Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Speed Work

I tried the first workout from the FIRST book I've been reading. I think I ran a touch faster than I was supposed to, and the heat was a lot hotter than it should be. Nonetheless, I managed to push through and finish.

I was supposed to run 3 x 1600m with 1 minute rest in between. I got paged during the first lap, and answered the call during the rest. It ended up being around 2 minutes, the same as the second rest. The 1600's were tough, and I don't think I could have started another one with just one minute's rest.

Using my 5K PR as a guideline, my goal time was supposed to be around 7:20. (Although according to McMillan it would be closer to 7:40.) Not having done this before, I had no idea how hard to run. I monitored myself on the 400m laps, and I thought I did pretty well - if I do say so myself. My splits ended up being:

With a warmup and a cooldown thrown in, I was wiped. I had thought about running to and from the track, but by the time I was done, I was glad my car was there.

So now I think I'm going to crosstrain (cycle?) tomorrow. At least that's the plan. My earlier plans had me running 4 times a week, but I'm toying with really sticking to the FIRST plan, and limiting it to 3 more intense runs.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tempo running

Good hard run today.

I ran a little over 5 miles in the heat, with the middle part of the run at a pretty good pace. I didn't really know it at the time, but it turns out I was running close to 7:30 for that middle mile. I slowed down after that, and although I was tired at the end, I wasn't totally wiped.

I'm (slowly) reading this book about the FIRST training program, and it talks about running tempo runs at a "comfortably hard" pace. I think I was right on that today.

As for my ankle, it seems ok. The weekend's event doesn't seem to have had a major effect. It's just annoying that it's still an issue, and not history already. I guess I have to get used to that still.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fight Against Prostate Cancer 5M

This weekend was far less stressful than the same one last year. Saturday was relatively quiet. Sunday, Akiva and I got up pretty early and headed into the city. Neither of us were in the mood to "race" this race, so our plan was to turn it into a long run. Actually, my plan was to run a few miles slow, and then run the race as a tempo run.

We ran the inner loop before the race. Starting at the southwest corner, we ran clockwise, picked up a friend on the east side, and made it to the start of the race with about a minute to spare.

Hmm, I thought we actually ran these a little slower. (No wonder I felt so tired!) We were a touch late and I was worried about picking up our friend and making it to the start on time. I guess that impacted.

The actual race was the "bottom 5 mile loop". Since we weren't really "racing", and we had already run 4 miles, we took it easy in the beginning. Even as the race went on, I dind't push as hard as I usually do. I've been doing a lot of racing lately, and didn't feel the need to push in this one.

At about 3.5 miles Akiva said he was going to slow down. (He was having some foot numbness issues.) I felt pretty good so I decided to instead pick up the pace and finish strong. I was tired, but I knew I had enough in me to make it to the finish without a problem.

With about 0.25 miles left I met up with our third friend. She's (way) more competitive than I am, so I challenged her to beat me, just to help push her along. I sprinted off with about a tenth of a mile to go. Unfortunately, she couldn't keep up, and came in 9 seconds behind me.

I'm not sure of those last 2 splits. I forgot to use the lap button this race, and in fact, didn't even reset it before the race. So during the race I had no idea of my time. But the 4th mile I only half ran, and the 5th mile I really sprinted at the end. So I'm not sure.

My official time was 41:22, for an 8:16 pace. Not bad, considering the "pre-gaming" and that I wasn't pushing hard. (As a comparison, last year I finished in 45:40!)

As I mentioned last year, this race was the first race I ever did. Back in 2000 it was a 5K, and now it's a 5M. It's also gotten more popular as the entire sport of road racing has. In 2000, there were 1,371 finishers. The next time I ran it was in 2003, with 2,867 finishers. Last year there were 4,539 finishers, and this year had 4,993 finishers! It's really getting crowded out there. I'm happy so many people are enjoying this sport, but I really hope they don't have to start limiting race entrants or something like that. They already have a tough time keeping all the runners in the designated recreation lanes. If the trend continues it could be a real problem.

That reminds me. As a result of the crowds I tried to avoid running into the person in front of me by jumping onto the grass on the side of the road. Big mistake. The grass is sloped, and my ankle gave out underneath me. WTF! Two months of physical therapy doesn't seem to have done a damn thing. My ankle has gotten better because of time. The idea behind the therapy was to prevent this from happening again. Sigh... It hurt for a few minutes, but then I forgot about it. I didn't feel anything the rest of the day, but I could feel that it's a little stiff right now. It's really pretty upsetting. I may look into orthotics, but I'm not sure that's the answer.

In the meantime, Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Long-ish Run

Got 8 miles in today with Akiva. With deliberate effort, we kept the pace down to around 9:30 to 9:45. It was tough at first, but it turned into a nice run.

Thanks for all the comments on my ankle. For the most part, it's better. I have some pain when I stretch the ligaments, but I don't feel it at all when I walk or run straight ahead. A couple of days last week I wore dress shoes for a lot of hours. I think they're a little less stable, and I was feeling it at the end of the day.

Also, I can still feel a difference when I examine myself. I can feel a little clicking along the right tendons as i move my toes up and down. It doesn't hurt, but it bothers me that there's asymmetry.

I'm still going to physical therapy, but probably only for another 4 visits. I'm continuing to work on my balance, and on strengthening the muscles of my foot. I'm hopeful that this will prevent this from happening again.

This month's Runner's World had a lot of articles on Speed Work and Tempo runs. I also just bought their new book on the FIRST training program, which has similar ideas. I think I'd like to get back to doing those a little more rigidly, but I'm not sure when I'll be ready for that. Hopefully soon.

In other news, I got to go to the medical school's graduation last week. Because I'm on faculty, I got to dress up. Good times.

with Dr. Akiva

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

4 tough miles

So much for a recovery run today. This looks more like a tempo run. (I always run too fast with Akiva.)

It was hot outside, and my moisture wicking shirt was overwhelmed. My legs were still tired from the race, and the pace was tough. Basically, it sucked during the run, but I'm glad to have done it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Japan Day 4M

(Now that I started playing around with facebook, there's no time to blog...)

Akiva, me, Dmitriy - before the race.

I ran another race on Sunday. The (first annual?) Japan Day 4 mile race in Central Park. Prior to injuring my ankle, I had looked to this race to set a new 4M PR. All my other PR's had gotten faster in the last year, and my my 4M mark was out of whack. It was 6 years old, almost from when I first started running.

Then when I hurt myself, I kind of gave up on my goal for this race. After last week's performance I thought I could get a good race in, but probably not set a PR. So I went to the race without clear expectations. It was also about 75 degrees and very humid. I was thinking somewhere in the range of an 8 minute mile would be great.

The starting area was packed. They've been putting up tighter barricades, which results in the starting crowd being stretched out over a longer distance. It seemed like there were way more people than usual, although in the end there were only 4,593 finishers - which is about normal for these races.

The first mile had the usual crowding, but I've learned not to get too aggressive. I was running with Akiva, but we let people get between us pretty easily and don't stress out about running side by side. (I actually think people who do that in a race are really being inappropriate.) So we ended up running a fairly relaxing first mile, and it passed by in 8:25. (For the record, this mile included "Cat Hill".)

We picked it up in the next mile, and ran it in 7:38.

A little into the third mile Akiva started talking about bonking. I was tired, but feeling like I could make it. He hasn't been running as much lately, and I guess he didn't feel like he could keep up the pace for another 2 miles. (I think a lot of racing has to do with experience and confidence, and that for sure helped me to stick to it for longer.) Anyway, he pushed me on ahead. We actually didn't separate for a few minutes since he kept up the pace, and I wasn't in condition to speed ahead anyway.

Eventually he stopped to rest, and I broke away. I felt like I picked it up at that point, and pushed stronger. But when the mile marker came by, the 3rd mile had taken me 7:45. It's possible the rolling hills affected me.

For the last mile I started to think about a PR. Over the last few race, the Road Runners have been putting people's pace on their bibs. I think it probably has to do with their ideas for wave starts, but for now, it's not even clear where the pace comes from. In any case, my bib had a pace of 7:48. Calculated out over 4 miles, that was a 31:12. The number didn't seem familiar, but I figured that must be my PR.

I knew I was going to have to pick it up to reach that time. I picked up the pace ever so slightly, with the plan of really pushing hard in the final stretch.

The course ended after a turn, and when I made my final turn I had about a minute left to the goal time. I started sprinting like a madman, and finished up the last mile in 7:09. I crossed the finish line with a net time of 30:57, for a 7:44 pace, and a brand new PR.

After the race

Turns out my old PR was not actually 31:12, but 32:55. I beat it by almost two minutes. 7:48 was (and is) my PR pace for a 5M race, so I was pretty happy to set my 4M PR a little faster. Now they're all in order. (See the sidebar.)

(While you're over there, you can see my traineo button. My weight loss seems to have stalled gone in reverse. I really have to get serious about that again if I want to improve further on my speed. When my ankle gets better I'd like to do some speedwork again, though as marathon training starts again it probably won't be a priority for me.)

In case you're wondering, Akiva ran a 32:42. Not bad, but he wasn't happy with it. It seems to have resulted in a renewed dedication to running (but not blogging!), and so at least some good came of it. We're set to run tomorrow morning.

My next race is scheduled for Father's Day with a 5 Miler. I always have warm feelings about this race, as in 200o it was my first race ever. Yesterday's race was my 40th.