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Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tired legs after 20 mile long run.

Ironman 101 has moved –


compression socks – I really don’t know if they work or not.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back in the saddle–tempo runs

I was feeling a little bit better – the tooth thing really took its toll on motivation. I did not miss a single scheduled workout but I did not go above and beyond either. Normally I would have had a strength training session or two but not this week.

I took all of Tuesday off. I rode the trainer for nearly an hour on Wednesday morning. Lunch would be the real workout. It was cold and windy but I needed a 10 mile tempo run. This tempo run would be ay my projected marathon pace – 6:50 minutes per mile. This is what I need for my 2:59:xx marathon. I have run these 10 mile tempos many times in the past – this is one of my bread and butter distances. I started out fine but the run got hard. I never entered the red zone but the run was more than challenging. I finished the run with an average of 6:51 – I was not beat down or destroyed but I could not help from thinking about having to run an additional 16.2 miles.


This marathon goal is going to be tough.  Saturday calls for 15 @ 7:00. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Poker nights and poker tells

A tell in poker is a subtle but detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that gives clues to that player's assessment of his hand.- Wikipedia
I played poker with the guys the other night. Now I will be the first to tell you that I am not very good at cards but I do enjoy the game. However, this night I was lucky. I walked away with over 16 bucks. Considering that this is nickel ante poker that is a bumper night.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have a tell. You see, I grit my teeth in stressful situations. From the outside you can see my jaw pulsate. I think that I have had this tell all of my life. Twenty years ago I remember my wife letting me in on the secret. We would have an argument or something and she would ask me if I was mad. Of course I would say “no” but she knew I was hiding something. She told me about the tell. So why am I telling you this?

It’s funny how things are linked. When I lost my wife and daughter you cannot believe the stress (5 years feels like a blink of the eye). I can’t even attempt to explain it. But the tell got disruptive. The constant stress – I was told it was like post traumatic stress disorder - magnified the tell. I literally started to grind my teeth down until they cracked. Some of them came out in pieces. Well, there was a tooth that I had a sedative type filling placed in it. This was a couple of years ago. This eased the pain.  However, this tooth has hurt me for a couple of years but the pain would come and go.

Well, my jaw started hurting last week. It was now hurting like someone hit me in the jaw with a two-by-four. It was not the just the tooth but my entire jaw. Massive PAIN. I waited a few days to see if it would go away. It did not. This past weekend it hurt. It hurt on the way to the race and it hurt after the race – interesting enough it did not hurt during the race.

I went to the dentist. The tooth was extracted. I have read a number of grief books and participated in a number of groups. It is funny how unrelated things end up being linked. Who would have thought that past tragedies would lead to losing teeth? I think the connections are funny.

On a side note, I knew that I would not feel like working out after the dentist so I cranked out my 800’s prior to the visit. I nailed them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Formula for a New PR

newPR = raceDistance x (PR_pace_seconds – paceReduction_Seconds)

Here is the proof:
curPR = 1:27:30
curPR = (87 * 60) + 30
curPR_in_seconds= 5250
raceDistance = 13.125
paceReduction_Seconds = 5
PR_pace_seconds = PR_in_seconds / raceDistance
newPR = raceDistance x (PR_pace_seconds – paceReduction_Seconds)
newPR = raceDistance x ((PR_in_seconds / raceDistance) – paceReduction_Seconds)
newPR = 13.125 x (400 – 5)
newPR = 13.125 x (395)
newPR = 5184.375
newPR = 5184.375 / 60
newPR = 1:26:24
So that was the plan for Sunday's First Light Half Marathon.  Actually that has been the plan for all of my races.  However, I have found a flaw in the equation.  There is another variable which I will call raceConditions.  This variable will be measured in seconds per mile and will consider the external (wind, rain, heat) as well as the internal (fatigue, taper, illness, injury) conditions specific to the race.  In the past I have not had to adjust for conditions. I simply selected my races wisely and then counted on my increased running fitness to pull me through. 

For example if the race is windy I might need to give raceConditions a value of 3.  The new formula:

newPR = raceDistance x (PR_pace_seconds – paceReduction_Seconds + raceConditions)

Maybe the proof should have looked like this:
newPR = 13.125 x (400 - 5 + 3)
newPR = 13.125 x (398)
newPR = 5223.75
newPR = 5223.75 / 60
newPR = 1:27: 03

Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 First Light Half Marathon Race Report–FAIL

“The middle is part of the race” – running legend Jim Coll

As I have mentioned a couple of time, the volume portion of my running plan is over. I have switched to the intensity phase. I had a solid tempo run on Thursday – 6 @ 6:31 pace. That was strong for me. It was a hard effort but not a race effort. My heart rate for this tempo run averaged 174 BPM. For reference, my heart rate at the Steam Whistle 12 (7.45 miles) the prior weekend averaged 176. In addition, at the Ole Man River Half my heart rate also averaged 176 BPM.

So, at the First Light I can only ascertain that I did not want to run fast. My heart rate averaged 170. Not only that but I lost this race in the middle. I had been running hard and losing ground and then just gave it up at about 8. If you look at the chart below I was actually within 9 seconds of my PR race at the Ole Man River at mile 8. However, I felt like I was over extended and fading. This is where I gave up the race.

Chart of running paces at Ole Man River and First Light Halfs.

As you can see, at mile 8 I gave it up.  I though the race was over. 
I just wanted to finish.  I allowed my heart rate to drop. 
I turned this RACE into a training run – FAIL.
Chart of heart rates at Ole Man River and First Light Halfs.

My heart rate does not indicate that I should have felt like
I was running as hard as I thought I was.  The wind did slow the pace,
however, I was simply not running hard enough – FAIL.

I thought that the PR was out the window and I hurting. I had been running into the wind and this had taken a toll. At this point I was caught by my friend Neil. He had started much slower than I.  He had also maintained his paces. After a few miles I regained my composure but was still not running to my abilities. Miles 8, 9 and 10 each hovered around 7 minute miles.

I was able to pick it up a little bit at the end but the PR streak is over. I will have to tabulate how long it lasted but it was at least a half dozen 5k’s, 2 12k’s, 7 half marathons and various other races.

As a proviso, I think I could have run this race smarter and chipped away at my half PR by a few seconds, maybe. However, I really wanted to knock a big chunk off the PR – I wanted a 1:26:20. Oh well, there will be other races. My eye is still on the prize – sub-3 marathon at Mardi Gras. I will have to have a perfect race and the run calculators are still snubbing their noses at me.

Oh yeah, this race is not chip times.  My offical time was 1:30:00 - my Garmin indicated a bit quicker.  It is funny, that would have been a solid race last year but this year it is 10 seconds per mile slower - that is HUGE.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Intensity phase – HARD tempo–Nailed it!

Starting the intensity phase of the training plan always sends shivers down my spine.  Now, I don’t mind quarter mile repeats (short and sweet) but the half miles are killers.  And the tempos – they are tough - in fact the toughest.  So today when I was walking to the gym I had some self doubts.  I needed to run 6 miles at a 6:30 pace.  That would be 39:00 minutes.


This would be tough for a training run.  I walked out to the trace with Vic.  He would be running his own pace but it is out and back.  He was going to run out for 19 and half minutes and then head back.   The pace was challenging from the beginning.  I wanted to give up at miles 2, 4 and 5.  This was a hard effort.  This was not a comfortably hard effort.  This was not a conversational pace.  This was HARD.  This was tough.  I wanted to stop. 

On the back portion of the out and back it is easier.  My heart rate did not indicate that it was easier but it felt easier.  I could see Vic a mile ahead of me.  I kept him in my sights.  This pushed me.  I would not stop.  I did not catch him but I did achieve my goal.  I finished in 39:07 with an average pace of 6:31 per mile.  I felt better and stronger than I did in last weekends Steam Whistle 12k. 

I am stoked after this run.  Next weeks tempo (Thursday) is 10 @ 6:50.  I can do this. 

I will prove the running calculators wrong (they say I am not fast enough for a sub-3 marathon).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mountain bike trails and intervals

I have begun the intensity portion of the training plan. Now, I really like the volume but these hard workouts should provide the necessary speed to meet my marathon goals. With this increased intensity I am taking more time recover. I took an off day from running following the Steam Whistle 12K on Saturday – well actually two days off from running.
On Sunday I started out with some of the TRX Metabolic Blast.  This thing is kicking my unstable cores ass.  A little later I joined the mountain bike crew and helped clear some more trails. Oh my gosh, this is hard work. You have to mark the trail then clear it with a power mover. There is a lot of chain saw work and then comes the old fashioned manual labor. The ground has to be racked and then the all of the little stumps have to be removed – with axe, awl or any type of hand implement. This type of work really makes you understand the concept of functional strength.

Birth of a trail.

On Monday I jumped on the elliptical machine. I normally hate elliptical machines – they make my body move in unnatural ways (that sounds funny – not really what I intended). However we have one (1) special elliptical machine – the Cybex 750AT. This thing actually works for me. It lets me workout hard without the impact. Next was some strength training – back to the bench press.


$8000 – dang

Tuesday brought back the trainer. I had been working on 2 x 20 minutes @ FTP but had failed recently. I dialed it back for some success – 3 x 10 @ FTP. This should allow for me to start building my cycling base again.
At lunch I attacked my intervals. After a two mile warm up I started the 4 x 800’s at 2:50. Damn, this was demanding. I was out on the trace and it is ‘pretty’ flat but there is a slight incline. So I ran back and forth and the times reflected the incline. The splits were as follows: 2:51 / 2:45 / 2:55 / 2:53 – average of 2:51. I was a little disappointed. These were hard. As I start to add two more repetitions each week it won’t be getting any easier. Time to suck it up.
After work I headed to the Family YMCA to help out with the next couch to 5k group. There were about 40 people eager and excited to take up running in their pursuit to improve their health. This is exciting stuff!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The $500 Diet

Have you made a resolution this year?  Let’s see, today is January 5th.  Is your will power starting to wane? 

I always here people talk about the movie stars and the shape that they are in – It goes something like this – I could look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club if I had a personal trainer and $20 million to lose.  Well what if instead of getting $20 million you had to pay $500?

Enter the website .   You make contracts with real consequences (optional money) on the line.  You commit to do something and then have a nonpartisan report on you progress.  It is strict accountability! 

How about losing weight.  Say you want to lose 10 pounds over the next 10 weeks.  You set up a goal date and goal weight.  Then you weigh in each week and have the nonpartisan report it.  If you met your goal – CONGRATULATIONS.  If not, your credit card is charged the appropriate amount ($$$) - Would you rather lose a pound next week or $500?  Let me show you how it works.

Just in time for New Year’s Resolutions, here’s a guide to make weight loss resolutions stickK.  It’s The $500 Diet and for a limited time you can read it for free.


Most diet books are written by physicians and scientists, but The $500 Diet is my attempt to give economics and contract law a chance to change how much you want to eat. It’s a seven-step plan to strengthen your resolve – to help you make credible New Year’s resolutions.

Would you rather lose a pound next week or $500?
You can pick from several resolutions – Lose Weight, Exercise Regularly, Quit Smoking, Race!, Maintain Weight, or a Custom Goal.


Optionally you can put money at stake to ensure that you reach your goal.  You give you credit card information.  You can have the money go to an individual, a charity or an ANTI charity (brutal).


You then assign a referee to monitor and report your progress.  If you do not succeed then your credit card is charged appropriately.


Here is the one I made for myself – Mardi Gras Marathon – sub-3 hours.


If anyone needs a referee just let me know.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Steam Whistle 12k Race Report.

The storms came in the night before.  The race was planned for 9AM but we had to postpone it until noon.   Fortunately the storm passed through town and it brought cooler temperatures. 

The race started promptly at noon.  Per normal, I started out too quickly.  I was in fourth place for the first mile but the top three were pulling away.  However, Terry soon passed me and he also started pulling away from me.

This is a hard 12k race.  The first half is slightly up hill.  I was hurting the entire out portion of the race.  My legs were hurting.  I could not wait for the turn around.  Although the effort was still hard the race felt easier on the return.  Mentally this race was hard on me.  I ran the entire race solo – I was in no man’s land (and there was some wind in the way out).  I did not have anyone to pace off.  In addition, the races that were ahead of me were just too fast.  I was not able to reel them in at all.  I knew that there were two racers about 30 seconds behind me and that kept me going.

Half way.

I was able to get a PR for the race by finishing the 12k in 49:19 (6:36 pace).  Last year was 49:38 (6:39 pace).  Of course I am pleased with a PR but I was really expecting more.  I have a lot of trouble at these shorter races (7.45 miles).  In comparison I was able to drop 2 minutes from my half marathon PR from last year (that is 9 seconds per mile).  But this race I only dropped 19 seconds.  A half marathon is only 9 more kilometers.  I wanted to drop somewhere around 12 seconds not a messily 3 seconds.  I finished 5th overall (6th last year) and 2nd in my age group (last year I got first).  I was able to maintain my place through the race.

Smaller pinecone this year.

Still, I am pleased that the PR streak continues.  I have another chance to test the waters next weekend at the First Light Half marathon in Mobile.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

TRX planks and Happy New Year

The Steam Whistle 12K has been rain delayed until noon.  I drove down to Jackson Station and put up some postponed signs early this morning – I have been up a while.  However, it looks like the storms have passed and they have brought cooler weather.  The race conditions are starting to look favorable.

I have always kept abdominal exercises in my strength training plan.  I have down the P90X abs cruncher routines and they are challenging.  When it comes to planks I am pretty good.  I can do several sets and hold them for about 90 seconds or so.  They really light up the core.  Since I have been playing with the TRX I have been humbled regarding my core strength.  With the unstabilizing nature of the TRX all of my strength goes out the door.  Take a look (I realize that my butt is too high – something I need to work on).