Friday, August 31, 2007

Rock n Roll Half this Weekend at the Beach

Everyone will be Rock'n Roll'n at the beach this weekend...It's the
Rock n Roll Half Marathon weekend at the Beach...Virginia Beach that is! Great weather is predicted and fun party time for all on a Labor Day weekend...the last big weekend before most schools start!

This will be my first RnR half but my third half marathon. Last year about this time I was watching the events, wishing I was running...which prompted me to get it in gear and start training for racing. Up to that point I would run occasionally, sporadically, never more than 6 miles and had never entered into a race. Well, I had run a 10K way back in the 80's for my ship's team...can't even remember what my time was. My first race...last year...was a half...the Fleet Week Half ...I was ambitious...very ambitious. I thought I was still young and could do a half by jumping into training for about a six weeks doing five mile runs with a long run of only 7.5 miles and with a goal of 1:45...secret goal of 1:30. I did finish in 1:45:58 or there abouts so technically I did get my first goal but I cramped miserably at the 12 mile mark and limped to the finish but with some satisfaction of finishing.

What's my goal this time...I'm not telling...well you know I'm trying to break 1:30. My last half was the Dismal Swamp Stomp back in mid-April with a time of 1:32 and change and I think I can better that time...we shall see. I seem to be in the second corral and had hoped to be in the first...I thought I had put 1:30 as my expected finish way back in May when I registered. Packet pick-up starts today and I will check to see if I can move up...If not my bib number is: 2250.

Oh...Today I am 52!

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How did this happen! appears I may have injured my left leg during the ASYMCA Mud Run 8K on Saturday. I can’t figure out where the injury occurred but it was probably at one of the many obstacles during the run. My left lower leg was hurting after getting home and after the nap. Also had problems walking down the stairs but once it was warmed up/stretched, walking on it was only a bit of uncomfortable. I gave it plenty of rest on Sunday and delayed my Week 5 Key workout #3, which is an 18 mile run, till Monday.

Monday: I stretched real well and warmed up slowly by briskly walking for about five minutes and then started my run. The run calls for a long run of 18 miles at PMP + 45-60 seconds per mile. I started the TM at 7 mph for the first mile and then increased to 7.5 mph. The first three miles were quite painful…pain that I hadn't felt since my big bout of shin splints back in January, but I was determined to finish the 18 miles so I slowed the pace back down to 7 mph. After about five miles the pain was a dull ache and I completed the 18 miles, kicking it in the last three miles and finishing in 2:24 and change. I finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper for 52 floors to help stretch out the calves and went home and swam in the pool for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday: My left calf was hurting pretty good when I got up. During the day it hurt a lot to walk after sitting for a spell but once I was walking a bit, the pain would ease up a bit. I did my 40 minutes of abs and weight workout and then decided to go ahead and do my cross training. Started with 30 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 10 good for 3.4 miles. Then 45 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 10 good for 12 miles. Finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper good for 52 floors. Went home and swam 24 laps.

Wednesday: Calf was still quite painful so decided to skip my Week 6 Key Workout #1 which is a speed interval workout. There was no way I was going to be able to complete even one set and didn't want to cause further injury...I want to give my calf a chance to heal so instead I did cross training again. 60 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 7 miles. Then 60 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 12 good for 17.4 miles. Finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 good for 53 floors.

Today my left calf is still hurting so I will stick to cross training until the pain goes away...I don't know how long that will be but I know I need to let it heal before it gets worse…hopefully not more than a week.

Here are some pictures from the ASYMCA Mud Run:

The Stampede start on the beach...boxed in by some big dudes...makes you want to hum the tune from "Chariots of Fire"...Can you find Waldo?...I'm the grey haired guy:

The Water crossing:
Water Crossing

The Hay bales...some went, not pictures of me playing in the hay.
Hay Bales

Up and over one of the many berms:

Through the muddy waters:

Finally...the Finish:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

ASYMCA Mud Run 8K 11 Aug 2007

Instead of doing my Week 5 Key Workout #2, I did an 8K race...The ASYMCA Mud Run 8K

Thursday: Was suppose to be a cross training day but couldn't work out so it was a rest day.

Friday: Cross trained instead of the Key Workout #2. I figured I would substitute the race on Saturday for my key workout. First I did 40 minutes of abs and weights. Then 30 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 3.4 miles. And finished with 30 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 12 good for 8.2 miles.

Saturday: Ran the 8K Mud run.

This run takes place on the Naval Amphibious base in Norfolk off of the Chesapeake Bay. The mud run consisted of an obstacle type course with a combination of running on the sand, running over sand berms, over hay bales, through a stream, a couple of low crawls, going over a wall and of course running through muddy water. I thought it would be interesting and a break from the usual road course type races. We couldn't have ordered a better what we got for the middle of summer...especially after two weeks of very hot and humid days and nights. It was probably in the 70s at start time with a nice breeze off the ocean and cloud cover most of the time.

The night before...I like to lay out my running stuff and pin my bib on my shirt so there won't be things that I forget on race day...I had a problem with deciding what to wear because I knew I was going to get wet, sandy and muddy. I decided on a pair of NB 856 shoes that were tight fitting and would drain the water out well. I figured with the tight fit, less sand and water would get in. I didn't get a restful sleep that night...not because nerves or getting to bed late...but because of our fire alarm system starting to beep around 2 a.m. It will beep if the backup batteries are low or if they are dirty. I tried to go back to sleep but it kept beeping about every 30 minutes. I was just going to leave it till I got home from the race to change the batteries but my wife...bless her thoughtful soul...tried to find which of the 8 alarms was beeping and finally changed three of them before the beeping one was wife is sooo good to me for doing that so I could get some sleep. I just get off to sleep and the alarm clock goes off telling me it's time to get up. I shower and eat breakfast and drive to the base getting there about an hour before the 8:00 start time. They had us park in a area about half a mile away because they were expecting quite a turnout for this race...I think there were over 2000 runners, but no problems, there was plenty of time before the race and it was good to warm up a bit. I get my timing chip, make a visit to the port-a-lets and warm up by running and exploring the final finish stretch which is mostly asphalt covered by sand.

The start of the race was in the sand on the beach at the water line and goes down the beach for a little over a mile in the sand...and we started off in waves. The first wave was just men up to the age of 39, the second wave...which is my wave... for us older guys and some of the teams, a third wave for other teams and women and a fourth wave...I think for some of the military teams...can't remember it all but I was in the second wave. Each wave starts five minutes after the wave before it. So the first wave gets off at 8:00 and five minutes later our wave gets started. I find myself a couple of rows of runners back from the front of the start line and in the middle...which was a big mistake. The horn goes off for our wave and everyone surges forward. I find I have to walk and jog a bit to get around the slower runners in front as more runners surge past on both sides of sand that is very hard to run and maneuver in. The only packed sand was at the water edges where the ocean waves would cover your shoes if you didn't watch out. At first I tried to keep out of the water and on dry sand but progress on the dry sand was very slow and energy sapping. It seemed like I couldn't get out of the crowd of runners that I was in unless I went wide right into the very soft sand or wide left which was in the ocean. After about half a mile the runners started thinning out and I could finally get past a good number of slower runners. A couple of times we actually had to run around obstacles...tree branches, trunks...and into the surf to get around. After about a mile we turned right into the sand dunes going up an incline...sand berms...and finally found firm ground to run on. We weaved through a parking lot and through some trees. The path through the trees was very narrow where passing other slower runners was dangerous due to the thorny brambles along the path grabbing at your ankles and thighs along with dangerously low tree branches that we had to weave and bob around. I was able to make some passes at corners or on rare occasion where the path widened. We came out of the trees into the parking lot again and then into more sand dunes and berms that were created by the course designer where they would heap up the sand into mounds that had to be climbed and crossed. We then had to run through a stream that was almost knee high and about as wide as a one lane street. Then more sand dune running heading back towards where the start/finish area is and up over some hay bales. We finally get back to the blacktopped road for a bit before going up a stretch of a nice hill and coming back down to the blacktop and actual street running for about half a mile. I was able to pick up my pace and passed a whole bunch of runners on the flat, firm wonderful asphalt! But all too soon it was back to running in the sand and going up and down sand berms. After running through some more sand we reach the low crawl obstacle. There is about 10 feet of rope strung out across the sand path and up hill. We exit to more sand...more berms and more hay bales to climb over. We eventually hit the not the running wall but a barrier type wall where we have to get up and over. Just after the wall we get to the mud pit and run/slosh through about 6-8 meters of mud, sand and water...not bad but it does slow you down a lot. And then of course more sand and berm running on the other side. A final low crawl through some more ropes and more sand running and a final up over a sand berm and we're back on sand covered blacktop heading to the finish line. I sprint as soon as my feet hit solid ground to the finish. My finish time that I saw on the clock was 53 minutes something but after subtracting the 5 minutes for the second wave start, it came out to around 48 minutes...48 minutes for 5 miles! My worst 10K was 3 minutes faster! It was hard to accept that my pace was nearly 10 mpm...I really thought I would have done a lot better. It was hard to pass runners in some spots and was forced to run at their slower pace. The sand was very difficult to run in. I tried different strategies...running in the foot steps, running on the edges...running in the middle...none seemed to be any easier.

That was probably the most exhausting short race that I have ever run. Running through the sand is not easy...especially going up the berms...and saps your energy quickly. The other obstacles were minor bumps in the road and were no problem...although I did see a guy in front of me trip on a hay bale coming down and hit the ground pretty hard...he was okay though...the sand at least cushions your fall.

After crossing the finish line and talking with a few people who I had run with, I headed for the water and food...Pizza...Yes! I must have eaten almost a whole pizza myself. I rinsed off at the water buffalo...a large military water tank on wheels that is towed by a truck...went back for some more pizza and drink and headed home. It was a fun run and I had a blast!

Race results:
There were 21 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 1633 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 98 of 1633
Age group finish place was 2 of 21
Time: 48:17 for an overall pace of 9:42 per mile

I took a nap when I got home...I was that tired!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week 5 Key Run #1

Monday: Cross trained. First 30 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 3.2 miles. Then 40 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 10-12 good for 10 miles. Then back to the elliptical for 30 minutes more at the same setting good for 3.3 miles. Finished up with 10 minutes on the stairstepper good for 51 floors. Went home and swam 512 meters.

Tuesday: Cross trained. First 60 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 10 good for 6.7 miles. Then 60 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 10 good for 15 miles. Finished with 10 minutes on the stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 good for 52 floors.

Wednesday: Week 5 Key Run #1 calls for 10-20 min easy run, then 3 x 1600 meters with 1 minute RI and 10 minute cool-down. My pace for the 1600 meters is 6:05. Started by warming up on the TM at a fast walk for two minutes and then 7 mph for a couple of minutes and moving it up to 7.5 mph for a couple more minutes, then 8 mph and the rest of the warmup at 8.5 mph good for 3 miles in about 25 minutes. Then set the TM to 9.9 mph (which comes to 6:03 mpm) and started the first one mile repeat. Did great to the finish and slowed down to 7 mph for the one minute of RI. Set it back to 9.9 and had to really hang on to finish the mile and then dropped down to 7 mph again...but I took an extra minute to get ready for the final mile. I was so beat I started at 8 mph and took it up gradually by 0.5 mph every 30 seconds to 10 mph and finished the set. Dropped down to 7 mph for about 3 minutes then set it at 8 mph for the rest of the hour. Came out to 8.1 miles total. I'm beginning to not like speed's really hard for me to do. I finished with the 10 minutes on the stairstepper good for 52 floors, went home and swam 536 meters in the pool.

Overall a very good workout, but I haven't been able to complete these speed workouts without some cheating. There is no way I could have done anything close to what I did if I had to have done it outside. It hit 102F with a heat index of around 117F. Even now at 8:00 pm it's still 97F with a heat index of 109F...Hot...Hot...Hot!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Week 4 Key Run #3

Saturday: 40 minutes of abs and weights, then did 10 laps in the pool after mowing the lawn. Tried to rest for Sunday's 20 mile run but it was hot and humid while mowing the lawn and I felt really drained after mowing but refreshed after the swim.

Sunday: Key run #3 calls for 20 miles at PMP (7:20) + 45-60 which comes out to a 8:05-8:20 per mile pace. I was debating whether I wanted to run it at a faster pace since most of my paces for long runs in the past have been in the 7:-7:30 pace but again I decided that I need to follow the plan as closely as possible and see how it comes out for this first of five 20 milers. I didn't do any other cardio this time prior to the run but started by fast walking for the first minute then set the TM to 7.5 mph which comes to 8:00 minutes per mile...yeah 5 seconds faster then what it calls for actual PMP is 7:15-7:17 so it fits! First hour went by and I felt the urge to go faster but I stayed at the prescribed pace. I took a vanilla flavored Powergel after the first hour and some water. I also used Gatorade about every 30 minutes. After the second hour (15 miles down) I took a chocolate GU and some water. I was still feeling good with no problems with the pace...I still wanted to go faster. At the 18-mile mark I succumbed and pushed the speed up to 8 mph and at the 19-mile mark pushed the speed up to 8.5 mph. I finished the 20 miles in 2:38:30 but I ran it out to 2:40:00, which came to 20.25 miles. I really felt I could continue on for the last 10K but stopped. After the run I did 10 minutes on the Stairclimber at Random, Level 12 for 52 floors. I find the Stairclimber is good for stretching out my legs especially the calves. Usually after my long runs I treat myself to something special...a Big Mac with fries and a Coke...I figure it's a good way to get protein and carbs into my on my way home I had my treat! Got home and also had some really good raspberry cheesecake with a large glass of milk and then did almost 500 meters in the pool.

My first week of the Furman program is under my belt. I found the speed intervals was my hardest day and the other two days were fairly easy. Let's see what next week brings.

Total Running miles this week: 35.05

Friday, August 3, 2007

Week 13 (4 of 16) Key Workout # 2

Thursday: The day after Key workout #1 left my calves a little sore...never did a workout like was so intense but I still did my cross training at the gym. Started out on the Elliptical set at Random, Level 12 for one hour good for 6.6 miles. Then moved to the Lifecycle set at Random, Level 12 for one hour good for 18 miles. Then finished at the Stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 for 10 minutes and 52 floors.

Friday: Warmed up on the Elliptical set at Random, Level 15-12 for 10 minutes then moved to the Treadmill for the Key Run #2 which calls for 1 mile easy, 4 miles at MT pace (6:55/mile) and then 1 easy. Started the 1 mile run easy at 7 mph and gradually moved up 0.5 mph every quarter mile then after one mile, set the TM at 8.7 mph which came to 6.53/mile pace and ran for 4 miles. I felt like I could go quite a bit more at the end of four miles but I want to stick to the plan as close as possible so I set the TM to 8 mph for the first half mile of easy run and then decreased to 7.5 mph for the rest. I just didn't want to quit at 6 miles...why not 6.2?...So I went the additional 0.2 for an even 10K all in a time around 45:30. I still felt I had left quite a bit in the tank so I rode the Lifecycle set at Random, Level 10 for 30 minutes good for 8.25 miles and then finished up on the Stairstepper set at Random, Level 12 for 10 minutes good for 52 floors. Went home and swam 200 meters.

Tomorrow is a rest day...probably will do 40 minutes of abs and weights and then Sunday will be the first of five 20 mile runs in the plan. I do plan to substitute a 22 and a 24 mile in there for two of the 20 milers. I need to get past my 22-26.2 mile cramp zone.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Furman First to the Finish Program

After trying to prepare for the MCM with a do-it-yourself plan based somewhat on the Furman plan and not really being satisfied that I am getting all that I can from my training...I took the plunge and decided to follow the Furman First to the Finish Marathon Program as set out without modifications. The program takes sixteen weeks but since the MCM is on 28 Oct, that only leaves me 13 I start on the 13th week which is actually the 4th week of the 16 week problem since I have been training hard since the last week of June. As with my past workouts, the majority of the workouts will be done on the treadmill.

First I filled out the Training Pace Worksheet to determine what my pace should be for the various workouts. I used my latest 5K time of 19:28 but rounded it up to 19:30...I like round numbers. So after doing all the math based on a 6:20 5K pace, I am left with the following:

Planned Marathon Pace (PMP): 7:20 (rounded up)
Long Tempo (LT): 7:10
Mid Tempo (MT): 6:55
Short Tempo (ST): 6:40
And for the Speed Workouts: 400M: 5:40; 600M: 5:45; 800M: 5:50; 1000M: 5:53; 1200M: 5:55; 1600M: 6:05

Now that I have the important numbers...On with the training!

Based on the training plan the actual running workouts...called 'Key Runs' are only done three times a week with the rest of the week devoted to cross-training or rest. Since I like doing my long runs on Sunday, I arranged the weekly plan to the following:
Monday: Cross-train or Rest
Tuesday: Cross-train
Wednesday: Key Run #1
Thursday: Cross-train
Friday: Key Run #2
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Key Run #3 confuse you again...this week is Week 13 of the plan...which is really week 4 of 16.

Monday: Cross-training 60 minutes on the Elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 6.41 miles. Then 70 minutes on the Lifecycle set at Random, Level 10-12 good for 20 miles. Then ran on the treadmill for 3.5 miles starting with a set of hill workouts and finishing with two sets of speed work...I hadn't known I was going to jump into the Furman program until today. Finished with 10 minutes of stairsteppers set at Random, level 12. Went home and cooled down by swimming 10 laps.

Tuesday: Rest day

Wednesday...Today: Key Run #1 which calls for 10-20 minutes of warm-up, then 5 x 1000 meter intervals with 400 meter Rest Intervals in between and then finishing with 10 minutes of cool-down. I warmed up with 30 minutes on the elliptical (3.6 miles) and 30 minutes on the lifecycle (8.2 miles). Then on to the workout! I figured I needed to warm-up on the treadmill before doing the workout so 10 minutes on the TM at 7 mph for warm-up. According to the plan worksheet, I was to do the 5 x 1000m in 3:40 minutes each...a 5:53 mpm pace. I set the TM at 10.2 mph with 1% elevation...which actually comes out to a 5:52 pace...and off we went for 0.62 miles in about 3:40 minutes...TMs are soo great at keeping you on pace. For the Rest Interval (RI), I slowed down to 7 mph for 0.25 miles and then did my second 1K...the first one was relatively easy...but the second was a bit harder...the third was even harder and I could barely finish the fourth one...leaving me gasping for air and taking a minute more for my RI. For the fifth one I dropped the speed down to 10 mph and barely finished that one...thankful the series was over. I think for my next set of speed work, I'll do the cardio at the end of the workout...if I still have enough energy that is. But...What a workout! I finished up with cooling down at 7 mph to finish out 40 minutes total time. After the run I did 10 minutes on the stairstepper, went home and did 10 laps in the pool.

A very hard workout but I can hardly wait for Friday's Key Run #2 and the long run this Sunday will be 20 miles. I'm sure I can do tempo runs a whole lot better than speed intervals...we'll have to see.