Thursday, February 27, 2014

Could it Possibly Be Worse?

Maybe I only have a short term memory.  Maybe I was just better prepared during that Polar Vortex day in January.  Whatever the case, today certainly seemed like the worst day of this awful, awful winter.  I didn't think that that would be possible.

I tried to put the run off because I could tell it was windy outside.  It was weird though because it seemed more gusty than sustained.  Night time seemed less windy, but colder.  Eventually, I was going to run out of daylight, so I began the run late in the afternoon.  The plan was to run an easy 12 miles.

I knew the wind gusts were around 30 MPH.  However, it didn't look like the sustained wind was too bad.  I wore the fleece vest and usual winter attire.  At least the actual temperature was in the 20s.  The sun was out at times.  What I was grateful for was that I brought a full winter hat and an extra set of gloves.  I would end up needing them.

I began with a loop around my neighborhood, which wasn't too bad.  There was a headwind for a short distance.  I don't run in the neighborhood on the other side of the school too often, so I decided to head there first.

This is where the run got nasty.  I was running uphill and straight into a headwind.  Suddenly, the clouds came out and snow flurries even began.  It was a brutal stretch.  There are two dead end roads here and I ran out and back on each of them to add distance.  I ran a fast 7:40 opening mile.  Then the wind slowed me down to over 8 minutes on the second mile.

My body felt okay, but my shin did have some minor soreness.  I thought with a day off yesterday, the legs would feel stronger and faster.  They weren't actually a problem though.

It was great to head downhill and have the wind at my back.  On the uphill, I had put on the full winter hat, instead of the headband.  Now, I was warm and didn't need it, but I kept in on anyway.  There is a small street of new townhouses where you can add some distance.  I decided to head over there.

As I was leaving that neighborhood, a woman with a dog gave me a thumbs up and said something like, "better you than me."  I told her this was just about the worst day I had run in all winter.  I actually would rather be running than walking a dog though.  That has to be very cold.

I now headed into the small industrial park for an out and back.  This road gets kind of crowded.  I see a lot of moms drive through there.  I think there is a karate studio in one of the buildings.  I looped around that building to add more mileage.  My pace was dropping and dropping.  It got all the way down to 7:50 overall at one point and I felt like I was going easy.

This industrial park out and back was great because there was no wind in either direction.  I decided to run it again for more distance.  By the time I finished it up, I was over halfway done.  I ran back into the townhouse neighborhood again to add distance.  I then did an out and back on one of the two dead end neighborhood roads.

There was a lot more wind in my face in this 2nd half, than the 1st half of the run.  It slowed me down as I ran 3 straight miles over 8 minutes each, after running a bunch of sub 8 minute miles.  I didn't think I was running too hard, but maybe I was pushing more than I thought early on against the wind.  As I approached mile 9, I was getting tired.

I was going to head back to the school, but still had over 3 miles remaining.  Therefore, I headed to the other neighborhood across the highway.  That took a little time to cross during rush out.  I was happy now because I had the wind at my back.

My hands were starting to get cold and sweaty, so I attempted to wear both sets of gloves.  That didn't work out so well.  I ended up colder and eventually switched to just the lighter, drier pair.

I was thrilled to hit mile 10.  I definitely wasn't feeling too great.  My pace had dropped to around 7:56/7:57.  I wasn't running for time though.  I decided on the short loop in this neighborhood that I often do.  I knew I'd be facing a lot of wind.  The only good thing about where I was running is that I changed directions often.  That meant that I didn't have to face the wind for long periods of time.

I had put vaseline on my face, but I didn't put any on my nose.  It did seem like it was getting cold, so I tried to warm it whenever I could.  It ended up not being a problem.

I came up to a young girl who was also running.  She stopped right before I got to her and starting messing around with her music.  She was wearing sweatpants and not going very fast, so I assume she was just running for the heck of it or for another sport (not track).

I got back to the elementary school with about half a mile to go.  I ran a short loop around my neighborhood to finish up.  I worked a little more than I wanted to, but this was a great mental challenge today.  The weather was one of a kind.  The final two miles were both sub 8 minute pace, so I didn't slip too much.  It was a terrible run while I was doing it (due to the weather), but now that it is over, it is awesome.

Tomorrow, I'm taking another day off as I'm in my taper period.  I'm hoping to make it out to the BCR run on Saturday.  They are going out to Ironton, which I like.  On Sunday, I might run there again.  I need to run 15-17 miles at goal pace (6:51 per mile).  I might meet up with Dorf to run there.

12 miles - 1:35:16 (7:56 pace) 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Finally Somewhere That was Plowed

We've had so much snow this winter.  Some places have been pretty good with clearing it after storms, others not so much.  After the huge week of storms, it seemed like almost everyone gave up.  Finally, they are starting to plow again.

The plan was to run with Emily today.  Tom had said that the Palmer bike path was plowed, so Emily and I agreed to meet in a shopping center off of 25th Street to run 6 miles at the path.  She has been having some injury problems and hasn't run outside since our last long run together 2 weeks ago.  I just needed some easy miles to recover from my half marathon.

Of course it is back to being cold this week.  I had on my usual winter attire, including the fleece vest.  There was a bit of a breeze, but really it was just the usual.  I'm so used to the bitter cold by now.

Two sections of the path intersect and they can't really plow the hill where they meet.  I told Emily that it would probably be snow covered and I was correct.  I ran up it sort of fast.  It was crunchy and thus fairly runnable.  After that came an icy section.  Emily wisely walked most of that.  I ran over it and my one foot slipped.  I'm so ridiculous that instead of waiting for her at the top, I ran a short out and back until she was there.  It was probably about .02 miles.

There continued to be some icy spots that slowed us down before the first road crossing.  After that, it was clear.  This first mile was a slow 8:54.

We picked it up once things cleared up.  We passed a few walkers in the park area.  I didn't look at my watch and couldn't believe it when I did look down and it was already 1.75 miles.  Running with Emily and chatting away is so awesome and it makes running a breeze. 

I wasn't sure if we'd have to do multiple out and back segments, but it turns out that we didn't.  We ended up going downhill toward the boat launch.  We turned around at mile 3, before we really hit the steep drop.  I almost don't even recall the uphill after the turn around, because I was enjoying the conversation.

The second half of the run breezed by just as fast as the first.  Two of the miles even were run under an 8 minute pace.  I was happy that Emily wasn't having any issues with the injury.  I was well recovered from my half.

We went past the post office and Emily didn't realize the road we were actually crossing until she saw that.  I often forget about that road and the Dunkin' Donuts road.  The icy section was just past that.  I suggested that we head toward Dunkin' Donuts and run on the road to finish up.  I then realized that we could cross the road and run through the Easton High School parking lot.

I saw that we were almost at 6 miles already.  I hate not running even miles.  It is a numbers problem that I have.  I suggested going to mile 7, but she didn't like the idea.  She mentioned 10k (6.2 miles) and at first I didn't like that idea.  Then, I realized that my weekly miles were a mess this week anyway with the 13.2 miles run at the half marathon.  We ran until we hit 6.2 miles and walked a bit more through the parking lot.

It was another great run that just flew by with Emily.  After that, we went to lunch at the Muscle Maker Grill.  I have never eaten there before and I'm trying to eat healthy, so that was a good trip.  It was a little pricey, but the Mexican style meal that I had was good.

Tomorrow, might be a little more snow.  It won't be much, but I'm taking off anyway.  I'm in my taper period, so I need to take it easy.  I'm thinking that I will run twice more this week and probably get a little over 40 miles in.  That would be a solid week.

6.2 miles - 50:56 (8:13 pace)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Half Marathon Recovery Run

I felt fairly good after yesterday's half marathon.  Even sitting in the car for 3 hours, driving home didn't bother me too much.  I did wear compression shorts and socks to aid the recovery.  I'm not sure if they helped, but I was good to go by this afternoon.

Some people like to take off the day after a half.  I like to get the legs moving a little, to try to aid that recovery process.  Today's plan was simply an easy 4 miles.  I would be staying in the neighborhoods, since it was easy and short.

The weather for the race yesterday was great, but the cold was back again today.  It wasn't so much the cold, that was 30 degrees, and I can deal with it.  It was the wind, which is currently in the mid 20 MPH range, I think.  Because of it, I wore a windbreaker jacket, pants and gloves and a headband.  That helped against the wind, but I was kind of hot by the end of the run.

I began with the loop around my neighborhood.  I was surprised with how great I felt.  I thought for sure that some area of soreness that I wasn't feeling would come creeping up out of nowhere.  The right hamstring and left foot had minor soreness, but that was it.  The first mile was a slow 8:51.

I went down to the school.  As I got to the highway to cross it, I saw there was a lot of traffic.  Rather than stop and wait, I looped around the parking lot for an additional 1/3 of a mile.  I then crossed the road with no issues.

The plan was to do the short loop around the other neighborhood.  That's around a mile and a half long.  Then, I would come back and finish up with whatever was left in the parking lot.  It was quite windy as I went out and around the loop.  I felt good though, so I did enjoy myself.

The run seemed to go by fast.  I ran past a pair of walkers.  I then encountered them later when I added a short loop.  That got me close to another half mile.  Miles 2 and 3 were run at 8:25 and 7:58 respectively.  I tried to keep it easy, but I guess with how strong I am, I'm running faster even during easy runs.

I headed back toward the school and had the wind at my back.  I was nearly at 4 miles already when I got back to the school.  I only had to run a short segment of the lot to finish up the run.  I didn't need to do the full loop.  This last mile was an 8:05.  It was a perfect recovery run and I feel great now.

Tomorrow, I was going to take off.  However, I'll probably run with Emily instead.  She wants to do 5 or 6 miles.  I might end up running 10.  The company would be good.  I feel pretty well recovered, so I should be alright.  I wasn't sure how my body would handle it, since I haven't run a half marathon close to that fast before.  So far, so good though.

4 miles - 33:20 (8:20 pace)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lake Effect Half Marathon

Originally, I signed up for the Lake Effect Half Marathon in Syracuse because I thought that a race in Upstate New York in February sounded awesome.  As I got faster and faster, I was hoping for nice weather.  I was thrilled with the warmer forecast, but a little worried with how windy it was yesterday.

The weather was pretty much perfect this morning.  I arrived at the park next to the lake and there was only a slight breeze and it was quite warm.  Baring an injury or some other major setback, I knew a PR and a sub 1:30 marathon was in store.  Everything indicated that I was capable of running a sub 1:27.  That was really what I was shooting for.

I could not decide what to wear.  It seemed warm enough for shorts, but I was kind of concerned wearing them for 13.1 miles.  When warming up, I saw an Asian guy with shorts, a singlet and arm warmers.  I figured if he could do that, I could certainly throw on shorts.  I did that, but kept on a ColdGear top with my LVRR singlet on top.  I had to represent the local club, 3 hours from home.  A guy came up to me at the start and asked if I was from Allentown.  He was from the area too.  I think he cheered for me when I went by him one time too.  I also wore gloves, but didn't go with a headband.

Even though there wasn't much of wind, I knew it would still be a headwind on the way out.  The course is two out and back segments of around 3 miles each.  I ran it yesterday, so I was prepared.  I was glad that the wind would be better in one direction when compared with the other.

I put on a bunch of KT Tape, but it didn't stick well and fell off throughout the race.  I saw some of it on my second loop.  There were already a lot of people lined up when I got to the start.  I had to make my way through them toward the front of the line.  I began a bit farther back, so that I wouldn't go out too fast.  I was probably around 30th or 40th in the beginning.  I figured I'd finish somewhere around 20th.

I went out somewhat easy.  I was actually surprised at how difficult breathing was in this opening mile.  I had to remind myself that I was going into the wind and this is still a long race.  I just didn't want to overextend myself early.

Some people passed me in this first mile.  The women's leader and several other women were among them.  The Asian guy went by too.  Earlier, he had told someone that he wasn't going to run fast.  I opened with a 6:46 first mile.  That was behind my goal pace of 6:38, but I wasn't going to force the issue.

My legs didn't feel great.  Maybe that run yesterday did them in.  They definitely weren't as sharp as they were the previous afternoon.  I had to deal with whatever I had.  I ate some crappy eggs for breakfast.  That probably didn't help.

Within the second mile, I was already passing other runners.  I don't understand why so many people start out so fast in long races.  That is understandable with inexperienced people at the back of the back.  It is inexcusable with sub 1:30 people doing it regularly.  I passed at least one, I think two women and the Asian guy in this mile.  I was happy to drop the second mile to 6:44.

We lost some of the wind at mile 3.  The path went away from the lake and looped around.  I felt good and put in a fairly quick mile.  I remember looking at my watch and thinking it was too fast at 6:32.  It did however, get me closer to goal time.

Going back was great.  It was with the wind at my back and I cruised along.  I think it was slightly downhill too.  I could see all the people behind me that were heading out.  By now, I was already on my own.  That's one issue with these smallish races.  There aren't too many people to run with.  The two women's leaders were up ahead of me, but they were pulling away.  Mile 4 was run at 6:40.

Somewhere around mile 5, I caught up and passed a guy.  I saw him earlier in the race and he had on a hydration pack.  I'm thinking he was some type of army guy.  It didn't take me long to lose him, much like the 2nd place woman was losing me.  I ran on my toes/forefoot until about this point.  Then, I realized that might foot might start bothering me, so I went more to a midfoot strike.  I was able to keep the pace.

It became a lonely run from that point on.  I don't think I passed another runner, other than lapping people.  No other runners passed me either.  Mile 5 was a 6:36 and mile 6 was a 6:25.  I worried myself a little, because I didn't want to go that fast.  However, it was the course conditions that warranted that.

Earlier, I was getting hot, so I rolled up the sleeves and took off my gloves.  I held them for the rest of the race, along with my keys.  My goal was to try to remain consistent.  I was around 6:40 pace overall at this point.  My legs were feeling it somewhat though and I wondered how I could keep the pace up, especially because I was getting hot.  I soldiered on though.

We went past the starting line.  That was where the only crowd was situated.  Other than volunteers, there were almost no people on the course.  Passing the people heading the other way, there were plenty of them to shout encouragement and that was a boost. 

After a short segment, it was back to the original starting line, for the second out and back.  The first part of this out and back was without question the toughest.  I was right around goal pace and my plan was to just stay there until the turn around.  That was easier said than done though, with a headwind again and this time, already half of the race complete.

I tried to stay focused on each little mile.  Getting to mile 7 was great and mile 8 was even better.  I was carrying a gel and decided at mile 7.5 to use it.  I figured maybe it could help me fight the wind.  I wanted to save it for later, but I thought that coming back would be easier.

This one mile at a time approach worked.  I managed to make it through the tough part.  The hardest mile was certainly the last one before the turn around.  After a wide open lakeside segment, the trail curves in and out for what seems like forever.  The leaders had already passed me on their way back before that spot.

Finally, I hit the turnaround with joy.  I grabbed some water to wash down the gel packet.  I think I drank 3 times during the race.  That was one nice thing about 36 degree weather, hydration wasn't as important.

Coming back was great.  By now, I was slightly under my goal pace.  I knew I just needed to be consistent.  The gel seemed to kick in.  Although the legs were getting tired, I had energy and felt good.  I really felt like my goal was within grasp.

I looked at my watch often.  I was thrilled when with less than 2 miles left, it said a 6:36 pace.  I figured that I was about 20 seconds under my goal time.  I was thrilled to make it to miles 11 and 12.  My watch was ahead of the mile markers earlier, but now it was slightly behind.  It was only about .03 miles behind though.

I was on my own coming to the finish.  That was kind of tough.  I knew I could never catch the woman in front of me and by seeing everyone at the turnaround, I knew I had a crazy lead.  I saw mile 12 was a 6:40, so I knew to pick it up slightly.  I wondered how the race would finish.  Did it do the short loop again or finish straight through the chute?

I soon had my answer.  With about half a mile to go, I knew that I had to go around the loop.  As I got to the Salt Museum near the finish line, I realized that the course might be long.  My pace was still 6:36 and I didn't have a lot left.  I could've found more, but I was happy with my run and thought I'd be under goal time.  Looking back, I had some mental tactics in my back pocket that I probably should've used.

As I got closer and closer to the finish line, I realized that I was running quite a bit more than 13.1 miles.  When I hit that point, I was somewhere around 1:26:30.  I still had a decent distance to travel.  I picked it up and ran very hard.  It wasn't enough though.  I came through at 1:27:04, just over my goal time.

I was definitely happy with the run overall, but disappointed that they course seemed a little long, especially when my watch was close heading into the final mile.  I was also bothered that I didn't find 7 more seconds and push myself at the end.  Lesson learned, don't rely on my watch so much.

My official time was actually 1:27:06.  I'm still thrilled because that is over a 6 minute PR.  I also don't feel like my legs were at their best today.  I ran smart and consistent and that's all you can ask for.  I finished 19th overall and missed an age group award by one spot.  That guy did beat me by 9 minutes though.

I'm a bit sore, but overall not too bad.  I could tell that my endurance really paid off in this one.  Even with the quick pace, I didn't lose it until the last mile.  By then, I could fight through it too.  Tomorrow, I'd like to run an easy 4 miler.  I think that that is better for recovery than total rest would be.  I might take the following day off.  I have my marathon in 3 weeks.  I'm going to be very close a sub 3 hour marathon.  I need to take it easy from here on out and just run at marathon pace every now and then to get used to it.

Unofficially 13.2 miles - 1:27:04 (6:35 pace)
Officially 13.1 miles - 1:27:06 (6:39 pace)
19 out of 584 overall
4th in age group (although really 6th, as two of top three were my age group)

Lake Effect Half Marathon Course Preview

I arrived in Syracuse this afternoon (Saturday) for tomorrow’s Lake Effect Half Marathon.  I picked my packet up and wandered through the Syracuse University campus.  After that, I headed out for a short 5 mile run.  The plan was to take it easy and preview the half marathon course.

The course is right by my hotel which is nice and I’m only a few minutes north of downtown Syracuse.  When I signed up for this race several months back, it was just for a crazy winter race.  I never expected to run well or PR.  I figured it could snow or be terrible weather.  While it looks like the snow won’t be there, I guess wind could be an issue.

I got to the trail around 3:30.  I could not believe the wind.  It was easily the worst wind I’ve encountered all winter.  The trail is a really nice and wide paved exercise path right along the lake.  The lake is completely frozen at the moment.  The path is almost as wide as a road and it is probably beautiful in the summertime.

Right now though, the wind whips off of the lake.  It was windy everywhere around here today, even though the temperatures are warmer than they have been.  If it is this bad tomorrow, that could make selecting the proper attire a challenge.

Today, I wore a jacket over a lightweight top.  Tomorrow, I’m hoping for one layer on the top.  However, it will be colder in the morning.  I wore gloves, but couldn’t find my headband.  Thankfully, I located it after the run.  I also wore shorts.  That wasn’t a bad choice, but I think I have to wear long pants tomorrow.

I started off right into a brutal headwind.  Welcome to the Lake Effect Half Marathon course, I guess.  I tried to take it easy.  The legs felt great.  I was surprised though when I came through the first mile.  It was a sub 8 minute mile.  The wind is actually more of a sideways wind that a true headwind.

It was so windy that I was able to spit from the center of the path about 10 feet into the snow.  If I shot out snot rocks, it almost made it that far too.  It was amazing how windy it was.  Three of the race porta johns already tipped over.

There was a guy in front of me that started running just before me.  He was going at a decent clip.  Maybe he was pulling me along.  I don’t know, but I definitely ran faster than I planned.  The great thing is this route is basically pancake flat.  That is also likely why the pace was quick.  I caught up to the guy right before hitting mile 2.  He turned around there and I kept going.  That was good because I wanted to run alone.  That second mile was a 7:36.

The race course goes out on this trail about 3 miles and then comes back and it goes out and back a second time as well.  That is good news because if it is windy, we’ll be changing directions every 3 miles or so.  One nice thing is that the path is clear of snow and most of it was dry.  I went out to 2.5 miles and turned around.  Toward the end was slightly hilly, but basically it was flat by my standards.  There is a channel at the end of the lake and I guess that is where the Syracuse crew team practices.  I turned around right near there.

Going back was instantly awesome.  I was no longer running into the wind.  It felt so much warmer.  I was able to relax more and really cruise along.  A bit later, I did get hit by a side wind again, but for the most part, it was much better in this direction.  In fact, at the very end, it was pushing me from behind.

There were a lot of people out running and walking today.  I was impressed, with that wind.  I guess the folks up here are used to it and it is one of the few good places to run.  The final 3 miles were consistent.  They were 7:43, 7:44 and 7:45.  It is amazing how nice a run is at a new location.  This one seemed to fly by.  Five miles at somewhere that I usually run can often take forever.

One of the cool things along the course is that it looks like there are Christmas displays up.  I guess it is like the Lights in the Parkway.  I’ll have to go online and check out what it is.  Even though it was windy, this was an enjoyable run.

I’m really glad I checked out the course.  The biggest positive is that it is super flat.  The negative obviously is the wind.  At least I won’t be running against it the whole time.  I’ll get to change directions frequently.  When I have it at my back, I have to take advantage.  When I have it in my face, I have to take it easier.  I can’t push too much in the beginning, since it will be into the headwind.  If I can save myself, I’ll have a nice finish.

I’m not sure what to think about my time.  I don’t have a feel for how much the wind can slow me.  I feel like I could’ve run quite well today.  Maybe it won’t be quite as windy tomorrow.  That would sure be nice.  I’d be very disappointed if I didn’t break 1:30 and didn’t do so easily.  My goal coming into it is a sub 1:27.  That might be attainable, but I’m not going to push it and force it.  I’ll take what the elements give me and go from there.

5 miles – 38:42 (7:45 pace)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dusk Run

Whenever I have big weeks, I get my runs done.  Whenever I cut back my mileage, it is hard for me to even get out the door.  It was great weather today, but I slacked off in the afternoon and took a nap.  Part of it is that I'm sick of running the same place.  Things still aren't plowed, so I stuck to the neighborhoods again.

The plan was for 8 miles around the neighborhoods.  The sun was just starting to set when I began.  It was a nice dusk run.  I did like the idea of running most of the run in the dark.  That meant I wouldn't check on my watch too much.

The temperature was still in the low 40s.  I didn't wear gloves and my hands were chilly at the start.  Once I warmed up, they were fine.  I wore shorts and a ColdGear top.  It was a good selection.

I decided not to start on my own neighborhood.  I ran across the street to start.  Early on, I came across another runner.  He commented that he didn't have a headlamp because he didn't realize he'd be out after dark.

I was surprised that I saw a couple other runners.  I almost never see anyone out running these neighborhoods during the winter, in daylight or at night.  I came upon a bunch of walkers too.

I cruised along nice and easy.  The legs felt awesome for the second straight day.  They are so fresh after all this rest this week.  The first mile was a little over 8 minutes, but every other one was much faster than that.

I was going to run the normal route.  Then, I had a car waiting for me at an intersection.  I decided to add a shorter loop instead.  I headed back on the regular route after that.  I ran around the long thin loop to get over an additional mile in the run.

It wasn't too bad of a route.  However, I did come across a lot of cars.  It was early in the evening, so that wasn't a surprise.  I usually run later at night if I do run.  I was able simply enjoy the run.

When I got to the back half of the big loop, I decided to change it up.  I always run it clockwise.  This time, I ran it in the opposite direction.  It was good to change things up and get used to running the hills differently.

I ran the loop across the road in the opposite direction too.  I was now around halfway done.  I enjoyed the weather.  I passed some of the walkers for a second time on this part of the course.

I came back nice and easy.  I realized that when I got back to the school, I'd only have a mile left.  The pace was great.  Four of the final five miles were under a 7:30 and the effort was still easy.  I did have some issues because I wasn't feeling great from what I ate for lunch.  That was only a minor inconvenience though.

The pace got close to 7:30.  I ran a 7:12 mile 7 and mile 8 would've been almost as fast, but I had to wait to cross the highway.  I looped around the school parking lot 3 times to finish up the run with a 7:21 mile.

It was a great run and I feel awesome.  I can't wait for this weekend.  I should run very well and I think I can achieve my goals.  I might even be able to push more than I originally thought.  The weather could be a factor too.  It will still be cold, but shouldn't be as bad as most of the days this winter.

Tomorrow will be a rest day.  I'm staying overnight in Syracuse on Saturday.  I'll run the course that afternoon.  I'm planning on an easy 5 miles there.  I'm getting very excited for the race and to see what I can do.

8 miles - 1:00:23 (7:33 pace)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feeling Fresh

It is taper week.  That means lots of rest before my half marathon on Sunday.  I didn't run at all yesterday.  Today, I thought about going semi long, but opted only for 4 miles.  I'm just planning on 25 total miles for the week.

The weather was finally awesome today.  It was 37 degrees when I started the run in the afternoon.  Normally, 40 degrees and under is what I consider shorts weather.  However, with how cold it has been, I knew 37 degrees would feel great.  I went with shorts and a lightweight long sleeve shirt.  That was a good choice, although I did get slightly chilled.

The warmer weather and fresh legs made me feel amazing.  I felt like I was shot out of a cannon at the start and I needed to hold myself back.  I hope I feel close to this good on Sunday.  I began with the loop around my neighborhood.  I ran it in reverse.  The first mile was an 8:11.

I ran a loop around the school parking lot.  I didn't have plans for where to go in the other neighborhood, but it had to be short.  I opted to basically run to the 1 mile point of the Blue Eagle 5k course and turn around.  I'd be over 3 miles when I returned to the school. 

I continued to cruise along and felt excellent.  I took it easy, but the pace was great.  With no effort, miles 2 and 3 were 7:46 and 7:44 respectively.  I ran by a bus stop and the parents must've thought I was crazy for wearing shorts.  Then again, I thought they were crazy to pick their kids up from the bus stop on such a nice day.

As I was heading back, I thought about making a turn and going a longer way.  Then, I saw two fire trucks and an ambulance down that road.  I didn't want to be nosy or get in the way, so I continued on.  They drove by a short time later, so I guess it wasn't too much of a problem.

I arrived back at the school with half a mile to go.  I looped around the parking lot again.  I then went into my neighborhood to finish up with a short out and back.  This easy mile was a 7:37.  I was thrilled with the short run.

I feel like I'm definitely ready for this half marathon.  Even with some chilly temperatures, I'm confident that I can crush my goals.  It should be fun and I think fairly competitive too. 

Tomorrow, it is supposed to be even warmer.  I'm planning on running longer.  It will still only be 8 miles though.  Then, I'll take Friday off and run a slow 5 mile course preview on Saturday.  I think my legs work better with an easy run the day before a race, rather than a complete rest day.  I guess I will find out.

4 miles - 31:17 (7:49 pace)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Half Marathon Tune Up

I didn't run at all yesterday.  I was concerned about how messy the streets might be for the group run.  At this point, I can't have too much rest, as I am doing a slight taper before my half marathon on Sunday.

The plan today was to run my last hard run before the race.  I wanted to at least run 6 miles below goal pace (which I guess is a 6:38).  I want to shoot to break 1:27 for the race.  It typically takes about 10 days to absorb a hard workout, so I won't get any fitness gains from today.  It was more about getting a feel for the pace I can handle and being comfortable and confident on race day.

I almost didn't get out there in the afternoon.  I was tired and didn't feel all that great after lunch.  However, I got my butt out the door.  Since everything is still covered in snow, running the neighborhood roads was really the only option.  It wasn't ideal because of some of the hills, but I had to make it work.

The weather was nice today by comparison to the rest of the winter.  It was about as ideal as I could expect.  It was still only 28 degrees, but it was sunny and there was only a slight breeze.  Since I was running hard, I only opted for one layer.  I wasn't even going to wear and headband or gloves.  However, I ran a partial loop of my neighborhood to warm up and my hands were freezing.  Therefore, I needed to stop at home and get some gloves on.

The warm up mile was great.  I cruised along and felt good.  I was hoping that maybe the legs would feel even faster, but still they were pretty good.  I guess it will take some time to completely recover from 70 miles last week.  That warm up mile was a nice 7:28.  I finished it up just after going back out of the house.

It was now time to pick it up.  I cruised downhill toward the school.  I was going at what I thought was a comfortable pace.  I looked down at my watch and it was around a 6:10.  I backed off slightly.  I ran the short loop around there for the first fast mile and a little more distance.  This was an impressive 6:21 mile.  It was a little faster than I wanted to go, but I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard.  My breathing was a little labored, but that seemed like it was more from the cold air than anything.

Some of the slight hills slowed me down, but I made it up on the downhills.  I was slightly slower at mile 2, but it was still a 6:24 and faster than the 6:38 that I was planning.  I ran hard mile 3 back at a 6:21.  I went out and did a smaller loop rather than the big loop.  I figured that while this way had hills they were better than the big loop.  The hills did slow me and I'm not sure my Garmin was accurate for this 4th hard mile.  It slowed to a 6:36.  That was more ideal for my planned pace for this run.

However, when I got past this hilly part, I was back to running sub 6:30s.  I guess my breathing and my lunch finally caught up to me as I began to feel side stitches.  I only slowed slightly and was able to get through it.  I pushed a little over some of the small hills because I knew I didn't have many hills left.  There was one tough uphill part about a half mile from the school.  That slowed me slightly to a 6:26.

As I got back to the school, I had one more hard mile to go.  There was a mother, son, baby and grandmother walking around the school parking lot.  I ran by them a few times.  My breathing was laboring now, but really my legs weren't tiring.  The quads were starting to get sore, but they weren't slowing me down.  I went pretty hard in the final half mile here and ran this 6th fast mile at 6:14.

I finished up with a couple easy loops around the school parking lot.  Following that, I ran a partial loop of my neighborhood.  I had 8 total miles in the books, with 6 of them at a fast pace.  I wanted to run half marathon pace, but it was actually a little faster than that.  It was probably more like 8 or 9 mile race pace.  At least it gave me a feel for how much I need to slow down.  The fast segment was run in 38:24 (6:24 pace).  That would put me at a sub 40 10k if I ran a little farther.  Maybe today was too fast, but it was a good workout and I know if I don't go out to hard on race day, I should be able to finish close to this strong.

As long as the weather isn't crazy, I'm very confident that I can run a sub 1:27 on Sunday.  The good thing is that breaking 1:30 seems like it will be very easy.  Unless I have some type of problem or injury, I'll be well under that.  My PR is a 1:33, so I should be well ahead of that.

Tomorrow, I'm taking off again.  It is supposed to snow anyway.  I'll let the quads rest more.  Clearly, they could use some additional time off.  Maybe I'll run Wednesday and Thursday.  I'm only running about 4 days this week.  I figure when I get up there on Saturday, I'll check out the course with a very easy 4 or 5 mile run.  I have a couple mental strategies that I'm hoping to use to if I need them on Sunday.

8 miles - 53:46 (6:43 pace)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snowy 6

It has been a big week.  I came into today needing 6 miles for 70 miles for the week.  That's all the mileage I was planning to run.  I didn't get up early to run with the BCR.  It was snowing when they ran too.

I didn't have many options though.  I needed a morning run.  I was going to basketball games all day.  I got out there at 10 AM for the short run.  There was no point in running anywhere far away for this little distance.

The weather wasn't too bad.  It was a cloudy and a little chilly.  I wore a jacket, gloves and a headband.  There was a slight breeze.  Things did get a little worse toward the end when the snow began falling.

I started with my neighborhood loop.  It was nice and easy.  My quads didn't feel great, but the pace was easy.  It helped them recover. 

After my neighborhood, I ran around the school.  I then went into the other neighborhood on the opposite side of the school.  The path was plowed to that neighborhood, but it wasn't plowed on the way through.  I got stuck running over a snowbank at the end.  That got my socks wet.

There are two different dead end roads here.  They each are a half mile or more in length.  I ran them out and back.  I was happy to get through 3 miles and the halfway point. 

Instead of taking the same way back and running through the snowbank, I decided to go through the neighborhood across the road.  That would allow for more distance too.  The roads were kind of nice with a thin layer of snow on them.  I think that might've lessened the impact during the run.

When I got back to the school, I was around mile 5.  I looped around the school parking lot a few times and finished up with a partial loop around my neighborhood.  It was good to be done and have another 70 mile week in the books.

Prior to December, I had never run 70 miles in a week before and I had very few 60+ mile weeks either.  Now, I've put in 4 weeks of 70 miles or more over the last couple months.  That is great, but now it is time to rest and back off.  I need to start tapering for my marathon in a month.

I'm not quite backing off yet I guess.  I still might run 13 miles tomorrow.  Gary set up a group run through Nazareth.  It is early in the morning and I'm hoping to join everyone.  It should be fun if I can make it out.

6 miles - 50:02 (8:20 pace)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 14

I took a much needed day off yesterday.  I needed 20 more miles to end the week over these final 2 days.  Logic would've said to split them up evenly.  However, it is Valentine's Day.  Since I'm alone and have nothing better to do, I thought why not run 14 miles to celebrate (or be depressed).

After last night's snowstorm, I wanted to run in the afternoon.  The roads were plowed by then and partially snow covered, but very runnable.  The problem was that the wind was absolutely brutal.  It was over 20 MPH and even worse with the gusts.  Since I was tired, I took a nap instead.

They cancelled most of tonight's basketball games, so that freed me up to run after dark.  The wind died down completely by then.  If anything, maybe it was even too warm out.  I had on a jacket, gloves and a headband and that was kind of too much.  I kept the gloves on most of the run.

The plan was to just run all the usual neighborhood loops to get to 14 miles.  I'm really getting tired of these routes, but in winter I don't have any choice.  I began with the mile around my neighborhood.  The legs weren't 100%, but they weren't bad either.

After that first mile, I ran a couple short loops around the school parking lot.  I then headed into the other neighborhood.  I needed to mix things up.  I took the shorter loop and ran it and an add on backward.  I also added another different road.  That put on some additional mileage.

I had a rough idea of the loop I wanted to do.  I looked at my watch before mile 2, but didn't bother to peek at it for some time after that.  As I headed back to the main loop, a car didn't see me and ended up having to move over in the snowy road at the last minute.

For the most part, the roads weren't bad.  They were snowy in spots, with black ice here and there.  Overall, they weren't too slippery though.  I ran a short loop near my friend's old house.  I then headed back along the main loop.  I did another one of my regular paper clip shaped loops.

I had no idea where I was mileage wise.  After that loop, I finally checked my watch.  I didn't even think I was quite at mile 7 yet and much to my surprise, I was at 7.6 miles already.  I was thrilled to be over halfway done with the run.

As I went up a hill, two kids were out in the yard playing and they started cheering me on.  That was cool.  My quads were still a little sore, but actually the rest of my legs and body felt great.  I was so energized.

Without really trying to, I picked up the pace.  It was at 8:21 overall near mile 8.  It dropped and dropped and dropped after that.  After the biggest hill on the route, I heard my watch beep.  I thought it might be mile 10, but I was disappointed to look down and see mile 9.

I continued on the loop.  I figured that when I got back to the school it would be mile 11.5.  Not bad, but I wanted to be inside of 2 miles to go when I got there.  Therefore, I decided to do some of the paper clip loop.  I was only going to do part of it, but instead just decided to run the whole thing again.

Shortly before finishing the loop, I was at mile 11.  With 3 miles to go and feeling good, I decided to push myself a bit.  I felt so fast and free.  After a nice 7:46 the mile before, mile 12 was run at 7:19.

I arrived back at the school at mile 13.  That mile was a 7:00.  I continued to feel great and watched the overall pace drop some more.  It got closer and closer to 8:00 and then finally it dropped under that in this last mile.  I ran 3 loops around the school parking lot to finish up that mile with a blazing 6:35.  While I was pushing fairly hard, I had more in the tank too.  That is encouraging for next weekend's half marathon.

Now, I only have 6 miles left to do to get to 70 for the week.  Then, I can start to back off a bit.  Tomorrow morning, I'm hoping to run with the BCR.  However, it is supposed to snow a few inches again overnight.  We shall see.  I'm watching basketball most of the day (if they don't cancel it), so I don't know when I'd fit in a run if I don't do one in the morning.  I'll find the time, somehow.

14 miles - 1:51:28 (7:58 pace)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Perfect Recovery Run

When my body was beat up a couple weeks ago, a wise man told me, "always take off the day after a 20+ mile run."  So after 24 miles yesterday, of course I was back at it again today.  I would've actually taken his advice this time, but Mother Nature is throwing us another curve ball.  Ideally, I would've rested today and ran tomorrow again.  However, we might get a foot or more of snow tomorrow.  That meant I had to at least get some mileage in today.

The plan was to run a very easy 6 miles.  I think I can handle a run the day after a 24 mile run.  The issue becomes when I try to run 10 miles the next day and then 10 more the day after that and 10 more the day after that.  All those consecutive runs did me in a few weeks back.  Today, I was just planning to run my neighborhoods.

The weather was the same old thing.  It was below freezing.  I wore the regular attire, with the fleece vest.  I didn't take any pieces of clothing off this time, as I often do with my hat or gloves.

The legs were certainly sore at the start of this one.  Still, I felt better than I expected I would.  I was kind of concerned in the first half mile because my foot was acting up.  It came around though.  I begin with the loop around my neighborhood.

I had no plans as I headed into the other neighborhood.  I didn't have the desire to run the full big loop.  When I got out about a mile, I did another shorter mile loop.  I wasn't feeling terrible, but not great either.  I was just kind of grinding out the miles.

In this shorter loop, I came to a bus stop.  There were some attractive mothers there and that made for a nice distraction.  I focused on each upcoming mile to get by.  Getting through the halfway point was huge.

The legs slowly began to decline.  The quads got a bit more sore with each passing mile.  At least I can say they aren't totally shot.  That was surprising because this was the 6th straight day of running and I've been putting on a lot of mileage.

As I was heading back toward my house, I decided to take a cut through that I've never used.  That would put in some additional mileage.  I kept trying to run slower, but I ended up with quite a few miles right around 8 minute pace.  I saw a funny white (surrender) flag that someone put out in a snow bank ahead of this upcoming storm.

I arrived back at the elementary school with a little over a mile to go.  I ran a loop around there.  I finished up with a partial loop of my neighborhood as well.  The last mile was a bit challenging, but I survived.

In these last 6 days, I've now put in 77 miles.  That is a new record.  Today was a perfect amount of running.  It was short enough to get the legs working, but also not overdoing it either.  Now, the quads feel good and a rest day tomorrow should help even more. 

I'm at 50 miles for the week and I want to run 70 by the end of it.  That means 20 more miles over Friday and Saturday.  If I can handle it, I want to do a Valentine's Day 14 miler on Friday.  That might also depend on how cleared the trails and roads are.  I can't wait until this week is over, so I can start to taper.

6 miles - 49:53 (8:19 pace)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bethlehem 24 Miler

I've had a big last few days.  Ideally, I would've run my last big long run yesterday and took today off.  However, I really wanted company for this run.  It's something I usually don't do for long runs.  Emily was available today, not yesterday, so running today it was.

I was grateful to not have any work orders.  That meant that I could start at 11:30 AM, rather than later in the afternoon.  While I would've liked to have run on trails, most of them seem to be too icy for a run of this length.  I hate roads, but I figured neighborhood roads would be better.  I'm kind of sick of my own neighborhoods though and they are hilly too.

I decided to go over by Freedom High School and run the East Hills area.  Even though it has that name, the hills aren't too bad.  Originally, Emily and I were going to meet at Freedom High School.  However, with school going on, I decided to meet at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church.  That is nearby and the parking lot was empty.  It was my grandmother's church.

The weather was the same old, same old.  It was about 16 degrees and felt like 8 degrees when I started.  I thought nothing of it.  I wore my jacket instead of my fleece vest.  The annoying thing is that it was just windy enough to need the headband in some directions, but not in others.  I took it on and off throughout.

I didn't have a real plan of where to run.  I know those neighborhoods and the surrounding area a little, but not well.  Basically, I was just running and running some more to get in miles.  Emily was going to meet me around 2 hours from when I started.  That meant about 14 miles into the run.

I started off by heading west out from the church.  This was a nice and wide neighborhood road.  The streets were cleared.  I was happy about that.  I decided I would run toward my grandmother's old house.  I haven't been there in years, but I was able to find it quite easily.  It looks different, but I can't forget it.  I spent many days there.  It was cool to see.  I gave myself the sign of the cross as I went by, which I guess is kind of weird.

The problem was that the neighborhoods around her old house were a bit of a mess.  They were partially snow covered and at times that could be frustrating.  The good thing is that they are lightly traveled. 

I cruised around at a very comfortable pace.  The legs are no longer sharp, so I ran more in the 8:30 range.  I went all over the neighborhood around my grandmother's old place.  A couple times, I did long outs and then back on the next street over.  That added mileage, but was boring.  I thought the change of scenery would be great and make the miles fly by, but it didn't.  It was boring running.

I tried not to think of total miles remaining and opted to think about how many miles I had left until Emily joined me.  I knew it would get much better after that point.  Finally, at around 5 miles, I got so bored of the running that I decided to change things up.  I figured I might as well get somewhere and do something challenging.  I planned to run to all three of the Bethlehem High Schools.  At that point, I wasn't too far from Bethlehem Catholic and Liberty anyway and I started near Freedom.

This idea made the run much more bearable.  It wasn't long until I got to Beca.  I ran around their parking lot.  I didn't actually know how to get from there to Liberty, but I knew the direction, so I ran that way.  I figured they were about a mile apart and I was correct.  I was at Liberty in no time.

I was now around 7 miles into the run.  I tried to find a bathroom at Liberty's stadium, but had no luck.  I ran around the school's perimeter.  This was all sidewalk and it slowed me down to around 9 minute miles.  That occurred for about 2 miles.  I was fine with that.  I was in no rush.

I've run the Freedom to Liberty run, so I knew it was about 4 miles between schools.  The only issue was that it would be gradually uphill going from Liberty to Freedom.  I didn't quite know the route to take, but eventually I sort of went the right way.  I headed in the correct direction through the neighborhoods anyway.

By this time, I wasn't doing bad, but not great either.  I wasn't sure if I'd survive 20+ miles.  My foot was bothering me slightly and the quads were feeling a little dead.  I did use KT Tape on them and I think that might've saved them.

I got back to Freedom around mile 12.  I ran through the school parking lot.  I wanted to run through every one of the high schools.  I then went in some of the areas near the church.  I thought the more distance I could do before stopping, the better.  I didn't want Emily waiting though.  It turned out to be perfect.  I was just over 14 miles and 2 hours when I got to the church.  Emily was already waiting for me at the car.

I was already beat up a little and kind of interested to see how this would go.  I was hoping with conversation, I'd forget about my soreness.  That seemed to be the case and it worked well.  I needed to fuel up briefly, so I had a Clif Bar and some water.

We headed out and it was great having company.  I wanted to try another neighborhood that I didn't run through before.  That wasn't bad, but it wasn't as big as I was hoping.  It was also quite hilly.  We got 1.5 to 2 more miles anyway.

Then we headed back some of the ways that I ran earlier.  I ran by my grandmother's old house again and we got to talking about our families.  That was nice and the miles just flew by.  It is amazing what a difference that can make.  The other big thing is that I didn't look at my watch as often.  Suddenly, these same neighborhoods that were boring an hour earlier were now not so bad.

I was amazed at how well I felt at mile 20.  By then, I knew my planned 23 miles was very likely.  Coming into the run, I wasn't sure if I could do that without killing myself.  We ran around some of the clearer neighborhoods.

With a little over a mile to 23, we were around Freedom High School.  We had to watch those careless teen drivers getting out of school, so we ran on the sidewalks.  I made the mistake of suggesting maybe running another mile.  My quads were finally starting to slip.

Emily I had run 9 miles when we got to 23 miles for me.  Of course, she convinced me to run another mile.  After all, the 9 we had run to that point felt like about half of that.  Going out during that last mile was tough with a headwind, but at least we'd have a tailwind coming back.

Although the quads were feeling it with half a mile to go, I decided to push going uphill.  Emily stayed with me for a little while, but I was going pretty fast.  I couldn't believe what I had left.  I thought at some point I might die, but I never did.  I dropped my overall pace by about 4 seconds in the last half mile.  That's quite impressive after already running 23.5 miles.  That final mile was a 7:32.

I'm sure without Emily, I would've made 20 miles.  How much more beyond that though, I'm not so sure.  She was a huge help.  I probably need to run long runs or parts of long runs with others more often.  I like them solo because it is such a mental challenge to get over.  However, with someone, they are so much more pleasant.  It was her birthday too, so I'm very grateful that she came out.  I hope I can BQ next month and then I can return the favor and really help her out with her race later in the spring. 

This was actually my longest training run ever on roads.  I did 25 miles once on trails, but I walked a lot of that.  This time, I only stopped for a drink and food.  I ran 23 in my previous goal marathon buildup several years back.

We have a major winter storm coming tomorrow night.  That will throw off my schedule.  I'd like to rest tomorrow and run Thursday.  However, with all the big snow on Thursday, that might be impossible.  I may have to try to do something tomorrow and rest Thursday.  I've put in 71 miles over the last 5 days though, so we'll see how my body feels.  This has been a hard week so far and will continue to be.  Once it is over, I'm really backing off.

24 miles - 3:25:24 (8:33 pace)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Two Afternoon Runs

I have a long 23 miler planned tomorrow.  I'm trying to get miles in now, but I also want to be careful.  Therefore, I'm breaking the runs up into smaller, more manageable ones.  Today, the plan was for just 2 runs of 6 miles each.

I didn't have work today, so I decided to run at noon.  I planned to only run around my neighborhoods.  The weather was kind of nice.  It was still below freezing and slightly breezy, but at least sunny.  I did wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt under my fleece vest.  That made me a little chilly.  Overall, I was pretty good though.

The first mile was a nice and easy loop around my neighborhood.  After that, I crossed the street.  I decided that I would do a shorter loop than usual.  I didn't want to run the big loop.  At one point, I opted to change it up.  There is a way to cut through to the big loop from the smaller loop.

I don't normally go this way.  It's a bit of a challenge with quite the uphill.  I made it through by going slowly.  As I was on the big loop, I was close to 2.5 miles.  I knew I had 2 more miles to go if I did the normal loop.

I added on a little more.  There's a loop that is over a mile.  I cut it a little shorter and it was probably somewhere between an additional 1/2 mile or more.

Most of the miles were around 8 minutes flat.  I was trying to save my legs, so I was going easy.  The body felt pretty good.  I got back to the school with around a mile to go.  I ran a loop around my neighborhood to finish up a solid run.

I thought about going into Nazareth for a run after dark.  Even though I finished the first run a little before 1 PM, I felt good and was recovered by 4:30 in the afternoon.  I figured, why not try to run while I still had daylight.  To do that, I needed another neighborhood run.

The sun was close to setting, so it was a bit more chilly.  I wore a heavier top, but everything else was the same.  It wasn't bad.  We had snow overnight and the roads were slightly more clear during this run.  They never were bad though.

Again, I began with a loop around my neighborhood.  I crossed the street and started on the shorter loop for a second time.  This time, I did the loop and added another section of neighborhood that I don't use much.  This has a steep hill.

I put on KT Tape before the run because the quad seemed like it was tweaked a little earlier.  It felt pretty good throughout this run.  The bottom of my left foot was somewhat sore from the beginning until the end of the run.  I'll have to be careful with that.

When I got back to the school, I was at mile 4.  I needed 2 more easy miles to finish.  I ran around the playground behind the school and then in front of it.  There were cops at the school and Channel 69 News.  I guess they must've been having a township meeting. 

I got back to my neighborhood and did a short loop around there.  I then added a smaller loop.  I finished up for 6 more miles.  This pace was slightly slower than earlier, but only by a few seconds for each mile.  It was a good way to finish the day.  My legs are slightly sore, but breaking the runs up definitely helped save them.

Tomorrow, the plan is the last big long run before the marathon.  If I'm feeling good, I'm hoping for 23 miles.  I'm also hoping that Emily can meet up with me for part of it.  That would be a huge help.  I was planning on taking Wednesday off, but we have a lot of snow coming on Thursday, so I might take that day off and run Wednesday instead.  I need a lot of miles this week, but also it is important to recover adequately.  

First Run 6 miles - 48:24 (8:04 pace)
Second Run 6 miles - 49:01 (8:10 pace)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Time to Focus

My running has been amazing over the last few months.  I've trained well and been improving like crazy.  The impressive thing is that I've done so, by just running.  I've had no focus and have been thinking about a lot of other things.  Maybe that's actually why I'm doing well.  Regardless, I have some big races coming up, including my goal race.  Now, it is time for me to focus.  In two weeks, I'm running a half and it is five weeks until my marathon.

I want to make this my last big buildup week.  I still wanted this to be a fairly easy Sunday run though.  I thought about running in some new neighborhoods, to break up the monotony of running in my neighborhoods all of the time.  I figured that it just wasn't worth the drive though, not for a shorter run.  The plan was to run only 7 miles.  The trails have been in crappy condition since the ice storm.

The temperature was warmer than this winter's normal.  However, it was still below freezing and on a cloudy day with a slight breeze, it could get chilly at times.  I wore a jacket instead of a fleece vest.  Everything else was the same as usual for winter.

I started from my house.  I didn't feel like running the loop in my neighborhood or running in the big neighborhood at all for that matter.  I wanted to go to the neighborhood on the other side of the school and run to the industrial park.  Doing that as an out and back is close to 5 miles in itself.

I started off feeling strong.  Breaking the last two days into pairs of shorter runs definitely helped.  The legs haven't felt it since before I took two days off last week.  I went over one of the icy paths into the other neighborhood and almost fell.  I'm still doing good all winter though, when it comes to falls.

I wasn't planning on much effort today, but I worked on the mental part of my running.  I've been achieving my goals with such ease lately, that I haven't pushed myself enough during races.  I started thinking of some things to run through my head during races to give me that extra edge.  I hope to put them to the test during tough workouts and the races.

This caused me to run a little harder than I normally would.  The first mile was an 8:12 and every mile after that was under 7:46.  I felt good, even going into the wind at times.  I ran a short out and back on a dead end street in the neighborhood.

It was a nice downhill to the industrial park.  I looped around there and was at about 3 miles when I got to the end of the road.  I ran this little dogleg around another small neighborhood to add mileage just a bit before climbing uphill.  Because maybe I was pushing it a tad, I started to tire around mile 4.

I thought for some time about maybe running 10 miles.  Then, I thought wiser of it.  If I want to add miles on, it is better to do it later in the week than earlier in the week.  I have plenty of big runs upcoming.

I went down a different dead end road on the way back.  I got back to the school and was past mile 6.  However, I had already changed plans and did want to add a single additional mile.  Rather than run my neighborhood, I decided to cross the highway and run a shorter loop that I normally do.  I ran over there, then ran a full loop of my neighborhood and finished up with a partial loop there as well.

The legs never got sore and it was a good run.  I think running 10 miles or more in a single run on back to back days is kind of the tipping point.  My body can handle 7 or 8 mile runs much better.

The rest of the week is going to be tricky.  Since I'm making this my last big week, I'm hoping for a 23 mile run.  I want to at least run 20 miles for that.  I know now that my body needs a day off after that.  Ideally, I'd run that long run tomorrow.  However, I'd like company and Emily is available Tuesday to run some of it with me.  That would be a huge help to finish it.  Tomorrow, I need to take it easy, but still put in decent mileage.  Maybe I'll run a pair of 5 milers.  It is snowing now, so I'll see what that brings too.

8 miles - 1:01:37 (7:42 pace) 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Couple Saturday Runs

After having Wednesday and Thursday off, I knew I'd be well rested for these next two days.  The question was whether or not I could do a lot of miles.  I wanted to run 27 miles over those two days.  I ran with people and had some slower paced runs to make it a little easier to do.  After an 8 miler and a 6 miler yesterday, I need 13 miles today to hit 50 miles for the week.

I've been wanting to work with some people to help them get faster.  I think I'd like to coach in the future, but it would help to be able to work with a few people first to see how it pans out.  Heather and I have been talking about getting together for a hard workout for some time.  In talking with her, I felt like she has a lot of potential.

We agreed to meet up in the Parkway.  Since there aren't very many clear areas, I figured running repeats on the road into there might work.  It wouldn't be a lot of fun, but it was manageable.  I didn't want to do too much today.  I just hoped to get her used to running fast and see where she is at and work from there.

We agreed to meet at 10 AM, rather than 8 AM, since it would be a little warmer.  I was glad for the extra sleep too.  I took her watch, so that I she would just run and I'd control the workout.  I told her to run a mile warmup at an easy pace, since I don't know what that effort is for her.

She did that and then we started to run hard.  I tried not to go too hard, but it wasn't long before she was having trouble breathing.  She can seem to run a slower pace for a long time, but has trouble when she goes too fast.  I decided to have her try to walk to recover.  We tried a second time and I attempted to go slower this time, but she still had an issue.

We might be able to fine tune it so that she can run slightly faster than normal and get a little bit of a better workout, but not too hard that she struggles with it.  However, I didn't feel like it was something she should mess with.  I'm not sure what the issue is with her breathing, but I think it could be a medical problem and it is something worth trying to figure out before pushing too much.  It's not worth risking anything.  If she can get that corrected, then we can really work on things.  I hope it gets figured out because I feel like she can be an awesome runner.

Since the fast running didn't work, I decided that we might as well just continue running slow.  We did some more out and back for a couple extra miles.  It was a good time to chat and enjoy some semi decent weather.  We ran to 5 miles and were done.  We had a nice lunch afterward too.  Hopefully in the future, I can be more helpful to Heather and she can be running strong.

After the runs and lunch, I wanted another run.  I headed to Riverview Park on the way home.  I planned on an easy 8 miles, to get to 50 for the week.  They plowed toward the Boat Launch, so I headed out that way.  That was a mistake.  It was a giant sheet of ice.

I went slowly and cautiously over it.  Of course, I'm stubborn and kept going, despite the conditions.  Finally, after about a mile of that, I had had enough and turned around.  It was slow coming back too, but I didn't fall.

The weather wasn't bad, but it did get cloudy and that made it a bit more chilly.  I had on normal gear, with a jacket instead of my fleece vest.  The headband went off and on.  Sometimes, I put my hood up too.  I couldn't decided.

After 2 miles, I went back out in the other direction toward Easton.  They plowed that before the other section, so I figured that it would be better.  I knew it couldn't be worse.  First, I ran a loop around the Canal Museum parking lot.  That adds a nice and smooth mile.

I was then going out the other way.  This path had some ice, but it was much clearer and more runnable.  The legs weren't feeling strong, but they weren't bad either.  Breaking the last two days into 4 different shorter runs was a big help.  Running nice and easy didn't hurt either.

I ran out until I was just over the 4 mile point.  I saw some people and being alone on this trail, I decided to head back.  It was an uneventful run back.  I only saw one other person the whole time.  Before long, I was back at the Canal Museum area.

I ran another loop at that parking lot and headed back to Riverview.  When I got to Riverview, I had less than 3/4 of a mile left.  I decided that I could deal with the ice for that short distance.  I passed a woman that was walking and she must've thought I was crazy.  I was then done in no time and not feeling too bad.

Maybe these last two days weren't the best use of my running time, but I'm fine with that.  I just wanted to get some easy running done and finish off the week.  I'm looking for a big week again this coming week.  Then, I'll back off after that.

Tomorrow, we are supposed to get a bit more snow.  I'm hoping I can run another easy 6 or 7 miles.  I'd really love to be able to run 23 on Monday.  If I can do that, I'll rest on Tuesday and continue on after that.  I want to run 70 miles again for the entire week.

Morning Run 5 miles - 55:10 (11:02 pace)
Afternoon Run 8 miles - 1:10:48 (8:51 pace)

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Pair of Medium Runs

I took a rare rest day on Wednesday.  With the snow and a beat up body, it was a good choice.  It was much needed.  I was going to run with Emily on Thursday, but it was too cold for her in the morning.  That worked out well because I basically got no sleep the night before.  It took me all day and night to recover from that, so I ended up taking a second day off.  A lot of rest isn't such a bad thing right now.

After those two days off, I had to get out there today.  I was going to try Riverview, then my friend Melissa said she was running Ironton in the afternoon.  I figured that I might as well have company.  I never actually met her, but we've been discussing snowshoe running on Facebook.

She was planning on coming at 3:15.  I figured that I would do one loop with her.  That meant I'd get out there earlier and run a loop and more on my own.  I was hoping for 8 miles then, if I felt good.  I parked in Coplay near the caboose.

The weather wasn't bad.  It was almost at the freezing point and the sun was out.  However, there was more wind than I anticipated.  Still, I was fine with a the usual gear.  I didn't even wear my headband all that much in the first loop.

I decided to run it in a counterclockwise direction.  The start would be downhill either way.  This way, I'd go through the neighborhoods first.  The boring section would come later.  I cruised along pretty easy.

The first mile wasn't too bad.  Right around mile 2, things got interesting.  There was a very icy stretch.  I managed to make it over, but it wasn't easy.  This would be a theme of what was to come.  We've had a lot of snow and a lot of cold days, but not as much ice as I encountered today.

My pace continued to drop.  I was running easy and going well under 8 minute pace.  I was breathing a little heavier than normal because of the wind.  I saw a guy with a Boston Marathon jacket on.  He didn't look like he could qualify for it, but what do I know.  He was running for quite awhile.  I saw him 2 more times.

The ice was off and on.  Some stretches were very clear and runnable.  Others were tricky.  I think my trail running experience is a huge asset on ice.  I run on my toes and take choppy steps.  I don't give myself much of an opportunity to slip.  Even if I do, I'm hoping I will be able to catch myself.

There was one really bad section that must get no sun.  It was quite long.  I had to carefully navigate through there.  What made it tricky too is that the ice had melted in spots and it was actually wet as well.  I made it through everywhere.

Most of the trail is paved, but there is a gravel section.  This wasn't too icy, but it was very sloppy.  It was a lot like a normal trail run.  Coming up past the kilns, it was uphill to the end of the trail.  The loop is 5.5 miles.

I continued on for a second loop.  I passed some walkers and they told me to be careful.  I told them I was already through that section.  I had a nice downhill now.  I continued out for about another mile.  I figured I had time to get in 8 miles total.

I headed back and finished the loop with a slow uphill.  The pace was under 7:40 overall, so it was pretty solid.  I had about half a mile to go when I was at the end of the path, so I ran to my car and a little farther out on the road.  I stopped at 8 miles and grabbed some water.

I timed it fairly well and had about 15 minutes until I met up with Melissa.  I was just hoping that I wouldn't get cold standing around.  It wasn't too bad.  I was looking the other way when she came from behind me.

We took off in the other direction.  She was planning on 10 miles.  I was looking to do 1 loop and finish up with 6 more miles, for 14 total.

Again, there was a nice downhill start.  It wasn't long until we got to the kilns.  Around there, it was pretty icy.  I was used to the ice, but she wasn't and she fell down.  From then on, she was more cautious.  I was still kind of careless.

I was running about 2 minutes per mile slower than earlier, but that was fine by me.  I was enjoying the company and conversation.  It makes things fly by.  She's had some knee surgeries, so she can't put in crazy mileage like I do, but it is good she is out there running.  She is training for a half marathon.

Other than trying to navigate the ice and having some conversations, there wasn't too much eventful with the rest of the run.  In the very icy sections, she would walk and I'd run ahead and then loop back.  Before I knew it, we were heading up the hill and nearly done with the loop.  I ran a short out and back to finish up and Melissa continued on on the roads.

After 2 days off, today was a great, productive day.  I got in some quality miles and had some good conversation with a new friend.  I'm happy with that, as I run alone too much.

Tomorrow, I'm going to help my friend Heather get faster.  It will be a cold morning, so I'll have to watch to see how she handles some hard running.  It will be fun working with her.  I think she has a lot of potential.  It shouldn't take too much out of me, so I'll run some extra miles later.  I wouldn't mine running 13 more miles total to get to 50 for the week, but I'm not going to force it.  I'll see what I have.

First Part 8 miles - 1:01:11 (7:39 pace)
Second Part 6 miles - 57:41 (9:37 pace)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Only Did 7

Yesterday it snowed so much and I was kind of depressed because it threw off my schedule.  I wanted to do a long run, but instead only got 10 miles in.  I was hoping for 15 or more today.

I went to Riverview, but they didn't plow there.  Nothing surprising, since another storm is coming tonight.  That left me no choice besides running around my neighborhoods.

I started in the afternoon and conditions were perfect.  It was quite warm by this winter's standards.  The sun was shining bright.  That is one nice thing about the day after a snowstorm, it always seems to be sunny.  I wore a jacket over my lightweight long sleeve shirt.  I had on gloves, but didn't need a headband.

I started with the loop around my neighborhood.  The quads were kind of beat yesterday.  My legs as a whole weren't all that sharp when I started.  I figured I'd continue on and see what they have.

After that, I headed into the other neighborhood.  I was going to start with just the regular loop and see how I felt after that.  It would get me to 6 miles anyway.  My quads continued to just be so so.  I used KT Tape on them and that might've helped, but there was still definitely some soreness.

Miles 2 and 3 were nice and easy and slow.  I carried on.  I ran up the steep hill.  I'm getting used to these hills, but they still aren't exactly easy.  By mile 4, it was looking like a short run.

At least I was able to enjoy the conditions, so I wasn't totally miserable during the run.  A lot of the snow was still covering the tree branches and it looked stunning.  I couldn't have asked for much better than that.

By now, I was figuring on only running the large loop to finish up and then maybe adding a little more to get to 7 miles.  I continued to cruise along.  The legs weren't getting better, but they weren't getting worse either.  Still, I figured I wasn't accomplishing anything if they aren't close to 100%.  I'm just grinding out miles if I continue.

I did want to get to at least mile 7.  Therefore, when I got back to my neighborhood, I did the loop around there again.  I was starting to sweat and I was getting tired too.  It wasn't as much as I wanted to do, but I was glad to have done something and I enjoyed the day nonetheless.

I guess I have to accept the fact that I can't put in 70 mile week after 70 mile week.  Not at this point in time anyway.  I need to back that down to maybe 50 miles a week and perhaps just get more qualities runs in.  I already have a good base to work from anyway.  I just need to sharpened up a bit before I test a marathon.

As far as that goes, I'm really starting to lean to trying to get one in in March.  I wanted to do it later and be more prepared, but I might as well cash in now while I'm running well.  I'd probably be close to a sub 3 hour marathon anyway and even if I don't get it, I still may BQ or I can at least run a fall marathon.

Tomorrow, the snow should mess with things.  Regardless, I'm pretty sure I'm not running at all.  My body clearly needs another day of rest.  Emily and I were talking about days to run.  Maybe we'll get together on Thursday morning.  Otherwise, I'll try to run semi long again on Thursday by myself.

7 miles - 55:52 (7:59 pace)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Post Snow Night Run and Short Snowshoe Run

I wanted to run long today after the race yesterday.  However, the weather threw those plans away.  Originally, they were calling for a few inches of snow.  We got 8 inches though.  This winter just never ends and two more storms are coming this week.

I do love snow and I'm glad I can do some snowshoe running.  The problem is that it is so much harder than regular running, so I can't get many miles in.  I thought maybe I would do 2 snowshoe runs today of about 4 miles each.  That seemed reasonable.

During the snow, I went to the elementary school next to my house for the snowshoe run.  I quickly found out that this would be quite the challenge.  We don't usually get deep snow, so I don't have any deep snow cleats.  Needless to say, that made the run even more difficult.

It is already tough enough with just a couple inches on the ground.  This was close to impossible and I was attempting to run easy too.  The scenery was nice, with the trees blanketed with snow.  I ran under a few of them and took some photos with my GoPro.

I did a long loop around the perimeter.  A third of a mile into the run, I was already dead.  It was a struggle in the deep snow.  I battled through it though, just trying to get around the loop.  There was a guy plowing the parking lot and he must've thought I was crazy. 

When I was finally done with the first loop, it was 1.25 miles.  My legs were toast and I was already breathing heavy.  This was after an 11 minute mile too.  It's amazing how taxing snowshoe running is.  I should probably start adding recovery walk breaks, so that I can handle it.

After that first loop, it was clear I wasn't doing 4 miles.  In fact, I was lucky to even be going at that point.  I continued on and did a shorter loop.  I was slightly under 2 miles at that point.  I ran a short out and back and called it a day at 2 miles.  That was one of the toughest runs that I've ever done.  It was basically like running up the most difficult hill you've ever been on for 22 minutes.  That's how long this short run took me.  I was overdressed and soaked by the end of the run too.

The weather was actually kind of nice, outside of the snow.  There was no wind and the temperatures were in the 30s for a change.  Even when I went out at night, it was in the upper 20s.  I wore a fleece vest, pants, gloves and a headband, but took the headband off early on in that one.

That second run was about an hour after dinner.  The plow had just come through and cleared the roads of my neighborhood.  Since I needed a good run and snowshoe running was too hard, I elected to run the neighborhoods after dark.  I finally got my reflective vest to wear, so that was a big help, especially with what I encountered.

I began with a loop around my neighborhood.  The roads had some slushy snow, but actually were cleared pretty well.  There was plenty of bare pavement.  Somehow a lady didn't see me when she was walking her dog and the dog crossed the road and came right over to me.  I stopped to pet it before being on my way.  Maybe she wasn't paying attention or maybe she couldn't see my headlamp.  It is going dim and I'm out of batteries.

If I had to, I would've tried to run loop around the school parking lot.  I was hoping the other neighborhood would be clear though.  It was plowed, but not as good as our neighborhood.  Still, it would do.  The plan was at least 8 miles and hopefully even 10 miles.

I encountered my first issue early on.  A plow was at an intersection plowing the excess snow.  I had to make sure that he saw me, so I had to stop and wait until it was clear and then sprint in front of him.

I went along not worrying about my pace.  It was nice and easy.  I felt good except for the quads.  Even early on, they were sore.  Not painful, just sore.  That was an issue last year, so I have to be careful.

That plow passed me shortly after and I encountered him about a mile down the road.  Again, I got in the way.  This first mile in this neighborhood was clear, but right after slipping by the plow, I realized the next section had not been touched yet.  At least this part was short. 

I wandered by a lot of people who were shoveling and clearing snow.  The snow does make everything so bright at night.  It was nice and I was glad to not be clearing snow. 

Running up the hills without the greatest traction did get a little slippery.  The big hill in the far neighborhood was a bit of a challenge.  For whatever reason, this run seemed to go by so slowly.  When I was at mile 4, I couldn't believe that I still had another 4 miles or more to do.

Around mile 5, I came across a plow again.  This time, I was wondering what he was waiting for.  Then I realized that it wasn't me, but instead a young lady zooming by behind him.  I guess I wasn't the only crazy runner.

He turned around and came down the road and again I got in his way.  He must've been quite pissed by now.  I did a long loop next.  There was a plow just finishing up and I saw another one down the road.  He cleared the other side of the road and I ran right on that pavement.

I got to mile 6.5 and the quads were still quite sore.  They were starting to feel it.  By now, I figured I was only going to go to mile 8.  I didn't want to overdo it.

I cruised along and was eventually back at the school.  I only had half of a mile to go.  I opted to run a short loop around the school parking lot.  That was a nice and easy way to finish up.  The quads were quite dead.

I wish I could've done 2 more miles, but I won't push it.  Overall, it was 10 solid miles for the day.  That will do considering all of the snowfall.  I spend some time on the foam roller afterward and will need to add even more of that the rest of tonight and into tomorrow.

I don't know what I'll do tomorrow.  I'm sure I'll run in the afternoon.  I'd love to run 15 miles or more, but that will depend on how clear the paths are and how good the legs feel.  If I at least can get 10 miles in, I'll be somewhat satisfied.  I have to be cautious now.  I could fall off the cliff if I don't listen to my body and go the other way with my training.

Snowshoe Run 2 miles -  22:02 (11:01 pace)
Night Run 8 miles - 1:07:35 (8:27 pace)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl 10k (A Great Day All Around)

Every year, I debate running the Super Bowl 10k that the LVRR puts on.  Usually, I say that I may do it and then I wait until it's sold out.  That's kind of my way of not really wanting to run it.  Finally, this year I signed up for it for the first time.  I do enjoy winter running after all.

After the legs started taking a pounding with all the mileage last week, I took Saturday off.  I needed to get some rest before this race.  I was hoping to break 40 minutes and figured that I could do so on a flat course.  This course is very hilly, as I learned on the preview run the other day.  I figured that running a sub 40 could be tough.  I haven't run many 10k races, so at least I knew I'd run a PR.

My friend Flo was doing this crazy Winter Death Race in Vermont.  When I saw that she was leading the female division, I didn't sleep too well because I was excited to hear how she'd do.  She is amazing and when I woke up before my alarm, I saw that she finished in second place!  I was hoping to use that as inspiration if I needed it in this race.

The great thing with this race is that so many friends either run it or volunteer.  I talked to many of them before it and many of them after it was over.  Sharing this even with friends makes it all the more worthwhile.

Since it is February, the weather is often iffy for this event.  With the winter we are having, I was surprised that that wasn't the case.  It was super warm and around 40 degrees.  I knew I'd be able to run in shorts and that would be a huge help.  I actually had to dig through my bag and get a lighter long sleeve shirt because my ColdGear top was too heavy.  I was worried when I had to wear a Delaware Canal Half Marathon event shirt.  That was my worst half ever.  I didn't wear a hat or gloves.

I could kind of tell it was going to be a good day when I warmed up.  The legs felt fast and fresh.  They aren't used to me taking the day before a race off.  I guess they were thanking me.

The race starts near the LVRR Clubhouse.  It has a nice and wide starting line.  I was about in the middle of the group.  I figured that I'd probably be in the Top 20.  There was some traffic at the start and I ran a little quicker to get through it.  The first 3/4 of a mile is nice and flat.

I settled in early and got into a groove.  The pace felt kind of easy.  Some other people were breathing heavily, but I wasn't.  I looked at my watch and saw that it was a 5:48 pace.  I knew that that would slow down though.  There was a lead pack of probably about 7 runners or so that was pulling away little by little.  They were too fast for me to run with.

I ended up behind a young kid and a woman.  I figured I'd sit back and let them control the pace.  After exiting the Parkway, it's a tough uphill climb.  We ran together and came through mile 1 at 6:20.  That was a few seconds faster than goal pace, but I knew some of the other hills would slow me down.

I don't remember when exactly it occurred, I think on the second hill, but the young guy and I passed the woman.  I should note that she was the lead woman.  Rarely do I finish ahead of all the women in a race.

I continued to stay with him as he was running a nice pace.  Those early hills weren't too bad.  They were tough and caused me to breath a little harder, but all in all, I sailed over them.  The tricky thing is that even when you climb into the neighborhood, it is still rolling hills.

Most of the first half of this race is uphill and most of the second half is downhill.  I knew if I stayed solid early on, I would finish strong.  Again, I stayed right on the guy's heels.  There was no reason to even attempt to pass him.  Why not let him do all of the work?  Maybe I should've offered to switch spots off and on, but you never know if someone is going to be strong or fall back.  I didn't know if we would run together the entire race.

I really enjoyed the short downhill portions through the neighborhood.  Mile 2 was a 6:19.  Things got a little tougher at mile 3.  There was more uphill and I started to slip a bit.  I was still matching strides with the young guy.  This mile slowed to 6:29.  I was running under mile goal time by a second, so I was happy.  With a lot of the 2nd half of the course downhill, this is a good course to negative split (something I've rarely done).

There was a tough little hill as we finished up this small loop.  Then, we arrived back on the road that we had started on.  A lot of the field was going out as we were going back.  I had about 3 or 4 friends yell "Go Brian" or "Good job Brian" as I was passing them going the other direction.  The young guy in front of me said, "I guess I'm running with Brian."  I said, "Haha, yeah I'm sorry, I have a lot of friends in this race."

Having everyone encouraging me was a big boost.  I tried to acknowledge most of them.  After some time, it became almost overwhelming.  It seemed like 30 people said something to me.  I figured the kid must be getting annoyed and probably really wanted to finish ahead of me.

Speaking of people yelling encouragement.  I heard someone yell to the woman behind me, "Go Carolyn.  You're the favorite."  I was surprised to hear that because I figured it was Carolyn Dunham and I didn't think I was fast enough to finish ahead of her.  I guess she was the woman I passed in the beginning.  I know her face, but didn't recognize her from behind.

Thanks to the downhill and all my friends, mile 4 was a 6:18.  I was back on track.  I had come through the halfway point a little faster than I had wanted to, around a 19:30, so I wasn't sure if I'd hold up.  By now, I wanted to stay consistent and just finish up where I was at.  The pace continued to slowly drop.  It was around 6:20.  I figured that in my head, I had quite a few seconds available to slip up if I needed it.  I also had the inspiration that Flo provided with her big race earlier, if I needed it.  I thought about it on one uphill early on, but actually I didn't need it after that point.

I came through mile 5 with a 6:19.  This was easily the toughest mile too.  First, I had a really nice downhill and the young guy gave me an opening around the turn, so I took it.  I figured I might as well go with the flow and enjoy it.  Then came the last climb.  Up until now, I didn't have to work too much on the hills.  This one started to kill me though.  My legs were losing it and I could feel that I was being pressured.

I eventually got passed on the hill.  Much to my surprise, it was another young guy.  It turns on it was a local high school kid that was a state cross country qualifier.  I didn't know where the original guy was.  I pressed on.  What destroyed me wasn't so much this first hill, but after it, things leveled out briefly before another short uphill.  This really took its toll on my legs.  I knew I had to push through.

The young guy that I passed earlier had went back by me on the downhill.  He tried to encourage me to try to catch the other guy.  He did that and I tried to stay with them, but I didn't have enough left in the tank at that point.  Plus, I was now around a 6:19 pace and well under my goal.

I just wanted to cruise on in.  I mean I was still pushing hard, but not killing myself and giving everything I had.  I figured that I would probably run about a 19:30.  The last half mile seemed so long.  It is cool running under the Lights in the Parkway lights, but you can see the finish area from so far out.  That provides quite the challenge.

I ran on in at a decent clip.  When I got close enough to see the clock, I was surprised.  It was still slightly under 39 minutes.  I didn't think I was that close to 39 minutes or perhaps I would've pushed even more in the last mile.  I had come through mile 6 at a 6:10 pace though.

I watched the clock tick a few seconds over 39 minutes.  I finished up quite exhausted at 39:07.  I crushed my PR and even beat my expectations by a good chunk.  I can't really believe that 3 months ago, I couldn't even break 20 minutes in a 5k.  Now, I can do that easily for twice the distance and on a hilly course no less.  I'm definitely the fastest and in the best shape of my life right now.

I enjoyed interacting with friends after their race.  As usual, some did good and others not so good.  That's the beauty of races.  Thankfully, I've had more good races than bad lately.  I'm looking forward to next month's half marathon.  I signed up hoping for bad weather, but now I'm looking for good weather or at least respectable weather.  I want to not only run my PR, but crush it.

I did finish ahead of all the females in the race.  I took 3rd in my age group and was 12th overall out of 487 runners.  I hung around for the awards, not knowing if I was fast enough to get one, but I was glad when I did.  This was a fairly competitive 10k field.  I actually don't care that much for the Super Bowl itself, but all around this was a great day thanks to what I achieved, what others achieved and who I saw.  It's what makes running so great.

I hope I can recover well by tomorrow.  I'd like to run 15-18 easy
miles again.  If I can do that, I'll take Tuesday off completely.  That many miles could be tough.  I won't force it.  I'll see how I feel and run accordingly.  It's a fine line to dance with training enough and training too much.

6.2 miles - 39:07 (6:18 pace)
Splits 6:20, 6:19, 6:29, 6:18, 6:19, 6:10
12th of 487 overall, 3rd age group