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September 28, 2005


Two days ago was the last double. Today was the last run over 13 miles. Saturday will be the last tempo, and Sunday will be the last double-digit run. And there are still over two weeks left until the marathon, wow.

After last week's shenanigans I was feeling kind of sore in the right hip/glute/hamstring. I was lucky enough to get a massage appointment last night, and it helped an incredible amount.

This morning's 14 felt great. In a fit of optimism a few weeks ago I'd added "try last 3 @ MP" to today's schedule, then forgotten about it until this morning. I ended up doing the last 3 in 7:24, 08, 03 - the last 2 much faster than I will ever run any marathon in this life - and it was downright ok. In fact, it felt pretty good.

On the downside, it took 2 diet dr peppers to supply enough caffeine to get through the rest of the day. Although I work in IT at a financial services company, it often feels like the drive-through window at McDonalds.

Posted by joe positive at 8:00 PM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2005

85, 86, 87.1

During the past week I ran 91 miles (a new high), and work has been very busy, and I've just been too tired and uninspired to write anything until now. I'm still a little tired.

Anyway, this was the peak & pinnacle of the p plan, mileage-wise. It was also supposed to include a 22-miler, a track workout (6x1200), two medium-long runs, and some strides. Up until now I've hardly deviated from the Plan, but this week I swapped the track workout for an actual 5K race. Anyone who's read this blog much knows I hate track workouts and 5Ks almost equally, so I wasn't exactly trading up. I thought that the additional mental workout of a race would be good for me.

The course was certified and a little hilly (odd for here). I ran the course to warm up; this turned out to be a big help later and I recommend it to anyone. It was sunny, upper 70s and about 192% RH at the start. I saw a woman from my running club who's in my age group and who's beaten me forever; I decided my goal would be to keep her in sight. We started, and I had no trouble staying 3 - 4 seconds behind her and her training partner. By a half-mile I was running with them, and a quarter-mile later I decided just to go on ahead, sure the woman would catch me later as I was dying (I was wrong). I hit the first mile in 6:20 and felt really good. During the 2nd mile the woman's training partner caught and passed me; I let him go but ended up passing him back later in the mile. I ran past the 2nd mile marker while daydreaming about something or other; several seconds later I realized I should hit the watch and it said 6:32. The last mile had a couple of short hills and a longer, grindy hill just before the finish (these are Florida hills, mind you - the kind that people laugh at). I passed a couple of guys on these and just tried to pick it up as best I could and hang on. 3rd mile said 6:22 (short) and I finished in 19:54. It wasn't a PR but I was 2nd woman and 1st masters, and anyway I was really happy to get back under 20 without wanting to die. Parts of the race felt hard, but I never though about DNFing, so I guess I wasn't running hard enough.

After the race I cooled down with running-club people, including both the woman who won and the woman I'd wanted to trail (and her training partner), and my friend Albert, who's at the very same point in the P Plan as I am. He ended up 2nd man and 1st masters, and we were both pretty happy to have done this in miles 85 - 87.1 of a 91-mile week.

Taper starts for real now. I ran 17 insanely slow miles today, and the next time I string 17 together will be in Baltimore. Work, however, will stay crazy for at least 2 more weeks. I hope I can get through it.

Posted by joe positive at 3:10 PM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2005

did not stop

Today I finally ran an ok race. It was a 20K in Naples, FL, which is about 170 miles south of here (and still hot hot hot like Florida is supposed to be in the summertime). Prior to this race I'd run 4 races in Naples - including this one in 2003 and 2004 - and all 4 were mediocre at best, mostly owing to stomach problems during the race (every damn time). I honestly began to think that the water in Naples disagreed with me, so this weekend I drank mostly bottled water.

This time I also had a PLAN, which was to run miles 1 - 3 @7:10, 4 - 7 @ 7:00 and then try really really hard to pick it up after that. I wore my GPS during to make sure I stayed at those paces. Of course, that's not what happened. During the first mile I looked at the watch and the lap pace said something like 6:17. I decided the watch was off (sometimes it takes a little bit to calibrate at the start of a mile), but I slowed down anyway. A little while later the watch said 6:21, so I slowed down some more, but it felt so easy - I actually felt I could talk, though I didn't, and 6-anything is not anything I'd consider talking pace. Anyway, I finally slowed enough to hit the first mile in 6:43, then ran 7s or a little under for the next 7 miles, then started to get tired.

I ran absolutely alone for the first half of the race, but came up on a very exuberant dude in the 8th mile who kept exhorting me and another guy to c'mon! let's get moving! and then he'd surge ahead. I thought I'd never get near him, but somehow, ever so slowly, I did, and he'd pull away every time. Finally I just ground it out to get to him, thank him for the encouragement, and pass him. He (and the other guy) passed me back at the water stop just after 10 miles, because I still can't drink and run. I didn't think I'd get near them again, but ended up re-passing one and finishing right behind Mr Exuberant. I ended up with 1:28:33, which was about 2 minutes off my goal but a 3-minute PR, and good for 3rd overall female.

Of course, within 20 minutes I'd come up with 2 reasons to be disappointed with my race, but I'll save that for later.

Posted by joe positive at 5:08 PM | Comments (3)

September 13, 2005

good day for track workouts

This afternoon I had a track workout, and while it doesn't quite hold a candle to Alison's, I'm happy all the same. I've been kind of sore and tired the past few days - more so than I usually am after a longish week like last week - so I fully expected to want to quit in the middle, or at the very least have a completely mediocre workout.

It must've been the weather. I got to the middleschool track by around 3:30, and it was sunny and hot but also breezy and really dry (for here, anyway). Since I had 9 miles to run, I warmed up for 5 miles and then started the repeats: 5x600 at 5K pace with 90s (I called that jogging 200m) rest. I was shooting for 2:20 per item, which some time ago I decided was the pace of the 5K of my wildest dreams. I ended up with 2:13, 3@ 2:15 (tried to moderate a bit), then 2:13 again. Starting with the 3rd item it began to feel like work, but I never felt like I was going to die.

The coolest thing was that I didn't take any breaks besides the 200m recoveries. 200m into the last item, I thought about stopping just to play a joke on my husband (it just wouldn't be a track workout without me trying to quit, now would it?) but I didn't.

Now I'm drinking water and diet snapple like there's no tomorrow, and hoping I'm not going to be too sore when tomorrow does come around.

Posted by joe positive at 7:51 PM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2005

ach, I am tired

I have finished 13 weeks of coach P and now, in the second-to-last week of hard training, I am surpised to find myself sore and tired. This is the point I now remember from training for the other two marathons - the point where I go why do I have to be tired all the time and when do I get to live like a real human being again. A friend of mine asked me about going to happy hour one day - one day! not every goddam day of the week - and I started thinking well not this week, because I have the early shift, and not next week, because that's the 91-mile week, and I'm a cheap drunk anyway anymore so I can't even drink in the next county because then I'll have to drive home and...

Anyway, today I ran like a sore and tired person: 6 poky miles in the morning and 4 less-poky miles in the afternoon. Tomorrow is a track workout (gahhhh) but I keep telling myself it's less hard stuff than last week's track workout and it'll be over in a jif.

Posted by joe positive at 7:32 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2005

my foggy mind

The way my mind works: it's dawn, and I'm running through my neighborhood. Over to the east the sun is very round and very red. Red Rubber Ball was a Simon and Garfunkel (actually, Tom and Jerry) song later recorded by the Cyrkle. About 15 years ago I was in a band with a guy who wrote a song called My Foggy Mind whose opening line sounded almost exactly like Red Rubber Ball's opening line. I can't remember whether the guy claimed never to have heard of Red Rubber Ball, but even when we (other band members) told him so, he still insisted that we play the song. The band (also named by this guy) was called Destroy All Monsters, and again we had to tell the guy that there was already a famous band by that name, but again he was unfazed, and the name stuck for the rest of the band's three-month lifetime. The GPS chirps. I have 16 miles left to go.

Myself and I played all manner of games during the 20-miler this morning. We played:

Find the Shade

Belly of the Block - kinda like the lightpoles game (run fast to a lightpole, recover to the next, repeat ad mortem), only I would go from the middle of the block to the middle of the next block. Sometimes the blocks were short and sometimes they were long, but it evened out.

Dancin' in the Pedals - good for getting up a hill, or just getting back on pace after daydreaming for a bit

I Hate Self-Affirmation - I don't know if I can hold this pace much longer. I don't know if I can make my legs go any faster. yes, I CAN, now shut the hell up.

some game that has no name but goes like this: think of a runner you admire - local, world-class, male, female, doesn't matter. Remember that runner's picture you have in your head. Be that picture - or something about it - for a second or two.

This turned out to be a pretty good 20, especially for a solo run. The first mile was 10:19 and the last was 7:39. After I got home I continued the no-name game (above) by sitting in an ice bath for 10 or 15 minutes. Next, a brownie, and then a nap.

Posted by joe positive at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2005

creeping touch of fall

This morning we awoke to temps in the low 70s and dewpoint in the 60s, yikes almighty. I had 11 recovery miles to run, and had planned a double, but I decided to take advantage of the lovely weather and do the whole 11 at once. I couldn't quite stick to poky recovery pace, and after 8 miles I had barely broken a sweat. Did I mention this is lovely? It's lovely.

Brief aside about "recovery" runs - I think of them not as "runs that help you to recover" (because they are so slow, I guess) but "runs that you do while you are recovering." Meaning they won't hurt your recovery because they are so slow. I wonder if this is an ok interpretation.

I have finished the 13th week of Pfitzinger, and there are 2 more weeks of hard training and 3 of taper. This week I ran a bit over 84 miles. Next week I get a little break (73 miles) leading up to a 20K race on Sunday. Because the race is way south of here, I don't expect such nice weather (even if it holds thru next week up here), but I hope I can run a good time anyway.

Posted by joe positive at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2005

this is a blog entry, yes it is

Somebody sent me an email that went: this is a blog entry, yes it is.

Yes, it is.

Posted by joe positive at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

really gotta not bail

Today I got a blessed comp day to make up for the 18 hours I worked over the weekend, so my husband and I decided to have a track date. We drove to one of the few public tracks around - actually a middleschool track that hosts little footballers and cheerleaders on weekday afternoons, but we were early enough that the track was empty and ours. I was supposed to run 6x1000 at "5K pace," which is not the pace of any 5K I've ever actually run, but the 5K pace my husband really thinks I could run, if the planets all lined up properly and all the gods decided to smile at one time. I ran the first item well within myself (I thought), and it was a few seconds fast. The next two felt progressively harder, and I decided I'd stop for water and stuff after 3 items. Item 4 was 2s slow, and the fifth was a second fast, and at that point I was cooked. I declared to my husband that I was done, stalked around the track trying to catch my breath enough to get a sip of water, started to feel better, started to feel guilty. My husband - bless him 1000 times - suggested I run a 600, so I did, with hurting quads but 6s faster than I should have. At the end it all, here's how it stacked up: my goal was 6x1000 @ 3:56 avg. I actually ran 5x1000 @ 3:55 avg, then 1x600 @ 2:14.

I'm glad I did this, and glad it's over, but I still worry about this tendency to get almost all the way through something, or almost to some goal that will make me very happy, and then allow myself to bail. I gotta not bail, really gotta not bail.

Posted by joe positive at 7:03 PM | Comments (2)

September 5, 2005

Jerry Lewis in Indochina

This morning my husband and I ran together for the first time in a while. I had 14 to run and he had 15. I wasn't totally sure I could stay with him but thought I'd try. As a secondary goal - in case he dropped me - I set the virtual training partner thing on the GPS for 14 miles at 8:30, and decided if I could stay under 8:30 for the whole thing I'd be happy.

We've had much drier air for the past two days, and you just can't understand how lovely that is unless you have to train here during the summer. Mike started off trying to run 8:20s but just couldn't hold back. Since I usually take a mile or 3 to warm up, this was a little brisk but I knew I'd feel better after a few miles. We did flat and little hills and slight grades, and I ended up with 7:57 avg for the whole 14, and I beat virtual man by nine-tenths of a mile. We stopped twice at water fountains for about 40s total - not even worth stopping the watch. In a way I'm happier with this run than with the marathon-pace run Saturday.

This afternoon I had 4 recovery miles leftover from yesterday. Although it was 5:30pm and hot, the low humidity really made a difference. I hope this lasts a few more days. Ah.

Posted by joe positive at 7:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 4, 2005

way easy

Last night I really dodged a bullet. It was database-maintenance-weekend, which usually means I have to pay low-to-moderate attention to stuff from 6pm to 6am. This time I was trying something new, and it turns out I'd made a mistake. Luckily (happily oh my god whew) I caught it pretty quickly and it was fixable, but I ended up paying rapt, tense, stomach-tightening attention to stuff straight through the night except for 2 45-minute naps.

Round about 9am things had settled enough for me to go out for a very poky 6 miles. It still gets to the upper 80s or low 90s during the day, but we've had some dry air come down from heaven and this morning was just wonderful. I was relatively unsweaty after 6 miles. It was like happy-to-be-alive running, only today it was happy-I-didn't-totally-screw-up running.

I was supposed to run another 4 miles this afternoon, but I think I'll move it to tomorrow afternoon. I had a nap, and now I'm having a beer, and in a little while I'm actually going to go to a party. Wow. I haven't been to a party in months.

Posted by joe positive at 4:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2005

almost like a real PR

I've survived the early-guy week, and the near-injuries week (hamstring, everlasting sidestitch or pulled muscle or cracked rib or what have you), and lastly the marathon-pace-run week. This morning the schedule called for the big one, or 18 miles with 15 at MP. Out of all the Pfitzinger workouts, I think I dreaded this one the most.

It turned out ok, just as everything seems to. I set the GPS to annoy me if I went faster than 7:10, and after a 3-mile warmup, I took off for the MP part. Unlike the last MP run when my husband tooled behind me on his bike, this run was solo. The first mile felt brisk but turned out to be 6:33, and I realized I was going to have to work hard at finding a slower pace and staying there without falling off too much.

I worked on that for the next 6 or 7 miles and then decided to run the little hills in my neighborhood. Boy, did they kick my ass. I lost time on the downhills, tried (not altogether successfully) to make it up on the uphills, and really had a hard time concentrating. After 1 hilly loop I'd had enough and got back to the flat, but even after a half-mile I was struggling to maintain 7:30s, so at the 9.5-mile point I stopped home for a drink of water and a couple minutes' (3 - 5, probably) regroup. I wasn't in any real distress, so I'm not too happy I did this. I was on track for a half-marathon PR, and I dearly wanted to do the whole 13.1 without stopping. Alas.

When I started out again I took the first mile too fast (again), but settled back into an OK pace. When I got to 13.1 miles I hit the lap button just to record the time, then finished the rest of the 15, trying to pick it up for the last mile. I ended up with 7:07 pace for those 15 miles. This is a bit faster than what I'm hoping for in Baltimore, and I can't imagine holding that pace for 11 more miles. According to the GPS I hit 13.1 in 1:33:11, which is a half-marathon PR by over 5 minutes, though in real half-marathons you're not supposed to stop for 3 or 5 minutes. Still, for the past 2 years I've suspected I could do better than 1:38:30, and I guess now I know I can.

Posted by joe positive at 1:43 PM | Comments (2)