Monday, September 30, 2013

9/28 run - Crosstown Classic 10K

6.2 miles: 1:05:28: 10:32 pace

While I wasn't expecting a personal best at this race I did end up with one. The race felt good for two reasons: the ankle is feeling better and I can run faster than an 11-minute mile.

Since many of my training runs are longer I've been really slow, which is fine. But I don't want all my runs to be like that. Even my run last week where I thought I was moving at a decent clip but it was still slower than an 11-minute mile was discouraging.

I know I won't come close to this pace for the marathon but I still have goals when it comes to some of the shorter distances and would like to be able to some day be able to consistently go sub-10 minute mile for 5K and 10K.

The Crosstown Classic 10K was a fun race -- though the black shirts they gave the south siders were a bit of a hindrance when the sun was shining. The only thing it was missing was beer at the end, that would have been a nice touch.

Sunday got away from me a bit so I didn't get another run in this weekend. Did boot camp this morning and hitting that again on Wednesday and Friday. I'm planing seven tomorrow, six on Thursday and eight on Saturday.

And September is over and I didn't hit the century mark but came close: 98.74 miles for the month. I'm glad I took it was last week because I'm feeling a lot better. Five more runs between now and the marathon, probably about a total of 29 or 30 miles.

Friday, September 27, 2013

9/26 run - 'Taper madness'

The next reality check will be when
I pick up my bib and chip. 
3.7 miles: 40:32: 11:04 pace

Friends who have run marathons before were talking about "taper madness." There was even an article in the latest issue of Runner's World on how to deal with it. I figured I would be ready to back off after the 20-miler and the intense training regiment from the previous months.

I was wrong.

I feel like I'm going a bit stir crazy. It doesn't help that my ankle is still bugging me and this run is the only one I got in this week. I could have gone farther, the ankle hurt but it wasn't too bad, but again I didn't want to push it too hard.

I'm running the Crosstown Classic 10K -- Go South Side -- on Saturday morning. As much as I want to break my personal best on this race I don't think it's going to happen. I don't want to push it too hard and aggravate the ankle more.

The training schedule called for 12 this weekend and depending on how the 10K goes and how I feel Sunday I might do another six. Everybody says that I can take it easy after the 20, get some work in, do some cross training and just generally try to maintain. But again "Taper Madness" wants me to try and get one more 10-12 mile run in next week. I might need someone to hide my running shoes.

Boot camp this week has been good, nice bit of cross training and I plan to hit it three days next week. Higdon calls for 13 miles during the week and the long run a week from Saturday is eight miles, followed by a total of nine miles the week before the marathon.

Otherwise, I'm just trying to get the ankle healthy and am thinking about getting a sport massage next week to try and work out some of the knots in my calves.

Monday, September 23, 2013

9/22 - 20-miler

20 miles: 4:01:52: 12:03 pace

As I think about my 20-miler the same phrase keeps running through my head: could have been worse, could have been better.

My ankle was bugging me on this one from the start but around mile 10 it really started barking. I'm on a strict icing regiment all week and will also probably be taking it easy from running. It's better when I'm on it but is definitely sore. I have three weeks to rest it up and let it heal, I might do some biking to mix it up and get some other cardio.

After the marathon I'll have some work to do to fix the instability in my ankles. I already know what I have to do, now it's just a matter of getting stronger.

On the positive note, with everything bugging me I was only 10-seconds off the pace I had for the majority of my long runs.

Most likely taking Tuesday off, maybe I'll try to get a bike ride in. Wednesday I'll hit boot camp and then maybe try a short run Thursday to see how I feel. Have a 10K Saturday I was looking forward to but might have to take it easy on that one and was planning to do another six on Sunday because my training plan calls for 12 this weekend.

And for anyone running a marathon, I cannot recommend the CARA Ready to Run enough. It's not the expensive and you get to do a 20-miler with aid station and a party after. The route from Montrose Harbor south along Lake Shore Drive is also pretty scenic.

Here's my GPS route from the run, I was interested to see the mile signs so close together.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

9/19 run - DOMS

4.1 miles: 48:46: 11:52 pace

DOMS -- Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness -- has been creeping on my this week. The two boot camp sessions I attended this week focused on glutes, lower back, legs and core. Tuesday I just ran through it before my body could tell what was happening but today was a different story. I didn't feel all that bad or slow but clearly I was and am battling soreness.

I also had to cut this run short because of weather. I was about two miles in when I started seeing lightning off in the distance. It was far enough away so I was concerned and the drizzle felt nice. But a half miles later the strikes were getting closer and thunder was moving in so I bailed. I'll run in a lot of weather but lightning isn't one of them.

I would like to get some type of run in tomorrow but it will be in the afternoon. I've been dragging ass all week and need a decent sleep. The question is will I just do an easy three or be ambitious and do six.

Big 20-mile run on Sunday, weather is looking pretty good, should be in the 50s when we start and it's only supposed to get into the upper 60s. Debating carrying fluids, there are eight aid stations, which will probably be plenty but still thinking about it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9/17 run - Build week

10 miles: 1:51:25: 11:08 pace

Quickest 10-miler yet this morning, knocking a couple of minutes off the one from a couple of weeks ago. Fall has arrived for the moments, lower 50s when we started and pitch black out, that's one thing I don't miss about early morning runs.

I alluded to it in the previous post but this is a big build week with 40 miles. I can't do speed work tomorrow -- dinner plans and feel that it would be too hard in the ankle -- but will probably do seven on Thursday and an easy three on Friday.

Ankle did all right on this run, we stopped for water at one point and it tightened up a bit but wasn't too bad. Will continue to ice, which seems to help.

Very happy with the splits from this 10-miler, almost negative for the entire run, don't know what happened at mile seven though.

Monday, September 16, 2013

9/14 run - Not awful

Looking a little crazed after 16 miles.
They all can't be glamor shots. 
16 miles: 3:10:12: 11:53 pace

I did this run just a few seconds slower than my previous 16-mile run and this run was hillier and I didn't have a tender ankle. That said, I was pretty happy this this run.

I went for an injury assessment on Friday for my ankle because it still wasn't feeling great. The physical therapist said I have some instability due to spraining my ankles when I was younger. He's a runner and knows that I can't really quit so he suggested bracing it during my runs and then icing and ibuprofen.

The ankle was only really bugging my when I was going downhill. I did this run again at Skokie Lagoons. I was the first one parked and ran the first 4+ mile loop with the headlamp. It was also in the low 50s and felt great to be out there. The brace helped and I ordered another one that some fellow runners recommended.

I went solo on this run. The Evanston Running Club folks that I had been doing these longs runs with were doing and out and back route and I wasn't sure if I would be up for it. I didn't want to be eight miles from my car, have to call it quits and then figure out how to get back. Even though I did the same loop three times it wasn't boring.

I kept a pretty strict icing regiment on Saturday that helped quite a bit and then again Sunday. I otherwise felt pretty good, no real soreness. I'm going to keep that this all week to get as close as I can to 100% by the weekend without skipping any workouts.

I did boot camp this morning, will do 10 Tuesday morning, boot camp on Wednesday and then five or six on Thursday. Will rest on Friday and Saturday before the Ready to Run 20-miler on Sunday.

And then it's taper time, will I go crazy? Most likely. Less than a month to go and I am once again experiencing that mixture of excitement and dread.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

9/12 run - Still a little tender

6.1 miles: 1:08:08: 11:13 pace

Passed 600 miles for 2013 with this run, just about twice what I ran all of 2012. Will be curious to see where I end up at the end of the year after the marathon.

Took a couple of days off to rest the ankle. It was feeling all right yesterday and this morning but was bugging me a bit during the run. The discomfort isn't bad -- one or two on a 10 scale -- will be icing and bracing again. I'm thinking about running with the brace too, though I'm afraid that could be a disaster.

Will take it easy as much as possible but don't know if there's a whole lot I can do. I'm still going to do my 16 this weekend and 20 the next and get some runs in between. I start the taper after that and can do my best to heal up but I have a feeling I'm just going to have to deal with this and hope it gets better.

If anyone has other advice I would be up for hearing about it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

600 will have to wait

After Sunday's half my left ankle was a little sore, nothing out of the ordinary. But last night it started throbbing. I had been wearing a brace for most of the day and iced it a bit. I'm probably being overly cautious but I'm taking a couple of days off.

I skipped this morning's 10-miler -- it was also mid-70s and muggy at 4:30 am -- and am going to skip speed work on Wednesday. If I'm feeling better I'll do six to eight on Thursday morning I think I'll be fine, better safe than sorry. Too much work to get laid up at this point.

Monday, September 9, 2013

9/8 run - Chicago Half Marathon

13.1 miles: 2:30:40: 11:30 pace

Before the race.

This was a much better half than the rock n roll in July where I felt beat and dejected. The conditions were better, cooler though still muggy but overcast which kept the sun from beating down. It was also pretty much entirely along the lakefront so there was a decent breeze for the majority of the race.

I traveled down with some friends from the Evanston Running Club, which was good because logistically this one was a bit tough. We parked at the Museum of Science and Industry and it was just packed. Getting out was even worst.

The course was nice. It winded around Jackson Park and then on to Lake Shore Drive for the final eight or so miles. The concrete street was a bit tough on my feet but not too bad. There were more than 13,000 runners and it was a packed course. I found myself bobbing and weaving more than other races I've done recently.

My strategy for this one was to try and keep a steady pace and then walk through the aid stations. It went pretty well, I would have broken 2:30 if it wasn't for having to take a bathroom break around mile six.

I also had negative splits -- sort of. My first five miles were at an 11:24 pace, my 10 mile split was 11:35 but I was able to bring it down to 11:30 for the last three. My watch had my last mile at 10:33, also my fastest mile of the entire race.

After the race. I don't
look dead!
I'm planning to use this same steady pace/walk though the aid station strategy during the 20-miler I have coming up in two weeks and the marathon. I also mixed up my fueling -- I was taking three shot blocks every five miles but instead too two every three miles. I didn't bonk and the stomach was fine.

I also feel pretty good the next day. My ankle is a little sore but nothing out of the ordinary. I do think my boot camp program has given me a nice base to work with and has helped with recovery.

The plan is to try 10-miles tomorrow but the weather and recovery might make that more like seven or eight. Boot camp and speed work Wednesday, Thursday around four and then 16 on Saturday where it might be in the 50s when we start, come on fall weather! If all goes well I'll also pass 600 miles for the year with my next run.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

9/4, 9/5 runs - Preparing for another half

9/4: 3.6 miles: 36:05: 9:52 pace
9/5: 2.6 miles: 29:04: 11:06

I'm becoming a sick and twisted individual because I am starting to enjoy speed work. I hated doing it by myself but these track sessions have given me a whole new appreciation. I'm one of the slowest people there but something about the track workout has really energized me.

The workout Wednesday was a ladder: 400, 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400, 400. I wasn't sure how to pace myself and did the first 400 in about 1:48, not fast but it felt good to open it up a little.

Shakeout run Thursday morning was tough, it was about 10 hours since speed work, and legs were pretty heavy. Had planned to get three at least but when the group turned around I didn't fight it. With the half coming up on Sunday I could use the easy day.

Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, hoping to "officially" break 2:30.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

9/3 run - Glorious weather

10 miles: 1:53:46: 11:22 pace

It was high 50s when we started our run on Tuesday and it was spectacular. I do like running in the fall so much more than the summer. And yes, I know I was complaining about the cool weather in the spring, call my a hypocrite.

The run felt good, thought we were moving a little quicker but still not bad, five minutes faster than the previous week but still five minutes off my best mile time. The goal is to try and shave some more time off that next Tuesday.

I know I'm becoming touched in the head because when I saw the speed workout this week my thought was: "That looks like fun." It's ladders: 400, 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400, 400. Yes I need help.

Will do an easy shakeout run Thursday and then take a couple of days off before the Chicago Half Marathon Sunday. Hoping to get an "official" under 2:30 time but it's going to be a little warmer than I would like.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

8/31 run - August wrap up

18 miles: 3:32:10:11:50 pace

Last run of August was a doozy. Ran Skokie Lagoons again. Started at 5:30 am and about a mile in it started raining. Luckily it only rained for about 10 minutes but it was quite the downpour, started out wet and stayed that way for the next three plus hours.

We parked in a different spot this time around so I was able to refuel/rehydrate, making this run a little bit easier than the last one ... well as easy as running 18 miles can be. If I had to rank the long runs the past three weekends I would say the 16 miles last weekend was the best, though my pace was the exact same as the 18 miler. The 15-miler two weeks ago was six-second a miles faster and I felt like I really struggled on that one, running out of water around mile 15.

It's all relative, I felt pretty out of it after the run. I took my first ice bath -- not horrible -- and had a nice three hour nap after heading out for the evening. Though I definitely wasn't firing on all cylinders. Had a headache creep up on me and left me feeling out of it.

It's the next day and my left ankle is a little tender but nothing more than usual. Otherwise I'm feeling pretty good. Slept for a good nine plus hours and with the holiday Monday get another day to recover and sleep in. I might try to go for a short shakeout run tomorrow just to get the blood flowing.

Otherwise, 10 miles on Tuesday, boot camp Wednesday morning, speed work in the evening, four miles on Thursday and maybe boot camp Friday. I'm doing the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday so a lot of what I do later in the week will depend on how I feel.

Six weeks till the marathon and I would be lying if I said I was ready. These long runs have taken a lot out of me and it's going to be a challenge. My goal seriously is to finish, which I can do, but it's not going to be easy. Only one more big run left, just need to stay healthy for the next few weeks.

August was a heck of a month: 128 miles.