Friday, February 29, 2008

1.5 Days till the 1/2

About a day and a half till the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon and Marathon. I have my goals and expectations set, not really sure how it will turn out. Last year was my first ever 1/2 Marathon and I ran a 2:28. This year I would really like to run between 2:12 and 2:15 which I think is realistic. A 2:18 would be my bottom number. I'll be highly disappointed if I get anything below that. I am not too worried about this one as much as I was last year. Once you have done a full marathon, a 1/2 is more like a fun run which I hope this one will be.

You just never know till race day how things will turn out, especially for marathons and half marathons. Sunday, race day is calling for warmer weather than what we have been training in. Right now, 8am race start will have temperatures of about 53 degrees which will be nice. Humidity may be a little higher than normal. For the full marathoners temps will get into the upper 60's to near 70. Not so good. Not being accustomed to warm weather running will hurt some times. We might get lucky in the 1/2 but it looks like shorts and short sleeve tech shirt weather for sure.

Speaking of weather, last night I ran 4 miles in Magness Creek and it was HOT. The temp was about 62 degrees at 6pm and I'll have to say this was probably one of the worst runs I have done in a while. I don't know if it was the temperatures or just the fact my legs were tired and I was running alone. In either case, I had to push myself just to get my 4 miles in. My left foot was hurting me some which I probably should have taped it and I didn't. Come race day I will be taking all the proper precautions. I really don't know how I ended up with the times I had last night as I walked probably two times in each mile after the first one. I just felt sluggish and really couldn't push it. Here are my times:
Total miles - 4.0
Time - 42:41
Avg. Pace - 10:40

Wednesday night I ran with Annette, Brenda and Michelle in Blooming Ridge. They all wanted a slow easy run. I usually laugh when they say this because it never happens. Or maybe their slow and mine are different. Either way we had a great run. I did feel good on this one and ended up with 5.1 miles. I did a few fartleks during this run, i'd let the girls get ahead and then I would run hard to catch up. I did this right before mile 5 and almost wiped out when a car blinded me and I ran up on the curb. I was really having fun with this at that time, probably running a low 7 pace catching up to the girls. The great thing about this run was there was little or no wind. Temps were in the upper 40's so it was nice. We have run in bad wind so much lately it just wears you down after a while. I would love to run this same pace through the half Sunday. Here are my times:
Total Miles - 5.1
Avg. Pace - 10:01

I love the fact that mile 5 was the fastest mile.

Tomorrow we will be going to watch the "Little Rockers" kids do their final mile of their marathon in Little Rock. Then a bunch of us are going to the Expo and then out for some carb loading at Corino's. It's going to be a weekend full of running activities it looks like.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Wish I had more of it. Maybe I'll get some of it one of these days.

Our 1 mile timed mile was canceled last night due to a couple factors. 1) There was a soccer game going on at the High School so we couldn't use the track and most of all 2) The wind was blowing about 30 MPH. With the high winds and cold temps Coach Dennis decided that it would be best not to even attempt our timed mile even though we did have an alternate route behind the community center. Instead we did a warm up and some fartleks for speed work. I really felt I cut my workout short but thats ok, I am suppose to be tapering for the 1/2 Sunday anyway. I still ended up with 2.34 miles with an average pace of 9:33, but that included the fartleks, which are basically timed intervals.

This is what excess speed can do. Other contributing factors could have been a distraction, cell phone, who knows. I was command at this wreck Sunday afternoon. Luckily only minor injuries. Could have been much worse. This person was very lucky today. Cars and telephone poles can be replaced.

Be safe out there people. Pay attention and wear your seat belt. And of course, don't speed unless your running.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What Hills?

Yesterday Annette and I met with some of the Cruisers at South Side Elementary for our long run. My original goal was to run 12-13 miles. We had a pretty good group when we arrived. Brenda, Cindy, Lisa, Michelle, Bailey, Joan, Annette and I. Joan only wanted a slow 6 and picked what I call the Mt Tabor Loop or some call it the Big Loop. We started at the school, headed south on Hwy 89 to Mt Tabor. Then took Mt Tabor to Dogwood. Dogwood over to Mt Carmel/321 and back to the school. This is right at 7 miles so we figured we could add on to get our mileage afterwards.

Brenda, Cindy, and Lisa took off fairly fast and the rest of us sort of hung back and ran with Joan for a while. Joan is very fast in races but likes to do most of her long runs at a much slower pace which was nice today. Our first mile was an 11:06, much slower than I intended but very comfortable. About 1.5 we turned on to Mt Tabor and by about 2 we started hitting the bigger hills. Bailey hung with Joan and I ran ahead for a while with Michelle with Annette alternating between groups. It wasn't long before Annette and Michelle were ahead of me. We were still trying not to push the pace that much but I could really feel the hills today. I was thinking that Saturdays speed work helped add to this.

Let me tell you, Mt Carmel/Hwy 321 has some hills on it. This whole route is hilly. When you get done running on this route you dread seeing another hill. Here is what the elevations look like on this run:

When you hit about the 4.5 mile mark, all you can see is the last hill looming down the road. You have a somewhat downhill section but then just past mile 6 its one last hard uphill. This one may not look so bad on the chart but let me tell you, it is. I have biked it several times also and I could walk up it faster than I can pedal up it. It is steep. We have nicknamed this one Heart Break Hill because its just tough, especially when its at the end of a 17-20 mile run. Been there done that!

I tried to capture the steepness of this little monster in this photo but it really doesn't show it. It's still way up the road there. Thats Annette and Michelle out in the middle of the road.

Michelle has had IT problems so she tries not to run on the shoulder that much so everyone was constantly yelling when cars were coming so she would get out of the road.

Just before the school we saw Brenda and Cindy coming back to run everyone in. Then a little dog ran across the road and started following me. I couldn't get rid of it. Annette, Bailey and Michelle headed for the bathroom while I waited in the parking lot at the school to finish our run. I had finally gotten rid of the dog but it followed Bailey to the parking lot when they came out of the store. Brenda looked at the dog and determined that it had to belong to someone so she took it upon herself to go find the owner. I told her it had to come from one of the houses just across from the Church. So she loaded the dog up in her car and went to find its home. Latter we saw her and she said it was one of the houses across from the church and the owner was very happy to see their dog again.

When Annette and Michelle got back we took off to finish our run. Everyone was complaining about their legs. By this time we had more or less settled on doing 10-11 miles. We sort of made up a route as we went, crossing over to Deitrich. Before we got to the end Annette was not feeling it. She turned around and said she was done. Michelle decided she would run back to her house and Annette was going to drive her car there so Bailey and I kept running. I was not feeling it either at this point. My upper legs were hurting and I know it was all those dang hills. We also did 8 miles of hills on Wednesday night so it all made sense. I think the extended break in the parking lot cooled my muscles down because after about a mile I was feeling better. It might have been my Apple Hammer Gel too.

Bailey and I ended up running down by the Jr High and Middle School. By the time we got back to our parking lot we were just under 10 and got the final .1 in the parking lot. I wish I had done more but the hills had to be worth some extra mileage. I know they were a good workout thats for sure. The Little Rock Marathon's motto is "what hills?" Well, today we had hills. And Cabot has some hills that would compete with anything in the Little Rock Marathon. They may not be as long but some of them are straight up. It is good training and in my head, it will make me stronger and faster for running them. The crazy thing is now that some of us have learned the proper way to run hills, we sometimes run faster uphill than in the flats. Now thats weird! I think its the fact we just want to get them over with.

Here were my slow, hilly times from Sundays run:
Total Miles - 10.04
Time- 1:49:29
Avg pace - 10:54
1361 calories

Next up - 1 mile time trial on Tuesday night.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Running With The One You Love

This is funny....Annette and I have not gotten this bad yet:)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tempo Saturday

Today was an easy day. I was lazy this morning and didn't run with any of the groups as they were all doing more than what I needed and I knew tomorrow was my long run. Annette ran with Cheryl and some of the other girls on the last run of the Little Rock Marathon Training Group. I think they just did 6 miles. They were done pretty early and I got a call from Annette to meet everyone at the Daily Grind for coffee. Most of the Cabot runners ran 13 miles from the school so a bunch of them were there. I had some great coffee and a breakfast burrito. It ws good seeing everyone even though I didn't run with either group this morning but there were a couple other husbands there that didn't either so the joke was that the men were slacking. Yep, they are probably right.

I had pretty much decided to just run about 3 miles today so tomorrow I could do 10-13 and get my mileage for the week. I dug out the Ipod because I needed all the motivation I could get. I wasn't really feeling it but I wanted to feel it. It was pretty cool, about 42 degrees so I opted for a long sleeve tech shirt and running shorts. I cracked the Ipod up and took off. It was a very cool afternoon and there was a pretty good breeze going. I was going to run my 5k route, Fred's and back as I call it. Fairly flat, with only a couple very small inclines.

I really didn't set a purpose for this run other than just to get the miles so I was thinking run a 10:00-10:25 pace. Before I knew it I was in the low 9's and feeling good. So, the plan changed. I decided then that I'd try to make it a tempo run and see if I could hold my lactate threshold pace. When I got to Freds and the turn around point I was just over 1.5 miles. I had to walk across the street because of traffic but that was it, I was off and running. On the way back I hit a head wind. It must have been about a 15mph wind, just enough to try to slow me down but I wasn't going to let it. I wanted to maintain about a 9:40 pace. This would hurt me some but thats ok.

Before I knew it I was sprinting the last .1 past my house. I don't think I have ever ran this route this fast, not that it was fast at all, but in training runs I am usually not fast at all. It was a great run though, seemed like it was over before it got started which is not bad for a Saturday afternoon. Here is my times:

Total miles- 3.11
time - 30:22 (no, this is not my normal race time which is much faster)
Avg. Pace - 9:47

Bring on the long run tomorrow!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Little Rock Half 8 Days Away

The Little Rock 1/2 Marathon is 8 days away. This time last year I was a nervous wreck. I had never even run 13.1 miles in my life and I was going to attempt it? Was I crazy? My longest training run last year at this time was probably 10.5 miles. I did race the 15k and had a couple other a little over 9 miles. I can still remember when I hit the 11 mile mark and I thought, I have never been here before. I have no idea whats going to happen. Will I die? Can I make it to the finish? Will my legs give out before hand?

Well, lucky for me I did finish, and at the time it was pretty tiring, about the same feeling I had when I finished my full marathon at Tulsa in November other than I could walk better. Last year I ran a 2:28. This year I have some goals but I really don't know what I will run. I'm thinking a 2:15 is my worst scenario but even though its just a 1/2, you never know what will happen on race day or how you will feel. This one could be a surprise to me if I do as good as I did at the 15k last weekend.

Annette and I just got back from eating at Olive Garden so now all I can think about is those 4 or 5 pounds I wish I didn't have slowing me down. If I could lose 10 I could be really fast maybe. But I really don't have the good willpower to diet. I can burn it off though, if it was only summer I would be 5 pounds lighter because I'd be sweating more.

I did a 2 mile tempo run last night on the treadmill and tomorrow I really don't need but 3 or 4 miles if that. Sunday we are planning on 12-13 and the weather is looking great for it right now. That means tomorrow I can run pretty much whenever I want. No early run for me:)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Windy Wednesday Run

Tonight I ran Blooming Ridge and Krooked Creek with Annette, Brenda, Michelle and Robert. The temperature was really not that bad at our 6pm start time, about 48 degrees but the wind was really starting to pick up which made it seem colder. We didn't realize how windy it was until we would turn towards the north east. When we were running west there would be no wind and it would almost be hot but as soon as we turned the other way we were blasted with 20mph winds. Not only were we running into the wind but we were also usually running uphill when going in that direction.

I missed the clinic last night so Annette, Brenda and Robert were coming off of hill repeats. I'm sure this was not much fun for them. We basically run up and down the streets in the Blooming Ridge subdivision taking in every street. This is usually good for 4-5 miles. Often times when I was running into the wind and uphill I would actually pick up speed. I'm not sure if it was the wanting to get it over or the fact that the wind was pushing more oxygen into my body. Either way it worked.

Since we start at Michelle's house, our goal was to have 6 miles complete when we get back to her house. Then we were going to do two more. I won't go into all the details, pretty much just up and down hills and streets till we hit six. After we got back to Michelle's house we all got a quick drink and was off again. I sort of got left behind because I was downing some sport beans and before I could get my water open they were all gone. But it wasn't no big deal, I just ran a little harder and caught up to them. We made one big out and back through Krooked Creek and when I got back to Michelle's I hit 8 miles exactly.

It was nice to get a semi long run in the middle of the week. Since this was my first run since Sunday I needed the miles. And I'll have to say, running with these guys on this route makes me a better and much stronger runner. I was very happy with tonights run considering the terrain and weather.

Here were my splits:
Total miles - 8.01
Time - 1:23:41
Average Pace - 10:27

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Breaking Free from Negative Thoughts

I think all runners experience this. Your brain telling you to stop, sending you the negative messages of why you should stop. I know I get these. Sometimes you just have to break free and when you do it's a great feeling.

This is a great little video even though it is a Nike ad.

Break free and run!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Photos from the 15K

Here are a few photos from the 15k. After the race everyone attended an awards ceremony which also included awards from the 2007 Grand Prix season. Vicki, our last years club president was inducted into the Arkansas Runners Hall of Fame. It was a well earned award for her as she has helped so many people in the local running community. Needless to say, after everything today I am pumped. Most of these pictures were taken by Marianne but I wanted to share as they are pretty good.

My super fast wife Annette and I. We both set new PR's today.

Fast girls - Cindy, Lisa, Brenda, Marianne. All won awards today, Lisa was 5th overall female.

Curtis, Marianne and me. Marianne finished Ironman Louisville last year and is training for Coeur de Lane, Idaho. She was first in her age group today.

Brenda, Cindy, Gary and Lisa posing for the camera

Curtis just moved into my age group this year but I'll have a hard time catching him

Me and Michelle

Bailey, her first race EVER

Joan and Vicki - these ladies lead the Cruisers and now both are Arkansas Runner Hall of Famers!

Cruisers before the race

Annette won 1st place in her age group and set an awesome new PR

Bailey, first race and 2nd place in her age group. What a way to start!

Group of winners here. Where else could one guy get his picture taken with 11 women!
Note Vicki in the center with her Hall of Fame award.

I Found My Mojo at the River Trail 15K

Today was the big day. My first race of the season and it was a 15k (9.3 miles) at the River Trail. I had been watching the weather closely for the past two days as the forecast was calling for about a 90% chance of rain. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to running 9.3 miles in the rain and cold. But, since the weather in Arkansas is so unpredictable, I knew that I couldn't depend on the weather men and would have to wait till early morning to see what the day would bring.

I set my alarm at 5:30am and was up shortly after. Did my regular routine, coffee, supplements and pop tarts for race food. Well, thats probably not the best race food but that was all I had so it had to do. I figured I would be ok since I had not run for two days and had eaten pretty good so I knew I would have some glycogen stored up for the long run.

After I checked the weather, it looked like it was 39 degrees with mist at the race site. We met Michelle at Team 1 at 7am so that she could follow us to the race. As we were driving through Jacksonville and North Little Rock it started raining pretty good. I told Annette that this was going to be fun today. She kept telling me to think positive. So I did, I was thinking maybe only a few people will show up and all those fast old guys in my age group will stay in bed. Well, when we turned into the soccer fields at burns park, all I could see was cars. The parking lot was almost full. So much for no one showing up. Luckily it was not raining but there was a slight mist in the air.

Early on I decided to wear shorts, a long sleeve under armour tech shirt and my Cabot Cruisers race singlet along with a nike hat. I had run off and forgot my gloves but luckily Annette had some extras. I had a choice of pink or red, so I took the red of course. I really didn't care if it looked weird or not as long as they helped. I got our packets while Annette went to the bathroom then we sat in the car for a few minutes before joining up with the other Cruisers for a quick warm up. Wasn't much since we had a long run but this let us see how our clothing would feel. I felt like I had the perfect combo today. I wasn't going to get too hot and hopefully would not be too cold. I might be in trouble if it started pouring down rain but that was something I had no control over.

The race started and we were off. Annette, Michelle, Bailey and I were in the middle of the pack. As with most races, everyone starts off way too fast. I felt really good. I had wrapped my left foot and heel so it was feeling great. The cool moist air was almost refreshing. There was a slight mist but it was more like a think fog I guess. Not enough to really get you wet but enough that you feel it. After about a 1/4 mile I was leading the girls. I had been kidding them about not going out too fast and guess who was leading the way, me! We wanted to stay around a 10 minute pace starting out but that wasn't happening. At times during the first mile I'd look down and we were running a 9:13 pace. Slow down I thought. I wasn't too concerned because my plan was to walk the water stops and there should be one at mile 2 like it was last year. Well, I got disappointed. When we got to where the water stop was last year there was none. So I ran on. It was about here that Annette, Michelle and Bailey passed me. I knew I couldn't hang with them if they were pushing it and I knew they would be. I kept looking for that water stop but it never came. When I got to the boat ramp I thought it might be there but no water stop. Since I was pushing way under 10 minute miles, I needed a quick break and took one walking across the wooden bridge.

I would watch my garmin and I kept seeing that I was holding under a 10 minute pace. Last year I ran this race in 1:45:00 with an 11:17 average pace so I had in my head that I would be happy if I just did a 10:30 pace. As I kept running, I was staying in the 9's so I kept challenging myself to stay under a 10 minute pace. I'll have to say that at times it wasn't easy but I was hanging in there. Finally just before mile 4 there was a water station so I walked it and drank about half a cup. They really should have had one more water stop on this course so it kind of screwed up my race strategy some but you never know how things will be on race day anyway. I probably should have brought my own. Note to self, always bring your own water on long runs including races.

I kept pushing. I kept setting new goals for myself for each mile. My average pace at this point was about 9:50 so I tried to push to stay under 10. This was an out and back course so at about 4.6 was the turn around or actually we turned on to another trail that came back to the original one. I hit mile 5, still holding under 10. I planned to do my hammer gel at the water stop so I knew this would cost me some time but I would need that push to make it in. When I saw the water stop I really picked up the pace to make up some time. When I got there the guy handed me their LAST cup of water! Even more reason to bring your own. I walked fast, drank, did my gel and took off again.

The 6 mile mark wasn't far and again I was shooting for under 10. I think I made it or was real close. There had been one girl that I would pass and then when I took a quick break she would pass me. This had gone on for about two or three miles. I took my last quick walk break at 10k (6.2m) and she passed me. That would be the last time though. After 30 seconds catching my breath I took off and pushed the next mile hard. I knew there was a downhill coming and hills are my friend, either up or down! Mile 7 was 9:56. I figured out that when I was slowing down, if I would concentrate on increasing my stride more, my speed would jump right back up and it did. This was probably the most enlightening thing about todays run. I knew this but had never really put it in practice or seen the effects. I was starting to tire some. My legs wanted to stiffen up but I would just concentrate on stretching them out more. When I started slowing too much and feeling tired I'd take a 20 - 30 second walk to get my heart rate down and take off again. This did not seem to affect my average pace at all and it made me feel so much better. It was about mile 7 or so that I started changing my goals some. I figured last year I did this in an 11:17 pace so my goal would be a 10:17 pace. This gave me a little breathing room and I slowed down a little. My average still was staying just a little over 10 so then i'd think about if I could hold this till the end. Mile 9 was a welcome sight and I had my PR in the bag and then some. I was feeling pretty happy at this point but I was ready to get it over with. With about .2 left I took one last 20 second walk break and then it was almost a sprint all the way in. When I first could see the clock I think it said something like 1:30+ on it. New goal, beat 1:35:00. That would be a 10 minute PR from last year. With that goal in mind I finished my sprint to the finish line. 1:33:58! Wow, a 12 minute PR from last year. I was pretty happy! My garmin said average pace 10:03.

All I can say is wow. I really didn't expect this. It's not a great time but for me it is. Especially considering my longest run since November was last Sunday's 10 miler. Even better, this felt good. As I was running I would often visualize elite runners and their form. Then I would try to duplicate it. Well, I'm not elite but I think the visualization helped me. Plus just the fact that this is a race and you are here to give it everything you have. The competition is good and helps push one even more. Setting goals and hitting them makes it even sweeter. There is another secret. Just wearing a Cabot Country Cruisers singlet makes me want to push harder as I am part of an awesome team and hope that I can contribute at least a little.

Bring on the Little Rock Half Marathon. Another PR awaits me there! I had really thought I had lost my mojo but today it came back.

By the way, Annette won 1st place in her age group, Bailey won I think second in hers and this was her first race EVER. The other girls in the club also mopped up on awards. Lisa F. finished 5th place female overall. All I can say is guys, if you run with these girls you better be fast!

Here are my stats for today, slow in comparison to some of the Grand Prix Runners but still a PR for me. I'll post more later about the Grand Prix awards.

Total miles - 9.35
Time - 1:33:59
Avg. Pace - 10:03 (10:06 official as I had .05 more in milege)
best 6:05
1266 calories

Friday, February 15, 2008

Saturday is Race Day

Thats right. My first official race of the season. Tomorrow I will be running in the River Trail 15K which is part of the ARRCA Grand Prix Series. I'm wondering if I am nuts for even attempting this. This was my second race last year and I finished it in 1:45:07 with an 11:17 pace. That was also with running 4 miles of the race into about a 25 mph head wind. That was one of the most miserable races I have ever ran. Prior to last years race I ran a 9.3 and a 10 miler which was my longest runs ever at that time.

Now this year I see no reason that I can't PR on this course. I did 10 miles Sunday at a 10:44 pace so hopefully I can at least hold that pace. I really haven't gotten all the long runs I need for this but 9.3 miles is no longer a big distance to me.

Again the weather looks to be a factor. 8am race time is calling for a 76% chance of rain and temperatures around 43 degrees. This should be a fun one. This will cut back the number of people racing so maybe some of the guys in my age group won't show up, ha, I wish! The Grand Prix series is very tough and the best runners in the state will be running this. I am running for the Cabot Cruisers mens team so hopefully we will have enough guys show up so that we can gain some good team points. I know Gary, Curtis and myself will be there. We need 4 for a team. If not I'll gain some individual points.

For me, I am trying to look at this race as a training run for the Little Rock 1/2 Marathon. My main goal is just to run a decent race and feel good about it and of course, beat last years time. It sounds like we may get rained on so this should be interesting. Can't say that I'm looking forward to this one but it is what it is. I'll be there and give it everything I have anyway. I'll give an update after drying out on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Getting Back up to Speed

Well I am slowly getting there, not as fast as I'd like but in reality I may be running at least as fast as I was pre-marathon in October. It's still not good enough for me and thats the frustrating part. People I trained with then that were slower than I am now are much faster. Just shows how 2 months off can affect you. Coach Dennis keeps telling me to be patient that as we get older it takes us longer to come back from injury or sickness. I believe that.

Sunday I had a good run I suppose. Annette and I met with another group of cruisers that were running at 1:30pm. The weather was nice for a change, low 50's so it was shorts and t-shirt weather. I needed 10 plus and that was pretty much what everyone wanted to run. We had 8 people running, Brenda, Jackie, Rock, Robert, Kelly, Rick, Annette and myself. As usual we started off way too fast with Brenda, Jackie, Rock and Robert taking off and the rest of us pretty much running in a 4 person pack. We made the Candlewood loop as we call it and then headed down Mt Carmel towards Dogwood. At about 3.5 miles Rick and Kelly went ahead. I was trying to keep up with Annette but she was just so speedy. She would slow down and turn back to me every now and then. I was still running a good pace I thought. I would check my garmin and i'd be running a mid to upper 9 minute pace. This was on the hills too. After about 5 miles I did start to wear down some and had to take some walk breaks here and there. After turning on Dogwood we headed back down Mt Tabor to finish on 89 to the school.

When we hit the school, we had exactly 10 miles recorded. After doing the 6 miles plus on Saturday, this felt almost like a tempo run but it wasn't. I actually ran the 10 miles at just a little faster pace than I did the 6 plus miler on Saturday so I was happy with that.

Here were my stats:
Total miles - 10.0
Average pace - 10:44
1334 calories

Tuesday Night Clinic

Last night was the freezing Tuesday night running clinic. This was suppose to be a tempo run. The plan called for this:

1.5 mile warm up
4 x strides
15 minute tempo
4 x strides
1 mile cool down

2 mile warm up
4 x strides
20 minute tempo
4 x strides
1 mile cool down

When we got there the temp was about 30 degrees with about a 15 mph wind. Boy was it cold! I think the warm up run was almost at tempo pace, at least the first mile. After doing my warm up and strides I had just over 2 miles complete. Then it was off for the tempo run. Annette, Bailey, Kelly and myself all started out together but that quickly ended as Annette and Bailey took off. Our first 200 was probably at an 8:35 pace so I tried to slow down. The goal is to run at your LT pace, not faster so that your body learns how to burn lactate acid. Kelly stuck with me pretty much the whole time. When we would turn north we would have a very powerful head wind which really made things not as fun. It was cold running into the wind and then when you were out of it it would be too warm. I probably had too many clothes on but I wasn't cold at least. Technically I was still an intermediate but I had actually planned on doing the advanced tempo run. When I saw the 15 minute intermediate time coming up I decided I'd be an intermediate and stopped. I was happy with the fact that I hit my old LT/tempo pace and held it. I should have done the full advanced but I just didn't feel it. Maybe next time. As cold as it was I was glad to get it done.

Here were the stats:
Total miles - 4.72
Average pace - 10:37
2.01 warm up - avg. pace 10:46
1.57 tempo - 9:43 pace
I didn't have the cool down handy but it was around a 10:57 pace I think.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Burning up the Hills

Saturday had a few hills in store for me in more ways than one.

I met a small group of the Cruisers at 7am for the regular Saturday morning run. The group was very small this morning as most of the people was racing the Valentines Day 5k in Russellville. My plan was to run 6.5-7.5 miles and the route that was called was perfect. Only problem was, this mornings group was all fast people. Brenda, Rock, Lisa F., Jackie, Mark, and another guy that I forgot his name. I say fast because when these girls get together they smoke the streets. So, I was content pretty quickly to be left behind. I knew their first mile would be just a little over 9:00 and I was probably pretty close. I ran a 10:07. then a 10:10 just to keep them in sight. After that I said the heck with it, I'm just going to go slow. This route was basically Bradley to Dietrich, Dietrich to Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle to Stagecoach, Stagecoach to Campground, Campground to Cherry, Cherry to 321 then back to the school. The others were adding on to this route and doing about 15 miles but I didn't need that much so I cut mine short.

Throughout this run I struggled with the running demons. I really felt tired and my legs felt stiff and not wanting to play at all. It actually got pretty warm before I got done but it was still only maybe 40 degrees. I was sweating like it was 75. A couple times before I even hit the 3 mile mark I almost just turned around and went back. I did a lot of walk breaks just to get through the run but afterwards it really didn't hurt my time that much. It still puzzles me how I can sometimes do more walk breaks and run faster or the same pace as doing none.

There are lots of nice hills on this route and I did run up every one. Why everything felt so hard I don't know. Maybe it was because I was running alone, no Ipod, nothing other than my head talking. I have yet to find that place where running is easy and it doesn't hurt something.

Here were my final stats, actually I looked back at some runs on this same route back before my marathon in November and they were not that much faster at all. So that made me feel a little better.

Total miles - 6.55
Time - 1:10:50
Avg. Pace - 10:49

Saturday afternoon added some new hills for me.

I knew with the beautiful weather we were having on Saturday people would start getting stupid and try to burn stuff. The wind was really getting up and about 2:30pm we received our first page for a grass fire at Sayles and 89. It actually ended up being just west of Batesville Pike. I responded with Brush Truck 67 from Station 3. Nothing was being threatened at this fire so I was just going as back up in case it was needed. We had one brush truck and an engine on scene pretty quick. Fire was pretty much out when I got there so no big deal, I figured I'd go hang out for a few at Station 1 so I headed over there afterwards.

We were probably not back at station 1 more than 5 minutes until we were paged out again for another fire. This time it was a woods fire on Lost Creek Road which is off of Fortson, almost in Faulkner County. I knew this could be big as we had fought some very large woods fires in this area in the past. The winds were howling which made things worse.

It was probably about a 8 mile drive to this location. I got stuck with a rookie on my truck so I wasn't looking forward to having to drive, run the pump, tell him what to do and try to watch him at the same time. We also had E62 and BT68 leaving with me. When we arrived we had to drive down a one lane dirt road for probably 2 miles. This is very hilly country and heavily wooded. As we topped one of the hills we finally could see some smoke. We kept driving, found a nice spot on top of one of the hills to park Engine 62 and set up command. I got assigned another rookie on my truck and headed down the narrow road looking for the fire.

About a 1/4 mile down the road we found it. The fire was on our right making a run up a hill. I fired up the pump and sent my rookies with the hose to stop the fire before it could get to the road. It was burning pretty fast but it wasn't like up in the trees since there was no leaves left. Basically just burning ground cover and leaves. I could see smoke ahead of me also but we had to stop this first. I had BT 68 come in behind me and to the right to stop the fire headed towards the house to our south east. After getting this out we headed westward on the road, hit a couple more hot spots then stopped at the top of the next ridge where there was a trailer house. The fire had not gotten close here since the wind was blowing the opposite way. I could however see fire back in the woods so I knew we were going to have to walk in to fight it.

At this point we still didn't have enough people on scene to establish where the fire lines were. Once I had it stopped at the road, I knew we had to find the rest so we started hiking in with rakes and water packs. About a 1/4 mile into the woods we found the head of the fire. The wind was pushing it very fast up the ridge so we worked very fast to get it stopped. It was mainly burning leaves so basically we just raked the burning leaves into the black burned area and they went out. The wind was changing directions too which made it hard to get ahead of the fire but within probably 15 minutes we had it under control and it never got over the top of the ridge.

Once we had this animal contained, then we had to make sure there was a good fire break around the line which entailed raking a 3 foot line around most of the burn area. Anything in the black was ok and would smolder for days probably. This was just some of the highlights of this one. By the time I was done walking and raking, I could feel blisters starting to form on my heels and big toe. Let me tell you, fire boots were not designed to be comfortable or for lots of walking but they will save getting your feet or legs burnt which is key.

You can probably see in this photo the type of land we had to deal with. It's actually steeper than the picture depicts. We were lucky today, nothing burnt but leaves and some brush. I'd estimate this to be probably 25 acres and we put it out with a total of less than 10 firefighters and two brush trucks. We still don't know what started this fire, there was a bulldozer in the area doing some clearing so maybe he sparked something with his blade. We couldn't find where anyone was burning and no one would admit to burning so who knows.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Sunday I flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend a BASF 20 Group Meeting for work. I was meeting our St. Louis Operations Manager at the airport and when I got off the plane he had the rental car there waiting for me. The view from the air is spectacular with desert and then mountains in the middle of no where popping up. It was pretty cold too so the mountains had snow on them.

Here is a photo of the view as we left the airport heading for the Hyatt Tamaya Resort about 25 miles outside of town. This hotel is pretty much in the middle of no where sitting in what looks like the middle of the desert about a mile from the Rio Grande River.

This was another photo of the mountains in the background.

I had stayed at this exact hotel at a conference about 3 years ago so I knew it was pretty nice. We arrived and got checked in just in time to see the beginning of the Super Bowl in the bar. There was a couple New Yorkers in our 20 group, one from Albany and one from Buffalo so we were pretty much all rooting for the Giants though we all really just wanted to see a good game. We were not disappointed. It was a great game and we had a lot of fun watching it with the guys.

On Monday we had snow. This was a view from the back of the hotel. I really wanted to go out for a run but we were in meetings from 8am till 5pm and then it was dinner so there just wasn't any time. Maybe one of these days I'll go back there when I don't have to work. They have a great spa but it was a little pricey, which I didn't have time for anyway.

Being I was out of town I missed the bad storms that hit the state here on Tuesday. Luckily none hit where I lived.

Wednesday afternoon I was back home late and did almost 5 miles with the girls. It was pretty hard running after 3 days of sitting in meetings, dinners, beer and wine. But, I did it and survived. My left foot is really bothering me. It's almost to the point I could really care less if I ran or not. Maybe its just being tired and having days worth of work piled up. I always come back from these meetings with information overload so that adds to it also. I am hoping to get a nice 10 miler in this weekend. The weather is looking warmer so that is encouraging. I am disappointed that I will not be running the Valentines 5k this weekend in Russellville. This was my first 5K as a Cruiser last year. I decided that I just wasn't ready right now for a 5K race yet and if I did bad it would just make me not want to run that much more.

I really wish I could fine my mojo again.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Beautiful Saturday

Today was a beautiful day with temps starting out pretty cool and then getting up to almost 60 degrees. I had one of those Fridays where I really could have cared less if I ran Saturday or not. I knew that wouldn't last long, but everyone was running different distances than what I needed so I opted to not get up at 5am and sleep till 7:30.

There were groups running everywhere. Annette was running with some of the girls in Maumelle and the Little Rock Marathon Training Group. Some of the Cruisers were running 20 miles on the marathon route and some were running 13.1 on the half marathon route. My schedule only called for 8. I had an emergency vehicle driving class at 11 so it didn't make much sense for me to drive downtown for 8 miles.

The bad thing about being injured is being behind on training. Everyone else is running 13-20 mile training runs and I am just now hitting 8. I could do the longer runs but that would not be good and is against training rules. Doing too much too soon just leads to injury so I have been trying to be patient but its hard.

So after driving fire trucks around a serpentine course for a few hours, I decided to get my run in. The weather was perfect and there was no need for tights or long sleeves. I just headed out of my neighborhood and figured I'd do an out and back somewhere, or wherever the road took me.

Sometimes this is the best kind of run. Not knowing really where your going exactly, but with my trusty garmin I knew what my miles were as I went. I ran the first two miles without stopping, but then I needed a drink. I was sweating pretty good by now and haven't ran in this kind of weather in a while.

I did have my Ipod going and if it wasn't for that I probably would not have made it through this run. It was hard and painful, but at times it was exilerating too. Going one way I had a cool head wind and then going the other the wind was behind me so it was hot. There was a lot of traffic out and it seemed that half of the cars were trying to see how close they could come to hitting me without actually doing it. I do not understand why some people will not move over when there is no other traffic coming. If it wasn't for the cars and crazy drivers, this would have been much like running down the river trail. It was just a beautiful day to be out.

By mile 4 I was getting tired. Maybe it was just the lack of motivation. I decided to try Jackies run 4 minute walk 1 minute thing a little. It made me feel better and passed the time. I think I did this for about 2 miles maybe then when I hit mile 5 I just kept going. I wanted to see what my 10k time would be but by the time I got there I was turning into the ball park and I didn't pay much attention to it. Next thing I knew I had hit 7. I was running some close routes around some of the neighborhoods so I knew I was almost done. By the time I hit my block, I ran around it and I was at 8.1.

It really was a hot run and thats probably why I felt like I was dragging. Its always harder running alone also since you have to push yourself and fight with your own head. I'll miss out on anything for Sunday as I am out of town a few days for business.

Here are my splits:
total miles - 8.1
avg pace - 11:12
4-11:03 (thats right, same as mile 3 I looked twice)
1100 calories