Tuesday, June 29, 2004

And another thing

Last week was the first time I've ever walked 50 miles in a week. It's the first, but it won't be the last! ;)

My first Long Run Tuesday

In preparation for the Ultracentric 24 hour race I'm starting to build up to three long runs per week (preferably in the 3-5 hour range). Today I started that process by walking 10.5 miles. It's not a really long walk yet; I don't want to increase my distance too aggressively and injure myself or burn out. I was able to keep a pretty good pace and felt good the whole time. On the way to work I had some discomfort behind my left knee but it has mostly subsided.

It will be difficult to get my long weekend walk this week; I've got an 8k race Sunday morning. I haven't decided if I want to walk at the lake after the race or get up Monday morning (work holiday) and do it. Sunday would be preferable so that I could sleep in on Monday and so that my training week would not be disrupted, but I don't know if I'll feel like walking 17+ miles after a race. I guess I'll just play it by ear.

This afternoon I'm off to San Antonio for a quick business trip so I'll be doing tomorrow's mileage on the hotel treadmill.

Distance: 10.50 miles
Time: 1:56:13
Pace: 11:04

Monday, June 28, 2004

Scott Jurek wins Western States, again!

Six times in a row. This guy is incredible. I'd give anything to run like that.

Weekend Recap

This has been a busy week and weekend! My ten year old nephew has been visiting for the week so we've been very busy entertaining him. My daughter's birthday was last Monday but her party was yesterday, so we've had a week of birthday celebrations and preparations. Wednesday night we went to Medieval Times (ugh, but the kids loved it). Friday night we went to the Texas Rangers game. Saturday night we went to a wedding. Sunday afternoon was the official birthday party (Lord of the Rings theme, Lela dressed up as Arwen [including pointy elfin ears]).

I managed to get in my long walk yesterday but in order to get home in time to prepare for the party I had to get up at 4:00 AM (ugh again!). It was misting as I drove to the lake, but by the time I got there it was a full rain storm. I promised myself I'd start walking by 5:00, so at 5:01 AM I stepped out of the car and into the rain. It rained almost the entire walk; I was soaked to the bone, including my shoes and socks, but miraculously I didn't get a single blister. I think my feet are magic! In all my training and racing the only blisters I've ever gotten have been very small blisters on the tips of a couple of toes, and they have never hurt or bothered me while walking.

My long walk was great--I reached my goal of 22 miles and maintained a good, even pace (11:35). I was definitely tired and sore at the end but I spent the rest of the day on my feet (preparing for the party, hosting the party, cleaning up afterwards) and I felt good the whole time.

This week my training will be off a little bit because of the Flagpole 8k on July 4th. I'm planning to walk 10 miles tomorrow, 7 miles on Wednesday and Thursday, then taper on Friday/Saturday, race on Sunday, then long walk on Monday July 5th. I don't want to let up on my long distances because I don't have much time before Ultracentric.

Good running/walking, everyone!

Distance: 22.00 miles
Time: 4:14:46
Pace: 11:35

Friday, June 25, 2004

I'm a little behind

I didn't get around to posting yesterday. Not much going on here. Still celebrating my daughter's birthday! Her party is actually this Sunday (we had to push it due to scheduling conflicts) so we'll be preparing for that this weekend. It's a "Lord of the Rings" themed party; she's dressing up as Arwen (pointy ears and all). I'm still hoping to get up early and get in a long walk (22 miles?) on Sunday morning before preparing for the party.

Yesterday I was pretty tired and just did an easy 7+ miles. It's ironic because an easy pace (11:30 - 11:50) is still about two minutes faster per mile than my 24-hour pace will be. I'm actually going to start training at that slower pace on some of my long walks to get myself used to the slower pace.

Distance: 7.21 miles
Time: 1:25:32
Pace: 11:51

4x8 pushups
3x10 situps

Today I also did 7+ miles, a little bit faster than yesterday. I'm glad tomorrow is a rest day because I need a chance to sleep in. Since we are entertaining our 10 year old nephew this week we've been very busy and I've been getting to bed rather late. My alarm goes off at 4:45 AM so late nights are really hard for me.

Distance: 7.07 miles
Time: 1:19:33
Pace: 11:15

4x8 pushups
4x10 situps

Good weekend running, everyone, and good luck to all those racing (Charlotte has a Half Marathon this weekend. Go, Charlotte!!!)

It's Official!

The race director of the Ultracentric 24- and 48-hour run has agreed to make it a Centurion event, so I'm officially training for my first 24-hour race and my first 100 mile event! I think I must be crazy..........it's only five months away..........

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Quick Post

I'm very busy today (boo hoo for me) so just a quick post. I inadvertently did another tempo-type walk this morning, a little slower than yesterday. I started at 11:30 and ended up at 10:37 for two miles. It was a little cooler today (70 deg.) so that was a nice change of pace.

Distance: 7.13 miles
Time: 1:18:19
Pace: 10:59

3x8 pushups
3x10 situps

New Wilco Album!

The new Wilco album, A Ghost is Born, was released yesterday. I've been listening to it on their website for quite a while and I really like it. It's a departure from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot but there are still familiar stylistic touches and themes. I hope to have time to but it today. If you're interested you can still listen to the entire album on their website! Try before you buy....

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Great training today!

I had another great A. Tempo training session today! Considering that I walked 19 miles on Sunday and was pretty beat afterwards, I was really surprised with my results today. My splits were:

9:43 !!!

What's great is that I felt tired afterwards, but not totally exhausted. 10:10 is almost my 5k and 5 mile PR pace, and 9:43 is below any pace I've ever raced (I hit 9:30 once in a 5k but I didn't sustain it). I'm very pleased with these splits. I think maybe I can finish my upcoming 8k in below 10:00 per min. pace! That would be so awesome and the first time I would be able to maintain that speed over distance. We'll see.....

Distance: 7.16 miles
Time: 1:16:05
Pace: 10:37

3x8 pushups
3x10 situps

Monday, June 21, 2004

Happy Birthday to my sweet little baby

Five years old!! I can't believe it. Love you, monkey!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Sunday Roundup

Here's a summary of my training to date:

Miles this week: 47.6
Avg. Pace: 11:15

Miles this year: 862.6
Avg. Pace: 11:16
Cumulative Time: 6 days, 15 hours, 5 minutes, 23 seconds

For more details, visit my training log here.

Not quite what I had planned

I went to the lake today for my long walk, but things just didn't click. First we went to a wedding last night and, although I tried to resist, I ate too much wedding cake. Friday and Saturday nights I didn't sleep well or long enough, so this morning I just didn't feel great Then I left my Garmin Forerunner at home and had to go back and get it. That meant I started later than expected, and that means I dealt with the heat longer than necessary.

Once I got to the lake I got in the groove of things and felt pretty good. It was hot (I'll be repeating that phrase for several more months) but not unbearable. I had plenty of liquids (I brought an ice cooler with extra water and gatorade so I could replenish liquids halfway around the lake), had a snack, had my Hammer Gel and my electrolyte caplets. As I finished my first lake lap I caught up with some other racewalkers and passed them pretty easily (I hate to admit it but it felt good). One young punk (just kidding, a good young racewalker) decided to play with me and tried to out pace me, but I hung on his elbow until he got tired and then I passed him. That was the start of my second loop.

My plan was to do 24 miles. The lake is about 9.3 miles around, so that meant two loops plus another 5.5 miles. As I got close to the end of my second loop I had a little discomfort in my right knee. Nothing too severe but something to pay attention to. When I got to my car I refilled my bottles and drank some nice, cold water. I was feeling very tired and was tempted to quit there but I pushed myself to go on. However, I made it only another mile before I had some pain in my chest/side that was very uncomfortable and I was very tired. I decided there was no reason to push myself too hard so I walked slowly back to my car and called it a day.

I was a little disappointed but 19 miles is still good mileage, especially after 4 days of 7+ miles this week. I'm pushing my mileage in anticipation of the 24 hour race, but I know that if I push too hard I'll probably burn out or injure myself. I also know that I need to slow down if I want to go farther (I'll be doing the 24 hour race and 1.5 - 2 minutes slower per mile). So I'll just be happy with what I did and start planning for the week. This week will be more of the same (4 days of 7+ miles) and then my long walk (maybe 22 miles is a good target to aim for). The week after that will be the Flagpole 8k on July 4th.

Distance: 19.0 miles
Time: 3:37:36
Pace: 11:27

Friday, June 18, 2004

Recipe Recommendation

I've made this dish twice and it's incredible: Bar-b-que'd Sweet Plantains. We don't have a grill so I just broil them on the broiler pan in the oven. Instead of hamburger I use Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles with some onion powder, garlic powder and a little romano or parmesan cheese.

Make sure you let the plantains ripen until they are black and getting soft. They should be as sweet as possible. This is a tasty dish with an excellent mix of carbs and proteins. Check it out!

Whew! Warm and muggy this morning

When I opened the door this morning at 5:15 AM the muggy air hit me like a wall. It's getting hot down here in Texas. I did my usual route to the track and back, a little slower than yesterday. I did decide to carry a water bottle and I think that helped; I didn't feel so parched and tired when I got home. By 30 minutes into my walk all of the ice had melted; by the end of the walk the remaining water was tepid. I miss Fall/Winter training!

This weekend I've got to spend some time working on the yard! We'll also go to the Farmer's Market (we've gotten addicted to that place after only two weeks) and then a wedding tomorrow night.

Sunday I'll do 24 miles at the lake, then my Father-in-Law and his wife are coming to our house for Father's Day dinner. Looks like a full weekend! Good running/walking, everyone!

Distance: 7.13 miles
Time: 1:20:44
Pace: 11:19

Want to boost your brain power? Try marathons and...

Sex! That's right, friends, Professor Perry Bartlett has studied the process of brain cell creation and has found, among other things, that sexual activity stimulates the creation of neurons, which he thinks might be essential for normal, healthy brain functions.

His team also found that, "if you put an animal on a wheel and let it run ad libitum and they run up to about 10 kilometres overnight, they make about twice as many neurones."

Seems like we might be on the right track with this running/walking obsession. Do any of you guys feel smarter?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Nothing special to report

Just another 7+ miles. I was a little slower today (11:15 per mile) but that's OK. You can't tear up the track every day! ;) I don't normally carry water for these shorter runs but I think I'm going to have to start wearing a water bottle pack. I sweat A LOT and I get very thirsty at the end of the walks. When I get home I drink LOTS of water, so I might feel better and perform better if I drink during the walk.

Distance: 7.30 miles
Time: 1:22:10
Pace: 11:15

Pushups: 3x8
Situps: 3x10

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Just Another Day at the Track

I had another good walk at the track today. I got a little nauseous and fatigues at the end so my slowest mile was actually the last one, but I was faster than yesterday.

Distance: 7.10 miles
Time: 1:17:01
Pace: 10:50

Pushups: 2x8 and 1x6
Situps: 3x10

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Normal daily walk

I walked 7.1 miles at the track today and felt great. I was also pretty fast, especially considering I walked 18+ miles on Sunday. This is good since soon my Tuesday walks will be long. I need to get my body adjusted to multiple long walks per week and back-to-back long walks.

Distance: 7.10 miles
Time: 1:18:02
Pace: 10:59

Pushups: 2x8 and 1x6
Situps: 3x10

Monday, June 14, 2004

Results of 2004 USA 15k Race Walk Championships

Congratulations to Curt Clausen and Teresa Vaill for winning the 2004 USA 15k Race Walk Championships! Curt's time was 1:04:40 (6:56 minutes per mile!) and Teresa's time was 1:10:43 (7:35 per mile). That's some seriously fast walking! I can only dream of times like that......

Update: Here is a nice photostory of the 15k from Racewalk.com.

Rosie's Running Around the World

Rosie Swalepope, a 57 year old British runner, is running around the world to raise money for several charities, particularly the Kitezh Community for Orphan Children and The Siberian Railway Cancer Hospital, both Russian children's charities. She started in Russia and is averaging 40k per day. She's currently 2,000 miles east of Moscow and is entering Siberia. You can read periodic updates on her website.

I'm always inspired when I read about ordinary people doing amazing things!

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sunday Roundup

Here's a summary of my training to date:

Miles this week: 47.6
Avg. Pace: 11:07

Miles this year: 814.9
Avg. Pace: 11:16
Cumulative Time: 6 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes, 50 seconds

For more details, visit my training log here.

18+ miles with a negative split

Today was a great day for a walk, not too hot or sunny. I got started a little before 6:00 am and did my usual route around the lake. I got several nice comments from runners and also ran into a couple of other racewalkers. We finished together and talked about upcoming races and possibly training together.

I also got a negative split today, which I always feel is a sign of a good, well executed training walk. The first nine miles took me 1:42; the second nine took 1:40. My splits were 11:58, 11:23, 10:59, 11:48, 11:31, 11:20, 11:18, 11:04, 11:07, 11:21, 10:41, 10:58, 11:01, 11:05, 11:10, 11:10, 11:34, 10:38, 10:09 (.666 miles). My pace was 11:11, below my marathon PR of 11:20.

I'm tired now but felt good through the walk. I was able to drink plenty of water and some gatorade and used Hammer Gel and electrolyte caplets. I didn't finish the gel and didn't feel the need to eat the Clif Bar I had in my pack; I think that's a sign that I'm more able to handle the longer distances than I was a few months ago. I used to crash around mile 18 but I never crashed today.

Distance: 18.67 miles
Time: 3:29:00
Pace: 11:11

More information on the death of Al Heppner

Here is a detailed article on the death of Al Heppner with some possible reasons why he chose to take his own life after not qualifying for the Olympics.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Teaching myself JavaScript

See the little quote on the left side of the page next to my picture? Well, if you refresh the page you might see a different one. I've added some JavaScript that will randomly change the quote (there are five in all). Click refresh and enjoy some running inspiration.

Can you tell I'm bored at work? ;)

Have a good weekend, everyone.

I don't know what happened today, but I hope it happens again!

Today was my best walk in a long time. I don't really understand why. Since this was going to be my fourth 7+ mile walk in a row, I expected it to be slow and steady. Instead I had great time and incredible splits. All of my splits were below 11:00; all but one were below 10:30! Excluding races, today's pace was probably my second fastest ever. Today's splits were: 10:56, 10:17, 10:20, 10:16, 10:16, 10:15, 10:19.

Today I also reached my lowest weight since I started training: 166.6. I first dropped below 168 on May 7th, so it took me over a month to drop below 167. Hopefully the longer miles I will be walking will help increase my weight loss (I think I need to be between 155 and 160).

This is a great start to my weekend. Tomorrow is my rest day so I'll sleep in and then we'll probably go to the Farmers' Market and Cosmic Cafe again. Then Sunday I'll be at the lake for about 19.5 miles (two loops).

Distance: 7.04 miles
Time: 1:13:05
Pace: 10:22

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Rainy morning walk

It's been raining for days here but this is the first morning I actually walked in it (the other mornings I somehow walked in the few moments when the rain had stopped). I don't mind walking in the rain since it usually cools me off so I was happy to get up and get going. I did another 7+ miles on my neighborhood jogging/walking trail. I've been able to pick up the pace every day this week; today's pace was 10:52.

I've also been adding some strength training to my morning ritual. I don't have time or money to join a gym so I've just been doing some exercises at home. Right now I'm hopelessly weak but I suppose that, just like walking, I will improve over time. Today I did 2 repetitions of 8 pushups and 2 repetitions of 10 situps.

Distance: 7.25 miles
Time: 1:18:47
Pace: 10:52

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Today's Walk

I walked 7.5 miles today. I couldn't go to the track because we had a lot of rain last night and the track was soggy and puddle-filled, so I walked around the neighborhood for a while and then walked on a jogging/walking trail near the house. Nothing special about today's walk, just put in the miles and enjoyed being outside and working my muscles.

While meandering around the neighborhood I used my Garmin Forerunner to calculate the distance from our house to my daughter's school. My wife is trying to find a way to get exercise but has limitations due to her health problems, so she was thinking of walking to school to meet Lela and then walk home together. The distance is .789 miles, so we'll have to see how long it will take her to walk that round trip.

Distance: 7.50 miles
Time: 1:23:48
Pace: 11:10

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Today's workout and some "big" plans???

Today's workout was a recovery seven miles at the track. I didn't push the pace because I don't want to overdo it after my sixteen miles on Sunday. I felt good and it was not too hot today because it was overcast and misting a little bit. When I was 50 feet from my front door it started to pour down rain, so I avoided getting soaked!

Did I mention that work is hell?

OK, now for the big news. I've mentioned once or twice on this blog my desire to race in some ultra distance races. Well, the time may come sooner than I thought. In a recent post I told you about Ollie Nanyes, a fellow racewalker who walked 101 miles in 24 hours. Ollie's goal is to become a Centurion--this is the official designation for a walker/racewalker who has walked 100 miles in 24 hours. Ollie's 101 mile attempt didn't count because it wasn't an officially sanctioned Centurion event and did not have walk judges. A few weeks later Ollie tried to become an official Centurion at a race in Rotterdam but he was too drained from his previous race and only completed 81 miles.

Ollie recently announced that he was asking race directors of other 24 hour events to allow judges to monitor the walkers who are seeking Centurion status. One of the races he is targeting is the Ultracentric 24 & 48 Hour Run here in Dallas on November 26-28. Centurion races are rarely held in the U.S. (they are much more common in Europe and Australia), so I'm trying to decide if I want to train for this event. It would have a major impact on my training (and my life):

1. I would probably only do two races before Ultracentric: the July 4th Flagpole 8k (for old time's sake) and the Palo Duro Trail 50 (as a 50 mile training race).
2. I will probably have to build up to three long walks per week (4-5 hours). Each week will vary, of course, and I will scale back every third week to give my body a break, but a typical week might be:

Tuesday--2-5 hours
Wednesday--5-6 miles
Thursday--5-6 miles
Saturday--4-5 hours
Sunday--4-5 hours

I don't want to overdramatize and say that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's not. It is, however, a good opportunity to reach one of my long term goals, and there is no guarantee that there will be another opportunity any time soon. It's also a good opportunity because I wouldn't have to travel to the event; this would reduce the stress and the cost of the event. It would also be great because my family could be there to crew for me and keep my spirits up.

So this is what is on my mind lately. I'm excited and a little scared, but I think that there is no harm in trying (as long as I train sensibly and take the mileage progression slowly).

Like the quote on my blog homepage says, "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." -- T.S. Eliot

Anyone out there have any thoughts?

Distance: 7.12 miles
Time: 1:24:18
Pace: 11:50

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Great new headband

If you sweat heavily (like I do) and hate getting sweat in your eyes, check out the new Tunnel Vision headband. It is very small and made of plastic and has channel to capture the sweat and deliver to the side of your head rather than letting it drip down your face. Unlike regular sweatbands it doesn't absorb the sweat and eventually become waterlogged. I've been using it for about a week (I used it in the 20k and I used it today on my 16 mile long walk) and I think it works very well. I sweat a lot so I still get some sweat in my eyes but it has significantly reduced the problem. It's a little pricey (mine was $15 at a local running shop) but it should last indefinitely since it won't wear out like standard sweatbands. Also, it can be washed in the sink and dries quickly so you won't need more than one. I think it is worth checking it out if you have this problem.

Great day for a long walk

It was beautiful out today. It was warmer than I prefer (mid-70s) but it was overcast so it never got too hot. I did an eight mile out and back course at White Rock Lake. The lake is about 9.25 miles around (it can be stretched to longer distances with some additional loops) so I went almost all the way around and then turned around and went back. Best of all, I was pleased with my times. They weren't extremely fast but they were fairly even, and I didn't push myself to go fast. I didn't experience any major slowdown toward the end and was able to keep an even energy level (I even kicked it on the last mile for my fastest split, 10:51). My average pace was below my marathon PR pace, so that's pretty good!

I used my Ultimate Direction Gemini water pack on the walk and it worked out very well. It has two bottles (I use one for water and one for gatorade) and an awesome little pocket in front that is big enough for my gel flask and electrolyte tablets. It has a large storage area in the back which is a little too big for walks of this distance but should be great when I get into the ultra distances.

10:50 (I think this was a mistake; I think the Garmin lost .05 miles so this is a little faster than it should be)

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 3:00:28
Pace: 11:17

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Great Healthy Day with the Family

Today we enjoyed a lot of time together and focused on our renewed effort to be healthy. We started out by going to the Dallas Farmers Market, a great place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables right from farmers or dealers of local produce. We bought blackberries, peaches, corn on the cob, dime-sized tomatoes, apples, squash, asparagus and plantain bananas. I bought my wife a juicer for our anniversary and she couldn't wait to buy fruits and vegetables for juicing. We also bought two big hanging plants for the house.

After that we ate lunch at Cosmic Cafe, a great vegetarian restaurant specializing in Indian and eastern cuisines. My daughter and I shared a "Sacred Cow Pie" (pizza on nan with very fresh veggies) and a falafel sandwich.

After that we went to various other stores getting things for the house and groceries. We've been working on our backyard so we got some candles for the outdoor bistro table, some little pagoda-style hanging lanterns that are solar charged during the day, and so on. Now, after a nice dinner we're all relaxing before going to bed. Tomorrow I'll be up at 5:00 to head to the lake and do my 16 miles.

Check out Bug

Check out Bug, our newest blogger and probably our youngest. She is the daughter of Reba and has just started running and blogging. Congratulations, Bug, and keep up the good work.

Philly runners create a terror scare!

Independence Hall, PhiladephiaIn today's climate nothing is innocent! Read here how Philly's Hash House Harriers created a terrorism scare by marking their running route with flour! I lived in Philly for 6 years; I really wish I could move back!

The Pressure of an Elite Athlete

Here is an interesting and sad article on Al Heppner, an elite racewalker who killed himself in February after failing to qualify for the Olympic racewalking team.

Friday, June 04, 2004

I take it back, I DID walk today

Today is just too beautiful a day to work from home. I should have gone to the office. After working all morning my burnout caught up with me and the beautiful weather outside coerced me into putting on my walking shoes. I headed to the track on my usual route and put in a little over 6 miles. It's 88 degrees outside so it was a challenging walk, but now after my shower I feel refreshed and relaxed. I'll do a little more work, then make Southern Barbecue Tempeh for the family dinner and sleep very well tonight.

Distance: 6.31 miles
Time: 1:08:12
Pace: 10:50

No walk today

Well, I got back from San Antonio last night just in time to visit with my family for a little while, tuck the little one into bed and then fall off to sleep. My wife just bought us a new mattress that arrived yesterday--it is soooooo comfortable. It's super soft with a very thick pillow top and feels very good. It's at least 4-6 inches taller than our old mattress, so our four year old has trouble climbing into the bed.

I woke up at 5:00 this morning but just felt achy and tired so I decided to grab another hour of sleep before starting work. I'm working from home today which is nice and saves me from the 30 minute commute and all of the interruptions in the office. It is a very stressful and very unpleasant time right now--the project I'm working on (which I hate!) is moving into a critical stage. The next month and a half will be hell, but I'm starting a job search with the goal of taking a new position as soon as this project ends in early August. I've already talked to a couple of companies so the process is going well so far. I'll keep you posted.

So no walk today, tomorrow is my standard day off, and Sunday I'm going to do a long walk and start building myself back up to the 20-22 mile range for my long walks. As I've mentioned in previous posts I want to bring my marathon time down dramatically so I feel that I really need to spend a lot of time (over a long period of time) walking the longer distances. My very long range goals are ultra distance events (50k, 50 miles, maybe even 100 miles some day down the road) so I need to gradually increase my mileage and acclimate my body.

I hope everyone has good running/walking this weekend.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Not much to report

I'm traveling on business today. I ate mexican food last night with a colleague (I hate business travel! It's so bad for my eating and exercise habits) so I did an hour on the hotel treadmill. I kept it nice and slow (12:00 minute miles) just to give my body more time to recover from recent races.

I was supposed to stay through tomorrow but things wrapped up early so I'm on an 8:30 flight tonight. I'm looking forward to being home with my family in my own home. I'll probably do an easy 6 miles tomorrow morning, take Saturday off and then start long miles on Sunday. I'm not sure how far yet, may be 16 miles (nice and easy).