Saturday, 12/31/05 - Mile splits

Mile splits with a 400-meter jog inbetween at the Bowie High School track. 8:16, 8:42, 9:13, 9:06, 9:15

80 degrees, low humidity, 20-mph wind.

My Dr Scholl's Moleskin conformed to the shoe's sole a little too well and made for more irritation. I'll have to try some orthotic inserts and try it out before next week's run or go to the older shoes.

By far, the best run since I started

Tonight was by far, the best run I've experienced since I started this program. None of the gremlin variables raised their ugly heads during the run. The stomach calmed down and was good, knees held out during and after the run, clothing wasn't a problem and the new watch recorded the time...40:10.40 for the 4.5-mile Town Lake Trail loop. Even the Dr Scholls Moleskin Plus worked to correct an irritation in the right arch of the new shoes. I'm not close to being a gazelle but it's an improvement (8:53/mile) over my previous comfortable pace of 9:15/mile. And that's even with stopping and giving directions to some tourists to the where the bats can be seen at the bat bridge. Cool!

Maybe there's something to the weights I inserted into the program, as I lifted last night. I also ate lunch this time which helped the stamina.

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My weight has been hovering at 160.5 pounds for three or four weeks now. It's still there today, two days after Christmas. I guess that's a good thing, seen as I went back for seconds at both the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feasts. I also dug into the pies available, one of them cheesecake, rolls, wine and cinnamon rolls. So coming out of the thrust of the holidays with the weight intact is fine. Putting in 15 miles the afternoon of Christmas Eve probably put the calories in the minus column, if only for a few hours.

My run for the afternoon of Christmas Eve was supposed to be 18 miles in preparation for the Runtex 20-miler Jan. 8. Twenty-to-thirty mph winds became a variable that cut back on the miles to 15. I ran for three hours which was the main goal so that was accomplished.

Today's run was at the Bowie H.S. track. I chose six miles of warm up, 400-meter sprints, with a 400-meter jog inbetween and a half-mile cool down. Total runtime was 1:06:48. Splits: 1:57, 2:34, 2:04, 3:30, 1:58, 2:40, 1:55, 3:09, 1:54, 2:44, 1:56, 2:45, 1:55, 3:01, 1:59, 3:02, 1:53, 2:45, 1:51, 3:12, 1:56 + .5 mile cool down.

For Christmas, I received a new Timex Ironman Triathlon watch with 100-lap memory. My old Triathlon watch could only record eight laps which made recording workouts somewhat difficult. It required two button presses rather than the single button with the new one. The old one was purchased in the 1980s so it lasted past its time.

Half of the features are unnecessary. All I need is an easy way to split the lap times, a large display, and for it to keep track of the overall time. I'll probably need the 100-meter water proofing next year if I do some swimming, but that's it. I could have asked for one with the heart rate monitor but constant feedback or downloading capability isn't that important at this stage. My current HRM with the finger press works just fine to check when I'm past my workout zone.

Breaking in new shoes were also in order for this workout. A new pair of Asics GT-2100 felt great until about mile four. Something was irritating in the right arch. My old pair of New Balance required a snip of a stitch on the left toe so I now expect that sort of thing. These shoes, outside of the arch, felt great and breath more with the mesh. My NB pair is now retired to the smaller runs. They're still fine with a pair of Triad orthotics to replace the lost cushioning.

I'm shooting for 154 pounds at the time of the Freescale Marathon. More weight will be ok, if the fat percentage comes down. The last few days it's been dropping so maybe there's a tradeoff between fat and muscle as the new schedule including weights, whey protein and creatine play into it. I would like to be there before the Jan. 8, Runtex 20-miler but it may involve too much dieting before then. It may happen though if I back off of the holiday leftovers.

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Schedule Adjustments

The summer is so much easier to build a schedule around. In Austin it's hot, hot and more hot June through September. The only thing to adjust is whether to run in the morning, when it's cool, or wear next to nothing and run in the afternoon. Though, most of my runs last summer were in the evening when the temperature had dipped below 90 degrees.

Late fall and early winter have thrown a monkeywrench into my plan. This weekend the temps will get into the seventies, with the mornings in the thirties. A couple of weeks ago I decided to cash in on a free one week at the gym. This was great for the one or two ice days we had, but I noticed that I'd need something that lasted for more than a week. The last two weeks I've been working out at a neighborhood gym. Nothing fancy, a couple of treadmills, an elliptical, some free weights and a couple of other machines. This has added so much variety to my training, that now I have to rework my training schedule from now until the Freescale Marathon.

I went out to Town Lake with a co-worker last Monday. We had planned for a single loop around at 4.5 miles and I let him pick the pace. He started out at my 5K pace and never let up. By mile three I let him keep going and I slowed it up a bit. My heart rate at the point we split was 94% max. It was a good speed workout and one I needed to work on as I needed to expand my lactate threshold. My areobic threshold has been pretty good, so a speed workout once a week should only be beneficial.

In other areas, my waking heart rate has decreased to an range of 47 - 52, from 57 - 60. In September and October it hovered around 67. My weight is teetering at 160.5 this week. it's been 161 for the last couple of weeks. As I add more mileage in the next couple of weeks it should drop to the target of 154 by race day in February. The weight is definitely being redistributed as I got into a pair of 32-inch waste pants yesterday. It's about time to update the measurements.

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This Week's Runs

Nothing special about the last few runs. Intervals at the Bowie track for five miles, 8-mile run at Town Lake last night.

I keep going to the track when there's something I need to work on. Usually, it's form or pace. The other night when I ran my intervals, the slapping left foot reappeared. In times past, this was due to my lack of stretching but I had stretched thoroughly this time. I noticed my left shoe wasn't as tight as my right. I tend to wear the shoes really loose. In fact, I don't tie them all the way to the top. Tightening the laces a little helped and the slapping disappeared.

Running Town Lake last night was a treat. I got there thirty minutes before sunset and set out over the south side of the lake so I'd get a good view of it on the flip side. Spectacular, running next to the trees with their changing colors and the sun reflecting off the water. Instead of the six miles slotted for the day, I decided to do another pass in the dark. The Trail of Lights was starting up and I got another view of the trees changing color. This time it was with strings of light wrapped around the trees and with the displays below the trees. What a treat.

I've been adding much more core exercises this week to see if I can, 1. strengthen the core muscles, but also 2. drop below the 160-pound threshold I've been at for a few weeks. I've been out of my morning walk routine and my metabolism isn't getting the boost several times per day as it once was. Also, since Thanksgiving my runs at lunch have been fewer. On a positive note, my waking heart rate is now hovering around 57, rather than the mid-sixties as before.

After my last race and bonking at mile ten, I looked at various drinks that contain protein. I'm trying out Boost this week to see how my body reacts to it during a run. So far, so good. I didn't have any of the stomach twitching last night like I had too much or not enough in the boiler. I'm trying the high protein product, which boosts the protein by twice the grams as the regular product.

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Trial Memberships Can Come in Handy

I ran Tuesday in the cold, 20F temperatures, and got in five miles. Yesterday was another matter with 30F and 15-mph winds. I was going over to Mom's to use her exercise recumbent bike when I thought I'd check the local health club to see if they were offering any trial memberships. They always do don't they?

Sure enough they were. I hadn't finished filling out the online form, when fifteen minutes later, a trainer called from the gym. I said I could be there in fifteen and off I went.

I had heard that this particular gym franchise had a high level of testosterone floating around the facility. Grunts, groans, clanking weights and the beefcakes strutting their stuff. Not so. Maybe with some of the other locations, but not this one.

I warmed up on the recumbent bike for three miles and then ventured over to the treamills. Access to the equipment seemed abundant, except for the treamills. I waited for 20 minutes until one became available. While I waited, I pondered how I felt about the four or five individuals using the treamills as a walker. I mean, on the one hand, they could easily be at the mall circling the shops and get the same workout. On the other hand they paid their dues, I'm there as a freeloader using the equipment because it's too chilly outside. I decided not to put too much effort into the thought and switched my attention to Vince Young winning two awards last night on ESPN's College football awards show.

It had been over fifteen years since I had been on a treamill. They have much more electronics than I remembered. The again, everything has more electronics built into these days. It was pretty straight forward to get the thing going, select a session type and adjust the speed.

Early on I felt the old left foot slap come back. I thought I'd worked it out on Tuesday at the track. It seems to show up when I haven't stretched enough. I hopped off the treadmill sides and stretched the left shin and calf some more and hopped back on. I got my form back in order and continued with the mileage. I enjoyed seeing the mileage and miles per hour displayed. After about two miles I felt really comfortable on the machine. I put in six miles and called it a day.

Now it was time to pay for my freebie. I had to talk to the sales guy and go over the various "specials" they had going. Even though they say it's a one week free membership, they mean one day and get a sourpuss look on their face when you tell them you need to check out the club a few more days. I imagine I'll have to repeat the procedure each time I go back this week. Oh well it beats 30F, with a wind chill of 15F.

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Decker Challenge 20K

Each race is different. There are so many variables that can change the way the race day unfolds. How I prep for the race, what I eat, weather conditions, race route, what I eat or drink during the race and what I wear. I don't have the extensive track record to have a routine. I suppose you could after one race, but I'm still learning what works and what doesn't with all the variables. I can't change the weather or the race route, but I can change just about everything else.

After the last race, and having to stretch in the cold, I decided to stretch in the back of the SUV by putting the backseat down. Today's race had planned on runners being able to use the warm Expo Center to stretch and potty, but not knowing what would be the situation for the next race, I decided to try this out.

Using the back of the Rodeo for pre-race stretching was great. It was warm and provided more than enough room to work all the kinks out. I jogged around the parking lot to warm up before and after the stretch. A yoga mat provided just enough cushion.
By having enough time to stretch I was able to stave off my shin tightening up. One thought was that it occurred in the last race due to inadequate stretching. Another though, places it on my form and my left foot slapping the pavement. This could have been caused by my hyperextending my hip flexor and the left foot was compensating for something different in the way I was running with my right hip. I had done a couple of track workouts this week and tried to concentrate on a smooth motion. In either case the shin was not a problem this weekend.

On the way to the race, it was nice to see the University of Texas tower all lit up in orange in honor of the Big-12 Championship game yesterday. I pulled into campus to have some of that orange mojo rub off on me today.
My pre-race meal consisted of an Emergen-C, yogurt, oatmeal with blueberries and a cup of coffee. It seemed to hold up ok throughout the race. I did change my race meal the night before and had fish tacos instead of the traditional spaghetti with tomatoes and basil. I don't think I banked enough carbs to help me out in the last part of the race.

The Austin Runner's Club, organizers of this week's race, provided a very nice long sleeve, tech-fabric shirt in the race packet. I decided to wear it as it looked like it would protect against the wind. It did seem to help and was comfortable during the race. Not too hot and not too porous to allow the wind through. Other components of the race gear included my Bianchi bicycle hat, shades, MP3 player, electrolyte gel and my new cheap camera that outputs to 640 x 480. Not too flashy, but enough resolution for day shots during the race. I decided to leave off the list the wash cloth, as it was chilly and I wouldn't sweat profusely, the water bottle and the small bottle for the gel mixture. Organizers had planned sports drinks every two miles so there was no need for it.

In my last race, the MP3 player was a hassle and took three attempts to wake up. I replaced it with a SanDisk Sansa 512MB player which woke up today on the first attempt and kept playing throughout the race.

The race went pretty well, given the 15-20 mph winds and small hills that kept coming, even to the end. And by the way, hills provide a challenge and are ok to add a few. Hills in the last half mile of the race are just mean. I'm whining because I hit the wall at the tenth mile. Everything was going great to that point. The first half of the race I was at a PR for the first 10K, 53:44.3 with an 8:40 m/m pace. I felt good, the hills didn't escalate my heart rate to the max, and I was still able to walk the water stops.

Early on the wind was too much, so many of the 1300 runners were drafting off the big guys running the course. Anyone 6'2" and over 180 pounds was a good candidate. We were all trying to get out of the wind and I was thinking I needed to pick up a pace bunny earlier in the race to get under the 9:00 pace. A couple came by, one was a guy in my age bracket that ran a little faster than I on most of the previous races. He also walks the water stops so as he passed I followed along. He and I, plus one other woman in our age bracket were trading back and forth throughout the first eight miles of the race, and then something happened at mile ten.

I normally take my gel at mile seven and for some reason, thinking I was running fine, I postponed the intake of the gell. I took a little water and sports drink at each stop and while my stomach wasn't sloshing, there was something funny going on. No side stitches by a pulling like my body was wanting something it didn't have. At mile ten, my legs turned to concrete and I watched as the pace bunnies went on. Over one hundred people I had passed, caught up to me between mile ten and the finish of the race. My pace had slowed from 8:40 m/m to 9:48 m/m. There was nothing I could do to turn on the afterburners. There were no afterburners. My kick, which is normally there for the last mile lasted 100 yards.

--1st 10K--                 
Place Rnk    Time      Pace    
641   513    53:44.3 8:40/M   
--2nd 10K--
         Rnk    Time      Pace    
         743 1:00:47.7 9:48/M

Gun Time:  1:55:55.2
Chip Time: 1:54:32.0
Diff.: 1:23.2
Pace: 9:14/M

Even though I bonked at mile ten, I felt good with the results. My overall pace evened out to what it should be and I can work on getting out of the gate and having some energy stored for the last bit. I'll need it as the next race is a 20-miler. I think I'll go back to running based how I feel for the first half and picking up pace bunnies towards the end.

Runtex Review of the Race


Distance Challenge Standing
Place       Chip Time   Points  Age Group 
362         6:35:04            3522   40-44

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