17 February 2010


Another week with indoor quarter mile intervals. It's so consistent that now it's comical ... mid-week, the sun comes out, it warms a bit, and the track at Wheaton College emerges from the snow. Early in the week, or over the weekend, snow and ice, and on Wednesday (my interval day) - no outdoor track! Oh well ... Now as I begin Week 8, the last week of Phase One/Endurance, I am again looking at my interval workout inside. This week, 16x400. Game face ... on.

Last week it was to be 16, but I shot for 14. And lost track in the shooting. I did 6x400 on the indoor track (a brutal 12/mile oval, flat, with carpet over concrete), then moved to a vacated treadmill. Where I think I did an additional 8x400. The time works out for that to be the case.

But my big change in Week 7 was to change over my long run expectations. Dave Kuehls's training program (4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon) had me facing a 17-mile run this past Saturday. A goal I wasn't close to, especially since I failed to hit his proposed 13-mile run about a month ago. Well, since then I have reached 13, and lived to tell about it. But as I talked with others, and did some online research, I decided this past week that I will adopt Hal Higdon's long run goals. That meant a 12-mile run this past Saturday. To take the "sting" out of "wimping out" I did 12.2.

Also this week, I had my first complete physical in a couple of years. The surprise was when Dr. said they would do an EKG. I'm sure that was because of this whole training and press toward the Big Sur. That sort of thing is always interesting. But I was bowled over to learn that my resting heart rate is 47bpm. Wow! I've never thought of myself as athletic, but almost this persuades me I could be.

07 February 2010

Half Way?

Week 5 ended last Saturday, with a pleasant sunny (though cold) run with "Coach Rich." Week 5 is sort of recovery week, with 6x400 intervals and an 8-mile run. I left for work on Wednesday without checking my running diary, and did 8 quarter miles instead of 6. But - again (sigh) the workout was on the treadmill, so it might as well be longer. The Saturday run was to be 8 miles. But since I fell short the previous Saturday, and Rich was willing to run with me, I thought I'd go the distance with him.

The distance proposed was the Cream of Wheaton 10K route, twice. 20 kilometers, or just over a half-marathon. I arrived at our meeting spot on time, and as I was pulling on some cold weather gear, realized I hadn't brought good running shoes. In fact, the sneakers I had on I had never run in, and have been using them for at least 2 years as yard/garden shoes. How does one forget the shoes? (To be fair, I've forgotten cycling shoes more than once, when driving to a remote start...)

I decided to give it a shot. If the knee, ankles, etc. started to hurt, I'd just call it a lost weekend, and walk back to the car. But the shoes held up, the body held up, and we did the first 5k pretty well. It was into the 2nd part of the 10k loop that I realized I hadn't taken my exercise asthma inhaler.

I've had exercise-induced asthma for something like 5 years. Easily controlled by a couple of puffs before strenuous exercise, it hasn't been a problem. Then almost 3 years ago I was diagnosed with full-bore bone fide asthma, not apparently seasonal, but also not really fatal. I take 2 asthma meds twice per day, and still use the Albuterol when I exercise. And it's all OK.

But there I was, pressing mile 4 or 5 and thinking: OK, so I forgot this thing, and I have the wrong shoes. But I feel OK, and it's a nice day, a good pace, and I'm with The Coach. However, as we circled back to the start of the frist 10k, I thought ... no, this probably isn't a good idea. I wasn't feeling bad, just cautious. We did the first 5k loop again, and I decided to call it a day and not press my luck. Better safe than sorry. Ended up with 9 miles at an 8:45 pace.

This week (number 6) I pressed ahead in each area, only I again did not remember the goal for the interval workout, and put in only 12 (called for 14). But I did them fast, on a sharper incline, and combined a couple into half-mile efforts. My first "cross" day I missed altogether - all told, not a bad record that only in week 6 has "life" interfered with "training"! To compensate ... and, really, to just be on a bike again ... I put in nearly 2 hours on the bike trainer. That was nice, and reminded me of my first love.

Yesterday I ended week 6 with a successful go at the run I attempted 2 weeks ago. Finished 13.1 miles in 1 hour 57 minutes, for a pace (I think) of 8:54. Broken down thus:
Miles 1 - 3 (laps in my neighborhood) - 9:20 pace
Miles 4 - 5 (adjacent neighborhood) - 9:00 pace
Miles 6 - 11 (2 other contiguous neighborhoods) - about 8:37 pace
Final miles (back in the neighborhood) - 9:30 pace

A bit of, some espresso, a little housework, and a short walk with the dog before bed. And this morning, good to go.

It's literally a half-marathon, but I have no illusions that I am really "half way" to being ready for the Big Sur. Onward!