Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tapering Continues

Guess I haven’t written in a couple of days…maybe it’s due to being busy with school, work, taper nuttiness? Anyway, still here, still trying to keep the focus, the goal, clear the mind and believe…

The weekend was spent traveling to a friends surprise birthday party in WI and back. Just under a 2 hour drive one way, but I saw a few people I hadn’t seen in a while while there and that was nice. One a friend that I know from college and haven’t seen, maybe since her wedding, and in that time, unfortunately she has ended up divorced…and what made me sad, is that the experience seems to have changed her. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t go through a divorce and not change right? (not having been involved and married, I can’t speak from experience but knowing breakups change you, it would stand to measure that a divorce would do more!) I always knew her as this sunny, sweet, happy person…glass is half full and/or full to overflowing…always a kind word for people, but would call someone out if they were doing something that wasn’t right, so she wouldn’t get run over and taken advantage of…but now she just seems different…not the person I first met and knew, and yes, it was more than 8 years ago that I met her, so that two would account for changes, in fact I knew her first before she was even 21, and she just turned 30…but it’s always sad to see those changes in those that you know shouldn’t change, or wish that they wouldn’t change.

Anyway, got home late but Sunday morning I got up and went to the farmer’s market where yay, they had my Cortland apples that I so love (the ones I got last week were good, Zestar, but Cortland are just even that much better!!), talked to my parents, went for a run and then tackled homework…A full day of it pretty much since I spent Saturday running around (12.5 mile run Saturday morning, then a little homework and then of course the trip to WI and back). Got it done in time to relax, watch a bit of TV and go to bed. I didn’t want to get up yesterday morning, but did and went through the workday, finalized one bit of homework during lunch and then was off to class. Monday night is Stats…but while it’s a bit hard to follow sometimes, the lecture can go all over the board, I do like listening to him, and the stuff we discuss is more the application of stats instead of all talk of the formulas and theories of why. Got my first assignment back too. We are reading a book called The Ghost Map, which lays out the cholera outbreak in London in 1854 and basically what caused it…each week we read a chapter and are tasked with taking 1-2 sentences from the reading and writing about how it relates to what we are discussing or have discussed…that’s it for the direction. I wrote about 2 paragraphs on the section I took, and ended up doing really well on it. In fact I proclaimed I still know how to BS because I know I sat with that assignment having no clue what he might want/be looking for…but his grading is basically verbal, super, excellent or good…excellent basically is what you want to strive for as it will help pretty much have you at a B-B+ going into the final…I had a super…meaning I was a step above that!! I like that. Now at least I have sometime to fall back on to write going forward. I know this weeks isn’t as good as that one, but hopefully it at least earns an excellent…along with the other homework that took quite some time…the concepts are still taking time to set itself in my mind!! Or taking my mind time to remember them!!
And tonight is my 3rd to last training group run. Scary and sad…we are doing 5-7 miles at marathon pace and afterward have a speaker. Jason Lehmkuhle…member of Team USA of MN who finished 5th at the Olympic Marathon Trials…should be quite cool!
So forgot to get this posted yesterday so it's now posted today...and the talk was quite cool...I mean not often you talk to someone in such a quiet setting that is at that level...

Class was done early, run last night was entertaining as taper nuttiness and snarkyness was in place big time. Long week and the one day I had to go home and just veg I now gave up and am going to a happy hour...sigh...

Friday, September 19, 2008


Well, the taper pains are here I think. legs feel like lead!! I did go for a run last night, a tempo, that because of lost signals I think was a bit short, but on mapmyrun it came up at most .20 short of the 10 miles I thought I did, so not OVERLY short. I guess the time I had is fairly close, I mean at most it's probably 1-2 minutes off, which isn't a lot over 10 miles. At most instead of the 8:01 pace Garmin said, probably an is that?? Means I did run at least 5-6 miles of MP like I planned. I really didn't believe it though, my legs felt so tight I really didn't feel like I was running some of the sub 8 miles that were coming up.

Middle of the night I woke up, and feeling like lead still, I decided you know, this is taper week, I had planned 44 miles, but if I didn't run today, I'd still be at 40 for the week if I run tomorrow (which I am) and Sunday, which I definitely plan on, it's not a big deal. The hay is in the barn, as Nathan, one of my training coaches put it. There is only injury and overtraining and not enough rest that can come right? So I slept in this morning and took this afternoon off. Of course I snacked and feel guilty about that and feel I should go run that off...maybe I should go soak in a tub instead...see if that soaks the tightness out of my legs.

Anyway, other than that, I'm glad the week is over. I have class on Monday, training group on Tuesday (but only for 2 more weeks, that makes me kind of sad) and class again on Wednesday. Can I just say how much I look forward to Thursday?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yasso 800s

The last kind of big workout pre-taper, although I'll do a tempo run tomorrow yet too, and a light tempo next week as well...but it's really and truly cutting down...met with the training group and did an easy 2 mile warm up before hitting the track at St Thomas for the 800s, 400 recovery...this is how they broke down (unfortunately I don't have the recovery time for each since I don't have a regular watch right now, just ordered one, and I didn't use the interval function on Garmin last night).

Yasso 1 - 3:31
Yasso 2 - 3:35
Yasso 3 - 3:27
Yasso 4 - 3:27
Yasso 5 - 3:25
Yasso 6 - 3:30
Yasso 7 - 3:31
Yasso 8 - 3:28
Yasso 9 - 3:28
Yasso 10 - 3:20

Thing is, they actually felt pretty easy...I could've done a few more and none of them, not even the last, really felt like I was pushing the pace.

We had dinner at a fun place nearby after and got out of there way too late, to bed way too late and up way too early...with class tonight it's going to be a really long day I think! Ah well.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


First of all, last hard, high mileage week complete. For my PR marathon in 2006 I had my highest mileage week ever then, of 63 miles. This morning I did 5 miles , and has been the case after every long run so far, ended up feeling really good and averaged an 8:41 pace. I tell you, Endurox R4 recovery drink works. I have had it after my long runs and feel good enough for a good run the next day. Even when the long runs are done harder!! Anyway, that 5 miles put my mileage for this week at 68. I ran everyday. And since I ran last Sunday, that's 8 days of running...I think my body is ready for a rest.

After my run yesterday I decided it was time for a quick stop at the farmers market because it's mid-September and my favorite apple had to be in season by now...Cortland's. A MN apple, the only thing I really look forward to in the fall...and no, they aren't quite ready. Maybe next weekend, but not even a guarantee on that. We did have a late spring after all. And when the person at the stand mentioned that, I remembered that too and was even more upset about the color changes we noticed in the leaves on our run today. Yes, we are experiencing normal conditions for this time of year in MN, but we had a cold winter last year, a crappy winter, and a very, very late spring...don't we deserve a bit longer summer??? Don't get me wrong, I don't want summer conditions marathon day, 3 weeks from today, but I don't want fall yet when we were cheated out of spring! But such is MN...and at least we are in football season right? And I was able to get a different apple, Zestar, a newly developed one, developed right here in MN at the University of Minnesota that are pretty it wasn't a total loss at the farmer's market.

Another sign of fall...homework time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Let the Taper Begin…Except for Tuesday’s Yasso’s!

That was the theme today, and yes, we are doing Yasso’s on Tuesday with my group, but today marks the official end to the mileage build up. Over the next 3 weeks I’ll be cutting back my mileage and of course there is a big race 3 weeks from tomorrow.

My plan, 22 miles, the group had plans for 20, so I went for a quick two mile warm up through downtown St. Paul.

Mile 1 – 9:06
Mile 2 – 10:00

Then met my group, basically at mile 26.2. Today’s run was an out and back. 10 miles backwards over the marathon course and then 10 miles back. Coming into today I had 40 miles in, not counting the race on Sunday (since that was last weeks mileage but still, it was a factor to the week). The Fartlks on Tuesday and the somewhat failed intervals in the downpour on Thursday. I had a decent meal, similar to what I want to eat the day before the marathon (at my favorite restaurant) last night, got to bed, and thought before bed that I couldn’t wait till today, getting this last long run done. The long run with the group. Plan was long slow distance of course, BUT if you felt OK, run harder coming back…up the hills. So that’s what I did.

Mile 1 – 9:15 Mile 12 – 8:32
Mile 2 – 8:54 Mile 13 – 8:52
Mile 3 – 9:10 Mile 14 – 9:28
Mile 4 – 8:54 Mile 15 – 8:31
Mile 5 – 8:54 Mile 16 – 8:39
Mile 6 – 8:21 Mile 17 – 8:08
Mile 7 – 8:51 Mile 18 – 8:10
Mile 8 – 9:42 Mile 19 – 7:50
Mile 9 – 8:49 Mile 20 – 7:53
Mile 10 – 8:53 Mile 21 – 7:54
Mile 11 – 9:08

I’m pleased with the results. We ended up longer by a mile, I was fine with that. Average pace was 8:43, which is what I had been wanting to run my long runs at. The slowest miles from today are pretty much water stops, and the best part. The hills at Mississippi River road, which are the harder ones, are the hardest we saw and I’ve run them 2 other times with the group already. Everyone always warns that Summit is bad, the hills will kill you from mile 22-24…we were running Summit and one guy said “almost to the top”…my response…in seriousness, “we are climbing a hill?” Talk about feeling good!!

And in the beginning of the run, my legs were feeling a little tired, still kind of were at the end, but the main thing is I did it, and I think I did it well. And now let the fretting and worrying that comes with taper on…we all know it happens!! Oh yeah, and that makes 63 miles for the week, matching my highest mileage ever, and I'll be doing a recovery run tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall…and Back to School Time

Well, September, in just a few weeks in fact, we’ll be officially in “fall” again. I know people that love the fall, I’m one of the weird ones that don’t. And honestly, I don’t consider myself a pessimist (maybe a cynic at times, but never a pessimist). I usually can see the glass as half full, or at least more often half full than half empty, but with the fall, yes, it gets pretty, the leaves look great, and the break in humidity is great for running, but it’s not like spring, we don’t have the humidity then either, and the days get warmer and you look forward to 50 degrees and running in shorts, but after you get used to summer and running in shorts in 90 degrees, running in shorts in 50 again feels cold. One morning this week I saw my breath in the air leaving for work, and the two mornings I have run, I went in shorts, but chose long sleeves for the top…and it will just get cooler…and then of course the dark…in the spring the days are getting longer, in the fall they are getting shorter. I guess what this all comes down to, and what makes it hard for me is that I live in Minnesota, of course, and here the fall is very short, and it leads into winter, and winter is very long, cold and dark, none of which I like. So while yes, the weather is great for running, the leaves are pretty, it’s leading to something very soon that I don’t like and it’s hard to enjoy the month or so of fall that we get because of that. That makes sense doesn’t it?

For this week I got a happy surprise on Tuesday. A friend of mine happens to mention recently about being on the Nike campus once…when I ask how, she mentions that’s where her friend that lives in OR works. Umm…does she get DISCOUNTS? I asked…and I wasn’t even thinking of my shoes because you know, I get an OK deal on them most times, but the Nike Tempo Track short. They are my favorite. I have 8 pairs and I still want more because they are comfy and they have so many fun colors. Well, turns out she can get the normally $28 shorts for $16…I said yes, get me some. I said around $100, basically about 5 pair, and I happily went through the 22 colors on Nike’s site, got it down to around 10 that I really wanted and put them in order saying any 5…I got the package and wore a new pair on Tuesday with my group run, we did fartleks, and let me say, that was tough after that race on Sunday!! I got home and was going to put the new ones away and counted and found 5 in the bag…but I had worn one of the new ones that night too…when I looked through them, one pair had been marked clearance there for $9, so my guess is since they were so cheap, and actually the others were cheaper than the $16 she had thought they were, she just got an extra pair. Shipped they still were only $100…so 6 new pair of Nike Tempo Track shorts, shipped to me (well my friend, but easy enough to pick up from her) for $100…what a great day!!

Oh yeah, and on the other part of my post…school is in session full swing now. I have two classes and have now been to both of them. So far so good…we’ll see how it goes!! So far I really like both profs though, so that’s a good thing.

And I’m winding up the week…this will be my last high mileage week before taper. My plan has me doing about 65 miles, which will be my highest mileage week ever. If I get my run in tonight, the distance that I have planned, there is no doubt I’ll end up in that range…the last 20 miler is on Saturday morning, the back half of the marathon course (out 10 miles the wrong way and then back 10 miles over the hilliest part of it) and I won’t miss that run. Other than that it will probably be a weekend of homework…what more can you do after a 20-22 mile run anyway??

Guess before I post this I can post my pathetic interval day...I won't make excuses for it, it just wasn't in me today. But if I were going to make them, I suppose the race on Sunday, the fartleks on Tuesday, running this morning and the downpour that started halfway into my first mile repeat all could've played a factor (the ran let up after about my 2nd or 3rd one, but by then I was drenched and miserable).

Mile 1 - 7:22 (did lose signal so think this one was long this time)
Mile 2 - 8:06 (really bad signal and felt horrible)
Mile 3 - 6:39
Mile 4 - 7:10
Mile 5 - 6:58
Mile 6 - 6:45

The last 4 were better, but two of them, mile 4 and mile 6 were down a really nice that's why 6 was as good as it was. I did manage a total of 12 miles even with the rain, but might have killed my MP3...ah well.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

City of Lakes 25K - 2008

Well, weather was about perfect. It was a tiny bit cooler than I might have asked for, but it’s better than the heat that could’ve been. Not sure on early temp, but low 50s I’d guess, no wind, some clouds. I wore shorts and a long sleeved tech shirt, I should’ve worn a short sleeved and gone with my tube sock sleeves, but either way I was OK. My plan was to start the first 2 miles at around 8:30 and then bump up to MP of 8:00 miles through mile 10 or so, and then see what I had left for the last 5.5. As you can see, that plan kind of went by the wayside…

Mile 1 – 8:16
Mile 2 – 7:57
Mile 3 – 7:50
Mile 4 – 8:06
Mile 5 – 7:55
Mile 6 – 7:50
Mile 7 – 7:45
Mile 8 – 7:21
Mile 9 – 7:50
Mile 10 – 7:25
Mile 11 – 7:42
Mile 12 – 7:41
Mile 13 – 7:31
Mile 14 – 7:30
Mile 15 – 7:23
Mile .73 – 5:06

Garmin Time for 15.72 – 2:01:16 ~ Unofficial Clock Time – 2:01:41
Garmin ½ Marathon – 1:43:26 ~ ½ Marathon Clock – 1:43:53

This race is not chip timed so that accounts for the difference in my Garmin time vs. the clock time. I was about 30 seconds or so off the clock, took that time to get to the start line from where I started. And then of course, I didn’t get the full tangents of the course so ran a bit further than the 25K. Average pace for the almost 16 miles that I ran (and I did a 1 mile warm up) was 7:43. Average pace I need for my time goal for the marathon is 8 minute miles…marathon is now officially 4 weeks out. (And the picture is of the beer stein that you get for finishing, much better than a cotton t-shirt!! If only they provided beer to put in it!!) Oh, and I put my 1/2 marathon pace breaks in there simply because I was feeling really good then, and even on the clock time, I was ahead of my current 1/2 PR.

I needed this race. It felt really good. I had to rein myself in a bit, I hope and pray I feel that same way on marathon day. I definitely picked up sooner than I planned, and while toward the end I was feeling a bit tired, you wouldn’t know it by the paces I was putting up. Oh, and I more than made up for the way I ran it last year...I definitely was in better shape, and I didn't get dehydrated, and die at the end.

Oh, and those 2 fast miles from the intervals, I did mapmyrun on them, and they were about a tenth of a mile off, so more in the 6:30 and 7:00 miles that I figured…I know there is no way I’d feel that good after paces those fast!! This week is my last really full, hard week. My last 20 miler is on Saturday. I have a group run speed day on Tuesday, and then will do more intervals on Thursday. Another speed day or two next week, and the taper begins.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Heartbreak and Head Colds

Back from my trip, and I'll try to post about it this weekend. Wasn't quite what I expected, didn't quite get to do some of the things I wanted, but my biggest thing...I got to see Heartbreak...yes...the famous hill. And I ran the last 8 or 9 miles of the was very cool. And yes, I can see where heartbreak gets its name!!

Well, interval run...I wasn't sure what to expect, I've been sick since I got back (or full of allergies), I'm exhausted from lack of wanted to just stay in bed this morning...I did a 2 mile warm up and then the intervals:

Mile 1 – 6:56
Mile 2 – 6:49
Mile 3 – 7:00
Mile 4 – 5:46 - OK, I don't believe this one, lost signal a tiny bit, but still didn't seem enough to account for such a fast time...
Mile 5 – 6:12 - This one I think is a bit off too, but I don't know what to think.

Half mile recoveries between each, and then a 3 mile cool down. I wanted the 12 felt pretty decent and was at a pretty decent pace overall. Alright, yes, those were the times I put up, I KNOW that 5:46 is a bit off, I didn't feel tired enough for that one, and the 6:12, I don't know...but I know Garmin is who knows. Anyway, I trust the first three at least. And I know a few of you are amazed at the speed...but remember, this is just for 1 mile at a time!! You would be amazed at what you can pound out one at a time!!

Oh, and classes started!! More on that later too.