3.1, 6.2, 12.4, 13.1, 26.2

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Speed, Tempo and the Loop of Coin

It freaking snowed last night. Snowed! And not just a dusting mind you; it snowed like 4 inches. What the hell??? I was hoping we were past all the snow and drifting. I ran a couple days ago in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt – it was 65 degrees. And now, 36 hours later, it’s 28 degrees with snow on the ground. Over the past week and a half, the temps have been close to normal for this time of year and all the snow had melted. So it’s been nice to see my yard again lately. But thanks to the latest, seemingly never ending round of snow, I think I’ll move this weekend’s long run from Saturday to Sunday so I don’t have to contend with all the snow. I’m hoping the temps will raise enough to melt away some of the snow on the paths/sidewalks.

Running Route:
My long run last week was 15 miles at an 8:06 overall pace. At a couple times I was down around the 7:45 range, but for the most part I was disciplined enough to stay up around 8:00. According to the FIRST training guide, I was supposed to run an overall pace of 8:11, but I just can’t seem to get myself to go that “slow”. Not to sound like an asshole or anything, but it’s the truth. I’m finding out that for my long runs I only have one gear. And the speed of that gear depends on a variety of things: my body (breathing, stride, comfort, and fatigue), the pace, the elements, and the route. I suppose having just one gear is OK, as long as that gear becomes faster over time. Hence the new training regime.

For this long run, I started out from my house, ran to the southwest side of town, then over to the south east side, then north to Briarwood Golf Course and back. It was a good run. I was in shorts for the second long run in a row and the sun even managed to peek out a couple of times. I took my running gloves just to be sure my hands stayed warm, but I ended up carrying them most of the way.

Tuesday was speed work. I met LL at Saydel High School over my lunch hour and jammed out the following speed work out:

2 mile warm up
1200M @ 4:33
1000M @ 3:44
800M @2:58
600M @ 2:13
400M @ 1:27
(all with 200M rest in between)
10 min cool down

The whole workout only took a half hour, but holy shit did it kick my ass! Speed work is something new to my training routine this year and let me tell ya, it sucks balls. But, I know it’s what I need to help get my pace times down to BQ range. It’s one of those ‘glad you did it’ things when you’re done, but you really don’t enjoy it while you’re doing it. Know what I mean?

Thursday was supposed to be a tempo run of 1 mile easy, 5 miles at 7:15 and 1 mile easy (total of 7 miles), but instead of running on my own, I ran with my normal crew and they decided to run Loop of Coin. This route is definitely NOT conducive to tempo work. Its 6.7 miles of rolling and steep hills south of Grand in Des Moines. While the quaint roads and houses make for great scenery on the route, the course itself is too hilly to accomplish what I wanted. After taking the first mile easy, I tried to push pace in hopes to get down to the 7:15 pace range, but the hills were working against me. It was a forced pace that just wasn’t going to happen. So after about a mile of trying, I gave up and just let my body dictate how fast it wanted to go. Stride and breathing felt OK, but pace wasn’t what I was hoping for. In the end, I was probably around 7:50 – 8:00 for pace on a very hilly route, so I’m hoping that equates to 7:30ish on a flat route. Probably not, so that will put more focus on next week’s tempo run.
 Tomorrow will be a long run of 17 miles. Thanks to Shan, I’ve mapped out a new route around Ankeny that doesn’t have me backtracking and doing multiple loops. More on that in my next entry.

Training Update:
More of the same on the training front: squats, lunges, core work and shoulder strengthening. So not a whole lot going on there.

For those of you who watch WHO news in the evening, you might have seen GimpyRunning on TV Thursday night. TV-13 was filming a segment on weight loss at my gym (Gym F/X) downtown. The film crew, interviewer and the trainer being interviewed were camped out right in the middle of the open area where I do all of my workouts with the free weights, Bosu balls and yoga mats. I did a fairly good job of staying discreetly out of the way, behind the camera crew. A couple times I had to walk around them to get weights, so I tried to look as manly and “in-shape” as I could knowing that I might be in the shot. After they were done with the interview, I heard the reporter tell the camera guy to film footage for filler usage during the segment. So off went the camera man around the corner and I got some room back to finish my workout. I did a few leg exercises, then settled onto a yoga mat for some side planks rotations. So there I am, cranking away when all of a sudden I have that ‘someone is watching me’ feeling. I glance up and sure as shit, there’s the camera, camped out right next to me, filming away. In the end only a few seconds of me doing side planks and shoulder presses was in the segment, but the camera was close enough there’s no mistaking that is was my ugly mug front-and-center on the screen. I watched the segment online and had to chuckle at myself for being pretty much the only guy they show actually working out in the gym. What can I say, I guess they needed a pretty face for the camera to fall in love with. LOL. OK, maybe not. The link to the story is below. Check it out; I’m not currently charging for autographs and I’d be happy to sign some chests.

Link: http://www.whotv.com/news/who-story-diet-weight-loss-031810,0,730111.story

Non-Running Thoughts of the Week:
Here are a few non-running thoughts swirling around my melon these days:

- As reported in my last entry, I tried to watch The Informant! last week but just couldn’t get into it. Shan watched it a couple days later and said I should stick it out (I only got 20 minutes into it before turning it off) because it’s actually a really good flick. So, I’ll try to watch it again this weekend. I’ll let you know what I think in my next entry.

- I wonder if I’m bad luck to David Beckham. The guy hasn’t missed a soccer game due to injury since his career began and the day after I bought his Adidas indoor soccer shoe, he blows out his Achilles tendon. Sorry David, my bad. They’re pretty sweet shoes though.

- This last round of snow is just stupid. Stupid and it serves no purpose to keep snowing.

- I’m typing this blog entry using my 55” LED TV as the monitor. Our laptop has an HDMI port that connects to the TV. The other day I bought a wireless keyboard and mouse so I can do exactly what I’m doing now: sitting my lazy butt on the couch and typing this entry. As soon as I’m done with this, I’m going to watch David After Dentist and other random junk on YouTube for about an hour.

- How cool would it be if we could all be a super hero? What would your super power be? Mine would be the ability to refrain from saying stupid shit out loud. There’s just no telling how powerful I could be with that ability.

Running Rant of the Week
Old Man Winter, why are you being so mean? First we endure the worst winter we’ve had in a decade, pounding us with record-breaking cold temperatures, then you ease-up and let it be nice (seasonal) out for a couple weeks and now there’s four inches of snow on the ground again. And most recently, the idea of flooding went from a possibility to a reality. What the hell? Did Mother Nature piss you off somehow and this is how you’re getting back at her; creeping your crappy season into spring? I mean, come on, if you don’t let up soon, Father Time is going to be pissed that you’re messing with his woman (oh you know they’re an item). In the last seven days of running I’ve worn just shorts and s short-sleeve shirt on a Tuesday and then been in full winter gear on a Saturday. I dedicate this running rant to you, Old Man Winter. You annoy me and I can’t wait for you to go on your summer vacation.

Until next time. Remember, you’re not running until you’re GimpyRunning

Thursday, March 11, 2010

F.I.R.S.T. Thing's First

OK, before I get too far into this entry, let me catch everyone up on why the blogs have been a bit lacking over the last couple weeks. A couple weeks ago I came down with either a nasty stomach bug or food poisoning. Either way, whatever it was, hit me like Ike hitting Tina on a Friday night. Essentially, I spent all of Sunday night and most of Monday getting sick. It was brutal. And just when I thought the heaving and grunting was over, I’d go another round with the toilet. I went both days without being able to hold any food down. Not that I was hungry, mind you, but even if I wanted to eat, it would just come right back up. By the time Tuesday evening rolled around, the puking had stopped and when I jumped on the scale the next morning, I was 7 pounds lighter. Yes, 7 lbs in a day and a half. Not exactly the most ideal way to shed those final remaining pounds left over from the winter.

So, from being sick, I didn’t run or lift much that week. I did however fully recover to jam out a 13 mile long run that week. More on that later.

Training Update:

Last week was my first official week with my new running workout. It’s called F.I.R.S.T; which stands for Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training. In a nut shell, it’s a training program put together by a father and his son that focuses on removing the “junk miles” from a marathon training regimen. It’s fairly similar to typical marathon training programs in that there are three distinct days of running; a speed work day, a tempo day and a long run day. However, the difference with FIRST from other programs is that on the days you aren’t running, you are cross-training – cycling, rowing or swimming. This will make the days you run more effective and focused on foot turnover and quality leg strength. This is the first time since starting to run that I’ve taken-on a program of this nature. In the past for marathon training, I’ve typically just ran short, medium and long runs during the week while lifting on the non-running days. It wasn’t until I hooked up with LL and this training program that I’ve spent so much time on leg strengthening and working on muscle imbalances in my hips, legs, and back. Which is a perfect pairing for quality running; hence the FIRST training program for this guy to get to Boston.

So the first week of FIRST training looks like this:

Sunday: Rest – what a way to start off the week!

Monday: LL workout – TRX workout, loaded with core, back and chest work.

Tuesday: Speed work – 10 – 20 min warm-up. 3 x 1600m @ 6:12 pace (1 min rest between sprints). 10 min cool down

Wednesday: Cross-training – cycling. 10 min warm-up. 30 min @ 95 – 100 RPM. 5 min cool down. Much harder than it looks on paper.

Thursday: Tempo run – 6 mile run: 2 miles easy, 2 miles @ 6:45 pace, 2 miles easy

Friday: LL workout – functional movements with a emphasis on squats, lunges and ab work

Saturday: Long-run – 13 miles @ 7:56 pace

Week two is more of the same with the speed work being longer distances and the long run being 15 miles are an 8:11 pace. I’ll admit, it’s difficult for me to hold back to an 8:11 pace, but fearing burnout, I’m trying to adhere to the slower pace. When looking at the long-run distances, the first 6 weeks of long miles are all above an 8:11 pace. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Running Routes:
The last two long-run routes have been 13 and 14 miles in and around Ankeny. Again, like I mentioned in my last entry, I found myself in Old Town Ankeny while making my way from one side of town to the other. For the 14 miler, I was in shorts for the first time since October. Felt so good, but at the same time, it was raining and 38 degrees. But, by God, I was bound and determined to be in shorts.

Today’s run with Cap was not like any mid-week run I’ve taken. Instead of being a tempo run, a trail run or a hilly run; it was all three! And here’s how it happened….we started off from 15th & Grand where we always meet up when it’s just the two of us and then headed up (west) Grand towards the Art Center. Our hope was to run the Art Center Loop, which hooks into the John Pat Dorrian trail along the river, and check out any flooding first-hand. The 2.5 miles from downtown to the Art Center was the tempo portion of the run. We were somewhere around a 7:20 – 7:30 pace. Once we got on the JPD trail, it didn’t take us long to run into the flooding. About a quarter mile into the trail, the trail was under a couple feet of water. Not wanting to turn back, we decided to traverse the 50 feet from the trail uphill to the higher elevated railroad track that runs along the trail. We ended up running on the railroad track for about a mile. I’m sure it was quite comical to see the two of us trying to hold a conversation while diligently concentrating on landing each foot on the railroad ties to prevent from falling on our faces. I would equate that mile of the run to a trail run; constantly checking the terrain below your feet to make sure you have solid footing while making your way across uneven territory. Once off the tracks, we headed back downtown by way of the neighborhoods south of Grand Avenue. For those of you familiar with these neighborhoods, you know that they are built on one steep hill after another. The two miles south of Grand made up the hilly portion of the run. And it was grueling. Those two miles are part of the Loop of Coin. And that route is grueling; nothing but hill after hill. Catch my drift about the hills yet? It was slow going at times, but we made it back downtown with a total of 6ish miles. All-in-all it was a good run; company was great and weather was nice. Not that I’m a hurry to have that kind of a combo run again, but I’ll admit, it was fun to have a run with that much character.
 Non-Running Thoughts of the Week:
Here are a few non-running thoughts swirling around my melon these days:

- I tried to watch the movie The Informant! with Matt Damon last night and I just couldn’t get into it. Normally, anything with MD is good, but this movie was dragging so much I gave up after 20 minutes. I guess I’m the type of person that has to get hooked into a flick right away to capture my attention. Maybe that’s why my favorite films are: The Big Lebowski, the Star Ware trilogies and The Hangover.

- I’m on a new project at work and it’s really sweet. I’m definitely going to enjoy the next four months.

- Shannon landed a 9 – 12 month consulting gig! I can tell she’s excited about it. She’s been out of work, or “between contracts” as I like to say, for a couple months now and staying at home was begining to wear on her. So happy for her.

- LDV is really coming along in her return from baby #2. She’s going to be back in the sub-8 min pace in no time.

- I’m a little concerned that San Fran has been so quiet in free agency so far. I was hoping they’d make a splash by signing a big tyma free agent, but nothing significant yet. Damn you Mike Singleterry for being so conservative!

- I absolutely loathe working downtown this time of year. For the past two weeks and now this week, downtown has been bombarded with thousands of out-of-towers who are in town for either the state wrestling or state basketball tournaments. Every day for the past three weeks I’ve seen an out of town license plate going to wrong way on a one-way street or grumpy old people wearing “Linn-Mar-Sully” or “Fairfield” paraphernalia walking aimlessly through the skywalk, obviously lost. My new project has me commuting between downtown buildings via the skywalk at least once a day, and it’s overrun with annoying teenage girls doing annoying teenage girl things and even more annoying teenage boys being dumbasses. Geez, I remember when I acted just like that during the tournaments. Makes me wish I could travel back in time and kick my own ass for being an idiot.

The Ink Has Arrived!
As promised, here are some pics of my new ink. I don’t really have a running rant this week, so I thought I would share the tat with everybody. I had to take the first part of this week off from running and lifting to let the tat heal. Today was my first run since getting the new ink last weekend. Badass if I do say so myself: