Sunday, March 29, 2009

The 2009 Shamrock Shovel

That line is courtesy of Tiffany. The 30th annual Shamrock Shuffle happened to be my first. My string of terrible weather for races triumphantly continued. The course was very slushy and slick. It was also snowing for much of the race and there were some pretty big wind gusts from time to time. There were times where I felt like I was going to slip and fall running over the bridges and when I'd step on some wet manholes. On other parts of the course, I was constantly getting slush splattered against me if someone was running next to me. I wore my Nike LunaRacers, which most likely was mistake. More on that later though.

I took the L down to the race. Here's a shot out of the window as we went over the river.

I was able to meet up with my friends Walter and Rich before the race in the A Corral.

It was very nice shooting the breeze with these two guys. It was kind of strange, because Walter and I stood in nearly the same spot a just a few months prior for the Chicago Marathon. The only difference was the weather. It was in the 80s that day. It was in the 30s and snowing today. Nice.
Here's a shot of the start line:

I think all of us had frozen feet before the race started. The corral and the first half mile or so were pretty ugly. My heart monitor was sliding down my chest for some reason the first mile, so my HR numbers are a little out of whack. I also forgot to turn off my auto lap, so the five mile race turned out to be 5.24 miles for me. Here are your Garmin splits:
Mile 1- 6:57 - Average 130HR? No way
Mile 2- 6:16 - 176HR
Mile 3- 5:35 - 183HR
Mile 4- 6:31 - 181HR
Mile 5- 6:33 - 181HR
Bonus .24 - 1:34 - 187HR
I did hit a max of 205 sometime in Mile 2. Take away the first mile and my average HR was a 182. My official time was 33:30, good for a 6:42. My watch was a second off the official time, but said I ran at a 6:23 pace for my 5.24 miles.

All in all, I am pleased with the race. My shoe choice was not the greatest. By the end of the race, all of the slush and snow made the top of the back of the shoe rub against my achilles tendon area pretty bad. These LunaRacers have a reputation for doing this. It didn't happen to me until today for some reason. I took a look at it once I got back on the train and it looked a little raw.

Walter finished in 32:19 and Rich came in at 33:52. It's a good start to the 2009 racing season and I'm glad to get this race in the books. Here's a shot of the skyline as I was walking back to the L on my way home. My apologies for my glove getting the way of the top of the picture - I was a little cold.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Slicing it up Differently

I was looking at my Garmin training log earlier today. Several weeks ago, I had mentioned I was using both Garmin Training Center and SportTracks to log my running. My running week has always been Monday-Sunday, so I lean on SportTracks to give me my weekly mileage. Garmin goes Sunday-Saturday, so there are some differences between the two.

Here's my point: according to my Garmin log, the last three weeks have been seen totals of 29.24, 34.27 and 37.28. me anyway. It does make me feel a little better to see that 37 mile week in there as opposed to the 28 I put up. Unfortunately, I don't think it's the wisest move to be going back and forth when it's convenient for me when my running ego needs a boost. I'll stick with traditional Monday- Sunday week and know that I am inching closer to getting back up to 40 miles in a seven day stretch.

I have 15 miles in the books for the week entering today. If I can get 15-20 in before Sunday, I'll be feeling good entering April. I am currently sitting at 116 miles for March, so I'll be shooting to top 150 miles for the first time since September. Baby steps.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ramping Up

I have been trying to ramp up my mileage over the last 6-8 weeks. It's kind of working. I have averaged running about five days a week and have just now crept into the 30s for three weeks now. But I am still struggling with the juggling of everything. But everything I have signed up for I have chosen to do so, so I really can't complain. It's about making things work and sometimes sacrificing things when they don't. I was at 28.5 miles for the week heading into Sunday. Should have been a slam dunk for my goal for the week of 37. I have been logging about 20 miles total on the weekends recently and already had 13 in the books from Saturday. Well, the run yesterday didn't happen at all. We had to leave the house by 9:30 and I had entertained the idea of getting out of bed at 6:oo to make it happen. I didn't get to bed until 3, so that would have been a 3 hours of sleep for the night, so I opted for the 4th hour of sleep. We didn't get home until 8 PM, so I bagged it. 28.5 for the week. Oh well. I am not specifically training for anything. Just have the lingering thought of not hitting my goal for the week...and hoping I can figure this out by the time June rolls around. I guess if three and four hour nights are in the future on my weekends, so be it. I think that may have to part of the sacrifice. Time will tell.

The Shamrock Shuffle is this Sunday, so I may try to front load the week, have an easy Saturday and then run my ass off with 25,000 of my closest friends on Sunday morning. I have no expectations for the race. I have never run an 8K before, so I am guaranteed a personal record. I am looking forward to seeing both Walter and Rich, a couple of my friends who are running the shuffle. I may try to bring the backup digital camera (the one that Tiffany dunked into a margarita a couple summers ago) and take a few photos to post.

Because my running has been more consistent the past 6 weeks, I have started to see some gains with general ease of holding a decent pace as well as running farther and faster at a lower heart rate. I'll share some more of these details as we get into training and I have more numbers to work with.

Lastly, I'll try to update this weekly as we get closer to June. I may just pick a day and have a weekly post until training starts. Or maybe not. Come back and check.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Catching Up on a Few Things

Back-to-back 60 degree days in the first week of March in Chicago? Am I drunk? I was able to get out for a little over 7 yesterday. Today may be a little tougher unless I go out late tonight. It's unfortunate because I may not see this weather again until mid-April. Oh well. Such are the struggles of balancing life.

One of my running friends told me that life would become much more of a delicate balance and something (blogging?) would get a little less attention with a newborn. It could be a that your house is a little less clean, you don't run as much as you hoped or something else that you used to have so much free time for suddenly gets pushed aside. He was definitely right. I have have taken what I think it is a conservative approach to rebuilding my mileage. I averaged running somewhere in the 20 miles per week range for February. I'll bump that to the 30s for March, which will include the Shamrock Shuffle at the end of the month. April will hopefully see the low 40s and I'll get up in the upper 40s to mid-50s in May. The first week of June will be a nice relaxing week that will consist of whatever I feel like before I start the 18 week training program for Chicago in October. As of right now, I am thinking of following Pfitz 18/70 program.

I feel like I have learned so much in the last 6 months...notably, how to train correctly. I think I can challenge my body to run 6 days a week. I think I last tried running 5-6 days a week in 2005. I decided it wasn't for me and pretty much followed a 4-5 day a week plan in every marathon training program since then. I had a 6 day week in September of 2008 and felt okay. I think it's time to step up to the big leagues and crush my PR of 3:29. I am also staying consistent with my non-training running and will not have to run my self into shape the first 4 weeks of training like I have done the past couple years. Lastly, I am actually going to slow down some of my long runs and have real recovery runs, instead of constantly beating up my body like I have done in years past. Can you hear the hope in my words? I think I am ready to use this knowledge get out there and have the best marathon of my life in October.

Hmmm...I was debating if I should share this, but what the hell. The other day a "friend" and I were talking and I mentioned my daughter's belly was coming in as she gets bigger. He says, "Just like her daddy." Are you kidding me? This guy is not the picture of good health. His exercise is taking the dog for a short walk and quite a few 12 ounce curls on the weekends. He probably is 6'1" and weighs a good 210. Maybe 220. And does he have a belly on him. He often speaks of his ability to eat several pieces of fried chicken, a burger and a gyro in one sitting. Jackass.

I checked in at 177 again early this week. And that was after a Sunday night where I ate enough saganaki to feed a small Greek village. I think I am probably a little lighter than that as I am now on the last hole of my belt.

Yes, I did say I am running the Shamrock Shuffle. I have avoided the annual spring 8K every year until this year. With a little urging from a friend, I used my 10K time to get into the A Corral. He suggested we could push each other to solid times. I think he'll be blowing by me though, as he logged a mere 70 miles last week. The idea of 30,000 or so running 5 miles never really appealed to me. I guess if I don't have to run through 28,000 of them, it shouldn't be too bad. Plus, it fits in with the goal of running more races this year.

I'll leave you with this-
I have realized that if I have a free hour or two, I may as well just go out and run. Sometimes Mother Nature isn't as cooperative, but you do what you gotta do. I went out for 11 on Sunday in a windy 20 degree snow fest. It wasn't really a snow storm, but it was a little rough, especially the first 5.5 miles running into the wind. I took a picture of myself with my phone at the turn-around point. I could feel my facial hair freezing. Here's the shot:

And I didn't even have a full beard. I had a goatee, but the rest was just a couple days worth of stubble. It actually turned out to be an enjoyable run, despite the frozen face.