Monday, May 17, 2010

Still Chasing Boston

Saturday was my second attempt at the marathon distance. I ran the Run for the Red Marathon in the Poconos. I improved my time by over half an hour from my fall marathon, but still missed qualifying for Boston by about three and a half minutes. I ran it in 3:14:31.

The weather was pretty cool at the start, but actually quite ideal for a marathon. I've been fortunate to have great weather for both of my first two marathons. It was in the upper 40s to start and the low 60s at the finish. I debated wearing a singlet, but it was just too cool for that at the start. Instead, I wore my bright yellow City Sports shirt. After a few miles, I did wish I had the singlet.

The start of the course has some up and down, but overall was a relatively flat loop. I started off too fast in my half marathon two months ago, but this time it was just right. The first mile was easy and I hit right on my goal marathon pace. I was pretty consistent through the first few miles.

Usually my legs really come around at about mile 3. That didn't happen this time though. They weren't awful, but not sharp either. I knew having a good race and qualifying for Boston would be difficult at that point.

I just stayed with the game plan. My goal was to hit mile 18 around a 7:10 per mile pace, then push for a few miles and finally hang on in the last couple. I visualized doing just that several times, including the night before. We drove the course that day before, so I had a good idea of its layout.

Even though I didn't feel great, I kept on going. I wasn't working hard and was trying to hold back, particularly on the downhills. I stopped at most of the water stations and usually took Gatorade. After awhile, I got sick of it though.

Quite a few people passed me on the downhills, especially the steep one out of Mt. Pocono. Following that section, around mile 8, it was rolling hills, but still downhill. I cruised along. I ran with an Asian guy for awhile and then passed him. I hit mile 10 just a few seconds under a 7:10 pace. I was very consistent.

I passed my parents a couple times throughout the run. Once, was at the water station past the halfway point. I got mad that they were taking pictures after I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, rather than before. Really, I was mad that I wasn't running better. I was running the way I wanted, but just didn't feel as strong as I wanted. My times were at least consistent though.

I kept telling myself to stay consistent. I knew that would be the key to getting my Boston Qualifier. I hit mile 15 almost perfectly under a 7:10 pace as well. I was very consistent up to that point. My watch was actually about .05 miles ahead throughout the race. That was kind of frustrating. Luckily, I brought a pace chart.

Somewhere around mile 15, I started getting side stitches. That caused me to slow down and take it easy for awhile. I ate some more Sport Beans. They seemed to help some, but didn't matter much at the end when I needed them.

I caught up to another Asian guy that had passed me early. I passed him and the first Asian guy (who had passed me again). I tried to hang with the second guy for awhile, because I thought it would be helpful to run with someone. He was just going too slow though. As I approached mile 18, I saw that that mile's pace was a 7:21. I panicked that I was falling too fast and then pushed hard. That was a mistake and I was really starting to fall away after that point. The next rest stop had an orange. I figured that I might as well try that. I recovered a little.

Since I knew I couldn't pick up the pace, I decided to just try to worry about getting to mile 20 without falling off. My pace definitely started to slide in those next two miles. I dropped down to 7:37 and 7:39. I knew at this point that I was pretty much cooked. I was still under goal pace, but slipping away fast. I needed a quick recovery, or I had no hope. I expected my pace to drop some, but I was thinking it would be more like into the 7:25 range and it wouldn't happen until around mile 23.

Making things even more difficult, there were some fairly steep hills at miles 21 and 23. Some folks were even walking up them. I was still strong enough to run them, but only at a snail's pace. I had dropped off to 8 minute miles at that point. I was just trying to survive and finish at that point. I walked during my first marathon and didn't want to do so during this one.

It was funny because I noticed there were only three miles to go. Just an easy 5K left. The problem was three miles didn't sound very easy at that point. It was hard to even get myself to just focus on the next mile, as I often do during training. It is amazing though, even as slow I was going, I was passing about as many people as were passing me. Not many people were flying that late in the race.

It was also much easier to take that I'd fall short of my goal, because I knew it was over with quite a few miles left to go. I might've been able to push a little harder down the stretch, but I wouldn't have been able to shave more than a minute off my overall time anyways. More likely, I would've just fallen apart even more. Somehow, I have to figure out how to break through the wall.

I sort of at least got to enjoy the last few miles. My legs actually didn't get too sore until around mile 23. I just cruised along as much as I could. As I headed through Stroudsburg, it was getting pretty hot. I did refuse water at the final water stop though. That was within the final mile. There were a couple of annoying things about the finish. First, it was over a half mile still left in the race when I entered the high school. Second, it finished on school's track, which was in the far back of the campus.

It was actually right around the time that I entered the school when Boston was officially out of the question. I could almost see the finish at that point. I stopped and posed for some picture as I saw my dad when I entered the track. I though the finish was at the back of the track. It finished right at the start finish line. I had to run nearly a full lap around the track and wanted to punch someone at that point.

When I saw the clock, I knew I had to make it under 3:15. I sprinted pretty hard out of the final turn. I put my hands up at the finish too, even though I was disappointed. I figured I'd try to enjoy the moment as much as I could, even though it wasn't what I had hoped for.

I'm not overly disappointed, but obviously not thrilled with the outcome. It is tough when you think back to all the training, all the hard work you put. The day when it was 17 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel like 5 degrees. The week where we had the worst blizzards in years and yet I still managed to put in 50 mile weeks. All those cold days all winter when I was out while everyone else was indoors. The rainy and cold day where I was forced to run my 23 miler. The two days that were so hot and humid that I couldn't even finish those runs. I'm sure many of the people in front of me were some of the few that were actually out on those days too. It has now been over 850 miles since I embarked on training for this marathon and to come up three and a half minutes short of your goal and dreams is just tough.

There will certainly be other chances, but it is going to be difficult to make it to Boston next year. There are no more nearby spring marathons that I can try. I'd love a summer marathon, but those only exist very far north. With Boston registration filling up so early last year, I have to get in an early fall marathon. I might have to run the Lehigh Valley one on September 12th. That follows the canal path that I've run on. I wasn't looking forward to running it. It will be one of my few options though, as I want to get one done before Chicago, which is October 10th.

Add to the mix that I had some health issues that just cropped up before the race and I might not even have a chance to start a fall marathon. For now, I'll just take it day by day and see where it heads. If I do get to run in the fall, I want to run a 26 miler and another 20 miler at pace during my training. I can't imagine negative splitting a race, but I'm going to have to try doing that next marathon. Perhaps there is no such thing as holding back too much at this distance. I clearly need to try something different because I fell off so bad at the end of each of my first two marathons.

Nevertheless, it has been an incredible ride and such a great year. I was struggling to just finish 2 miles at this time last year and now I'm on the cusp of Boston. In an August 5K, I was 68th out of about 200. In this marathon, I was 75th out of 665. That's quite the progress that I've made along the way. I ran that 5K at a 7:18 pace and this marathon at a 7:25 pace. I am grateful for what I accomplished and yet still not even close to be satisfied. I have a long way to go yet and will take every obstacle in stride.

26.2 miles - 3:14:31 (7:25 pace)
75th place of 667 finishers

Friday, May 14, 2010

Marathon Ready

Today was my final run before the marathon. It was an easy 4 mile run. Because of some wind, I elected not to run the Ben Franklin Bridge. I opted instead for an out and back on West River Drive, starting at Lloyd Hall.

Things didn't start that well. Lately, I've been driving over to Lloyd Hall to start my runs. When I walk over there, it seems my legs get a nice warm up. The first couple miles are just sluggish if I drive to the start. That was the case again today.

It wasn't a painful two miles, but it did seem to take pretty long. I got to the typical turnaround point for 5Ks. That was where I hit mile 2 and then headed back home. Right before that, I passed two cute females.

I didn't push the pace at all, but I just got progressively faster as my legs loosened up. Even without going hard, my final mile was a 7:09. That shows that I definitely have some energy left.

The weather was kind of interesting too. It was in the low 60s and actually fairly humid. There was a breeze though, so at times I was too hot and other times too cold. I wouldn't complain about that weather come race day. The race weather looks pretty nice and I'm hoping it'll be warm enough to wear my new lightweight racing singlet.

I'm not injured now, but my nagging hamstring doesn't seem to have improved with the rest. It doesn't bother me as much as it did during longer runs, but I definitely still notice it. I'll have to massage and stretch it out well over the next day and a half.

The rest has been great. I'm a little disappointed because I missed two key speedy workouts in the last two weeks. I'm very happy with the overall mileage though. I didn't think the taper actually reduced the overall mileage enough during my training plan. Missing those two runs has reduced my mileage by 9 or 10 each week. This week, it was 35 miles instead of 44 miles. I like that number a lot better. I'm ready to go and don't need more miles.

I'm working 4 to close today. I'm then probably heading home tonight. I pick up my packet tomorrow afternoon. I'll likely drive the course again. We'll probably go to the Aardvark store and the Crossings as well, since we are in the area. The race starts at 8 AM on Sunday and I can't wait. Here's to hoping for a Boston Qualifier.

4 miles -30:31 (7:38 pace)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Second to Last Run

This morning was my second to last run before the marathon. It has been very difficult to get lately for these easy runs. I just want the race to happen already. I'm well prepared.

I started with a mile out and back on Kelly Drive. I then finished with the Schuykill Banks loop. I was very stiff early on. I think that's why I hate these runs so much, it takes me awhile to warm up. I ran most of the run at a very nice pace. I cruised along for most of it. The first mile was just over 8 minutes and that pace was actually perfect.

It still was a little chilly and my nose was running again as usual. The weather for Sunday looks nice, but allergy season sure could play a problem. I haven't had a run with a clear nose in a couple weeks. I can battle through it though. I'll take a Claritin on Saturday. Hopefully that'll help.

I didn't feel great during the first out and back, but was much better as the Banks loop started. I just never get tired of that short easy loop. It just always seems relaxing and easy. Before I know it, I'm back to Lloyd Hall.

My pace was a little faster than I would've liked for the last two miles. I passed a slower runner just past the turnaround. I sped by him and started going fast. Even though I slowed myself back down, it still ended up being a fairly fast final 1.5 miles.

Tomorrow is the final tune up run before the marathon. It will be a very easy 4 miler. I can't wait to complete it. I don't work until 4 PM, but I'll still probably head out pretty early in the morning. I'd like to run the Ben Franklin Bridge. For that, I'd have to drive over to the area. The bridge itself is nearly a 3 mile out and back.

5 miles - 38:36 (7:43 pace)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Skipped a Run

It might've been the first time I skipped a run due to laziness since I started training for my first marathon. I've been very consistent, but yesterday I couldn't get my 9 mile final speed session in. There are a few excuses why, but I really still should've run. I wasn't able to go to the bathroom after breakfast, so I passed on the morning run. In the evening after work, it was about to pour and was already freezing.

With the missed run behind me, I got back on track today. I actually considered doing yesterday's run, but as I hit mile 2, I felt pretty bad. It wasn't raining this time, but again it was pretty cold and cloudy in the morning. I elected just to go with the easy 6 mile route.

There wasn't any wind for a change. Other than me still feeling pretty bad, the run was quite easy. I didn't focus at all on my pace and I just cruised along. I came across a few cute females and pushed the pace a little around them. Overall though, I ran quite easy and in control. I turned around just after passing the second cute girl.

I wore a long sleeve tech shirt from the Philadelphia Marathon. That was actually too much, even in this cool weather. I was sweating quite a bit. I felt very sharp on the last two miles though as I finished up pretty fast. I'm definitely ready to go this weekend.

My Garmin wasn't working right today. It added about .09 miles to the run. I went to training a few seconds before my run and I'm thinking that distance might've been added without any timing. That's the only thing that makes sense, unless the watch just wasn't working right.

It would be nice to have some good weather, but as long as it isn't too hot or rainy, I won't complain. The forecast still looks good for race day. That is key. I'm getting impatient and can't wait for it to come already. Today feels like Thursday, but it is really only Wednesday. The weekend can't get here fast enough. I'm ready to challenge myself already.

Tomorrow is my second last run before the race. It'll be an easy 5 miler. I'd like to run the Ben Franklin Bridge to get in one last hill session. I work a tough 1 PM to close shift tomorrow. That should be interesting. I haven't used the foam roller lately, because I haven't been sore. I need to get back to that though.

6.09 miles - 46:24 (7:37 pace)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Low Key Recovery

The run this morning was a low key easy 7 mile recovery. It was a simple out and back on Kelly Drive. Following the run, were 6 X 10 second hill sprint. I am now just six days away from my second marathon.

Once again, what a difference a week makes in terms of weather. Last week was muggy and hot. This week it is cold and windy. The windy was actually half as strong as yesterday, but still a major pain in the butt. I went with a light long sleeve tech shirt rather than short sleeves. That was a good call as the wind made conditions tough, especially early on.

The temperature was barely in the 50s, even at 10:30 AM. The wind was very brutal as I ran along boathouse row. It was so bad that my eyes actually watered, even with the protection of sunglasses. At times, the wind gusted like crazy. Other times, it was cooling and not too bad. Most of the way out was into a headwind though. I was really bothered early on. I just kept battling though and eventually made it to the turnaround point.

The first mile was right around 8 minutes. After that, I ran faster than I would've liked. I ran what felt very slow and even worked on slowing myself down, but I still ended up running around 7:30-7:50 per mile. I'd really like to be around 8 minutes. I struggle to run that slow though. The extra rest of the last week has allowed my legs to bounce back and feel very strong. A few times, I passed cute girls and definitely ran too fast at those points. I was still too quick at other times though. My legs weren't sore or anything at least.

It was great to finish up. The wind did frustrate me. I was constantly blowing my nose and wiping my face in my shirt. After I got into a groove though, it was very relaxing and stress free, just as I had hoped.

I've still run on hills lately, but haven't done hill sprints in awhile. It felt kind of weird. I ran the hill sprints for 10 seconds, rather than the usual 8 seconds. That seemed a bit harder, although I think a big reason for that was the path curving at the end. It was good to get a couple sprints in to finish the workout.

My body feels great and I'm so ready for Sunday. You just never know what will happen in a marathon, but I am very confident right now. I really think I can run it in Boston qualifying time. I just have to run smart and fuel up properly. I have four more runs to go before the race. Tomorrow's is the longest remaining and last speedwork session. I can't wait. I work at noon, so I'll be running in the AM.

7 miles - 54:22 (7:46 pace)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Final Long Run

Today was my final long run of this marathon training session. Unlike last week, I was able to get this 13 miler in without any problems. What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, it was in the upper 80s and very humid. Today, it was in the low 50s and incredibly windy. The last few days brought some of the worst winds that I can remember. Even tougher than some of the windiest days of winter.

Because of the wind, I elected to try running on Forbidden Drive. I figured the trees would offer protection from the huge gusts. It definitely did work out right. Although they was still a chilly breeze, it was nearly as bad as it appeared to be along the river. What I gained in wind protection, I lost it sunlight though. The combination of clouds and tree cover made it pretty cold.

Originally, I thought about wearing just short sleeves. It was good that I didn't go with that option though. I felt great and comfortable throughout the run with my compression sleeves on. My New Balance Tech T-shirt seems to be great for wind protection too.

The run definitely wasn't 100% peaceful though. The combination of the cold and wind and my allergies led to me discharging a lot of mucus. I ended up cleaning up my running nose quite often. I didn't have too much trouble breathing, but wasn't completely comfortable either.

The run was great early on. I headed north on Forbidden Drive from Valley Green. I took 6 Sport Beans before the run and had a lot of energy at the beginning. I kept a nice pace though and held back quite a bit. I cruised along and felt good by the time I made it back to Valley Green. This the same route that I took on a shorter run this past week. I felt much better and more relaxed during this easy run though.

The second portion of the run was tough. I went south from Valley Green. That section is always more difficult because it is quite hilly. After one downhill, I hit a stretch that I actually didn't recognize at the moment. It wasn't until I ran through there uphill on the way back, that I remembered.

I kept running and running, just trying to get a little further away, so I wouldn't have to run much extra. Originally, I thought about turning around when I hit the Lincoln Drive path. Knowing I'd still have to run a couple more miles, I continued along the paved path. After a few short hills, I eventually turned around at about my 8.7. That meant that I would have less than a mile to finish up after Valley Green.

After turning around, the remainder of the run was rather tough. I didn't stop to drink the first time I was at Valley Green. That was a mistake. It wasn't too hot, but I still got dehydrated. Around mile 9, I started to feel the effects. I knew I'd survive the run, but I sure wasn't feeling great. I actually drink at all until after the run. I'll definitely stop and drink more at the marathon next week.

I made it through the end by just focusing on the next mile. Again, it was tough though with so much uphill running and so little water. I was very relieved when I hit miles 11 and 12. To finish up, I ran back out a short distance north of Valley Green. I completed the run about 100 yards from my car. I then got some much needed water from the fountain.

Other than being dehydrated, my body felt great. I had a lot of energy and only very mild soreness. The taper is definitely helping to keep me fresh. It's amazing to think that today's easy 13 miler was only slightly slower than the fall half marathon that I struggled through. What progress I am making. The only thing I didn't like about this run was that my miles were very inconsistent. One was quite fast and the next was slow. I'm usually relatively steady in these.

I am so eager to get to next week. Today, was the first time I really started thinking about the marathon. It has been a lot of hard work and I'm looking forward to completing another challenge. Hopefully I can accomplish my goal for the race. It'll be interesting because this will be the first race that I'm truly setting a goal for. We'll have to see how that pushes me. I felt like I've given a lot during my long races to date, but I haven't gone all out at any point. Now, we'll see what I'm really made of.

I started thinking a lot about pace. I know I won't be able to negative split the course, so I won't even try. I'm struggling with what my pace should be at the halfway and 18 mile points. I think mile 18 is going to be a big key. If I can somewhat race the final 8 miles, that would be huge. I've done 8 miles for stretches before, most recently the two marathon paced runs.

My biggest concerned is what pace is good and what is too fast. Will I benefit that much in the end by going 7:10 per mile early rather than 7:05. I did several miles under 7 minute pace early on in the half marathon and that is definitely faster than I want to go in this one. That said, I thought I was running pretty easy during those too, but my times showed otherwise. Either way, I'm not going to push the pace at all until at least my 16 and most likely not until 18. I feel like I'll probably struggle a bit in the final three miles, so I want to be under goal pace before those last couple.

I wish I had run the course a couple weeks ago. That wouldn't been a huge learning experience and a big help. I'd have a much better feel for what is good and what is too fast. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes. I can't wait.

13 miles - 1:42:33 (7:53 pace)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Marathon Paced Run

Today was a marathon paced run. It started and ended with 1 mile easy. It continued with 2 X 4 miles at marathon pace with a 5 minute active recovery in between. The run ended up being a successful 11.2 miles.

The weather was actually perfect for a change. It was in the 50s and there was a slight breeze going both directions. It was enough to be cooling, but not disruptive. I ended up getting early for once. It was good to get the run out of the way before work.

I started off feeling strong and well rested for a change. I guess that's due to not running on tired legs. That's what usually happens when I run after work. I ate some GU Chomps beforehand and had a lot of energy too.

I started at Lloyd Hall and ran out along West River Drive. The first faster mile was actually a bit too fast. It was under 7 minutes. All my marathon paced miles were successfully under my goal pace of 7:15. I was pretty consistent through the remainder of the first 4 miles.

As I was nearly finishing up my first interval, someone stopped me to ask about the regatta. That was frustrating because it broke my rhythm. I picked up the pace quite a bit to finish off the interval. I stayed on West River Drive to avoid the traffic from the regatta.

The 5 minute recovery seemed so short. Time just flew by. My legs started losing it a bit around the first half mile of the second interval. I just kept focusing on getting through the next mile though. I tried to keep my form pretty sharp as well.

The intervals were great. Time flew by and I didn't even notice my surroundings much. I was so focused and in tune with my running. That happens on these key speed sessions. The pace was perfect. It was challenging enough to keep me working hard, but not overly taxing. It gives me confidence heading into my final week of training.

My body wasn't too sore afterward. I had an 8 hour shift in work though and my back was killing me by the end. It doesn't actually hurt, it is just stiff. Standing and walking don't help, only sitting does. I definitely need to strengthen a lot of areas during my summer training. My body is drained after all this running and working.

I am hoping that I can get over this cold/allergies by the race. I felt better after taking some claritin, but I still don't feel great. I'm coughing quite a bit and my nose is running at work. At least I have a week to recover.

Tomorrow is most likely an off day. I could run a couple miles and get to 40 for the week, but I doubt I will. Rest is really more important. Sunday is a long 13 mile run easy. That will be my final long run before the marathon. It'll be great to be finished.

11.20 miles - 1:23:05 (7:25 pace)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Still Feeling Terrible

Today was an easy 4 mile run. It wasn't too easy as I just feel awful right now. I guess it is my allergies. It sure is making training very hard during this taper. I just started taking Claritin this evening. Hopefully, that'll help things out.

I didn't get up to run early as I had hoped. I decided that a more reasonable run after work was a better option. I was relatively cool and comfortable as I started. I ran a short out and back along Kelly Drive and then ran the Schuykill Banks loop for the final three miles.

Starting off was brutal. There was a strong headwind and it was very frustrating. Winds like that always cause me to push too hard as well. It was nice coming back to Boathouse Row though. I kept what felt like an easy pace, but it was actually pretty fast.

I need to stop running so fast on easy days. I just get nice and comfortable and cruise along. These short runs are actually quite frustrating because it takes me a mile or two to really warm up. By the time I hit my groove, the run is about half over.

I did pass a few slower runners, but luckily didn't push myself. One faster run went by during the loop and I let him go. I need more discipline like that. Going into the headwind again on the way back was very difficult. Combine that with the short hill and I had a struggle on my hands. I survived though and finished a solid run.

Hopefully my health will improve in the next week. Right now, it's very difficult to just get through even the simplest runs. I'm still very confident in my training though and my ability to run well at next week's marathon.

Tomorrow is a long run with 2 X 4 miles at marathon pace with an easy mile before and after and a 5 minute active recovery sandwiched in between. I'm definitely going to head out early in the morning and try to beat any heat that might be hanging around. I'll likely just run this on Kelly Drive.

4 miles - 29:48 (7:27 pace)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heat Causing Problems

Well it's been awhile since I wrote on here. It isn't that I haven't run, but the brutal heat of the last few days has cut some workouts short and left me frustrated. When I last wrote, I was planning a 4 mile Saturday run. Unfortunately, my watch couldn't pick up a satellite signal. I just skipped the short run, figuring rest would do me well.

Sunday was supposed to be a very key run. After working registration at the Broad Street Run expo, I headed to work for a few hours. I ended up drinking an energy drink and was up all night. I got about 3 hours of sleep before getting up at 6 AM to man a water station.

It was pretty hot during the race, but actually the conditions weren't too bad yet. After the race, I decided on a nap. Around 5 PM, I planned on heading out and doing my 16 mile run. It was going to be at marathon pace + 20/30 seconds. The temperature actually rose to 87 degrees at that point. That was probably well over 20 degrees higher than a week ago.

I headed out on Kelly Drive anyways. Adding to the frustration was that there was another high school regatta going on. They happen all spring and are so frustrating because every one on the paths are so ignorant. This lady walked very close to a goose and spooked. It flew away and almost hit a passing biker.

As I got about 2 miles out, it became obvious that I wasn't going to finish the run. It was simply too hot and humid. I either had to scrap the run around 4 miles and make it my easy day, or just go for it. I elected to stop the run and go home.

I went to my parents house on Sunday night. On Monday, I planned to give that 16 miler another shot. I had a couple loops planned out. The first was only 5 miles, but the second was 8 miles. It rained early in the morning, but that was gone by the time I started my run. I figured that it would be nice and cool after the shower. Instead, it was still brutally hot and humid.

I flew at the start, I guess it was downhill. I felt pretty good, but then had the urge to go to the bathroom. I had no luck finding one though, so I pressed on. There were some hills on this route, but the course wasn't too bad. It was the heat that was getting to me. I couldn't believe how much I was sweating. I finally made it home. I tried going to the bathroom, but had no success. I realized I was dizzy and soaked in sweat too. I drank some Gatorade, but decided it wasn't worth going back out to run. It was just too hot. During the taper period, I'd rather shorten a run than press on.

I was obviously disappointed because I didn't complete my long run. Tuesday brought less humidity. I had a ladder interval session planned. I decided that I need a relatively long multiple loop course where I could come back to my car for Gatorade every 2 miles or so. I ended up at Lehigh's Goodman Campus. I ran through the parking lot.

In addition to the warmer weather, I bough a lightweight singlet on Monday. Wearing that was a big help. The temperature was still hot around 10 AM, but the biggest problem was the wind. It was very strong in one direction and difficult to run against. Nevertheless, I got going.

The first couple miles were a little slow. I had to stop just before the speed session, so I could use the restroom. I think I used it three times during this run. It was very frustrating and has actually been a problem lately. I haven't eaten the greatest foods lately, so that is likely an issue.

The longest interval in this run is 3 minutes. Sure enough, as I hit the 3 minute session, I was running straight into a headwind. I kept battling though and I didn't feel great or terrible either. I didn't realize that the workout was supposed to end with the second 3 minute repeat. I actually ran a 2 minute and then 1 minute one afterward. That added a little extra, but not too much. After not getting my long run in, I definitely could handle another couple minutes.

It wasn't the prettiest or smoothest speed session, but I got the job done. Conditions could obviously be better. They aren't always going to be perfect though. My allergies are really bothering me right now. I thought I might even be getting sick after yesterday's run. I felt better this morning, although still not great.

Today's run was a scheduled moderate paced 6 miler. I planned to wake up early. Right before I was supposed to get up, my right calf cramped and tightened up. It was still very stiff when I woke a couple hours later. To put less stress on it and get some shade, I decided to run on Forbidden Drive.

Even with the shade, I went without a shirt. That was a good choice because it was still hot and fairly humid. Not as bad as earlier in the week, but not great either. I just wish I had something with me to wipe away the sweat.

I headed out northbound on the drive. The plan was to just do an out and back. I felt a little slow early on. My legs then started to kick in and I got into a nice pace. The miles seemed to click off very slowly. I hit the end of the path before the 2.5 mile point. It was frustrating knowing a still had quite a bit of running to do. Again, I felt like I needed to use the bathroom. It never got too bad though, so I just ran on. The hills aren't much, but they were beating me up in the heat. I truly miss the cooler weather.

I got to Valley Green and still had over a mile to go. Most of it was uphill before turning around. I only went south for half a mile, but it seemed much longer. It was a relief to turn around and even better to finish the run. I actually ended up running a progression run pace, until the last mile. It was a little tough without great weather conditions, but the run was much better.

I close at work tonight and open up tomorrow. I'm going to try to squeeze my run in very early in the morning. It is only supposed to be 4 miles anyways. I will probably just head to Kelly Drive. I need to start getting more of a set running schedule. I need to run early in the morning. I can rest after my runs on most days, if needed. I look forward to seeing how tomorrow will work out.


4 miles - 32:10 (8:03 pace)


5 miles - 37:41 (7:32 pace)


8.6 miles - 1:06:51 (7:47 pace)


6 miles - 43:56 (7:19 pace)