Feb 27, 2007

Complimentary Tuesday

This morning I brought my trusty iPod Shuffle with me (loaded up with The Shins) to help get me through my planned 5 mile tempo run. Admitedly, The Shins aren't the most high energy band in the world but I can easily get lost in their lyrics/melodies, which makes the miles fly by. Today's tempo was pretty much a carbon copy of last Thursday's except that I ran my 4th mile a little faster (5:52) and was a little slower on my cooldown mile (total time 34:44). I had a good 35-40 minutes to strength train before needing to head home so I did a lot of upper body stuff: chest press, lat pulldowns, seated rows, decline sit-ups (w/ medicine ball), tricep pulldowns and seated dumbell curls. Some woman who seems to be a regular on the track at 5AM told me that I make her run faster and wishes she wasn't switching gyms next week because she feels she'd become a stronger runner because of me. I thought that was a nice compliment.

Feb 26, 2007

Just Fine, Thank You

I'm really working this "up early" thing to a science. For a Monday, I popped out of bed like a spring chicken and was at the gym just after 5AM. My scheduled run was 3 miles so I figured I could do that followed by 20-25 minutes of strength training before my 6AM spin class. Completed the 3 miles in 21:33 and did some light work on my abs, lower back, tri's and bi's. I arrived early to the spin room to get my bike set up. I learned from last week and brought two bottles of water to drink. Today's instructor was awesome! I never went to boot camp but I'd be willing to bet this guy did! His voice was booming and he was spitting orders left and right. He's a good instructor to have on a Monday morning. Before I left I told him that I will look forward to his class each week.

Feb 22, 2007

Chest Scars Are Scary

35 minute tempo run on the indoor track at EMH. Did two miles at 7:30 pace and then started ramping it up for the next mile so that I could run a 6-minute fourth mile. Cooled down with an easy mile and did a quick set of tricep pulldowns before pearling. Total run: 5 miles, 34:44.

Tomorrow is a scheduled day off so I'll probably just strength train for 45 minutes in the morning. I actually have to work this weekend, which will make it a little tricky to get my runs in but I'm going to try.

Feb 21, 2007

Hump Day Already?

Up again at 4:08AM. I think I'm going to become OCD about waking up at that time on the mornings I work out. I don't know why... it's just something I would do. Doing so allows me plenty of time to take care of the dogs, get my workout/work clothes together, grab a bite to eat and watch a few minutes of TV (poker is on ESPN). I had signed up for a 5:45 spin class this morning and figured I could get a 30-minute run in beforehand. My run was done at a relaxed pace and went by very fast (approx. 4 miles). I arrived at the spin class a few minutes early so the instructor could orient me with my bike and get it set up for me. We did a fair amount of climbing (i.e. out of the saddle) and also did a lot of work geared towards maintaining cadence while increasing resistence. Spin workouts are very high energy and fast paced. You really get your money's worth, so to speak.

Feb 20, 2007

A Good Start...

I woke up this morning at 4:08, let the dogs out, fed them, ate some Cookie Crisps (the breakfast of champions) and watched poker on TV for about 10 minutes before finally getting my workout clothes together and heading to the gym. Four minutes in the car and I found myself waiting alongside the other earlybirds to get into EMH. Once the doors opened, I quickly changed and was on the run by 5:05 doing 800-meter repeats (4x800). I ran my 800's at 5:30-5:40 pace with about 60-seconds rest in between. Following a mile cooldown, I did about 30-minutes of strength training before signing up for tomorrow morning's 5:45 spin class on my way out. It felt great to have accomplished so much before 6:30AM and to have set myself up for more of the same tomorrow. I got home and drank a huge glass of V8 before showering and leaving for work. I was feeling super healthy until I arrived at work and saw that it was Girl Scout cookie delivery day and two boxes of Thin Mints were waiting for me! I was good though and only had a few. I threw the rest in the freezer in hopes that I forget about them or am too lazy to walk to the lunch room to grab them!

Strength Training summary

Abdominal crunches (3x20, 60 lbs)
Lower back hyperextensions, Roman chair (3x20)
Tricep pulldowns, tricep bar (3x14, 70 lbs)
Bicep curls, dumbells (3x20, 20 lbs)
Standing lateral shoulder raise (3x12, 10 lbs)
Butterfly chest press (3x12, 60 lbs)

Feb 17, 2007

2007 Chili Bowl

I've been running steadily for nearly 5 years and I still dread racing a 5k. You think I'd be used to "that" feeling prior to and during the race. There's just something about not being able to breathe that lingers in the mind, not letting you forget about how miserable you'll eventually feel. The crazy thing about it all, and one of the reasons I continue to run, is that 30-seconds after it's over, I feel on top of the world! Especially when I achieve the goal(s) I had hoped for. My goal for this years edition of Chili Bowl was to run 6-minute miles. That's it. It's early and I knew the weather wasn't going to be the best. Turns out, the weather wasn't too bad. About 15 minutes prior to the start, it started to snow... the real light, fluffy kind of snow. Temps were probably in the teens, 14°F I'd guess, which was a little warmer than last years 5°F.

My first mile (5:55) seemed fast considering it took me a minute to weave through the crowd at the start. Mile 2 (6:12) seemed slow and mile 3 (5:55) was either fast or I did better than I thought turning around a cone positioned on a small out-and-back section near the end. Of course the last 1/10 of a mile was fast (kick time baby!) and I came in at 18:37, which averaged out to 6-minute pace exactly. Sweet!

I placed 4th in my new age division and 16th overall. Enjoyed some chili, conversation and laughter with some good friends afterwards (pics still to come).

Elizabeth, DaisyDuc and Bridget's blogs tell their story! Check 'em out!

Feb 16, 2007

Naked Men

I've been wanting to re-join a gym in order to get back in the pool and to have the option of running on an indoor track when it's too cold outside. If there's one thing I've learned this winter, it's that I'm a real sissy when it comes to running in temps less than 20° or so! Anyway, I went over to EMH Center for Health & Fitness in Avon and was given an all inclusive tour... including a stroll through the men's locker room where, needless to say, I saw a handful of naked men. I was trying not to look but there were mirrors in strange places and there's always "that guy" who loves to strut his stuff... towel over shoulder and all! Sorry, I had to comment. I'm used to seeing only one penis per day and I find it worthy of mention when I go over my quota!

Male genatalia aside, I was happy with what I saw at EMH and after filling out all the registration paperwork, was able to squeeze in a 30-minute run at near tempo pace (final mile was 6:15) . The indoor track, on the second floor, is 1/10 mile and loops around the pool, the fitness room, a first floor fitness area and the main lobby. For an indoor track it's actually quite scenic. There are a total of 21 spin classes Monday-Saturday ranging from 45-60 minutes. Three of the classes are at 6AM or earlier and happen to be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which is perfect because I can still run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings with my peeps (once it warms up).

I'm looking forward to Chili Bowl on Saturday. This will be my first race in a new age group (30-34) so I'm either going to be humbled by the vets or piss them off because I'm fresh out of 25-29. I suppose, like most races, it'll depend on who shows up and who's feeling "it" on that day.

Feb 13, 2007

Not Pretty!

It is not warm outside. It is perhaps the nastiest weather day of the year and possibly the last several years. I don't remember it being this bad. It's not so much the cold as it is the wind. It is blowing at 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Nasty! I'm definitely not running outside in this mess and I hope anyone reading this opts to stay inside as well. Make the treadmill your friend or ditch the idea of running all together, especially if you have to drive to where you run.

Feb 9, 2007

Making Sense of Things

As a 135 lb sophomore in high school, I remember thinking to myself..."if only I could get to 150 lbs I'd be content". I thought 150 lbs would be a respectable weight to put on the football roster. By my senior year, I weighed 145 lbs although my weight was listed at 160 lbs on the roster. Looking back, I should not have lied about my weight because I was a pretty darn good football player and - even though I wasn't fooling anyone - listing my actual weight may have inspired other "little" guys dreaming of playing varsity football. I was too caught up in being someone I wasn't.

Now, 12 years out of high school, I barely tip the scale at 143 lbs and have no desire whatsoever to weigh any more or any less. I've come to accept and be really happy with my "small-ness". I probably wouldn't be nearly as good a runner if I was 5'11" 190 lbs like I so desired while in high school. It's amazing how things find their place in life. Running is a part of who I am. It took me a while to find it but it all sort of makes sense now.

What can I do with this realization? Well, hopefully in a few years, if necessary, I can tell my son that being small has it's advantages. You know, you can be a horse jockey, run fast marathons and maybe even play a hobbit if another Lord of the Rings movie is filmed! Now... doesn't that feel better? : )

Feb 8, 2007

On the 'Mill

Getting back on the treadmill after not having used one for a long time felt to me like crawling back to an old friend after having deserted them for something bigger and better (in this case, the outdoors!). Good thing inademate objects are so understanding! After a few easy minutes, I gave the treadmill much love by ramping up the speed to my planned marathon pace and clipped away for 4 miles. I slowed things down for a mile or so and then finished with some treadmill strides at about 6-minute pace. I hope to have a good chili-bowl 5K next weekend and will need to squeeze in a few speedwork sessions in the meantime.

I'm really leaning towards running the Cleveland Marathon this spring. I ran the last 10 miles of it last year with a friend and feel it a good course to PR on (assuming no gail force winds at the end). Plus, it'll be a lot easier for my family and friends to come cheer me on. I'm going to focus on both the quality and quantity of my training runs from now until then. The FIRST program is big on the quality of each run whereas other traditional programs are more about the quantity (i.e. just getting the miles in). I'm going to blend the two together and see what happens. My mileage buildup might look similar to the chart below.

Feb 3, 2007

Too Cold to Run!!

I wish I could think of a way to describe how cold it's been of late. My dogs can attest to the bone-chilling temps as they have been reluctant to step outside for more than 30 seconds. Who can blame them? I've decided to run indoors (treadmill) until the temps get above 20-25°F. Two years ago while preparing for Boston, I practically did the entire training program on a treadmill (including the 20-milers). I don't remember it being too bad except for how hot it can get without proper circulation. Plus, it's so much easier to test food and fluid consumption while on a treadmill. I tend to feel like a lab rat trying all these different concoctions! 2 parts gatorade to 1 part water, 1 part GU to 2 parts water, 3 parts water to 1 part sweat (Yuck!).