Saturday, September 26, 2009

So Long, Doubt!

Today's run-walk-run: Temperature: 63 degrees; 17 miles; 2:59:03; 10:31 per mile pace. Splits: 9:59; 10:15; 10:06; 10:15; 10:27; 10:22; 10:24; 10:43; 10:30; 10:22; 10:18; 10:29; 10:06; 14:15 (stopped home and refueled); 9:46; 10:27; 10:19.

I'm satisfied with today's run of 17 miles. I'm satisfied with a total of 52.1 miles run for the week. I NEVER run close to that many miles for the week. I finished about three hours ago, and the aches and pains are minimal. Even purple toes are happy. Left brain wasn't a factor. I shut him right down. It was cooler and windy, and near the end of my run I felt under dressed. That's Connecticut weather. Within the course of my 3 hour run, the wind increased and the temperature decreased. AS much as I would have liked to run 20 or more miles, I decided to stop at 17 because of the weather and because I wasn't hydrated enough. I didn't wear my hydration belt, and from mile 9 on I was craving water. At one point I almost stopped at a cemetery, filled and drank from a watering can I saw there, but decided that wouldn't be a smart move. So as I arrived home st mile 13.6, I headed right for our water cooler. After chugging a few glasses of water, I was back on the road. It didn't help that I am out of energy gels also. My order from Road Runner Sports won't arrive until Thursday. Poor planning on my part. So my strategy had been to run without my hydration belt, since it was cool outside and the belt weighs me down; plus carry a Creamy Citrus PowerBar and break off pieces as needed. Dumb move on my part, since the PowerBar wasn't a good substitute for a gel (too think and chewy), and it made me even more thirsty. So as I said, after chugging some water, I was back on the road, and it then felt cold outside since duh, I had left my warm home. Also, as I ran, I suddenly started having "cotton mouth syndrome." My mouth was drier than it's ever been. Go figure. I stop and drink water, begin running again, and now my mouth and body craved even more water. I've never had my mouth be as dry as it was then. At that point I decided not to take any unnecessary chances by attempting 20 plus miles. I looped back towards home, and completed my 17 miles with enough distance left to have a nice slow cooldown walk before going inside. As I crunch some numbers, If I take 4 minutes off of the 14:15 mile 14 split that is inflated due to my stop home, my adjusted time of 2:55:03 would average out to a 4:29:58 marathon, take or give a little. Considering I ran-walk-ran at a 4 minute run and a 1 minute walk pace. I'm OK with the time. I must say though, as I've said before, I do not like to run long distances by myself. Yes, I had music to listen to, but nothing beats running in a race and taking advantage of the water and gel stops. Even more important, running with other people in a race definitely motivates me to do better. It's too easy to dog it when I do the solo run, although that wasn't the case today. Had I not had the hydration issue, I think I could have run 20 plus miles...maybe even a marathon. But, I know I made the right decision to stop. Better I stop today so I can run another day! P.S. I've become a Facebook addict! If any of you want to add me as a friend, scroll down and click on my link near the bottom right.

I Wish...

WARNING: Whiney baby post ahead!
I wish I had a running buddy to run with today. I want to do a long run; I NEED to do a long run of 15 or more miles. Lurking in the back of my mind is "doubt." Doubt that I still have the capability to even run-walk-run 15 or more miles without "falling apart." Doubt that I should run the Hartford Marathon in two weeks as a practice run for the NY City Marathon on November 1st (5 weeks, 1 day to go). By not successfully run-walk-running this past Sunday's scheduled 26 miler, I cannot lie: Doubt remains in my mind. My next scheduled long run is 28 miles, a run-walk-run the day after the Hartford Marathon. I want to defeat doubt. I want to nail a 15 miler or longer today and permanently erase doubt from my mind. I think left brain has teamed-up with doubt to do this. I hate left brain; I hate doubt; and I hate running long distances by myself. I was going to run a half marathon race tomorrow, but the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms. So today's the day I have to run. This sucks...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Confidence Restored

Today's run: Linear Trail: Temperature 78 degrees; Splits 8:56; 8:35; 9:00; 8:52; 8:47; 9:09; 8:48; 8:49; 8:46; 8:51; 1:28:33 total for 10 miles; 8:51 per mile pace.

Yesterday's Run: Road: Temperature 80 degrees. Splits 8:40; 8:55; 8:32; 8:26; :47: 35:20 for 4.1 miles; 8:37 per mile pace.

I'm feeling good again. The past two day's runs have been successful, and my times are where I want them to be. Yesterday's road run was a short one, but I purposely did that so I could run the 10 miler today. Overall I averaged an 8:37 per mile pace, well below my goal of 9 minutes or better. I'm encouraged by the last two miles being run in 8:32 and 8:26. I guess knowing that it was a scheduled short, easy run is one trick to build up my confidence.
Today's run was better than I expected it to be. Running the linear trail on a fall day, with the leaves changing color, the temperature cooler, the humidity less, and the smell of fallen leaves made it all worthwhile. So did seeing my blogging buddy Carlee at the 2 1/4 mile point of my run. She was running the opposite direction, and I didn't realize until the last second that it was her speeding by. We exchanged a few words of encouragement, and kept going our separate ways. I wish I had known it was her earlier so I could have thanked her in person for being so supportive. I thought about turning around and trying to catch up with her after we passed, but didn't want her to think I was stalking her. Besides, she's faster than me, so I would have never caught up to her anyhow! So far I've run 35.1 miles this week. I'm still deciding what to do the next three days. I will probably use tomorrow as a rest day, or if I'm ambitious I'll run 5 miles. Same plan for Saturday. I'll probably skip the half marathon on Sunday. It's supposed to rain when it's being run, and I'm still thinking that I need to do one last 20 plus mile run. So if I do it, Sunday would be the day. Unfortunately I'd probably have to miss the NY Giants football game in order to have time to do the run. That's not good. Oh the sacrifices we must make as a runner. Yup, the Hartford Marathon, if I run it, and the New York City Marathon as I've said all along will be my last. This 53 year old man wants some of his family time and fun time back.
FUNDRAISING UPDATE: $2200 raised, $400 to go! I still have 23 days left to raise the money...

A Fun Idea to Help all of Us Be Motivated

As some of you know, I had my cell phone with me this past Sunday for my (semi-successful) long run. It was both fun and motivating to receive encouraging text messages from Carlee as I ran. It was also nice to know that some of you would have also text me had you known about it. Here's a thought. Talk to all your blogging friends who run, and offer to text them during their next long run. I'm not familiar with Twitter, but if that can be done via cell phone while they run, offer that option also. I'm not sure if this is feasible for most people as they run, but I just thought I'd throw it out there to the blogging world of running. OK, stop reading, and go offer to text/tweet our fellow runners!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Linear Trail: Temperature 72 degrees; Splits 9:02; 8:56; 9:04; 8:53; 8:55; 44:50 total for 5 miles; 8:58 per mile pace. (Planned pace was 9:00 or better).

Thank-you! Thank-you to the 8 of you who wouldn't allow me to wallow in self pity after my last post. An additional thank-you to Carlee, who valiantly attempted to text me to success on Sunday. None of you accepted the invitation to my pity party. I needed that. After taking yesterday off to recover mentally and physically, I was back to what I love to do: running the Farmington Canal Trail. Yup, I took the easy way back, but so what? I ran 5 miles, and it felt good. Sorry, but I don't have anything exciting to report about the run.
Decision making time this week. Decision 1: Do I run the Niantic Bay Half Marathon this Sunday? I ran it last year, and I like the race and the course. BUT, if I'm running the Hartford Marathon on October 10th (Which is decision #2), Sunday would be the first day of my two week marathon taper. I want to think I'll be ready to run the Hartford Marathon. Since August 1st, my runs longer than 10 miles have been 20 miles (run-walk-run)on August 8th; 23 miles (run-walk-run) on September 5th; 12.4 miles on September 7th; and the 16 miles (run-walk-run) I did this past Sunday. I really would like to get more more run of over 20 miles in before the Hartford Marathon. My only chance would be this Sunday, instead of running the half marathon race. So I'm stuck as far as what to do. I'll probably skip the half marathon and attempt another 20 plus mile walk-run-walk this Sunday. If successful, then I would feel as if I was better prepared for the Hartford Marathon, and would register for it. My only fear is that I psych myself out and bomb again on my long run Sunday. I am not good at running long distances by myself. The boredom drives me crazy, and having to wear my hydration belt weighs me down, especially after I refill the water bottles halfway through my run. Now I know how racehorses feel. After I stopped home and refilled my water bottles Sunday, it felt impossible for me to regain my running legs. I think that the added weight along with not running slower splits caught up with me and wore me down. Attending a 50th birthday party the day before and drinking beer and eating cake certainly didn't help either. All that being said, my goal this week is to run about 35 miles total and get in one last long run.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Attempted 26.2, made it about 15, walked home the last mile plus. Just not a good day-my legs ran out of energy. How humiliating...

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Today's run: Temperature: 63 degrees; 6.1 miles; 52:59; 8:41 per mile pace. Splits: 9:01; 8:50; 8:49; 8:57; 8:25; 8:11; .46.

I tried unsuccessfully to find a legitimate excuse not to run today. Since I'm writing this, I obviously failed. A random road run today, consisting of 3 miles out and back along route 10. Boring. It felt cold, with the temperature being 59 degrees when I started, and 63 when I finished. Next week (Tuesday?) is the beginning of fall. The bad thing about fall is that the temperatures continue to drop, and the sun sets earlier. Before I know it, I'll be running in the dark and wearing sweatpants. Why am I typing this and depressing myself?! I am satisfied overall with my splits, considering my route was, as I said earlier, boring, I felt kinda sluggish, and miles 3 to 4 were all uphill. As you know, downhills are great until you turn around and have to run up them. Once I overcame the hills, my last two miles were mostly downhill, as evidenced by my much faster splits of 8:25 and 8:11. I've made the decision to continue training with the Jeff Galloway method. I'm planning on doing the scheduled 26 mile run-walk-run this Sunday. Left brain is already freaking out. I am going to make an effort to beat 4 1/2 hours, meaning I'm going to try to perfect my run-walk-run technique. The Hartford Marathon (October 10) is still looking like a great alternative to my run-walk-run scheduled 28 miler the following day. It really does make sense for me to enter the marathon and reap the benefits of testing the run-walk-run before the NY City Marathon, plus having water stations available. Not to mention the cool bling you get for completing the marathon. I'd also like to be able to help pace my son's friend, as I mentioned in my post yesterday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HOORAY, it's Raining!

Now I have an excuse not to run, which is VERY important. I'm going to spend the time I would have been running now to catch up reading and commenting on your blog posts. I love you guys, and have missed all of you this past week. Talk to you soon on your blogs...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Past Week, and I Need Your Opinions

Ran 5 of 7 days; 25.7 miles total; average temperature 74 degrees; average pace 8:36.

My creative brain cells have taken a hiatus, so I'm just going to type whatever pops into my mind. I do want to start by saying that I'm so BUSY that I never find the time lately to post, or read your posts. That stinks! I so miss you guys. Tomorrow's a "free" day for me, so I plan on catching up on what's been happening with you guys the past week.
Marathon training continues to go very well. The 15 degree drop in temperatures with no humidity has resulted in me running sans tool (aka hydration) belt. The belt and water bottles add between 2 1/2 and 3 lbs. of weight whenever I run with them. My per mile pace has decreased from 8:45 to an 8:34 to an 8:21 the past three days runs. I feel lighter than ever on my feet, and the past two days runs I've had negative splits. Another good sign is that my left knee hasn't bothered me lately. There's 25 days to go until the Hartford (CT) Marathon, and at this point I'm leaning towards running it, even though it's 3 weeks before the N.Y. City Marathon. As I stated in another post, I'm scheduled to run-walk-run 28 (yes, 28) miles the next day anyhow. So why not run-walk-run the Hartford Marathon and take advantage of the water stops, test the run-walk-run, and also get some cool bling for finishing? It's a half an hour away from my home, so the overall cost won't be a factor. Plus a friend of my son has signed up to run it. She's 24, it will be her first marathon, and she's scared to death! I offered to run it with her, and she seems open to the idea. If she decides to have me as a running companion, then I'll definitely enter. If not, then it's still better than 50-50 that I'll run it anyhow.
I'm at a weird point in my training. I'm having trouble deciding what training schedule to follow. The Jeff Galloway training schedule has me doing a 26 mile run-walk-run this weekend. If I switch training schedules and follow my Hartford Marathon training schedule from last year, then I would be scheduled to run a 20 miler this weekend. The Hartford Marathon training schedule involves running more frequently but less mileage per run compared to the Galloway schedule. I'm starting to think "stupid" lately. Do I still have the stamina to run an entire marathon without taking any walk breaks? The "stupid" part of my brain thinks I can. I completed the Fairfield Half Marathon on June 29 in just under 2 hours, without taking any walk breaks. My pace per mile was a 9:06. Last Tuesday I completed the New Haven Road Race (12.4 miles) in just under 1 hour, 50 minutes, again without taking any walk breaks. That's an 8:50 per mile pace. My original strategy when I registered for the New York City Marathon was to complete it in 4 hours or less. Reality set in, and now I'd like to complete it in under 4 1/2 hours. That's a 10:18 or better per mile pace. Problem is, My last two run-walk-run 20 and 23 milers have averaged a 10:34 and a 10:38 pace respectively. For those two runs I ran for 4 minutes and then walked for 1 minute the entire distance. So in order to complete Hartford and/or NY in 4 1/2 hours or less, I either have to run a longer amount of time before taking walk breaks, or run as long as I can without planning on taking any walk breaks, except at water stations. However I'm afraid of hitting the wall at some point and being forced to take lots of walk breaks in order to survive/finish, and then overall not doing any better than if I had taken walk breaks the entire run. I need to make up my mind in the next week what training plan I'm going to continue to follow. Decisions, decisions. Comments and suggestions please.
Fundraising update: I'm approximately $600 away from reaching my $2600 goal for Autism Speaks. I have 32 days left to raise the money. My big fundraising event is on October 2nd. I'm having a bowling event for the school I work at, along with raffle prizes that have been donated, including a grand prize of a $100 custom drilled bowling ball that my school is paying for. There's also a 50-50 raffle. If all goes well, that event combined with the pizza sales that I'm doing every Monday and Friday will bring me to my goal. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Lastly, thank-you to everyone who has donated so far. If anyone else would like to donate, please click on the link to the right. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Haven Road Race 20k Report

New Haven 20k Road Race Stats: Temperature: 74 degrees. Splits: 1) 9:05; 2) 8:37; 3) 8:34; 4) 8:54; 5) 8:40; 6) 8:48; 7) 8:47; 8)8:56; 9) 8:54; 10) 8:56; 11) 8:47; 12) 8:35; .4)4:11 (Garmin thinks I ran 12.6, not 12.4). Time: 1:49:40; 8:50 per mile pace; 116 of 186 in my division; 1299 of 2265 finishers.

A PERFECT day for running. Temperature was around 75 degrees, with a slight breeze. My expectations were low and my hopes were high. I had run-walked-run 23 miles two days earlier, and my legs and toes were still feeling the affects from it. I have one extremely ugly purple colored toe on my right foot, that's about to lose its toenail. This is the first time that gooping petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on my toes failed to prevent blisters. As much as I would have liked to wimp out and switch from running the 20k to the 5k, I didn't. This blog, my marathon training, and my right brain were holding me accountable. I woke up yesterday morning 1 1/2 hours before I had to leave. I know my stomach and bladder well enough to know that I need time to eat my normal breakfast of (prepare yourself for this) two english muffins with Smart Balance Light and peanut butter on them. That gets washed down by two cups of strongly brewed coffee flavored with hazelnut creamer. Without going into details, my bathroom needs met, I grabbed my Garmin, my mp3 player, two Vanilla Bean flavored GU gels, and headed out the door. I was more nervous than usual, with left brain constantly reminding me of my aches and pains from running the 23 miles. I pacified left brain by reminding myself that a 9:40 per mile pace or better would beat a 2 hour finish time. I told you I had set my expectations low. I arrived in New Haven with over an hour to spare. That meant in addition to having plenty of time before the race started, I also had time to grab my favorite freebie there: New Haven's own Chabaso Bakery bread. I tucked it under my arm and brought it to my car. Checking my car's clock, I still had 30 minutes to kill. Back at the New Haven Green, I felt lonely and lost. Last year my daughter ran the race, but due to knee issues, she didn't come with me to run. Finally I spotted the familiar face of Grace, a Social Worker from where I work. She was running the 5k, as was her father. I chatted with her and her parents for a while, said my good-byes, and headed for the porta-potty. The lines were long, and time was short, so since bladder was cooperating, I decided to head to the starting line. I suppose you've already guessed where this is leading. At the starting line, I tried to ignore the porta-pottys lurking nearby. I swear they were beckoning my bladder to pay them a visit. I was at the point of no return. Final race instructions were being given, and of course bladder decided it wanted to go visit porta-potty. Too late. The race began, and what stunk was that a) the start was crowded and we were running down a street with cars parked on the side, and then turned right onto a divided narrow street; and b) freakin' bladder was reminding me that at some point it wanted relief. Thank goodness it wasn't THAT urgent. Slowly I ran, with people passing me left and right. I was what I hated others to be. I was an "obstacle." I deliberately had started close to the start to avoid the obstacles/slow runners, and now I was one of them. My pace sucked, and a few times I got bumped into. I heard another runner telling his friend that the road would get wider just ahead. No sooner did I process those words and it happened. Finally, I had room to run, and I headed for the far left so that I could pass and be passed. People were running by on the sidewalk, and usually I take that route myself, but still feeling like an obstacle I stayed on the road. Mile one was over, and Garmin beeped and displayed a 9:05 time. I hadn't started it until I reached the starting line, so I knew it was my actual/net time. I was surprised it was that "fast." I knew I had started way ahead of my 9:40 per mile (or better) goal pace, so psychologically I was off to a great start. At that point there was plenty of running room, so I decided to relax, let my legs move at a comfortable pace, take in the sights and sounds, and see what the second mile split would be. Before I knew it, Garmin beeped. I cautiously looked at it, and saw an 8:37. With what felt like very little effort, I had run a minute faster than my goal split time. My happiness was interrupted by bladder reminding me that it expected relief at some point before the halfway point. There wasn't a porta-potty or woods to be seen anywhere. Just older homes, some run down, with lots of people outside cheering us on. Yes, I was running through one of the poorer areas of New Haven. Poor maybe financially, but rich with spirit. Those folks sure know how to get your adrenaline flowing and your bladder to behave! Mile 3 was an 8:34 split, so now I was way ahead of the game. I wanted to do some quick math calculations in my head to decide on a possible new goal time to finish, but knew I had to take care of bladder first. He was going to add about a minute onto my time, but I didn't have a choice. I started losing focus on my running, instead focusing on possible bathroom alternatives. I passed through an underpass, and saw several guys run back onto the course from the partially hidden side. I had missed an opportunity, and it was too late to turn back. I spied some bushes and trees a short distance away, off the course, and decided that the 50 yard run to get to them was going to have to happen. I increased my pace, veered right, and sprinted towards the bushes. I was going to do my best to lose as little time as possible. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see wave after wave of runners going by where I had veered off. My biggest concern was to avoid poison ivy. I finished, and must have looked like someone being chased by a bear as I sprinted back into the race. I tried to "blend in," and hoped that no one would say anything. No one did. Runner courtesy, I guess. I realized that I recognized some of the runners I was now with, having passed them the previous two miles. I looked to the right, and saw an unoccupied blue porta-potty. It was less than 25 yards from where I had left the course. I dreaded seeing my mile 4 split time. I was convinced that I had lost most of the time I was ahead of my goal time. Garmin beeped about a minute later, and displayed an 8:54 split. That was probably a turning point in my run. I had left the course and returned, yet still had a sub 9 minute split. I downed a Vanilla Bean flavored GU gel, and shortly thereafter I swear I felt a jolt of energy. At that point I was starting to think that it might be my day. Mile 5 was 8:40; mile 6 was 8:48; my 10k/halfway time was 55:08. I quickly did the math in my head. If I ran the same time for the last 10k, I would finish in a net time of 1:50:16. A reality check by left brain reminded me that the second 10k is usually run SLOWER than the first 10k of a race. However, right brain reminded left brain that I had wasted time earlier with a bathroom break. I ran alongside I95, watching the cars speeding by, and past one of about ten bands along the course. I was feeling as strong as ever, but missed the crowds of people. We were at a point where there's highway, industrial parks, and office buildings. The uplifting factor for miles 7 and 8 were the encouraging people at the water stops, and the GU gel handed out at mile 7 1/2 that I quickly consumed. Mile 8 was an 8:56, mile 9 an 8:54, and I then became a little concerned that I might be losing some stamina. I took a quick "gut check," and realized that I was physically still feeling well, mentally was still feeling terrific, my breathing was good, and I was well hydrated. I was approaching a difficult uphill part of the course, which I remembered from last year led to a nice downhill run along a wooded area with lots of shade. Mile 10 was going to be at the top of the hill, so it was time to suck it up and head for the top. At that point a female runner appeared and struck up a conversation with me. I turned down the music to my mp3 player as we talked about the beautiful day, the great scenery, how well we both were doing, and whatever else came into our minds. We ran together, reached the top of the hill, where we heard voices. We both laughed when we realized it was a recorded voice coming from a loudspeaker telling us to look our best and show our numbers, as there were two photographers waiting to take our pictures just ahead. We separated as we saw the photographers, gave them our best running pose, and continued on. After a few more seconds of conversation, I checked my Garmin. It showed an 8:56 split for mile 10, and an overall time of about 1:28:00. I am very good at calculating time in my head, and a quick calculation made me realize that if I ran the remaining 2.4 miles in a 9 minute pace, I would finish at 1:50:30 or better. Since all my splits after mile 1 were less than 9 minutes, I knew that 1:50 was well within my reach. The competitive side of me kicked in. I felt bad, but it was time for me to silently say "Good-bye" to my running companion. I now wanted to break 1:50 in the worst way. Off I went, down the hill, then up a hill. At the next intersection both sides of the street were lined with cheering spectators. I tore up the hill, leaning forward and churning my legs. At some point I reached mile 11, and a quick peek saw an 8:47 split. There was no doubt that 1:50 was doable. Physically I still was well. Mile 11 to 12 is a blur, with a split time of 8:35. I had 1.4 miles to go, and about 13 minutes of time left to finish in under 1:50. Breaking 1:50 was going to happen, I had no doubt. At that point the song "Gonna Fly Now" (Theme song from Rocky movie) started to play on my mp3 player. Perfect timing, as it's the most motivational song I have. It ended as I reached mile 12, with 4 1/2 minutes left to run just 4/10 of a mile and break 1:50. Without breaking stride, I reached to my mp3 player and replayed the song...

"Trying hard now
it's so hard now
trying hard now

Getting strong now
won't be long now
getting strong now

Gonna fly now
flying high now
gonna fly, fly, fly..."

Fly I did....I strained my eyes, looking for the finish line clock, barely seeing it ahead in the distance. I could barely make it out. I was talking out loud to myself, saying "come on", and "move it," alternating glances at my Garmin and towards the finish line. I was passing everyone ahead of me, and no one was keeping up with me. I was light on my feet and had a feeling of barely touching the pavement as I raced toward the finish. I was experiencing the highest of highs, and listened as the cheering grew louder, and the pa system blared out names. The finish line was close, and I still had a half a minute to spare. Tears were forming in my eyes, a lump was in my throat, and I had a fantastic adrenaline rush as I crossed the finish line. I pressed the stop button on my Garmin, and grabbed a bottle of water while staring at my time...1:49:44 (unofficial posted results have me at 1:49:40). I not only had run a sub 1:50 time, but also beat last year's time by 12 seconds. My second 10 k was 36 seconds faster than my beginning 10k time. It was by far the most effortless race I've run yet, and ranks at the top of my most rewarding "non marathon" races.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My Best Race Ever

Unofficial time for today's 20k (12.4 miles) New Haven Road Race: 1:49:40, an 8:50 per mile pace. Are you kidding me?! I just ran-walked-ran 23 miles two days ago and felt the best I've ever felt for a race? Why? Beats me! While it certainly wasn't the best time I've ever run, it was the most effortless race I've run. I SMOKED the last mile in order to beat 1:50. Details later. I'm celebrating with a Yuengling beer after having the two freebie Red Hook beers after the race. Ummm, if the race report's a day late, you'll know why!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I am Not a Quitter

Yesterday's run stats: Wore tool (hydration) belt; Ran through 2 towns; Listened to approximately 60 songs, consumed 3 GU Vanilla Bean gels, 4 GU Blueberry Chomps, 2 Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes, 1 Hammer Nutrition Raspberry gel, approximately 90 oz. of water, one packet Hammer Nutrition Perpetum, one xl blueberry Slurpee post run; damage report: one red blister now turned blue, one bleeding nipple (How embarrassing!), one badly chafed stomach from my mp3 player rubbing.

Recap: I followed Monday's run with a 10 mile run on Wednesday at the Farmington Canal Linear Trail. The first 5 miles were fairly consistent (8:39, 8:54, 8:57, 8:55, 8:45). The last 5 miles weren't. All 5 miles heading back were run in over 9 minute splits, including a whopping 9:57 mile 9 split. Overall, I finished the 10 miles in 1:30:50, which is a 9:05 pace. I'm happy with the overall pace, but am not thrilled about the slower second half. Another positive note is that I ran the entire 10 miles rather than run-walk-run.
Yesterday was a make-up day for my scheduled 23 mile run. I was supposed to run it a week ago, but for reasons mentioned in my September 1st post, it never happened. So for 4 hours, 4 minutes, and 42 seconds yesterday it was payback time. My original plan was to follow the Jeff Galloway training plan of alternating running for 4 minutes and walking for a minute. I chose to park at the Linear Trail and begin my run there since the sun was shining, and it was hotter than I expected. Most of the trail is shaded, and I was planning on running to the end of it, which is about 9 miles, and back, and then looping on another 5 miles. Off I went, groovin' to my 70's tunes and running on the cinder path next to the paved trail. It indeed was cooler in the shade, and I was feeling good. So good that I decided to run for 5 minutes instead of 4, and then take my one minute walk break. I reached mile 1 near the end of my second four minute run, and Garmin showed me a 9:28 first mile split. Sweet! My goal was to average better than an 11 minute pace, so I was already way ahead of my goal and hardly breaking a sweat. Little did I know that was going to be my only sub 10 minute mile. Miles 2, 3, and 4 were 10:05, 10:08, and 10:05, and I was still running strong. But I was feeling guilty. I felt I was dogging it. I knew I was doing a training run for a marathon and making it as easy as possible. True, it won't be 80 degrees and hot on November 1st in NY, but then again it also won't be a mostly flat run on a cinder trail with shade. So I veered off the trail and started running up a steep hill. Up and down the hill I ran, and along some side streets. I was finally breaking a sweat, and earning my one minute walk breaks. Mile 5 was 10:22, mile 6 slower at 10:48. The hot sun was starting to take its toll, and my splits were all over the place: mile 7: 10:00, mile 8: 10:58, mile 9: 10:59, then a downhill part for mile 10 and a 10:27 split. I was still running on the road and starting to run out of energy. Left brain's negativity was kicking in. How was I going to make it another 13 miles when I was already starting to lose my endurance? I was on a road that led to the trail, and from that part of the trail back to my car was only about 2 1/2 miles. I knew that I had an "out." If I took the trail back to my car, I would finish with a 13 mile run. Left brain was going strong, trying to reason that a 13 mile run combined with a 12.4 mile run tomorrow would add up to 25.4 miles, which is 2.4 miles more than I was scheduled to run. So what if it would be two days combined? I was starting to enter the Twilight Zone. Carlee ( came into my mind. She lives in the same town as me and I had read on Facebook that she was out running an 18 miler. She doesn't take walk breaks either. I was wishing that I'd see her, and she'd be able to give me a kick in the ass and tell me to stop being such a wimp. Problem was, she wasn't around, and neither was anybody else. I was alone, running on the side of a narrow street in the hot sun, sucking down another GU Vanilla Bean gel, trying desperately to find a reason to keep going and not quit. I knew it was time to become right brain strong. If you've read my previous post (August 18), then you know all about the good vs. evil left brain vs. right brain issues we all have. I needed to convince myself/left brain that the last 13 miles were achievable. So as I trudged along, I came up with a game plan. First and most important, suck up the ego and get on the trail and stay on the trail. There's two water fountains that I knew would be my allies. I needed to make sure I was hydrated and able to keep my two water bottles filled. I made a deal with left brain that I would go back to my original plan of running for 4 minutes and walking for a minute. As long as I wasn't feeling any physical pain, I was going to keep running. I knew that my family and you guys were holding me accountable, even though it would be after the fact. Also, my reality check. Running a marathon is hell. If I quit now, I would quit during the marathon. I needed to prove to myself that I had the stamina, the desire, and the guts to run 23 miles. Back on the trail and seeing with other people made a big difference. I no longer was alone, and the four minutes of running with a one minute walk break was working. It was amazing how running for a minute less was such a psychological lift. The four minutes were going by quickly, and my mile 11 through 23 splits were as follows: 10:29; 10:31; 11:04; 10:37; 11:21; 10:56; 10:46; 10:52; 11:01; 11:00; 11:25; 10:50; 10:30. I finished with an average pace of 10:38 per mile, which would be a 4:38 marathon time. Not spectacular, but not bad either.
Tomorrow I'm running in the New Haven Road Race. It's a 20k (12.4 miles) run. Last year I finished it in 1:49:52. This year I'll be happy if I finish in under 2 hours. I still have some aches and pains from yesterday's run, so I'm setting the bar low. I'm not planning to run-walk-run it. I want to suck it up and see how well I can do mentally and physically again.
Fundraising update: I've raised about $1850.00 of the $2600.00 I need to raise for team Autism Speaks. I have three upcoming fund raisers planned, including an "Educator's Appreciation" Happy Hour event on October 2nd. Details in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Heart You, Running

Linear Trail: Temperature 70 degrees; Splits 9:05; 9:02; 8:59; 8:51; 8:44; 8:36; :47; 54:04 total for 6.1 miles; 8:51 per mile pace. (Planned pace was 9:00 or better).
WARNING: Written at 4:30 a.m. after not consuming enough coffee!
After a 4 day hiatus, I ran. My 27 year old daughter has moved out of our house, and into her own condo 15 miles away. My weekend was spent at the casino with my wife losing money,(of course), and helping my daughter move her belongings. Needless to say, my scheduled 23 mile run-walk-run for this past Sunday didn't happen. I should be able to do it this Saturday. What makes it challenging is that I've registered to run the New Haven Road Race, which is 12.4 miles, on Labor Day. So I'm debating whether or not a 23 mile run-walk-run on Saturday followed by a 12.4 mile run two days later is a good idea. Especially since my left knee still is having sharp pain issues a couple times a day. Fortunately, the pain doesn't occur while I'm running. I have an appointment with my doctor for a physical today. I'm going to ask him to send me for x-rays. Better safe than sorry. I'm afraid that the x-rays will show something that will cause my doctor to tell me not to run and take it easy while whatever is wrong has time to heal. So I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best. Two months from today is the New York City Marathon. I feel my training is going well despite having missed my 23 mile run, and the "feels like a sharp knife is being jabbed into my left knee" occasional pain. The temperatures have dropped from the 90's with lots of humidity to the upper 70's, low 80's the past few days, and are supposed to continue that way. I ran yesterday without my hydration belt, and felt 20 lbs. lighter. If you look above, you can see how I ran negative split times, starting at a first mile of 9:05, and ending with an 8:36 mile. I felt fantastic during the run, and even experienced a pleasant "Twilight Zone" feeling. OK, gotta run now...not run as in run outside, but run as in go eat breakfast, drink more coffee, get my son up, showered and dressed, get myself ready for work, and go to work and see the smiling (not) faces of our ten high school students on their first day of school. I'll try to get to everyone's blog posts later. Bye!