Friday, April 30, 2004

Do you like personality tests?

This is silly but kind of fun. Take this very brief personality test to see your "bloginality," your blogging style. My Bloginality is ISFJ.

Also, my wife and daughter left for London last night for a Mother-Daughter vacation. I miss them already, so I'm posting a picture of my wonderful daughter at her first race, last year's Jingle Bell run!

Have fun!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Last walk before the Race

Today I did do an easy 6 mile walk as part of my pre-race taper. For the next two days I'll sleep in and skip training.

Recently Running Chick posted her race goal for a May 15th race on Armed Forces day. I like the idea of making your goals public so I thought I would do the same.

I hope to complete the White Rock 'N' Roll 5 mile race in 51:00, a 10:12 pace. I would love to finish in 50:00 (10:00 pace), but I think 51:00 is more realistic. My PR for 5k is a 10:08, and I've been improving since then, so 10:12 for five miles seems like a good goal.

So there it is, it's out there. I'll be back Saturday to let you know how I did.

Distance: 6.12 miles
Time: 1:07:03
Pace: 10:57

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Tempo Training Today

Today I inadvertantly did a Tempo workout. I intended to do 6 miles slow and easy (a small taper before the White Rock N Roll 5 mile race on Saturday), but things felt good and I was moving at a decent pace without much effort so I decided to step up the pace each mile. The result was 6.12 miles at 10:57 pace. My mile splits (not including the half mile walk to and from the track) were:


It's almost race day! I can't wait to race again.

Distance: 6.12 miles
Time: 1:07:03
Pace: 10:57

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Sunday Roundup

Here's a summary of my training to date:

Miles this week: 40.3
Avg. Pace: 11:11

Miles this year: 597.5
Avg. Pace: 11:19
Cumulative Time: 4 days, 16 hours, 42 minutes, 44 seconds

Total miles walked since I started racewalking (5/4/2003): 1506.4

For more details, visit my training log here.

Rain for 2 hours, 44 minutes and 24 seconds

It was a soggy, sloggy long training walk today. It rained the entire time, heavily for the first hour and a half and then lightly after that. There were numerous puddles and muddy patches on the trail that were unavoidable, so I was soaked to the bone and my shoes and socks were wet the whole run. However, that didn't bother me too much. The rain is nice to train in because things are cool and the trails are empty.

My bigger frustration was that I couldn't keep my pace up. I ended up with a pace of 10:57 per mile, not too bad, but I was hoping for faster. I guess my legs are still a little tired from my recent hard training (long walks and speedwork). I only broke 10:30 twice (toward the end) and had many miles over 11:00. But all in all I guess it was a good walk considering the weather. Also, I only slept about 3 hours last night. My wife had some insomnia and I ended up staying up with her and watching movies all night (I highly recommend Kill Bill Volume 1).

Distance: 15 miles
Time: 2:44:24
Pace: 10:57

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Yesterday was slow, but slow is OK (once in a while)

I did my usual 6+ miles at the track yesterday morning but I was both physically tired and sleep deprived, so I decided not to worry about speed and just put in the miles. I've had some nice speedwork lately and have seen my times creeping up, so an occasional slow recovery day is no big deal.

It's been raining all night and morning, so tomorrow may be a wet training walk, but I've never minded walking in the rain; I actually like it. I'll probably only do 10-14 miles tomorrow because I have a five mile race on May 1 and I want to taper a little bit so my legs are fresh and ready. I love racing! I can't wait to race again. I'm hoping for a 10:12 pace and a 51 minute finish time.

Distance: 6.22 miles
Time: 1:15:41
Pace: 12:10

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Age Graded Performances

In the past I've analyzed my races using this Age Grading Calculator on the web. It was interesting because I could see how I performed compared to a statistical analysis of thousands of other racers. The only problem with the web-based calculator is that it didn't calculate for Marathons or Half Marathons.

Recently someone on one of the Yahoo! racewalking groups I belong to posted an Excel file that calculates age grading for more distances, including the Marathon and Half Marathon. I've been looking at all my races and comparing my performances. Here are some quick statistics:

My performance in my first race (Flagpole 8k on 7/4/03) was 50.57%. My best performance was 7 months later at the Mardi Gras Half Marathon (2/28/04) and was 60.46%.

As I suspected, I'm better at long distances than at middle distances. My best 5k performance is 59.24%. My two best half marathons were 60.01% and 60.46%. My recent marathon was 59.68%, better than I expected.

These spreadsheets work for both runners and walkers, so if you'd like a copy please e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

More treadmill training

I'm flying back to Dallas this afternoon so this will be my last walk on the treadmill for a while. My long walk last night (9 miles) took it's toll today and I got tired quickly, so I stopped after 4 miles. Oh well. I'm still glad I got up and walked. As another blogger recently wrote (sorry, I can't find the post) I've never regretted walking after a walk. Before the walk I might be tired, cold, unmotivated, etc., but after I walk I'm always glad I did.

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 44:28
Pace: 11:07

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Long Treadmill Walk

I'm traveling for business in San Antonio today and tomorrow. I got in last night and stayed up late working and reading, and as a result I overslept and missed my morning walk! I was more upset about this than usual because last night for dinner I went to a mexican restaurant with a colleague and ate too many chips and tortillas! Luckily we finished up work early today so I worked in the hotel room for a while and then went down for a long walk. Unfortunately it was on the treadmill, but a treadmill walk is better than no walk at all. At least I was able to catch up on the day's news and see some interesting interviews about the war in Iraq and the recent car bombings there and in Saudi Arabia.

Distance: 9 miles
Time: 1:36:38
Pace: 10:44

Excellent NPR Story on Curt Clausen

Wow, national radio attention for racewalking on National Public Radio. Click here to read an introduction to NPR's story on Curt Clausen, so far the only American male to qualify for the 50K Olympic Racewalk. To hear the story, click "Morning Edition Audio." It's a really good overview of racewalking, including the rules, the technique and the athletics required to compete.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Great Interval Training Today!

I had a great speed workout today, probably the best I've ever had. I walked to the track at an easy pace (a little over 1/2 mile) and then did two lap intervals with one lap in between. Two laps is a little over 1/2 mile. Here are my paces on the fast intervals:

I've never walked anywhere close to 9:06 before, and I've never so consistently stayed below 9:45. Everything felt great today. I can't wait for the upcoming five mile race (White Rock N Roll on May 1) and I especially can't wait for my next half marathon (North Trail Half Marathon on 5/16).

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Does LSD make you lazy?

Long Slow Distance, not the drug! I've always disliked LSD, and I've avoided it during all of my training. As most of you know, LSD is the concept of doing long slow training walks (or runs) that are about 2 minutes below your goal race pace (depending on the race you are training for). I've always felt that doing too much training at a slow pace trains your legs to adjust to slower paces, making it harder for them to pick up the pace during races. I'm not saying I always train at race pace, but I do try to stay close to race pace when possible. Usually I use the pace in my most recent race to set the training pace for the next race (this worked very well for me in my half marathon training). I think the main reason this has worked well for me is that racewalking is not as physically demanding on your joints and muscles (less impact) so I can recover more quickly from "close to race pace" training. Also, until recently I was training for distances shorter than the marathon, so again there was less recovery time needed.

Now that I'm training for marathon distances, the faster training does take it's toll and makes me more tired. However, what's bothering me is that all of my training paces have slowed down, and I think that is because my legs are used to "holding back" at slower speeds (like you would do at the beginning of a marathon). Today my first miles were 12:13, 12:00, 11:24, 11:39, 11:22, 11:25. I finally told myself I was going too slow and kicked it up to faster paces (10:57, 11:17 [a little refueling here], 11:00, 10:42, 10:37, 10:51, 10:49, 10:53, 9:23 [half mile], 10:30, 10:47). It took a conscious effort on my part to make myself go fast. I feel like I was getting lazy, letting the longer distance dictate that I should "hold back" and keep something in reserve. This is a necessary strategy for a marathon, but I think one can rely on it and make it an excuse for not training harder.

I'd be interested in anyone else's comments on LSD and long training. How do you establish pace goals?

Sunday Roundup

Here's a summary of my training to date:

Miles this week: 38.2
Avg. Pace: 11:19

Miles this year: 557.2
Avg. Pace: 11:20
Cumulative Time: 4 days, 9 hours, 12 minutes, 21 seconds

Total miles walked since I started racewalking (5/4/2003): 1466.1

For more details, visit my training log here.

Good Sunday Long Walk

It was a great day for a long walk. The temperature was in the 60s but it was breezy and overcast so it never felt hot. I walked 21 miles at White Rock Lake in 3:55:49, for a pace of 11:14! That's pretty fast for me for that mileage, so I was pleased. Actually, that's the fastest long walk I've done in months. The last time I walked that fast was late January, and that was only a ten mile walk. I would really like to get my marathon pace below 11:00, so this was definitely a step in the right direction.

I was really slow at the beginning (more about that in another post) but once I kicked it in I did quite a few miles below 11:00 and one half mile at 9:23! I got tired (as usual) but felt better than I have ever felt on a long walk, so I guess the long training walks are starting to pay off.

Distance: 21 miles
Time: 3:55:49
Pace: 11:14

Friday, April 16, 2004

Great Personal Running Site

Check out this nice running site in the UK, Charlotte Dutch. She is a runner who is considering powerwalking for a while. It's a very nice site.

Catching up on posts

I've been on the road for a couple of days and unable to post. I'll give you a brief update of my training.

Wednesday I did 6.11 miles at the track, total time was 1:09:08 or 11:18/mile.
Thursday I did 5.36 miles on the hotel treadmill in San Antonio. I would have gone longer but the treadmill automatically stops after 60 minutes and there were other people who I sensed wanted to use the treadmill. I didn't want to be a hog so I got off after the 60 minute cutoff. 5.36 in 60 minutes equals 11:11/mile, so not bad (but not lightnin' fast either).

Today I intended to walk but I was just SO tired. I think I've been pushing too hard, not because I'm training too much but because I'm not sleeping enough. I've got a fever blister and sore throat, classic signs that I'm not sleeping enough. So today when my alarm went off I reset it and went back to sleep. That helped a lot. Tomorrow is my normal rest day so I'll get to sleep in again. Hopefully by my Sunday long walk I'll be feeling good and will have a good long walk (I haven't decided on distance yet, maybe 22 miles).

Good walking/running everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Looniness of the Long Distance Runner

I just finished reading a good book on running, The Looniness of the Long Distance Runner by Russell Taylor. It's an hilarious account of the author's decision to run the New York City Marathon. He had never run before, so the book takes you from his first training in the gym through several half marathons and trail races and finally to the big day. Some of the early sections are a little slow and a little too funny, but most of the book is laugh out loud hilarioius.

He also captures many of the emotions and fears and the excitement of new runners. If you are relatively new to running or are pushing yourself to greater distances you will recognize yourself in this book.

I especially liked his race reports. One report was about a particularly challenging trail race called "Race the Train" where runners try to beat a vintage steam train on an out and back course. After failling "despairing and dead" over the finish line, he realizes it was fun and he'd like to do it again:

"Just two minutes, a couple of stretches and a cup of water later I am strolling round the finishing enclosure thinking, 'That was all rather fun.' What is wrong with the human brain? Why is it seemly incapable of retaining the experience of excruciating pain? I know that just five minutes previously I wanted to die and now I could cheerfully sign up to do the whole thing over again."

If you enjoy reading about running and don't take mind laughing at yourself then you will enjoy this book.

Interval Training

Today I did Interval Training at the track. I haven't done speedwork in a long time; I'm excited about working on speed over the summer.

I'm not sure how long the track is; it's just a middle school track near my house. My intervals (two laps) were all a little over 0.5 miles. Here are my splits (pace, not actual split times):

Altogether I put in 5.76 miles and my overall pace was 11:42/mile.

What's interesting is that all of these intervals were slower than my fastest mile ever, a 9:39 first mile in a recent 5k. But I'm not feeling great this week (very tired) and I did 22 miles on Saturday, so I think that's why I'm a little slow. I'm hoping that once I get back to normal, and once I'm doing speedwork more consistenly, my speed will increase.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Sunday Roundup

Here's a summary of my training to date:

Miles this week: 36.3
Avg. Pace: 11:26

Miles this year: 518.9
Avg. Pace: 11:20
Cumulative Time: 4 days, 2 hours, 0 minutes, 0 seconds

Total miles walked since I started racewalking (5/4/2003): 1427.9

For more details, visit my training log here.

Saturday Long Training Walk

I did my long training on Saturday instead of Sunday this week due to Easter. I was beat at the end but it went well: 22 miles around White Rock Lake. My clocked pace was 11:44, but I know I was faster because I took a brief break at the halfway point to change out my wristband/headband (I sweat a lot and they were soaked). I also started pausing during the second half to drink water at the fountains (I had my CamelBak with gatorade, but I felt like a little water to supplement). I've had a lot of luck with the Hammer Gel and e-Caps. I definitely get tired, but I don't seem to crash the way I used to when I went over 18 miles. Of course, it could also be that my body is adapting to the long mileage (I hope!).

I took today off since we had a lot to do this morning. Tomorrow I'll probably hit the track for 6-10 miles, depending on how I feel. It's raining right now so it looks like it might be soggy training. I don't mind; the rain never really bothers me. It's kind of a nice change.

Distance: 22 miles
Time: 4:18:19
Pace: 11:44

Friday, April 09, 2004

Another good training day

I walked 6+ miles at the track today and maintained the same pace I walked yesterday (10:57). This is a pretty fast training pace for me and it feels good to be pushing myself again. For a while I did a lot of racing, which made me too tired to push my training walks. Then I was training for the Texas Marathon, so the long miles wore me out. I'm still trying to do long weekend miles but I feel like I've gotten stronger as a result of the racing and long distances.

Normally I would take tomorrow off and train long on Sunday, but since I have family plans Sunday morning I'm going to do 20-22 miles at White Rock Lake tomorrow. I probably should have taken today off to rest before my long miles but since I missed so much training this week I really didn't want to miss today. I hope I don't regret it tomorrow.

Distance: 6.12 miles
Time: 1:07:05
Pace: 10:57

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Great Photo documentary of Men's 50k Olympic Trials

Check out this exciting event here. These guys are incredible athletes and are faster than many runners out there. Look at the pictures and the results and then tell me that Racewalking is not a sport!

Sadly, after the trials Al Heppner, one of leaders for most of the race and a driven competitor (number 3), committed suicide, apparently despondent over not qualifying for the Olympic team.

Took a little break

I took an unintentional three day break. Monday and Tuesday I was just beat, I think from the time change, from the marathon and then 20 mile walk the following week, and from not getting enough sleep. Both days I set my alarm to get up and train but when the alarm went off I got back in bed and went back to sleep.

On Wednesday I had every intention of training, but I had to fly to San Antonio for work so I was going to get up at 4:00 am. Unfortunately I overslept and had to rush to make my flight, so I missed that training day as well.

Today I finally got back out there and had a great walk. I walked a little over 8 miles and my pace was below 11:00. I need to work on speed over the next few months (and my race schedule should help that) so I can bring down my half marathon and marathon times.

Distance: 8.19 miles
Time: 1:29:42
Pace: 10:57

Monday, April 05, 2004

Photos from The Texas Marathon

For once the race photographers got several good pictures of me. See them here.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Love those long miles

I did 20 miles today at White Rock Lake. They weren't the best miles I've ever done and I felt pretty tired, but I maintained a decent pace (11:41) and don't feel like I ever "bonked." Considering I just finished a marathon one week ago, I think 20 miles at that pace is pretty acceptable. It was also a great day to walk. It's starting to get warm, which I don't like much, but the sun was out, the birds and bugs were making their music, there were lots of birds on the lake. Just a beautiful day to get out and exercise.

Now I'm going to get a big ole' Spud Lite from Jason's Deli! Mmmmmmmmmmm......

Funny walking quote

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
--Steven Wright

Friday, April 02, 2004

Marathon Splits

I got my splits for the Texas Marathon last weekend. As I wrote, I slowed down in the second half, but not as much as I thought. My first half was 2:25:12 (which would have been my fifth fastest half marathon, out of seven); the second half was 2:31:45, so about a six minute decrease in speed over the second half, averaging about 27 seconds per mile.

I think this shows I can go much faster if I continue to work on my endurance. I think I'm going to do speed work one day a week and then do long miles all other days, with a really long walk on Sunday.

Ultrawalker blog -- Now with Comments!

Now the one person who reads this blog (besides me) can leave insightful comments about my insightful postings!

Did another six mile walk today on the track near my house. I'm feeling pretty good, still get a little tired after the marathon, but I know this is normal. I got in some good times today--the whole walk was below marathon pace, and some of my track miles were close to half marathon pace.

I've been working on my race schedule and am excited about some upcoming races. I wish I could find longer races but that is hard to do in Texas in summer. Instead, I'll settle for some 15k, 20k, 25k and half marathons in the summer and early fall leading up to 1-2 marathons in the late fall/early winter. I'm also going to do the Flagpole 8k on July 4th. This will be special because it was my first race ever last year, so it will be a reunion of sorts. Last year my pace was 12:09; this year I think I might be able to break a 10:00 minute pace! A pretty big improvement!

Distance: 6.16 miles
Time: 1:09:27
Pace: 11:16

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Back on track

Today was my first walk since the marathon. Everything felt good; I just took it slow and put in the miles. I'm looking forward to a long walk this weekend--long walks are the best part of marathon training!

Distance: 6.09 miles
Time: 1:12:32
Pace: 11:54