Thursday, March 31, 2011

Running in Circles

Thursday, March 31, 2011  at 7:21 PM
I just got done with this week's track workout, and I'll give you the rundown of that, but let me sum up this week first.

Last weekend, I had and intensive class called Worship: Word & Music.  It was a 2-hour class (2 credits), but it took up Thursday night, all day Friday, all day Saturday, all day Sunday, and a half day Monday.  It was INTENSE!  So, with my whole weekend jammed with class, I didn't have a break for a long run on Sunday.  Jenn and I are feeling really confident about the Holy Half in just a little over a week, so we decided to "adjust" our long run this week.  It was supposed to be 11 miles.

On Monday, we decided to change our long run to a quick 6 mile tempo run.  I knew that it was only 6 miles, so I started pretty quick, and at the turn around at 3 miles, I was averaging 7:57's.  I was stoked, and decided that my new goal for that run would be to run it under 8 min/miles.  Well, as soon as I turned around, I realized we were running straight into an awful headwind.  Man, the wind in Michigan sucks!  I kept grinding it out, but ended up with a 8:01min/mile avg.  I was bummed that I didn't quite get my goal, but I think that's still pretty good.  Of course, Jenn rocked her run as usual.  Her ankle was bothering her from a slip on snow and ice a couple months back, but she still beat her goal of 11:27's with a smoking 10:43min/mile average!  She's pretty awesome, and I know her Holy Half is going to be awesome.

Tuesday was a solid ride on the trainer.  I love just chillin' out and closing my eyes while I'm down in the aero position and enjoying the ride.  It's actually quite relaxing.

Last night was a slacker night, and Jenn and I ended up just watching three episodes of White Collar.  That's a great show.

But today, I was scheduled for a track workout.  Hal Higdon told me to do 10x400's at a 5k pace.  Well, my 5k pace is slow, so every track workout I do, I push the tempo pretty good.  I feel like that helps me get a better workout.  Sometimes I like track workouts, but others, I feel like I'm just running in circles.  Today's was pretty good though.  Here are my times for each 400:

#1:  1:37 @ 6:19min/mile
#2:  1:32 @ 5:49min/mile - There were some other    people walking on the track, and the adrenaline got to me.  I didn't want them to think that I was slow, so I picked it up a bit as I went by them.
#3:  1:36 @ 6:10min/mile
#4:  1:41 @ 6:44min/mile -This was a slow one!
#5:  1:39 @ 6:37min/mile
#6:  1:38 @ 6:30min/mile
#7:  1:40 @ 6:32min/mile
#8:  1:38 @ 6:20min/mile
#9:  1:43 @ 6:32min/mile
#10:  1:41 @ 6:26min/mile

I thought about getting on the bike afterwards, but I'm pretty wasted.  It's date night, so as soon as Jenn gets home from work, we're going out!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

$$$ Adding up the Numbers $$$

Wednesday, March 23, 2011  at 6:21 PM
So Jennifer and I have been adding up the numbers, Number Signs that is, and we've decided to make a few changes to our race schedules this year.  Why are these races so expensive?  Is it the goodie bags?  I doubt it.  Is it all the staff?  I thought most of the people were volunteers.  Is it for the insurance?  But I thought I signed my life away on the waiver.   Oh well.  I guess I don't need to whine about how expensive it is and either suck it up and pay the $$ or just rearrange this year's schedule.

The first change that we're making is on Leon's World's Fastest Triathlon.  It looked like it was going to be an awesome tri, but it was a little pricey.  I think it would be well worth the money if you had the cash and wanted a super nice race.  For the two of us (knowing our budget and the other events we'll be doing this year), we decided that it would be a little too much money.  First of all, just registration was $125 for this olympic distance triathlon.  Secondly, the water's going to be freezing cold, so we'd have to do something about wetsuits.  Since there are two of us, this race started to get out of hand.  So we did a little switcheroo.

We found another olympic triathlon that is roughly the same distance away.  It's called the Bear Lake Traithlon and is up in Miskogen, MI --about 1 hour and 45 minutes away.  We're even thinking about taking our camper up to the KOA campground that is super close, so we can make it a whole weekend trip.
Don't worry, it's got A/C, so we'll sleep well the night before.  Anyway, this triathlon is only $65 for registration.  That's half of the cost.  Then, we're figuring out the whole wetsuit thing.  It looks like it's about $45-$50 to rent a suit.  I'll be doing at least 2 triathlons this year including the Steelhead HIM, so it might just be smarter to buy one for me.

Yesterday, I was searching for a wetsuit, and I found one that got pretty awesome reviews for an entry level suit.  It's made by Xterra and is called the Volt.  Here's the link to the website (HERE)  It sounds like a pretty awesome deal for $99.  I'm talking with a guy on Craigslist about his Quintana Roo wetsuit, so we'll see what pans out.

The other money saving change that is going to happen this year is my marathon.  I had wanted to sign up for the Chicago marathon, but it's pretty steep too.  Now the race is sold out, which I'm ok with, but I've got to find another marathon that I want to run.  Any suggestions?  I've thought about the Detroit Free Press Marathon.  It looks pretty cool.  I guess I just need to read a bit more on some other options.  If you've had a good experience with a marathon, let me know what you think.

On a training note, I hit the bike pretty hard yesterday (on the trainer of course), and ended up riding for two 30-minute sessions.  The second session rocked, and I came out of the saddle stoked.  I can't wait for summer and dry roads, especially since it's been pretty nasty here the last few days.  Today is rainy, so I'll probably spend some more time on the trainer.  This weekend is going to be psycho with a weekend intensive for school.  I may even have to push my 11-mile run to Monday.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

10 foot in front of the other

Sunday, March 20, 2011  at 1:39 PM
Wowsers!  This is the quickest I've blogged after my long run EVER!  Jenn and I just finished running 10 miles.  It's starting to become quite a long distance, and I end up seeing a lot of countryside on my runs.  Today felt like tour of Berrien County by foot.

We picked a route that had some mystery road that we had never run before.  It also included a lot of road that we knew pretty well.  I always like road that I am familiar with and know what to expect.  This route didn't seem to have many hills and change in elevation, although the hills were pretty rough.

Here's a picture of the route with the elevation:

With a week of "recovery," I wasn't sure what to expect.  Kevin Neumann, from Ironman by Thirty, commented on a post last week.  He wondered if today's run would be really good because this last week was really a recovery week.  Well, was a pretty good run.

The first few miles were really sweet!  I decided to just run according to how I felt.  If that was faster than my goal, no problem.  My goal for the run was to average 9:00 min/miles.  Everything felt great, and the miles were ticking by.  The new scenery was really sweet and kept my mind occupied.  I decided to NOT run with an ipod again and suck it up.  Today was much better than last long run where I had a difficult time fighting my mind to keep going.  I didn't struggle much at all with the mind games.  At mile 7, my overall average was looking good, but with 3 miles left, I was having a hard time keeping the average below 9:00 min/miles.  That was my goal for the last 3 miles.  At one point, I about peed my pants when a little black dog suddenly showed up and started running with me.  It was actually nice company to finish the run with.

The final outcome of run was pretty awesome, if you ask me.  I am pretty stocked about it.  I ran 10 miles with an average of 8:34 min/mile!  Today makes me feel pretty confident about doing the Holy Half in under 2 hours.  Jenn did well too, although it was a harder day for her.  She's pretty awesome to be cranking out the miles too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We'll call this a "RECOVERY WEEK"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011  at 8:46 PM
So it is my Spring Break this week.  Jenn and I decided that we were going to kick it off by going to Chicago to have some fun.  We left pretty early on Sunday morning and beat all the crowds to the Shedd Aquarium.  It was a little chilly but a really beautiful day as well.  You can see the aquarium there on the left.
Because we were so early, we scored some awesome parking with the meters rather than dropping some serious dough at the other parking options.  I did have to feed the meter a ton of quarters though.  Jenn had never been to the Shedd before, and it had been a long time for me.  It's pretty awesome to see some of God's creations up close and personal...we even saw an ANACONDA!  Some of my favorites were the penguins and the dolphins.  Those are pretty awesome animals with their personalities seriously showing through.

We finished off the day with a meal at Ed Debevicks.  If you've never been, it's an old-school diner where the waiters are paid to be rude to you.  I know it sounds awful, but it's actually a lot of fun.  They did a dance on top of the counter for us.  The guy in the middle was our waiter.  I didn't take this picture.

So after getting home, we definitely were not doing a run on Sunday.  Monday, we both worked pretty hard and decided to take another day off.  Tuesday, we busted our butts at work again and then went and saw a movie with our friends.  Are you seeing the "recovery week" in full swing?  Finally, today, we couldn't help ourselves with the incredible weather outside.  It made it up to 62*!!!!!  We didn't have much time, but we put on SHORTS and T-SHIRTS and did a quick 3 miles.  I can't wait till we are fully in the swing of spring and summer.  It's time!

Tomorrow, my parents are coming for a visit till next Monday.  But don't worry, Jenn and I are still planning on doing our long run of 10 miles this Sunday.  Hopefully with all this "Recovery," we'll feel great!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011  at 11:43 AM
I just got back from today's run.  It probably was supposed to be a bit longer, like 4.5 miles, but since it snowed last night, I was a little bummed.  I ended up running a pretty common loop that Jenn and I have run several times.  It is 3.7 miles long.  The wind was pretty rough for the first half, but then it died down for the last bit.  I didn't really have a time goal, other than staying under 8:30's.  It wasn't that bad of a run, really.  I had to squint because little snowflakes and sleet kept nailing me in they eyes.  My mind was telling me to stop, but my legs just kept going!  That's a good thing right?

At the 5k mark, I glanced down at my Garmin and saw 24:20.  Now don't laugh, but that's probably one of my fastest 5k's.  The last half mile was pretty fast, and I finished 3.7 miles in 28:35 at an average of 7:47min/miles!  I think that's pretty good for a non-runner like myself.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

9 Lonely Miles

Wednesday, March 09, 2011  at 4:27 PM
Sunday was the day to see how I could handle 9 miles by myself.  All the other long runs preparing for the Holy Half Marathon (except one) had been with somebody else, so this run was a bit different.  Jennifer and I mapped out a 9 mile route that we had run most of before.  It was basically downhill at the beginning, flat through the middle, and then uphill for the rest with a bit of downhill at the end.  Here's what the elevation vs. the speed looked like after I uploaded the info into Garmin Training Center...

My goals with Nick have been to be in the 9:20/mile and above range.  This day, since I was running by myself, I wanted to average 9:00/mile which is just under my goal average for race day.  Jenn, as usual, was shooting for her race goal of 11:27/mile.

It was a really beautiful day, but we were still cold when we started.  The sun came out within the first couple miles and made our run really nice.  Everything was going super well until about mile 4.  That's when I started to get bored, and my mind started drifting.  I've got this issue, and maybe I'm the only one, but I CANNOT think about finishing the run and going from running to walking.  If I think about that, then my body just wants to shut down and walk.  It seemed like that's all I could think about after mile 4.  My goal of being mentally tough and learning to suffer was really tough for the rest of the run.  It was nice to get to the turn around spot and then pass Jenn going the other way.  She encouraged me a bit in the short 10 seconds that we could talk to each other.  The rest of the run went much better as I got to the uphill part.  I certainly didn't want to slow down, so I just pushed it to keep my average the same.  I ended up picking up a couple seconds on the overall average and finished the run at 8:53 mins/mile!  That made me feel pretty good.  If I can do that over 9 miles, I think I can do that for 13.1 miles...especially if there's someone to keep my mind occupied.  I really didn't want to use an ipod, since I feel like it's a crutch.  Plus, I won't be able to use it on my half-ironman in August, so this will be training for that too.

Tuesday and today, I've been on the trainer.  It's warming up, and next week looks awesome--sunny and in the mid 40's!  Next week is Spring Break for me, so I may have to bundle up and get some miles out on the road with the ole bike!

By the way, Jenn smashed her goal on her 9 miler and did it at 11:07/mile!!!  She ROCKS!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Has it really been over a week?

Friday, March 04, 2011  at 1:33 PM
Wow, I promise I haven't been slacking off on the training even though the blogging has been a little weak.  It's been a whole week since my last report.  And really, that's what this is...YOU keeping ME accountable to keep training!  It's too bad that I don't even have pictures to share with you.  I guess words will have to do.

Last Sunday, February 27, Nick and I started out on our 8 mile run.  He hadn't run all week, so we thought it might be a little rough.  I gave us a "goal" of 9:30/miles with the understanding that if we didn't make that, it was ok.  I always have to have a goal to shoot for.  Otherwise, I feel like I'm wasting my time!  Well, we got to mile 4, and Nick's IT Bands starting hurting pretty badly.  Now I don't have trouble with my IT Bands, but a lot of runners that I know do, so I did a little research just to understand where they are and why it is so difficult to stretch them.  Here's a picture for your own education if you don't already know what they look like and where they are located (Iliotibial Band).  With him hurting pretty badly, we walked for 30 seconds and then ran a bit more.  After a couple more stops, we decided that I would split off at our turn, and he would walk to where my road would join his.  My route added an extra mile or so.  We ended up meeting at the other end and then finished the 8 miles.  With the walking, our time had dropped to 9:54/miles, so while I was by myself, I cranked up the pace to bring the total run back down to 9:29/miles.  I thought that was ok for the run since we had a couple stops along the way.

Monday, Wednesday and today, I spent some time riding the bike on my trainer.  I love riding so much, and I can't wait till the weather is a bit better so I can get out on the roads.  This summer is going to rock!

On Tuesday, Jennifer and I did 4.5 miles in some neighborhoods around the school.  It was really nice to run with her.  She's such a cool chic, and I'm one lucky guy to be married to her!!!  She pushed herself, and we ended up running at 10:55/miles.  By the way, her goal for the Holy Half is to run it under 2 1/2 hours.  That means she has to do it under 11:27's.  I'm proud of her, and I know she'll do it without any trouble!

Yesterday, Jenn and I did a track workout.  We went to the local high school's track for the first time and realized that it is a really nice track.  I don't know what it is made of, but it sort of feels like you are running on a trampoline.  The surface is super absorbant and "bouncy."  We did 8x400's.  My goal was to be able to keep my speed throughout the whole workout within 30 seconds.  The first 400 was running at 6:19's.  Well, they all went really well, and the last one was at 6:45's, so that means that I met my goal!  Hoorah!  These track workouts seem to really help my speed on the long runs.

Sunday, Jenn and I will be running 9 miles.  It sounded like Nick is going to pass on this long run, so that means I'm running by myself.  It'll be really nice to just do my pace and push myself.  This year, one of my goals is to learn how to suffer.  I want to be able to have the mental toughness to push through anything...pain, itches, boredom, laziness, more miles.  I try to push myself mentally in everything I do, and I fell like it's paying off.  I guess we'll see how 9 miles by myself feels!