Saturday, August 19, 2006

Has it really been that long???

Whoa. I've been away for a while. Ok, so I was on vacation. And this week has been another hell-acious work week. But I have gotten back into training for my next marathon. And with it has come a running low, a running high, and stuff in between.

The low.

First week of training. Not this last week, but the week before. I figured, "no problem getting the mileage back up." I'd been running a few times a week. Low mileage, but still running. It was a nice break. But every workout seemed to take a lot out of me.

And then there was last Sunday's medium/long run...

It was only supposed to be 12 miles. How hard could that be? Well, let me tell you. My legs were so fatigued by 10 miles that I was seriously considering just hanging up on the next marathon. What happened? By mile twelve, I had to stop and walk. I was that tired. I began to think there was something wrong. Maybe all this training over the last couple of years has just left me fatigued. Maybe I didn't take enough time off. Maybe I cut back too far on my running.

But I knew one thing. Never judge a season (or a marathon cycle) by a single workout. Or even a single week.

So on to week two. And this wasn't going to be easy. I had another 80 hour work week ahead of me (they pretty much suck). But I was determined to continue with the training program. I figure if the fatigue continues for another week or two, I'll think about bagging it and regrouping. But then came...

The high.

Tuesday's schedule called for 8 miles with 10X100m strideouts. I did the workout after working about 9 hours (and had another 2 hours to go). It was amazing. It was getting dark when I started and so I ran it on the back roads around Concord (near work). Rolling hills for almost 7 miles. And it was one of those runs where you're just there -- in the moment -- and time is obliterated. You hear your breathing and footfalls as you're running and you just feel at peace. It's a cliche -- but one with the universe. Everything in its place. And then the strideouts -- just flew through them.

And stuff in between.

Thursday called for 10 miles. After working about 10 hours (with another 3 to go), I again took off through Concord. The run started out pretty good, but I was pretty tired by the last couple miles. That's OK, though. It's been a long week. I never really expect to get two fantastic runs in a week. (Oh, on Wednesday, I took a break from work and did some cross training -- rowing, cycling and weights.)

Friday was a day off (from working out). I also "only" worked 8 hours and Anita and I went to a movie ("Scoop" - a decent but not great Woody Allen film). And I got a good night's sleep.

Today, Saturday, was my last long workday (12 hours). I got in an easy 4 miler. Tonight I plan to get some good sleep again, and then tomorrow will be 13 miles.

It's got to go better than last week.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Three Haikus and a One Mile Time Trial

I'm still here.

I was on vacation -- and chose not to blog (took a break from a lot of things). And now I'm back at work -- and until now haven't had time to blog (catching up on things). But now that I have room to breathe, and write, and ramp up my training -- here we go...

The One Mile Time Trial

Thank you to everyone who provided suggestions on my training. As it turned out, I didn't follow any of the plans to the letter, but wanted to single out three of you who made an effort to provide some guidance -- thus, three haikus.

First of all, for Joshua "Flash" Gordon, who provide the most detailed, and intense, training regimen. I'm sure it would been a great program, and he obviously thought about it quite a bit, but it was more than I was ready to do at the time. Thank you for your effort! Here's a haiku:

warm summer night
transformed in a flash
- clouds pour out

For Tammy, who really, really, really wanted a haiku, and put some good effort into a training schedule with lots of good supplemental exercises (plyometrics, etc.). Sorry, too many directions to go -- but here's a haiku just for you:

river surges with
summer rain cycles
- fluid power

And finally, for Love2Run, whose schedule I most closely followed, at least the beer-drinking parts! He really made the most valid point -- in one week, all I could really do is try and sharpen my leg turn-over. And that's basically what I did. I missed quite a few runs, but when I did run, I tried to put in some strideouts -- and one day I ran on some (not too steep) hills. These days, we're looking forward to another refreshing blast of cool Canadian air from the North:

coastal breeze greets
fresh canadian air
- our summer relief

And the 1 mile time trial? I delayed it from Wednesday until last Sunday. Sunday morning I did a 3 mile warm-up. First mile slow, second mile gradually speeding up (to about 9 min mile pace), and third mile with four strideouts in the first half mile (each one faster than the previous, the last going up to about 6:30 mile pace) and very easy in the second half mile. I then rested for several minutes to cool off and drank just a little bit.

I ran the mile with negative splits, each quarter faster than the previous. When I finished, I felt like I could have gone faster. My early quarters could have been a bit faster and overall I could probably have run a good 10 seconds faster. But I'm not complaining too much. My time?


Unbelievably, I actually TIED my best mile over the last 25 years. I'll be trying this again in a couple months. I should be well under 6:30 for sure -- shooting for sub-6:00.