Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting lost and some top-5 lists

Last night I went out for a 5mi run. I headed out on a 5mi course that I've run several times lately. It's a nice course because there are alot of turns, which I think helps break the run up and makes it less mentally taxing. It just seems easier than a 2.5mi straight run out-and-back. The only problem with a course like this is that there's a greater risk of missing a turn - which happened last night. The result was that I got lost discovered a new 5.5mi course!

Despite my plan to take it slow, I actually averaged a fairly quick (for me) pace last night with an average pace of 9:39min/mile. To put that into perspective, here are my five fastest paces for runs I've done over the past year according to my dailymile page:

1. 07:48 min/mi on 10/16 (my 5k PR race)
2. 08:31 min/mi on 11/03
3. 08:40 min/mi on 10/29
4. 08:50 min/mi on 11/09
5. 09:15 min/mi on 10/22

In other words, I didn't take it slow last night. The run was pain-free, but I have some soreness in my left calf today. Not terrible, but I wish it wasn't there. I think I'm going to try a compression sleeve for my knee and see if that helps.

One possible reason for the leg pain could be this - my five longest runs are now all over 10 miles, and most of them were within the past 8 weeks:

1. 11.12mi on 11/20
2. 11.02mi on 10/09
3. 10.18mi on 10/02
4. 10.02mi on 09/04
5. 10.01mi on 11/05

Being a new runner, meaning that before last December I hadn't done much running for the previous 14 years, I guess it's fair to expect some fatigue at this point. Plus, even when I was running consistently back in the early/mid 90's, I never ran further than about 5 miles. I shouldn't expect HM training to be easy, and it also gives me a whole new level of respect for people who have managed to complete the full 26.2.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday's long run and this week's training plan

Saturday morning I went out for my second 11mi long run of my half-marathon training plan. For the first couple of miles, this was one of those runs that felt akward, like I was really forcing things. I just felt sluggish. Finally, a few miles in I started to get into a groove, at least physically. Mentally, I was still battling. For whatever reason, I just wasn't feeling up for the long run. So I just grinded through it. At the half-way point, I decided to break the rest of the run into 1.5 mile increments, equal to the distance between water stations on my upcoming HM course, so that for the rest of the run I would drink some gatorade every 1.5 miles. I think focusing on the smaller increments rather than the whole distance helped alot.

The good news is that I didn't have any knee pain during Saturday's run. Yesterday there was some mild pain, but it's gone today.

So the plan for this week is as follows:
Today: 5mi easy run
Tomorrow: 3mi easy run
Wednesday: 5mi easy run
Thursday: eat turkey and nap rest
Friday: either cross-training or 5mi easy run
Saturday: long run (10-12 mi) - distance tbd depending on how this week goes.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Last night's run

Checking the calendar, I now have two weeks and two days until my first half marathon. This week and next week are supposed to be my final two weeks of real training, with the final week leading up to the race being a bit of a taper. But that plan was interrupted this week with onset of some mild pain in my left leg. I took Tuesday and Wednesday off from running this week to get some extra rest, and then went for a 5 mile run last night at a very easy pace. I'll take today off, and then do my scheduled long run (11 miles) on Saturday.

Overall, I'm encouraged by last night's run. Most of the run was pain-free. I had some tightness in my left leg for the first mile or so, but then it loosened up and was fine the rest of the way. Today the pain has returned, but it's very mild. It's just enough to be a minor annoyance. But it's a reminder that I'm not 100%.

So looking at my training plan for next week, I'm thinking I may back off the speed work planned for next week and just focus on getting in some easy miles to keep my endurance up. I guess I could think of it as extending the taper period.

As for my goals for the HM, since this will be my first HM, my primary goal is still just to finish. As for time goals...those are still TBD. A sub-2 hour time would be great. But I think I may back off from that goal and instead shoot for a 2:10 or 2:15...just take it easy and enjoy the experience.

Have a great Friday!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rest time is almost over

I've now taken a couple of evenings off, and the knee is feeling much better. The pain is totally gone. I did do some walking yesterday and today during my lunch hour, about 1.5 miles each time. Yesterday I could feel a twinge of pain/tightness, but today was completely pain-free. So my plan is to go out for about a 3mi easy run tonight and see how it goes.

On another note, last weekend my wife ran her second ever 5k. The kids and I were there to cheer her on. As she rounded the final corner, my oldest daughter jumped in and ran the last 50 yards or so with her. It was really cool. And as an added bonus, apparently a race photographer captured the moment:


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dallas White Rock Half Marathon Course

Looks like they have finally settled on the (unofficial) course for the HM I'm running in a few weeks:

MapMyRun.com | View Dallas White Rock Half Marathon Course in Dallas, Texas


Taking some unscheduled rest time

Over the past few days I've noticed some pain near my left knee, on the inner side of my leg. It's fairly mild, and there's no swelling. I suspect it's either an MCL sprain or PAT (Pes Anserinus Tendinitis). At this point I don't think it really matters which it is, because the treatment for both is to get some rest (and ice, compress, etc.).

With my first HM only a couple of weeks away, I feel like the best thing for me to do is to get to the starting line without injury. Missing a few runs this week might affect my performance a little bit, but I don't feel like it will make a huge difference at this point. I feel confident that I can at least cover the distance, and my primary goal for this first HM is just to finish. I can't do that if I try to push through and turn this minor condition into a more serious injury by continuing to run on it...

...at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself, because it's hard to take a break from running, especially with a race coming up.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Easy run, interrupted

Last night I headed out for a 5 mile run, which was supposed to be run at an easy pace. The weather was great when I left my house - partly cloudy, still, and a comfortable 55 degrees. My plan was to do an out-and-back route that I've run a few times. Heading out things were feeling pretty good. I was keeping my heart rate around 65-70% max and maintaining about a 9:30 pace, which is pretty quick for me for that heart rate. When I got to
Lightning is a highly visible form of energy t...
the turn-around point, about 2.5 miles from home, I noticed some lightning in the distance. You can see pretty far from where I was, and I didn't hear the thunder, so I felt like I was okay. Just to be safe, I turned my music way down so I could hear if the lightning got closer. About a mile from home it did. The distant lightning was suddenly very close, and it seemed like I was seeing it all around me. The thunder was pretty loud at this point, and pretty close to the flashes of light - so I knew it was too close for me to be out running. Also about this time it started raining - and I mean it was pouring. I was running through a residential area at this point - alot of tall houses and trees - so I didn't really feel like there was a good place to stop. From what I understand, the thing to do is to get into an open area away from trees, etc., and curl up in a ball on the ground. Well, the only open area would have been the middle of the street. So I decided to just get home and out of the storm asap. I picked up my pace averaging about an 8:20 pace the last 1.1 miles. A few minutes later, the storm passed. It was just bad luck that I happened to be out running during the 10 minutes or so that it stormed. It's just one of the hazards of running in this part of the country - these quick, violent thunder storms sometimes just pop up out of nowhere. I got caught out in one without a plan - bad move. I'll need to plan for this sort of thing so I can deal with it better next time it happens - because it probably will.

Have you ever got caught out running in a storm? How did you handle the situation?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

First 15k

Today I ran my first 15k. My HM training schedule called for a 15k race this weekend. But, I could not find one to run, except for a 15k trail race. I passed on that, because I don't have much trail running experience and I don't want to risk twisting an ankle this close to my HM. So I did the alternative of running a time trial. I managed to run it in 1 hr, 26 min, which is about an average of a 9:18 pace. I chose a challenging course full of hills, with a couple of pretty challenging ones. I think this was a tougher course than the HM course I'll run in a few weeks. So I'm happy with the result. I'm thinking it would be great to run my first HM in under 2 hrs, which means running about a 9 min pace. Today showed me that it may be possible for me, since I usually run a bit faster on race day and I'll be running a faster course. We'll see. Anyway, I'm counting today as my 15k PR. Since it's not a common race distance, it may be a PR that stands for a while.

PS - something else to be happy about today's run - my time at the 10k mark was 57:32, which beats my 10k PR by about 15 seconds :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New shoes

Ordered these yesterday:

New Balance MR905, in the new orange color.

These are light-weight and the pair I tried on felt great. Can't wait to get these and take them out for a spin. If they live up to my expectations, these will be my shoes for my HM coming up in December.