Monday, October 29, 2007

Log #53: Forgetting to knock on wood...

Those damn running gods... They toy with me.

I decided to run my 20 miler on Saturday since Sunday was my girlfriend's birthday and I didn't want to inconvenience her on that day. I had a horrible week of sleeping, so I was expecting this run to be tough, but I was definitely overly optimistic

It was drizzling and cold when we left my house. By the time we finished, it was about 20 degrees warmer and drying off. I was completely drenched in sweat and dehydrated.

The goal was 20 miles at an 8:30 pace. Since my last 20 miler that I completed was done at that pace, I was confident it wouldn't be an issue. For the first 13 miles I was averaging an 8:15 pace. I felt light on my feet, I was happy, and life was good. I believe that I even said something to the effect of, "Wow, I feel great, this is easy."

So... stupid.

About a mile later I began to feel the effects of dehydration and sleep deprivation. I just ran out of gas, plain and simple. My legs filled up with concrete and felt like dumbbells, and my lungs just couldn't get enough air. We walked a LOT those last few miles, and I complained endlesssly. It was pathetic. When we got back to my house we has run 19.07 miles, and I called it at that. I turn my GPS off when I walk, so I actually did go the distance, but I walked a decent part of it, which makes me feel weak and silly.

Still, I feel like I got a good run in, and my legs are sore today as a reminder. The marathon is one month away, and I still feel pretty good about my chances of running a decent time. I have one more 20 miler in 2 weeks to redeem myself, so I'll be preparing until then. I'm ridiculously skinny now, and just had to buy new jeans since my old ones are about 4 sizes too big. I don't think I'll hit the 160 mark for Vegas, but I might be damn close.

My little brother is back on the horse, and ran 13 miles yesterday. I'm sure he'll have some choice words to say about it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Log #52: Kickin' Ass

First of all, I wish had more time lately to update the blog, but I don't think I've ever been this swamped with work. I've done more jobs lately than I have ever done in my career. I suppose it's a good thing in the long run, but free time is in very short supply.

Tuesday morning was a track workout. The program called for:

10 minute warmup
1000m @ 4:03
2000m @ 8:26
1000m @ 4:03
1000m @ 4:03
10 minute cooldown

Not much to report, felt pretty good the whole time, crushed the times by 5-10 seconds every split, and just felt peachy.

Yesterday was an LT run. I was dreading it.

1 mile @ 8:30
5 miles @ 7:29

I got up at 6:00am, bundled up because it was 40 degrees out, and went out to suffer. What happened next shocked me.

1 mile @ 8:22
1 mile @ 7:22
1 mile @ 7:29
1 mile @ 7:33
1 mile @ 7:20
1 mile @ 7:11

Another victory. Looking back at my earlier posts, I am quite sure that this run would have killed me a few months ago, but now I can complete it and feel pretty great afterwards. Every time I have a run like this it makes me feel pretty confident that my marathon time will be a PR... hopefully a huge PR. Tomorrow morning is a 20 miler... it will suck... but maybe it won't.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Log #51: Life slows down a little...

Last week was insane. It was balls-to-the-wall for the entire week, and I couldn't find time to get even 5 hours of sleep a night. So, understandably, my running suffered.

Thursday morning I woke up to do the longest mid-week run I've ever done... 11 miles. The program called for this:

1 mile @ 8:30
10 miles @ 8:00

10 miles at my marathon pace shouldn't kill me at this point, but that's exactly what happened. I believe the the problem was not so much my fitness level, but the horrendous conditions I decided to run in.

I slept about 5 hours, got up at 5 am, stretched for MAAAYBE 5 minutes, drank a red bull, and went out the door to run in absolute pitch black. It was pretty cold, probably in the 40's, and there was a very thick fog covering the entire city. Needless to say, my spirits did not soar on this run. I managed to keep the pace for about 7 miles, and then I had to start taking walk breaks. I was just spent, I had no energy, my legs were heavy, and I felt like just lying down and taking a nap.

Whatever, I did 11 miles... that's good enough right?

Then, Saturday, I'm up in New Hampshire with the lady for a little vacation away from the madness of Boston. We decide to do the 15 mile long run Saturday morning so we don't have to worry about what we do that night. 15 miles shouldn't be that bad... 15 miles in the friggin' mountains is ridiculous.

The hills in the area we ran were very sneaky... they were gentle enough that you almost didn't notice them... until about 10 miles into the run. My legs felt like they had been skewered, and they weighed approximately 100 pounds each. By the time we made it back to the hotel I wanted to burn my running shoes. My body was racked with soreness.

So... a rough week, but probably one that needed to happen so that the next few weeks will be easier. I'm ramping up for a 20 miler this weekend, and there are only 40 days until the marathon. I'm still pumped!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Log #50: Rock Bottom

Sunday was the worst day of the year in terms of running and life. I suppose it can only get better from here.

I woke up early with my girlfriend to do 20 miler #3. I was pumped up, I felt great. My girlfriend went outside to get something from her car. When she came back up, she said:

"Joey, we need to call the police. Your car was broken into."


We go down to check it out. My driver's side window is destroyed, glass is everywhere. My glove box, which was locked, has been ripped off of the dashboard and is hanging down on the floor of the car. My $500 GPS is gone. Nothing else was taken.

This immediately puts a huge gray cloud over the day. After calling the cops and dealing with that nonsense, we finally headed out for the run. I figured that a nice 20 miler would make me feel better about my car. I was SOOO pissed.

We ran a mile down to the river, and crossed over to the other side, at which point our progress was halted. Apparently, Sunday was the day of the Walk for Breast Cancer. There were probably 25,000 people walking around the river in a 5 mile loop. The path was so clogged that I couldn't even dodge in and out of people, and my girlfriend was on roller blades so she had nowhere else to go. We tried to get through the crowd, but it was useless, and we felt defeated. We ran home and decided to try again in a few hours.

Total Distance: 4 miles.

Around 3:00pm, after wrapping my driver's side door in saran wrap to protect my car in case of rain, we headed out for a second attempt. By now, my legs were cold and stiff, I was in a dark mood, and I really didn't feel like running. About a half-mile into the run, I crossed the street and a biker went by me. Apparently I had run out in front of her a little too close for her liking (I gave her about 20 feet.) She yelled out something like, "Why don't you just run out in front of me and get hit?!?"

Well, after the events of the day, I had lost my capacity to let stuff slide, so I immediately turned and screamed at her to "Shut the F--- up!!!"

She came back around and I screamed at her for a minute or two while she made stupid remarks and tried to be tough. I kept telling her she was being ridiculous and she was, clearly, not a very nice person. My girlfriend finally convinced me that this jerk wasn't worth my trouble so I turned around and jogged off. I haven't lost my shit on someone in years, so that should give everyone an idea of how awful my mood was Sunday.

After about 5 miles, my stomach went south, and 1 mile later our run was finished.

Total miles: 10 miles.

I am sooooo glad that shitty day is in the past now.

Fast forward to this morning. It's 45 degrees out, I am still bitter about the weekend. My training plan calls for the following:

10 minute warmup
3 x (2 x 1200m @ 4:55 with 2:00RI)
4:00RI in between sets
10 minute cooldown

So that works out to about 4.5 miles of hard running, my longest speed workout to date. Here's what I banged out:


So, I still got it. I feel better, and I'm still really pumped for the marathon. My fitness is clearly at an all time high, and even though I blew a 20 miler, I don't think it will hurt me too badly.

This Thursday is the worst goddamn LT run yet. Here it is:

1 mile warmup (8:30)
10 miles @ 8:00

So... 11 miles in the morning. CRAAAAP! I'm gonna need to wake up at 5:00 to do it. Kill me now.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Log #49: If At First You Don't Succeed...

Another ridiculously busy week has left me exhausted and sleep deprived. Yesterday I woke up at 6 am to try and do my LT run. I decided to do it on a treadmill so I could just zone out and run. The plan was as follows:

1 mile @ 8:30
4 miles @ 7:30
1 mile @ 8:30

I ran the first mile, and despite being REALLY tired, I felt pretty good. Then, true to form, I set the treadmill WAAAAY too fast. 7:15 pace.

I ran one mile. I then set the treadmill to 7:12 pace.

Another mile. I'm gonna die... I walk for 2 minutes.

I run another mile, and then just stop. My stomach is pissed off, and my lungs are exploding. Apparently no sleep plus running too fast equals shitty performance.

So I ended up with 4 miles run. That sucks. I HATE screwing up workouts. So... what did I do?

I went back to the gym after work and did the workout all over again. I'm not sure I should have... in fact I am pretty sure I shouldn't have, but I felt like punishing myself. This time I was successful:

1 mile @ 8:00
1 mile @ 7:30
1 mile @ 7:25
2 miles @ 7:20
1 mile @ 8:00

So I ran 10 miles yesterday, and tomorrow I'm going for 20 miles at an 8:30 pace. We'll see if I've overdone it.

Two random notes: My brother has been dealing with a lot of stuff lately, and the running has suffered. If he can finish out the last bit of training, and get at least one 20 mile run in, I think he could still finish the race.

Also, I'd like to update you guys on the 2:36 runner dude. I had drinks with him and his girlfriend the other night, and I talked to him for a while about running. He did seem to know stuff about running, local running clubs, and certain types of running workouts that a non-serious runner wouldn't know. I'm beginning to think he may have actually run the 2:36. I'm going to try and run with him soon, and if he is really that fast then I'll get my ass handed to me.

So tomorrow is 20 miler #3. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Log #48: Another PR...

Looking back at where I started, it's pretty ridiculous to think about how much faster I've gotten. I've been doing runs lately that, six months ago, would have just leveled me.

I woke up this morning and opened up my training book to take a gander at what lovely speed workout I had in store:

1600m @ 6:41

Bah! Old hat... no biggie. What else?

3200m @ 13:42

What!? That's hogwash!!! I've never run 2 miles on a track at that speed... the best I've done is on a treadmill, which is not even close to the same thing. Oh well, I can probably do that and then limp home.... WAIT A SEC!!!

2 x 800m @ 3:13

Sooo.... 4 miles at a very, very fast pace. Fantastic. I thought I might die. I jogged to the track with my buddy Eric who happened to be in town for a few days. The mile jog to the track was his workout.

The first 1600m was... quite honestly... a joke. I ran a 6:27 and felt perfectly fine. It just felt natural and smooth to run at that pace. I began to get nervous about the 3200m I was about to try. Off I go!

The first 1600m were run in 6:40... actually a little fast for this distance, and I started to feel the effects of the speed. The next two laps went by, as laps do, and then came lap 7. This lap felt strange, almost like my muscles were on a delay. When I'd ask my leg to lift up, it would take a second to comply. I made it to the last lap,and then adrenaline kicked in and I tore through lap 8. My final time:

13:20. Booyeah. Back to back 6:40's. New PR for me.

The last 2 x 800m times were 3:07 and 3:11. I was pretty beat by the end.

I would love to try a 5K to see how my speed would hold up in a race. A 20 minute 5K would require a 6:26 pace for 3.1 miles... It's definitely fast for me, but I feel like the adrenaline I'd have in a race would make it a possibility for me.

Anyway, the marathon is only 8 weeks away, and I'm REALLY pumped to see if all this training will earn me a 3:30 time. I feel like it's almost inevitable that I PR in this race (my PR is 3:57.)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Log #47: Hahahah!!! I'm an idiot... (recurring theme)

I'm a buffoon. A fool, an imbecile.

A dolt.

The only reason I'm even writing this in the blog is because I feel like I should commit to 100% disclosure on everything marathon related, so... here it is:

I made a mistake when I calculated the start date of my training program... I started one week late.

Now, in reality, this makes almost no difference at this point. I've been running very consistently for some time now, so being behind in my training by 1 week won't hurt me. I just finished up the training for week 10 (the book counts backwards, so week 10 = 10 weeks until the marathon.) Ironically, the little marathon countdown widget I put on the page is what alerted me to my error. Right now it says 55 days... that works out to 8 weeks... yet I'm on week 9 of the program.


So next week, instead of running an 18 mile long run, I go right into a 20 mile long run... 20 miler 3 of 5 to be exact.

I'm not worried about it, I just feel retarded.

So, Friday I was supposed to do a BRUTAL LT run. 8 miles... 1 mile warmup at about 8:30, and then 6 miles at 7:44, then 1 more at 8:30. Here's what happened:

8:16 (too fast)
7:28 (too fast)
7:26 (too fast)
7:30 (too fast)
7:35 (too fast)
7:54 (dying...)
7:58 (a quivering mess)
9:06 (HA!!!)

Just awful... truly a piss-poor performance. I had to walk in between miles 5 and 6, and then between 6 and 7. Mile 8 was half walk, half shuffle. It's funny how I've learned to look at a workout in which I ran too fast as a bad workout. Running smoothly and consistently is SOOOOO much more important. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but the urge to go fast is hard to kick.

Today was a 13 mile long run. It's hysterical to me that 13 miles seems like a joke to me now. I used to be intimidated by anything over 10 miles... now I think 15 is the cutoff. 13 is just an easy jog.

I was supposed to run the 13 miles at an 8:15 pace. I thought that the pace would feel pretty damn fast after last week's 20 miler at 8:30. I also haven't slept as much as I should have this week, and I had a wedding Friday night at which I got properly soused.

I wake up... it's gray and cloudy and 50 degrees outside. I suit up and get out there. It's goddamn cold. I start going. My legs feel stiff. The first mile feels slow. I look down at my GPS.


WHAT!? I tell my girlfriend that we just started out 25 seconds too fast. We gotta slow down. 1 mile later:


Apparently, like a freight train, I need some distance to slow myself down completely. Mile 3:


I felt like I was crawling at this point. My legs were stiff, but apparently I was cruising at a pretty decent clip. The next few miles went like this:

Mile 4 - 8:04
Mile 5 - 8:11
Mile 6 - 8:18
Mile 7 - 8:17
Mile 8 - 8:01
Mile 9 - 8:06
Mile 10 - 8:03

At this point, I figured that since I'd already destroyed my goal of an 8:15 pace, and I felt really strong, I should just go for a nasty time. (Nasty = Really Good)

I do this thing when I want to get a little boost of energy, where I imagine that I'm running the Vegas Marathon, I get to mile 23, and I realized that I'm a minute behind my goal pace, so I need to run the last 3 miles pretty quick. I know it's silly, but I've yet to find anything that works better. So I just make believe and have a pretend race... fun!

The last 3 miles were: 7:54, 7:53, 7:15

I felt GREAT at the end too... I could have kept going easily. It was a very nice change to finish a long run and not feel like curling up in a ball and going to sleep.

I am so pumped to run this damn marathon. Only 8 more weeks... just enough time to lose another few pounds, get a few more great runs in, and psyche myself up to beat my PR by 30 minutes... no big deal.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Log #46: Busy busy busy...

Life is crazy at the moment, so this will be a short one.

Yesterday was speed day. I ran 6 x 800m. My goal was 3:14. Here were my times:


It was muggy as hell, and I was DYING on that last 800m, but I did it. This morning was a nice bike workout, and all is good. I'm losing weight very quickly now that I've been eating a healthier diet. My size 32 jeans, which have been pretty tight around the waist in the past, are now falling off of me. If I can keep up the healthiness until Dec. 2, I think I have a decent shot at being close to my 160 pound race-day goal. Weighing so little will be a huge advantage.

Tomorrow is LT day... ugh. Shoot me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Log #45: Random Musings, Take 2.

This morning I biked very hard for 50 minutes. Big whoop.

What I'd like to ramble about today is more nutrition stuff. This morning, I happened to walk past the cafeteria in the building I'm working at, and I smelled french fries. The physical reaction I experienced was absurd... I immediately NEEDED french fries and started drooling. The smell was intoxicating, and I could literally taste the damn fries.

Of course I didn't go buy french fries, and as soon as I was out of "nose-shot" of the smell, my urges went away completely and instantly. This is something that I've really been more aware of lately. Food urges are so powerful, but as soon as you remove the temptation, the urge just vanishes. What's even stranger, is that although I had a very real physical desire to eat french fries, as soon as the urge passes, I had no remorse for not eating them.

Another thing I'm doing right now is bringing my lunch to work every day. Normally, a menu gets passed around and we all order and buy whatever we want. Panera is a mainstay on the lunch schedule, and I LOVE Panera. I used to get the "healthy" stuff from Panera, like a turkey sandwich on wheat bread. The problem with even "healthy" foods from restaurants is that the portions are just gigantic. That turkey sandwich from Panera probably had 1000 calories. It also came with potato chips. So right there is a 1300 calorie lunch. What if I went ahead and got the grilled panini with spicy mustard sauce and provalone cheese? We're talking more than half of my daily calories in one lunch. No wonder I would go into a food coma every day around 2:30. The scary thing is that Panera was one of the healthier choices. Sometimes we'd get Pizzeria Uno's. I'd usually order this pasta with alfredo sauce dish that came with a huge cheesy breadstick... I can't even fathom the calories.

My lunch today was a yogurt, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a granola bar, and a plum, probably 800 calories or so in total, and much healthier than a 2-pound sandwich. The rest of the office ordered from the Ground Round... do I miss not having junk for lunch?

Actually... not even a little. It's that strange phenomenon I was talking about. At the exact second that I see or smell something yummy, I want it. If I don't eat it and just walk away, my body immediately forgets that it was even an option. I don't ever eat something healthy and then think, "Wow... I really wish I went with something tastier and junkier." I just don't... and I am FAR from a health food nut. I enjoy the occasional food orgy and beer marathon just as much as any other red blooded male. The difference is that I think I've realized that the choice to eat healthy can have absolutely NO bad consequences... not even a little remorse. When I go out to a bar and don't drink, and the next day all my friends talk about how hung over they are and how much fun that was... I NEVER feel bad that I didn't drink.

My whole point to this ramble is that those cravings you get when something tasty is around are fleeting at best... if you don't eat a donut from the box that someone brought in to work, you will NEVER look back and wish you'd eaten it. I promise.

Tomorrow is a ridiculous speed workout. In the book it's written like this:

2 x (6 x 400m @ 1:35, 1:00 RI) 2:30 RI

This translates to:

Run 400m in 1:35, rest for 1:00, then do it again.
Do this six times in a row.
Now rest for 2:30.
Now do that same nonsense again.

It should be an interesting morning. It's getting coooooold up here in the mornings... today I saw my breath when I walked out to my car at 6:30. Yikes!