Sunday, September 30, 2007

Log #44: Huh... so THIS is what it's like!!!

Well, it finally happened. I ran 20 miles like it was no big deal.

I woke up with one goal today: Run 20 miles at a consistent, slow pace. I know that my biggest problem with training so far has been that I run WAY too fast in the beginning of long runs and end up dying at the end. Well, I was mentally prepared for 20 miles at an 8:45 pace and no faster.

Of course, that didn't end up happening. I started out slow... my first mile was an 8:41. Perfect. I felt awesome, my legs were loose, the weather was phenomenal, and my girlfriend was tailing me with water in the CamelPak. I felt magic in the air... well not really.

The next one was 8:36. Get this... I told my girlfriend, "We need to slow down." THAT'S how committed I was to the 8:45 pace. Mile 3 was an 8:49... a good pace. After that, I quit looking at the GPS and just ran for a while at what felt like a nice, smooth pace. Miles 4-7 were all done around an 8:30 pace... OOOOOPS!!!

I slowed down for the next few miles. 8:43, 8:46, 8:47. I was just feeling so fantastic that I didn't even worry about the miles I had just run too quickly. I figured I'd just glide the rest of the way.

At this point I'd run 10 miles, and I felt perfect, so I decided to try for a negative split... running the second half of my run faster than the first. Mile 11 was an 8:37. I then followed with an 8:35, 8:40, and 8:31. I decided to just try and let my body dictate the right pace for me. After running for a while, you just get used to listening to the signs your body gives you as to how it's handling the stress. My breathing was fine, my heart rate felt ok, so I just kept running at my own pace.

Miles 15 and 16 were run at 8:38, then 8:22. By this point, I finally began to feel the miles in my legs. I had barely stopped at all by this point, and I realized that stopping made my legs ache. If I just kept moving, I actually felt better than when I stopped, so I just decided to keep my legs moving at all times. Even when I stopped at traffic lights, I'd jog around in circles.

With 4 miles left, I kept repeating the mantra, "Don't slow down." I wasn't in bad shape or anything, but after almost two and a half hours of running, your body just starts to protest a little. I kept chugging. 8:22, then 8:12.

My legs started to stiffen up, and my lungs were burning a tad. I knew that I needed to be able to run 20 miles and still feel like I could do 6 more if I had to, so I tried to let my body tell me how fast it could go. It told me 8:14.

The last mile wasn't so hard physically... I mean I was tired, and my legs hurt, but I wasn't as beat up as I've been on previous runs. The last mile of any workout is the hardest, it doesn't matter how long or short the run is. That last mile is just mentally trying, because all you can think about is a shower, food, and coffee. I was pushing myself to go all out on the last mile, and I ended up with an 8:00 mile... my marathon pace.

So... the first 10 miles took 1:26:30 to run, and the last 10 miles too 1:24:20... a negative split. I'm pretty sure my first ever on a 20 miler. My average pace was 8:32, a good 13 seconds per mile faster than what I needed to run today. I feel pretty good, too. Maybe the running Gods have finally decided to give me some love.

By the way, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about the FIRST running method I'm using to train for this. I have never run this fast for this long, and I've been setting new PR's almost every week. The most incredible part is that I don't feel burned out, over trained, or even slightly injured. If anyone is thinking about trying FIRST... DO IT!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Log #43: About to burst...

My LT run yesterday was grueling... and that is putting it VERY lightly. I don't know if it was my diet, my sleeping, or just a tough run.

Th program called for this:

1 mile @ 8:30
5 miles at 7:30

This is not really that bad for me. I've done it on a treadmill many, many times. However, the road is not a treadmill, and it's just not the same thing. There was a slight wind that made every step a little bit tougher, and the cumulative effect on my body was rough. Here are my splits, approximately:

7:16 (DAMNIT!!!)

So, overall, I'd say I did well. I was HURTING at the end, though. The thing about the LT run is that you're running fast enough to build up that icky, burning feeling in your chest. It's similar to the feeling I get when I do speed workouts, except I know that the speed workout is going to end in 7 minutes or less. This was a burning that just kept getting stronger and stronger until I felt like coke bottle that was all shaken up and about to explode. My breathing was 2-in / 2-out at the end of the run, and I was just pooped.

Sunday is a 20 miler, and I'm determined to make this one a good one. I'm not drinking ANY booze this weekend, I'm going to eat very well on Saturday, and I'll be getting lots of sleep. After my 20 miler I will be celebrating with burritos and beer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Log #42: Something's Missing...

Something has been missing from my life the past 2 days: The post-lunch crash. Generally I eat such a huge lunch that I enter a food-coma about an hour later. I would usually remedy this by drinking the post-food-coma coffee, which would cause a post-coffee crash a couple of hours after that.

So, apparently, eating decent foods and not binging on massive 1200 calorie lunches can increase energy levels. This is fantastic!

My calorie total for yesterday was about 2850. It's funny how I've already started to notice how little things can add up over the day to make a huge difference in calories. Choosing the regular granola bar over the one that is covered in chocolate... 100 calories. Wheat bread over white bread on a sandwich: 100 calories. A little less creamer in the coffee... 100 calories. Over the course of a day, 4-5 small decisions could add up to 400-500 calories, and over a week that could be the difference between losing or gaining a pound.

It's all common sense, too. However, I am constantly amazed at the tricks my brain will play on me when I'm hungry. Last night I couldn't eat dinner until 8:30, and my brain started rationalizing how it would be just fine to eat a huge meatball sub... just this once... since I was so hungry. Even McDonald's would be fine just to tide me over. Luckily, I have gotten wise to my brain's devious ways, so I knew it was just trying to derail my plans.

I think I'll count the calories for another week or so, and then see if I can manage to eat healthy without looking at the labels every time I eat.

This morning I rowed...

10 minute warmup, easy pace
1 minute hard, 1 minute easy
2 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
4 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
3 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
2 minutes hard, 1 minute easy
1 minute hard, 5 minutes easy

I kicked my butt, felt great... tomorrow is a horrible LT run. 1 mile at 8:30, then 5 miles in a row at 7:30... ugh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Log #42: Joey - 1, Body - 0.

I've turned over a new leaf... or rather, I've turned over a leaf that I had already turned over, and then ignored. Metaphors are dumb.

I've started my training this week with a renewed determination, mainly because of the pathetic performance I had on Sunday. For starters, I've started doing something I've NEVER done before... counting calories.

I hate counting calories... it's annoying and demoralizing. However, I realized that I had absolutely no idea how much I should be eating, or how much I was actually eating. I figure that I should be getting around 2500 calories a day, maybe 3000 on a tough running day. This number should keep my energy up, but still be low enough to lose some weight before the race. I'm not overweight, but I would like to be as lean as possible for the marathon.

The problem with food in this country is that portions are just gigantic. This morning, for example, I looked at the calories on a box of Cinnamon Life Cereal. 1 serving of this cereal is 160 calories. That's not very much at all. However, 1 serving is defined as 3/4 cup cereal, and 1/2 cup of skim milk. Just for giggles, I used a measuring cup to see how much that actually was. It's about half of what I would normally put in my bowl. I then decided to see what a bagel would have for calories. A serving of onion bagel is 160 calories... not bad!!!

But wait... 1 serving is half a bagel, so a whole bagel is 320 calories with nothing on it. I love me my cream cheese, so a serving of that is 100 calories... except that 1 serving is only 1 oz. I generally DOUSE that bagel in cream cheese, so let's say I use 2 oz... a very conservative estimate. We're talking 520 calories just in my bagel.

I also discovered that the creamer I put in my coffee every morning has 45 calories per tablespoon... I use at least 3-4 tablespoons a day, so there's another 180 calories mainlined into my body with a nice dose of caffeine.

Lunch was the next battle... I normally order lunch from somewhere near where I'm working. I'd estimate that the average sandwich you get from a Panera or pasta from Uno's will have about 1000 calories in it. The portions are just massive!!! The last 2 days I have brought my lunch, and it's funny how I feel full after eating a normal sized meal, even though I'm putting about 50% less food into my stomach. I've always had a problem leaving food on the plate, so by bringing less I just don't have to worry about that.

Dinner last night was chicken and potatoes, maybe 500-600 calories worth. I used my fist as a guide... If the amount of food you are eating is much bigger than your fist, it's probably too much.

I had a couple of snacks yesterday, an apple and a granola bar... and that was it. I felt full, I had energy, and I came in at about 2400 calories.

My goal is to get in the habit of eating the right amount and then I won't have to bother with the counting anymore, but it was definitely an eye opener to see exactly how much food you SHOULD be eating versus what restaurants and grocery stores make it seem like you should eat.

So, this morning was speed workout day. The 3:30 plan called for this:

10-20 minute warmup
1200 x 2 @ 4:55
800 x 4 @ 3:13
10 minute cooldown

and just for shits, the 3:20 was this:

10-20 minute warmup
1200 x 2 @ 4:40
800 x 4 @ 3:03
10 minute cooldown

I, being a fool, decided to just go for the 3:20 times...

1200 @ 4:34

Whoops!!! WAAAAAAY too fast... I knew as soon as I finished this split that I had screwed myself royally. I was panting very hard and felt dizzy and thought, "Why, oh why?"

Round 2.

1200 @ 4:48

Better, but still too fast, and at the end of this one my stomach started doing somersaults.

My 800's looked like this:

800 @ 3:14
800 @ 3:11
800 @ 3:08
800 @ 3:04

Thinking back, it's hard to really recall how painful those 800's were, but I definitely remember a few thoughts going through my head:

"I think I might finally make myself throw up during a run!!!"
"I'm going to faint."
"There is NO way I can do another one of these (after the 2nd 800m)"
"I wonder if my heart should be beating this fast."
"This pain is that martini from Saturday leaving my body."
"I wish I would throw up."

This was, without a doubt, one of the most grueling speed workouts yet. I ran the first split 23 seconds too fast... and over 3 laps that is a ridiculous increase in pace. It's basically the difference between a 6:30 mile and a 6:00 mile. I think I might also be adjusting slightly to eating a normal amount of food. Normally I just eat whatever I want all day long, so I never have a problem with energy on runs... but now my body may want to adjust a little bit.

Anyway, the workout was a success, the new diet seems to be a good thing, and I'm still feeling positive about the whole thing. Tomorrow is a nice, intense rowing day.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Log #41: I'm an idiot.

Well today just about capped off the quick decline into running suckiness that has been my week. The only day I worked out was Tuesday, on which I had a decent speed workout. I blew off 2 cross-trains and an LT run because my schedule was insane, I was sleep deprived, and there were assorted weddings / shows / Jewish holidays to deal with.

That all helped contribute to today's spectacular failure, but the main cause is plain old stupidity. I've been eating garbage and boozing too much, and my body is finally letting me know that it's not going to get any faster until I change that.

My run today was supposed to be 18 miles at an 8:45 pace, without dehydration and severe calf cramps. I actually ran the opposite of that. I managed about 11 miles, actually at a decent pace, but with TONS of walking, very bad dehydration, and then to top it all off, excruciating calf cramps. I could barely walk by the end of the run, and then I had to stretch for a long time just to get my left leg to feel half-normal again. It was a mess.

I realized that I've started to take the training for granted, and just assumed that doing the workouts was enough. It's an easy trap to fall into, especially when you train so intensely for so long.

I'm starting fresh this week... it's like a new program. I'm not going to eat garbage, I'm cutting WAAAAY back on the booze, and I'm going to do this right. The marathon is not that far off, and if I sabotage my time by eating a few too many burritos, I will feel so stupid.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Quick Update...

Life has conspired against me, making me so friggin' busy that I couldn't do my LT run yesterday. I HATE missing runs, so I'm grumpy. I have 18 miles on Sunday that will feel my wrath.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Log #40: Why Do I Run Marathons?

As I was huffing and puffing my way around the track this morning, I ran past a guy wearing a shirt that said, "Never again... until the next one." It reminded me of something I told my girlfriend a few days after running the Boston Marathon back in April.

"I'm done with the marathon thing."

I lasted about 1 week before I started to get the itch again. Without a the threat of 26.2 miles hanging over my head like a piano, I can't maintain any sort of workout routine.

Allow me to get a little bit philosophical here.

Why in the world is it enjoyable to run a distance that literally causes your legs to begin self-destructing? Why, after being very sore for days after a race, would I decide to do it again?

The best way I can think to explain it is this: I wake up 5 days a week and go to work. My work involves sitting in front of a computer for 9 hours. It doesn't really matter what I'm DOING at the computer, but my job is the same as millions of other people in this country. We sit at a desk and use a computer for half of our waking hours. The human body isn't supposed to sit still like this. Look at the obesity rate in the U.S. It's ridiculous. Although I really do enjoy my job, the fact of the matter is that I spend at least 50 hours a week sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen.

When I first got into the workforce, I quit exercising. It wasn't an all-of-the-sudden thing, I just gradually stopped doing it because I was working all day and hanging out with my buddies at night. It wasn't until I gained about 30 pounds that I realized I felt like shit, I looked like shit, I had trouble sleeping, my back began having awful problems, and I was tired all the time.

I had several bouts of "I'm gonna get back in shape!!!" that would last from a few days to a couple of weeks, but never longer than that. The problem, I found, is that I am very good at rationalizing the decision to skip a workout, or eat a big junky meal, or sleep a little later. Without someone putting a gun to my head, I wasn't going to kick my ass the way it needed to be kicked. So, I signed up for a marathon.

All of the sudden, there was an anvil hanging precariously over my head. One way or another, I would have to propel myself 26.2 miles, and if I didn't train I would be in huge trouble. With the race looming, I had all kinds of motivation to train. In the first 3 months I dropped about 15 pounds, and I haven't looked back since.

So for me, the marathon is a reason to get up in the morning. It's something that makes damn sure I will be keeping in shape, because if I don't, the marathon will devastate me. It also has the added bonus of being a very cool notch on your belt, and a self-esteem boost like nothing else.

With all that said, my day off of training yesterday completely rejuvenated me. I got up, went out into the cold, ran to the track, and did this:

1600m @ 6:41
1600m @ 6:34
1600m @ 6:24

I feel like a champ. Sunday's 18 mile run will be my bitch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I think I'm deeming this week a recovery week. I've been really kicking my ass the past few months and I need to let my body recover. I'm toning it down a bit. I slept in this morning, and might just skip the cross-train today. Tomorrow I'll do the speed workout and see how that goes. I need to get back to 100% after that brutal 20 miler.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Log #39: The Running Gods Hate Me

Ya know, I should have seen this coming. I've had some incredible runs lately, and reading through my past logs I can tell that I became cocky. I began to disobey the cardinal rule of marathon running: Respect the Distance. I decided to try and up my pace, I quit worrying so much about my diet, I would do cross-training exercises that technically I wasn't supposed to.

I got greedy.

Yesterday, the Running Gods put me in my place. Basically, I got my ass handed to me like a red-headed step child.

I woke up, got prepared for the task at hand, and then took pause. Did the watermelon sherbet I had last night contain any dairy in it? I went and checked the freezer.

Oh shit.

I figured that it might turn out to be a problem, but since I was friggin' Superman it wouldn't matter. I was going to kill this run. Since my girlfriend had an audition in the afternoon, she couldn't make the run with me so I carried my own water in my trusty belt pack. It didn't even occur to me that the extra weight could affect my times.

So what did I do next? Well, I just went ahead and started out my first mile at 8:12

The 3:30 marathon pace plan called for 9:00 miles, the 3:20 plan called for 8:40's. Keep this in mind.

My next 9 miles or so were at 8:00 or under... I was FLYING. I felt awesome, the tunes were rocking in my iPod, and everything was peachy.

And then.... mile 12. The first rumblings of sherbet in my stomach. I ignored the rumblings, and they stopped after a bit. My legs began to feel a little lacticish... if I may coin a term. They burned in my calves and hamstrings, and started to feel heavy.

By mile 14 I realized what was happening, but it was too late. I had gone out WAAAAY too fast in the beginning, and now I was going to pay for it. By the grace of God I was right next to a port-a-john when I felt the sherbet make a very convincing argument that I should not have eaten it the night before. Let me tell you... legs cramped, smelly port-a-john, sweating all over... ugh... so unpleasant.

The last 6 miles were a combination of pain, agony, and chafing. I cursed myself for being so dumb in the first part of the run. I made such a rookie mistake starting out too fast, and now I was 6 miles from home and miserable. The only thing that got me through it was the knowledge that the next time I did 20 miles I would be better prepared and know not to be cocky and think I can just DECIDE that I'm in good enough shape to run a minute per mile faster than my program says I should go.

Mile 20 was the longest mile. I ran it in 8:40, but it felt like it lasted about 20 minutes. The lactic acid in my legs made me feel like the lower-half of my body was about to explode, and my adrenaline had run out long ago. When I finished, I swore I'd learn my damn lesson and run smarter from now on.

This morning, I feel about as crappy as I thought I would. My legs are a mess, I feel tired and beat, and I know that tomorrow I will be cross-training, not doing a speed workout. Well, live and learn. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Respect the goddamn distance!!!

My little bro had issues as well this weekend, so go check out his blog. It's called "Run Fasterest," and it's linked over on the sidebar.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Log #38: Crazy? I was Crazy Once.

Either I'm in really good shape, or I'm a lunatic... I'm really not sure which. I'm probably just dumb.

This week has been insane in terms of juggling work, concerts, Jewish holidays, and high school buddies. I was too tired to get up and cross-train yesterday, so I decided to do it after work. Of course, I had to work late, and I had plans that required me to be done working out at a certain time, so I only had 45 minutes to get to the gym, workout, stretch, and leave.

I FLEW to the gym as soon as I was done at work, and then hopped on a bike and started going. I decided to just go as fast as I could for as long as I could. As it turns out, I could go about 110 rpm for 40 minutes, with bursts of up to 130 rpm. Since I'm not a biker, I'm not sure if that's good or not, but it's way faster than I've gone on previous bike workouts and I felt amazing. I chalked it up to adrenaline.

Last night my buddy who I went to London with was in town. The thing about him is that he likes bourbon... nay... loves bourbon. I was hoping to keep the bourboning to a minimum last night, but my friend also has trouble with moderation. I managed to stay below the threshold of "drunk," but I definitely had a couple of glasses and stayed out until almost midnight. It was a fantastic, Guitar Hero filled time, but I knew it would throw off my run for this morning.

When I got home, I was reading through the Run Faster, Run Less book when I turned to the training program for a 3:20 marathon. If you've been following my exploits, you know that I have a tendency to run my speed workouts and long runs way too fast. It's hard for me to go as slow as the program tells me to. I noticed that my times are pretty close to the requirements to run a goddamn 3:20 marathon.

So I decided to try the LT run for that time today.

1 mile @ 8:12
4 miles @ 7:14
1 mile @ 8:12

I didn't even feel that gross when it was done. I only got 6 hours of sleep, drank bourbon last night, and have had the week from hell. Yet, I ran 4 miles at a pace that only a month and a half ago made me choke after 2 miles.

So, either I'm an idiot for pushing myself this hard, I'm crazy for thinking I can just decide to run a marathon in 3:20, or I'm in better shape than I thought. Strange, eh? I think I'll proceed with caution. Sunday is a 20 mile run at either 9:00 min/mile (3:30 training pace) or 8:40 (3:20 training pace.) Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Log #37: So my body is saying, "I HATE YOU!!!"

Here is how I would sum up the way I feel right now: Ugh.

My glorious 17 mile run had the unfortunate side-effect of making my legs very angry for the next 2 days. Yesterday was the day I normally would have done my speed workout, but my legs were still sore and I didn't feel like overdoing it, so I went and cross-trained instead. I did 45 minutes on the elliptical machine, but I did it so hard that by the time I was done I was drenched in sweat, and had apparently burned 800 calories.

Then, last night, I went to a rock show. Before the rock show, I had a couple of vodka & cokes, and then a vodka tonic at the show. I was having a good time, the band was awesome, etc... When I got home around 11:00, I realized I was probably going to regret those drinks the following day.

Which brings me to this morning. Groggy, dehydrated, and surly, I woke up at 6:00am for the goddamn *#$*#! speed workout. The goal was this:

10-20 minute warmup
5 x 1000m @ 4:03
10 minute cooldown

1000m at a 4:03 pace works out to around a 6:40 mile, so the pace isn't anything I'm not used to. The problem was simply the state my body was in: Pissed.

I ran the first 1000m in 3:53. I thought, "Great! Maybe this won't be so bad."

The next one was 3:54... my stomach was gurgling by the end.

Then another 3:54. This time, my head started hurting on the last 400m. If my stomach could talk, it would have said, "I dare you to try that again."

Next, a 3:58. I was gasping for air by the end, and my legs felt very stiff, as though they had forgotten how to run. I was drinking some water and stretching when my stomach decided it was time for a nice stomach cramp. I nervously eyed the Port-a-john close by, but eventually the feeling passed. I was about to call it a day when I saw an older guy and his dog doing 5:30 miles around the track.

My last 1000m took 3:57, and I have never been so glad to be finished with a workout. It was torture. Towards the end of the last split, I felt like I was punishing myself for the drinks I had. I feel pretty gross right now, but I know I'd feel worse if I hadn't completed the workout.

So there it is. Another "successful" speed workout, and a pretty intense LT run on Friday to look forward to.

Oh yeah... and I'm running 20 miles on Sunday.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Log #36: Hmmm... that's odd.

I'm not sure, but I think that if I'd woken up Sunday morning and run a full marathon, I would have set a PR. What's strange about this is not that I still have 12 weeks of training left, but the fact that I only got 5 1/2 hours of sleep and went out on a "booze cruise" Friday night.

My band had a show Saturday night, and it went late. I didn't get home until about 1:45, didn't sleep until 2:00, and then got up at 7:30 to run a ridiculous amount of miles. I looked outside and saw grey clouds threatening to make my run even more uncomfortable. After stretching, changing, and Red-Bull-ing myself, my girlfriend and I headed out for 17 shitty miles... so I thought.

The goal pace was a 9:00 mile for 17 miles. I have a huge problem running that slow, so I knew I'd probably be closer to 8:45. I also assumed that I'd burn out for the last 3-4 miles, as I was REALLY tired. I started the run pretty slowly, very close to a 9:00 pace. The second mile was 8:40, and I just kept feeling better and better. The 5th mile was a 7:40... oops! I slowed down, and ran the next 5 miles very close to my marathon pace, 8:00 per mile. The last 5 miles or so were run at about an 8:30 pace, with a 7:40 for mile 17. I decided to push myself on the last one to see how hard I could go with not much gas in the tank.

When I got home, I checked my GPS. My average pace was 8:20. What!?!? The stranger part was how great I felt. My legs were stiff, but I didn't feel gross or even especially tired anymore. I realized that my conditioning has been working so well that 17 miles don't really feel so hard anymore. The physical act of running the miles is no longer daunting. That doesn't mean that it isn't still difficult... the mental strain of keeping your body moving for that long is still tough on you... but I am definitely feeling a lot stronger on those last few miles than I've ever felt.

I also think that I'm improving my running economy immensely. Running economy essentially refers to the amount of running a person can do with a certain amount of oxygen. If you improve your running economy, you can run faster and farther using the same amount of energy. Getting in better shape helps, but improving your technique helps alot too, and I think that's what I'm doing. I've noticed that when I want to run faster, I can either speed up my turnover rate (the number of steps I take each second) or I can extend my stride so I cover more ground with each step. I used to think that keeping my turnover rate constant and just increasing my stride length would be easier, but this is definitely not the case for me. By keeping my stride length pretty consistent and just taking more steps, I can go much faster without using too much more energy.

Anyway, to continue the saga from my last post, I took the advice of a few of you and tried to find this guy's time online. I found out his last name and searched, and absolutely no results came up. My girlfriend laughed at me for going to so much trouble to see if this guy is lying or not. I still think he's full of shit.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Log #35: Note to Self...

Note to self: Don't eat Macaroni and Cheese the night before an LT run. You'd think that after doing this for so long, I'd know better.

I have noticed that it's been getting much easier for me to wake up at 6:00am each morning. I've been doing it for months, so I think my body is finally on board with the idea. I get really tired by 10:30, and I'm usually in bed by 11:00 or so, and then I feel half-decent once I'm up.

I decided to do my run today on the treadmill to make it easy to hit my target pace. I've been running too fast lately, and I really wanted to have a consistent pace on this run. The target was this:

1 mile @ 8:30
5 miles @ 7:44
1 mile @ 8:30

This is what actually happened:

1 mile @ 8:30
3 miles @ 7:40
1.2 miles @ 7:30 (I felt good so I picked up the pace)
Tummy Ache, Pausing of Treadmill, Sweaty Bathroom Time
1 mile @ 8:30

So, unfortunately, I was .8 miles short of my LT goal. I felt awesome, and could have finished the workout no problem if it weren't for that damned delicious Kraft Mac 'n Cheese I ate last night. Sonofabitch.

On a side note, something odd happened last night, and I'd love some opinions.

My girlfriend and I met some of her friends at this bar across the street from us. One of her friends had brought her boyfriend. He was about my height (5'6") and looked to be a little pudgy, with a round face and no definition to speak of. He probably weighed a little less than me, but I have a stocky build and most of my weight is muscle (I think, hehe..)

Anyway, this guy mentioned that he was running the Disney World Marathon in January. When two marathon runners meet for the first time, it's obligatory to exchange stories, the number of marathons run, your PR, etc... We chatted about which races we'd done and all that, and then he asked me for my PR. I told him it was 3:57 at last year's Vegas, and I was training my ass off to run a 3:30 this year. His face said, "Meeehh.... not impressed." So I asked him what his PR was.


Now, I have met many marathon runners in my life. My good friend Chris ran a 2:50 marathon after training his ass off, and he is one of those genetically gifted people. He's also about 3 inches taller than me and 20 pounds lighter, and ran cross country in high school.

I was immediately suspicious of this guy, because he absolutely did NOT look like a 2:36 runner. A time like that would WIN many marathons. It's a 6:00 mile for 26.2 miles, and requires something a lot of people don't have (I include myself in this category). After we left the bar, I told my girlfriend I thought this dude was full of shit, but it's been bugging me. He was built like Samwise Gangi from the Lord of the Rings movies.

Anyway, what do you guys think? Shouldn't a guy who can run a 2:36 marathon LOOK like he can?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Log #34: Speedy McPoop-Pants... almost.

Here's a math formula for you: Indian Food + 6 hour flight + 5 glasses of wine + Speed Workout = Ninja Turtle.

Actually, today's Ninja Turtle wasn't so bad. I was pretty tired considering I'd just gotten back in town, but I managed to make it down to the track for my speed workout. Today's workout was supposed to look like this:

10-20 minute warmup
1200m @ 4:55
1000m @ 4:03
800m @ 3:13
600m @ 2:24
400m @ 1:35
10 minute cool down

I jogged down to the track, so there's my 10 minute warmup. I then cranked up the devil music on my iPod and started hoofing. I did the first 1200m in 4:45. Not bad.

The next 1000m was a little tougher, but I still hit 3:54 for my time. On the 800m run, I got about 2/3 of the way through when that old familiar feeling hit my stomach. It was my intestines, screaming "STOP, OR WE'LL START MAKING THE WALK HOME VERY AWKWARD!!!:

I stopped for a minute, and the feeling passed. It's funny, but at moments like that I am very grateful for having some experience with marathon training. Like my brother, I am generally very stubborn and don't like quitting in the middle of something, but had I pushed my self I very likely would have had to find a bathroom to go be miserable in for a half-hour.

I walked back about 100m, and restarted the run, finishing the 800m in 3:10. I then did the 600m in 2:15, and then absolutely decided to see how fast I could run the 400m. I pretty much ran all out for one lap, getting REALLY tired towards the end. My 400m time was 1:20, the equivalent of a 5:20 mile pace. There is absolutely NO possibility of me running a 5:20 mile in the near future, but at least I know my legs are capable of going that fast.

So, all in all, a great workout. I am feeling really light on my feet, and my turnover rate has improved so much through these speed workouts. I'm also finding that I seem to have a better sense of how hard I can push my body. In the middle of the 1000m run today, I felt like I was going about 5 seconds per lap too fast, so I just made a little mental adjustment and my legs followed... I slowed down ever so slightly, but my perceived effort was decreased by quite a bit.

Training is going amazingly well so far, but I have 2 BRUTAL runs ahead of me this week. On Thursday, a 7 mile LT run with 5 miles at a 7:44 pace... I'm treadmilling that one... and a 17 mile long run. Good lord.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Log #33: Bloody Amazing Run!!!

The title of this post does not refer to any blood that managed to come out during my run, but is in a fact an homage to London, where I did my 15 miler. I actually ran it yesterday, as today's schedule was pretty crazy and I didn't want to try to just "squeeze in" an enormous run like that.

I woke up at 5:00 am, drank my Red Bull from the minibar, got dressed and hit the hotel lobby. I got directions to the Thames River, only about .75 miles away. At first my GPS couldn't lock on to a signal since I was around a bunch of buildings, so I jogged a little bit and it finally started working. Here were some highlights of this ridiculous run.

1. Running along the Thames River
2. Seeing the sun rise over London
3. Running around the Tower of London
4. Crossing London Bridge
5. Running past the Parliament and Westminster Abbey
6. Absolutely perfect weather

My pace was supposed to be 8:45, but I felt so amazingly good that I ran an 8:30 pace. Booyeah.

The weather was perfect, the scenery was amazing, and I was feeling very motivated. I've been eating better this week, and getting sleep, which has definitely helped my performance. I'm down in the 160's weight-wise (2 years ago I was 194 pounds) and I'm hoping to drop another 5-6 pounds by December 2. My confidence is through the roof as far as running goes.

Today I walked about 6 miles from Arsenal Stadium back to the hotel, so I think that makes up for my missed cross-training on Wednesday. Friday my buddy who I am here with made me do some ridiculous weight-lifting workout that nearly destroyed me. I'm glad I have a friend who is also obsessed with working out, it makes the trip a healthier one.

I fly back to Boston tomorrow, and begin week 3 of training. I'm feeling great so far!!!