May 31, 2008

a relaxed, easy run

My goal for this weekend's planned 8-miler is a relaxed, easy run. Probably galloway-style, with scheduled short walk breaks every mile for the outbound half and every 1.5 miles for the homeward half.

Was going to do that today, but... summer arrived officially last weekend and it is now 79 degrees and 81 percent humidity outside - my "no go" mark, especially unacclimated to it. And, of course, it has just begun raining cats and dogs. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be sunnier, lower humidity, so a more pleasant run all around.

I did go running last Thursday and that was the only run all week, I'm ashamed to say. Things just didn't work out well, with two completely unreasonable deadlines at work to meet. And my new running partners weren't with me Thursday, both of them out on job calls. Still, we discussed moving the Wednesday run to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

We'll see.

My run Thursday was quite good, actually; taken relaxed and easy. :) I walked about every 3/4 mi, mostly forced into it because of coughing. I did 4.5 miles, from work to City Hall. I was dismayed to arrive at my usual end-point and find that they have removed the giant red steel sculpture! :( How am I supposed to end that run if there's no sculpture to touch? And if the sculpture isn't there now, did it ever exist?

Here's a picture:

Jumping forward in time, I need to get my battery in my footpod replaced before tomorrow's run and I am doing Wednesday mornings 5-miler in Central Park. the 50th anniversary run! 5:30 a.m! 5-miles! Limited to...5,000 participants! See a theme?

I'm not sure how I feel about this story: Olympics Push Chinese Kids to the Max.

May 24, 2008

A tale of two runs

May 21, 2008

Pretty good run. Went out after work. Intended to do 4.5 miles, but a new runner joined S and I. The new one, L, has not run in a very, very long time. Given that, I thought he did a great job knocking out three miles. He was working pretty hard and so was right beside me the whole time, with S a dozen yards ahead of us setting the pace. (This is inadvertant...he's simply in better condition than L or I and is a better runner naturally.) Still, I let S pull me along and we achieved good mile times. I did call a halt at the turnaround point for stretching. I needed the stretch, and L needed the breather - I'm guessing S needed neither. Our splits (discounting the 2 and 1/2 minute pause for stretching) were 9:54, 9:40, and 9:17 - pretty damn good for me. Keep this up, and I will increase my overall times. Like I said, L did a great job given that the wind was blowing hard and runs alongside traffic are always a challenge.

May 24, 2008

With my lazy ass unable to get out and run Friday, I put in a good long run today. I have been looking at the Galloway method, mostly as a way of appeasing my own critical nature with "programmed" walking. So this run, I set out with the intention of walking a tenth of a mile every mile. This worked well. I took only one unscheduled walk break (in mile two - always the most difficult for me) and had a really good pace in the last three miles.

I'm hoping to get into the NYC Half Marathon and with an eye on that event, I'll continue to increase long run mileage using the Galloway method. We'll see if I can actually reduce my half-marthon time down to a more-acceptable 2:10.

May 20, 2008

Team Boomer on the ING map!

Folks, I'm pleased to announce that Team Boomer is now an official ING NYC Marathon charity partner!

ING page here:
Charity Partners

Team Boomer's page here:
Team Boomer

If you want to run the marathon and don't have a guaranteed entry, please consider joining Team Boomer. Raise a little cash for a good cause and you're in like Flynn.

May 19, 2008

making up

"If it ain't Scottish, it's CRAP!"

Well, this morning's run must not have been Scottish, then. Really, what a waste of time.

So this evening, after work, I went to the gym and booked it on the stationary bike for 50 minutes. It was killer at first, but after fifteen minutes, the soreness went away and I could really work. I'm going to have to start adding in more resistance in the second half of the sessions.

After the bike: 30 pushups, 15 pullups, then home. Not bad.

woke up this mornin' and i got myself a run

Slow, unsteady, lumpy, bad, short run this morning. Woke at 6:30 and was out the door at 7, intending to do a flat three miles. This turned into two miles fairly quickly, as I ended up taking quite a few walk breaks along the way, roughly every quarter-mile. I just couldn't get the breath support I needed - couldn't get a good full deep breath in. Legs felt pretty good, though; surprising considering Saturday's 10K really did a number on my quads.

Going to the gym tonight after work. Haven't yet made up my mind whether to do stationary bike and weights or to take the 6 p.m. beginners swimming class. I'm not even sure where my swim trunks are.

May 17, 2008

Healthy Kidney 10K 2008 race report

My quads are killing me.

LOL. I knew I'd be writing that as my first sentence, even before the race. They've hurt since Thursdays run with S.

After the long and dreary rain yesterday, lasting well into the night, I expected to be running in similar weather this morning. The forecast showed a 40% chance of rain, cold, cloudy, and windy. So imagine my surprise to step outside at 7:30 a.m. this morning to find a postcard-perfect early-summer day. The weather for this run had light breezes, 50 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky.

The humidity was up there, though, as the water from last night all tried to evaporate at once. At 80%, I could tell it in my lungs - I had asthma from the time I got up until well after the race. That affected things a little bit, but not as bad as it could have been. I'm just glad the weather was decent.

I didn't set out to race this race, not having trained specifically for it, but I didn't try to do "just" a long, slow run either. I told myself to take this one in a Galloway mindset - mile by mile. And that, surprisingly, is exactly what happened: throughout the race, I had zero thoughts about the miles ahead, dealing only with the mile I was in. It made the race seem shorter somehow.

I'd also decided to walk through the waterbreaks and any hills that were killing me. My coughing was constant and I'd been bringing up extra-thick, extra-green phlegm all morning - unusual even for me. I did end up bent over, hands-on-knees, coughing hard twice during the race, but while I was in motion, the coughing didn't seem severe - I could either keep running or had to halt altogether, there was no inbetween this time.

Once again, the corrals were segregated and color-coded. This has advantages, but I noted two problems with it this time: one, the latter corrals are long, but narrow - only as wide as the regular running lanes - and that's an unnecessary problem. And two, they don't run speakers as far back as the pink, purple, grey, and brown corrals. This means I didn't hear the welcoming speeches, didn't hear the announcements and race directions, and didn't hear the gun. This needs to be fixed.

Tried not to go out too hard. My quads, as I said, were already hurting. But I'm also finding a certain peace and ease at a stride length four to six inches beyond my usual jog - the difference, really, between jogging and running. It shaves about 30 to 45 seconds off my usual mile pace and in some ways is just as easy. I haven't figured this out yet. So I compromised in the race and alternated among several gaits.

Overdressed and had to stop after 1/4 mile to strip off clothes and hope they were still there at the end of the race. Walked at the water tables long enough to drink a good cup of water. Walked a bit at mile markers if I felt I needed it. Passed the 5K mats walking (on the biggest uphill on the route). Tried to take advantage of the downhill of Cat Hill and almost miraculously finished the last 1.2 miles without walking at all.

Tried to finish strong, but found it very very difficult to get my speed up. That uphill finish to Tavern On The Green can be a deal-breaker. As tired as I was and in as much pain as I was, I couldn't imagine tackling this exact same finish during the Marathon with any degree of gusto. It may be that this last 800 meters becomes a regular intervals hill-repeat workout part of my training this summer and fall.

Felt pretty good to finish. Something I said to a friend yesterday came back to me: "If all my runs were 3 miles, I'd get discouraged pretty quickly, because the running only returns positive reinforcement after that point. A six mile run is good because the positive memory of the last three miles masks the negative memory of the first three." Definitely true.

I gobbled bagels and bananas while listening to the awards ceremony and raffle giveaway, then got my bag and headed back to the subway very slowly, just enjoying what turned out to be a beautiful day in Central Park.

Results: first 5K in 36:02, an 11:37/mi pace. Second 5K in 33:28, a 10:48/mi pace. A significantly better second half - negative splits!! Overall, I finished in 1:09:30 with an average 11:11/mi pace.

And, because I've been learning how to make nice charts from my race data, here's my 4-years-running history of my Healthy Kidney times and paces:

Pretty, huh?

I close by noting that although this 10K is my third worst of all my 10Ks, I still did better than last year, if only by a few seconds.

This was at the carwash on my way home. A 1929 Ford Model A coupe, I believe.

May 16, 2008

A few short runs

Well, my running has been limited the past two weeks. Entirely my fault, but I will blame the outrageous head cold I had Sunday through Wednesday for making it too easy to just go home and sleep.

After the 4.5 mile run weekend before last, I worked out at the gym the next Monday after work, a tradition I'd like to keep up this season. Actually, twice a week at a minimum would be good. The only problem with after-work gym sessions is that it cuts into my sleep, for the commute home, dinner, and therapy takes quite a while.

Anyway, the workout was really good, with 30 minutes on the bike pedaling like mad. When I began doing the stationary bike, I could hardly stand going 20 minutes at about 85 rpm and a heartrate of 132 bpm. But last Monday, I had my heartrate up at 142 to 148 bpm the whole time with pedal rpm at 100 - 115. And it felt good. Not easy, but good in that comfortably stressful kind of way. I could have kept it up for an hour at least. But I had to move on to some weights. I again surprised myself, crunching out 60 situps, 15 pullups, and 30 pushups in a single straight set each. I should be doing more - and faster - but that will come. And the weights also felt good. The gym was so crowded, I resorted to using some oft-neglected machines in the corner for my tricep and bicep curls and found the machines to be rather nice.

Two days later, Wednesday before last, I headed out for my Wednesday after-work run. I had publicized the run the day before at work - but nobody showed up to run with me, of course. I didn't expect them to. I will keep publicizing the after-work runs and see if persistence pays off. I was only going to do two miles, but after stopping and stretching, I didn't feel like I was done, and finished off another two miles, ending my run with a strong finish at Chambers street. That was a VERY good run!

And then I didn't run again 'til last night. What happened? Well, a motorcycle event up in Vermont, meaning an 800-mile on-the-bike weekend, and a raging head cold. I'm only just now getting over it. I was going to run Wednesday, but a friend at work mentioned he'd meant to bring his shoes this week and forgot. So we made plans to run Thursday, last night.

And we did! I'm very much surprised, but S came out with me and we ran the first two miles together. We did a 9:15 pace the whole way. I stopped for water at the Boathouse and he continued on. He's not a runner, yet, but is a very fit skater and snowboarder, and is ten years younger than me, so I'm not surprised he ran well.

After getting some water (HUGE mistake not to have brought any - it was hot out), I tackled Cat Hill. I made it, but did walk a bit afterwards, maybe less than a minute, then finished up at NYRR headquarters to pick up a bib for this weekend's Healthy Kidney 10K.

And once again, I didn't feel like my run was finished. So I tacked on another mile and walked the last half-mile to the N subway station. Feeling a little sore this morning, but that's no surprise!

The one thing that surprises me is that I'm toughing through much longer stretches of running these past few weeks before stopping for whatever reason. I'll be curious what Saturday morning brings. It is supposed to be cool and maybe rainy. I've had good Healthy Kidney runs before and I'm hoping to be able to run this one with no walk breaks, or maybe only walk while drinking some water at the tables. I'm not going to PR, but I'd like to finish this one in under an hour.