Friday, April 29, 2011

Race Day is Only 8 Days Away!

I received an email from the Frederick Run Fest that "Race Day is Only 8 Days Away!".  You know, I really don't need reminding.  I'm on the brink of going through my race day dry-run this weekend (I could potentially pull up my Sunday run to Saturday since I ran Friday's run yesterday) and the excitment and nervousness is really starting to build.  I'm starting to put together the information that my spectators will need to find me, although I haven't picked out my race day outfit yet so that will have to wait until later.  But, here's what I do know:

My pace should be about 11:30 minutes per mile.  This was my estimated pace for last year, but after everything that that happened, I ended up at 12:01 minutes per mile.  I could potentially run as fast as 11:00 minutes per mile, but I'll have to see how this weekend's run goes before I lay out my final estimate.  With my Garmin Forerunner 405CX on my wrist, I should be a much better judge of my pace and not go out too fast like I did last year.

My house is around the eight mile mark, so that gives Jeff plenty of time to sleep and be up and out and ready to cheer by 8:58a.  With the later start time and later location (our house was around the six mile mark last year), this gives me some incentive to pace the front end of the race properly and still look strong at that point.  I wouldn't want to disappoint my fans!  It was around the eight mile mark last year that things starting to melt down for me.  Here's the pace chart:

The current weather prediction is an overnight low of 51ºF, 67% humidity, and 40% chance of showers.  The race day forecast is 69ºF, 58% humidity, and 40% chance of showers.  Sunrise is at 6:04a.  The weather sounds pretty good although it would be nice if the showers would push off.  Given the choice between showers and hazy/hot/humid, I'd take the showers as long as we're not talking about a miserable downpour.

So, I'll replan my pace after this weekend's run, and continue to keep an eye on the forecast.  But that's where things stand today.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sport Bean Snots and Face Plants

Today's long run of eleven miles was a flashback of last year's half marathon.  I left the house at 7:30a, the start time of the race this year, the sun was out and it was humid.  The relished in the shade where I could find it, and could tell that the heat was wearing on me throughout.  But much different from last year, was that I ran the entire time.

I experienced a little bit of "adversity" on this run, but nothing I couldn't handle.  The first event was a Sport Bean that I almost shot out through my nose.  Yes, that's OUT, not in.  I was working on crewing my first set of two beans and in the process of swallowing one, I coughed and it hit the back of my throat and the bottom of my nose.  That burned for a little while, but after some water and a clearing my throat a couple of times, I was back in business.

The second event was a near face plant with another runner.  I bet the people in their vehicles who saw this got a good laugh out of it; I know I did!  I had an eight foot brick wall on my right side and was going to continue straight past where the wall ended.  The oncoming runner had the brick wall on his left and was coming towards me from my right.  He was continuing straight past where the wall ended for him too.  He hit the corner about a stride before I did and we both took evasive action to prevent a collision.  He had time to stop at the intersection and feel silly; I was able to keep running (thanks to the intersection lights) and giggle as I reran the interaction in my head.  I don't think there was anything we could have done differently except stop and walk past that area, and given that this was the first time this has happened in the dozen or so times I've run down that way, one time in twelve isn't a reason to stop and walk unless I start having nightmares about running into someone.

I'm glad to be finished.  Hopefully that's the hottest run in the next two weeks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Three Mile Tuesdays on Vacation

LA Fitness opened a new location "just up the street" from their current location and I was excited by the prospects.  Since this gym is further from work and closer to home, I could potentially go on the weekends.  More importantly, if traffic is backed up, I can bail and go run instead of wasting time sitting in traffic before I get to the gym.  Options are good.

The layout of the new gym is better - first of all it is not in the middle of a mall so the parking area is gym-attendees only.  It IS on the back of a strip mall, but it is on one side out of the way.  The internal layout is better as well with the mezzanine not looking over the entire gym, but just the front portion.  The mezzanine in the other gym seemed to have been an afterthought with two rows of equipment; the new gym has three rows with more space in between so there are no worries of getting smacked by an elliptical when you're walking by.

I am having a love/hate relationship with the treadmills, though.

The good:
(1) Built-in three speed fan
(2) Personal television screen with closed captioning
(3) Good water bottle holders
(4) iPod connection
(5) Good variety of programs (I don't think I have ever used a program on a treadmill, besides manual)
(6) The stats are out-of-view so you don't have to cover them up

The bad:
(A) 60 minute limit
(B) When the television is not on, it is annoying to watch your reflection
(C) Cannot add time once the program is started
(D) Slow to respond to speed change on start-up
(E) No unique identifiers for each piece of equipment

(A) and (C) have bit me a couple of times so far, and (A) continues to be a concern because I am not the speediest and a five mile run pushes up against that limit.  On those days I have to consider if I want to go to the older gym instead to prevent having to stop and restart my run.

Today my treadmill channel page buttons only paged through two channels instead of all available (about six) and did not accept my 60 minute run time.  The channel issue had an easy workaround because I was able to manually enter what channel I wanted.  During the third mile of my run the treadmill started to suddently slow down and I had no idea why; that's when I discovered the 30 minute (instead of 60 minute) limit.  I stopped my run, tried "60" again, and restarted.  This time I paid attention to the screen and saw that the treadmill had not accepted "60" for the second time.  As I was cleaning up I made a note of what treadmill I was on and made sure to let the front desk know.

Each gym has its pros and cons and depending upon the day, I may choose one gym over the other if it makes more sense.  With my Tuesday runs bumped up from three to four miles for the next couple of weeks, the newer gym will work fine, as long as the treadmill gives me the 60 minute limit that I want.  Maybe I need to start executing an equipment verification procedure before I start my workout.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Half-Marathon Training Status

I promise that I've only been a flake on my blog, not at my running.  In fact, Tuesday started week four of training and I'm already half way through this week (and haven't missed a run yet).

Training has been going well.  My runs in general have been good; my long runs are coming together nicely.  I stepped up from six to eight miles last Sunday and the last mile was a little rough.  I missed a cue earlier in my run and had to "go around the block" towards the end so I wasn't able to mentally relax as much as I was earlier in the race.  Nonetheless, I finished strong and that was the only time I step up by two miles between long races, so no more big steps for the rest of training.

I was super-committed to getting in my training runs, so when Jeff and I went on a long weekend vacation for our anniversary this year, I made sure to find a hotel with a fitness center.  There was no problem getting my run in on Friday morning, although my dinner from the night before was speaking to me while on the treadmill.  The difficulty was with my Sunday run since I would not have access to a treadmill that day.  I considered doing it on Saturday, but we had a late night on Friday and it was difficult to get up early and spend six miles on the treadmill.

I ended up not getting my run in on Sunday and started figuring out how to replan.  Dropping a run really didn't cross my mind, so I pushed my run into Monday and left the other runs where they were.  This meant I was doing a two-a-day on Monday with Pilates, and three runs in a row, but I was ready to do it.

And I did.  Six miles on Monday.  Three miles on Tuesday.  Five miles on Wednesday.  By mile thirteen I was sick of running on a treadmill, but it felt so good to almost be to a rest day.  I popped out that last mile and boy did I have a big smile on my face - no runs missed.  I'm awesome.