Tag Archives: fac

6 day streak

Today is a rest day.

I planned two a week into my training plan, but last week, on Thursday, it was just too beautiful out to skip a run, so I did a quick, easy 3 (and almost got rewarded with a pelting from a water balloon).  As a result, I ran every day for the last 6 days, covering 26 miles total. Continuing the streak is tempting, but I am going to break it, more out of superstition than fitness needs. 

I think that based on my running pace hovering around 10:30 on long runs (my EZ & LSD runs are at about that pace) I should be well able to hit my Goal #2 on the 25th when I strap up and head out for my 10k Solstice Run.

I had some running adventures during this six day stretch, starting with the water balloon incident. Friday was the wettest run I’ve been on, even including the puddle-tastic ‘dry run’ for my half marathon. It was pouring from the minute I stepped away from my car, but honestly once I was soaked through, it didn’t really bug me at all. What did bug me is running a 30:05 5k! C’mon! 5 seconds faster and it’s awesome bragworthy stuff, 2s faster is a satisfyingly nerdy palindrome, but 30:05 is just laaaame.

On my 10 mile run this Sunday, I completely forgot that the 10 mile route I planned during my half marathon training was a 12 mile route with a warmup and cooldown that were way too long. Still, with 4.5 miles through a metro park, and familiar terrain the whole way, it was a good run. At mile 8 I tried out some Hammer Gel in place of one of my normal Gu packets. The Hammer Gel was different, more fruity and less sugary. The ‘raspberry puree’ listed on the ingredients (as opposed to the completely chemical approach on the Gu ingredient list) was actually really noticeable. Stupid problem to have though; I couldn’t figure out where to tear the package at first, because of the cutesy ‘hammer-shaped’ top. With Gu it feels very utilarian; tear at the thin part, squeeze in mouth. Hammer was a bit harder to stuff into my mouth, and made a bigger mess on my hands.

Since I was a mile over distance, and we had friends coming over, Steph picked me up at mile 11. My camelbak was nearly empty, which means I drank ~70oz in two hours. Given that this wasn’t the hottest day I’m likely to run on, this has inspired me to start considering what the *right* rate of fluid intake is.

Overall, I really enjoyed the 6 day streak, and it feels good to be back to running all the time, with a plan, versus the more free form runs I had in my recovery from Pittsgburgh and my vacation. We’re heading on vacation again in a couple weeks (for the 4th of July holiday week) but I think I’ll have my Speedwork Summer plan more fully formed, and hopefully be training for a 5k by that time.

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A weekend of running

I have two runs to talk about, each of them really great, with high highs and not very bad lows. But they are completely different, two vastly different endpoints of the same long road.

Friday, I ran 5 miles. I’m still a bit unbelieving that my ‘twice a week’ run is now a distance I once called a long training run, and wanted to emphasize that by running one of my old routes. I would start out at the RAC after work, and run home, just about exactly 5 miles door-to-door. 

Or I would have, if I hadn’t gotten the following text message at 3:45pm

Weather for Fri, 04/15:Partly Cloudy  and  Windy, and 53 &deg; F. Start run @4:30. Text time to <e-mail redacted> CU@Falls.

Oh, son of crap I forgot my weekly 5k! It starts in 45 minutes! I frantically texted my (beautiful, wonderful, supportive) wife, and she offered to leave work early (knowing she’d have to make up the time working at home) and drop off my running gear.

She pulled up at 4:20 or so, and I *hurled* myself into my clothes in a restroom, and dumped my bag in her trunk, and took off running right from the front door of my building. She had an MMA class starting at 6pm, so I have 1 hour, meaning that I had to be economical with my time (5 miles in an hour is about my ‘slow run’ pace.) so I resolved to run the 5 miles as a warmup run to Fallsports, the FAC 5k, and then tack on whatever I needed to get to 5miles.

The warmup was definitely a brisk warmup, somewhere in the 10:30 pace for the less-than-a-mile out to Fallsports. It was a cold, somewhat blustery day (though nowhere near as windy as my 10 miles, Sunday!). The extra motivation of trying to keep Steph on schedule, along with the naturally motivating feel of this little weekly ‘race’, was enough that I pounded out each successive mile faster and faster. Each lap of Shemansky Park was burned though in what felt, previously, like an unachieveble time. My 5k time was 30:43, a pace of 9:53.

I was elated.  I stopped to breathe, thinking I would run out my remaining ~1.25 miles at a nice slow pace along the neighborhood streets, and just  bask in that great 5k time, maybe mentally plan out a 5k race to run to get that PR ‘officially’ on the books. But as I stopped to breathe, my coworker Mahmoud came up behind me, on his last lap, on pace to do a 25 min 5k! I ran alongside him, rather than taking my planned breather, and ran that lap faster than the ones before it. And then, instead of wandering off at the end of that lap, he hung in another lap to motivate me, and that resulted in my last mile being just as fast as the previous 4. When I ran up to the car in the CVS parking lot, drenched in sweat and breathing hard, I saw that the overall pace for the 5 miles had been 9:54.  I had just run 5 miles in < 50 minutes.

I knew immediately that I probably shouldn’t have done it. My legs didn’t hurt, and my body felt fine, but there’s some kind of fail-safe deep in the system somewhere that was throwing switches and declaring maintenance operations to begin. I sat in the gym during Stephanie’s MMA class, relaxing at one of the tables, and I thought about my 10 mile run, about what I’d heard about the importance of recovery time, and all the things I had learned second hand. I wondered if I was going to learn some of it first hand when I woke up on Sunday and tried to repeat my double digit run from last week.

Saturday flew by, and my legs seemed to recover.

I was excited for my 10 mile run, and got outside with fewer psychological games than in the 9 mile weeks. It was a very windy day here in the Midwest, with constant winds out of the west of 20mph and gusts up to 30mph, so I did the sensible thing and ran as much as I could in the shelter of the trees of the Lower Huron Metropark. Dressed more like I had for a winter run, I felt a little pang of ‘backsliding’ as I set out the door, but I never felt the urge to swap out my pullover for the pair of armwarmers I packed into the bag.

Last week when I ran 10, it was 5 out, and 5 back, with no real warm up and cooldown. The garmin measured a 10.77 course, some of which was building interference error, and some of it was correcting for lost time under multi-level streets. But I certainly didn’t tack on my customary 1-1.5 miles of warmup/cooldown. Sunday, I did more than that. Half mile to the front of my neighborhood, and that planned route through the metro park would end at least ~1.25 miles from home. The warmup felt right as rain, though I think I’m starting to feel the age of my shoes (they’re past the 250mile and up at the 300mile mark!).  The wind pushed me out and up along my course, on the busy streets to the Metropark. During the 4 mile stretch through the park that wind was basically was mitigated by the trees and the riverside setting of the Lower Huron course. As I exited the park down at the bottom, I felt a sense of exhiliration; I had never run this far through this park. I had run 7 miles once inside the park, but I had been dropped off right at the entrance. Running the whole length of the park after making it to the entrance, I was eager to run the road outside and head back home. That 10 mile route was something I once plotted on a map looking for something longer than 3 miles, and laughed breezily at, thinking I would never do.

The run up Haggerty was north and slightly west, and the wind was pushing hard against me. A few times I jumped off the road long enough to let a car pass rather than risk being blown into their path. I had my third and final gu at mile 8, and put my head into that wind for another double digit finish. I maintained an 11:00 pace for the whole run, struggling against the wind, but never stopping or taking a break during the 10 mile route.

When that 10 miles was over, on the other hand, my tired legs and fighting against the wind conspired to make it a very long trip back to the house. Where previously I have run most of the cooldown, Sunday I estimate I ran half of it. The headwind heading west was actually enough to stop me dead in my tracks once or twice. I flopped in the door and had some solid food and a glass of milk.

I’m amazed how different these two runs are, how my body reacted to them, and how it feels to have them behind me. I’m proud of both of these runs, and both of them were successful. The speed of the Friday run is not something I intend to repeat until after my half marathon, but it was elating to feel myself move that fast. And the 10 mile run, even with the hard finish, was a big confidence booster; I only have 2 more long runs, and if the worst result I have is that it gets hard after I stop my course, I’ll take it! 

In just a few weeks I expect myself to run 13.1 miles, and with the training of the next two weeks, and a nice responsible taper for the two weeks after that, I think I will have all the energy and motivation I need to do it.

26 days to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

My WWWP5k!

Don all done with the WWWP5kMy half marathon plan called for a 40 min cross train last night, but I jumped on a train to Chicago at noon Friday, which meant I’d have missed my 4.5 mile run. And there was no way I was going to give up miles on the road for minutes on the stationary bike, while I have healthy, happy legs and a desire to run. My Friday run is with a bunch of coworkers who call themselves the Fallsports Athletic Club (Fallsports is a bar near my office) and run a 5k every Friday, and, like any bunch of engineers would, have a website that responds to text messages and tells us if there’s a cancellation, allows us to record our targets, and our times.
So, since I couldn’t run with my coworkers, I decided to run with the office crew from Automattic. That’s right, instead of the Fallsports Athletic Club 5k, I did the WorldWide WordPress 5k.
With my coworkers, I do the first part of my Friday training run as a 5k, and report the time. I figured the folks at Automattic wouldn’t mind me keeping up with my training regimen while I joined in on the fun, so I resolved to do the same thing, with the additional logistical restrictions of having to provide some photos, rather than just text messaging my time to WordPress and calling it a day!
Of course after planning the whole thing out, I left my camera in my car with my gear, so I only got photos at the end of 4.5 miles. But through the miracle of Google, I give you, the AUGMENTED REALITY WWW5PK/FAC 5k/4.5mile training run!

I set off from the start line (that empty Angelo’s Pizza is now a tasty hot dog/reuben place that I would eat at if I weren’t running 5k’s to pay penance for all the hot dogs and reubens I’d eaten in the first place.) and I was all alone, running along the road on a cool Thursday evening. Dearborn, like most of Michigan, isn’t particularly pedestrian friendly, that’s no surprise that I didn’t pass any other walkers or runners on my way to Shemansky Park.

Shemansky Park is just a small neighborhood park, a triangular patch of grass right near Ford’s Development Center. (I swear, the little brick sign that’s there is nicer than my rendition of it, but apparently hasn’t been there long enough for Google Street View to catch a shot.) It’s a ~0.46mi loop, and the run to get to it is just a bit more than that, so 5.5 laps of the park finishes off our weekly 5k, and for me that day, finished off the WWWP5k!
WWWP5k Finish Time ShotI didn’t have a camera with me on the run, so I kept a second watch with me to take the obligatory finish time photograph! 34:30 is a slow 5k compared to my recent runs, but ITotally Cliche Garmin Photo was nursing a hamstring that wasn’t perfect after Sunday’s 9 miles. Once I finished the 5k I tacked on an extra lap and then ran the route back to my car, which got me to my training goal. The whole thing was done in 49:30, making for a very respectable 10:55 pace on this Thursday.

And even though it didn’t have any of the company of my fellow runners, I’m looking forward to opening up the WWWP5k tag once I get this posted, and reading about the ‘race’ we all ran together. Congrats to all the finishers, fast, slow, and in between.