final mile.

This was a good effort but not too hard. It was comfortably hard for me. The highest that my heart rate monitor read was 178 – not that high. For example, a week prior, at the Steam Whistle 12K (7.45 miles) my heart rate averaged 181 for the race (6:39 minutes per mile).

I felt strong during this short indoor track run. I have been working on my pace stagey for Sunday’s half marathon in Mobile (the First Light half and full marathon). My last half I PR’d with an average pace of 7:09 and at the Steam Whistle I had an average pace of 6:39 (7.45 miles – a little over half of a half). Both of these races I went out a bit fast. I am wondering if I just try to run my goal half pace of 7:00 or if I should be a little more aggressive and try to hang on again. That is what I have done for all of my races and it is HARD – it is NOT FUN – and it probably is not the fastest way to run the race.

On top of the pace concerns, the temperature at race start looks like 23 degrees. I am debating whether to wear the tights.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Body fat scan ...

My legs were still tired. Not so much from the running on Tuesday but from squats this week. This always happens. Anytime that I do any strength training with my legs – it takes days for them to recover. And these weren’t like I was pressing a ton of weight. On Monday and Wednesday I did several sets of ‘body weight’ squats. Just body weight squats. My legs were just tired.

I stepped on the scale the first thing in the morning and I weighed 159.0 – this is the lowest I have been in months. This was encouraging. I felt good about my sticking to my diet and seeing results. With my legs tired I skipped the morning workout. Jim and I had already planned for a good tempo run at work.

I walked over to the HPR building to meet Chris. We talked a bit and then he did the Dexa Scan. As I had mentioned earlier, my body fat scale reads 8.x in athlete mode and 18.x in normal mode. I would be happy if it split the difference. I was very frustrated with the results. The Dexa Scan indicated that my body fat was 17.5 percent. I was surprised that it was that high. Chris was surprised that it was that high. I mean I can see my ribs and some of my abs (very vague but they can be seen in just the right light). There is slight definition. But the Dexa Scan is very accurate. What are you going to do?

Chris and I talked for a bit about diet and exercise. We have talked before. I always eat too few calories and I need to work on this area. When I want a calorie deficiet I cut too much.

The run got skipped at lunch. The weather has been cold and rain started to move into the area. Lunch brought cold temperatures and rain. Jim and I both passed on the run. I thought about doing the tempo on the treadmill. I actually wanted to do the tempo run but my legs were still fatigued. I played racquetball instead.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Body fat? I wonder...

I got up on Wednesday and all that I knew was that I did not want to go for a run in the 25 degrees. Having run the Yasso 800’s the night before the legs needed a rest. The fitness center would be opening back up toady and I had trouble deciding just what I wanted to do today. I could ride my trainer and watch some television on the internet or I could go to the gym and ride the exercise bike and read a book. I have been enjoying reading but with my race bike on the trainer it is difficult to read - I am in an aero position in the aero bars – it just does not work well for the reading. Watching television is not a problem.

Anyway, I weighed the pros and cons and it cost me valuable time. I do so much better when I actually work a plan and just follow it. With the running I have not been following a plan but there is some structure. I am doing my main workouts – intervals, tempo and long runs – with several races spaced throughout the plan. It is the cross training where I am having difficulties.

So I decided to just stay home because driving to the campus and then walking to and from the gym would eat up even more minutes. I only rode about 20 minutes on the trainer – it was a little more intense but I should have managed my time better.

At lunch I got in the pool for the first time in about 2 months. I took my wetsuit but, fortunately, it was not necessary. I do wish that swimming was like a bicycle. I feel like I have lost a lot of swim fitness. Sam and Chris were also in the pool and we just worked on drills. I only got about 1000 yards (20 minutes or so) but it was productive – the numbers are just not impressive. I spoke with Chris about a Dexa Scan – so that I could get a baseline on my body fat. I have a Bioelectrical Impedance scale but it is not accurate, however, I do believe that is precise. I have always just used it to track trends. Used in this method it is functional. But, I would like to know the offset. In the athletic mode the scale reads my body fat in the 7’s but in the normal mode it reads about 20 – big variance. I had calipers done a year or so ago and it was around 15 or 16. Before the ironman they had a Bioelectrical Impedance scale at check in and it read 12 percent. So I do not know where I am – with the Dexa Scan, the new gold standard for body fat analysis, it will give me the offset – I will know how much to add to the 7.x. Much better tracking.

I had some time on my hands after work and I hit the gym again. I wanted to run on the treadmill at a 7 minute pace – to see how that felt and make a determination if that is the pace that I want to run this weekend’s half marathon. That was my gold medal pace for the Ole Man River Half. I ran that at a 7:09 but I went out way too fast. I think that I have some more speed – just not sure if it is 7 or FASTER. The last race that I ran – the Steam Whistle 12k – I was able to ‘hang on’ for the 7.45 miles at 6:39. I have been thinking – wondering – if I could have held on for another 5 miles. The answer is NO – but what about a 6:50? Not sure on that one but I would love to see a 1:29: xx!

The run did not work out – my legs were just too tired. In addition, I lack motivation in the evenings. It is much harder to get the job done. I canned the run after mile and did a little strength training. I then called it a day.

I am still working the health eating plan and I am having success. I weighed in at 159.8 – the first time that I have been in the 150’s since just before my ironman (just prior to the taper in fact). I have been eating very well and it has been easy. I do very well when bad food is out of sight – it truly is out of mind. This is what my dinners have been looking like – good stuff.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Frozen tundra -

I rode the bike trainer for 30 minutes on Tuesday morning. I was planning on do a short warm up and then do a 20 minute TT. I just could not hold a decent pace. I aborted. The legs were burning. I do need to start upping the cycling intensity but with the running it has been hard. Something I need to get under control.

At work it was Day 2 of the frozen tundra. Let me explain. The university campus shut down for the holiday. The furnaces were shut down. So we got back to work on Monday and the physical plant was coming but out to each building and restoring the heating system. It was cold in the buildings. My building is one of the oldest on campus and I have a wall of not very insulated windows.  It was 50 – 60 degrees cold inside. I realize that it does not sound that bad. But, when you come in from the 30 degree outside and then sit at a desk for 8 hours in 60 degrees – YOU NEVER WARM UP!

In addition, the fitness center’s heat would not come back on so the facility is still not open (should open tomorrow). I thought about going for a run outside at lunch but I backed out. I was worried about coming back to the office a little sweaty and then not being able to warm back up.  I know that the pool will be super cold.  I am going to take my wetsuit with me in the morning.

After work I met Charles at the track. The sun was going down and it was COLD - the temperature was in the low 30’s. We did a warm up for 1.5 miles and then we each did out own 800’s. I was playing it smart. The Yasso’s call for 800 meters at 3:15 (a 6:30 minute per mile pace). I almost always go out too fast but this time I was going to just do the time. The last time I did these I only did 4. I was going to add to that – I completed 6 800’s – the slowest being the first:

1 0:03:10
2 0:03:03
3 0:03:05
4 0:03:06
5 0:03:07
6 0:03:05
I have another half marathon this weekend and it should warm up to the 30’s for race day. Perfect conditions.

On the food front – it has been going great. I have been doing very well. I have been very good food – both taste and nutrition. This is falling into place.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No SWIM for you!

I got back to work today –not real excited about swimming but ready to get back in the pool none the less and guess what? The fitness center here at the university was closed. The heating is broken and the center will not open back up until Thursday. Bummer – I was planning on getting back to the swim. It has been freezing here in Mississippi (actually in the 30’s – I know it is not that cold – I did live near Chicago for a dozen or so years so I do know the cold). The pool is going to be a block of ice! I think I will have to bring my wetsuit.

With no fitness center – what was I to do? Jim wanted to go for a run at lunch but I am trying to be smarter than usual and I said “No way” to the run. My legs feel fine but I know that the recovery time is when you make your gains. I really want to bank some of the “Holiday Running Camp” miles. I did get a few body weight exercises done in my office. A couple of my co-workers joined in – it was just 3 sets of 30 pushups / squats (super set) with 1 minute of recovery. That does not sound like much does it? It was tough and none of us completed the pushups. To be fair these were REAL pushups – controlled and slow. But still – we all should have been able to nail these.

It was also nice to see the bulletin board wiped clean and several people had already updated their weights. There are lots of unhappy people this time of year - I know because I am usually one of them. It is always back to the grindstone. As they say – you can manage what you measure!

I am looking forward to my body mass getting back into line. I have been doing very well with eating health and enjoying the results. I brought 5 lunches and 10 snacks to work and I will follow through. I have also started the diet log once again. I was even tempted to start a diet photo log - take a picture of everything that you eat. That is real motivation - it is a lot harder to put some crappy food in your mouth if you have to show everyone exactly what you are eating. I'm not sold on the idea yet but it will be put into place if necessary (you will have to put up with the boring pictures if I go this route).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Running Camp

Well, with the holidays officially over I have not only been able to maintain my weight, I have actually lost a little bit. I have been watching what I eat and avoiding my trigger foods. I have also upped my exercise during this holiday.

I decided to take advantage of my time off (2 weeks –and no travel). I did go to New Orleans the first weekend for a race (Ole Man River Half Marathon– 1:33:53 PR) and I behaved for the most part. I did have two ice creams for dessert at lunch post race. I also had a few drinks in the French Quarter the night after the race. But other than that I have been on task regarding my diet.

Further taking advantage of the holiday, I conducted a little running camp. I thought that this would be a good time to really up the mileage and increase some of the paces. Without having to go to work it gave me time to get some time to do some long runs without having to run in the dark hours of the morning or evening. Even more importantly, the time off, has giving me time to recover from these endeavors. I have been impressed with my recovery this past 2 weeks. This is an area that I have really struggled with in the past. I remember my first half marathon in November of 2008 – 14 months ago. It took me nearly 2 weeks to recover from that race alone. I tried to run a little bit and push the pace and it just was not there. So during this time off I was able to successfully race twice by meeting or exceeding my goals. The chart below shows my running for the 2 weeks – 16 days. I took a total of four complete days off from running and had two days where I ran really short but pushed the pace. These short intense sessions were to decide on paces for the upcoming races. I also did the longer runs in groups of 3 and then took a day off (on these off days I rode the bike trainer – total time on the trainer during the holiday was 6 hours). The three day run groupings broke down as follows:

1. 28.71 miles / average 9.57 miles per day
2. 33.16 miles / average 11.05 miles per day
3. 43.13 miles / average 14.37 miles per day
I finished up the holiday with  12 miles (7.45 miles at race pace), 16 miles and then another 15 miles - back to back.  I never felt any discomfort while running – sure the legs were tired and a little sore immediately following the runs and also during the morning the next day – but it was manageable.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Weight - a year in review

I have been weighing and recording the number for nearly 7 years now. I like to look at the data at the end of the year. I know that you are not supposed to weigh everyday and I do get frustrated when my weight is up. For example, I seem to be really influenced by salt. There would be many occasions this year where I would go and do a VERY HARD session consisting of an hour open water swim followed by 50 or 60 miles on the bike (in extremely hot and humid conditions) followed by a 10 + mile run (same damn hot humid conditions). I would be drinking a lot of water and a lot of sports drink. I would eat a healthy dinner and I would wake up weighing 7 – 10 pounds more than the day before. Yes -  frustrated would be the word. I know that it is water weight but – come on. Anyway, I do like to record the data and try to ‘nip it in the bud’ when my weight rises. Easier said than done – and it seems like it is getting harder and harder. You read all of the year end 'lose 10 pounds' diet advice. They always say just cut out the full strength soda and go for a walk for a few minutes a day.

It gets harder when you have already done all of that. Looking at the chart below, It always looks like this - this is the trend. My weight will peak in the winter and gradually go down as the race season progresses. I have made a commitment to my self to lose 10 pounds (I would like for my race weight to 155) prior to the Mardi Gras Marathon – that gives me 8 weeks!


2009 Ave – 163.8
MAX-         169.6 (10/19)
MIN –         158.0 (08/12)

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year 2010 and Steam Whistle Race Report.

Closing out 2009 – This was a year of many firsts. I stepped into the deep end and signed up for my first ½ ironman as well as my first full ironman. I enjoyed the experience of both races. I also increased my volume in all three disciplines – the swim / bike / run. While increasing my volume I was able to achieve a Personal Best in almost all of my races (actually all of my races except for the Jazz Half Marathon – I ran this race for fun). I believe that this is typical of your third year in endurance sports. I am hoping to continue this trend by dipping into my ironman base.

Races in 2009:

Run for Love 5K – 19:19 PR
St. Thomas Irish Italian 5K – 19:09 PR
April Fool’s Duathlon – PR – 57:07 ***
70.3 New Orleans – 5:30 PR ***
Heatwave Triathlon – 2:09 PR (by 5 minutes)
Dragonfly Triathlon – 1:36 PR ***
Sunfish Triathlon – 1:17 PR (by 6 minutes)
Heart O’Dixie Triathlon – 2:13 PR (by 10 minutes)
Ironman Louisville – PR – 11:18 ***

Jazz Half Marathon – 1:40 (NO PR)
Baton Rouge Beach Half Marathon- 1:37:07 PR (by 8 seconds)
Ole Man River Half Marathon – PR – 1:33:53 PR (by 4 + minutes)
*** First time at this distance

2009 Totals –

Bike:        4459.58 Mi - 249h 19m 14s Pace: 17.88 Mi/hr
Run:         1023.25 Mi - 148h 28m 31s Pace: 08m 38s Mi
Swim:  231014.00 Yd -   76h 31m 30s Pace: 01m 59s /100 YdAvg

As you can see in the chart below – my volume for October and November really dropped off of the map. I did not meet any of my mileage goals for the year (5000 bike / 1200 run / 300,000 swim) but I count this year as a huge success!  On a side note, last month was my biggest running month for the year – I guess that is what happens when you shift to a running based goal (to BQ at the Mardi Gras Marathon).

Now onto The Steam Whistle 12K New Year’s Day race.

This race is on the trace just out my back door.  Jodie and I rode our bikes down to Jackson Station and picked up our race packets.  I programmed my GPS watch to run at a 6:40 minute / mile pace. This would be a reach for me. Last week I ran a strong 4 mile tempo run with the last 3 miles being at 6:40 pace. I though that in race conditions I could, maybe, push this pace and last for the entire 12K (7.45 miles). This would be tough. It was a cold morning lining up at Jackson Station and we were all anxious to run. I spoke with Steve C. before the race and hoped that I could pace off of him. He was not sure of the pace that he would be running. I stuck to my plan and ran off of the ‘virtual partner’. He was set for exactly 6:40 minutes per mile which should allow for me to finish the race at just under 50 minutes. This would be my Gold Medal goal for the race.

First the first 2 K’s I was in fourth place – first and second being way out in front and pulling away fast. I was running a little too fast and quickly got about 180 feet ahead of the ‘virtual partner’. This guy just goes out too slow – or maybe I was a little too fast. I tried to slow down just a little bit and run even pace. I was slowing during the middle part of the race – Terry and Robin paced me easily. They were just doing a ‘training run’. They passed me easily. I was able to pick up the pace towards the end of the run and achieve my goal time. I finished the race in 49:38 with an average pace of 6:39. I met my goal and I am going to continue to try to race myself to a Boston Qualifying Time of 3:14:59 (7:28 minutes / mile pace). I ran this race hard with an average heart rate of 181. I ended up finishing 6th out of 97 and first in my age group. Everyone that beat me was years older (8 of the top 10 were older than 42). These guys were always fast and have just gotten older.  After helping clean up and getting Jim's truck unstuck (a huge effort by many pine belt pacers) - Jim and I decided to get a few more miles under our belts.  We got another 4.6 miles to end up with just over 12 miles for the day.