Thanksgiving Running

I took my running gear with me to Kansas this past week. I couldn't afford to take the week off with the ARC 20K coming up next Sunday. I also had to combat the extra calories Thanksgiving dinner and eating out would bring. It turned out to be a great couple of runs that provided some variety to my normal paths.

My brother in law drove me the first day to the Pawnee Prairie Park which included a mix of dirt trails and concrete paths. I stayed, for the most part, on the dirt but had to dodge the occasional horse poo that littered the trail. The stuff seemed to be everywhere. The trail included some good climbs and several instances with steps built of tree trunks and dirt. I hadn't put in the number of miles I wanted so I found a dirt road that had somewhat of a climb to it. I followed it until I reached the airport service road and then headed back.

The next day I opted for the dirt road that ran down from the farm house. This time I had a buddy to run with. Maize, a young boxer set the pace and had me running about an 8.5/MM until she found the dead rabbit. It was a nice peaceful run. It was the first time in an awful long time that I didn't see any people, cars, planes or anything while I ran. Just winter wheat that was just coming up so all the fields were green.

My XT the day after Thanksgiving consisted of ice skating with Kayla. I wanted to use it as a workout so I got quite a few laps in. I probably wouldn't have been sore if not for trying to skate backwards. Kayla gave me a lesson and I practiced for some time at it. That, combined with the twelve-hour road trip back made my glutes sore so no Sunday run. I'll pick it back up on Monday.

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Motive Half Marathon

It was day of mixed feelings. On the one hand, several things went right and on the other, several things went wrong. I'm happy with my finish time of 2:08:50 but feel it could have been better.

I arrived at the Motive campus just prior to 6:30 am to a steady stream of traffic. Since the temperature was still in the low 40's I stayed in the truck and assembled my gear. I had done all my packing the night before and taken out of my bag the non-essentials so it made gathering everything really easy.

I jogged over to the starting line, took everything in and foudn an area to stretch. I enjoyed the few degrees of warmth over the forecasted 30's, but didn't expect the 15-25-mph hour wind that had come through with a cold front. After standing in the port-o-can line, teeth chattering, I went to the back of the Motive building where others were gathered gathering warmth from one another. I was dressed in tights, with a running, tech shirt underneath a white turtleneck and I was chilled. I saw others in tank tops and shorts. I don't know how they weren't frozen by race time. They did tend to jump up and down more than others.

While waitng for the start, I met a couple of other runners. Kim, a nurse from San Antonio had just completed the SA MArathon. We traded comments on our gear from the headphones to caps and the expected hills we were to climb. it wasn't long before the air-gun went off and 2,000 bisons were making there way through the starting gates. It took me approximately two minutes to make it through the gate. Everyone huddled together for warmth quickly jockeyed for position and open area. I had set my chrono on the watch but forgot to start the pedometer so it was off by .4 of a mile (first gotcha in the race).

I started my MP3 player and it started to have problems in the first half mile (second gotcha). I had to restart the thing three times before it settled down. Before the third attempt of restarting it, my left shin stiffened up bad and I had to stop to stretch it out (third gotcha). In the meantime, several hundred runners passed me by. It stiffened again when I tried to run on it and I had to stop again. Apparently, I wasn't the only one at this point as four or five others stopped as well on the same curb. I noticed my form had changed a little. My right foot was hitting the pavement smoothly, but the left foot was slapping the asphalt. I tried to correct the form but had to stop and stretch one last time. I relieved the shin enough that I felt I could run it out. I was still slapping the left foot but not as bad. Maybe it was good that the MP3 player had decided not to work as I wouldn't have heard the foot slapping.

I decided to pick up the pace a little as faster pace sometimes gets my form back into the groove. This proved to work and the shin stiffness/ pain subsided and it was time to get the tunes going again. This time the MP3 player decided to take hold (It is not going with me on another race. The next time you see it will be after it's smashed into thousand little pieces).

I settled into a good pace, passing a few of the hundreds that passed me while I was stretching. I was glad to have my gloves as it was still a little cold in the open areas. I felt too much heat wasn't leaving my body and I felt comfortable. I came to the first water stop and the walked through it taking in some water. I did the same thing at the second water stop before the start of the hills.

Race Data to the hill
  • Place: 1482
  • Time: 46:19.4
  • Pace: 10:12/M
At the start of the big hill the race coordinators placed a timing mat for those wanting to race the hill for a prize. I wasn't interested and wanted to tackle the hill at my own pace. Unlike Pervasive, where the hills ate my lunch, I had trained this time and felt comfortable throughout the timing mat at the end. My heart rate soared but not out of range like at Pervasive. I leaned into the hill, shortened my stride and kept the running pace. My time was actully better for the hills than it was for the first part of the race. I was able to pass 462 people through the first hills.

Race Data after the hill
  • Place: 1020
  • Time: 9:52.5
  • Pace: 9:52/M
The next five miles were pretty uneventful. I felt a side stitch coming on after taking water at the seventh mile mark and a little sloshing going on in the stomach so I backed off of water. I wasn't sweating hardly at all so if the conditions are cold for the Decker Challenge and the other, I'll leave the water bottle pack at home.The shins were feeling good at this point.

Crossing 183 back to the Motive campus was a little misleading. I felt we were home but instead of the 10-mile marker we passed the 9-mile marker. Another mile I hadn't counted on. Also crossing 183 meant we were face-to-face with the wind gusts. I was behind a make runner who was behind a 6' 3" male runner and he was drafting off the big guy. The big guy knew it and started swerving right and left to shake the guy off his tail. I sat back and watched for a couple of minutes. It took my mind off the cold breeze hitting my in the face. At this point a couple of pace bunnies passed me going a little faster than the draft dodgers so I moved left and decided to follow. The relatively flat course at this point was misleading. Just around the corner were more hills to come. There's something to say about driving the course a few days before.

We exited the campus and started into some neighborhoods. People came out of their homes and there were quite a few cheering us on. Even one lady playing the cello in her driveway. What a great town Austin is. This encouragement gave me a little boost and I needed it as around the corner came a hill. And after the mile-12 marker another one. Just when I felt a little weak, I found some more energy to keep up with the pace bunnies. I felt others slowing down and I decided to put in a coupld of 15-second walks to get the legs freshened up. Those that passed I was able to catch up to again. the pace bunnies were gone but I found a couple of Rogue training runners to follow at this point. it's around this point in the lileage that my feet feel like they're flattening out to pancakes. It could be the wet socks or that they really are flattening out. I might need to plan for a fresh pair of socks at the mid point for the 20-miler and the marathon.

Rounding the corner of the neighborhood I could hear the music playing and people cheering. There were several hundred at scattered along the final half mile. I put the legs into gear and motored with everything I had for the stretch. In past races this is the point where others with more gas int heir tanks passed me up. Not this time. Only one person passed in the final 100 yards which was encouraging. I was handed my water, food bag, medal and poster and headed for a soft place to land out of the wind. Already the race was taking it's toll on my legs and I felt more like 90 than 44 years old.

After the Hill Data
  • Place: 1100
  • Time: 1:12:37.2
  • Pace: 9:36/M
Back at the ponderosa, I crawled up the stairs with a bottle of electrolyte mix and sank into a warm tub, filled with tea tree oil. I had already iced the knees on the drive home. After a two-hour nap, I felt good as new.

Run Data Final
  • Place: 1218
  • Time: 2:08:50
  • Pace: 9:50/M

I lost 100 positions from the hill to the finish but considering how the race started, I'm happy with that. Three races down in the Distance Challenge (currently in position 404, moving up from starting at 521 after the first race), four more to go. For the next race( Decker 20K) there will be a few changes.

Changes to Make
  • New Mp3 player
  • Fold down the backseat of the truck and stretch in the truck
  • Discard the water bottle and strap if it's cold and low humidity
  • Yoga the night before and a light run the day before
  • Drive the course a few days before
  • New watch as the current one only holds 8 splits in memory
  • New shoes
RunTex review of the race

Photos of the race

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Last run before Sunday's Motive half marathon

The temperature Sunday morning is expected to be around forty degrees. For me that's a little cold as the sun will just be rising and there will be little warmth until well into the 13.1 mile stretch. Tonight I went out at sunset to get acclimated and to try out my long tights. The 25-mph winds had calmed down from the other day so that was nice. The tights worked well so I'll wear them Sunday morning.

My MP3 player is also on track for Sunday. I had loaded it up with three hours worth of music, but as noted in another post, it was having problems due it's cheap software. It's an SD card reader MP3 player that retails for $16. The benefit is it's size. It's not much larger than the SD card itself. iTunes allowed me to remove the tracks and standardize the format so all the tracks play.

Tonight, I wanted to taper off and run between three and five miles. I chose my Shoal Creek south route from the office. It ended up 4.86 miles.

Run Data
Mileage: 4.86 miles
Time: 46:40
Pace: 9:30 miles/min
AHR: not measured
Running Map: Shoal Creek South from 42nd street

What I'm Reading: Jeff Galloway's Count Down information
Motive Race Day Information

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Pre-race runs the most fun

It seems the runs prior to a race weekend are always the most fun. It could be that the work has been done and there's nothing that will improve the performance just a few days least run-wise. It could be that the hard workouts are done or it could be that this was a maintenance run, a tapering down from the longer mileage of last week. An slow, enjoyable trip around the lake. Or it could have been the 15-degree drop in temperature put a little extra kick in the stride.

As I started out, there were very few people on the trail. It felt like running through the MIT campus in Boston in September. Leaves were falling and a cool breeze was blowing from the north. I thought the 63-degree temps would have had everybody out, combined with the 30% humidity. Once I got on the backside of the Town Lake Trail, I found it was the 25-mph wind with 40-mph gusts, blowing trail sand into mini-funnels that people were staying away from.

Those that were on the trail seemed to be just as perky as animals when a cold front comes through. They're a little more hyperactive. Their pace is a little faster. I passed a couple of SWAT cadets or officers running the trail in the opposite direction. Once I turned around we were all heading in the same direction. We jockeyed position back-and-forth several times and made an informal race of it. An easy run turned into an informal race and a lot of fun. Since I train alone, I'm always looking for a pace bunny that gets me to push the pace a little bit.

I saw the guy with the four Irish Setters by the dog area. They were loose and having a ball scampering around the pond. With their long hair, I bet they were really enjoying the cooler weather. I need to stop and watch them for half an hour or so. They're so beautiful when they're all together, running and jumoing park benches in unison. I had an Irish Setter from 1982 until 1994. Her name was Bob. Actually her name was Sandy but Dad and I called her Bob. It just fit and the first Irish Setter ever was also coincidentally called Bob.

Sometimes I wish Bob was still alive to run with. Currently, I have Travis, an adopted Dachshund. He's more of a sprinter having raced in the Buda Weiner Dog Races last year but he's starting to move into the longer distances. We did a 5K walk together where he was dead set on running rather than walking. I obliged thinking he would tire early on but he never did. It's going to be tough getting him out for the short runs now that the cooler weather has arrived. He always stops at the front door and refuses to go out once the nippy breeze hits him in the snout.

Run Data
  • Time: 46:14
  • Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Pace: 8:24 min/mile
  • AHR: 142 bpm
  • Running Map: Town Lake Trail

The run was supposed to be a slow tapered run, but instead it was at a faster pace, fun and enjoyable. And did I mention the guy that stopped on the side of the trail to pee? This was not a homeless person but a fellow runner. I passed him up before he got started. It was a good thing because it looked as if he was pointing into the 25-mph north wind. Down wind dude!!!

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Easy Run Sunday

With the termperature at 83 degrees, it should feel comfortable compared to the above 100 temps back in August, but it doesn't feel cool outside. Humidity at 62%, a 11-mph wind out of the south and 83 degrees, I sweat like a pig today but that's good. I did a slow run for six-miles down the Mopac feeder to the Veloway and then over to complete the six at the Bowie High School track.

I felt much better when I got on the scale when I got back...159 pounds, though most of the loss was probably water weight. I did run the six-miles in 1:07:24 so there was some fat burning going on as well. The only problem came at mile five with a side stitch that eventually went away with some stretching. This was probably due to running too soon after eating waffles.

I found out the MP3 player still had track number information on a few songs so I'll be spending the afternoon cleaning that up to get ready for next weekend.

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Map of the Run

Easy Saturday

Today was a little easier with a rest day yesterday. Resistance work, a core strength workout and nine miles on the recumbent bike made for the day's activities. The scale pushed back up to 163 pounds, from hitting 160 after the 15-mile run and it'll probably get back down to 160 or 161 tomorrow. If I can drop three more by next Sunday's race I feel better but either way it's ok, just as long as I stay away from the holiday food that's starting to make it's way into the office. I'll probably have to scale back on my nightly wine intake. Damn, I dropped cheese, bacon, coffee creamer and refined sugar this week.

There will be a few changes to the wardrobe this week, as the temperature is forecasted to get into the thirties by Thursday morning. Hopefully next Sunday will be between fifty and sixty degrees throughout the run.

Got some inspiration from watching the Hawaii Ironman competition this afternoon. In cased you missed one of the best stories during last year's Ironman, Sarah Reinertsen made it this year to the finish. She's blogging about her efforts. Also inspirational was Jon Blais.

Ready for the Motive Half Marathon Nov. 20

I got my 15-mile run in yesterday around Townlake so I should be ready for the 13.1-mile Motive Half Marathon on Nov. 20.

Except for the spicy red beans and rice from Thundercloud Subs, I went back to my routine and today the legs feel great. I don't know what I was thinking with the red beans and rice. No problems with them, but I imagine there could've been. I also didn't take anything to munch on for mile eight and felt like I needed something from mile eight onward.

Yesterday, knowing I would running past dark on the trail, I picked up a Cat Eyes Cap Light. It really worked on the trail. It's powered by four lithium coin cell batteries for approximately 24 hours of whitish-blue light. I saw two or three other runners with them as well.

I felt like I got back to my routine or one that stressed the legs, but not too much. Any one of the routine items or all of them contributed to my legs feeling fresh today. Icing the knees, soaking the legs, stretching afterwards and getting nine hours rest probably all contributed.

Data from the run

  • 15 miles
  • 26,401 total steps or 151 per minute
  • 11:36 pace/ mile
  • Average heart rate 124 bpm

My running calculator/ training paces

  • Easy run training pace is: 10:55 min/mile
  • Tempo run training pace is: 9:07 min/mile
  • Maximum oxygen training pace is: 8:14 min/mile
  • Speed form training pace is: 7:38 min/mile
  • Long run training pace is: 10:55 - 12:16 min/mile
  • Yasso 800s training pace is: 4:13 min/800

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Running Map

Blog entries by day have been deleted

The blog entries by day were getting to long to make any sense. I've taken all the log entries and placed them in a matrix on another page. It's linked from the right side labeled, "Training Schedule".

Comments have been reactivated now the Blogger has a way to keep out the spam.

Complete or Compete?

I've been mulling over this for the last few days after completing the Yasso 800s last Saturday. I was curious what the Yassos would indicate as a finish time for the Freescale Marathon in February, based on my current level of fitness. I ran them just about at 95% VO2 max and they were painful. The good news was they indicated an approximate 3:45 finish time. The bad news was that I hurt for a couple of days. More than the hills workout, much more than any distance workout.

The question before me with the Yasso data is whether to run to compete or run to complete. Many coaches or advisors preach to just finish the first marathon, regardless of time. If I hadn't seen Oprah's marathon time (4:29:30) on one of the other runner's blogs, that would have been fine. So I started with a goal to get back into shape and lose weight to a goal of running the distance challenge and finishing a marathon injury free, to beating Oprah's time to now a sub four-hour marathon.

Other trials and pace calculators put my finish time between 3:45 and 4:20. Given the other variables that can happen between now and then, plus race day conditions, I think the time will be between the above numbers.

It's time to quick moving the goal and get back to the original reasons why I'm doing this. Get in shape, finish a marathon and not get injured so that it prevents me from further training. And oh yes, beat Oprah's time no matter if I have to puke ten times in the last five miles.

If I remove all of the emotion from the decision, I should be able to look at the training, listen to my body and go out and produce the best time for my fitness level at the time. My fitness level will definitely be better than it is today, and the time will be the time.

After spending the last couple of days with ice pads, massagers and sports cream, it's time to get to the next level sensibly. Throw out what doesn't work, put back in what does while still researching, reading and trying various training/nutrition methods out that may benefit the end result.

To get to the next level

  1. Drop weight by stoking the fire (metabolism) three times per day, including short runs and walking.
  2. Listen to the body and insert rest days when neccessary.
  3. Cut out bacon and cheese from the diet.
  4. Cut all refined sugar from the diet.
  5. Keep Galloway's run-walk program. 1-mile run to 30-60 second walk
  6. Increase mileage +10%/ week.
  7. Since morning running doesn't work for me, insert Yoga back into the morning routine.
  8. Increase core strength.
  9. Ice the knees after stressful workouts and long runs.
  10. Soak the legs after long runs.
  11. Stretch after each run.
  12. Feed the body immediately after the workout.

When I thought about getting back into shape, I first looked at my diet. After looking at a couple of diet loggers, I came across which served all my needs. From June 14 - 30, I recorded everything I ate and drank, plus entered into the log all of my exercise activities. Exercise at this point included walking, light swimming, light cycling and the use of resistance bands (SPRI).

FitDay was instrumental in my learning about what I ate. Many times I thought I was eating the correct foods or amounts and FitDay proved I was making incorrect decisions. Another source that worked well with FitDay was informed me of the fat content in, for example, a Chipotle vegetarian burrito. Just eating their 13-inch flour tortilla will contribute 9g of fat and 860mg of sodium to your intake. Add the veggies and you get another 8g of fat and 640mg of sodium. So much for a good diet food.

During this time I was eating a lot of processed frozen dinners, including items from Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine. While they had the right amount of fat and carbs per serving, many times they were loaded with sodium. They were also smaller portions than I required. By using FitDay I found I started to eat more raw foods and started to get my calories from unprocessed sources.

Another source of information has been Men's Health magazine. From reading articles online, as well as reading one of the special issues, I was able to see it's not only what you eat, but when. I tended to skip breakfast, loaded up on lunch and definitely placed most of my consumption of calories in the evening or late night meal. Since then, I've loaded up in the morning (front loading), snack at mid-morning and afternoon, regular lunch and eat a light meal for dinner. What I eat and when is also based on my exercise for the day. On the days I'm exercising for over 45 minutes, I tend to eat more calories a couple of hours before exercising or right after. Two hours before or within an hour after.

Most of my program has been hit or miss. Things that work stay in the plan, and things that don't are ditched. It's not Atkins, South Beach or the Abs diet but it seems to be working for me. Since I started this plan on June 14 I've gone from 175 pounds down to 164 (Aug. 23). That falls within the one-to-two pounds per week most experts recommend as healthy weight loss.

Chest41 1/440 1/440
Gut Inhale353533
Gut Exhale3836 1/236
Thigh2121 1/221
R Bicep13 1/41313
L Bicep131313
calf  15