Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Broad St Special

Last night, 13 miles with the middle 10 progression. The plan was to
drop the pace every 2 miles from 6:30 down to 5:50. Nice night for a
run and it went well.

6:31,6:36,6:12,6:17,6:13,6:13,6:00,6:01,5:41,5:35 for 61:19

Of course I do a workout like that and it strikes me today as kind of
a mystery how I'll run a whole heck of a lot faster on race day, but,
I suppose, figuring that out is what races are about.

When life hands you lemons...

You can always mash them into a pulp with your forehead.

Sunday I headed to my track for some long intervals. I was stopped at
the gate by a guy in a respirator. He said they were spraying an
herbicide and the field was closed. Not going to argue with that one.

Run to another track.

Locked up tight as a drum. I will climb a 6 foot chain link, but this
place has 10 foot iron fences. Nope.

Run to another track.

Finally one that is open. Unfortunately this is on the top of a hill,
wide open, and completely exposed to the wiiiiiiinnnnnnnndddd.

It was windy enough that in the middle of my reps, it blew a trash can
off the baseball field and onto the track.

It was a debacle. The wind which was a straight line just bearing
down the whole front stretch. It was really all I could do to just
put my
head down and try to get some work in. I went pretty hard and was
totally caked in salt and dirt by the time this one was over, but the
times were just ugly.

2000: 6:54 (5:25 pace)
400: 76
400: 76
2000: 7:09 (5:35)
300: 59
300: 56
2000: 7:14 (5:42)
200: 34
200: 40

I will leave it as an exercise for you, loyal reader, to determine
which of those last 200s was with the wind, and which was against.

It was pretty surreal. All down the front straight it was just
roaring wind and trying to keep moving forward, then into the turn and
trying to stay on the track and not get pushed onto the infield and
then *pop* I was around and could feel the invisible hand just pushing
me down the back stretch in complete silence. Then I would feel the
heat of the sun and the sweat and then off the turn and back into it.

Last week about 53 miles.

m: easy 5
t: drunken man's 10k (400 @ 5k pace, 1600 at MP, repeat for 6.25)
w: easy 5
th: easy 7.5 with 3x1/5 (56,56,56), jog, 2x1/5 (55,56)
f: easy 5
s: 10 @ 7:20
s: wind blown debacle

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Butterfly Run 5k

I've had this 5k on the calendar for a while. It's for a local charity but offers cash to the top 3, so there was quite a good turnout last year.

Short story: 16:44, 4th overall

There were thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday morning, so on Friday night we abandoned plans of getting the kids up and out the door early and bringing the whole family. I got on the net and found an alternative race on Sunday which was close to my house, but who knows who would show up.

But come Saturday morning, the thunderstorms were nowhere to be seen. But already having considered waiting until Sunday, I was unsure if I wanted to head out or not. I'm really kind of a fruitcake on race mornings. I don't know if it's nerves, or fear of the oncoming rush of pain, or since I run hard mostly at night that I'm really just not primed to head out the door and race early.

My wife has another word for this, but it's not suitable for a family blog. :)

Anyway, it's a good thing races are early, because if I acted like this all day on race day I'd be divorced.

So after all that, I decided to head out to Great Valley since I figured there would be good competition there. I was a little late getting going, and was worried about having enough time to warmup, but this race director is notorious for not starting on time, so I ended up with an extra 15 minutes up at the line to do some striders.

I don't know if the weather scared people off, but I did not see a lot of people I knew (or knew of) at the start. I did see 3 guys who are local post-college runners, running-store sponsored guys and I knew they would be good for a fast race. One in particular can run sub 15, so I keyed on the other 2. Since I didn't see anyone else at the line who I thought would be running in the 16s I decided to stick a hook in these 2 and see how long I could hang near them.

When the gun went off, it was the 3 running store guys, myself and 2 high school kids. After about a half mile the high school kids dropped off and I just tucked in behind the lead pack. I was tempted to really get in close and try not to lose touch, but the ground was a little slick from all the rain last night and my flats don't get a ton of traction. So I gave them a yard or two.

The course is rolling, but only has some minor hills in the first mile. I was a few seconds behind the leaders at the first mile in 5:07. But the bigger hills come in miles 2 and 3. At about a mile and a quarter there was a decent hill and places 2 and 3 started to drift away. There was a brief moment on the hill where I thought I could pick it up and stick with them since I knew they were heading for 16 flat.

Like I said, it was a brief moment. :)

They got out ahead maybe 50 yards over the next few hills and more or less stayed there for mile 2.

About halfway through mile 2 I had a brilliant idea. I saw a low hanging cedar tree coming up on the corner and thought that I could just brush my head against it and shake some water off (it poured here all last night). These are the kind of brilliant ideas I have deep in oxygen debt. While I didn't knock myself out I hit the branch a little harder than I would have liked. I got nice and wet, but unfortunately also covered myself in tiny green crap. Oh well.

Mile 2 was solo and a slower 5:28. I couldn't hear if anyone was close behind me but I didn't look back. Judging from the spectators there was no one especially close.

Mile 3 was even hillier than mile 2 and I was just doing all the mental-deal making I could to keep the legs turning over. In particular the last hill leading up to the 3 mile marker was a kicker. Mile 3 was 5:34.

Then it was just a short .1 downhill to the finish and a 16:44.

In the chute I had to grab onto the arm of the woman who was tearing off the bibs. I took a knee when I came out and got a little woozy and dizzy. In retrospect, this was nice because I felt like I left it all out there for this one.

I met up with the top 3 guys after the race and had a nice time talking with them and hanging out while we caught the end of the race and the awards.

So although the time isn't a heck of a lot faster then my race a month ago, I'm really happy with it for 2 big reasons - this is a much tougher course with all the hills, and I was running solo for the last 2 miles. Combine that with the fact that it was over 70 for the first time this spring and I'm happy with the progress I'm seeing.

I ran a 17:25 on this same course last year so I'm really happy with the year over year performance too.

Plus my daughter wanted to take her nap on Saturday with my AG medal since it had a butterfly on it. That made it all the more worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Flashing Yellow

Last week running was a grind. We had a real push early in the week at work to release a revision of the software and so work was crazy. All week it was just a challenge to get the shoes on and get out the door. In the past my reaction to this has just been to put my head down and try to run through it. But by Saturday I began to think that I was getting a little close to the line. My legs were achey and sore and tired as heck. So I punted on my track workout for this weekend and just did a nice easy trail 8 miler.

Last night was an easy 3+ and those warning lights have started flickering back to green.

m: 6.5 easy
t: 9 with 7.5 @ 6:00 pace
w: 5 easy
th: 7+ with light track work - at 1/5m track - 1.5 laps 1:28 (4:53
pace), .5 jog, 1 lap 58 (4:50 pace), .5 jog, .5 lap @ 27 (4:30 pace),
long jog, 3 x 1/5 59 (4:55 pace),58 (4:50 pace), 56 (4:40 pace)
f: 5 easy
s: 12 at 7:15 (easy to start, then 10 at low 7s), sore, tight and tired
s: easy 8

for about 53 miles.