Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Charts! (and Week 4 in Reverse)

If you remember, previously I went all geeky and provided a chart of my mile times for the marathon.  Well, in doing so, I noticed something.  Here is the elevation chart for the marathon course:

Taking my pace chart, and using my Excel photo editing skills, we get this:

Here, I've overlaid the elevation chart onto the pace chart, and then adjusted the scale a bit.  What you'll notice is that my pace follows the elevation changes pretty closely.  Places where the elevation is constant, my pace is constant; when the elevation drops, my pace drops.  Nothing too unexpected, but it's cool to examine.

As for what I did this week, placing the shifter in 'R', here we go:

Sunday, March 28: 7 miles LSD, 1:03:22.  This was a fantastic run.  I came up with a route that included both the river and Summit, and the river portion was a large chunk of the marathon course.  In fact, it was the part of the course where the wheels came off.  This run, though, was much better.  Here's the route:

Saturday, March 27: 35 min Fartlek.  I felt myself dragging a bit on this run, but nothing special happened.

Friday, March 26: Rest.

Thursday, March 25:  Cycling, strength training, and 4x400 intervals.  Here was a pretty eventful day. I went into the Rec bright and early, and decided to do a bit of cross-training.  I cycled for about 25 minutes.  I thought I was putting some good effort in, but when I got off the bike, it felt like I hadn't done anything.  Disappointed, I did my strength training and called it a day.  A little later in the day, I found out that some local runners were going to do some intervals at the St. Thomas track.  I've been trying to find a reliable track, and apparently St. Thomas is just the place.  I did 4x400 at a pretty moderate pace, and it felt good.  You can read more about it on Steve's blog, here.

Wednesday, March 24: 4 x Hill.  Another tough hill workout.  Managed to improve my repeat times on each go.

Tuesday, March 23: 3 miles, 27 min.

Monday, March 22: 3 treadmill miles + strength training.  I had a great pace going on this one, and it made the treadmill workout not so bad.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Scatter Plots! (and other marathon musings)

The marathon was almost 6 months ago, but some things still linger…

No, I'm not running in my marathon shoes anymore—I'm using them as everyday shoes.  Yet, I can't bring myself to take my timing chip off.  Sure, if anyone has an RFID reader, they'll be able to pick up my name, age, and hometown, but how many people carry RFID readers and hold them up to people's shoes?

Another reminder of the marathon that lingers is my watch.  No, it isn't normal to get rid of your watch after a marathon.  What does remain is my split times in the memory of my watch.  This isn't too big of a problem (my watch has a 150 lap memory, and the marathon takes up 27 of those laps), but I don't know how to erase individual workouts.  So, if I save a set of hill repeats or some intervals, I can't delete just that workout, leaving me with the choice of deleting all workouts (including the marathon) or deleting none of them.  I'm down to about 70 laps left, so the day when I have to erase the marathon is fast approaching.

Geeky engineer alert!  Data ahead!
That day won't be too bad, though, because I've already recorded the data.  Today, I analyzed the data:

Here's a plot of my split time for each mile.  Excel isn't too great at working with times, so the y-axis has some funky gradations.  You'll note that my average pace up through mile 17 was 10:20—which is almost exactly a four-and-a-half hour pace, which was my goal.  If you remember, mile 18 is where my quad got all funky, and my pace slowed considerably (the overall average pace was 11:02).  All this to say that had it not been for my quad, I would have hit my goal time.  Of course, other things could have happened, and my main goal was to finish.  This year, however, I already know I can finish the marathon, and I've got my sights set on a sub-4-hour time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Week in Reverse: Week 3

3 weeks done already?  You betcha.  Highlight from week 3: a karate kicking/jumping/punching dude.

Sunday, March 21: 6 miles, 55 min.  My first run in the median!  I've missed the Summit median so much.  It was cold enough so that it wasn't muddy.  I also managed to run perfectly even splits: 27:30 out, 27:30 back.  Crazy!

Saturday, March 20: 35 minute Tempo Run.  The good news is that I still have the ability to push myself on runs, and boy, did I ever.  This was one tough run.  I enjoyed it though—well, except that I forgot to check the wind, and ended up running into it on the way back.  I also got to see how high the Mississippi River water level was.

Friday, March 19: Rest.

Thursday, March 18: 3 miles + strength training.  I discovered that the treadmills on the outside of the cardio center do not need to be signed out, so the time is unlimited.  Therefore I can do a proper warm up and cool down and still get the full 3 miles in.

Wednesday, March 17: 4 x Hill.  I switched hills.  Instead of the Marshall Ave. hill, I did the featured hill from the marathon course, which goes along the river parkway up to Summit.  It's not quite as steep as Marshall, but still plenty challenging.  There was a woman who was also doing hill repeats on the same hill, but she wasn't very friendly.

Tuesday, March 16: 4 miles.  Uneventful 4 mile run.

Monday, March 15: 3 miles + strength training.  I had two conference papers due this day.  I emailed them off to my advisor, and got ready to head to the Rec.  Then my advisor called.  We had to fix something.  I fixed it, sent him the paper again, and got ready to head to the Rec.  Then my advisor called.  Repeat this process 3 more times.  Finally, around 3pm, I made it to the Rec.  It was a little busy (but not too bad because it was Spring Break).  After I finished up, I turned around to get a rag to wipe the machine off, and right in front of me was karate kicking/jumping/punching man!  It is almost impossible to describe what he was doing, but try and combine karate with tae bo and Sweatin' to the Oldies in your mind, and you won't be too far off.  He was completely serious about what he was doing, and I had to follow him all the way down the hallway, because if I tried to go around, I would certainly have been punched in the face by one of his flailing appendages.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Week in Reverse: Week 2

My Road ID is here!  Check it out:

Remember, you can get a discount on your own Road ID by checking out my coupon code here.

This update is delayed a bit, but here's how week 2 went:

Sunday, March 14: 5ish miles.  This was supposed to be a long run of 7 miles, but I had very little time on Sunday, so it ended up being just shy of 5 miles.  Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day out, and I enjoyed this run.

Saturday, March 13: 30 min fartlek.  I really enjoyed this run.  Katie and I been in Iowa Friday and Saturday, so when we got back around 7pm on Saturday night, it was already dark.  I still wanted to get my run in, so I went.  It was my first time running outside at that time of day, and there was no one out.  I ran up and down the river road, and it was a warm and foggy evening.  Real eerie, but real cool.  The run itself was fun, and I enjoyed picking out streetlights or trees to sprint to.  By the way fartlek is a running technique with lots of speed variations (it literally means speed play).  You jog along, then pick out some object in the distance and sprint towards it.  Then jog for recovery.  Repeat.  We did things like this in high school, but it was much more rigid along the lines of "run fast when stopwatch beeps, jog when it beeps again, repeat".

Friday, March 12: rest

Thursday, March 11:  40 min run.  This was a tremendously busy day.  I had 2 presentations to give, so I was looking forward to the run.  Once again, David joined me at the dome, and it was the last night of Dome Running for the season.  This is exciting because it means the weather is getting better, but I'll miss running in the Dome for a few months.

Wednesday, March 10: 3 x Hill.  Now this was a tough workout.  I did the Marshall Ave. hill again.  I managed 2 repeats before the air got to me.  Yes, it was a pollution alert day, and I could really feel it in my lungs.  So, for the 3rd repeat, I did the slightly less steep hill on Marshall between Cleveland and Fairview.  Still a workout, but at least I could breathe.

Tuesday, March 9: 3 mile run.  Nothing too remarkable here.  I still long for when the median of Summit is solid enough on which to run.  Soon, soon…

Monday, March 8: 3 miles + strength training.  Another workout on the deathmill.  I hate treadmills soooo much.  When I get about 5 minutes into the run, it feels like I've been doing it for hours, and it is just sooooo boring.  After that, I did strength exercises, and discovered that if I use 2 dumbbells, I can simulate a bench-press without the need of a spotter.  Yay!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Road ID Coupon

I bought my Road ID yesterday, which is a cool wristband that carries emergency information in case something happens to you while away from home and you don't have ID with you. They're really a great idea, and you should get one.

I'm hoping to make it easy for you to get one because I have a Road ID coupon code. It's for $1 off any of their products. It doesn't seem like much, but the Road IDs are pretty affordable to begin with.

This offer only works for the 
first 20 people to use it, so act fast! Enter the coupon code:


during the checkout process.

Marathon Registration Over Half Full

Thinking of doing the Twin Cities Marathon this year?  Well, act fast because registration is over half full!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Road ID Discount

Just a quick update here.  Steve over at Steve in a Speedo is offering a 20% off discount code for any Road ID product.  These are fantastic things that have emergency contact information on them for when you're out running/cycling/swimming/skiing/snowshoeing/yak hunting/etc…  They look pretty cool too.  So take advantage of the promotion by getting the code here.

This is what a Road ID looks like.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A New Training Plan and Week 1 in Reverse

I guess that one of the benefits of early marathon registration is that it has given me motivation to start training.  Yes, it's early to start training for October, but I'm not doing marathon training right now.  I've started following Hal Higdon's Intermediate Spring Training Plan.  Last year, Hal Higdon said that if I followed his plan, I would finish a marathon.  He was right, so I have no problem going back to him for all my training needs.

The focus of this plan is building strength and speed.  No looong runs, but a lot of hill workouts, intervals, tempo runs, and other such things.  I'm using this build speed so that the sub-4 hour marathon becomes a reality.

As for what I did in week 1, here it is, in reverse.

Sunday, March 7: 6 miles, ~56 min.  This was fantastic.  The weather was spectacular (shorts and shortsleeves weather).  There were gaggles of people out.  I did a Summit/River Rd. route, and managed to nail a puddle as I turned around.  I worried about my feet, but my Nike socks did a great job.

Saturday, March 6: 30 min Tempo Run.  A Tempo Run is a very specific workout with a 10 minute easy warm-up, 10-15 minutes of building speed gradually, and a 10 min cooldown.  The building part is tough, and I pushed myself pretty hard.  The hardest part, though, was choosing a route that avoids red lights.  When I hit a light, I turned so that I could keep going, but it didn't always work out.  In the future, I may drive and park at the river, or maybe the lakes.

Friday, March 5: Rest

Thursday, March 4: 3ish miles, 40ish min.  This is the one spot where I deviated from the plan.  It called for 3 miles and strength training.  I wanted to take advantage of the Dome while it was still open, so I ran there.

Wednesday, March 3: 3 Hill Repeats.  These were tough.  I picked the Marshall Ave. hill, and it is steep.  Definitely one of the tougher workouts of the week.

Tuesday, March 2: 3 miles.  Nothing special here, just a good, early morning run.

Monday, March 1: 3 miles + Strength Training.  I suffered for 30 minutes on the deathmill, did a bit of strength training.  I ran into the problem of needing to do bench presses, but without a spotter.  I'm not lifting much weight, but I know you shouldn't bench without a spotter.  I think I solved that problem this week, though.

That was my week.  Below you'll find my personal training calendar, I haven't filled it out completely, but it will always be up to date.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Barking Up the Wrong Concourse

Man, has this Dome gone to the dogs!  (That's funny on so many levels, I just can't help myself).

While it was a nice day yesterday, Dome Running on Thursdays has become part of my routine, so I went anyway.  When I got there, this is what I found:

If you can't tell from the picture, those are dogs—lots of dogs.  It was hilarious, and loud.  I was thankful that they were confined to the lower concourse.  I like to run, but outrunning hundreds of dogs at one time might have been a bit much.

David joined me again, and this time we didn't end up running for many laps without happening upon each other.  We also remarked on the music—yes, music—that was being piped over the loudspeaker.  This is the first time there was ever music.  It was oldies.  And don't get me wrong, I really like Oldies, but these were the type of oldies that they remix into elevator music—and this isn't ideal for running.

One more week of Dome Running left.

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