Thursday, November 30, 2006

Early Morning Run

Ran 5.7 miles @ 7:57/mile pace. Paved and dirt roads. Very hilly.
Weather: Upper 40s, very foggy, balmy.

Running early in the morning will definitely take some getting used to. This was my only chance to run today, so I sucked it up and headed out my door at 4:50am to do my 5.7 mile loop.

Fortunately, it was unusually balmy out thanks to a warm front. However, it was also very foggy. My headlamp was of little help at times, serving to blind me when reflecting light off the mist in the thicker patches. This, along with simply not being used to running this early, slowed me down considerably but it's somewhat moot mentioning that since the goal here is to get in more volume.

My stomach wasn't too happy during the run, and I had to stop twice in the woods to take care of things. The second time I heard what sounded like a raccoon make a call a few dozen feet away. Better that than a bear, which is what I actually dreamed last night that I'd encounter.

All in all, it really feels great to get the workout in and I can go about my teaching and grad school business today guilt free. Also, the mileage was perfect, as I felt I could use a light and easy day. That worked out nicely.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wussin' Out

Ran 10.5 miles @ 7:40/mile pace. Paved roads. Slightly hilly.
Weather: Mid 40s, overcast.

To me, it's pretty annoying to set out with a certain mileage in mind and then not run it. Even if the reasons are legit, I feel like a big, fat wuss. I guess today is one of those days. I can go through the gamut of excuses, which would include yesterday's hill workout kicked my butt, I was under dressed and began to feel cold halfway through the run, and I had to go to the bathroom (pretty bad). All are true and I guess all are good reasons to decide to cut the run short. You know what? It doesn't matter. I still didn't do the 15 that I had planned on doing and I feel like a wuss because it.

I began to think of the above hermenutically, and decided it's a good thing. Whenever I've felt this way in the past, I've almost always came back swinging. So, with that in mind, so be it. Looking past my self-loathing, I still had a good workout today. It was a quality run despite the obstacles. Tomorrow will be a challenge since I have an extra busy day with work and grad school, so I may not be able to make up for things then, but soon. Oh yes, soon. I'm smelling some good running going on Friday through Sunday for sure.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cold, Dark, Misty

Ran 12.5 miles @ 7:58/mile pace. Paved roads. Extremely hilly.
Weather - lower 30s, dark and misty.

Yesterday's rest day helped recharge the batteries a little. I came out feeling very strong overall today. The first 5 miles of this route are all uphill and I ran those sections with ease. I did take it very easy though, and didn't push too hard (splits averaged around 8:15/mile). I opened it up a little more after that point, but again, not too much (around 7:45/mile).

I'm taking it easy on purpose for more of my runs in order to get more miles in. I've decided this a better route to go, which is not to say I plan on neglecting tempo runs or speed workouts. However, I may take my pace easy for another week or two while I adjust.

The weather was interesting in that a few snow flakes fell earlier in the day (or so I was told), and the precipitation during my run was borderline on being frozen. I was waiting to feel a few pellets of sleet but that never came. Just a pretty thick mist.

I plan on running around 15 tomorrow. Thursday will be a challenging, since I have a staff meeting and grad school that evening. But Friday through Sunday are looking open.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nice End to a High Mileage Week

Ran 11.1 miles @ 7:40/mile pace. Paved roads. Very hilly.
Weather: Sunny, temps in lower 40s, rising to upper 40s.

Weekly Total: 80.1 miles

I've finally gotten my mileage up, and I'm really happy to crack 80 miles for my weekly total. During the summer, I managed to have several weeks with totals well in the 60s, but with tapering down for an ultra and also a marathon this fall, along with subsequent recovery periods, getting my mileage up hasn't been very prudent.

What's great is that I, well, feel great. I don't feel banged up, overly tired or sore. Granted, I took it somewhat easy this past week with my pace, but it's still nice to know I can do this kind of mileage. Even better and most importantly, it should help me with my goal to BQ this February. I just need to have more weeks like this, along with some tempo workouts.

As for today's run itself, climbing the hills was a bit mentally though, but physically it was quite easy. Running on flat terrain the past several days was no doubt the reason. But my pace held steady and my legs were far from yelling at me to stop as they have on occasion in the past.

Also worth noting, my last rest day was nine days ago. I'm not sure how long I'll keep that streak going, but I also don't feel worn down. I'll just play it by ear.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Doozy

Ran 20.1 miles @ 8:01/mile pace. Paved paths, very flat.
Weather: Sunny, temps in the mid-40s climbing to mid-50s.

My final run for my stay down here in Jersey was a good one. I wanted to wear myself out so I'd be nice and relaxed for the ride home to Maine this afternoon. With the mileage I've put on this week, I knew today would be a bit tough. I actually felt very good for the first 15 miles, but the last five were a bit of a struggle, but not too bad.

I didn't exactly plan for a high weekly total this week. It just kind of happened. Having Wednesday through Friday off definitely made it easier. With the extra time, I just felt "why not?". It's worked out well. No injuries. No really feeling banged up. Just some tired, but still very capable muscles.

Another run tomorrow will put me up higher. Most likely between 10-15 miles.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bringing up the Mileage

Ran 12.2 miles @ 7:39/mile pace. Paved paths. Very flat.
Weather: Sunny, temps in the mid-40s warming up to lower 50s.

I'm realizing just how big of a difference running on flat terrain makes. Today marked my third day in a row of mileage over 10 miles, and it's really seemed quite easy. Had I run the same mileage on my routes back home, I don't think I'd be performing nearly as well.

I'm on track to break 70 miles this week, maybe even 80. Either way, it'll be my highest weekly total mileage yet. I'm feeling good so far. Great, in fact. I need more weeks like this one if I'm going to run as well as I'd like to at the Hyannis Marathon.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ran 10.6 miles @ 7:31/mile pace. Paved trails. Very flat.
Weather: Rainy/misty, temps in upper 30s.

With my share of the cooking done (homemade apple pie and homemade french herb bread), I set off to the park again down here in Jersey to get in a run. I felt comfortable despite the cold and rainy weather, and set off with no particular pace in mind. I ended up going at a 7:31/mile pace, which I'm happy with considering the total mileage I'm on pace for this week (into the 70s).

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Tale of Two Runs

Tuesday - Ran 7.1 miles @ 8:07/mile pace. Paved roads, very hilly.

Today - Ran 14.0 miles @ 7:41/mile pace. Paved paths, very flat.

I did this run after work and before I traveled down to Jersey for Thanksgiving. I took it easy and treated it as a true recovery run, which was smart and I think my body was grateful, especially given the hills on this route. Afterwards, I changed and made the long drive.

I woke up this morning, not immediately aware of where I was. After getting my bearings and slurping down a pot of coffee and a light breakfast, I drove over to the park that I used to run and walk the dogs at when I lived down here several years ago. The plan was to run between 8-10 miles, but the temptation to cover every path in the park was too great and it bumped my mileage up to 14 even. Very flat terrain, but still far from boring. This park is one of the few nice places in Jersey.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Five in the Cold

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:39/mile pace. Paved roads, slight hills.
Weather: Upper 30's, partly sunny. Little to no wind.

It's parent-teacher conference night tonight, but fortunately I was able to squeeze in a quick five miles during my planning period (with boss's permission, of course). I took it easy and my intent was for this to be a recovery run, but I went out too fast. Recover for me should be no faster than 8:00/mile. But, I don't feel that beat up after yesterday's race.

Training will require some creativity this week as I'm heading down to Jersey tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I'll have plenty of time to get in my runs while I'm down , but on travel days it'll be tricky (heading out tomorrow afternoon).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hannaford Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap

Time: 19:05 (6:09/mile pace)
Age Group (30-34): 6th out of 25
Overall Placing: 36th out of 529

***I'll also post some pictures later if the Maine Track Club photographer got me in any.

Good day for a race! I'm quite happy with the outcome. While I didn't break 19:00, I came close. And I shattered my old PR of 19:33 (which was set on a flat course last May), so I really can't complain!

I met my friend Amy there before the race. She also did great, especially considering she wasn't feeling very well and also hasn't trained much in the past month. We hung out until it was race time and then BOOM! The starting cannon went off.

Mile 1: 5:45 - My Garmin read this pretty accurately. I set it to take an automatic split time when it read one mile. I felt good during this stretch. Plan was to maintain 6:00 minute splits throughout, and this was way too fast. It'd catch up with me later, but I was feeling good at the time and decided, ah screw it, I'm feeling good, let's go with it and see what happens.

Mile 2: 5:52 - I think my GPS was just a little generous here. It took the split about five seconds before the actual mile marker. But I was still running strong and feeling good. I was running with a pack of six or so runners for much of this mile.

Mile 3: 6:28 - Uh oh. I was starting to run out of gas. That pack I was running with was putting on more and more distance. Fortunately, nobody was close behind and I wasn't passed during this stretch. During the last tenth of a mile for this mile there's a big uphill. The pack is now a good 30-40 feet ahead of me when we reach it. By the time we get to top of the hill, I've gained all of the distance back and I'm literally right behind them.

Last point-one (time ??) - Just a tenth of a mile to go, and though I'm tired, the pack appears to be even more so. Their breathing is even more labored than mine after climbing that hill. I initiate my kick and pass most, if not everyone, in the pack! During this time, I can see the clock, it's getting close to 19:00, and I dug deep and gave it my all. The finish line is now right there and I cross it with a time of 19:05. Not bad, I'm happy.

Afterwards, we hung out for the race results and my age group was very well stacked with quality runners, so I only finish 6th out of 25 for 30-34 year old males. Still, shattering my PR and beating that pack of runners in the final stretch has me very stoked. I love finishes like that.

Other notes: Temps were in the upper 30s at race time and skies were overcast. I ran in shorts and a long sleeve wicking t-shirt and wore a beanie. That ensemble was perfect for me in these conditions.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Ran 5.7 miles @ 7:21/mile pace. Paved and dirt roads. Very hilly.

I had some GPS tracking issues during my run today so I wasn't able to monitor my splits that well. However, I know the distance of this route and calculated my pace based on my time afterwards and was surprised. I sincerely thought I was going at my "easy" pace, which is around 7:50-ish a mile for this course. My breathing was relaxed, I even told myself to slow down a few times. I felt like I was just taking it easy, and I was.

But "easy" at 7:21/mile? So, is this my new "easy" pace? Am I really seeing a significant improvement in my running? Given last Sunday's performance on my 10.2 route and today, I'd like to think my running is being taking to the next level, but such thinking is dangerous. This has only been a few runs, and I need to be consistent. Tomorrow will be a further test with the 5K. I think breaking my PR of 19:33 set last May is virtually a certainty, and a sub-19 race is very possible.

Worth noting: While the majority of my line of thinking is that running the race tomorrow will be fun and worth while, a significant part of me wishes that I wasn't. I felt compelled to alter my running schedule to taper down for the race, rather than getting in more miles which I feel is important for my next marathon in February, which I really want to BQ with. Still, I'm looking at tomorrow as a good speed workout. Should be fun.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Easy Seven

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:56/mile pace. Paved roads, big hills.

I did an easy pace and it felt quite nice. It was the kind of run where I went into it feeling banged up but after a few miles I felt great. I just took it easy and enjoyed the run, only having to remind myself to put on the brakes a few times and felt okay just going slow. Weather has been strange. Very warm out, and in just shorts and a wicking t-shirt I started sweating after a mile. Very foggy out this afternoon, and more drenching rains are expected tonight and tomorrow with the passing cold front, which will finally bring temperatures down to normal.

I feel like I'll be in pretty decent shape for the 5K on Sunday and I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy ultras and marathons more, but shorter races like this are still very enjoyable. It's a heck of a lot of fun just booking it once the race starts and seeing if you can hold the pace, not to mention picking other runners off. I love competing, it's just fun, pure and simple.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Short and Tough

Ran 3.2 miles @ 7:18/mile pace. Gravel trails, pretty flat.

I needed to pick up some transcripts from the University of Southern Maine and the Back Cove is just a block away so I opted to run there. I had originally planned on more mileage, perhaps two or three loops around the cove, but I was feeling pretty banged up so I cut it short to just one loop.

I want to be in good shape for the 5K on Sunday, so I should rest up. I'm not sure when I'll take a rest day, but one before the weekend is definitely in order and my runs this week will all be at an easy pace.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Easy Five in the Rain

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:50/mile pace. Paved roads, slight hills.

It was cool and rainy out, which made getting warmed up a bit difficult given the already short mileage. Goal today was just to take it easy after yesterday's run, and that's what I did.

Rain is in the forecast for the rest of the work week except for Wednesday. The saving grace is that it's supposed to remain warm (highs in the 50s) makes it easier. I'd rather have snow though. Running after a heavy snowfall is always quite beautiful and hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Firing on All Cylinders

Ran 10.2 miles @ 7:01/mile pace. Paved Roads, Large Hills.

Whoa. I couldn't be happier with today's run. I wanted to set out on a quicker pace but didn't expect to hold it. Little did I know my first mile split, which for me was already pretty quick, would be my slowest one.

This route was my "Badwaterboro" Route (I start it at my house about a mile down the road from the start point listed here and it's slightly longer). It's very hilly, especially in the first 4.5 miles which is mostly uphill.

I shattered my previous course record with this run. The old one was 1:16:34. The new one is 1:11:34, an even five minutes faster. Woohoo! What's even better is that I felt great throughout. I never struggled and simply felt strong.

While this is great, I need to start having more training runs like this if I plan to BQ in the Hyannis Marathon in late February. I need a 7:17/mile pace or better to qualify for Boston, and if I'm going to do that, these types of runs should happen more often. But I'll relish in this for a little while and know what I have to shoot for.


Mile 1: 7:16 Warm up, slight uphill.
Mile 2: 7:08 All uphill
Mile 3: 7:01 All uphill
Mile 4: 7:10 Mostly uphill. Highest part of ridge here.
Mile 5: 7:04 Enjoying the downhill. Saw four turkeys crossing the road here.
Mile 6: 7:11 Mostly Uphill again.
Mile 7: 7:05 Mostly downhill.
Mile 8: 6:50 Pretty flat.
Mile 9: 6:57 Pretty flat.
Mile 10: 6:39 Slightly rolling hills.
Last .2: 6:19/mile pace. Flat.

Tomorrow is normally a rest day, but I may opt to do a short recovery run and take a rest day later in the week. I had enough rest days last week because of the knee.

I've also registered for a 5K race a week from today. I hope to break my PR of 19:33 (set last May), and would love to go sub-19. We'll see.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Trail Run

Ran 8.1 miles @ ~9:00/mile pace. Trails with rolling hills.

I met up with Ian, Emma and Jeff this morning for a trail run along the Presumpscot River on the outskirts of Portland. We had originally planned on another trail in Falmouth, but due to hunters being out there, we decided to change the location, more out of not wanting to ruin it for the hunters by spooking away the deer than out of fear of getting shot.

The run went great. I feel a little banged up with my left knee still but it doesn't appear that running is making it worse. The trails were a bit muddy and in some places washed out, but that made it fun along with the constant, rolling hills. Emma took a full-on face first plunge in one deep stream crossing, but she changed shirts and was fine. Luckily it was warm out (temps in the mid-40s during the run).

Towards the end of the run, we stopped at a bit at the waterfall section of the Presumpscot, which is actually more of a raging section of Class V rapids. Very impressive and fun to gaze at.

Friday, November 10, 2006

That's Better

Ran 10.2 miles @ 7:36/mile pace.

The past three days have been full of anticipation for the tendons/ligaments in the back of my left knee to heal up to a point where I felt comfortable running. I first felt it on Monday when I got up suddenly from sitting cross-legged on my stool while teaching. It was never a sharp pain, but its prominence was enough to keep me off it for a few days as a precaution.

Anyway, I woke up this morning and still felt it a little, so I figured I'd start the run slowly and see how it felt. I did the first two miles in 7:54 and 7:51 respectively. I could feel it a little, but it wasn't noticeably affecting my gait and it wasn't getting any worse. I picked up the third mile on a steady uphill at 7:14 and the knee still felt fine, but I decided to back off a little anyway.

All in all a good run considering I had been out for the past three days. Weather was unseasonably warm this morning with temps in the lower 50s and sunny skies.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tight Knee, No Run

I'm taking a rest day today as a precaution. The tendons/ligaments in the back of my left knee are feeling a little tight. Not a big deal, and a day of rest should do it some good.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Run to Hash Things Out

Ran 1.7 miles @ 7:37/mile pace.

I wasn't going to run today, as Mondays are usually my rest days. But I remembered this morning (in somewhat of a panic) that I'm hosting a tech update Thursday afternoon and won't be able to run then. So, I figured I'd try to run today and make Thursday my rest day. I was originally shooting for 5.0 miles, but once I started I got to thinking: "You know, this isn't very smart. I'm just going to tire myself out during the week by not healing up after yesterday's 20-miler, and I'll just get frustrated with my performances."

And then, a revolution hit me...

"Wait a minute... I have Friday off. I can cut this run short now, still take Thursday off, and run a double or a longer run on Friday."


Looking ahead: Tuesday: 5.0 miles, Wednesday 10.7 miles, Thursday off, Friday - likely a double that includes a tempo run, Saturday - 10 miles, Sunday 10-miles.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pineland Farms Trail Run

Ran at least 20.0 miles @ ~8:30/mile pace.

I met up with my running group this morning at Pineland Farms. We were all doing varying distances, with most of the group getting in about 10 miles, but Jim and I opted for more. My plan was to do 20, and Jim was going to do 18. He is always good running company, and I first met him at the 50K race we ran here last May.

Overall, I felt great throughout. I was having some chaffing issues, but when we swung by our cars at around the 14th mile, I found some lotion and that took care of things. We really did great with the many roller-coaster hills, knocking them out with relative ease. I say that because they really kicked my butt during the race last spring (I did a really tough 26 mile trail run the week before that race).

Jim waited for me to do my last couple of miles after he finished his quota, then we went out for a late breakfast. It's nice to not to have to cook after a big run, and the place we went to had excellent coffee.

It's amazing how much easier my body feels after running on trails, as opposed to roads. I feel like I could go out now for another run (but I won't).

Also worth noting: Mt. Washington was in clear view from the top of the hill where we parked. Really neat.

Friday, November 03, 2006

More Hills

Ran 8.3 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.

I ran an abbreviated version of my Hills of Annihilation route this afternoon (normally it's 10.7). It was a bit shorter because of a different start point. I had grad school today and ran afterwards from there. The 2.4 miles that were cut from the route are all pretty flat, so I was still able to benefit from the hills. Weather was a bit cool, with temps starting in the upper-30s dropping into the mid-30s during the run.

I felt great throughout the run. My legs have made leaps in bounds in recovery this week. I took it slow going up the hills, but began to pour it on a bit on the downhills and final flat sections once my legs were warmed up.

Here are the splits and some notes:
Mile 1 - 7:56 Big uphill climb
Mile 2 - 8:11 Sharp downhill followed by sharp uphill
Mile 3 - 8:15 Continuing climb
Mile 4 - 7:58 Final uphill stretch and beginning of downhills
Mile 5 - 7:57 Steep downhills
Mile 6 - 7:50 Flat section
Mile 7 - 7:17 Feeling good, so I pour it on
Mile 8 - 7:05 Feeling great
Final .3 - 6:45/mile pace. Still feeling great.

A good run for sure. Tomorrow, I'm volunteering at the Stone Cat 50-mile ultra and trail marathon down in Massachusetts, so I won't be able to run. That'll give me a chance to rest up a little for the long run on Sunday.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mini Yasso Workout

Most Thursdays will be my days for speed workouts. I'm in the finishing stages of recovery, so I shortened today's Yasso workout by only doing three splits. The way I did it was run 800m around the track (two laps), then do a recovery lap where I'm running quite slow, then repeat. I've heard different variations for doing Yassos when it comes to the "rest" periods, but I think the way I described above is beneficial and easy to keep track of.

My splits on the 800s were 2:55, 3:03 and 3:08. I was shooting to hit between 3:05-3:10, so I guess I did okay. The ultimate goal is to get up to 10 reps for the Yassos and maintain a 3:05-3:10 pace. Definitely obtainable.

Do I like this workout? It's weird. I think running around the track is pretty boring when I'm doing it. But I always like it afterwards and think "Jeez, did I really not enjoy doing that?". Regardless, I have to boost up the VO2 Max and that's the important thing.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What a Difference a Day Makes

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:30/mile pace.

I felt so much better today than compared to yesterday. My legs still feel far from fresh, but I expected to be a bit more beat up from yesterday's run. A lot of patience is definitely required when recovering from a major race (or races), but an encouraging sign today was that I felt progressively better during today's run which was reflected in my splits.

Mile 1: 7:48
Mile 2: 7:45
Mile 3: 7:37
Mile 4: 7:30
Mile 5: 6:48

Definitely quite a leap there in mile 5, but I was feeling good so I felt comfortable pouring it on a bit. The rest of the splits were a natural, subconscious increase. I'm doing a speed workout tomorrow (Yasso 800s).