Week 19, I only got one run in – a 3.5-miler to the post office and back:
I stopped my timer while I was actually in the post office (marked by that spike on the green pace line). Considering I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself the first mile, since I was carrying an 8×11 inflexible envelope, I was surprised to see my sub-eight-minute time. Even with my third mile slowdown, this was a good run.
I didn’t have a chance to run on Sunday the 12th, but I had enough of a mileage cushion for the year that I wasn’t too worried about it.
Week Twenty, then, I thought I’d throw an extra run in early Friday morning, since the weather was good, and I wanted to make up for the previous one-run week.
Four miles, out and back. Best time for that distance this year, and I did mile four quicker than mile one, even having to climb the hill that benefits me so much at the end of the first mile. Felt good about this one.
Saturday, then, I did the four mile round-the-block loop:
I don’t know if it was the work from Friday’s run, or the fact that I’d only run a day the week before, but despite a good start and finish, miles two and three felt really difficult, so I just kind of focused on enjoying the weather and the run itself.
Later, while I was getting ready to do some yard work, I felt a lightning shot of pain in my lower back. It’s happened from time to time since an injury a couple summers ago. I took it easy the rest of the day and hoped I’d still be able to run Sunday, but I woke up the next morning still sore.
May 20 is the 140th day of the year, so at 140.7 miles, I’m still just ahead of my mile-per-day goal.
Weather-wise, what a fantastic weekend for running: a little bit on the windy side (at least in the mornings), but clear and sunny and warm.
Interesting to look at the numbers, since I ran the exact same 3.5-mile route in opposite directions on Saturday and Sunday.
So, here’s Saturday’s run:
My best average pace of the year for this loop, and the first time I’ve cracked the 30-minute mark on it. And this surprises me a bit, because I ran this one in the direction that puts a big climb 2.5 miles in, but that green pace line is pretty steady most of the way, until I tried for a bit of boost at the end.
Now here’s Sunday:
This time, I ran down that hill (and into a steady headwind) at the end of my first mile – and it looks like I had a much tougher time keeping a steady pace – again, until the last half-mile push. I never felt like my speed was varying that much, which is a bit weird, but there it is. And overall, I came in a second slower than the day before, but still better than any other 2013 trip around this loop.
Because I’m not running four days a week like I do when I’m preparing for a race, I’ve really felt like it’s been a struggle to improve my pace, but this weekend reminded me that I have also been varying my courses, so I don’t always have an apples-to-apples comparison. I’ve run this loop more than a dozen times, though, and looking back, I’m finishing about 47 seconds faster than I did back in January, so I guess that counts for something.
Also: 129.2 miles for the year.
I didn’t actually miss a week running – just last week’s post about it. So, first: Sunday, April 21 -
I really just needed to go for a long run and unwind, which worked out well, since I had skipped Saturday due to some things needing done and a Jurassic Park that needed seeing on the big screen. And since I’ve done the seven-mile loop a couple times this year, I got it in my head to do an eight-miler down into North Canton. The route breaks up nicely and has some climbs that give my lungs a bit of work even when I’m not going for speed.
All I wanted to do was keep my legs moving and enjoy the sunny, slightly breezy day. It was cool enough to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and I wore my hat for about half the time, when I was running into the wind.
Kept a pretty steady pace, though I clearly got slower as I went along. My legs hit the jellypoint (a running term I just made up!) in miles six and seven, and I was really slogging at a couple points down the stretch, but I never stopped, and my lungs felt fine.
Finish line brought me to just over 115 miles on the year.
Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28 -
Saturday was just gorgeous: A nearly cloudless sky, temperature in the mid-50s, and just enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable. I opted for a four-mile out-and-back, and went for a bit of speed in the first mile, managing just under eight minutes. I was hoping to do the same for mile two, but I hit a bit of a wall, and I decided to slow up on the way home.
I got out Sunday morning before the rain and was rewarded with overcast, cooler, and extremely pleasant conditions, so all I did was enjoy a steady three-mile run.
For the year: 122.2 miles.
Saturday, April 13 was a chilly, windy, and gray 50-degree day that felt more like winter’s onset than three weeks into spring. I set out intending to do 3.5 miles, but about a mile-and-a-half in, I decided to extend my run to an even four.
Not a great run: At the end off the first mile, I had already run through a stitch, and felt like I had worked awfully hard just to hit that 8:28 mark. Lots of wind in miles two and three, and I had to push at the end just to barely get my overall pace back under nine minutes. Still, kind of like writing, even when running is tough, I always feel good about having done it.
Sunday was completely different. Sunny and 60-something, and warm enough for shorts, even with the breeze. I only had three miles to tackle, so I set out at a brisk pace, and let myself really go down the final hill of the first mile so I could finish it in under eight minutes. After recovering from that, I just tried not to lose too much time in the second mile, and when I was at an 8:11 pace after 2.5 miles, I thought maybe I could knock off those 11 seconds with a hard charge. Didn’t happen. And I’ll admit I was disappointed.
… and then, when I got home and looked at my stats, I realized that I’d just done my best 3-miler of the year by far. Still not near my best time ever (somewhere in the low seven minutes) for that distance, but enough to brighten the finish.
Year to date: 106.8 miles.
No weekday runs, and another busy Saturday led to another all-the-miles-on-Sunday week.
And it was gorgeous: Close to 60 degrees and with a strong breeze from the south-southwest that pushed me for most of my outbound trip, and became a difficult headwind for much of the second half.
After last week, I wanted to get the route done in something closer to my usual running pace, so I took each mile by itself and built my goals as I went along.
So, for the first mile, I shot for below eight-and-a-half, took full advantage of the big downhill at the end, and then assessed: Slow up just a bit, check the lungs, check the legs, everything’s cool, so let’s settle in. I was feeling good enough that I thought, “OK, let’s see if we can keep the overall pace under nine minutes for the first three miles.”
The next couple miles were really enjoyable. Sun over the fields to the east, wind at my back, not unpleasant spring smells – thawing swamps, manure on the farms, the occasional whiff of skunk – on the air. The breeze was steady and strong and played with things along the way: Power lines thrummed, sticks and leaves clicked and skittered across the pavement, street signs flexed and bowed and clanged against their poles.
Three miles in, I was averaging 8:47, and thinking that even with the run into the wind yet to come, and the inevitable late-mile slowdown, I could maybe - maybe - do this trip in a 9-minute average.
And then I had to turn back south. The wind was steadier and stronger than I’d anticipated, but at least it wasn’t cold. Still, I really had to put some extra effort into my strides to keep from slowing down too much, and miles five and six were tough. Breathing-wise, I felt fine, but my legs were starting to tire.
Starting mile seven, I saw my overall average was 9:06. It’s one thing to push the final mile hard and knock 10 or 15 seconds off my average when I’m doing a three- or four-mile run, but it’s tougher to do the same thing at the end of a seven-miler, for both physical and mathematical reasons. And this route is the one that finishes with a difficult climb in the first half of the final mile.
I really wanted to get rid of those six seconds, though, and since I’d given my lungs a break last week, I figured they could handle a challenge on a nice morning like this.
You could hardly call what I did to get up that hill “charging,” but I did keep my pace up enough that I only added one second to my overall average, leaving me just over half a mile to erase seven seconds and hit a nine-minute pace.
I finished with an average of 8:58, and felt really good about the work it took to do so. I was below a seven-minute pace for most of that last half-mile, and as a result, I ran mile seven three seconds faster than mile one.
Year-to-date: 99.8 miles in 97 days.
No weekday runs this week, and I spent most of Saturday’s prime running hours enjoying International TableTop Day with friends, so…
Sunday I decided to go for my first non-stop seven-mile run in I don’t know how long. Since I was planning on going past five miles, I put on my running belt and took some water along. And not stopping to walk was my only goal: This one was all about the legs, not the lungs, so I deliberately kept my pace slow from the start.
I was a bit concerned about a mile-and-three-quarters in, when my ankles and calves started to hurt. They’ve never caused me trouble before, and I figure this was my reminder that even short runs during the week really do wonders for keeping my legs and lungs in shape. I definitely felt the six days off. The pain subsided for the next few miles, and didn’t return until miles 4-7, which I had pretty much expected anyway.
It was overcast and about 50 degrees, with a bit of a breeze that I really didn’t notice until it became a headwind for most of the homeward-bound part of the loop, and in miles 4-6, between that and my now-for-real-sore legs, my pace climbed past the 10-minute mark. Like I said, though: I was keeping my lungs comfortable, and breathing-wise, I felt really good.
I got things back down to 9:23 for the final mile, which includes a tough climb, and managed a decent push over the final half mile to finish with an overall pace of 9:43. An ugly time, sure, but that wasn’t my goal today. Today, it was enough just to keep running.
92.8 miles for the year, 90 days in.
Changed things up a bit this week.
I took a work trip to Louisville for the Mid-America Trucking Show, and since I didn’t have to work a morning commute into my schedule, I decided to use the hotel’s workout room to put in a couple treadmill miles.
Yes, as a rule, I dislike treadmill running, and if I’d packed more than shorts and a short-sleeved shirt for running, or if it had been warmer than sub-freezing, I would have given more consideration to going outside. At any rate, the hotel’s equipment and exercise room were nice, and I was the only one in there, so after warming up for one mile, I bumped up the speed on the second mile and finished in 16:30 for a pace of 8:15.
Saturday afternoon, back at home, I did my 3.5-mile loop:
It was sunny and above freezing, but still windy and on the chilly side, and that third mile wore on me a bit, but sticking to a sub-nine-minute average didn’t feel like too much effort.
Sunday was gray and cold, and I didn’t feel much like running, but thanks to my treadmill miles, I only needed to do 1.5 more to reach my seven-mile goal for the week. I decided to do two and push my pace:
I don’t think I’ve run consecutive sub-eight minute miles since my last training day before the Canton Marathon, and although I don’t feel like I could have done another mile at that speed, I felt really good about the run and recovered pretty quickly.
Total days/miles for the year: 84 days, 85.8 miles.
A weekend like this one is exactly why I’ve been trying to bank a few extra miles here and there. Between medical appointments and a multi-person family birthday celebration on Saturday, I couldn’t find the time to run.
Not too bad: It’s the old four-mile loop with a second-half detour thrown in, and miles two and three were the most difficult, as they always are on this particular run. Because I was adding distance, I wasn’t really pushing for time until the last mile, so I was happy to see that even my worst mile was still less than 9:30. And since I did walk-run training for the Canton Marathon (90-second walk breaks every five miles), it had been even longer since I’d run five miles and pushed full-bore over the last half-mile, which I did this week. Finished with an 8:52 overall pace, and felt good about it.
I’m traveling this week for work, and I’m throwing in my running shoes. It may only be treadmill time, since my days will be packed, but it would be nice to get in a few weekday miles during the downtime.
So, year-to-date, I’m at 78.5 miles, 77 days in. Still on target.
What a fantastic weekend for running. Saturday – first run of the year without a sweatshirt. Sunny and 60F:
That spike about halfway through? I slowed down to drop letters at the post office.
Sunday – more overcast, but pushing 70F! – first run of the year in shorts:
Really happy with the way this one turned out, with no miles above the nine-minute mark.
The no-extra-charge life lesson with today’s run came when the warm breeze from the southwest – which I ran against on the outbound leg, figuring I’d have it at my back for the home stretch – shifted just enough that I was running into it again during my last eastbound mile. Lesson: No matter how much route planning you do, you can’t keep the wind from changing direction.
So 69 days into the year, I’m actually more ahead of my mileage goal than I thought: I just realized that my YTD mileage as tracked by Turtle Sport is going to be just over 1.8 miles short, because my Garmin battery died less just over a mile into the March 1 In Like A Lion Run. Correct total for the year: 73.5 miles.
Broke the Saturday/Sunday pattern this week, and had a blast doing it.
Thursday night after work, I headed to Sagamore Hills for my fifth “In Like a Lion” run. When it came time to opt for a name on my racing number, I opted for “Dillweed.” And it made me (and others who are similarly amused) laugh. Again.
This year? An amazing and inspiring TWENTY-FIVE person field! So big that Keith arranged for us all to meet up at Namaste Yoga Studio beforehand for pre-run organization. Jolynn, the owner, guided everyone through some runner’s yoga stretches and put on a nice selection of 80′s hair metal. (Yeah, that’s right: It’s closing on midnight, and we had Bon Jovi, yoga, and a cooler full of two dozen McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes. So cool.)
It was 20 degrees and snowing lightly when we got to the starting/finishing point, dark and quiet out in the valley. We did a 5k, out and back along the path.
I don’t push too hard during ILaL – it’s a run, not a race – but I do like to work a bit, so I settled in to a pace of around 9 minutes a mile. On the way back, there was a mini snow squall that actually cut visibility to probably 20-30 feet for a few moments.
I finished up at 27:45, but that’s as precise as I can get, because my Garmin hadn’t fully charged, and it conked out just over a mile in.
By the time we all got back to the finish line, our shakes were approaching frozen solid. They were still delicious.
When the weekend arrived, I thought about sticking with my Saturday/Sunday afternoon schedule to get a few extra miles in this week, but Saturday turned out to be too busy. I got up Sunday morning and did a four-mile out-and-back in a light wind and pleasant, big-flake snow.
Pretty steady pacing. I did it slower than last week, but still kept things under the nine-minute mark, and it was an enjoyable run.
So, March begins, and 62 days into 2013, I’m still a couple miles ahead of my goal: