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Log for August 30 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 6.7-Mile Easy Run – Today, the wheels fell off the bus. My training schedule called for a 10-mile tempo run, but there were a couple of reasons why I made some modifications for this week:
(1) I don’t have a big need for tempo work this week due to my 14.2-mile tune-up race in Tupelo this weekend.
(2) I had an early morning meeting today, and didn’t want to start my run at 5am to try and get in 10 total miles.
My thought going into today was to try an get in 6 easy miles, and then do a 10-mile moderate pace run tomorrow. Paxton, Nathan and I started off together from the Nature Center, but I quickly told them to go on without me because I was going to maintain an easy pace, and because I was feeling TERRIBLE. Anything under 9:00 minute pace made me want to shut it down. I just felt fatigued, my legs felt heavy and achy, my feet were sore. I was determined to finish the run today, but by the end I knew that my body was telling me I needed to rest. No Wednesday run for me. I’m thinking that for the rest of the week I’ll do my normal track workout on Thursday night (at a more relaxed pace), 2 or 3 easy miles on Saturday, and then race on Sunday. That would cut out my normal Wednesday and Friday runs, but I really think I need it. Today was one of those runs that is just a confidence killer.
Since I’m not running tomorrow that means that I’ll finish the Month of August with 207 miles completed. That’s a new monthly record for me by 33 miles.
- Cross Training – Tonight Olivia and I did P90X: Ab-Ripper X
Log for August 28 & 29 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- Rest – As always, Sunday was my regular rest day from running and cross-training. I didn’t feel great on many of the runs this week, but finished pretty strong on Saturday. Overall I completed another 48 miles, and am at 194 total for the month of August. This is 20 miles over my previous record for a month, and we’ve still got 3 days to go!! Hoping for a finally tally of 216.
- 6-Mile Trail Run – I decided to switch things up a bit this morning, and do my normal Monday trail run on the horse trails in Percy Warner Park. These trails are a little easier than the Red, White or Blue trails, and I want to take this week fairly easy since I have a 14.2-mile tune up race in Tupelo on Sunday. The temperatures at 6am were awesome, and that made for a very pleasant run. I was able to do all 6-miles using my forefoot stride, and never felt the urge to fall back to my old stride. I have noticed that later today my feet are fairly sore, but I’m pleased with how good it felt during the run. I saw lots of wildlife this morning including wild turkey, deer, and even an owl that flew over my head and landed in a tree just off the trail. What a fantastic morning. That now makes an even 200 miles for the month with 2 more days left in August.
- 2.5-Mile Hike – After I got home from work, I took my daughter Kate to Edwin Warner Park for a hike on the Blue trail. We went at a fairly easy pace, but she did pick it up to run in spurts. This was the first time that she has ever worn her Vibram FiveFingers on trails, and they did fairly well except on large, smooth rocks. Unfortunately she did take a big spill near the end, but didn’t do too much damage. I was proud of her for shaking it off fairly quickly and getting back up and finishing. Overall it was an awesome way to spend an evening with Kate.
- Cross Training – Tonight was P90X: Legs and Back.
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Jim Gaffigan: Hot Pockets – I know I’m always posting videos from comedian Brian Regan, so I decided to change it up a little. This is a brilliant bit from Jim Gaffigan about Hot Pockets. Definitely worth a viewing.
My little Sara singing “Special Me” #fb
Log for August 27 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 15.7-Mile Marathon Workout – Today’s workout consisted of intervals that were a variable mix of paces, times, and distances. We started in Percy Warner Park at the Beech Woods picnic area, just at the base of 9-mile-hill. The temperatures at 6am were in the mid 60s, with fairly high humidity. As the workout progressed, the temperatures rose into the mid 70s, but the humidity dropped dramatically (which was nice).
Our first interval was a 45-minute warmup run, and I was not expecting the group to take off onto the horse trails. I was running in my Nike Vomeros (which I’m beginning to sour on as a road shoe) and it is hard to imagine a worse shoe for running tails. They have a really think sole and no lateral stability. Paxton, Nathan and I separated from the rest of the group a bit as we went up the trail. The three of us exited the horse trail at the top of 3-mile-hill and then navigated our way back down 9-mile-hill to the staging area. At the staging area, we ran the 2-mile loop between the 7-mile and 8-mile markers to complete our 45 minute warmup with an average pace around 10:00 min per mile. My legs were a little sluggish during the warmup, so I was a little nervous about the rest of the workout.
After taking a short break to hydrate, we started a 30-minute interval that was supposed to be done at goal marathon pace (7:26 per mile for me). A large portion of our group ran the 11.2 loop backwards towards the Harpeth Hills Golf Course (very hilly), but I decided to do my 30-minutes on the 2-mile loop between the 7-mile and 8-mile markers. During the warmup I was using my old heel-striking stride, but switched to my new forefoot stride during this interval, and felt really good. The first 1/2 mile of the 2-mile loop is all uphill, and my average pace at the top was around 7:45. I was slowly able to bring that lower on the downhill, and was right at 7:26 average at the end of the first 15-minutes. As I began to climb the hill again for the second loop, I switched back to my old stride for 1/2 mile before switching back for the remainder of the loop. I felt really good throughout the 30 minutes, and ended the interval with a 7:24 average pace (a little too fast).
We took another short hydration break, and then set off on an easy 10-min recovery run that was supposed to end at the 7-mile marker to be ready for the next 2 intervals. The next interval was a 1-mile run uphill from the 7-mile marker to the 8-mile marker, which was designed to be done at tempo or half-marathon pace (~20 seconds faster than marathon pace). John, Sue Anne, and I ran this first mile together and reached the 8-mile marker in 6:47. This was again a little too fast, but I still felt really good. After the first mile we were supposed to take a 1-minute recovery, and then run back downhill to the 7-mile marker at tempo pace. Dan really encouraged us to try and remain consistent and resist the urge to pick up the pace going downhill. Nathan joined John, Sue Anne and I on the way down, and we ended up focusing so much on not picking up the pace, that we actually were 5 seconds slower at 6:52. I did both of these miles using my forefoot stride and continued to feel fantastic.
We ran easy for 5-minutes back to the staging area to hydrate before setting off on the last interval, which was another 30-minute run at goal marathon pace. This time, most of the group headed for the horse trails, but again I ran on the 2-mile loop. I ran the first mile of this with John, and was very uncertain of my pacing because my Garmin was doing some weird things. At one point I asked John what he showed for our pace and he said it was hovering between 7:00 and 7:20. My Garmin was showing 8:30. John started to separate from me after 10 minutes, but I still felt pretty good through the first 15 minutes before my legs just revolted. The last half of the interval was tough, but I kept pushing through. Nathan caught up with me about 20-minutes in, and we ran together for most of the remainder before he pulled away from me at the end. At the end of the 30-minutes I was toast. My Garmin showed an average pace of 7:54, but I have no idea what it really was. I’m confident it was slower than my first 30-minute interval, but think it was probably a bit better than 7:54. I again ran most of the interval with my forefoot stride, but did revert back on some of the uphills.
Overall this was a great workout, and I’m pleased at how good I felt through all but the last 15 minutes. The final tally was 15.7 total miles, at an average pace of 8:27 (by my wonky Garmin), including the warmup and recoveries. The forefoot stride now feels much better than my old stride, but I still don’t have the lower leg strength to use it all the time. My impatience doesn’t help with this, but I am excited about what the future holds.
A week from tomorrow will be a Chicago tune-up race, the Tupelo 14.2-miler. I know I need to treat this race as a “dress rehearsal” for Chicago, and resist the temptation to actually race it. That would mean working my way down to goal marathon pace as the race progresses. However, I know that at some point my mind will start reminding me that I am capable of running 14.2 miles much faster than goal marathon pace, and my competitive nature might just take over. Of course, the heat and humidity could be so bad in Tupelo that reaching goal marathon pace might be a pipe dream.
Yo Gabba Gabba: I Like Bugs! – About 3 weeks ago on an 18-mile run I got so tired at the end that I started singing this song to myself (My kids watch way too much TV, thus the TV fast this past week). I think that might be a sign of delirium. What do you think?
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Log for August 26 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 4.1-Mile “Barefoot” Run – FINALLY a run this week that felt good! Too bad it took us running 10:00 min pace to get there!! Paxton and I started just before 6am on our regular “Wonky Track” loop through Bellevue. The temperatures were very mild, and it was a very relaxed, pleasant run. Even though I don’t yet have the lower leg strength to use the forefoot stride for all of my training, it does feel much more natural now. I actually had an occasion to run for a few strides during the work day today (to chase something down), and noticed that I instinctively went to my forefoot. That was cool! I continue to LOVE my Saucony Hattoris, and hope I can get to a point where I can use them for even more miles during my weekly training. It was nice to get in a nice and easy recovery run, because tomorrow we are facing another tough Marathon workout. It looks like it will be around 2.5 hours of running time with a mixture of easy pace, marathon pace, and tempo pace intervals. Should be fun!!
On a side note, this month is now officially my longest mileage month in my life. My previous record was 174 miles (July 2010), and I’m now just over 178. With approximately 16 tomorrow, 6 on Monday, and 10 on Tuesday, I should finish the month with 210-miles completed.
- Cross Training – Since my legs have been feeling a little tight and beat-up lately, I spent about 20 minutes doing some easy leg stretching to get ready for tomorrow.
Log for August 25 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 6.5-Mile Track Workout – After having a few fall weather teases over the past couple of weeks, tonight Summer came back with a vengeance. I knew it was going to be bad, so I decided to try a trick I read about in a recent Runner’s World. One article suggested drinking a Slushie or Slurpie type drink within the hour leading up to a run to lower core body temps. So, on the way to our track workout tonight I stopped at Sonic and got a large, cherry Slushie and downed it before the warmup (more on this later).
At the time I began my warmup it was in the mid 90s with humidity through the roof. It felt like running through a bowl of hot soup. I had decided before the workout that I was going to try running as much of it as possible with my new forefoot stride. This was not a problem during the 2-mile warmup, and felt fantastic during our 6 x 100m stride outs. I actually felt really fast during strides, and wasn’t even in my top gear. That is very exciting! I can definitely tell that the forefoot stride allows for the potential to run much faster than my old heavy, heal-striking ways.
The workout tonight consisted of 3 sets of intervals with a mixture of longer and shorter repeats. Overall I was able to use the forefoot stride for just over half of my total miles tonight, but I still have a ways to go in developing enough strength in my lower legs to go further.
Through the first set I could definitely feel the heat and humidity, but felt very strong. I actually ran a little too hard during the first set for the weather conditions, and ended up paying the price. I could feel the heat radiating from my face, and knew I was getting close to being overheated.
For the second set, I slowed down slightly for the first interval, but still felt crummy. After that first interval I took a little extra recovery time to hydrate, and let the group go without me. I started about 30 seconds later, and though I still was not feeling great, I was able to run very consistent splits with the first set.
Before the start of the third set, I took one of my water bottles and dumped about half of it over my head. This felt fantastic, and revitalized me just a bit. I still felt rough, but kept my pace pretty consistent and finished strong. After our recovery lap, I again dumped water over my head and just walked for about 5 minutes. After those 5 minutes I was feeling MUCH better, and slowly jogged a couple of cool-down laps for a total of 6.5-miles.
I don’t want to overstate things, but I cannot remember a track workout where I felt worse than I did tonight. This has not been a great week so far, and I’m sure much of that has to do with the 20-miler we ran last Saturday. As for the pre-run Slushie…I would call that one a big FAT failure! Will be a while before I decide to try that again. Not saying that was the reason I felt so poor, but it definitely did not help.
Log for August 24 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 6.6-Mile Recovery Run – This morning, Paxton and I did our normal “Nature Center” loop backwards as a recovery run. My legs were feeling pretty beat up, but we kept the pace very relaxed. Slowly as the run progressed my legs started feeling better and better, and by the end we picked up the pace just slightly. As I always say, you know it was a good recovery run when your legs feel better at the end, than at the beginning. Mission Accomplished today.
- Cross Training – Because my legs have been feeling really beat-up and tired the last couple of days I decided to take the night off from cross training, and focus on rest. Gotta be ready for track tomorrow night, and a tough marathon workout on Saturday.
“Before the invention of a cushioned shoe, runners through the ages had identical form: Jesse Owens, Roger Bannister, Frank Shorter, and even Emil Zatopek all ran with back straight, knees bent, feet scratching back under their hips…” (from Born to Run)
Two days ago I finished the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s going to take me a while to process everything that was presented, but I know that I will never look at running the same way again. Even before I began the book, I already knew there were things about my form and footwear that needed to change. This book really solidified that thinking, but has also given me a whole host of other things to work my mind around.
“Back Straight? Check.
Knees bent and driving forward? Check.
Heels flicking back? … There’s your problem” (from Born to Run)
Something else it did was just make me want to go out and run. I suddenly wanted to be one of the Tarahumara that could run a marathon every day in hurache sandals through the Copper Canyons. I wanted to be Caballo Blanco or Barefoot Ted or Scott Jurek who can not only run for hours and hours and hours, but also seem to embrace the pure joy of running.
This book is a LOT of fun to read. It is fast paced. It is a good story. It has a compelling premise. I have a feeling this is one that I will read a number of times. This is the first Kindle book I’ve read where I’ve actually highlighted sections so I can go back and reference them when needed.
For those of you that have also read this book. What did you think? Do you buy the premise? Did it make you change anything about your running form? Your footwear? Your commitment?
Log for August 22 & 23 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 5.1-Mile Trail Run – It was really good to run with Nathan again. It seems like we haven’t run together in a long time. Along with Paxton, we did the Blue, Yellow, Orange & Candy-Cane trails in Edwin and Percy Warner parks. My legs felt really good considering the 20-miler on Saturday, and I even ran most of the route with the barefoot stride I’ve been practicing in my Saucony Hattoris. I’m starting to think about fully transitioning to this stride prior to the Chicago Marathon. May write a blog post dedicated to this transition soon.
- Cross Training – Tonight was P90X: Shoulders and Arms. I continue to use slightly less weight on the dumbbell exercises and put much more focus on form.
- 9-Mile Tempo Run – Today’s run was a solo effort through the streets of Belle Meade. I had hoped to average around 7:45 pace, but I just didn’t have it today plus it was very humid at 6am. Even though I felt pretty good during the trail run yesterday, my legs just didn’t respond this morning. I’m guessing this is still carryover from our 20-mile run on Saturday.
My pace through the first 7-miles was around 7:58. Since I wasn’t feeling great I decided to focus on stride and ended up doing about 40% of the run using the new barefoot stride that I’ve been working on using my Saucony Hattoris. This is beginning to feel more and more natural and I’m almost at the point where I feel like I can go faster with the new stride. By the time I finished mile 7, I finally started feeling better and did the last two miles in 7:35 and 7:06. This pushed my overall average down to 7:50. While I wasn’t thrilled with how I felt, I am happy to have finished strong and to have done so well with the forefoot stride.
- 1-Mile “Barefoot” Run – This little run was not planned, but I decided to do an easy mile when the opportunity presented itself. Today my wife Olivia went back for her 4-week follow-up after being diagnosed with tibial stress fractures in both legs. Her doctor told her that the healing had progressed to the point where should could begin walking 3 days a week. To get in her walk tonight we went to a little park down the street that has an asphalt track and a playground. Olivia walked the asphalt while I played with the kids on the playground. When she finished, we traded places and I did a mile on the track in my Hattori’s.
- Cross-Training – Tonight Olivia and I did P90X: Ab-Ripper X … BRING IT!!
I had already pretty much decided that I was gonna go with Saucony Kinvara’s for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. I actually still have one pair of the first Kinvara’s in the box that I have not yet used. However, a few days ago I saw that Saucony has released some new colors in the Kinvara 2, and I am now smitten with the new Red and Black model pictured below:
I know it would be more economical to go with the unused pair that I already own, but I am such a big fan of red, and these are SWEET!
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Log for August 19, 20, & 21 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 4-Mile “Barefoot” Run – It was unusual to have a full 24-hours of rest before my Friday “Barefoot” run in my Saucony Hattori’s. Normally I have track on Thursday night, but this week I had to run on Thursday morning due to an event at Kate’s school. Paxton and I did our normal 4-mile route through Bellevue at a very relaxed pace. I continue to gain confidence running in the Hattori’s, and am also more confident than ever in my decision to add “barefoot” running to my schedule with the information that I’m learning from the book Born to Run. As usual, Paxton and I commented that we felt better at the end than the beginning, which is the tell-tell sign of a good recovery run. Tomorrow is my first 20-miler of this training season, so I needed a good recovery run.
- 20-Mile Long Run – My goals today were simple: (1) Finish 20-miles (2) Spend 3 moving hours on my feet. On my 18-mile run two weeks ago, I spent 2 hours 45 minutes on my feet, and want to continue to push my aerobic threshold out past my marathon goal time of 3 hours 15 minutes.
There were 8 of us (Paxton, Marc, Jenny, Megan, Marti, Dawn and Lisa) that met out at Wave Country for a 20-mile long run along the Stones River Greenway. My morning did not start off great. I woke up late and was in such a hurry to get ready that I forgot to bring anything to refuel after the run. I did remember to grab a Cliff Bar, gels, Gatorade, and water on the way out, which was good. Unfortunately the heat and humidity has returned to Middle Tennessee, so hydration was going to be critical.
I’m grateful that the group waited on me even though I was 10-minutes late. With the frantic morning, it took me quite a while to get into a running groove. The pace for the first 5-miles was only around 9:30, but I still felt our of sync. We intersected with Ed and Judy around mile 2, and they joined us for a significant portion of the run.
At the 5-mile mark I had to run over to Jack-in-the-Box for an unplanned pit-stop, so I told the group to go on without me. I knew the planned route included a couple of out-and-back segments, so I was confident I could intersect with them pretty quickly. After the pit-stop, I subconsciously picked up my pace to around 8:45 and slowly started getting faster and feeling better. As I ran down the first out-and-back segment, I expected to see my group, but made it all the way to the end and they were nowhere in sight.
Through what turned out to be weird timing, I continued to miss them until I was running my 12th mile. As I approached Percy Priest Dam on miles 9 and 10 I really started feeling better, and after turning around at the Dam I felt fantastic. I finally saw my group on the second out-and-back, but they were running in the opposite direction. I wanted to turn and run with them, but I really needed some water, and there was a fountain at the end of the out-and-back, so I kept going.
Paxton broke off from the group and started running with me, which I am very grateful for. After getting some much needed water, Paxton and I started pushing the pace all the way through mile 15. We got some more water at 15 (and a gel), and then kept going. We kept the pace around 8:30 for the next couple of miles before getting back into a very hilly section.
I continued to feel pretty good through mile 18, but I could tell that Paxton was beginning to really feel it. This was not surprising since he had run that entire distance with no Gatorade or gels. I’m really not sure how he made it that far. For the rest of the run I either waited for him at the top of the hills while he walked up, or walked with him up the hills. When I got back to Wave Country I was right at 20-miles, and even though I walked up two significant hills with Paxton, my overall pace was still 8:50. This was actually faster than I wanted to run because that was only 2 hours 57 minutes on my feet.
This was by far the best I’ve felt on a long run this season, and actually felt much worse after I stopped. It was almost like my body was in shock. I started taking in as much fluid as I could and resisted the urge to lay down in the grass and kept moving. After about 10 minutes I started feeling lots better, and was very thankful that Paxton had brought an extra banana since I forgot to bring any of my recovery bars.
When I got home I took a 20-minute ice bath because my legs felt really beat up. I’m not sure which is more painful, the final 2-minutes of a 20-mile run, or the first 2 minutes of an immersion ice bath.
Overall this was a very successful long run. Felt great in spite of the heat, humidity, and frantic start to the day. Lots of confidence gained today.
- Rest Day – As usual, Sunday is my rest day. My legs feel pretty good today after the 20-miler yesterday. This was another good training week. My mileage was just under 50-miles (48.7), which is slightly less than planned, but they were still quality miles. I’m at 146-miles for the month, and am pushing to try and get in 200+ miles for the month of August.