Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Junk Miles

There is no such thing as junk miles. All injury-free miles at any speed are good miles.

Tuesday, Nov 18:

North St Paul Community Center overhead track, 81 laps for six miles. This time, just for amusement, I tried to hold the pace as close as possible to nine-minute miles without going over. On this track, that means exactly 40 seconds per lap, so there are 13 easily-calculated checkpoints in a mile. It worked OK - the splits were all under 9:00 and at least 8:57.

I wonder how far I can go running nine-minute miles. Today six miles, perhaps next week I’ll try eight - I think I could have done that today, but it might have been a tempo run. Now that the dexamethasone (dex) has been reduced again, to 8 mg per week, I should be able to get more speed or more endurance as muscles rebuild somewhat.

Splits:8:58, 8:59, 8:58, 8:59, 8:57, 8:58, total 53:49, pace 8:58.

Sunday, Nov 16:

North St Paul Community Center overhead track. I just ran a pace that felt good and clicked my watch any time a mile was finished. Since this was the third running day in a row, I only ran four miles. No knee problems today - no problems at all.

Splits: 8:50, 8:39, 8:39, 8:48, total 34:55, pace 8:44.

Saturday, Nov 15:

St Croix Valley Runners. What a nice run with Paul. He is coming back from an injury, otherwise he would be too fast for me now I think. But we chatted the whole way and still somehow finished in a sub-9 pace. Everyone else finished ahead of us, of course. I’m learning how it feels to be the slowest one. Five miles in 44:13, for a pace of 8:51.

I did have just the slightest twinge of pain in the right knee, that same pain which I believe to be due to ITB syndrome. But it disappeared immediately after we stopped running. I hope it was a solitary event.

Friday, Nov 14:

North St Paul Community Center overhead track, four miles in 35:22, for a pace of 8:51. No strain, no pain, some sweat, but this pace is easily maintained for four miles.

The three marathons are over, and there is not another within training range (16 weeks), so this is a time for easy runs to let the body recover. Dexamethasone makes the body heal more slowly, so a little down time is good. For me, that means no more than 20 miles per week, and few if any hard runs. Just keep moving ...

Splits: 8:54, 8:45, 8:50, 8:53, total 35:22, pace 8:51. Brooks Ghost shoes.

Tuesday, Nov 11:

North St Paul Community Center again, overhead track, 67.5 laps for five miles exactly. The idea was to run nine-minute miles and see if that felt like a race pace. It didn’t. Yay. Actually I finished the five miles in 43:36, for an overall pace of 8:43, aided a lot by a final mile at 8:06. I felt really good, just slower than I would have been a year ago.

In fact, looking back at the logs, my "natural" (easy but not too easy) pace last December was about 8:20 or so after the first mile, and today it seemed more like 8:55, the pace of the fourth mile. In that mile I didn’t look at my watch at all until the 12th lap (then only to be sure I had counted laps correctly), just ran a pace that felt good, about as fast as I could go and still get in four footfalls per full breath. In the last mile that went down to three, of course.

I’m going through all of the running shoes I have, to see whether I have any that will make my feet as happy as the discontinued Brooks Burn shoes. Darn them Brooks people - don’t seem to know much about running or runners, just marketing. Anyway today I tried some two-year-old Nike Pegasus shoes. They felt good, as did the Brooks Glycerine 5 shoes on Sunday, but they made the familiar flap-flap sound on the track. I’m sure they will on the road too. That noise doesn’t seem to slow me down - in fact I’ve known some elite runners whose shoes sounded worse, but I don’t like it. Feet may be happy, but ears aren’t.

Splits: 9:04, 8:43, 8:49, 8:55, 8:06, total 43:36, overall pace 8:43.

Sunday, Nov 9:

North St Paul Community Center indoor track. It’s that time of year again - we’re running indoors some of the time. Today I just wanted to see whether I could still do nine-minute miles for three miles, as I could do so easily last year.

Splits: 9:17, 8:43, 8:24, total 26:23, pace 8:48. So I did it, but it was a tempo run. Not a race pace, but nearly. Better than I thought I could do. One nice thing about running on the track - timing is exact, mile by mile. Brooks Glycerine 5 shoes were a little noisy on the track. Flap flap. My feet liked them though.

Saturday, Nov 8:

St Croix Valley Runners. Roy is one of the most faithful runners in the group, and has been running with them for a long time. His company has transferred him to another city, however, and this was his last run with us. In celebration of his years with the group, we ran a special route which included a few miles of trails, our first annual trail run in celebration of Roy. Afterward we all enjoyed breakfast at a local café.

The route was advertised as five miles exactly, according to George, but we got a little lost and repeated a portion of it. Windy, 32 degrees, and a few flakes of snow. 49 minutes - OK for 5+ miles on soft trails. Brooks Ghost shoes - they’re muddy now.

Three recent dinners:

Canned Alaskan sockeye salmon with yogurt & herbs, organic romaine lettuce with cucumber, organic blue corn chips, Sunshine's guacamole, plum, organic red wine vinegar.

Curried organic chicken, organic rice with cranberries, chard, and pine nuts, organic strawberries.

Dinner salad: Organic romaine with cucumber, beans from Don's mom & dad's garden, avocado, blue cheese, pimento-stuffed olives, sheep cheese, organic beef, organic red wine vinegar.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

North St Paul Community Center Track

Thursday, Nov 6, 2008:

We renewed our memberships at the North St Paul Community Center . This facility has a nice overhead track, about 13 laps per mile, with slightly banked corners. It really is pretty good for running - I’ve done 20-milers in there. And of course it includes a complete fitness center with dreadmills and the rest of the stuff. No pool, but the price is quite modest compared with commercial places like Lifetime Fitness.

Today I ran a pace of about 9:30 for about 30 minutes. Three miles or so. Nice run, with stretches afterward. First run after the weekend of heavy running.

Rocky's Run 5k Cross Country Race

Sunday, Nov 2, 2008:

Rocky’s Run 5k Cross-Country Race. This is the last race of the season for the Minnesota Grand Prix series of 13 races. It is held on the University of Minnesota Golf Course, and benefits the U of M track program. There is a 5k and an 8k, with the Grand Prix race alternating between those in alternate years. For the overachiever among us, there is also a double-header (both races, one after the other).

I’m always a little surprised at the amount of extra energy required to run on a golf course. Not only is it hilly, but the soft sod takes a little energy away on every step. Inevitably, I end up walking up the little hills toward the end of the race, and today was no exception. Perfect weather though.

I finished in 29:51, fourth of six in my age group. Good enough for the day after a marathon. The real goal was just to finish the 13th and last race of the Grand Prix series, one of three runners who have run all 13.

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Saturday, Nov 1, 2008:

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Not bad, not great. This was the first-ever running of this marathon. It had a few startup jitters, but not a lot. I ran 4:32:38, about four minutes slower than Des Moines two weeks ago. I should have been faster, because this course is flat, but for whatever reason I wasn’t faster.

Things I liked about the marathon:

  • Aid stations were frequent, more than one every two miles.
  • There were about 1100 marathoners and 1700 half-marathoners, a nice-sized race.
  • Much of the course was on tree-lined streets, ablaze in fall color.
  • The weather was very good, a little warm toward the end but quite tolerable.
  • Two or three aid stations had a table containing an assortment of gels. Nice.
Things I didn’t like as much:
  • Much of the course was on roads open to traffic, with cones separating runners from cars.
  • In a couple of places, drivers were stopped for a long time and got pretty angry. That’s not fun for anyone.
  • Aid stations were disorganized, with no convention for distinguishing between water and gatorade cups. You always had to ask.
  • Not many spectators.
  • There was no expo. I was actually counting on one, to buy some gels. Fortunately there were gels on the course.
As in other recent marathons, I slowed a lot after 20 miles, walking frequently. I just ran out of gas. Hip flexors started bothering at about the halfway point, but I found that if I did an exaggerated duck-walk I could stretch those body parts and make the problem disappear for a half mile or so. Yay. Now I will add a stretch like that to my regular daily routine and see if that fixes the hip flexor issue more permanently.

We bought gasoline for $1.93/gallon in Indianapolis. It’s a 10-hour drive.

Splits: 9:46, 9:04, 9:25, 9:33, 19:01 (2 mi), 9:34, 9:23, 9:40, 22:10 (2 mi, potty stop), 10:06, 9:45, 9:48, 10:30, 10:18, 10:51, 10:54, 10:39, 10:49, 11:05, 21:58 (2 mi), 12:54, 11:24, 11:47, 2:24, total 4:32:38, pace 10:24.