Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting Pumped for October

October is shaping up to be a great month! On Monday, October 1st I'll be starting a new job. I'm so excited about this because, among the many other reasons, I won't be working nights, weekends and holidays for the first time in 7 years. That means I'll be able to get back on to a regular sleep schedule (no more getting off work at midnight, and in bed at 1 am, only to get back up at 6 am to go back to work). Those days just suck. It drains me physically, mentally, and emotionally. No more...woo hoo!

In addition to the new job October is one of my favorite months for racing. This one is going to be particularly busy with 3 races lined up. The first race is the Little Miami Triathlon. This will be my 4th outing of the Little Miami's kayak, run, bike race. I don't have any specific goals for this race other than just to get out and have fun...and kick my friend's ass! Every year I do this race with my best friend. Last year he was talked into doing the canoe division with a partner. I was in a kayak, so we weren't really racing head to head. This year he's upgraded his bike and has been training with a buddy at work on his run. He'll crush me in the kayak. He has a lot more experience and better form in the kayak and has better upper body strength. That's just the beginning though. I plan on seeing him on the run, and passing him on the run. :)

The second race for the month is going to be the Corridor Classic Half Marathon, and more importantly The World Wide Half Marathon. It will be so exciting to know that I'll be running with Team Sparkpeople and all the other runners all over the world! Check it out at For this race I do have a specific goal. I want to set a new pr, and crush my previous record of 1:35.55. I'd also like to run negative splits for this race. I really need to slow myself down at the beginning of races.

The third and final race of the month is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Run Like Hell 5k. This one is not only a race, but also a volunteer project I've been working on all fall. I'll be working the night of the race doing something in a booth, and I'll probably be dressed up in a costume, so needless to say this run will be just for the fun of it! I just need to think of a costume that will be easy to run in, and has no mask that will constrict breathing. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Advantages of Running at 5 AM

Disclaimer: This blog entry is an attempt to delude, I mean convince, myself that getting up at 5 am to run is in fact a great idea. I mean I'm going to be doing it over the next few months, so let the deluding, I mean convincing begin!

1. It's better than coffee. I'm not a huge coffee drinker, but I do like those bottled Starbucks Frappuccino drinks in the morning. A good run in the morning is a great way to get the blood flowing and a nice shot of endorphins.

2. I avoid the heat of the day. For a little while longer temps are still hitting in the low 80's. I'm not a fan of running in the heat. So, for the time being it's nice to run before the sun comes rises. Now that's going to be a different story come November and December. Let's just not think about that right now.

3. When work is done it's family time. I can't convince my wife and daughter to get up at 5 am and hang out with me. So, I guess it's better for the marriage if I spend time with her after work sometimes instead of running or cycling all the time.

4. Running in the dark can be fun! We live on a pretty safe, out of the way road, so running in the dark is fairly safe as long as I don't trip and fall on my face! This morning I felt like I was in my own personal horror movie. I was running in the pitch black of our street where there are no street lights, so the only lights I had were the lights of a few scattered houses with their lights on. I was surrounded by the woods and the sounds of small animals like squirrels and large animals like deer scurrying away. I only hope I don't run into the mean ass pack of turkeys that roam the neighborhood. That would be a horror.

Help convince me. What are some other advantages?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fall has...Fallen, in a totally good way

I was working up a rant on the lack of courtesy on our local multi-use path for today, but I think I'll put that off for another day in favor of something a little more positive. Fall has finally showed up in Ohio, and like it most often does it burst on the scene on the drop of a dime. You go to bed one night after a 90 degree F and muggy day only to wake up the next morning to 50 degrees and a day that reaches a high of 65 and no humidity. That alone is worth a little celebration. Add to that a little mental boost from a good run and you might find me dancing a little jig at said celebration.

I woke up at about 7 am to a long run that I didn't particularly feel like doing. I got little sleep last night, had a few too many drinks while hanging with a buddy, and was facing a very long 12 hour work day in 4 hours. After downing a big glass of water and some electrolyte tabs I stepped outside in my short sleeve TNT running shirt and a pair of shorts only to quickly run back inside. It was quite cold outside at only 49 F. I pulled out a bag of cold weather gear and dug out my running cap and gloves. Knowing that I need to work on my nutrition and hydration during long runs I pocketed a Gu and drove a bottle of water out to the 6 mile point of my run.

The run was wonderful. The 1.5 mile warm-up went smoothly. I picked up the pace for a 5.5 mile race pace section which wasn't quite up to the speed that I wanted, but it still felt great. I slowed it down for the last 3.25 miles, but even at 8 minute miles I felt like I could have put in another 5 miles. I haven't felt that way about a run in a few weeks, and not really good about any particular run since my last race. September wasn't off to a great start for training. All the heat, humidity, bad shoes, and general feeling of malaise has left me feeling less than excited about training into the fall. Today has gone a long way toward turning things around. It's the beginning of a new season, and I've got some of my favorite races of the year to look forward to as well:

10/7 - Little Miami Triathlon -kayak/run/bike
10/14 - World Wide Half at the Corridor Classic Half Marathon
10/26 - Run Like Hell 5K

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shoe Update

The shoes are going back. I'm really disappointed in how poorly they fit. I don't think I blame New Balance in anyway. I know several runners that swear by New Balance shoes. I'll just have to add it to my list of brands not suitable for me. This list also includes Nike, who apparently only makes shoes for all the narrow footed freaks of the world.

One of the complaints I forgot to mention in my blog yesterday was that toward the end of my first run the two smallest toes on my left foot started to go numb. That is never good as far as I know. Yesterday I went on a 6 mile run on a nice shady multi-use path. The path is completely flat and mostly straight. I figured after breaking the shoes in for a few days running in such ideal conditions should be no problem.

Everything felt good for the first 4 miles. Going into mile 5 I decided to pick up the pace for the last 2 miles. The toes on my left foot started to tingle. A few minutes passed as I tried to ignore the tingling, but then my ankle started to hurt and the pain quickly traveled up to my knee. That's about enough for me. That goes way beyond a shoe causing minor discomfort. I've always had a bit of a fear about my knees. Back and knee problems run in the family, so a shoe that aggravates the knees will be treated like toxic waste.

I'll be heading back to the shop this weekend to order another pair of Asics .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Job, New Shoes

After months and months of applying for jobs, and after months and months of disappointment things are finally starting to look up in the job department. I've been interviewing for a new, better job over the last couple weeks. After the initial job interview at the end of August I was called back for a second interview. It was at that point that I decided to keep kind of quiet about the job. I told very few people, because I've been facing so much disappointment in the last year. I get tired of thinking that this will be the job only to not get the position. After that I'm faced with weeks of explaining to friends and relatives that I didn't get the job, and I don't understand either why I didn't get the job, and blah, blah, blah.

Well, I can say officially, 100%, undoubtedly that I did get the job. hip, hip , Hoooraaaay! This is the job that I talked about in my August 31st post. It's a new position, in a new department, so there isn't an official title or job description yet. I'll be doing what I like to do best, a little bit of everything. Variety is the spice of life after all. Hopefully I'll be starting sometime at the beginning of October.

I also just got a new pair of running shoes. Over the last year or so I've gone through 2 pair of Asics Gel Cumulus. I love those shoes. This time when I went into the Running Spot I decided that I wanted to try something different. I tried the new model of the Gel Cumulus, some model of Mizuno, and a pair of New Balance 755. I really liked the feel of the Mizuno, and the Gel Cumulus (or is it Cumuli?) were nice as always.

In the end I chose the New Balance 755's. I liked them better than the Mizunos, and they didn't have my size for the Asics. Besides I wanted to try something different right? So far I am not terribly impressed. I'm trying to give it some time to break them in, but my initial reactions are as follows.

- They are very stiff. I thought I liked that when I first tried them on, but after a couple runs I'm not liking it. The runs felt kind of...flat. I don't know if that's the appropriate term, but that's the best word I can think of at the moment.

- There is lots of room in the toe box. It seems a lot more than the Asics. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. That remains to be seen.

- Despite the roomy toe box they feel tight across the top of my foot. I made adjustments to the laces which helped a bit. I'll see this afternoon when I run how much of a difference it makes.

This will probably the last run I do in them before deciding whether to take them back. That's the nice thing about going to a good running store. Most of them are looking for customer loyalty, so making sure the customer is happy is job one.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sometimes the Voices Win

It happened just before the 4 miles mark. I was pacing along with a woman at a good 7 minute/mile clip when the heat started to get to me, the legs started to feel weary, and the voices. The little voices came out to play. " Come on Adam slow down. Why are you pushing so hard? Why are you out here at all?" The game was on. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on breathing and relaxing. No good. The voices grew louder and more insistent. The heat, the weariness, and the voices were just too much. I slowed down my pace. I didn't stop, but I just couldn't hold my pace. I watched as my pacing partner pulled away. Bummer. I spent the rest of the race trying not to get passed. I was passed once.

Every race has a lesson. It may be something new, or confirming something that I already knew that needed work. In this case it is confirmed that I need to work on my mental game. I'm not talking only about the negative voices that can be overwhelming at some points, although that is a large part, but also running a smarter race from start to finish. I have a bad habit of coming off the line too quickly, and this race was no exception. I ran my first mile in 6:27. Am I nuts? That's the pace I was shooting for in my last 5k. There is no reason for me to start that quickly other than some delusion of speed. What can I say? Saturday morning Roadrunner cartoons were a staple in my youth. These days I'm feeling more Wile E. Coyote than Roadrunner.

Here's the good news. Despite my nitpicking I ran a very good race. I finished with a time of 43:38 at a 7:02 pace. I was 24th overall 2nd in my division. That's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Training Assessment

I feel like I've been training for the Disney Marathon for a long time already due to the fact that I started training for the World Wide Half at the end of June. Either I'll benefit from having the base miles or I'll be so tired of training by the end of this that I'll blow up. Only time will tell. In the meantime I thought I'd do a quick assessment of where I am as I head into the 4 month countdown to Disney. First I'll start with training and then talk about fundraising.

Training has been tough up to this point and much of that is due to the weather. It hasn't been all bad, but the percentage of runs that have been "not fun" at the least to "torturous" at th worst has gone up dramatically. It's starting to cool off so I'm hoping that will change in short order. I'm also a bit frustrated and confused. The advice I'm getting from my coach is that I should start running goal pace runs as part of my long runs now. I've been doing that, but I'm not always able to maintain my desired pace. It's tough to get yourself up to running goal pace alone and the course I'm running is fairly hilly and doesn't lend well to fast running. I'm hoping that my ability to hold goal pace will improve over time. Right now I'm just doing the best I can.

Under the frustrated and confused category I'm also doubting that I can run a Boston qualifying race. It's still way early for such thoughts, but it isn't helping with my training. I need to find a way to balance out this desire to run fast and still maintain a level of enjoyment that makes this work worthwile. Today I had a good run which makes me feel a little better. I must have been in the zone. I was going back over my splits and panicked for a moment. I couldn't remember running part of my normal route. I know I did it because of the time, and I'm remembering enough now that I know I did it. It was just a weird feeling for a moment to have forgotten an entire section of my run. I don't know if that's good or bad. I think I need to change my route and shake things up. I warmed up 2 miles at a 8:20 pace. Ran the next 3 miles at a 7:44 pace followed by the tough hill section dropping to a 9:36 pace. I'm not surprised after yesterday's biking and finally finished the final 2 miles with an 8:35 pace.

Fundraising for Team in Training is going okay. I'm up over $500, which is good. I'm just freaking out a bit. I've still got over $3000 to go. I'm going to shoot for $1000 a month. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to get there!!

Tomorrow I'll be racing the Mercy Metric 10k race. My goal for the event is to break 42 minutes. That would be a pace under 6:45. It's going to be a tall order after a tough week of training.