Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Where did all those miles come from?

Another 5 miles today, bringing the total for October to over 82 miles. I was shocked to see that number so high! I guess that explains why my legs haven't felt great this whole training cycle. I didn't record my miles so accurately in September, but I'm quite certain I advanced too quickly. I've managed to keep up with the training, but most of my runs have just been about "finishing". Even the short runs don't feel easy like they did last year. In fact, I'm looking forward to running the half marathon, just so I can have a break afterwards. A little crazy, huh?

Anyway, no real time to post now, so I'l leave it at that. Welcome to November.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Poland Spring 5M

As I'd mentioned before, I've really wanted to get my 5 mile PR in line with the rest of my PR's. Unofrtunately, I hadn't really felt strong lately, and my left shin had been bothering me since Friday's run. Not really hurting, but worrying me. So I wasn't really looking to PR today. Oh, and did I mention the predicted 25 mph winds?

It was pretty chilly in the morning when the "Albert Einstein Road Runners" left the Bronx. I was all bundled up in a jacket and gloves. Somehow right when we got into the park, the wind seemed to die down a bit, and it seemed to warm up as well. I made a decision to lose the jacket at the last second. (I hung onto the gloves though.)

The race was packed, as usual. 6450 finishers. Akiva and I started together, and Sara was a little behind us. The beginning was really congested, but I wasn't too stressed, because it wasn't going to be a PR day.

At about the halfway point I ran into someone I recognized. I wasn't going too fast, so I stopped and chatted with him for a bit. Akiva came up beside us and joined in. We ran together for about 10 minutes, and then Akiva and I started to pull ahead. I was really hurting at this point. Nothing too mechanical, just throbbing shins, and mostly my left. So when Akiva started trying to weave through traffic, I hung back and slowed down.

When I got to two miles, my Garmin was off a bit, and so I thought I reached there around 16 minutes. I was kind of surprised at how fast I was going, and so I felt a little better about how bad I was feeling physically. It was a little discouraging to see the 2 mile marker 0.18 miles later, but I was still doing pretty well. (I think 18:10 at that point.)

I started to get energized, and picked up the pace a touch. When the next mile went by, my Garmin said I had run it in about 8:35 or so.

Now I was ahead of a 9 minute pace. Then I started to get annoyed that I hadn't looked up my PR before heading out this morning. I actually thought it was an 8:58 pace, and so I was in the ballpark. Damn. Now I couldn't take it easy anymore.

My shins were really burning, but I had to keep going. I think I sped up just a touch to about 8:27 miles (from what I remember), but I couldn't push too hard. I was really just trying to hang in there, and not slow down!

Finally the end was in sight. I did the ol' "get into the open" routine so that the photographer could get a good shot of me. Alas, it was not meant to be. While I was finishing, I could see him moving someone out of the way, and trying to get a better position. Oh well.

At least the race ended well. My net time was 43:52, and wouldn't you know it, a new PR. I was actually wrong about my previous PR, but I set a new one by 35 seconds. (It's still not really in line with the others, so I've still left myself room for improvement.)

Congratulations to all the Marine Core Marathon finishers. I'm looking forward to reading your race reports!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More speedwork

9x400 today.

(I just love that picture!)

After such a good run this weekend, I was disappointed with yesterday's 5 miles. Maybe it's the mornings, but I really didn't enjoy it yesterday.

Today I had speedwork on the schedule. Unfortuantely, because of work responibilities, I couldn't run together with my running partners. Nonetheless, I made it out to the track.

According to Hal Higdon, I'm supposed to run these 400's at 5K or 10K pace. Using my 5K PR, I came up with 1:55 for the repeats. I tried to up it a touch, and was aiming for closer to 1:50. I also wanted to be able to jog in between the intervals, rather than walk like I did last time.

Here's how it went:

1:56 (seemed a little slow, let's speed it up)
1:40 (whoa, that was too fast)
1:49 (that's good, but i have to walk now anyway)
1:41 (too fast again. why is this so hard?)
1:51 (better. i can jog this next one)
1:50 (another good one - half walk, half jog)
1:50 (i think i've figured it out, but i'm tired already - walk)
1:52 (nice - jog)
1:49 (finished - walk and stretch)

So it took me a while to get the hang of it, but I was happy in the end. I was able to jog most of the "in-between" laps, and when I walked, I cut it down to 200 meters. One thing that surprised me was how hard this was. It could be that those early laps tired me out, but I think it would have been tough to keeep up the 1:50 pace for very long. Fortunately, that wasn't the goal today.

Tomorrow's an "off day", which is good, because I'm busy. Friday is scheduled for an easy run, followed by a 5 mile race this Sunday. I've been wanting to get my 5 mile PR in line with the others for a while, but somehow I doubt this will be the time. We'll see.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Weekend running

I was on call this weekend, and on call today. This has left me kind of tired, and so briefly:

5 relatively quick miles on Friday. Garmin didn't work so well, but it looks like about an 8:55 pace.

10 miles on the West Side Highway on Sunday. I haven't run there in over a year, and it was really a good run. (You can read more details on Akiva's blog.) We did an out and back of just over 5 miles. You can see from the splits, that we really picked up the pace on the back half. Nothing too crazy, but a nice pace. It felt good.

And of course, another wedding in the evening. What else is new?

Congratulations to all those runners who ran the Chicago Marathon yesterday. Sadly, my number 36808 went unused yesterday. Although maybe that's a good thing. That could have been me finishing first! (By the way, it sounds like that although he had a real injury, he is thankfully going to be ok.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tempo running

Tonight was first my first tempo run. If you're like I was a week ago, and don't know what that means, here's a definition from Hal Higdon's site:

Tempo Runs: This is a continuous run with a buildup in the middle to near 10-K race pace. A Tempo Run of 30 to 45 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes easy running, build to 15-20 minutes near the middle, then 5-10 minutes easy toward the end. The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout. Hold that peak only for a minute or two. I consider Tempo Runs to be the "Thinking Runner's Workout." A Tempo Run can be as hard or easy as you want to make it, and it has nothing to do with how long (in time) you run or how far. In fact, the times prescribed for Tempo Runs serve mainly as rough guidelines. Feel free to improvise. Improvisation is the heart of doing a Tempo Run correctly.

Here's how I did:

If I do say so myself, I think I did a pretty good job. See how my pace picked up towards the middle, and then tapered off towards the end. Almost like I'd done it before.

Now the question is why. Although I've complained about tough runs before, this one was in a different category. Usually the only thing I have to push myself to do while running is to continue. Tonight I had to push myself to run faster, and that's another challenge.

Even though I slowed towards the end, when I finally stopped running, I could barely walk. My shins were throbbing, and it almost felt like the muscles were "humming" when I rubbed them. It was pretty stange. I feel okay now after icing them, but I had to limp home from the running path.

So what's the point? There's no way I'm going to break my half marathon PR; I'm not nearly as in good shape or as well trained as I was when I set it. So what's the sense in pushing myself?

What I've come up with is that it's good to start throwing in some more advance training techniques. I don't want to get hurt, so I probably will cut out one of the runs in the week (like tomorrow's!), but I like the idea of getting my body used to speedwork and tempo runs. I don't think it will pay off in this half marathon, but down the road, with a little more time to get into shape and train properly, I think it will make a difference. (So watch your back, Meb!)

I think this is another one of those things in life where it's not great doing it, but it's good to have done it. (For example, I hate waking up early, but I love having woken up early.) Even though it was really tough out there running, I kind of feel good about having put in a really tough workout. Having a little variety in my running is an extra bonus as well.

So tomorrow I'll rest, and plan for 5 miles on Friday. I'm pretty busy Friday so I'll have to squeeze it in sometime.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why is it so hard?

4.5 tough miles this morning.

I haven't been hobbling around the rest of the day (like I've done in the past), but my runs have been really tough lately. Since Cleveland every run has been a struggle. Nothing in particular hurts (for a change), but my legs feel 20 pounds heavier, and my anterior shins throb from exertion the entire time. I'm thinking it might be "overuse" and so I want to cut down a bit. The only thing holding me back is the thought that maybe I'm just being lazy.

I'll probably cut out one run this week. Actually, looking at the schedule I put together, I've only now realized there are 5 runs a week. I've generally been at 3 a week most of the time, so I should probably cut that back to 4 as well. Yeah, I think that's a good idea....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Quick post

Short on time...

I ran 9 miles today.

In my new shoes (Nimbus VII).

I also signed up for the Philly half.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

8 x 400m

Track workout today. Still felt my shins, but not so bad. Thursday I'll rest, and try to get in my LSD Friday.

I tried to run a lap fast, and then run one slow. Except that I was wiped after each run, and ended up walking the laps in between. Maybe that's not so bad, but those walking laps were slow. I think I probably pushed too hard on the fast laps, and that hampered my ability to run (or jog) the slower ones.

My splits:

Yeah, not so good on the consistency. I definitely tried to run some faster and some slower, but oveall I wasn't really able to pace myself well. According to this Hal Higdon training schedule, I was supposed to run this at 5K pace. Using my PR as my pace, I should therefore have run 1:56 laps. (Although since I'd like to improve on that 5K time, my feeling is that I should be aiming for something like 1:45 to 1:50 laps.) So next time, I'll try and slow it down.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Still hurts

I was able to get the 4 miles in today, but my shins were throbbing again. :-( It doesn't feel like any specific part is hurting, but rather all of both shins just throbbed. It was almost as if I've never run that far before.

I'm going to try the track tomorrow, and see if short repeats feel diffrent. Thursday I'm scheduled for a rest, since I'd like to run long on Friday. This weekend is the last in the series of Jewish holidays before I get my Sunday's back.

By the way, thanks for all of your advice on the shoes. I ordered another pair of Nimbus VII's online, and I'm hoping to get them in the next couple of days. Maybe I'm being unrealistic, but I'm really hoping the new shoes will help a lot.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I'm back from Cleveland. Here's a few pictures of where I ran.

I got a lot of cute pictures of the family as well, but they're not so cool about me posting them here. (Shrug...)

I tried to run tonight, but after a mile or so I was having severe shin splints. I'm not sure what happened. I last ran on Friday and it went really well. Either way, I stretched and iced tonight, and I'll probably just try again tomorrow.

Incidentally, I got recognized tonight. Although I've been blogging over a year, and I've met about a dozen bloggers, tonight was the first time I was recognized on the road. Somebody running in the opposite direction stopped to ask me a "silly question" (those were her words): "Do you blog?"

It turns out she's a friend of this another blogger whose blog I frequent, and made the connection. It was actually kind of cool, and it's too bad she was going in the opposite direction, although she did run with Sara and me for a bit. (I suppose we could have run in her direction too, but my shins were really throbbing. She looked fast too.)

Anyway, if you're reading this post, thanks for recognizing me. Feel free to come out of the "lurker closet" and leave a comment!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Towpath Trail

I'm here in Cleveland with all my brothers and their families. It's a lot of fun, and the kids are really cute.

From my blog reading, I remembered people running on something called the Towpath here. I didn't have time on my last visit, but this time I knew I'd have time before everyone else got straightened out this morning. I did a few google searches and found some maps. Coincedentally, the Towpath Marathon is being held this Sunday. If it wasn't another holiday for me, I probably would have signed up for the accompanying 5k.

Anyway, this morning I headed out there for a run. The path is mostly dirt and asphalt, and pretty flat. My shins are still a little tight, but after the first mile or so, they were (mostly) ok. I ended up doing just over 8 miles at a compfortable pace. I passed a lot of runners and bikers, but nothing like Central Park. Actually, it was interesting passing someone wearing a New York sweatshirt.

I brought my camera for once, and took a lot of nice pictures. I'll post them next week when I get back.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Track Running

(I have one where I edited the GPS points, but I thought this was cool how the Garmin picked it up. Above the track you can see the tennis courts. Cool, huh?)

After a lousy set of tennis, I gave the track a whirl. I ran 400 meter intervals, since that seemed the easiest to figure out: run from the finish line back to the finish line. I had no idea how fast to run, but I did the intervals in increasingly fast times.


I could probably have run slightly faster, but I was pretty winded after the last one. I have to find out more about this speedwork, but it was definitely fun to be out there and running so fast.
One annoying thing about the track is that there were a lot of people walking slowly (strolling) around the track. I'm not sure why those people don't just go for a walk on the street or in the park. But if they do come to the track, it's really annoying that they will walk in the inner lane, which is the only one with proper measurements. (Or at least, the start and finish line are the same, and easy to see.) There were some people just standing on the track too. After about 5 laps I had to stop and ask this woman if she would move her stroller off the track, two feet in front of the finish line!

This guy was beyond comprehension. He was doing laps on the track in his motorized wheelchair! (I wish I had my real camera. This crappy picture is from my phone.) The first time around I figured he just didn't want to drive across the grass. But after 5 or so laps I just couldn't figure it out. Is that supposed to be some sort of exercise? (For his joystick fingers?)

Towards the end of my intervals, when it was getting pretty dark out there, there were these two girls who were just warming up, but they looked really fast. I thought they were just part of some high school or college track team, but my roommate thought they were professionals. And he was right. They told me I'd see them on TV sometime. We'll see.

Finally, one little rant against Blogger. Those word verification things for commenting can often be annoying, but today's was really a pain:

Can't they just do numbers or something that humans can read without leaning their head into the screen?

I'm off to Cleveland tomorrow. I hope to get a long run in on Friday.

I hate shopping

Went to JackRabbit Sports last night. It's a pretty cool store in that they're not just for running; they do the whole triathlete thing. However, the running section is pretty thorough, and they have treadmills with those cameras to analyze your pronation. It turns out that I'm pretty neutral, as I expected. So my current shoe, the Asics Nimbus VII's, were a good choice, but it was time for new ones.

And here's the annoying part about running shoes. They've of course updated to the Nimbus VIII's by now. They looked pretty good, and use their new, lighter cushioning material, Solyte. So I was looking forward to this pair. Unfortunately, they just didn't feel right. The new model is a little narrower, and the overlays are a little different, and so the shoe didn't feel the same. When I put my own inserts in they felt a little more familiar, but still not perfect. The sales guy told me that he had made the same switch, and felt uncomfortable for the first week, after which it didn't bother him anymore. I really hate those situations. The store will accept the shoe back even if you run in it, but only for an excahnge or credit. Since I didn't like any other shoe there - though I lose patience fast when shopping - I wasn't anxious to end up with a $120 credit there.

So now I'm thinking of buying a Nimbus VII online. (I would gladly have bought one from JackRabbit had they had one.) I was happy with the VII's. I'm a little weary buying online, because you don't get to try them on. They're available in a ton of places, including Amazon. Anybody have any thoughts?

As for running, let's see. I told you about the 7 miles on Friday. Sunday night to Monday night was Yom Kippur, with its 25 hours of fasting. After a quick snack Monday night, we went out for a run. It felt really fast, but in the end was just a little faster than normal. We weren't exactly "carb loaded".

I'd like to try the track today. I was on call last night and admitted a few patients, some of whom will need operations. Since I'm heading out of town tomorrow night, I'm going to try and get them done today, so my schedule might be a little in flux. We'll see. In the meantime, I've looked up this extensive article on track markings. Even after reading all that, I have no clue how to tell what's going on. I'm not interested in relays, hurdles, or steeplechase marking. All I want to know is where to start and stop if I want to run 400m, 800m, 1600m, or a mile. I suppose it would be nice to understand the markings a little, because I may not always be able to run in "lane one", depending on the crowd. If anybody has any links to easier track guides, I'd appreciate it.

Have a good day, all.