Thursday, July 26, 2007

Need for Speed Returns!

After last week's near gut spewing incident on the high school track, I was a bit leery at first with my second post-Bayshore attempt at speed work. The conditions were basically the same. Hot. Muggy. Except there was a slight cooling breeze this time.

Again, I managed only 2 miles worth of repeats proceeded and followed by a 1.5 mile jog. this time, the total mile time for my repeats was closer to 6:24. I didn't feel like puking, so, thumbs up. I'd love to get my mile times closer to 6:00 by the end of the year if possible. I am thinking I may make a return to some 5k racing next year and would love to get under the 19 minute mark. We'll see. That's on the back burner for now.

I'm still experiencing a pain in my left heel that is very sharp at first but recedes after about a mile to the point were I barely notice it. My right hamstring is a little sore also. I remember that it was at about this point in the spring while training for Bayshore when I started experiencing various aches and pains. I'm starting to increase the mileage while mixing in some maxed out repeats. I'm sure these annoyances are just part of the joy of running.

I'll be getting some miles in at a one mile circular track in Traverse City over the next week. I'll try not to get dizzy and fall down on my planned 16 miler.

Happy trails.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wicked and Headless Horsemen

The wife and I went to Wicked last Friday night. This is the big draw in town this week at MSU's Wharton Center. It's a nearly 3 hour performance. The first hour or so, I must admit, I was looking at my watch a bit. There was a lot of set-up to build to the second half of the performance. After the intermission (Toblerone's = delicious), it was outstanding. I've heard better songs and better vocal performances come through Wharton but, as a spectacle, very entertaining! It's worth a look for any live theater fans out there.

Meanwhile, I have pulled the trigger on another race registration. I will be doing my first trail run on August 11th. It's a 10 miler promising rolling hills. How different is a trail run? I don't know but I'm gonna find out. I'll do some reshuffling to my long run schedule as the weekend of this race I was scheduled for a 19 miler but will instead do this 10 miler. No problem. I'm looking forward to it.

Running Update:
Sunday's long run was a little tough. It was the farthest I've gone since Bayshore. After about 11 miles, I noticed the hamstrings started getting real tight, real quick. I managed to finish my planned distance.
14 miles
7:18 pace
Happy trails.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Disastrous Speed Work. Almost.

So, I wandered up to the local high school track to run some 1/4 mile repeats Wednesday night. I didn't really have a plan in place when I left. It's about a 1.25 mile jog to the track so, on the way, I formulated my plan of attack. I decided to go 1/4 mile hard (one lap), 1/4 easy, 1/4 hard, 1/4 easy. Rest. Repeat.

Sounded good.

Except it was 88 degrees and incredibly muggy. The air was thick and hot.

I figured a couple of miles of hard work would be doable though, right?

I managed to complete both miles worth of repeats but only at a total average 6:30/mile clip. I was hoping for closer to 6:10/mile. At the end of the second mile, I had to suppress the growing urge to puke all over the track. I haven't done any speed work in awhile and on that hot track, that day, it was not a good idea. A couple of deep breaths kept my afternoon snack from creeping up my esophagus. I made my light jog home and peeled the sweat saturated clothing off me.

Next time, I'll be more selective on my speed work days.

I did come to the realization that I have become too content with my training pace and need to push a bit harder periodically if I don't want to plateau. Despite the heat, the repeats were harder than it should have been.

Upcoming Events:

There are two races I'm eyeballing before the big 2007 Chicago Marathon. Both are 10 milers. I would love to do the Crim in Flint, MI on August 25th but I may be out of town that day. If not, count me in.

I may soon sign up for The Legend at Sleepy Hollow Park on August 11th. It's a 10 mile trail race with some hills and other natural obstacles. I'm thinking I may take a stab at the 50k Dances with Dirt adventure race next September so this might be a good introduction to this style of running (at 1/3 the distance and probably 1/3 the intensity).

Streak Ends:

I did not run the Traverse City Cherry Festival race this year breaking my streak of seven years that started with my first official race in 2000. My heart just wasn't in it and I had a 'been there, done that' attitude to the whole thing. Plus, while it's a scenically nice race, I don't think it is particularly well organized when compared to the Bayshore Marathon run in the same city but by different organizers. I'm sure our paths will cross again though.

Happy trails.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This has been one of the busiest past few weeks in recent memory. Between work, travel, running, yard work, etc. it has been non-stop GO. Consequently, all of the hilariously irreverent anecdotes I had saved up for various blog entries have washed from memory and you're left with just a run-of-the-mill update. Time to exhale for a bit.

Recently, I completed The Road by Cormac McCarthy. My first from this author. It's your standard apocalyptic tale of lost hope and vanished dreams in a barren landscape. However, the two main characters - a nameless man and his child - and their relationship while existing in this bleak world is wonderfully crafted. His prose is simple and direct with short Hemingwayesque sentences. I really enjoyed the way the author conveyed the strong emotions between the two with very little description or effort. I'd give it a B+ if you are scoring at home (which I am).

Secondly, I finished Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killers by James L. Swanson. I really enjoyed this book. It's history on the fly told in a fast pace, energetic style. History is typically among the least favorite classes for any student but this was a heart pounding read even though you know the outcome in advance. Like most, I was familiar with the general details of the Lincoln assassination. To step right into an hour-by-hour, day-by-day account of the hunt put you right at the scene. It was fascinating. A wrong turn here and there cost Booth his escape and living glory in the South. It almost happened. You'll learn more than you would think. Did you know the Lincoln assassination was part of a plot to topple the Union government in one evening with Grant, V.P. Johnson, and Sec of State Seward all targeted that fateful evening? Grade: A

Running Update:

I'm a bit behind my ambitious Higdon Intermediate II schedule but still in a good shape. I've been putting in about 3-4 less miles per week than he would like. I am not concerned. I feel like I'm right where I want to be. No goal yet for Chicago. I may have one shortly though. I'd like to see how Mike is doing so we can work together towards his BQ.

Tonight I'm going out for my first true "speed work" effort. I usually do that fartlek style but I'm actually going to the local high school track this time to give it a try.

Sunday's LR:

10 miles
7:07 pace

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ode to the Crushed Chipmunk

Your indecisiveness this morning cost you your life. Sorry 'bout that. I took no pleasure in the sound of the crunch under my tire. If it means anything to you, I closed my eyes and cringed. There was no room to swerve and you changed direction suddenly. I'll pay my respects when I run by your flattened carcass later today.

Running Update:

I have been extremely busy lately but things are starting to slow up again. Major projects are being delivered! I have some vacation time! I'm glad to see everyone has been keeping up with their training.

I have also been able to get most of my runs in. My left heel pain has dramatically reduced. I found that if I stretch better after my run, it doesn't tighten up and get real sore anymore.

Rather unwisely, I choose to go for an impromptu Saturday evening run under the blazing sun and 90 degree weather. It was a bit of a struggle. I think people in passing cars thought I was insane.

Saturday's LR:

12.0 miles
7:22 pace

Next week, I'm going to start getting back into some formal speed training at my local high school track. It's been awhile since I did any at all.