Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Apr 28

FIT:
Back on the road...
First run since the half. Just looking forward to the run during work, I didn't mind if I took it easy, maybe not even running with a watch. Just ease back into it.

It's a bit relaxing to not have to worry so much about hitting all my runs. I can x-train now without worrying about compromising my next workout. I can work out without the risk of overdoing it, since I don't feel the pressure to perform at peak in every workout. I still couldn't wait to feel decent enough to run again, though, especially b/c I seem to have gotten back into a groove, where I feel like I could reasonably do a 13 or more without trouble again on demand, maybe once every other week. My leg feel kind of conditioned now, and it's nice. I just need to wait for my TA to get better.

Today, 4.6 or so in 37:06, 8:04. I'm still unsure of the exact distance of the loops on this course. Could be 4.8, whih would be 7:44... quite diff. We'll be conservative, though. Splits> 6:33 (stopped to avoid potential thorny vines, veered off course to drop off my tee), 6:12, 6:09, 6:09, 6:10, 5:50. Pretty good run, felt surprisingly good first couple loops. Second to last, though, severe pain in the rt TA, left over from the race. A fair bit better on the last loop - decided to squeeze that one in at the last second. Could've maybe done another one, but risk management is the name of my game now. Live to run another day.

Cool temps today, sox, shades, 4pocket.

Oh man, my weekly strength session yesterday, big diff. My adductors and abductors could do more reps than ever. Thought it would've been the opp, since they'd be tired, but they're as strong as ever. Something's off w/ my rt knee, though. A bit of misalignment maybe.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Apr 26

FIT:
Legs still somewhat banged up and mostly just tight. Limping due to my rt knee/tibialis anterior issue led to compensation from my left quad, which got really tight, then affected my left achilles.

Need to keep up cardio, at least, though, so did a recovery bike ride just to keep moving. 13.6mi in 1 hr, 435 cal.

RACE REPORT: Country Music Half


Such a good trip. Couldn't have asked for anything more.

TAPER WEEK:
In the last week, I managed to squeeze in the last three runs. Saturday, a week before, I did my LR. I hit my mileage target, but it was difficult, with my right leg going numb at mile 4 and the left one following at mile 6. Ideally, I would've gotten the LR in half a week earlier, to allow adequate recovery time. I could've shortened it, but it had been 3.5 weeks since my last LR, so I had to make sure my legs would be adequately built back up to handle the stress of 13.1. The 8.8 LR was taxing, and my hamstrings were strained for the next few days. Not exactly where you want to be the week before the big race, but with the taper, I felt like there'd be enough opportunity for recovery.

Work was busy and unpredictable, so I barely squeezed in a 2.8 before Bible study, with calves and hammies still strained. I tried to stretch and ice for the next few days. Next time, I'll do full ice baths (or pool). Things got better, and two days out, I did 3.8 at a good clip in moderate heat. Another blessing in disguise: I'd be so exhausted from work that I'd go to bed after dinner and wake up at 3am or so, just what I needed for race day. The rest of the night, I payed the Wii with my dad, who came in to town to join me for the trip.

EXPO DAY:
The nex morning, we left at 7:50am and drove 6:30 hrs out to Nashville, so far that the time zone changed! After checking in at the Knight's Inn right by LP field, we went to the Expo. It was so exiciting to be there. You get a rush just seeing other runners walking around town with their gear bag. Everyone's pumped.

I got my number, 5419, then picked up a short sleeve tech shirt and the goodie bag, both ok. After passing through the expensive and large enchanted forest of race-logo gear, it was on to the expo booths for free stuff and looking at all the running gear. Highlights: Muscle Milk and Cytomax (both deliciuos), a Publix drawstring bag with cheering gear and a simple but decent activity log, and Jelly Belly sport beans. Then, on to watch what I had been booking it to get to: Ryan Hall. He was on a panel with some Heisman Superbowl guy and a yoga chic. It was cool to see him in person, and it's cool to see a fellow believer like him being open about his faith while going fast and using the gifts God has given him to bring him glory.

Afterwards, I met the second car of friends as they came to pick up their numbers and gear. We took pics in front of a fake finish line, which I had wanted to do earlier but wouldn't have been able to pull off with my usual self-shot. Then, I did a yoga session taught by Tara from before, along w/ my budd MS, who came to cheer us on as one of the 7 on our Half Team. It was great to stretch out so much after a long car ride, way more stretch than I'm used to. It's a nice thing to do before a race, and I'll do something similar before every race. I don't usually like to do much race-day stretching, due to the studies that show its detrimental effects on strength AND endurance (surprising, isn't it?). But I think that many hours out, you have time to recover from the stretch, and in the long run, stretching is good.

Off to my friends' rented house for a pasta and chicken dinner. CH's friends came to visit, which was sweet of them. It's cool to see the bond between believers, especially those tied by a common mission who endured stuff and strived together for the sake of Christ. There was something different about them, like they're marked with such purpose and selflessness that just kind of awes you. One of them really struck me. In the car, one of them, who's in seminary to prep for missions, seemed very genuinely interested in getting to know people. I tend to kind of duck out to the fringes out of shyness, but K just kept asking me questions and made me feel like I was someone worth getting to know, and she did the same to AD in the car ride over to the house. It was something simple that she did, but that gift and/or heart can just really make someone's day.

Dinner was so good, especially the chicken, which almost tasted like cheese. I normally don't cook chicken... made it once in the past 9 months, so it's special when I have it. It was good w/ the WW penne and tangy tomato sauce. Then, back to the hotel to do final preps and get ready for bed. I put out the gear I'd need for my body and my gear check bag and listened to running podcasts to calm down and try to sleep. With the AC blaring, it probaby took about an hour. I went to bed at 11pm, but I woke up at 2am b/c I had drank a lot of water. I don't want to drink too much right before the race, so I try to get a lot in the day before. But I probably got up 3x for that, and went on the internet 2x... oh yeah, 80% of t-storms with possible hail and tornadoes were predicted for the next day. Crazy, huh? So at the house, we kept tracking the weather for the latest updates. Things kept reversing with the predictions, but eventually, it looked like right during the time we'd be racing, there's be no rain, but on both sides of the race, crazy rain. Wild.

RACE MORNING:
I planned to leave the motel at 4:40. I went to have my usual shower to warm up my muscles rce morning, except we discovered that there was no free shampoo, so I made do with the bar soap, haha. A while before that, I had written my goal mile splits (for 1:50) on one arm and the water stop mileages and elevation changes per mile on the other, in sharpe. They washed off, surprisingly, though, but my dad recommended that I write them on the back of my race number, which worked perfectly, since I'd only be pinning the top two corners onto my sportsbra.

It ended up being 63-65 degrees during the race, which is 10 degrees hotter than ideal, but it ended up feeling pretty good, since there was cloud cover. We drove out to LP field, and my dad took some pre-race pics before I got onto the bus to the start an my dad set out on foot to get to good photo spots where he could see me in different points of the race.

It's exciting being around all the runners, seeing all the different types of runners, all getting excited about the challenge before them. The bus went up and down some rather noticeable hills, and I was like, oh man, is this on the course? A veteran, an old man, said that the hills were not a big deal, though, so that made me less concerned.

We got to Centennial Park, where I was excitd to see the Parthenon. It started raining just as we got off the bus, but I had my Boston jacket and an emergency poncho. I wasn't sure if the rest of my team was there yet, so I chilled on the steps of the Partenon for a while and just watched the dusky sky. Then, I called and caught up with my friends, and we took some pre-race pics and did final stretching and other race prep. We dropped off gear bags and headed for the porta potties and corrals. The lines were long but not terrible, so going at 6:15 worked well, especially well b/c they ended up pushing up the race by 15 min to help avoid the t-storms, especially for marathoners, who'd be out there at least twice as long as us.

I drank some Cyto b/c I had gotten thirsty in the past hour and a half, then found my corral, which was surprisingly close to the start. I saw the 3:45 pacer, who was exactly the one I wanted to find. I let fullers get close to him and hung out behind. I saw the 1:45 pacer in the next corral up. There was the anthem, then the waves began. I was out during the third minute of clock time.

RACE GEAR:
Nike Dri-Fit sports bra, Asics 4-pocket shorts (1 for tissue, in case porta potties ran out, 1 for salt packets that they handed out... didn't think I'd need it, but it's so light, so just in case... 1 for a mini Clif Bar), OxySox, 1224's w/ arches - did most of my training this season in those, and they seemed to work well, visor for the rain, which didn't come during the race anyway, but it was good insurance, no shades b/c no sun was exected, and my Garmin, b/c my watch broke, anti-chafing wipes to help not only w/ pain, which is usually not noticeable during the run anyways, but also to reduce friction, which reduces required energy.

THE RACE:
Mile 1: Actually not too bad crowdedness wise. It was crowded for the first 1/4 mile or so, but then you could get some clear running space. People tended to stick to one side of the street, leaving lots of empty space if you wanted it.
Mile 2: Started looking for my dad. Saw the McDonalds, stayed left, went past the clock tower, saw him, got my shots. First water stop. I ended up getting water at every water stop. This one, it was only Cyto, which left me still thirsty b/c of the sugar, so I wanted water the next time. Left the 3:45 pacer pretty early on.
Mile 3: Realized that I was going way too fast and was afraid that I had totally messed up my pacing strategy and would pay later when my legs gave out early.
Mile 4: Settling in. You start noticing people who are with you for a while. Tried to slow myself down. Started using a good hydrating strategy of Cyto, followed by water. Cyto for energy, water to wash it down and continue hydrating.
Mile 5: On uphills, I usually got passed. On downhills, still got passed. Now, I didn't have to concentrate on slowing down. I was seemingly slowing down. A deli was giving out fruit - had half a banana, much needed. The elites were now on their way back on this out and back leg of the race. It was cool seeing them run and being so close to them (and yet so far).
Mile 6: Through a residential area with many turns, since this was the turnaround. Saw runners going in the other direction. Thought, oh no, more winding around before the turnaround? But they were acutally people behind us, doing the "out" section of the out-and-back. My right leg started going numb.
Mile 7: Bam, a sudden sharp pain in my right knee, limped each step, then it'd be ok, then the pain woul return. I thought, "oh no, this is it". I gingerly tried to keep going. The uphills seemed the worst. Would this be the end of my hopes for a good race? Is simply finishing just the goal now? Sad b/c cardiovascularly, I felt perfect, muscularly, no problems, but my joints were my limiting factor.
Mile 8: It was getting better, and I suddenly just felt really appreciative of just being out there and thanked God for it. 6 months ago, eeking out a mile was so painful, and I didn't know if I could ever run a moderate distance again, let alone a half. But AD had helped me regain strength and flexibility and just provided peace of mind, knowing she was there to help if needed. Ate an orange slice from the same deli, got very sticky, from then on, I'd splash myself with a cold cup of water after I had drank from it. It felt really good - do it earlier and more often next time.
Mile 9: Got my second wind. Knowing that there were only 4 miles left was such a good feeling. I don't remember whether this was after or before the second wind hit, but I started hearing "Holy Is the Lord" by the Belmont Church Worship Team, the first Christian band on the course. It just reminded me of what matters most and what I could enjoy most about the run, God's glory. I raised up my hands as I ran past and pointed up. And the singer waved at me, haha. I ran pretty fast after that, it was so energizing to hear. I almost started singing, I felt so good, although I would've seemed kind of crazy and maybe conceited to do so.
Mile 10: Still on the high. Went under two bridges, one of which my dad was supposed to be on. Waved like a crazy person to both bridges for a long time, hahaha. Especially on the second, where I saw my dad but wasn't sure if he saw me, I kept waving, and people on that bridge did minor cheering b/c they might've thought Iwas trying to muster up encouragement, haha. Cruising, knowing I was close. So excited to see my dad that I missed the Gu stop.
Mile 11: Keep up the intensity, hang in there. Marathoners had split off. Winding through downtown a lot more. Keep it up.
Mile 12: Getting harder to keep up the intensity. So close, though, will make it.
Mile 13: Coming in from downtown to LP stadium is downhill, so you could see the next .6ish and plan exactly where you wanted to kick. An excellent setup for a finish. Hang in there. Keep up the intensity.
Mile 13.1: Final kick, raise arms for the pic, breathe again.

It ended up being so useful to have my Garmin. The distances helped me know when I could look forward to seeing another mile marker. The inaccurate instantaneous pace issue was resolved by setting it to average pace instead. After a too-fast start, I just concentrated on slowing down gradually, but hopefully not too much by the end.

SPLITS:
13.1 in 1:46:09, 8:06 ave. 1: 8:02 (flat), 2: 7:25 (way too fast, esp for an uphill section), 3: 8:13 (uphill) - <<5k>>, 4: 9:30 (wow, slow), 5: 8:32 (still a bit slow, although this is an uphill), 6: 7:58 (flat, more like it) - <<10k>>, 7: 8:10 (downhill but slower pace than expected b/c of the knee pain), 8: 8:28 (same as 7), 9: 8:02 (downhill), 10: 7:59 (and second wind), 11: 7:47 (saw dad, feeling great), 12: 8:20 (hilly), 13: 7:54 (downhill but hang in there), 13.1: 0:45.

POST-RACE:
Got my heavy medal, got Cyto and fruit. Wandered to the finish, wandered a long way back to the gear check, wandered back to the finish, tried to look for my friends. Caught up with my dad, finally, caught up w/ LP who ended up blasting through the half with an awesome time. After not seeing anyone after standing up on a plant holder for a long time, went back to the reunion place, found MS, took pics, found the rest of the team at the p-lot, group pic.

It started pouring, just as I started walking to my car w/ my dad. Saw the poor marathoners still running. I was exhausted, and it was raining, and they were still going. Back at the hotel, the brown rice and canned chicken and rice soup was soooo good. It could've used more salt, though. I really craved salt. I added my salt packet, but it wasn't enough. Ate lots of canned fish, too. Craved protein. Oh yeah, for breakfast, I had had granola and a tofu snack. My rt tibialis anterior had some serious issues making my lower leg straighten, and I limped to walk.

I was really slow and talking and mentally no longer hungry after eating lot of rice and fish, but my body still felt drained of energy. My dad suggested that I take a nap, and that did me a lot of good. Felt better afterwards.

SIGHT-SEEING:
Opryland hotel.
Vanderbilt.
Parthenon.

A good trip. Good being there w/ my friends and getting to spend time with my dad. A good race, fun sight-seeing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Apr 22

FIT:
Last run before the race, done on the day before the day before.

5 loops on the park course, 3.8 mi (not 4 like I've been calculating before) in 29:12, 7:37 ave, 315 Cal acc to Garmin. Splits> 6:05, 5:50, 5:46, 5:46, 5:43. Kind of surprised to get neg splits, b/c I felt like I was slowing down b/c thing were getting tough. My dad came with me, too, and ended up practicing taking pics to prep for the race. He got a new digital SLR and likes to try all sorts of crazy tricks for cool photos.

My rt tibialis anterior was getting a bit strained for the last couple, but nothing too serious. I've heard that short and intense is a good way to taper, so I tried to keep it at a nice 4. Even thought about stopping 4/5 of the way through, but the last lap was mentally easy, knowing that the laps are so short on this course.

Oh yeah, there are thorny vines in the woodsy part, and I got spiked the first time but jumped over it the other times. A thorn stayed in my sock, though, to be painfully disovered later.

Wore OxySox... seem very good, I'll go with them for the race. Slippage was not an issue. Shades and the Shadowpak, bra. No visor, despite the sun. Wanna simulate race-day situation. I was thirsty a bit before mile 3. It was 76 degrees, so I may not be as thirsty on race day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Apr 20

FIT:
I soo needed an antidote to work today, and I nearly had to delay my planned Tues run til Wed morning, but I just needed this run, so I was going to go to my usual Tues night place 45 min early to get in a quick run, rain and yucky me and all. And it felt so good to start moving again. I got a bit of a sprint in early this morning as I raced to work and into the office to be on time or a presentation I had to give. I would've been at work 45 min early, but I realized that I had left my laptop when I was only 4 miles out, so I turned around, got the lappy, and went back. Good thing I left a freaking 45 min buffer! Thank the Lord. Anyway, hectic day, and I ended up staying longer than anticipated. But the run, as short as it was, was good. My legs are still recovering fom Sat's LR. My calves are pretty banged up and my hammies are still a bit strained. But I think the run helped the circulation along a bit.

2.8 in 22:43, 8:07 ave. Splits> 11:23, 11:19.

Monday, April 19, 2010

CM Half Hype 4: What to Expect

Not from me, but from the course and the race...



First, the course:

An instantaneous-pace watch is even less useful due to the course's elevation changes. I may write the following on my arm, so that I can tell whether my pace really is on target: 1) Med, 2) Slow, 3) Slow, 4) Fast, 5) Fast, 6) Slow, 7) Med, 8) Fast, 9) Fast, 10) Fast, 11) Med, 12) Slow, 13) Fast. Maybe that will just mess with my head, though, and maybe I should just keep consistent effort. I can always ignore my arm. It'll be hard to read while moving, anyway.

I don't have a working watch, so I may end up wearing my Garmin. Or, if I find all the pieces to my old watch, I'll tape it together again and hope that it sticks this time. About the watch vs. Garmin decision, it's really only the difference between their two weights that I should be using to... weigh... the benefits of instantaeous pace and distance. We'll see if I can find the rest of my old watch.

The weather forecast is currently 60-76, 60%. Boo heat. I hope it changes.

I found an alternative to the 1:45 pace group, which is a bit too fast for my estimated 1:50 (assuming the heat's decent). I could run with the 3:45 full group. A 3:40 would've been ideal, and far more reasonable, since 3:40 is the womens' 18-34 BQ time. Clearly, this is not a BQ-aspirer's course, if the race coordintors didn't consider this. A 3:40 would've been exactly my 1:50 pace. Oh well, 3:45 isn't too far, and if it's hot, it may end up being just right. When the halfers split off, I can speed up for the last mile and a half, anyway. So, 3:45 for now. If I can't find them, I can switch to the 1:45. But considering the super low number of fullers, that probably won't be a problem.

And now, previous runners' reviews:

There were a few things I picked up from reaing CMM/CMHM reviews at MarathinGuide.com, a cool website.

1) It's a halfer's race, with 30K:4K halfers to fullers. All the crowd support and music is in the first half, so I'm glad I didn't sign up for the full. It would've been a tough one to finish, and perhaps a bit disappointing, too.

2) Corrals are unfortunately not strictly enforced. I hope this changes this year. I heard that lots of walkers pretty much inserted themselves wherever, clogging everything up. People would also run 4-5-wide, making getting around them difficult. Boo. That would be frustrating. Respect the corrals!

3) It was hot (60's at race start, 80's by race end!!!) last year. I hope it's not as bad this year. They gave out sponges and had misting stations to help runners cool down. I hope it doesn't come to that.

4) The course is hilly. I didn't think it'd be that bad, based on the elevation chart, but I don't read elevation charts often. I hope that my training has prepped me for hills. I usually don't notice hills anyway, so I think I should be fine.

5) Other: a smaller but efficient expo, meager post-race food, good city, bring TP, great crowd support, bad goody bag, super crowded, plentiful water/Cyto, crowded finish.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Apr 17

FIT:
Finally got that LR in, exactly a week from race day. It was 77 degrees, but cloudy for about 2/3 of it, so it felt okay. 8.75 in 1:13:52, 8:26 ave... sweet, just about right. Splits> 24:23, 24:30, 24:58. It was an out-and-back x3, using flatter portions of the usual LR course. At that pace, I'd finish 13.1 in 1:50:32, just over goal time. Possibly not good enough, considering I was only going for 8.75 this time, but possibly good, considering the heat effect, hopefully.

The forecast for Nashville keeps changing. Yesterday, it looked like no rain, but now it's 60%... I'm hoping for rain. Sadly, though, temps are 58-85. Under 60's and I'll be happy.

So the run... my rt butt and tibialis anterior got numb at around mile 4. The other leg got numb much laer. I don't know what's wrong with me. I guess numbness is better than pain. No real problems, besides that. I took sips of 1/2 concentrated Cytomax... this was much better to swallow than the recommended concentration. The second and third times I hydrated, though, I just wanted pure water. That last lap was tough but doable, since it felt like another lap would go by quickly, and it pretty much did.

Afterwards, I had a protein drink and walked 2 miles roundtrip to the cleaner bathrooms. I had some brown rice then headed over to the v-ball court to meet my SS class for a cookout. Vball was fun, and my body still had a good amount of energy available. Then, we moved on to Ulty, 3 on 3, girls vs. guys. We were leading at first, 2:1, then the guys got their act together (or wanted to stop losing to girls and stopped holding back) and dominated. I got so tired from all that sprinting, though. 3v3 is tough, especially when guarding guys. It was fun playing with those five, though.

Food time. My body was almsot not hungry, it was so low on fuel from the 8.75 then vball then ulty sprints. I had mixed greens, rice and shrimp, and a bit of avacado, though. I tried doing some more vball after dinner, but my knees started feeling raw and low on cartelidge or something. I hope I didn't do any harm. A week from the race is not a time to take risks. You'd be proud - no layouts during ulty. Some diving at vball, but nothig damaging there.

So a good day hanging out with friends. My body will be happy to get some R&R tonight.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Apr 15

FIT:
Watchless :( The duct tape fix fell apart in the shower, so I had to just check my car clock right before and after the run. It's around 30:30 for 4.0, 7:38 ave. It was nice. Excited to see my friends at the park by chance, so I joined them on a walk til sundown. Could've run again in the dying light, but I thought the risk outweighed the rewards. I'll attempt a longer run tomorrow.

My knees felt a bit bangy for the first 1.5ish, but it did [strangely] feel better as I went on. I felt kind of slow today, but the time is about the same as last time's.

Apr 14

FIT:
Didn't get home til after sunset, so no running outside. Treadmill still out of order, so my only choice was to bike. Not a bad choice, and maybe it's for the best. I had wanted to get that last long(er) run in yesterday, which turned into today, which didn't work out either. Saves my knees, keeps me fresh for... 10 days from now!!!

So close!

Anyway, biked 1 hr, for 15.1 miles, burning 475Cal. Drank about 6oz of Cytomax... 3-4 swigs total... 30ish Cal. Tasted kind of strange, not like sugar, more like sugar substitute. Made me thirsty. I used the recommended concentration (mixed from powder), so I dunno. No GI issues, though. Just made me more thirsty, generally. Didn't really feel a boost, besides from the bit of hydration it gave me. I guess 10Cal doesn't make much of a diff.

Had a delicious dinner (Chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, peas in ff cream of mushroom with a mozerella and bread crumb topping) and good conversation w/ KC. Post-workout, made a flatbread pizza... delicious. Dunno if it was b/c I needed the fuel or if it really was good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Apr 13

FIT:
4.5 in 36:21, 8:05 ave. An "eh..." run for a couple of reasons. First, I had meant to leave work at 4pm today after going from 8-4 with working through lunch, but there was just stuff I had to take care of to keep my project rolling, and as much as I had wanted to do an 8.6 LR today and as good as I was feeling (the best I've felt in a while), I just had to stay. After getting it done, I prepped a bottle of Cytomax so that I could use it in what would be a hot run (76 degrees), which would do double duty of letting me try my first sip of Cytomax pre-race.

So off to a late start, I didn't get to the course until 45 min before I was meeting friends for dinner. The course worked out perfectly, so that I'd go to the end of it, come back to the car, and go out to the fountain meeting place just in time. After going just a few steps, I realized that it felt pretty cool, so I left the Cytomax behind. I still ran with my Nike water belt, though, to hold my credit card and keys and a shirt for dinner.

Oh man, I haven't worn my stability insoles in a long time (with the new 3's), and they were digging into my arches for the first half. I guess it was really just stretching my plantar fascia, b/c it felt like what you'd do if you wanted to stretch it out by rolling on it. I guess I got used to it after a while, though. So I got back to the car and picked up a 2/3 full Nalgene, to accompany my dinner. Bad decision, though. It gave my arms a good workout, but I could've done without the extra weight, which gets multiplied by like 3, due to the bouncing of running. Poor knees. It was a long mile and a half to the fountain, but I got there.

Met up with my friends, had a nice picnic in the park.

Splits> 4:35 p, 7:05 c (11:40), 11:30 car, 5:51 b, 7:19 f. My thoughtful friends graciously offered to drive me back to my car after dinner, so that I could avoid the sketch.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Apr 11

FIT:
5.6 in 43:15, 7:43 ave. 76 degrees, so it was a good chance to start acclimating to heat. Wore 50/50 tee, sox, visor, shades. I duct taped my old Flix watch together, so I have a usable watch again. That's good b/c I realized during yesterday's race that the Garmin adds a lot of weight, but the main value that it adds is just the distance calculator. The instantaenous pace is too innacurate to do much good. And since I'll mile markers at the half and will be mostly just going at whatever pace my body can handle that's at or slower than race pace, no need for the Garmin. I'll stick with the light watch.

So today's run went better than expected. I was so tired today, so I napped for about 4 hours after church. I don't know what it is. Maybe the race? Anyway, after the nap, my legs felt fine injury-wise, but they didn't feel like moving. I felt more energetic after dinner (mixed greens and spaghetti), and after letting that digest a bit, I head out to the newly discovered park. I felt good, and the splits kept going down. On the 5th lap, I think my outer rt knee got a bit tweaked, but not as bad as it had been in the past couple weeks. And my left achilles isn't 100%, but it's not as bad as it was yesterday postrace.

The heat wasn't that bad, either. My body felt the strain of the run, but that might've just been due to the effect of yesterday's race. Thought about going another lap, but I plan on doing an 8.6 LR in 2 days, so live to run another day.

Splits> 6:25, 6:18, 6:12, 6:06, 6:06, 6:08, 5:57. I think I did a good job of keeping the route consistent today, although I stopped the watch and re-started a couple of times due to dogs, so these may be off by a couple of seconds, but in any case, the numbers look pretty good.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

RACE REPORT: Furman 5K

So the taper plan worked pretty well. After the 4.0 on Thursday, I took Friday off, which was good, because I ended up working from 8am-midnight, with meal breaks and time to clean up around the house a bit while the programs were running. I had gotten ~ 7 hrs of sleep the night before the night before. I could've had 8, but after I woke up, it was hard to get back to bed because I was getting nervous about a deadline for work. But I had woken up naturally (mostly b/c of the amt of water I drink, I think), so it was okay when I only got ~ 5 hrs the night before the race.

After I woke up, I debated whether or not to shower. Getting wet didn't seem appealing, but I knew that it would wake me up and warm up my muscles, and it did, so I was glad. I'll be sure to always do it. Then, I had an oat bran breakfast before running out the door. I speeded to the packet pickup because I always want to get there early, and I got my shirt and number. Then, I just waited in the lobby, sitting on the hard floor, watching runners come in to pick up their stuff. It was kind of fun, seeing all the diferent kinds of runners, and to just chill and take in the experience. I sat for about 45 minutes, then I went to the bathroom, then I went to my car to put away my gear bag, then I walked around the gym halls to do some dynamic stretching, went to the bathroom again, then went outside to do about a 1/4 mi of warmup total, including striders and some range of motion grapevine, high knees, and butt kicks. Swinging my arms around got my blood flowing pretty effectively. It was an ideal 54 degrees (ideal according to research, I think I prefer a bit cooler).

I took a spot about 20ft behind the start line (to account for at least the 50 ppl who'd finish before me), met someone from another facility in my company (he was wearing a singlet with our logo), and got started. The first mile was an out-and-back on the main road, lined by trees and buildings. The campus is really well-maintained. Its grass is almost like plastic carpet, it's so perfect. Then, the second mile went around the far side of the lake. There was a bit of downhill leading into it, and since it's a loop course, what goes down must go back up. Then, the third mile is when the big hill hit. It's short but steep and saps you of energy. But by then, you have less than a mile to go. The tenths of miles actually sped by pretty quickly, although the last mile went by theh slowest. You must kept thinking, "how far til the end?" During the last mile, my arms, I guess the front sides of the upper arms, got pretty tired from pumping, something that usually only happens in sprints. I was kind of surprised, b/c I had just hit season records for the plank and pushups. Maybe it's just not the right kind of fibers or hasn't had the right kind of training for sprinting actions. Or maybe building up my plank and pushups added to lean muslce mass, but in places where they'd be dead weight for the purposes of arm pumping. Anywy, finally, back to the campus's main drive, and I turned on the afterburners. I ended up having to keep them on for longer than I expected, since the drive was farther than I had anticipated... or just felt farther now that it was the last bit of the race. But that's a good thing. Usually, you turn it on too late, but I was going hard for a while and kicked it for a short while at the very end.

3.1 (watch says 3.24) in 21:52, 6:45 ave... if the watch is correct, 7:03 if it really is 3.1... it probably is 3.1. 260 Cal. Splits> 6:54, 6:54, 8:03. Right on for those first two, dude! Official results: 21:55 gun time, 9/255 for the women, 91/581 overall, 4th for our company team.

I'm happy with that. My objective was to get in a good speed workout while taking advantage of this last chance to run in decently cool weather before the heat sets in. In the past 9 months, I had only raced once, on a grass course, so it was good to get a standard down for an asphalt course before heat muddies up your asessment of your fitness.

Afterwards, I met up with others from my company. My buddy hooked me up with one of our corporate singlets, too. He's like 56 yrs old but beat me with a 21:10... sweet! He used to run in college... 4:20 miles! I hope to still be running and in decent shape years from now.

No injures during the run. Afterwards, my left achilles and bit of the calf were a bit strained. Hopefully, they'll bet better by tomorrow so that I can get some miles in. The rest of the day, my immune system kind of felt down, and I had little appetite. Partially due to the physical stress of the race, I'm sure. But the appetite bit is strange. Allergies? Didn't eat enough immediately after the race? The post-race food they advertised was pretty sad... lots of white flour bagels and then a single box of bananas, which soon got all taken. I think I got the last piece of banana, which they had cut into thirds. Not enough. A good race, but they could up the food quality and amounts a bit, to at least 1 fruit per person.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Apr 8

FIT:
Guess what, I signed up for another race! This weekend! I originally wasn't going to do it because it was only 16 days before the half, and I didn't want to put myself in a situation where I may take risks and push too hard. I decided to scrap that, though. I figure it'll be a good speed workout, and I'd probably push myself similarly hard in a workout at around this time, anyways. On my own, it would've been on the treadmill, rather than asphalt, most likely. But eh, I've wanted to see Furman University's campus for a long time anyways.

So... I think I may still be recovering from Saturday's 15-mi hike. I've been sore in the lower legs in the past few days. I like feeling sore, but I don't like it when my knees feel pounded, which they are. Too much cumulative mileage over the past month? Sad. I'm not sure if it's a hip strength/imbalance issue. In absolute terms, my hips are stronger than they were a few months ago. However, maybe the ratio of flexor:extensor:adductor:abductor strength is off, or quad:hamstring. Hard for me to tell. My adductors may be the strongest of the four, based on my stretch band exercises.

Anyway, that's all to say that this was going to be more of a maintenance week anyway. I did 5.0 on Monday, strength on Tuesday (with a 3:30 plank and 50 pushups - season records), rest on Wednesday, and 4.0 today. I can rest again tomorrow and hopefully be fresh for Saturday morning. Both of my runs this week were moderate to slowly paced, so hopefully, they'll be fully recharged later.

Someone seemed to have taken the failsafe magnet that turns off the treadmill when you fly off the back end, so the treadmill didn't work. I didn't want to run that boring 1.25-mi out-andback, especially because the grass would be wet since it had just t-stormed. It was too late to go downtown, because it would be sunset during my run. I started driving to the boring out-and-back, then I remembered that I had wanted to test out a nearby park with lots of sports fields. I wasn't sure how big it was, and other times, the weather just seemed too hot, and I didn't want to be disappointed. It was cooler after the rain today, though. Postrain cloudyness is exciting.

It turned out to be awesome. There's a good loop I can make that's about 0.8 miles, and it would seem like repeating it 5x would get boring. However, maybe the fact that it's a loop and always turning gives you new things to look at and new scenes all the time. First, there's a stretch by the P-lot and baseball fields. Then, you do a tiny bit on a gravel road. Then, you enter a woodsy trail where you have to stay on your toes just a little bit to not trip over roots and rocks. This part's downhill, but nothing uncomfortably steep. Then, you go by a massive telephone tower, then by the football field. Then, you cut through some grass, then a bit of asphalt road, then on the grass on the other side of the baseball fields and back to the starting point. Nice, huh? Each loop goes by so quickly mentally because it's one thing after another. It was great, and I look forward to that nearby, interesting, almost all-grassy course in the future. No more HS XC course, thankfully, no more boring out and back, and no need to drive all the way downtown for base running. I'll still go downtown for LR's, but thie park is nice, and it'll be traffic-free and open forever :)

Splits> 6:23, 6:13, 6:11, 6:07, 5:58... sadly not mile splits, haha... 0.8 mi splits. Man... people who can do mile splits like that... incredible. Anyway... I wore 1224's... and ooh, the other day, I matched mileages to shoes for each run. The vast majority last year were untracked, because I didn't think of that as much before, and they were in one of three shoes anyways. But now, it matters, and I was kind of surprised.

Just some observations... the ? is split between Trance 7's, 4's, and old 3's. 4's probably had the most, but even if all were for 4's, we're still in the yellow zone. And the 2X Boston PT said that my old 3's looked kind of compressed and ready for retirement, and that suggests that the 3's had their fair share, although my guess is that I did far more in the 4's. I didn't realize I had done so much in the 1224's or in the Progrid. The Progrid is not the best for me, as I realized in my gait analysis (http://fit360.blogspot.com/2010/01/gait-analysis-barefoot-vs-shoed.html), so I guess I've only been avoiding them since then. I mean, 75ish isn't much, but I guess I never really thought of it. So I think I'm goingo to try to completely retire my old 3's and 4's. I'll go mostly with the 1224's and new 3's. For short runs, I'll go in the 8's. Like at Saturday's race, I'll go in the Trances. They're less cushioned and maybe less supportive, but they're light, so they're best saved for races of short distance. Barefoot only had a mile, and spikes had 3.1. Interesting to look at. FYI, the cited life of a shoe is 300-500 miles. I don't know whether that includes walking. Probably, although I've never counted that. I don't walk much in these shoes, since I don't like having non-running foot impressions in them for form's sake, and I like to go out in sandals almost always.

Monday, April 5, 2010

RECIPE: Decadent Chocolate Banana Bread



Ingredients:
1/2 C Honey
3/2 C WW Flour
1/2 C Chunky PB
1 Banana
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 Egg Whites
1/4 C Chocolate Chips

Directions:
1. Mix Eggs, Honey, Banana, PB, in that order.
2. Add powders
3. Add choc chips
4. Bake for 12 min @ 350 degrees.

Sooo good, and decent for you!
I've been craving cookies for a long time, but I somehow managed to hold off on buying any from Wholefoods. I tried looking for a WW flour recipe that involved PB instead of butter, and which wasn't vegan, b/c those tend to taste more raw. I also wanted ot take advantage of the natural sweetness of banana and add chocolate because chocolate makes everything extra good. Since I didn't find one that matched those criteria exactly, I kind of improvised my own, and it turned out great!!!

Apr 5

FIT:
This weekend, I went camping. It was wonderful, like a vacation. It was nice getting to see my parents, too. Just being a kid is nice. We head out at 6am on Sat morning, but our original campsite at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park was blocked by a rock-slide, and rather than take a 2.5-hr detour to top off a 1.5 hour drive, we just went to another campsite, Deep Creek, on the southern side of the park.

We set up camp by the creek, so that the site would be reserved and all ready for R&R when we got back. We set off on a 15.0-mi hike, hitting "the loop", Sunkota, part of the Mts-to-Sea Trail, Deep Creek, then back on the loop home. It was kind of hot, probably in the 70's, but certain sides of the mountain would have a rare cool breeze, and anywhere by the creek felt like AC. The water was icy cool. It was about 1,000 ft of elevation difference between the low and high points.

It was nice cross-training and a good way to get in some miles (not counted towards my total, but miles nonetheless) in a low-impact way. I was rolling for the first half. During the last half, though, I had some serious chafing issues that were pretty bad during that half, but I survived. We were hungry when we got back, and I was glad to finally have a bathroom to use after 15 miles.

My legs felt fine. My dad and I ate a lot to refuel, and we just talked over the campfire. After a couple of hours, I was ready for bed. The floor was hard and the night was pretty chilly, making sleep disrupted each time I turned in my sleep, but I was able to fall back asleep without trouble each time. The hike had been tiring.

Today:
5.0 in 41:05, 8:13 ave. Splits> 8:21, 8:27, 8:26, 8:06, 7:42. From mile 3.25 on, my rt knee was misaligned again, with problems on the lat knee usually when I overstrode. Speeding up seemed to help. I guess I was just fatigued for the first part, though. It was only an 8.0 weekly total mileage last week, so my legs needed to get used to running again. Also, ate too much immediately b/f the run, made the run uncomfortable, but got through. Wore 1224's w/ Arches.

@ work, left butt, maybe PF, very sore. strange, b/c usually, it's the rt.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Apr 1

FIT:
Run> 5.0 in 39:45, 7:57 ave. New 3's. Rt leg misaligned, had to be careful for last 2-3 mi. Did lots of form changes, didn't seem to help. Multi parts of rt knee (mostly top and IT band but even medial) yoinked, flexor and a bit of butt, too. Would've liked to do 7, but it got pretty bad. For a while, though, things were otherwise cruising. Kinda had the sensation that I was just doing walking effort, yet with the extraneous rumbling/vibrations of the somewhat brokeny treadmill, it seemed like I was just riding in a tank or something at a good speed. That kind of ended as my body couldn't handle much more of the tweaking attempts and my rt leg was tiring. The best seemed to be keeping range of motion minimal, and keeping the landing right under my center of gravity, both laterally and front/back. Anyway, I still wanted more, and a couple days ago, I was craving a swim, so I went back to my apt to change. Since my body was still hot immediately after the run, the water seemed okay temp-wise.

Swim> By the time I was back out in my swim suit, I had cooled down, and the water felt a lot colder, like the usual ice bath temps, so I just soaked my feet in the pool for a while. I thought I'd have to just give it up. I went in more and more gradually, til most of my legs were in. It felt okay once they were in and used to it. Finally, I decided that I would just go for it. That second or two when I was going in, I figured it'd feel like 10s because it would be so shocking. I was just making it more difficult by delaying because I was losing valuable body heat as I ice bathed my legs. Finally, I figured that I'd go for it. If it lasted only a lap, at least I tried, and just that would be a story to tell. Things seemed okay, and even though it was cold, it didn't seem any colder than some swims I did in the fall. It felt good to swim again. My legs were pretty good, better than they were in the summer/fall when I was a lot more injured. During my third set of free/breast (1 set = 0.13 mi), my knees started getting strained, especially with the adduction of the frog kick. And I started getting pretty cold then. I guess the water temps were finally bringing my body temp to a tipping point of discomfort. So I finished up the third set, at around 21 min. I took a long, hot shower after that.

Unfortunately, somehow, my "water resistant to 100m" ironman watch broke. It's really strange. Oh well. Maybe drying time will bring it back to life. So no splits on the run and swim, but it was a good night. Yeah, adventure.