Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 19 to Day 24

Ok, so I'm clearly doing better at training than blogging.  I'm going to take the advice of my friend Madison and scale back to once or twice a week.  Tuesday nights are a good time since Wednesday is the one sacred rest day of the week.

The past week has been highlighted by a hard speed workout, an absolutely awful marathon pace run, the first back-to-back 8 mile runs of my life, and the first mile repeats of the plan.

Day 19: August 21, Speed Ladder
I realized I could make this workout harder by running the recovery lap faster.  Seems obvious but it feels counterintuitive to do anything but shuffle around the track after an interval.  The previous week, the recovery pace was in the 10:30-11 min range.  This week it started in the 9:45 range after the 400 and 800, and got slower after the two 1200s.  Even so, the pace for the entire workout was 8:25, well below goal pace.  I felt like this was a significant achievement, until...

Day 20: August 23, MP Run
I tried to run 8:45s for 7 miles after last week's rest day, and I knew I was in serious trouble when I could barely keep the pace running downhill for the first 3 miles.  When I turned around to come home, it was over by mile 4.5.  I had nothing left to run even 9:09s uphill.  I had to get back home, so I did the last 2 miles at a comfortable pace and lived to run another day.

Day 22: LSR
The first 8 mile run of last weekend was actually faster than the aborted MP run on Thursday. 

Day 23: LSR
The second 8 mile run was even a bit faster than the first 8 miler.

I think the best part of this first ever back to back 8 mile weekend was using my new Garmin Forerunner 610!
I've been using my wife's 110 for the past few months after my trusty 305 USB charger stopped working.  However, she's about to begin her own training program for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, so I was feeling the pressure to find something new.  Fortunately, I came across, of all things, a Garmin rebate!  $50 off a new Garmin when you trade in your old one.  Combined with my $100 in REI gift cards (thanks mom) I got the 610 (w/o HR monitor) for $200!  If you want to grab this deal, you need to buy your new watch by Aug 31.

The 610 is noticeably heavier than the 110.  It took me a couple of miles on Saturday's LSR to get used to the weight.  It has the new Garmin touch screen versus the touch bezel that was featured on the 410.  After years of using Apple products, it takes a bit of adjustment to use the Garmin swipe feature. 

The main reason I bought the 610 is the ability to configure multiple data screens.  I had my 305 configured to show me pace/distance/time on the main screen, and lap pace/current lap/time on a second screen.  I used the screen almost exclusively for track workouts.  The 110 did not have the feature, forcing me to spend a lot of time doing math during a track workout. "Ok, I just finished my recovery lap and the watch says 4:19, so I need to do hit 8:19 on this 800 to make my 8 minute pace.  Or did the watch say 4:22?"  Today's workout was a return to normal, hit the lap button, the current lap count resets, no more math, just remember to hit the lap button after every interval.

The other feature I missed is the ability to scroll through the history of a run on your watch.  The 110 has basic functionality, meaning you can't see your splits or any other data until you download it to your computer, or upload it to Garmin Connect.  The 610 has this feature, and pretty much every other feature of the 305, in a nicer form factor, and as a bonus, it syncs a lot faster to the GPS satellites.  I'm a little concerned about the charging interface, and I'm not convinced that transferring data via the ANT WiFi dongle is the best thing, but it's comforting to know if I encounter any issue, I can always exchange/return it to REI.
Day 24: Mile Repeats
Can't say the 610 made the first mile repeat workout of the training plan easier, but it was comforting to see the 0:00 at the beginning of each interval.  We made the workout a little less daunting by walking the recovery lap between each mile.  The best thing about this workout is you know it will be over soon.

On a final note, I want to mention that I skipped Monday's recovery run.  Maybe this is why the mile repeats weren't awful.  I woke up Monday morning and had a weird pain on the top of my foot.  It had not hurt at all after Sunday's LSR, so I figured I slept on it wrong, and figured it would go away after my day got going.  But as I was walking to the gym at lunch to get ready for an easy 4, it was still bugging me, so I reluctantly bailed on the run.  This was hard because I just hit 30+ miles last week and was excited to repeat the mileage this week.  Losing 4 miles on Monday was a bummer.  But I woke up this morning pain free, and had a very successful track workout.  One of the underlying tenets of the HB plan is to not worry about a missed workout.  I didn't and it was a great decision.  Of all the workouts, the recovery run is the most expendable.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 15 to Day 18

Need a shortcut to get totally caught up with the blog, so I'm grouping the Friday-Monday runs since Friday and Monday were recovery run days, and Saturday and Sunday were LSRs.  Friday's recovery was notable because I woke up thinking I had to go 3 miles, and had mild panic attack when I checked the schedule and it said 5 miles!  Oops.  So much for being prepared the night before a run.

Sunday's LSR was the first time in this training cycle that we went beyond the 10k distance.  AMD and I feel like we can do more than the bare minimum we originally laid out, so we're looking over the plan to see where we can add miles.  Extending the long run seems like the most meaningful spot.  We choose a route where we ran up an incline for the first 2 miles, then felt like we were running downhill for the final 6.  Running a slight decline is a great confidence booster!

Day 14: Aug 16 MP Run

Two things of note on this MP.  1) This was the first step up in the MP distance, a solid 10k.  2) AMD and I had a conversation every set of running partners should have: how injured does your partner have to be for you to stop running?  We were cruising along at MP pace around mile 3 when AMD suddenly stopped.  I had the tunes cranking so when I turned to look at her, I couldn't hear what she said, but she didn't seem to be in distress, so I kept going.  I stopped and waited for her at the top of the second uphill section, and we devised the following rule for a MP/tempo run:

You need to stop if your partner:
1. Falls down
2. Gets bitten by an animal
3. Screams 

The last condition is a bit problematic when you're both running with music, so, just like scuba divers, we agreed on a massive waving of the arms signal to also indicate run stopping distress.  I'm glad we settled that.  The run was good too, 6.26 miles at an 8:37.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 13: Aug 14 Speed Workout: Catching up...again

A week ago, August 14, represented the return to training after two weeks of traveling.  As of this morning, I just finished 7 days of running in 8 days.  Unfortunately, I have not done as well at maintaining this blog.  So I'll get caught up with a brief recap of August 14. I jumpstarted the training schedule with the speed workout.  I did my favorite one, a ladder of 400-800-1200-1200-800-400.  It breaks up the monotony of running the same distance 6 or 8 times, and it's good practice to focus on maintaining the same pace over varying distances.  The Runner's World Veteran Plan I followed in 2010 added a 1600 between the 1200s.  Running a 400m recovery lap between each interval as specified by HB provides more temporal rest, but it's not the same as standing still waiting for your next interval.  There's no way I could have done that 1600.  I love an interval workout after a lot of travel because it's a nice confidence booster.  The short distances give you a chance to feel fast and successful.


Lap 1
Lap 2
Lap 3
Lap 4
Lap 5
Lap 6

This was a good way to start last week.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

And then work got in the way...

I can't believe my last post was July 29th!  I've actually been home for 48 hours in a row now, so it seems like its time to catch up on everything.  There have been a few runs that need a post, I'll get those up later with their corresponding data.  The lack of posts is quite reflective of these last crazy two weeks of my life.

I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil from July 30-Aug 2 for a trade show.  Usually when I'm in a foreign city, I like to go for a casual run to get a feel for the city, not worrying about pace of getting lost.  This was the first time I didn't take that opportunity.  I had no idea if the city was generally safe, or which areas of the city to avoid, and this sign in the elevator didn't help much either:
So I did 30 minutes a day on the treadmill for the three full days I was there and hoped that would be sufficient to slow the inevitable loss of fitness that occurs when you stop following your training plan.

It was the red eye home on Aug 2, which included a 5 hour layover in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport before arriving back in Orange County.  Does walking from Concourse B to Concourse C, eschewing escalators along the way, count as a training run?  Probably not, but I figure I managed to walk between 1 and 2 miles since I backtracked to Concourse B to get Vosges chocolate.  I figured there would be a location in each terminal. I was wrong.

I was home for approx 40 hours before my next trip began.  Aug 3 was a completely lost day, just totally wiped out from the 19 hour journey home.

Managed to get in a 3 mile run on Aug 4, it was more of a recovery run than LSR. 

Aug 5, 8 AM, it was off to Keystone, Colorado for another conference, so no LSR on Sunday morning.

I travel to Keystone every year for this conference.  It is about 100 miles west of Denver, which you may have heard is called the "Mile High City."  That's 5280 feet.  You drive up into the the Rockies to get to Keystone, which bills itself as being at 9280 feet.  That would be 1.75 miles above sea level.  I swear there is no oxygen there.  No matter what my fitness level is prior to this trip, I assume I've got nothing at 9280 feet and set my running expectations extremely low. 

It was about 7 PM on Sunday night after I finished my work, and I had a choice between eating dinner and attempting to squeeze in a run.  I consulted AMD who encouraged me to "Get my butt out the door, you won't regret it."  I was kind of regretting it after the first quarter mile when I felt like I was drowning because my lungs were inhaling so little O2.  But after making the deal with myself that I would walk uphill, jog downhill, I was able to grind out 2.8 miles.  In 33 minutes.  Ugly, but effective.

The next morning, I got out again.  This time, I drove down the hill a bit so that I could do the uphill first, then finish downhill.  Again, I made a deal with myself to walk for one song on the iPod, run for one song, repeat, all the way up the "I-swear-it-felt-steeper-than-100-feet" incline, then run all the way down the hill.  All told, 3.3 miles in 37 min, improvement!

The last full day of my trip, Aug 7, I ambitiously planned out an interval circuit through the resort paths that included three half mile-ish running portions, and two quarter mile walk portions.  I repeated it twice, with each running interval in the neighborhood of race pace.  Convincing myself to run the loop the second time took every ounce of will power in my body.

I posted links to these three runs just because it's cool to see the elevation vary between 9150 ft and 9350 ft.  If I could do this entire plan at this altitude, I think the 4 hour barrier would seem a lot less daunting.