Monday, April 24, 2006

The taper begins-the hay is in the barn

Good morning or afternoon . . . depends on when you read this. It is Monday morning while I'm writing. Two weeks from today I will know whether all the training I've been doing since November will pay off.

I need to catch you up . . . .

Last Thursday, I did Yasso 800s. My last hard speedwork session. Pretty scary. If Yassos may be used as a predictor of you marathon time as many articles have said, then perhaps I'm better than I thought. I ran all my Yassos in the 3:20 to 3:30 range. Does that truly mean that I have the potential for a 3:30 marathon???? Afterall, I have been doing almost all my long runs well under my anticipated marathon pace of 9:09. In fact, I've been doing most of my long runs in the 8:40-8:45 range. I have deliberately ran some slower ones just to get the feel of the pace but perhaps I could run 8:45s for the whole marathon. That would put me around a 3:49 marathon.

Saturday I did a 21 miler. The last long run for this training cycle (thank goodness). I'm not going to say it was routine but you know you're making progress when you can finish your run, work in the yard all day and go to a party that night until after midnight and have no ill effects from it. I really did nothing special the night before in preparation for the run. No carb loading, no long stretch of sleep the night before. In that aspect of it, I think that I'm as ready as I can be. My neighbor Chip ran with me, though he just did 15 miles (he's doing a 3 week taper for the same marathon I'm doing). It is always nice to have someone to run with, even if all you're doing is just breathing, snorting, and spitting together! I ran it in 3:06 and change. Close enough to call it 3:06. That works out to 8:51.5 pace. A little slower than previous weeks but we did throw in some slower miles in the middle. All I can do now is hurt myself more than help myself. As I said in my title: the hay is in the barn. I've got to trust my training.

On Sunday morning before church, Susan and I ran somewhere between 5 1/2 and 6 miles. An interesting thought . . . . should I call this two separate training sessions or can I say that it was the slowest marathon I ever ran (approx. 23 hours)???? I think I like the sound of two training sessions better. This was an easy recovery run for me but a good training run for Susan. This is the first time that she has been able to do a negative split . . . hooray for her. Going out was 30:33 and coming back was 30:07. Total 60:40. If it was 5 1/2 miles then we did 11:02 miles. If it was closer to 6 miles then we did 10:07 miles. I think we were probably somewhere in between. I think that she'll be ready for her 10k in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hot run

I was off tonight. I didn't cycle . . . too close to the marathon. I don't want to risk injury from wreck or overexerting different muscle groups. I did go hit golf balls at the driving range though.

I ran a nice 6 miler yesterday afternoon. It was about 90 degrees when I started and not a whole lot cooler when I finished. I averaged around 8:15 pace which I was very happy with considering it was my fourth day in a row of running and the heat.

I am starting to get nervous about the trip to Cincinnati. I honestly believe that this is the best shape I've been in and I've been training since November for it. I don't want anything to go wrong; you know-Murphy's Law. I am trying to stay away from anyone who is coughing, sneezing, or is simply unsupportive! I have my hotel room and I am registered for the race. I still have not decided if I want to drive or fly. It is about a 7 1/2 hour drive from Birmingham. I hate flying but I also don't want to be cooped up in a car for 8 hours the day after I run 26 miles.

Tomorrow, Yasso 800s. WooHoo!

Monday, April 17, 2006

19 days left to SQUEEL

Yes, I've been bad and have not posted for a couple of days.

First, I passed my exam on Friday with room to spare. NOW THAT THAT IS OVER . . . .

I can concentrate on my marathon.

I ran 18 miler on Saturday morning. Averaged 8:53 miles. I ran with Chip who was doing a 20 miler. We both agreed to run it a little slow and relax. We are both going to Cincinnati for Flying Pig. Of course, Chip is wanting to qualify for Boston next year which means he's shooting for a 3:30. Again, I am just wanting to break 4:00. It was a warm morning (about 70 degrees) but fortunately there was a slight breeze that helped. Chip started around 6:00 and I joined him around 6:30. Thank goodness we started early because it did warm up quickly. Chip is planning a 3 week taper, I am planning 2 week taper-that means that I have at least a 20 miler to do on Saturday. We both thought that over the next few weeks we'd start backing up our alarm clocks since the race starts at 6:00 am EASTERN time. Without too much discussion of my habits and morning rituals, I will probably get out of bed around 3:00 or 3:30 am. It makes a long day but it is worth it!

Sunday, I ran 5 miles with Susan. I'm trying to mentor her for an upcoming 10k (May 13) here in Birmingham. We ran around 5:00 pm but it was still warm. Like last week, I let her set the pace and I used it as a recovery run. She has a mean streak in her . . . . everytime we'd close to someone on the trail she'd speed up and say "let's dust 'em!". We averaged around a 10:40 pace. She doesn't know it yet but the goal is to get her down to a 10 minute pace for her race.

Tonight I did a 10 miler. Legs are starting to get a little tired of all the miles over the last several weeks. I am ready for a taper! I ran 8:45 for the first 7 miles and then picked it up a little and finished with 8:20s. Of course I had some help-Animal (Marc) jumped in and joined me for the last few miles and pushed me a little. I didn't have the juice I had last week. However, last week I actually did a recovery run on Monday and my 10 miler on Tuesday . . . that might be the difference. I am wanting to do a 7 miler Tuesday night to get another 40 miles in four days week. I am taking some arthritis strength Tylenol and going to bed.

Friday, April 14, 2006


A hectic week. More training at work. This has been the hardest week so far. I have actually been having to study and bring material home just to keep caught up. They're trying to cram 3 weeks worth of material into 1 week. Subject matter: Nuclear theory and sub-atomic physics. Everything you ever wanted to know about prompt and delayed neutrons. Yeah, sounds exciting to me too. The point being is that this week has been a blur and I'm ready to get back into my routine.

What better way to get back into my routine than with hill work! It had been a couple of weeks since I had done any serious speed or hill work so I picked the day before my exam, hoping to clear my mind. I guess it worked because I don't remember anything about any of the material :)

3 mile warm up

hill repeats
6 x 0.2 (1.2 milesup hill, 1.2 miles downhill, 2.4 total)

1 1/2 mile cool down.

total mileage about 7 miles. I felt really good. The repeats didn't beat me up and I held the same pace for all the repeats. I'm looking forward to my long run this Saturday. Wish me luck on my exam today.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

getting ready

What a run tonight! I am normally not given to bragging but I just realized that I have run 40 miles the past 4 days. And I have done it with no ill effects. No blisters, no pains, no doubts! That's averaging 10 miles per day for four days . . . ARE YOU LISTENING????? I think that I am about to peak in time for my marathon.

I ran 10 miles this afternoon with the intention of doing a negative split and I did it. However, I did have help from Dom "THE DOMINATOR" in the second half of my run. He really didn't push me . . . he let me set the pace, so I think I can say I did it. Big thanks to Dom!

The first 5 miles I averaged 8:32 pace. Nice easy pace. Felt very comfortable.
The second 5 miles I averaged 7:55 pace. It was a nice brisk pace but was not uncomfortable. Dom and I were still able to carry on a conversation, sort of ( a few words at a time). I think I could have picked it up a little bit more but didn't.

I was wanting to do a bike ride tomorrow afternoon but I think that I'll give my legs a break and go to the driving range and work on my golf game . . . . Lord knows I need the practice.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Getting closer

Monday night. I ran an easy 6 miler tonight. I decided to make tonight a recovery run since I did 18 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday. I am planning on running a hard 9 or 10 miler tomorrow night so an easy 6 doesn't upset me. It will be the first time in a while that I have run on 4 consecutive days. I felt good tonight so I don't think that I am risking any injury. I ran 4 miles of my 6 tonight with my neighbor Shelly. She's training for the Nashville half-marathon in a couple of weeks and I'm trying to get her pumped up about it. Her husband Keith bike but doesn't run. I run and am just starting to bike . . . . Keith and I are planning on getting together for a bike ride soon and I'm going to see if I can get him to start running.

Four weeks from yesterday is my marathon. I have two more hard weeks of training and then I begin my taper. I am really starting to get keyed up for it. I really think that I can break 4 hours if conditions are a right and I get a good start.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

End of the week

Hey all. It's Sunday night and I have had a pretty good week.

Thursday: I was supposed to do hills workout. However, after the bike ride on Wed. night, I discovered what wimpy boy I am. I ran 2 1/2 to warm up. I did two repeats on the hill and decided that I just COULD NOT DO IT. Legs were dead. However, I did another 2 1/2 miles, so I got in around 6 miles, so I'm happy about that. Worked out after the run. I am starting to tell that the lifting is helping . . . I am finally starting to get rid of my man-boobs!

Saturday: I was SUPPOSED to do 22-23 miles. However, due to the bad weather I only ran 18 miles. It was thundering and lightning until 7:30 am. Since I was going to my parents for breakfast, I made the executive decision to cut it short at 18 miles. I did that knowing that I was going to run on Sunday. 18 miles and averaged 8:50 pace. I ran with Chip who was doing a 15 miler and Animal joined us for 4 or 5 miles. We had a good, enjoyable run. Thanks guys.

Sunday: What a great day! It was high 60s-low 70s. Slight breeze. Bright, sun shiny day. I was tasked with picking a 6 mile loop for the run that Susan and I were planning on running. I picked the six mile loop through Crestline. A couple of miles of the loop is on trails which is really nice. The rest of the loop is in neighborhoods of rich folks and fancy houses which is alway fun. So after church, I picked up Susan and we went down to the "loop". I let her set the pace since this run was more for her than for me. She's trying to get ready for a half-marathon sometime this year. There are some hills along the way which require some work. We ran 6 miles at a 10:38 pace. This was perfect for me since I did the 18 miler yesterday. I never really felt tired or stressed. That means I ran 24 miles in a little over 24 hours . . . pretty happy with that! Susan did a good job. She does not really run on a regular schedule so 6 miles is quite and accomplishment. She never got wimpy or walked. She held a good pace, even up the hills. I know that I probably pushed her a little bit, though I didn't mean to. All in all, it worked out great and I had a good time "girl talking" with Susan.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Have wheels, will travel

Just got in from my bike ride. I absolutely had a blast. I was afraid that I would be holding everyone back but I seemed to fall into the #2 position pretty naturally. It definitely helped that I have good wind from my running. My legs are a little sore . . . different muscle groups but I never really did get tired. We did 26 miles after work . . . perhaps a sign about the marathon????

We averaged a little over 16.5 mph. I think we could have done better but there were a couple of stretches where we just cruised. We also made a couple of stops along the way.

I never forgot to unclip and I never took a spill. I know it is inevitable that I'll screw up but tonight was a good confidence builder! I think I may like this biking thing!

The rest of the week is BUSY! I am supposed to do hill repeats and work out tomorrow night. I am going to take Friday off. Saturday I am trying to get 22 miles in and then head to my parents for a quick visit and the KILLER BREAKFAST! I am planning on getting in some easy miles on Sunday afternoon but will have to see . . . . my running buddy still isn't sure about Sunday afternoon yet. Of course, I'm not sure yet either. I think I'll be okay after a Saturday morning long run since I am planning on running Saturday pretty slowly.

Recovery run

Good morning all. Last night was a recovery run for me since Animal ran me so hard on Monday night. I ran a 9 miler. 1:13 and change. My run was done at assorted speeds . . . I ran with Dori (Chip's wife) for a couple of miles. Then I picked up with Chip until he started his speedwork. Then I hooked up with Animal for about a mile and a half. So I had company during most of my run. It was another great afternoon for running-the sun was shining, 70 degrees, and a slight breeze. I love this time of year! Tonight seemed especially good . . . . I got a piece of good news. I may tell you more about that later. Some of you may know what it is :)

I know it is getting close to marathon time. I had my first "running" dream last night. It was the usual thing. If you've had these dreams, you know what I'm talking about- the dream where you can't find the starting line, you get lost off the course, things like that. I'm more tired from the dream than from the run last night!

I am supposed to do a bike ride this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I know . . . I am bad about not keeping this up. It is almost like work.

Last week was my last easy week before my marathon-Flying Pig in Cincinatti on May 7.

I ran an easy 7.2 miler on Monday and Wednesday. Friday morning I did 12 miles at around 8:20 pace. I really took it easy and did not run Saturday or Sunday.

Last night I ran a 6 miler. I ran the second half with Animal (Marc) and as usual, we started picking up steam along the way. I ran the 6 miler dead on 48 minutes. That's 8:00 pace for those mathematically challenged. Not considered fast by real runners but pretty fast the FatBoy. Our last mile was actually a 7:30 pace. Thanks Marc for helping me push it!

that catches me up for now. I'll post tonight since I am planning on an 8 or 9 miler.