Friday, December 29, 2006

Last Friday of the year

Happy New Year! Almost. Today is the last Friday of the year and there is no one in the office. Well, almost no one. That is a good thing where I work . . . that means that I can get some work done with little interruption.

Wednesday night-
I did a 5 miler. I was wanting to do 6 or 7 but the schedule thing just kept me from it. I will be glad to get out of the holiday season and get back to a more normal schedule. Anyway . . . I ran 5 miles about 8:50 pace. Not fast and not too slow. As baby bear would say-"just right". It was just enough work to make me clear my head. I like those kind of runs.

Thursday night-
Hill work. As usual, I warmed up with 2 1/2 miles at a pace a little slower than 9 minutes. I am starting to tell that the hills I've been doing the last several weeks are starting to do me some good. I added one repeat last night meaning that I did 5 hill repeats and it felt really good. I cooled down with a run of 1 1/2 miles.

2 1/2 miles
5 x .02 miles up hill & 5 x .02 miles downhill (2 miles)
1 1/2 miles

Total of 6 miles last night.

Tomorrow I am planning on doing 15 miles. I'll try to post it tomorrow.

I hope everyone out there has a great weekend. I am sure that there are plenty of "end of year" runs and "resolution" runs going on so I wish you all fun and speed for whatever run you're planning on doing.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A new year approaches

Hey all. Yes, I know . . . I've been lazy on my postings. Actually, like most folks, the holiday schedule has taken me away from the mundane, routine way of life. As much as I enjoy the time with family and friends, I do enjoy getting back into my routine. Isn't that a sad statement about me and my life?

Running. Yes, I have been doing some of that. Let me scratch my head and see if I can recall since this is my only running diary.

Last Thursday was hill work. I did the same that I have done the last several weeks- I warmed up with 2 1/2 miles at an easy pace (9:15-9:30). Then I took on my hill. The same one . . . . 0.2 miles of a steep climb. Did it four times. I didn't bump it up to five as I wanted to do (maybe this week). Then I ran 1 1/2 miles to cooldown.

Saturday morning. Long run. Though my next serious run will be the end of April, there are a couple of half marathons that I'll be doing before then. Therefore, it is only appropriate that I need to be running at least that distance. I did 13.2 miles. I did deliberately slow down a little bit, just so that I wouldn't feel wiped out later in the day when I went to my parents for Christmas dinner. I did the whole run on my 1.2 mile loop in the neighborhood. I got an early start around 7 ish and it was still pretty cool (upper 40s). I started in a long sleeve but after a couple of loops, I ran into the house for a quick pottie break and to change to a short sleeve coolmax. Here are my loop times and corresponding paces:

Loop 1 11:09 (9:17 mile)
Loop 2 11:04 (9:13 mile)
Loop 3 11:06 (9:15 mile)
Loop 4 10:57 (9:08 mile)
Loop 5 11:00 (9:10 mile)
Loop 6 10:27 (8:42 mile) I ran a loop with fast Patrick
Loop 7 11:03 (9:13 mile)
Loop 8 11:13 (9:21 mile)
Loop 9 11:06 (9:15 mile)
Loop 10 10:50 (9:02 mile)
Loop 11 10:52 (9:03 mile)

Total time: 2:00:52
Avg. 10:59:30 per loop or 9:09.6 per mile

I know it is slow but I felt great afterwards and could have gone several more miles at this pace. It is comforting to know that even in as bad a shape as I am, the fitness level is returning and I anticipate my times dropping after several more weeks of hill work and tempo runs.

Sunday afternoon. Yep. I normally do not run the day after a long run but I had to fit it into the schedule. I did a very easy 5 miler. I ran 4 miles with Susan in her neighborhood. After she dropped off, I did 1 more mile at a much quicker pace which felt surprisingly good!

Now for musings and ramblings . . . .

The title of today's blog is "A new year approaches". This is true on several levels in my life. Obviously, the calendar on the wall says December 27, 2006. A few more days and we will all be victims of the past year and will be preparing to dive headlong into 2007. For those of you who have found my blog and followed it, you know that Christmas night marked the 1 year anniversary of my wife Mona's passing. This past year has had it's highs and lows. To be honest, it has had more highs than I expected, thanks in part to my running, my ability to vent and blog, and needless to say, Susan and her girls have helped me heal some wounds that I initially thought would never heal. I do still look back and I cannot believe how my life has changed and continues to change. This is not a bad thing. Change means growth. I am also thinking about a new year where my focus is in front of me and not behind me. Don't get me wrong . . . I am not forgetful or ungrateful for my previous life. However, I do know that if I keep looking backwards, I will eventually run into a tree or ditch, figuratively speaking. The grief is still there but it is diminishing. The lows are becomming fewer and fewer and my funks are not as bad as they were earlier in this process. As I turn the corner into another new year, I am focusing on my life, my future, and whatever awaits me out there. I hope that whatever you do in life, whatever your quest is, that you attack it with every fiber in your body. We wait too long to realize that we've waited too long. My mom keeps telling me to enjoy my life . . . If I'm not doing what I want, I am wasting time. She's right. I think that what I am meant to do is to make others happy. We are all called to love each other and I challenge each of you to consider this in the upcoming year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

have to make time

That is sort of the way it feels right now. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am staying busy. Too busy.

Last night I was in the multi-tasking mode. Started off picking up some last minute gifts, doing laundry, brining turkeys (yes, plural), wrapping gifts. Oh yeah . . . and I got a 6 mile run in too. I also managed to read a couple of chapters in my present read before bed.

6 mile run. What can I say? It was a needed stress reliever and for that reason, I ran without a watch. At times like these I am way too structured . . . working off of lists and lists of lists. I decided to relax and just run. This worked out for me and I felt much better when I finished than when I started. The first mile or so was a slow, worriesome job. I started clearing the mind and like magic, my body responded by "smoothing" out. After the second mile, I was running on all cylinders and my perceived effort was just slightly slower than 10k pace. My guess was I was running 8:20s but it really doesn't matter. I had fun.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

busy, busy, busy

Oh, by the way, did I tell you how busy I've been? Actually, I think that I am busy just being busy. Idle mind is the devil's playground and all that stuff.

Let me quickly catch up on my running. Is not blogging our runs like a tree falling in the woods? Does anyone hear it? Personally, I think it still counts!

Thursday- It was Susan's birthday so I ran at her house since we were going out to dinner. I just did a quick 4 miler. Nothing fancy. I turned each mile in the 8:20-8:30 range. Not fast but enough to make me breathe hard. It felt good.

Saturday morning- Another scheduled busy day so I decided to make this weekend a rest weekend. All that means is that I did not do a long run. I found from training earlier this year that if I take a rest weekend once every 4 weeks, I seem to bounce back better and can build at a steadier rate. All that said to simply say that I ran 6 miles Saturday morning. Susan came over and joined me for a few miles. The running I did with Susan was a fairly easy, enjoyable pace. After she dropped off, I picked up the pace a little bit. A very beautiful morning. We have been having a great streak of weather here in B'ham. 50s at night and low 70s during the day.

Sunday- After church, Susan and I went to the Lakeshore Trail for a run. Again, another great day . . . . low 70s and there were lots of people on the trail. We ran 5 miles together. After that, Susan was wanting to slow down and I was wanting to speed up. She sent me on my way and I ran a pretty quick 2 1/2 miler (1 1/4 out and back). I was especially pleased that I did the 2 1/2 with a negative split of 30 seconds.

Total weekend run - 13 1/2 miles. That will be my goal for this coming Saturday now that I have had a rest weekend.

Monday evening - My church was having their Christmas program so I was crunched for time. All I got in was 4 miles but I think it was okay. My legs were pretty tired. I am not accustomed to running three consecutive days and my body let me know it.

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying your holiday season.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rainy Tuesday

Just a quick post tonight.

It was a rainy afternoon and was not going to let up for me to get my run in after work. I really need to stick to my schedule and improve and increase. Since I have plans for Wed after work, I either had to lose ground on my training or run in the rain. Can you guess which I chose?

2 1/2 mile warm up

4 hill repeats (4 x 0.2) totaling .8 miles up and .8 miles down

1 miles cooldown.

Very wet and mid 60s. My legs were a little sore but I managed to get it done. Nothing to brag about but I got my miles in.

good night!

Recovery Monday

Yes, I am blogging from the office. No, this is not good but this is a quick one.

BTW, welcome to a new commenter, Courtney (my cousin). Girl, you must lead a pretty boring life to be out here reading my ramblings and rantings about running and life! As long as you're out here, be sure to check some of the links of my buds on the right hand side of the page. Phil is an exceptional writer and is my unofficial priest!

I did five miles last night at Susan's house. I went over for dinner and hit the road while she had taken MA to piano lessons. This was a recovery run but I did put a watch on it. Not fast but faster than previous recovery runs. Average pace of 8:40 per mile.

I want to do hills tonight but it is supposed to be raining pretty hard. I may wait and do my hills on Wednesday night.

Also, be sure to wish Susan a Happy Birthday. Her B'day is Thursday and she does check my blog and comments!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Long run Saturday

Hey everyone. It is Saturday evening and I am sitting here still catching up on Boston Legal. I went to Susan's for dinner tonight. She made Lasagna and it was yummy. The girls had had a full day, Susan has had a busy week. She took care of a friend's daughter for a few nights and the poor girl had gotten sick while Susan had her so Susan didn't get much sleep for a couple of nights. Then I kept her out late last night at my office party and then she decided to get up and run the village to village 5 mile run this morning. Needless to say, Susan was pretty wasted. We all wanted to stay and watch TV after dinner but recognizing all the sleepy girls, I took off and came home, encouraging them to hit the hay early. I am going to follow my own advice and hit the hay in a few minutes myself.

I am tired from my run today. A very good run. I have bumped my long run up to 12 miles. I know that it really isn't that long but it is longer than I've run in weeks. I waited until after lunch, giving me time to work in the yard and allowing it to warm up to the high 40s/low 50s.

I decided to enter the 21st century and bought a cheap MP3 player. Normally I don't like listening to the radio while I am running. However, these neat little gagdets can store digial music and I can put any song on it in any order . . . . hmmmmm. Maybe it is worth a try. I put the soundtrack Last of the Mohicans on it. Sounds great and I love that album. However, I spent more time trying to keep those little ear thingies in my ears. For those of you who run with MP3 players please let me know how you do it or what type of earphones you use. I bought some new ones tonight that hook over the ear . . . hopefully they'll work better.

Back to the run. I started off with a first lap slightly over 9 minute pace. Nice and comfy! The second lap was a little faster. The third lap was speeding up a little more. Suddenly Patrick (Fast Patrick) showed up. He said he was wanting to get 30 or 40 minutes in and wanted to run with me. I told him I was doing a long run and going slow. As usual, he said no problem and proceeded to run with me. He ran with me for about 4 loops (approx 5 miles) and of course he was running faster and I was trying to slow down. He finished up and left me with 2 1/2 loops left to go. I managed through them and felt pretty good about it!

Here's my splits on a 1.2 mile loop . I am not listing all my mile averages. Just remember that 10:48 on the 1.2 mile loop is a 9 minute pace. I have 2 loops slightly lower than a 9 minute pace. I have 2 loops at essentially at a 9 minute pace with the remaining loops (6 loops) at under a 9 minute pace.

Lap 1 10:59
Lap 2 10:38
Lap 3 10:45
Lap 4 10:48
Lap 5 10:34
Lap 6 10:22
Lap 7 10:23
Lap 8 10:29
Lap 9 10:40
Lap 10 10:55

1 hour 46 minutes and change for a 10:40 / loop average. My per mile average is 8:53.

All in all, I was pretty happy with the run. Now I am tired and going to bed!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Just a quick one

Hey all. It is a nice cold morning here in B'ham. Mid teens with windchills into single digits. Not a morning to be running. That's why I ran last night when it was a balmy 36 degrees! I actually wore two layers last night . . . what a wimp!

Last night was hill work. I know that Phil thinks I need to work more on base mileage but I think I'm doing okay with a little hill work.

2 1/2 miles warm up. I started off with a slow pace but increased to my speed to somewhere under 9 minute pace. The warm up did what is was supposed to do . . . got me sweating and let the legs get loose.

4 hill repeats. 0.2 miles on the hill. Like last week, I didn't put a watch on it. Instead I am merely working on form and consistency. I am also trying to alter my hilling style. I normally try to keep my stride and power up the hills which works when I'm in super great shape. However, I am back to building phase so I am working on shorter strides and higher turnover rate. I may use the style throughout my training. It seems to work.

1 mile cooldown. Literally. After the hills, I pulled off my wind shell since I was burning up from the hill repeats. Between running into the wind and only having on one layer, I quickly cooled off but my legs felt strong and I could have done another couple of miles! I guess I'll bump next weeks hill repeats up to 5 or 6 repeats.

Planning on 12 this Saturday. Have a great weekend!

Oh yeah, be sure to go to Shane's blog (Running in the Deep South) to read about his story of his first marathon. Congratulations Shane!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mid-week update

I'm sitting here catchin up on my TIVO of Boston Legal. I don't do much TV but I do like this one show-so I Tivo it. I am also doing laundry, paying bills, multi-tasking as it were.

I'd like to say welcome back to Phil. He had taken a haitus and his running advice and advice on life it much appreciated. He helped me get through this tough year, including a PR marathon in Cincinnatti and a blossoming relationship with Susan. Thanks, Phil.

Okay . . . . running. Besides life, death, and salvation, running is right up there in the top five things in life.

Monday night I thought I'd be able to fly through a recovery run. However, once out there, I just let my body tell me what pace to run. I didn't time it but I do know that it wasn't that fast, but that's okay. It was a recovery run. 5 miles in cold, windy weather. I actually wore long sleeves, vest, thin gloves, and head band to cover my ears. It was high 30's and dark when I started and the temp dropped 4 degress in the time it took me to run 5 miles. I know that it is not really that cold but something about the dark and wind that makes it feel colder.

Tonight I ran a 6 miler. I was needing a confidence booster. Didn't exactly get that done but it was a good workout. First mile was 9 minute pace. I then proceeded to take about 10 seconds off each mile thereafter except for the last mile which I used to cooldown. I saw Dom doing his hills and sprints. No way I was going with him!

Just a few weeks until Christmas. I hope everyone is being good!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday and COLD

I know that I need not whine about the weather. Heck, here in Alabama we really don't have it too bad in the winter but I still hate to walk out in the morning to 25 degrees and 10-20 mph wind (windchill 16). Not fun. I am already trying to decide if I need to wear something with sleeves when I run tonight.

I had a really good run Saturday afternoon. Saturday was a cold, windy day. It was sunny so that helped with the mental aspect. Susan and I did the Lakeshore trail starting about 1:00. The temp was in the low 50s at this time and that was warm compared to earlier that morning. I am still trying to help get Susan motivated and ready to run the Mercedes half-marathon in February here in B'ham. Not sure how good a job I am doing. Anyway . . . we ran the first 5.1 miles together. I let Susan set the pace which was somewhere around 10:30 miles, give or take. We enjoy the running together but we tend to chat and laugh and not really focus on training. We need to work on that! I ran the second 5.1 mile loop by myself. Susan was only going to do a couple of more miles so I took off with her blessing. I did the 2.51 "out" portion dead on a 9 minute pace. The return was into the wind but I was feeling good and picked it up just a little bit. I ended up running back in just under 22 minutes which puts me at about an 8:40 pace. I know that it is not fast but it did feel good to push it a little.

I am working on bumping my mileage up a little over the next several weeks. I still can't figure out what the deal was last week. You know . . . being sore and hurting. Just one of those things, I guess. I felt great this weekend and look forward to a nice week of running.