Tuesday, January 31, 2006

But will we pay for it in March?

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, comfortable pace

Heard yesterday that we have had the warmest January since 1880 here in central Indiana. Not that I remember quite that far back (though my kids think I could), but it has sure been nice. 13 days in the month had a high temperature over 50.

My "Joe Index" simply reminded me that I've run in shorts for all my long weekend runs this month and a few of my early morning runs during the week. Last winter, it was March before I got rid of the tights. What a treat.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Fascinating Surprise, A Goal Achieved

ORN: 13.3 miles, 2:00:19, 9:03/mile

First off, many good wishes to
David of Adventures in the Thin Trade as he runs the ING Miami Marathon tomorrow…I look forward to the report!

My run today was one of the most fascinating I’ve had in a long time. I hope I can capture it here.

The schedule called for 13 miles. The weather was amazing, as it was 51 and warming at 11am. I popped on my
favorite Long Sleeve T-Shirt and headed out the door. I intended to run at or a little quicker than my planned 9:50 pace I’m shooting for in the marathon.

And during the first two miles, I was astounded at how difficult it was to not run around 9:00. So, feeling good, I decided to see just how long I could keep the pace.

The pace stayed. Check these splits:

9 08
9 00
9 16
9 16
9 00
8 55
8 54
9 09
9 06
9 02
9 01
9 08
8 45

Which is only significant in light of my
2006 Goals: run a full marathon and do a half marathon under 2 hours.

The second goal has been a bigger concern to me than the first. A 2 hour half requires 9:09 miles. So, as I saw mile after mile at or below that level tick off, I got more and more fascinated to see just how long I could carry the pace. Could I do a half, by myself, under two??

It happened. I think. I say “I think” because I’m not certain my
Garmin Forerunner 201 is perfectly accurate. In earlier half marathons measure to TAC standards, my Garmin has called the distance 13.3 miles, not 13.1. Anyway, my time at 13.1 miles was 1:58:30. I stopped the watch at 13.3 miles, a time of 2:00:19.

Now, this does not achieve my goal…I still have to do this in a race. But to have it happen by myself, without race conditions, without the wonderful energy of a race, with no planning, is very encouraging to me. Actually, I’m thrilled beyond words. I wasn’t sure I could get there at all and here it is, January 28, and it looks like I have a real shot.

I’m astounded at how easy it was. I simply got in a groove by mile 4 and kept it going. I paid attention to my form, especially to keep my shoulders relaxed and low, my head up and looking ahead. I walked through 5 water stops at the usual places where I had stashed Gatorade. I had one Gu packet at mile 6. My stomach actually felt lousy through much of the run. And still the legs and lungs all held together and I’ve felt fine the rest of the day.

So, thanks for listening. It was a marvelous day in late January. The focus remains 26.2 on April 9. And what an encouraging step along the way.

Persevere. I will too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Eat Your Veggies First

ORN: 6.1 miles, 57:17, 9:20 pace

I dunno about your mother, but most moms tell their kids to "eat your veggies." The astute kid figures out that if you do that, you can usually get dessert too.

Which hit my mind this morning as I got to the corner of Henderson and Cumberland and had a choice to make between two routes. Turning left, I was straight into the 25 mph wind. Turning right, the wind was at my back.

I turned left.

I figured that I'd really enjoy the return trip this way. Yeah, I like dessert.

And it turned out to be a good run too. I do enjoy the longer midweek runs in this ramp up to St Louis. The splits tell it all:

10 03 in mile one, as I warmed up and then turned into the wind.
8 58, as I turned north, getting a side wind and it felt like no resistance at all
9 32 back into the wind
9 30 turn around but had to stop for some cars
9 10 big wind at my back...wow.
8 51 side wind or tail wind. Plus the horse was headed back to the barn.

Persevere. Dessert tastes great.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Runner's Dream Sequence

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, nice pace.

After the long run Saturday and only some biking on Sunday, the legs felt very fresh once I got warmed up and stretched. Kind of amazingly fresh.

Saw four other folks out running this morning. I haven't seen anyone since Christmas in the early-morning run times. Is it the fact that spring races are out there and looming?

Before I went to bed last night, I had my calendar out and was doing some planning for the weeks between now and the St Louis Marathon. Must have been on my mind, as I dreamed I was 4 miles into the marathon when I realized I had not brought my watch. Instead I had a nice, formal, men's analog watch on my wrist and I was trying to figure out how I'd get my splits by just remembering where the second hand was. I woke up with a start...and a laugh. I wonder how many more such dreams I'll have by April 9.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Come to think of it, I'll do a Half

ORN: 13.1 miles, 2:05:50, 9:35/mile

I really couldn't believe the reading on the wireless thermometer as I was getting set to run mid day. So I went outside, checked another thermometer...yep, it really was 51 degrees. And sunny. And only a mild wind. Talk about amazing for January in Indiana!

Off I went in just my favorite long sleeve T shirt, shorts, gloves and cap. The schedule only called for 12 miles, but I was crusing and just kept cruising. By bumping out a couple of turnaround points, I added another mile or so and rounded it off at a half marathon for the day.

The legs felt great, still do a couple of hours later. The rhythm was good, the weather was nice, there just wasn't anything not to like about the run.

In a long winter, this is an amazing treat to have a run like this.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bubbles Always Go Up

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, nice pace.

Had to do a double-take at the thermometer this morning. 39?? Really? I looked outside and the snow was still on the roof and the yard. I looked again...still 39.

The issue was what to wear. My trusted temperature chart says to just wear shorts at temps over 38. I've honed this chart over the years. But after the tough cold yesterday, I just couldn't quite believe I was going to go out in bare legs.

I decided to trust the chart and wear what I've learned is comfortable at that temperature. Shorts. Two layers of polyester shirts. My nylon shell vest. Wind cap. Cotton gloves. OK, out the door.

And it was perfect. Even with a stiff wind (that had swung to the south overnight, thus the temperature rise).

Years ago, (in college I think) I heard a SCUBA diver speak. He talked about the disorientation that happens at times while diving deep. And he said "We learn that bubbles always go up." The diver trains herself to know that when disoriented, follow the bubbles to the surface, even if all her other senses tell her that "down" is "up."

There are reliable indicators around us. It is good to learn what they are and follow accordingly.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Crunch, Shelter, Grandpa

ORN: 6.1 miles 1:01:09, 10:01/mile

Brutal weather this morning, with 23 degrees and a vicious wind out of the west. And, it was a really good run. This is my midweek long run. Finally starting to dial this up a bit, as anything over 5 is more interesting to me.

It rained yesterday all day, turning to sleet and then snow as the day went on. Snowed some overnight and by the time I was out the door at 5:30am, the snow was nice and crunchy. It was a very nice surface to run on, for the most part, with a gritty "crunch" with every step. Great traction, except for the places where water had run across the trail and it was pure ice...There I had to walk and that took any starch out of the times today. No bother.

The run was nice because of the thinking. I got started as I loped along a large wooded area to the west of the trail. Wow, what a shelter from the 30mph wind. It was almost calm in the shelter of the large, dense, wooded area. In other parts of the trail, a small rise or fall in the trail gave more or no defense from the wind.

Which got me thinking further of my ancestors. My Great-grandfather moved to Nebraska in the mid-1860s and homesteaded. We still own that farm, where I grew up in the 60s. What must life had been like for them? I was out today in well-designed technical clothing and was comfortable. They had to LIVE in this weather and worse (Nebraska is much more severe than here in Indiana). They farmed, lived, had babies, had family events, made a living in this brutal climate. What a resilience. And a heritage.

Yeah, a nice run. And they sure did persevere.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Just "Gittin' 'r done"

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, drizzle, wind

It was an eye-opener this weekend to note on my calendar that I'm still 12 weeks away from the St Louis Marathon. Only one race between now and then, and that's a half marathon two weeks before the big one. A long stretch of just training.

So, the runs right now are just that. Training. Logging the miles, building up the base. Tommorw, the plan notches up the key midweek run to all of 6 miles...but it is an increase. And, I remind myself, I deliberately opted out of an earlier marathon on February 12 in Birmingham simply to avoid doing the long runs in January weather, shifting it to March instead.

And isn't this what we do for much of our lives. Just getting it done. The exciting days are few, though memorable. Yet, to make them truly wonderful, the boring days, the days of the grind, the days of the routine all have to be there.

Gettin' it done.


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cracking Open a Time Capsule

Last weekend, Gretchen and I sorted through a couple of bookcases and cabinets full of books. The local library is having a used book sale and wanted anyone’s old books. A great chance to get rid of books we don’t need/forgot about/were forgettable.

And in the midst of the rubble, I found a gold mine. My running diary from 1981!!!

The book was one of those bound week-at-a-time books from Runners World. We were living in
Lesotho at the time with a 3 year old and a new-born in tow. The book formed not only my running log but my life diary. It was a significant year for us and it is really amazing to read through.

On the running side, the book had lists of all the races I had run up to that point. I then apparently also kept up the race list through the end of 1986, a total of 17 races documented there. (At that point, my soccer refereeing career kicked in and I didn’t do many road races until 2004.) Wow. In my 20s at the time, I could keep some significant pace! My PR at 10km was 43:50 and a half marathon at 1:43:43. Amazing that I could do those distances at 7:11 pace. I was stunned.

Buried in the book was also a copy of a letter I wrote to my folks after running my second marathon on January 31, 1981. What a hoot…my writing style hasn’t changed a lot in 25 years.

This find is really special. As I have renewed my running now, it is neat to have this documentation of a neat time of running a long time ago.

Persevere…we never need to stop.

Yep, I waited 15 minutes...

ORN: 10.3 miles, 1:39:18, 9:38/mile

There is a saying here in Indiana: "If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes, it will change."

After enjoying 55 degree weather Friday morning, a cold front came through and at 11am Saturday, it was 36 degrees, with a 25mph wind out of the NW. So much for the T shirt and shorts...we were back to double layers, a shell, tights and, well, you get the idea.

A nice run anyway. Legs felt great throughout. Splits felt fine, though you can tell which miles were into the wind and which ones had the wind at my back:

9 30
9 41
9 34
9 24
9 55
9 28
10 02
9 41
9 50
9 22

Plus, I solved a knotty problem at work while I was running, one of those that combines a technical and human issue all at once. One more reason why I don't run with an MP3 player in my ear.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Is SPF 30 Next?

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, easy pace

I could not believe my eyes when I got up this morning and it was 55 degrees at 5:20am! What kind of January in Indiana can this be?? Out the door I went in a single technical LS t shirt, shorts and my baseball hat. How wierd is that?

After a hard run yesterday, I relaxed today. With only the baseball cap on, I could hear better. Like a carp surfacing in one of the ponds I run by. A few birds who didn't get the memo to fly south.

Cold weather remains to work through but it is sure nice to get some warm days like this!


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

This is more like it

ORN: 5.1 miles, 47:33, 9:23/mi

After yesterday's no-move-from-bed routine, it was nice to get a really good sleep and get up and out the door by 5:30 this morning. Gee, 45 degrees at that time, a slight drizzle, dark and cloudy. And a nice run. Splits were 9 40, 9 15, 9 30, 9 18 and 9 15. Very good for me.

At one point in my route, the trail gets dark, running between a cemetery on one side and a soybean field on the other. As I turned on to this section, it struck me how dark it was with the cloud cover. Then I observed that the ambient light level was adequate for me to see far enough ahead for my own safety (note splits above...I don't have to see far at my speed :) ) .

This is often the situation God puts me in. Not a super clear vision of what lies ahead, but enough that I can see the next couple of steps. And that's all I need to keep moving.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A No-Go Tuesday

ORN: Zero. Zip

Wow, can't remember the last time this happened. Alarm went off as usual at 5:15am...I couldn't budge. At all. No movement. Barely got up at 6. So, no run today. Yet, anyway.

Why does this happen?? Dunno. I hope for better tomorrow.

And I will persevere.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Can I put this one in a bottle??

ORN: 10.3 miles, 1:34:57, 9:12/mile

Running in the midwest in the winter is often a game with the weather, to catch something a little nicer. Today I caught a flyer. The forecast called for mid 40s by mid day. I waited till noon to go out and it was a full 50 when I headed out the door. Shorts, two light layers of polyester, a baseball cap and sunglasses; wow, felt like April!

I'm trying to run my long runs at my marathon pace in preparation for St Louis. There, I'm hoping to do 9:50 miles through 20 miles and then see what happens after The Wall. I forgot to set my Forerunner 201 in training assistant mode today, so I just watched the pace as I ran.

And the whole run I was pulling on the reins, trying to hold back. I did and still turned the 10 miles in 9:12s. I wish I could understand this phenomenon...the time also included three walk breaks for a swig of Gatorade that I dropped off at my usual places.

Was it the sunshine? Running with out tights or more layers on top? A relatively light week of running ahead of it? I don't know. But it sure was great.

And this run gave me more hope than I have had to date of actually achieving my other goal for the year of running a sub 2 hour half marathon (a 9:09 pace).

My splits today:

9 01
9 33
9 23
9 05
9 18
9 04
9 23
9 13
9 25
8 50
2 38 (8 26 pace)

There's lots of cold weather left in this winter but what a great way to run on January 7!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cue Bette Midler at the Turn Around...

ORN: 5 miles, no watch, quick pace

A stiff wind out of the west this morning and, alas, my route goes mostly west. Was working my way into the wind and pushing it. Legs felt good, as did the effort, though the wind was still cold.

But, hey, at the 2.5 mile mark, what a treat to head east! Feeling the wind leaking down the back of my wind shirt was not a problem and boy could we move!!

A fun run, even in the darkness.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back to the Normal Grind

ORN: 4 miles, no watch, quick pace

Nothing distinctive about today's run other than we are now back to the normal work routine after the holiday break. The legs felt good. I'm pleased to have the St Louis Marathon in my sights now as well.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Sneaking in a Warm Run

ORN: 5 miles, no watch, comfortable

Odd weather...56 degrees and a tornado watch in effect. With the day off, I could run late morning and did it in just shorts and a LS T shirt. On Januray 2!! I'll long for this in a week or so.

My wife had been out before me and saw a cyote cruising around near my 2 mile mark...she advised me to be alert. I promised her I would not be bait for him. Not that I could have out run him...


Sunday, January 01, 2006

2006 Goals: A Full and a 2

ORN: Cross training; bike and walk

Happy New Year!!

So, here we go on another calendar year. I’ve been mulling my goals for the year and then talked them over with Gretchen and Matt the other day. I settled on them:

1. Run a Marathon
2. Run a Half-Marathon in 2:00:00 or less

I ran two marathons in 1980 and 1981. Actually, I started 3 but dehydrated badly in one of them. I’ve had in the back (very back, at times) of my mind since that it would be cool to do again. The time is now right. I’m in a job situation that will allow me to dial up the training to get it done safely. The baby that was inside my very pregnant wife as she watched me finish the first race is now independent and gainfully employed in Portland, Oregon. So let’s see if I can do it.

In looking at the calendar, we decided my first target will be the
St. Louis Marathon on April 9. My base is in fine shape to ramp up to it using Hal Higdon's MARATHON TRAINING GUIDE, which I have found to be a very solid program.

The second goal will develop later in the year. I have several target half marathons. I’m already registered for
OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis, along with 35,000 of my closest friends. Since it lands four weeks after the St Louis marathon, I’m just hoping to run it and enjoy it. I doubt I would expect to do it under 2 hours. A more likely target for the 2 hour trip would be the Sunburst Half Marathon on June 3 in South Bend, Indiana. I ran this last year as well.

Off we go…thanks for reading.