Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aug 24: Longford Marathon - Ireland

It was mid Sunday morning and I found myself watching the rolling green Irish landscape flash by inbetween small naps stolen from the seat of the bus taking myself, Jennie, my sister and my brother-in-law from Dublin to Longford - about 2 hours west. I looked at the others with me and saw that they were doing the same - we were all, no doubt, a little tired from the day before spent sightseeing (i.e. beer tasting) in Dublin and the early morning required to catch this bus. I dozed off again with fresh memories of the events that brought me to this particular trip.

About 20 weeks ago it was time to draft up another training schedule for yet another marathon. The marathon in the crosshairs this time is none other than the world record course - Berlin. The final training schedule was derived from my favorite passages in the bible (aka Daniels' Running Formula) and consultation with my running partner back in Houston. As a side note, I used to call my "running partner" back in Houston my "running buddy" but I have decided that no "buddy" would ever suggest some of the sick, sick workouts he has suggested to another "buddy". One such suggestion from my running partner was to run 24 miles for our long runs, in which we have 2 scheduled for Berlin. Like most things suggested between "buddys" (remember that before this training started that he was still my buddy) this suggestion seemed like a good idea at the time!

A sudden jolt from the bus awoke me from my slumber. It was 9:50am - we were almost at Longford. I had decided to run my first 24 miler within a marathon - this way I was gauranteed a supported route and a mental break from running loop after loop over my usual running routes back in Paris. The Longford marathon was choosen because it was close and fell on the date pre-determined in our training schedule.

I arrived in Ireland a day earlier to meet up with my family and to explore Dublin. We started the day taking a bus tour around Dublin. Making notes along the way as to where we would like to retourn. Once we reached the Guiness brewery, however, no notes were required - all that was required was an immediate disembarkment (plus it was just starting to rain and we were on the top of the uncovered bus!).

Here is Michelle, Jamie, and Jennie being the cool kids and sitting in the back of the bus in Dublin town.

The Guinness brewery tour was really interesting. It took several hours before we found ourselves at the end of the tour in the Gravity Bar (the highest bar in Ireland) enjoying a sweet, sweet mixture of hops, barely, water, and brewer's yeast. I figured that with my long run planned for the next day that a few pints of Guinness would be perfect carb loading. Or, perhaps I am just a sucker for advertisement and was convinced by the statements made in Guinness's first Newspaper advertisement (shown below). The statement that "Guinness builds strong muscles" had me asking for more!

Similar advertising continues to this day on the streets of Dublin!

10 million pints of Guinness are drunk everyday - here Jennie and I are in the Gravity Bar making our contribution to that total!
In fact, doctors used to prescribe Guinness to their patients! Knowing that it was "just what the doctor ordered" we continued to a local pub called Ryan's for more! There I ate beef-stew...a typical pre-race!
Back on the bus, we had finally arrived at this sleepy Irish town called Longford (population ~ 9000). With only 45 minutes to go before race time I started to get concerned of whether or not my dietary choices from the day before would affect my running. Or more importantly, what about my dietary choices this morning? With nothing open for breakfast (and me just not not taking this run seriously I neglated to pack anything) I was able to find some high octane fuel in the form of an egg 'n cheese McMuffin and a Snickers bar. Now, if an Egg 'n Cheese McMuffin can sit under those heat lamps for months without changing or going bad, it makes you wonder just what kind of acid one needs in their stomach to break them down. Maybe I should have a banana too so I at least feel like I am doing something right?!

Jennie and I eating the breakfast of Champions...I'm lovin' it!
After getting my bib and working my way into the crowd packed tighter than a sardine can the gun sounded and we were off (and here in Europe the smell is generally the same as a can of sardines as well)! The plan - just run 7:15-7:30 pace and repeat (26 times to be exact).
I started off trying to run at this pace and was, generally, successful. It was quite fun - just running and soaking it all in. With each passing mile I just kept feeling better and better so I decided that just as long as I could chat with whoever was running beside me, then my effort level was probably ok. The problem with this strategy was when I started running next to a big Polish guy who, apparently, had the same strategy...boy, people like us are really annoying! After trying repeatedly to get him to go ahead of me (instead of running me into the ditch), I decided to pick up the pace and to just get on with this run.
Now, if I may take a second, one of the main reasons that I never really got into blogging (until recently) was that I was always impressed by reading other people's blogs with their detailed (step-by-step) accounts of their races. I often wonder, "How in the heck do they remember all that stuff? How can they tell the difference between what happened at mile 9 and mile 11?". So, not trying to be someone I am not, here is my race summary:
11am - Race start
11am - 2:04:40pm - Some heavy rain, annoying Polish guy, a neat town called Roosky, a spectular trail along a lake, a decision to accelerate while still keeping the effort level low.
2:04:40 pm - Race (for me) finish
And all of that, occured somewhere along this path! The start (Longford) is in the bottom right; Roosky is the northern most point; and yes, it was basically a route all through the countryside.
Here I am at the finish.

It don't mean a thing if ya ain't got that and my medal!
My splits were as follows:
1-5: 7:06, 7:05, 7:18, 7:23, 7:25 (36:19)
6-10: 7:14, 7:08, 7:10, 7:09, 7:13 (35:55)
11-15: 7:11, 7:10, 7:05, 7:06, 7:02 (35:34)
16-20: 7:00, 6:58, 6:52, 6:46, 6:52, 6:56 (34:31)
20-25: 6:56, 6:58, 6:52, 6:46, 6:43 (34:17)
26 - 26.2: 6:36, 1:23 (7:59)
Total chip time: 3:04:40
For those of you more visually inclined, here is my HR and Pace chart. My HR was very well controlled until I decided to pick up the pace a little around mile 14. After that, it was just a steady incline up. This is another great reminder for me as to why negative splits (if you can plan it) is the way to go - you minimize the time your body has to spend working!
This chart is my pace shown relative to my overall average pace.
My marathon PR is 3:04:38 (Mobile, Alabama) - this marathon was just 2 seconds slower! I am not at all bothered by that - PR'ing was not an objective of this workout. Sure, perhaps I ran this training run a little harder than I should have, but I am blame Guinness!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aug. 24: Guinness Makes You Stronger

So, it was Sunday morning and my schedule called for a 24 mile run. Instead, I decided to run 26.2. I ran it in 3:04:44. The lovely people in Longford, Ireland even decided to give me a medal when I was done! I was quite pleased as the run felt great the entire time and I was able to manage the second half approx. 7-8 minutes faster than the first half. Splits and HR to follow to be included in the race report!

A full 'race' report will follow - just remember that Guiness DOES make you stronger! I am currently in the south of France for training. (And wouldn't you know I managed to plan this training to be located immediately adjacent to a 400m track!!) Speaking of which, JD could you please send me the Q workouts for this week (actually I just need the shorter one)?

Sorry for the quick post - internet time is limited this week...but I am still running!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aug 21: Nuttin' Doin'

Be warned - this post is lame. Work is busy, I am packing for Ireland (leave tomorrow after work for the weekend), and am watching How I met your Mother on DVD (love it!). Actually, I wish I were doing all those productive things - as usual I am procrastinating my packing (I hate packing).

I did manage to squeeze 6.25 miles of chill running after work at an average pace of 7:17 min/mile. That puts me at 36 miles so far for the week...exactly where I need to be! I hope to squeeze in the extra few miles in and around my Guiness brewery tour (in which I already have my tickets purchased for!) and any other shinanagans I might get myself into this weekend!

Maybe next blog I will report that I have found a pot o' gold...stay tuned!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aug 18 - 20: Back to Paris!

After a great long weekend in England, I left Jennie behind on the island and came back to Paris (someone has to pay the bills...booooooo!). be back in the land where people live of stimulants. In England it seems to me that the general population all could be on a rugby team...generally, everyone appeared stalky and rugged -all from good stalk! Now I am back here in Paris, where everyone appears anorexic and super skinny - I think the daily meals consists of a coffee for breakfast, a cigarette for lunch, and sex for dinner!

This week is my last 60 mile week (sucre!). It has been a good start so far - Monday and Tuesday were both easy runs, each one about 8.2 miles long (with an average of 4.5 trannies seen each night!). Tonight was another AWESOME threshold run (note the heavy sarcasm, yet the subtle tone of excitement that I am now done and writing about it!). Todays run was one of those sweet ones where I get to do 2x20 minutes of threshold (again, note heavy sarcasm).

Here is what happened:

2.5 mile warmup (7:33 min/mile)
3.25 miles threshold (5:59, 5:55, 5:54, 1:30 (400m))
2.5 miles (7:24 min/mile)
3.25 miles threshold (6:00, 5:55, 5:53, 1:28 (400m))
1.75 miles cooldown (7:22 min/mile)
As usual, my HR and pace are plotted below. This run felt great throughout, which reminded me - we are now in Phase IV of Jack's training schedule...I guess if I am going to start hitting a groove, now would be the time (Perhaps this is what Jack intended!!).
Keep it real dudes!

Aug 17: Wimbledon Track Workout

Today was the last day of my training week and I still had to do my quality Threshold workout so that meant only one thing - time to go to the track in Wimbledon that my beau-frere researched for me prior to my arrival and lay down some sweet, sweet threshold miles! It was pretty cool - check out where the track was below. Just to the left is the Wimbledon tennis courts.

So, feeling inspired by all the great things that have occured just next to the track I started trotting around and getting fired up! It was extra inspirational since my sister, beau-frere, and Jennie were hanging out track side (yes, going on vacation with me means you get to spend some sweet, sweet time checking out the local tracks...maybe it is a good thing that I got into this whole running thing AFTER getting married!)

I was pretty excited to run, but my pacing was ALL over the place. The whole idea of going to a track for these workouts is to nail your pace and to keep it consistent. I definitely was not consistent, but getting a track workout during vacation kept a smile on my face the entire time! The workout unravelled like so (the general theme is one of excitement at the beginning of each interval followed by boredom!):

Warmup: 2.02 miles (7:09 min/mile)
Threshold (reported as cumulative miles):
1. 5:58 min
1.5: 3:01
400m recovery: 1:52 min

2.5: 5:53 min
3: 3:02 min
400m recovery: 1:53 min

4: 5:51 min
4.5: 3:04 min
400m recovery: 1:53 min

5.5: 5:55 min
6.25: 4:31 min

2 mile recovery (7:20 min/mile)

This is the graphical representation.

After the workout, we were all leaving the track when 2 other guys were walking up and starting to get ready for their workout. I said hello and they both said hello back and I kept walking. My brother-in-law asked me, "Do you know who that was?!" I said, "Nope". It turns out, it was a Great Britain tennis star, Andy Murray, who had just been eliminated from the Olympics a few days earlier. My sister told me that I should go back and run a few laps with him...I decided against it - I thought that the poor guy is probably still feeling bad from losing out at the Olympics let alone having some no-name whoop him on the track!!! LOL

Total Weekly Miles: 43.24 miles (Goal: 42 miles - goal achieved!)


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aug 14 - Aug 17: England: Day 4

Today was the much anticipated woman's Olympic Marathon. I would not let myself leave my sister's and beau-freres place until I watched it on TiVo. The English like to post the current news updates (i.e. as it happens) on chalk boards outside their news stands. As new news rolls in, they update their boards accordingly with big catchy phrases so that the casual passerby is compelled to buy the lastest news edition. A since Paula Radcliffe is a pretty big deal in Great Britain and the marathon community (I guess that is what you get for holding the world record), I figured her progress would be posted.

I was really inspired by her performance. No, she did not win, but if that is what running marathons is about, then it is time for me (and I am guessing most of my readers) to find a new goal or dream. I was inspired by her class and her perserverance. I was also quite dissapointed that Deena Kastor fell out so quickly - I was looking forward to seeing if she was going to run with the same tactics she used in Athens. That is the beauty (although I am sure that Paula and Deena would use a different word) of the marathon - race day can be totally unpredictable.

Ok - I was going to start blogging about my quality workout I did after the Olympics - but I am tired and am going to bed! I will update tomorrow!


Aug 14 - Aug 17: England: Day 3

So, today is Saturday and it has been 2 full days without running (OMG - how did I survive?!) That is the beauty of low mileage weeks - they totally allow you to take a few days to travel to a new country and to visit with your family without the constant battle of trying to figure out how (and when..oh yeah, and where) you will go for your run. But today (after watching Olympics of course) the family and I headed up to the Wimbledon Commons to get my jog on while the rest of them went for a little walk. We agreed to meet up at a little pond in 45-60 minutes - I decided 45 minutes + stretching would be the best combination of my time. The run went as follows:

7:23/7:25/7:33/7:27/7:21/7:28 min/mile

Here is a satellite image of my route. If you look to the right of my route and in the center of the picture, you will see the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Courts. Those of you with a keen eye, will also notice a 400m track just north of the 'T' shaped lake - but we will see more of that tomorrow (fun, fun!)!

During their walk, the family stumbled upon bushes and bushes of blackberries. I was pleasantly surprised when they arrived at the rendez-vous point with loads and loads of freshly picked blackberries. That is what I call a recovery treat!

Mom and dad flew out tonight - on their way to Eygpt. As usual, the time spent together was much too short, but I am just grateful for having that time together.

Aug 14 - Aug 17: England: Day 2

Today my sister had a little day trip planned for us. We were going to the Seven Sisters. If you have heard of the Cliffs of Dover, this is just south and along the coast from there. The Seven Sisters are beautiful rolling hills along the sea that are composed of the same spectacular white chalk formation as the Cliffs of Dover (but without all the hype and tourists!).

We hiked atop the Chalk Cliffs for (I am guessing) 12-13 miles. We picnic-ed and had a few pints along the way. It was a great outing that I got to do with my family - a perfect day does not get molded much differently than this!

I am going to let the day be told by the photos taken along the way....unfortunately Jennie has the camera as she and my sister are currently expoloring Ireland - I will update next week when she gets back!

Aug 14 - Aug 17: England: Day 1

It was a long weekend in France - Assomption Day (I have I no idea what this day is for, but who cares, it is a long weekend!) - so Jennie and I headed to London to hang with my sister, beau frere (as the french would say - they call their in-laws the beautiful people (no, not like Marilyn Manson...but I am sure that is true in many cases) as kind of a tongue in cheek, sarcastic name), my mom, and my dad. It is funny, I absolutely love living in Paris but everytime I leave for an english speaking country I just feel a huge load of pressure melt off of my shoulders - finally I will be able to understand the language being spoken around me. As an aside, I think I am developing new expression lines in my face from my permanent look of confusion I have all day long when people are speaking to me! But more importantly - I can finally watch the Olympics in my sister and my beau-frere have TiVO, which means I will get to watch the women's marathon over breakfast (instead of the ungodly hour of 12:30am - 3:00am). My weekend was looking up (Oh yeah, and seeing my family was going to be pretty cool too!)!

The only realy hiccup of the weekend was getting there. Last time I took the train from Paris to London but this time we decided to fly (cannot make a proper comparison if you have not tried both). Let's just say that the train is the way to go. There were plenty of delays, extremely rude stewardesses, things took twice as long as I woud like, and when we got into London we just missed the last tube of the day so a 4 pound tube ride quickly turned into a 50 pound cab ride...but money cannot buy the mini family reunion awaiting us!

As an aside about the Olympics, I have seen some banter going back and forth of whether or not Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time. I am not going to jump into the argument because he is certainly a talented athlete and he has definitely won my respect (as has his teammates (i.e. Jason Lezak) who made his accomplishment(s) possible). However, if you are going to use longevity of career and dedication to your sport as one of your criteria to argue about the great Olympians, one should not overlook Canada's Ian Millar.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Aug 13: Hella Jealous

Well dudes, I think you boys might be hella jealous because I am officially done my Marathon paced run for the week...sweet! Normally I wait until the weekend to do the longer quality runs but tomorrow I am off to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and my mom and dad as they are passing through England. That means that this weekend I will be in a new environment - trying to figure out when/when to run 19 miles can really pretty a damper on my weekend plans (anyone say beer and pubs?!)!

Normally on Wednesdays I do my track/threshold runs but like any well informed traveller I have already been on Google Earth and identified all 400m tracks within a 5km radius of my sister's house in England. I took a snapshot, circled all the tracks on PowerPoint and sent the presentation to my sister. My brother-in-law did some sweet ground work and has figured out which ones are public access and the times that they are open. I figured it would be much easier to do my track workout while in England vs. a 19 mile marathon-paced run. (I am pretty impressed with my pre-travel is true though - I am a totally anal runner - does this prove it?)

Anyhow, all day today I kept thinking about my run and was totally pumped! These types of runs are best done when you are mad or a little ticked. Having a little chip on your shoulder is always good for an extra 5-15 seconds/mile of your pace! "Unfortunately" I have been having a great week and my day was fantastic! I left work a little early today, came home, and headed out. But before I headed out Jennie was exceptionally chatty today - she was up in my grill more than road kill today...her friend has certainly had a great effect on Jennie - they have certainly been having a great time in Paris this has been fun to watch!

Anyhow, my run - the goal was to run 2 miles warmup, 15 miles at marathon pace (6:30-6:45 min/mile), 2 mile cooldown. Here is what happened:

2 mile warmup (7:15 min/mile)
Marathon Paced Miles:
6:41, 6:35, 6:26, 6:29, 6:34, 6:28, 6:28, 6:31, 6:27, 6:28, 6:24, 6:27, 6:22, 6:23, 6:15 min/mile
Average Pace: 6:28 min/mile
2.17 mile cooldown (7:14 min/mile)
Total Mileage: 19.17 miles
Here is what it looked like - I took the averages over the marathon-paced section. I know that I probably went a little harder than required. I never follow Jack's Marathon pace - after talking to him personally he recommended that his Marathon goals for each VDOT are only really realistic if you are putting in a minimum of 80miles/week...unless, of course, you are a super freak. I am a super freak, but not when it comes to running - so I always adjust M paced runs for my goals for the marathon. The other good thing about this run is that I did not stop once (except for when I was done the Marathon paced bit). It was nice just to settle into a groove and let my legs go from there!
What was really neat about this run too was that at about mile 7 or so, there were 3 other middle-aged runners who all started clapping and giving me the thumbs up when I ran by. I was running on an approx 3 mile loop today and this was probably the second or third time that they saw me. It was a really genuine, honest to goodness "Way to Go!" acknowledgement out on the trail from one group of runners to another. I honestly felt like I had just crossed the finish line of the marathon when they started doing that! (You will also notice that afterwards my splits pretty much stayed below is amazing what a kind gesture can do!)
If you made it this far I also ran 6.82 easy miles on Monday night. This is only a 42 mile week, with most of the miles being chewed up in the quality portions. It is a great opportunity to let my body rest!
You guys keep it real and good luck on your Marathon paced runs this weekend...I do not envy having to run them in Houston at all!
Later sk8rs!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Aug 10: Get 'er dun

This morning I decided to get my run done and get this week of running under my belt. So I rolled out of bed and headed out. I hate running first thing in the morning but I knew that I only had 6 miles of easy to do - the quicker I got out and did it, then the quicker I could get home, eat my croissant and watch the Olympics! Surprisingly my body felt pretty good out there considering yesterday's workout. I ran my 6 miles as follows:
7:37/7:33/7:24/7:18/7:31/7:12 min/mile (Average: 7:26)

Total WEEKLY miles: 55.53 miles (GOAL: 54 miles - goal achieved!)

Morning runs always take me so long to get going - my first 2 miles of easy are ALWAYS 20 seconds slower in the morning than they are after work. Regardless I am home now watching women's archery...all I can say is this - if you ever find that you are caught in the sights of a Korean woman's bow, say your final prayer because she WILL cap your ass. (A French woman on the other hand will probably just take out your knee).

Later Haters.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Aug 9: When the going gets tough...

...the tough get going out their door wearing a pair of sneakers, a pocket full of GU's, and a fully charged Garmin. Now, I definitely would not call myself "tough", but I think "dumb" would be a better word used to describe me from my non-running friends. ("You did WHAT this weekend? WHY? Are you dumb?!!") At any rate, I found myself staring down the barrel of the worst (i.e. most intense) workout (to date) by Mr. Jack Daniels this morning when I got up out of bed so I did what any normal person would do - I procrastinated.

Lucky for me the Olympics are on...the perfect procrastination tool! Paris is only 5 or 6 hours behind Beijing so there were definitely a lot of live action to chose from! You know, the Olympics are a funny time of year (or funny time every 4 years) because I find myself glued to the TV watching things that I would normally channel surf over any other time. Today, for example, I was mezmorized by the 10m Air Pistol competition going on. Yep - that accounted for about 30 minutes of procrastination time! So, what is Air Pistol? I am glad you asked. It is basically a souped up version of Duck Hunter with fancier guns and more serious looking people doing it. But instead of having the little dog laugh at you if you do poorly, you are left off the podium (and I am assuming you will be left out of all those sweet, sweet endorsement deals that I am sure that these guys get!)

I am glad I toughed that out though because I got to enjoy the cycling road race afterwards. I love watching cycling, especially when it is interspersed with Judo, Rowing, and Gymnastics! So, yeah, pretty sweet procrastination! After watching all of these athletes pursue their dreams and goals I realized that my own goals were not actually any closer to becoming a reality so I strapped on the Garmin and headed out.

Now, normally I would tell you what my scheduled workout would be here. So here it is:


About a 1/2 mile away from the house I realized that I forgot to put on my Heart Rate strap (ticks me off). I gave serious consideration of running back to the apartment to get it but the thought of adding an extra mile to today's run was not met favorably. I was pretty ticked about this during my entire warmup (boy - talk about being totally anal!). By the time I started into my Threshold running my mind was onto other things! Unfortunately there is no HR graph to disect today. But, you can disect my splits below:

Warmup: 2.95 miles (7:15 min/mile)

Threshold (reported as Distance (mile 1 time, .75 mile time, TOTAL time):

1. 1.75 miles (5:56 min, 4:27 min, 10:23 min)
400m recovery (1:54 min)
2. 1.75 miles (5:55 min, 4:27 min, 10:22 min)

10 miles Easy
7:19/7:23/7:20/7:17/7:19/7:17/7:16/7:19/7:10/7:19 min/mile

3. 2.5 miles (5:54min, 5:58min, 2:58min, 14:50min TOTAL)

Cooldown: 2.12 miles (7:18 min/mile)

TOTAL DISTANCE: 21.15 miles

Here is my pace graph.

This was my first 20+ miler of the thinks I better start getting used to them!

Well, Jennie's friend is here from Calgary and I got to go give her lesson in Wii Boxing...I hope she likes the taste of leather from my gloves!

Later homies!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Aug 7 - Training for 'The Wall'

Today when I got home from work I was tired and starving. Well, none of this is particularly new as I am always hungry by the time I get home but today I had hunger pangs and was feeling so sleepy that I did not know if I should have a nap, eat, or dream about eating while napping. However, I decided to be strong and stay diligent to my running schedule. I looked at this as a perfect opportunity to train for the final 4-5 miles of a marathon. These are those miles, just after you hit "the wall" where you feel dizzy all the time, nauseaous, and wonder, "why?". These are also the miles that you just cannot train for...sure, you can do a lot of training in an effort to avoid having these types of miles altogether but once they hit, there is not a whole lot that can prepare you for them (other than being born with balls of steel).

So, looking for the silver lining in my current condition, I headed out tonight knowing that it would be great training for when things just suck. The first 3 miles or so did, indeed, suck. With each step I felt like I was going to stumble and fall and become tomorrow's news. But afterwards I think I found a bit of a groove and (dare I say) actually enjoyed running tonight! I must have also hit my groove before I saw my 3 trannies because they definitely had a twinkle in their eyes when I ran past!

I ran 7.65 miles tonight at an average pace of 7:25 min/mile. I am quite positive that I ran further and faster tonight but Monsieur Garmin was all over the place. I think he was competing with a thunderstorm nearby...the thunderstorm won.

After my run I was treated to some of Jennie's latest creation - Eggplant Lasgana. She has been talking about this for the last few days. It certainly lived up to the hype! I am so glad that I am not a bachelor (for many reasons...the reason I chose tonight is that Jennie is always concerned about keeping my energy levels up for "running"!)

Later dudes!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Aug 6 - Round 'n Round

Today I was eager to get to the track as I have been feeling like I just have not settled into any sort of groove with my threshold runs so far this training season. Overall I am fairly satisfied with all my workouts but I just have not been feeling "comfortable" with threshold. Part of me attributes this to the fact that I have not been doing any actual racing lately. I feel like I have lost the eye of the fear is that one day I will get my ass whooped by Clubber Lang (Rocky III reference) before I am forced to dig deep and find that hunger again! But today I was freshly inspired by JD's AWESOME 1/2 marathon in San Francisco (4th overall) so I headed to the track a little more pumped than usual.

The scheduled workout was:
2 mile warmup
8 x (5 minute Threshold + 30 second rest)
2 mile cooldown

Threshold Pace = 5:59, 5:54 min/mile for VDOT's 59 and 60.

I modified the workout slightly. Instead of 5 minutes I did 1400m and instead of 30 second rest, I did 200m recovery jog (~50-55 seconds). I ran a little longer and took a little longer of a break - I am not that bothered by it!

Here is what happened:
2 mile warmup (7:30 min/mile)
Threshold (time to run 1400m, pace, VDOT):
1. 5:10 min, 5:54 min/mile, 60
2. 5:12 min, 5:56 min/mile, 59.5
3. 5:13 min, 5:57 min/mile, 59
* Splash of water - extremely dry throat
4. 5:11 min, 5:55 min/mile, 60 (ish)
5. 5:10 min, 5:54 min/mile, 60
6. 5:09 min, 5:53 min/mile, 60
* Splash of water - extremely dry throat
7. 5:09 min, 5:53 min/mile, 60
8. 5:09 min, 5:53 min/mile, 60

Cooldown: 1.62 miles (7:32 min/mile)

Total Miles = 11.51 miles

It was quite dry, which resulted in a very dry throat. A few well timed gulps of H20...(Oh yeah!)certainly helped. The evidence is shown below. Overall, I am very pleased with this workout.

My one minor concern is my right soleus. It is as tite as my butt cheeks are when I am trying not to fart during an important damn!
Just keepin' it real, one ticked off Frenchie at a time...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Aug 5 - Chillaxin' in Paris

R.I.P. Paris
Yep, Paris is officially dead. No, no, no, I am not (yet) on my way to Nigeria but since the beginning of August Paris has seemed like a ghost town. The only things that are really open are the major stores and all the bits close to the main tourist attractions. My "go-to" boulangerie (bakery) is closed, which is forcing a new plan of action to get my pain au chocolat and croissants for le petit dejenuer (breakfast). Plus, at work I am the most senior person there this week (if you have any stock in Total, sell now!)...this basically means that my team will cease to exist this time next week and I will be heading home shortly!

So, before I head home I figured I better do as much running as possible in this perfect Parisian weather! (That is not entirely true as I took a much welcomed off-day yesterday). But today I was back at it as I rolled through 9 miles in the lovely Bois de Bolougne. With 2 trannies cheering me on I ran as follows:
7:31/7:22/7:26/7:26/7:27/7:20/7:21/7:14/7:13 min/mile

I am a little bit worried about my next 4 quality workouts as I need to squish them all into a very condensed time schedule. Basically I need to get them all done before next Thursday due to other commitments I have at the end of next week. I think that I have a plan in place to get them all done - I just hope my boss does not mind me sleeping at my desk during the day! (The trick is to keep your mouse in your hand and to put your hand on your knee - your bodies natural vibrations from sleeping will keep your screensaver from turning on, which will give you away for sure!).

I am off to do some French...or perhaps some Wii (I am now a tennis pro!).

Later dudes!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Aug 3 - Threshold Run

Today Mr. Jack Daniels required that I leave the comfort and coziness of my bed to run some sweet, sweet threshold miles around the track. I was a little nervous going into this workout since I did not really "hit" any of the threshold workouts while on vacation (actually - who am I kidding - they were non-existent). Today's workout was supposed to be:

2 mile warmup
20 minutes threshold
10 minute easy
20 minute threshold
2 mile cooldown

Threshold pace = 5:59, 5:54 min/mile for VDOT's 59 and 60.

Instead, I decided if I could just break the 2 threshold sections into 5km sections (12.5 laps around the track), then I would be happy with that.

What ACTUALLY happened is this:

2 mile warmup (7:21 min/mile)
1. 6:00
2. 5:58
3. 5:58
200m (44 seconds)

10 minute easy (7:30 min/mile)

1. 5:58
2. 6:00
* 30 second break - feeling dizzy (the same feeling you get after standing up really quickly from the Lazy-boy after burning out all day!)
3. 5:58
400m (1:29)

Cooldown - 1.25 miles (7:17 min/mile)

Total miles = 11.04 miles

Total WEEKLY miles = 60.06 miles (Goal = 60miles - goal achieved...barely!)

For the astute reader you will notice that I slipped with a little unscheduled 30 second break when the going started to get tough. I was feeling quite nauseated. Was I going too hard today? Has my diet been off the last few days? How is my sleeping? My HR, to me, would indicate that I was working a little harder than normal for this type of workout but this is nothing that I could not have broken through if I were in a race (for example). Bottom line - I think I just get a little lazy sometimes when things start to "hurt" and I do not have someone there to drive me through. Afterwards I told Jennie that NOT having a training partner is my krptonite. Oh well - overall I am quite happy with the workout - 6.2 miles of threshold is always a nice accomplishment and has given me some confidence back.

The cooldown was cut short because I think a security gaurd was objecting to a few people (maybe me?!) being on the track even though it was bolted and locked shut. Actually, I think he was more upset with the people using the grass in the middle of the track, but I did not want to risk having an international incident so I quietly slipped out the back (actually, throwing my stuff and climbing the fence would be a more accurate description). No worries though - the weekly mileage was hit (and from a runner's perspective that is all that really mattered!)

Here is my HR and pace graph. You can see where I became a little Nancy during the second interval!

Also, I want to give a shout-out to my main man JD for finishing 4th OVERALL (out of 6676 total people) and 1st in his age group in the San Francisco 1/2 marathon! Dude you are rockin' it! I hope that you do not mind waiting for me at the end of the Berlin marathon!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Aug 1, 2 - Runnin' Easy

As you may, or may not tell, I have been doing "binge-blogging" lately. Instead of keeping up on my daily reports, I puke it all out once or twice a week. This is, simply, a function of my vacation and I am happy to say that this post should get me all caught up! Now I know that this post will be the first post that you see on my blog, but I encourage you to scroll down and work your way up...unless, of course, you like living your live like the movie Momento - then just stay where you are!

Also, unfortunately, my Garmin is being a little bee's itch and has not recorded my last 2 workouts but here is what happened:

Aug 1*: 8.25 miles - 1:00 hour (7:16 min/mile pace)
Aug 2: 8.1 miles - 58:58 minutes (7:17 min/mile pace)

0 trannies to report!! I think they are definitely on vacation (along with the rest of France)

* Summit Day - All day I have kept thinking about the Sheps. Today is their Summit Day on Mt. Kilimanjaro. My thoughts are with you guys today! I look forward to hearing all about it!

So, tomorrow I have my threshold run remaining. I plan on hitting the track later in the evening and polishing this 60 mile week off. So far, I have 49 miles in the bank (Ka-ching) and tomorrow's workout should be ~12 miles.

Well homies, I have other thoughts that I want to put in my time capsul (ie. blog) regarding world travel and my doomsday theory, but that will have to wait for another day. Let me just ask, "do you really think your grandchildren will be able to travel the world as we do today?" My answer is most definitely "no"...explanation to follow.

ps - I have started watching season one of House. I have to say that this has got to be my favorite TV show that I have seen in a very long time. (It has taken me a while to jump on the bandwagon..but I am glad they saved me a seat!)


July 31 - Quality Run

For this week I have 2 slightly different choices for quality workouts. It is not like I have a choice of whether or not I want to do one and not the other, because I have to do both - but I do get to choose WHEN I can do each workout! Yay much choice! I have 1 long run and 1 threshold run (that is right - the fun just never stops!)

It seems that “jet lag” always hits me about 3-4 days after long travel. I really would not call it “jet-lag” as I feel that my body responds fairly well to travel but today I was just feeling fatigued and had the same attitude as a teenager (I so do not care about the world right now…maybe later my goth friends and I will start a band…whatever, I don’t care..I’m bored...let's find someone to buy us beer...I'm boycotting prom...whatever).

So, given my general apathy today I decided to run 15 miles instead of the threshold (mentally easier for me). And I was so, like, totally bored the entire time I was running -, totally, who cares.

7:30/7:32/7:30/7:30/7:26/7:28/7:26/7:25/7:19/7:22/7:23/7:21/7:18/7:25/7:19 min/mile

Average Pace: 7:24 min/mile

Today I added a new loop around the Hippodrome - loop on the bottom left. This was certainly an effective way to add mileage. Normally cyclists in Paris ride this loop over and over again for their training. It was pretty "fun" to watch people who do not belong in Spandex cruising by me every 3 seconds...yeaaaah (say as though you are Lumberg on Office Space) - not sure I will be incorporating this loop in any future runs!

Now I hate to admit it (because JD laughs at me everytime I do) but I still have some sore bits from ultimate. Nothing to be alarmed about - just my usual ultimate complaints...this is a clear indication that my 30th birthday is starting to sneak up on me... :(

July 28, 29 - Back to Paris

Something funny happened to me at the Houston airport. While Jennie and I were catching the bus from the rental car agencies to the airport she made the comment, "wow, you got really tanned during our vacation. You look like you could be my Latin Lover!".

Yes, I do tan extemely easily and definitely enjoyed the great weather over the last 2 weeks. So I just replied, "Yeah - I am 'tan Stewy'" (Family Guy reference). Anyhow, shortly after we arrived at the Continental Airlines ticket counter we are greeted by a VERY helpful employee whose job is to make sure that you go and stand in the correct line. I had to do a double take when this little asian lady started speaking spanish to me. She was sooooo excited because she would be able to practise her spanish with me! She must have been a great student because she just went crazy speaking to me! I, obviously, got no help from Jennie because she was crumpled over in a heap from laughing so hard at this (for me) very awkward interaction. Not wanting to be rude, I let the lady go on, and on until I finally said, "I have no idea what you just said." (In retrospect, by letting her go on and on I was being rude...but at the time I was still a little amused and shocked). That is when her coworker started laughing at her and I moved need to give Jennie more ammo to make fun of me with on the 10 hour plane ride! But now I am really curiuos - what country did she think I was from?!

July 28
Just hours after getting off the plane from Houston I, of course, had a very serious question weighing heavily on my mind. It was a question that I was stewing on for the entire plane ride. Within just a few moments I would soon answer my question. My question was, "did the trannies miss me?!"

After a little afternoon nap, I headed out to shake the cobwebs out of my system and to answer this question. I really did not want to run (reoccuring theme for this week) but the problem with a peak mileage week (60 miles) is that it does not matter if you feel like it or not - you better do it! Furthermore, if you are going to head out for a run it better count. All 3 or 4 miles does is screw up your rest day and put a lot of pressure on EVERY other day of the week. I had to make the decision - today would either be a rest day or a REAL day - I could not afford anything inbetween and seeing that I hate starting a peak week with a rest day, I laced up and headed out!

I ran 8 miles in the rain (another reoccuring theme for this week) as follows: 7:36/7:25/7:28/7:25/7:27/7:26/7:13/7:15 min/mile

And to answer my question, I saw 3 trannies all together huddled under an umbrella. And I am pretty sure that only paying customers are the people that they miss!

July 29

My legs are still a little rusty still from all the travel but it was just too nice out not to run. Mentally I am already bored of running this week but I know that is just my travel fatigue speaking. I ran 9.4 miles as follows:
7:20/7:18/7:20/7:25/7:24/7:21/7:19/7:19/7:19 min/mile Tomorrow is a rest day.

As the French would say, "sucre".

Oh yeah - 2 ladies were out in the Bois...are they on vacation too?!

July 27 - Easy 5 POINT 2 miles

This morning came quite quickly as JD and I had 5.2 miles on the schedule. We both woke up pretty "tired" and running was the last thing on our mind. But I wanted to run before I got on the plane and take advantage of any opportunity I had remaining to run with my main man. So, there we were, 8am, cruising the trails of Terry Hershey.

Now, I would have been quite happy running just 5 miles, or less...but 5.2 it was so JD could hit his weekly mileage (Yes - we are ALL Garmin slaves - bow down to your Garmin!). Other than the faint smell of last night's margarita(s) seeping through my pores the run went smoothly (as smoothly as could be expected) and had the following splits:

7:36/7:26/7:28/7:28/7:22 min/mile

Total Weekly Mileage: 57.43 (back on track!)

We followed the run with a little brunch, a little Yahtzee at Inversion Coffee House, and then a little 10 hour plane ride. (2 cool things out of 3 ain't bad!).

Here I could write another few pages of what a great vacation it was and how already miss everybody I had the opportunity to see but I won't. You all saw my smiles and heard my laughter when I was with you - that should about sum it up.