Monday, July 20, 2009

12 Mile Marathon

Once again yesterday, I procrastinated getting out of the house. I woke up early, but then watched the Tour de France. (3 hours of boredom, for ten minutes of excitement. Should have left for the first three hours.) I almost got sucked in to the British Open as well, but didn't fall for that. (And wouldn't you know it, still a playoff going when I got back.)

And so, there I was running in the middle of the day again. Bad idea. First of all, I'm not in great shape. Second, I missed my second mid-week run do to other responsibilities. So 12 in the heat in this condition was not smart.

The thing is, that the first half went pretty well. I got a 30 second break waiting for a light at about mile 1.4 or so. After that, I thought about a walk break at mile 4, then pushed it to 5, and the finally pushed it to 6.

And that is when the problems started. I walked for about 2 minutes before picking up the pace again. I had a hard time, and ran really slowly. Almost immediately I wanted to stop again. I pushed through for 2 miles, and then took another break. This time a little longer. When I started up, the same problem occurred. As the rest of the run went on, the breaks got closer and longer.

(It's right there in blue and white.)

Anyway, I don't think it was the stopping that caused the problem - but it did help me notice it. It was really hot. I went a different route for more shade, and I brought water, and even Sport Beans. But I'm pretty sure I was dehydrated. At least it seemed that way the rest of the day.

The thing about out-and-back's is that you have to get back. I wasn't sure I'd do 12, but the first 6 went surprisingly well. And then I had to get back. It really felt like the end of my first marathon - where I was suffering just to finish.

Next week I have to run earlier.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Stats and Graphs

I've been meaning to post these for a while. As a runner and a geek, I'm constantly recording and monitoring and analyzing my runs. It's a little bit of a problem, but it does lead to some cool numbers. For your geeky enjoyment, I include them here.

Running miles through first half of 2009: 195
(To compare, that was 352 in 2008, and 384 in 2007.)

Graphically, here is the last few years.

You can see I haven't had a series of crappy months like the beginning of this year, since the beginning of 2006.

I've been playing around with these numbers recently. It started when I was thinking about how quickly to pick up running again. I've questioned the old 10% rule in the past. What happens if you blow one week and run 0 miles. If you increase that by 10% the next week you're still at 0! Also, just looking at the past week doesn't take into account your overall conditioning.

And so, I thought it would be interesting to look at running averages of over different periods of time. For example, what was the average amount of miles per day over the last week, the last month, the last 3 months???

For me, the "last week" didn't work out because there were too many zeros, depending on which day I'd run. So I created a graph with running averages of the last 10 days, the last 30 days, and the last 90 days.

You might have to click on it for more detail, but you can see that there's a lot of noise in the 10 day (yellow) curve. The 30 day (red) curve makes a little more sense. The 90 day (blue) curve really puts the whole thing into perspective. You can really see when I was training well and when I wasn't. Without letting a good (or bad) week or two cloud the picture.

I tried longer ranges (180 days) but I'm not sure it adds much.

I haven't come up with a better "10% rule" but I think it has something to do with how quickly one ramps up the running average. That is to day, that the slope of the blue or green curve shouldn't be too steep. (Calculus, anyone?)

This takes into account what you've been doing the last few months, and allows for one bad week (e.g. if you have a cold).

What do you guys think?

Marathon Training Begins?

I finished off June relatively strong with a 3 run week. Then the monsoons hit. Non-stop rain around here, and I didn't run much. By July 4th weekend it got a little nicer. But by then I was too busy relaxing, watching tennis, going to weddings, etc.. Either way, I picked it back up this past week with 24 miles.

That included a 10 miler yesterday with a few breaks. I could barely make it through the first mile. I wanted to stop and rest after about 3 minutes. Knowing that I had 10 miles in store, I pushed through to the 2.5 mile mark before resting on a convenient bench. It got a little better after this, but I took walk breaks around 5.5 miles and about 8 miles.

This is the week I'm supposed to begin my training program for the marathon in November. It's clear that I'm in no shape to do the FIRST program I did last time. I'm considering the run-walk method. Not too excited about it, but it may be my only option.

This actually makes it a little hard to train. My first marathon, the goal was to just run a marathon. The second one, the goal was to run it fast and beat my time. This time around, I have no chance of setting a PR. And so what's the big deal to just drag myself through another one. I'd like to say it will get me back into shape, but I'm not so sure about that. My eating seems to go up in relationship to my running. That is, to lose weight I need to stop eating, regardless of my running. Sigh...

Anyway, I haven't given up yet. Perhaps if I do stop eating, my weight will come down, and the running will get easier. If I can run a marathon without feeling as crappy as I did the first time, I think I'll be pretty happy.