Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Run: 12/25

I decided that I needed to go for a run because we were going to get hit with a big snow storm that night and Raleigh does not react well to snow.  I wasn't sure how long it would be before I could get to the gym.  After Hiro and I exchanged presents and had breakfast, I decide to go for another art park run.  I am really grad that I did because this was a very good run for me.  I felt really strong throughout the run and got stronger as the run went on.  There were a few people on the greenway, but fewer than normal.  It was pretty cold and I think that most people thought that I was crazy to still be wearing shorts when the temp was in the low 30's.  However, I didn't feel it at all after the first half mile.  Also, I got a new running jacket that is water proof.  The Nike Storm Fit-1.  After one run I could tell that I made a good choice because even though it was light weight I still felt warm on a chilly day.  After I use it some more, I may do a product review, but so far so good.

As for the run, it was like a Christmas gift to myself!  I ran strong the entire way and kept thinking that I was running too fast and would run out of gas at the end but it never happened.

Mile 1: 9:24.39
Mile 2: 9:58.39
Mile 3: 9:30.24
Mile 4: 9:32.25
Mile 5: 9:17.96
Last .37: 8:28 pace

Not really sure what brought on such a strong run, but I am really have that it happened.

Dec. 24th: Quick Run to the Gym Before Shopping.

I am not usually one of those last minute shoppers when it come to Christmas gifts, but I was this year because I knew what I wanted to get Hiroko and didn't want her to know about it before hand.  So, I did a quick workout before my shopping.  I ran 1.67 to the gym then ran 1.5 on the treadmill and then did some abs, a little leg work, and that was all she wrote for this workout.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sports Conditioning: Dec. 22st

I went to my first morning workout class in a long time and could feel the difference in my conditioning.  I got up and ran the 1.67 miles to the gym, which was a good warm up.  Then when I arrived I took the Morning sports conditioning class.  They were doing a 12 days of Christmas workout, which is one of my favorite workout.  However, it is kind of difficult for your first day back and involves running a lot of stairs, which I am not confident that my PF will really allow me to do at this time.  Currently, my left foot is doing better but my right flares up at times.  Plantar Fasciitis is just one of those nagging injuries that is really slow to heal.  I have heard of people having to deal with it for several months, which is where I am.  However, mine was not really treated correctly for a long time, so I who knows how it would have responded. 

I did two thirds of the class before I went and did some abs and stretching on my own for the last 15 minutes of class.  Afterwards, I jogged over to Hiro's work as a cool down and picked up the car for work.  It was good to go back to the class, but I felt bad about how much my conditioning had dropped off.  I am glad that I took a break from the class and focused on running, but I know that I need to maintain at least degree of cross training i n my workouts. Therefore, I really need to plan my weekly workouts better over the coming months.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12/19: Art Park 5 Miler #2 of the Weekend

Saturday's run went well, so I figured that I should do it again and this time try to use some of the features that my garmin have to offer.  I set Old Bob up to give me mile splits and to compare the run to the course setting that I a had saved form my first Garmin run the week before in the rain.  I had a feeling this days run would be slower than the one I had done the day before.  I feeling a little stiff and sore, but I just felt like I needed this run.

The weather wasn't an issue.  However, it took me a while to feel like as though I were properly warmed up.  My mile breakdown were :
  1. 9:41.08
  2. 10:09.78
  3. 10:14.46
  4. 10:15.11
  5. 9:57.80
Overall I felt lie I struggled all the way with this run.  I was having minor knee pain, which wasn't enough to stop the run, but just enough to make it a little unpleasant.  Over all I did 5.38 in 53:25

Monday, December 20, 2010

Art Park 5 miler: 12/18

It finally stopped raining and warmed up a bit, just in time for me to avoid a complete meltdown.  People who live in the southeast have this unspoken agreement with Mother Nature.  We will tolerate the nearly 9 months of hellish punishment called summer, take our four weeks of spring and summer, and in exchange, other than for a few days in January and February, she leaves us the eff alone when it comes to winter!  Well, this year Momma has gone plum-crazy, and not in the charming way where she sends some random ass Christmas like trivets (thanks mom!), no our dear Mother Nature has gone all shooting at the neighbor's kids with an air rifle crazy!  Snow in December . . . Twice . . . a whole week where the high is 34 degrees . . . WTF are you thinkin' Lady?

Anyway, before I get into full on rant mode . . . it finally got into the mid 30's so I decided that I need to go for a run.  I didn't want to stray too far from my house because I needed to leave Hiroko with the car, so I decided to run the Greenway like I had last Sunday, when God tried to drown me.  This time I made sure that the wasn't a cloud in the sky before I left the house.  Last time I ran the 5.36 miles in 53:53 and this time I did the same course in 52.39.  The run went well, but I was really pushing over the last mile, so that I could do better than my run the week before.  By the end of the run, I was spent.  I really enjoyed it however, and like that with Old Bob, I can track my courses pretty easily.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Treadmill & Exercises: Thursday 12/16

Not a whole lot to say about this one.  It was rainy and cold all day, so I ran 3 miles on the treadmill in just under 30 mins. at the gym followed by a small exercise session.  I did some abs, push ups, and lower body strengthening exercises just to get back into the swing of things.  Everything kind of felt a little crappy.  The run, the exercises, everything was just kind of . . . well . . . crappy.  I was really having to fight it.  I am glad that I did it, and I know that I am in for many more days like this if I want to build back my overall conditioning.  My feet held up well after this, so I'm feeling good about the state of my PF but still don't thin that I am to the point where I don't have to think about it at all.   There is still a bit of random soreness and a little pain here and there, so I know that I need to be careful and smart about my workload as I change up my workout.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Return to Toneing Class: Hubba Bubba Abs -- 12/14

I haven't been to Toning class in over 2 months and in that time my abs have turned to bubble gum.  I've been running, so my I still feel strong, but there is no denying that my over all fitness has declined over the last 3 months.  I need to get back into strength and conditioning classes or else.  I don't thin that I'll go back to the whole 4 or 5 classes a week thing, but I need to get more balance into my workout.  I ran 1.5 miles om the indoor track before the class.  The class was much more difficult than it had been in the summer for me.  The instructor hadn't made it more difficult in the slightest, but I am just no where nears as fit as I had been.   I was a little sore after the class, but it wasn't too bad.  I took off Wednesday because I wanted to give my body time to rest after working some dormant muscles for the first time in a while.  Also, I wanted to see how my feet held up as well.  They were a little sore, but nothing like they had been.  My PF is getting better, but I still need to be cautious.  I plan to sprinkle in so basic exercise on days that I run just to try to build back some of the strength and muscle that I have lost before I hit one of the more challenging classes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First Run in the Rain . . . Cold Rain: 12/12

Another name for this post might Sunday stupidity.  I really wanted to run, but we  were suppose to get rain.  first a light drizzle then getting progressively harder throughout the day.  Also, the  Raiders had an early game this week, so I wouldn't be able to use the gym.  Therefore I decided to run the NC Museum of Art Greenway, which is just over 5 miles.  I put on enough layers for the cold and my best water resistant jacket and headed out.  The first two miles were fine the rain wasn't that bad, nor was the cold, but as I approached the midway point, the rain began to pick up.  Once I got to the exact mid way point, it basically hit a pretty steady rain, granted it wasn't an all out downpour but bad enough to make me wish that I had bought a waterproof jacket.  I slogged my way home and was fairly miserable doing it.  At that point, I had no choice, so I just went with it.  There were very few people out on the Greenway, but every time that I met up with someone we shared a little wave or a nod that made me feel like we were all in on some secret.  It kind of reminded me of the the nose rub thing from the movie The Sting.  I am still a newbie to running and I feel like there are certain rights passage that I need to go through before I can really call myself a runner.  If coming home, soaked to bone because your too stubborn to change you plans is one of them, I am one step closer.  Also, after the run, I knew that it was time to invest in some rain gear.

According to Old Bob I did 5.36 in 53:53, it was pretty much all hills and rain, so I felt good about the way I ran .

Monday, December 13, 2010

Reindeer Romp 5k -- Last Race of the Year: 12/11

Trying to warm up before the race

The Reindeer Romp was my last race of 2010.  And it was my best race in a lot of ways.  I did not get a PR, but I ran strong and without any injuries or tightness.  I spoke with several people, who had run the course before as we were lining up, and they all said that it was a slow course.  So, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be getting any PR's, but I still enjoyed the run.  Not to make excuses or anything.  I know that I am not at my peak point of conditioning either, but I'm still running within striking distance of my PR.  Since this is my last race of the year, I plan to add more conditioning work into my program because I'm a little worried about repetition injuries from a running only regiment.  My PF has vastly improved over the last few months, so strength and conditioning work is a must. 
Chic fil a cow and a reindeer chatting before the race

About the race, I would give the overall in regards to organization a C+.  There were a lot of little things about this race, which add up to making the event kind of so-so.  The pre-race packet pickup was just one day and only staffed by two people.  Names were not printed on to the race bib and had to be looked up on a printout and then pulled from stacks of numbers.  The location was at Cary Soccer Park, which only has one entrance and exit and made getting to the race a little difficult.  They didn't seem to have enough people on staff considering the size of the crowd attending the event.  The start and finish were not in the same area, and it was difficult for people to find the starting line because registration and packet pick up were all at the finish.  The course did not have mile markers, but they did have people directing runners where to go, which was crucial because the race was trail run, and there were many intersecting trails.  Also the course, was one big loop with a panhandle, then a smaller loop, and a direction change, so it would have been really easy to get off course.  Also, there were no timing devices used at the starting line, so the timing chip was only giving a reading on you finish time.   Granted, there was a really large starting area so it was easy for people who cared about their times to find a place right at the line without fear of getting run down.  Personally, the mile markers and timing things weren't that big of an issue for me because I had Old Bob with me, but I did hear some people grumbling about it, and had I not had a Garmin, I'd have been . . . un-thrilled!
At the starting line

Since the starting line was so long, I did line up right on the line, which I doubt I'll ever do again.  I didn't have any problems with it, but I felt strange -- like I punching out of weight at all (both literally and figuratively).  It was fun to have such a large area for the start, and it eliminated almost all of the bunching problems that have been in nearly every race that I have attended.  The first mile was by far my best, but it wasn't because I was running too fast, it was just that a lot of the first mile was a downhill, so I was able to get a good start.  I did the first mile in just over 8 mins.  But the second mile was pretty much a series of up hills, so my pace came back to earth real quick.  I did enjoy running on the trails much better than any of the road races that I have raced on.  Even with the ground being hard from the cold there was a lot more give, and I felt much less pounding in my knees. Also, there were very few straight stretches, so I didn't get board or intimidated by what was in front of me.  In fact, I had no clue what was ahead of me because I had never set foot on any part of this trail in my life.  This was the first race where I had not at the least driven the course the night before. 

One . . . two . . . three . . . go!
I held up well over the first part of the uphill in mile two and did well through the panhandle that marked the halfway point.  Even though my pace had slowed, I was still going strong when I passed Hiroko, who was waiting at the at the original starting line to take some pictures.  After waving to Hiro I was able to pick up some more speed and get into a grove as we went on the downhill portion again.   At the end of mile two, I was around the 17 minute mark, but could feel that I was starting to struggle.  I had been running the tangents to try to shave off any distance that I could, and since this was a trail run, it was easier to see the benefit because of all the twists and turns in trail.  The course bottomed out at the end of the second mile, we were back to the hills for the last mile. 

Thumbs up for Hiro at 1.8 miles
Over the last mile, I just tried to focus on the trail in front of me.  Also I had passed a girl wearing really festive socks at the 2 mile mark.  I had seen at the Old Reliable Run and knew was a stronger runner than me, and it would only be a matter of time before she passed me back, but I wanted to make try to make it take awhile.  I was trying to find a way to push myself because I knew that the hills were  eating up time and that my slim chance at a PR was slipping away.  She passed me at 2.5 miles after a button hook on an uphill, and my new goal became to keep her socks in sight.  from 2.4 miles to 2.8 the course was almost entirely an incline that just killed my shot at a PR, over that part of the course I was doing around a 9.5 min. mile, which was alright, but needed to be just a bit faster.  I was able to keep up with the girl with cool socks and may have past her in my dash for the finish, but I am not sure.

Girl with cool socks is on the far left in red, one sock can be seen if the the picture is enlarged
 I was going to start my dash for the finish at the 3 mile mark, but I had I could tell that according to Old Bob either the course was off or I had shaved off some distance by running the tangents because the finish line was real close at 2.9, so I made my dash.  I saw Hiro just as I was approaching the finish and tossed her my hat and gloves then made a mad dash for the finish.  I felt kind of silly running all out when most of the runners near me we kids, but I just have to think that it's not about anyone other than me.  And, I want to finish every race as strong as I can. 

Discard what you do not need
Old Bob said that the course was 3.02, so either it was short or running the tangents really helped.  I am willing to trust that the course was right.  My time was 26:16
Looking and feeling tired

Overall, I enjoyed this race, but I am not sure if I'll do it again next year.  I think there will be other events that I can do that will be better more to my taste.  I want to thank Hiroko for coming out and supporting me at this race.  She really hate being cold and this was a pretty chilly day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thusday Cold A@@ Social Run: 12/9

Yeah, I went to Fleet Feet for the social run and it was a brisk 34 degrees out.  And, it felt every bit of 34 degrees.  Unlike Monday's nOg Run, I just couldn't get warmed up.  My legs were cold for the whole run.  Granted, I am still wearing shorts, so I should expect to be a little cold.  Also, I didn't really warm up properly either, so I guess that I shouldn't complain all that much.  The run was alright.  I ran the same course that I did last Weds. and Thursday, and I think that my results fell somewhere between the two efforts.  I know for sure that I ran better than Weds. because I have the stats from Old Bob, but I didn't hit the start button on last Thursday's run, so I am only guessing that last Thursday's run was faster than this run.  This week's run was 3.26 in 29:12 according to Old Bob. 
My Reversible Raiders Running Toboggan

Fleet Feet was also having an event that night where they had a person from Craft come by and let people wear test a base layer.  I didn't take part in the event because I was already dressed and didn't feel like changing.  Plus, I didn't know if they would have my size.  I need to start looking into some better cold weather gear.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday 34 Degree nOg Run: 12/6

Getting Ready for the nOg Run

It snowed here Saturday afternoon, which is kind of shocking for Raleigh.  We see very little snow here and most often it doesn't come until January or February.  But Sure enough Saturday we got our first snow of the season.  More shocking was the fact that the cold front that came with it hung around.  Highs in the low 30's is very uncommon, but I for one was determined not to let it stop me from attending the nOg run on Monday.  However, I had wondered what the cold would do to the attendance.  The Answer: not much at all.  Still well over 100 people showed up for the run.  However, Hiroko was not one of them.  Hiro HATE the cold.  I on the other hand grew up in WV and went to College at Appstate in the Mountains of NC, so I have my pride when it comes to the cold.  I just added another layer and headed out.  I wasn't sure what to expect because I haven't tried to run in the cold.  But it wasn't bad at all.  The wind was a bit harsh for the first quarter mile, but I got used to it.  Overall, I really enjoyed the run.  I would even go so far as to say that I prefer the cold to humidity. 

Old B.O.B.

I ran fairly well.  Actually, it felt better than the race on Saturday.  I didn't get up to the speed that I did at the race, but the run felt  better.  I did 2.82 miles in 24.19.49 according to Old B.o.b. (my Garmin).  I named it per advice from Irene.  And Since I have to old 204 and there are much newer models that may or may not be superior, I went named it after the old robot from the Disney classic The Black Hole.

Very Underrated Sci Fi Movie

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jingle Bell Run 5k : 12/6

Not sure where this was taken on the course.
Wasn't sure that I was going to do this race until the last minute.  Kind of did it on a whim because it was Hiroko had to work all day, and I needed to take of somethings in the afternoon.  But I decided last Sunday that it would be good to get a 5k before my last race of the year on the 12th.  I have been running for the 10k for sometime now, and I wanted give myself a chance to adjust to the 5k.  Some of my three mile runs have felt pretty strong, but training runs are not races, so I just thought that the Jingle Bell Run race would be a good practice race.  Not to say that I was not trying to beat my PR, but I was running with the idea that I had another race the following week. 

I am really glad to have run this race for a multitude of reasons.  For one, my left leg had been pissy leading up to the race, and I had no idea how it would preform.  I tried everything that I could think of the night before to try to get it to loosen up, heating pads, foam roller, stretching, hot shower, meds, nothing helped, and it was still tight in the morning until I decided to jog from Hiro's work to to the race location, which was under a mile.  But, the leg finally started to loosen up some during that jog then got a little better after I stretched some. 

Also, this would be my first race with my Garmin didn't know how it would impact the way I ran either.  During my training runs, it had been something of a distraction, so I debated about not wearing it but chose to wear because it would just be silly to pay for a Garmin and not use it on race day!  And, I am really glad that I did wear it because I think that it was very helpful during the race, and it kept me from getting complacent at times. 

But one of the main reasons that I am happy that I did this race is it really proves to me that I need to move up closer to the starting line for races that don't group the runners by pace at the start.  Once again I find myself running around people walking and slowly jogging for nearly the entire first mile.  I know that I am not that fast so I try to line up about a quarter of the way back, but I line up early and tons of people just file in after I have already lined up.  I am not going to complain about people who aren't running that line up at the front.  I personally think that it is bad form, but I understand that for some people this may be their one event a year, and they don't realize where they should start or that someone might want to start the race with a friend that they know they won't see again until the end of the race, and also some people are just oblivious.  Therefore, if I don't want to deal with the congestion at the start, I need to change. 

As I said the start was really congested, which combined with my own reluctance to push my sore quad, led to my slowest start to a race so far.  I think that I lost a lot of time during the first half mile that I never really gained back anywhere in the course.  After the race my Garmin confirmed that portion of the race was in fact pretty piss poor.   However, after about the first half mile, I could tell that my quad was doing alright.  It felt much better than it had at the Autism 5k a couple of months ago.  But, I still was reluctant to push it.  I knew the course really well because other than the first and last .1of this course is all part of The Old Reliable 10K that I had run just a few weeks ago.  The course roughly corresponded with miles 3 and 5 of that race.  Unfortunately, I really did like this portion of the course.  I wasn't bad for the first mile but I knew that the 2nd mile just wasn't going to be the type place for me to pick up a lot of time.

By the start of the second mile I was running alright, but I could tell I was not running as strong as I had been running over the last few weeks.  I was feeling a little frustrated but was able to stay focused.  My Garmin was telling me that I was close to the pace that I wanted to be at, and I knew the only thing close to a hill was coming up just before the the turn around.  The hill was no real problem and by that point I wasn't having to side step people any longer.  Just after the hill, we reached the water.  I grabbed a cup but just swished it a round and headed toward the turn.  Once I made the turn, I knew that I needed to pick up the pace if I wanted to have any chance at coming near my PR.  At the down, I picked it up some, but I still wasn't hitting my stride the way I wanted. 

The third mile was kind of a small mental battle that the Garmin really helped me win.  I was starting to feel like I wasn't running that well.  And was getting down on myself a bit, but after sneaking a few peaks at the Garmin, I could see that I was till close to the pace that I wanted.  So about mid way into mile three, I picked up my pace a little and started running within inches of the way I had hoped to run.  I was caught a little because I knew that I was off my pace, but still need to save a bit for my push toward the finish.  As I got to the three mile mark, I opened it up and made a dash for the finish.  I was able to leg it out, but I could see that I wasn't going to make my PR. 

 In the end, I was off by 14 seconds, but I was happy with the way I had run this race considering, I felt like I was more managing the course and my body.  This was a day that could have gone south in any number of ways, but I was able to keep things afloat and turn in a time and effort that I was satisfied with.  It also helped to know that I would only have to wait a week for my next opportunity to do better.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Don't Just Walk Home . . . Run . . . or try to anyway: December 3rd, Friday.

How to characterize this week of running?  Hit or miss . . . and mainly miss.  First two runs were crappy, the third one was awesome, and the fourth was back to crappy.  My pesky left quad got real cranky during this run, and just got worse and worse after the run.  I was going to run in a race on Saturday, and since my legs had been acting up all week I figured that I should do a light run on Friday rather than giving them the day off and letting everything tighten up.  Saturday morning was suppose to be cold, so I just thought that it would be better to keep myself in a running rhythm.  After  finished work, I drove my car to Hiroko's work and ran home.  I made it into a 1.75 mile run and finished in 16:17, which is almost exactly the same pace as Wednesday's crappy run.   In fact, this run felt exactly like the same.  I am fairly certain that these leg issues are do to a lack of cross training, and I have to go back to the gym.  I have another race this Saturday, which will be my last race of 2010.  Afterwards, I plan of balancing out my training more.  The best thing that can be said about this race is that it gave me a good idea of what to expect from my leg on Saturday, and I got to use my Garmin.  Other than that, it was forgettable: traffic was bad, the air was cold, and I felt out of sorts. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

New Balance event at Fleet Feet: Thusday 12/2

One way to get a a big turn out to just about anything . . . Free Beer!  And that is just what last nights Fleet Feet Social Run had to offer.  Fleet Feet, New Balance, and Tir Na nOg Run Club had a cool event that featured some sweet discounts, a raffle, and a lot of other cool stuff, and I would say that somewhere around fifty runners showed up for last nights run, which was just awesome.  I did the same 3 mile course that I had done the night before and rocked it. 

However, I am still trying to get the hang of my new Garmin and did not turn it on properly!  D'OH!   Oh well, it was just nice to turn in a good run after back to back craptastic runs.  I am not sure what to think about the race this weekend.  It will be the first 5k in a while, so we'll see.  Anyway, this was a great run and a good time, and I would like to give a shout out to everyone, who had a hand in planning it . . . Great Job!

First Garmin Run: Dec 1st

Yep, broke down and bought a Garmin.  I took my first run with it last night, and the Garmin was great, but the run was crappy.  It was really cold and my legs felt stiff the whole way.  In fact, they had been sore all day.  It was my second crappy run in a row.  I did 3.26 miles in 30:12.54.  I am still trying to figure all of the gamin stuff out, but from what I can make of it, this thing is going to be awesome!  I ran part of the course from the Turkey Trot because it doesn't have a lot of hills, and I didn't want to work my heel too much.  It was still a bit sore from the Treadmill run on Tuesday. 

I bought the older 205 because it was dirt cheap and was all I really needed.
Running with the Garmin is going to take a little getting used to because I could tell that I was trying to push it just for the sake of the Garmin.   I guess that I was attempting to impress the G-man, but I don't think that the little guy is impressed all that easily, so I need to knock that off and just run naturally. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Treadmill Run: Tuesday 11/30

Treadmills were fun for me at one time.  However, now that I am have started running outside, joined running clubs, and found trails that I love to run, the treadmill has become almost like a punishment to me.  Yesterday, I went to the Y for the first time in some time and ran on a treadmill.   To say that I hated it, would be an understatement.  I ran for 30 minutes and did not run particularly well . . . Maybe Thanksgiving eating has caught up with me.  I did about 3 miles and got a good sweat, but it was a real slog fest over the last 15 minutes, and I felt bored out of my mind.  Also, there weren't any inclines or declines to have to adjust for, which is one way that I keep my mind occupied.  After the run, my left heel got kind of cranky, which hadn't happened in a long time.  However after looking over my blog, I noticed that I said something similar after running on the treadmill one of the last times that I ran on it, so I think this is a sign that I should just avoid the treadmill.