Thursday, October 28, 2010

New name, new look

I decided to change things up around here a little bit. I changed the name to The Quiet Runner, which is a pretty good description for me. I also changed the theme. No good reason, just felt like a change.

Training for my first HM is going well. I've been hitting my training goals for each workout, and I've been consistent with making sure not to skip runs. The biggest hole in my routine right now is that I feel like I'm lacking in the core strengthening area. So far I've just been doing a random mix of pushups, planks, squats, and other arm and ab exercises. I really need to find a good core strengthening workout plan that I can use for my Sunday and Wednesday strength & stretching sessions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Proper Warm Up

It turns out that I may have been preparing for my runs all wrong for all of these years (if you include my years of running back in the early 90's). The linked article suggests that pre-run stretching is unnecessary, and should be replaced by gradually increasing movement of your body, e.g., start with walking and work up to a slow jog over a period of several minutes. Save stretching for post-run (or during a run).

Q & A: Proper Warm Up and Foot Pain |

How do you prepare for a run?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thinking about a new name

I'm thinking about changing the name of this blog. I'm not very creative (hey - how about "the uncreative runner"?), so I'm taking suggestions. If I had something cool to give away, I'd offer a prize, but I can't think of a good prize at the moment.

Hope everyone is having a great friday!

Go Rangers!Texas Rangers (baseball)Image via Wikipedia

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Updating some goals

Even though it's only October, I'm already thinking about my goals for 2011. I like having PR goals for 5k and 10, and I've now hit my 2010 goals for both. Plus, unless I run a race on a whim, I've run my last 5k and my last 10k for 2010. The only race I've got left on the schedule for 2010 is the Dallas White Rock half marathon. Since it will be my first HM, I'm pretty focused on it.

So, for 5k and 10k, I've been thinking about where to set my goals for 2011 for the past few days. My goals for 2010 were sub-25min for the 5k, and sub-60min for the 10k. There was no magic formula for coming up with these goals, they were picked because they were nice round numbers that would also push me to improve.

To be honest, I've found that one of the most difficult aspects of running is predicting rate of improvement. I really don't know how much improvement to expect over, say, a 12-month period. So this uncertainty makes it hard to set goals. So, rather than trying to predict how much I will improve, I set a target on how much I would like to improve, and make a best guess on whether it's realistic.

Thinking about 5k and 10k PR goals for 2011 has led me to the following numbers that I seem to keep coming back to: sub-22min 5k and sub-50min 10k. So those are the goals for 2011 that I've settled on, at least for now. The sub-22min goal for the 5k was chosen because (1) it's a good improvement over my current 5k PR of 24:22, and (2) it gets me to the point where I can start being age-group competitive in local races. The sub-50min goal for the 10k was also chosen because it would be a good improvement over my current 10k PR of 57:47, and it's a nice round number.

Other goals for 2011 so far include running my first full marathon, and I will also set a PR goal for the half marathon at some point after completing my first HM in December. I'm also thinking about where to set mileage goals for 2011 and about other more creative goals I might set.

I'd love to hear about goals others are setting for next year, and how they go about deciding where to set the bar for their different goals.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Komen 5k Race Report

Yesterday I ran in the Susan G. Komen 5k. This was the coolest race I have participated in so far. There were about 25,000 runners and walkers, and about $1million raised for cancer research, which is awesome! The race was amazingly well organized considering the number of participants. I had no problem parking and it was a fairly short walk to the event area. They had mailed my race packet, so I had no lines to wait in on race day.

My expectations were pretty low in terms of personal performance for this race for a few reasons. One, I had heard that the size of the crowd made it difficult to run. Two, I hadn't been training specifically for a 5k - I've been focusing on a 1/2 marathon coming up in December, which means I haven't been doing alot of speed work the past few weeks. Three, the day before I started getting that sinking feeling that usually signals the onset of some kind or cold or flu. So I was going into this race with an open mind, resigned to being satisfied just to be a part of such a great fund raising effort for such an important cause.

Saturday morning I arrived at the race site about 6:30, which was an hour and a half before race time of 8am. There was already a sizable crowd in the vendors area, but noone near the starting line. I headed over to the starting corral and did some stretching and light running to get warmed up. Soon a few other runners started appearing, and by 7am a good number of runners were gathering near the starting line. So I spent the next hour chatting with other runners about the typical runners topics - races, training, etc. The time flew by, and soon it was time for the National Athem (this was the first time I'd seen this done at a race), followed by a count down and then we were off!

Since I was so close to the starting line, I had no problem taking off at a good pace, and I found that the crowd thinned out pretty quickly. I was feeling good, so I decided to go ahead and try to break 25 minutes for the first time - which meant keeping about an 8min/mile pace. By 1/4 mile in, it could have been any race in terms of the size of the crowd around me. At about 1/2 mile in I checked my pace - 7:15 - which was way too fast, so I thought I'd better back off a bit. So I eased back to about 7:50. At the 1 mile mark, they had a clock (cool!) that said I think about 7:47 (also cool - I was ahead of my goal of 8min/mile). Mile 2 was fairly eventful - alot of spectators (we ran through a residential area), a few turns, few groups of cheerleaders, a water station where I accidentally spilled water on someone (I didn't get a good grip on the cup they were handing me - sorry!),  so there were enough distractions to make the second mile go by pretty fast.  The clock at mile 2 said 15:something - cool, still maintaining a sub-8min pace.

Then came the pain - mile 3!

As good as I felt during miles 1 and 2, mile 3 was a grind! I'll start by mentioning that I was wearing my heart rate monitor - great move! Seriously - if I hadn't had the confidence my heart rate info provided, I never would have been able to grind through the pain of mile 3 without slowing my pace. Everything hurt - my legs, my arms, I was t-i-r-e-d! My hr was hovering around 93-95%. I knew this was actually a good range for a 5k, so I just took it a step at a time, just kept going. Half way through the third mile (around mile 2.6) I was greeted by a hill - great, just what I needed - an extra challenge! I increased my arm swing and pushed on. Then came the stench - some horrible smell - imagine running by a sewage plant or landfill - I suddenly thought this might be the first time I throw up during a race. I checked my pace - still around 7:50. I was now at about mile mark 2.75. I thought to myself - forget this! just imagine running a 400 - you do them all the time, just grind through a 400.

Finally I could see the starting line, which meant that the finish line was about .1 mile away. I don't remember seeing a clock at the 3 mile mark, but I may have missed it because by that point I was back near the start and the crowd was huge! I was surprised to see that there were still people just starting the race. I took a right, then a quick left and the finish line was in sight. At this point, I could see the time was close 24 minutes, and I decided that no amount of pain was going to keep me from missing this chance to finally break 25.

That last .1 was a blur, but before I knew it I was crossing the finish line and the clock said 24:24. I couldn't believe it. I felt close to tears thinking about all the training I've gone through over the past 10 months, starting from barely being able to run for 5 minutes, and here I was finishing a 5k in just over 24 minutes. It felt great to know that all of my hard work was paying off and that I was actually making progress.

Here's a snapshot of my official results:

So, overall it was a great experience. It's fun to set a new record, and especially sweet when it's part of something that is raising money and awareness for such an important cause.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Racing up stairs

Went for a walk during lunch today and found this flyer:

It's for a race up the stairs of a 53 story building. I'm thinking about giving it a shot.

I wonder what the equivalent running distance would be?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two For One

Just noticed something pretty cool. I actually set two PRs during my 10k race a couple of weeks ago. My 10k time of 57:47 was a new PR. So I was going back and checking my splits from that race, and I noticed that my time at the half-way point (at 5k) was 28:12, which beats my 5k PR of 28:54 set back in May.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Quick Hits

• Ran a 10k last Saturday in the rain and set a new PR

• Travelled to Seattle last week for work. Had some great seafood but didn't get in a run.

• With that 10k behind me, I'm now focusing my running on prepping for my first half marathon coming up in December

• I'm running the Dallas Komen 5k in a couple of weeks, but I've been told that it is hard to actually run because of the size of the crowd

• This is my first post from my iPhone. Hopefully this will make it easier to post more frequently.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone