Friday, October 31, 2008

My father-in-law

My father-in-law is a really cool guy. I've liked and respected him since the moment I first met him 24+ years ago. We met when my wife and I (we weren't married then) introduced our parents to each other at our college graduation in 1984.

I think the fact that I was headed to grad school at Penn State, just like he had done, helped him to like me as well. He came from a working class family and went on to earn multiple degrees in electrical engineering from Penn State. He taught at Penn State and then at Bucknell (where my wife and I went to school), spent some time in the power industry, and then moved to Vermont to teach at Norwich University. He's been there for most of the last 28 years.

He's still teaching and he's doing it because he loves it. Tomorrow is his 80th birthday.

There is a very nice article about him in today's Montpelier newspaper.

My in-laws have made trips to visit my family when we lived in CA, when we lived in AK, and now we're lucky to live close to them. My father-in-law and I have had some really memorable fishing days over the years, although I haven't spent much time fishing the past few years. In 1997, we had a truly memorable day of fly fishing on the upper Connecticut River, on the VT/NH border. We caught native rainbow, brook, and brown trout that day - lots of them. I caught the biggest trout I've ever caught on the east coast that day. But, the best part of the fishing hasn't really been the fish; it's just been the time spent with a man that I respect a great deal.

Tomorrow night, I'll be cooking dinner for him and and my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law and his wife and their kids. I'm really looking forward to celebrating his birthday with him and his entire family.

Workouts? I did an upper body lifting session last night, and I'm going to try an easy run after work tonight. The hamstring still feels a bit tight, but better. Last night, after my lifting, I spent a lot of time using a foam roller to work on the tight spots.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Murphy's Law???? and Twitter question

In the prep for every big race, it seems like there's always a moment when something goes wrong or at least seems to be going wrong. Usually, it's best to just relax and rest and know that the training is done and rest is good. But, I think we all know that can be hard to do

When I ran my marathon PR, I came down with a minor cold about 11 or 12 days out, and on race day, I wasn't sure if I was 100%. It turned out that I was fine, but I had worried for more than a week about a very minor illness.

Before my first 100 mile attempt, I got really sick about two months before the race and ended up having a super-comprehensive physical done, including a cardiac stress test. Finally, a blood test seemed showed some elevated white cell counts and the sports doc suggested I was overtrained and simply needed to rest a bit more.

Before Hardrock in 2004, I stubbed a toe really badly on a trail-marking day less than a week from the start. I still believe that I broke the toe, but I refused to see a doctor. I simply rested and dealt with the pain on race day. My toe looked like one of those cocktail wieners for a few days, but it was much better by race day.

So, this is obviously going somewhere, right? Yesterday, I noticed that my left hamstring seemed tight and sore all day. By the time I was ready to run home, it was really aching. I decided to skip running and just rest the leg. I spent some time last night using a "Stick" to massage the area. Today, I was planning some marathon pace miles, but it doesn't really feel better.

Back in late March, I had a similar problem just before a 50K. Between lifting and some speedwork, I tweaked my right hamstring (I think it was the right one). Two days before my race, I started a run but bailed after less than half a mile. On race day, I was fine. But, I was only planning to cruise control the 50K that day, not race a marathon.

So, I think I'll go to the gym tonight and do some upper body lifting. I'll skip running completely today. Tomorrow after work, I'll probably try a run. If the leg feels really good, I may try some MP miles, but I'll choose discretion over speed if things are iffy.

BTW, does anyone who ever comes here have any good experience with Blogger and Twitter gadgets? I was trying to put a simple Twitter gadget here yesterday so I can post my marathon result from my cell phone after the race. A number of the available gadgets have bugs that Blogger doesn't like, and the one that didn't seem to have bugs was kind of ugly and didn't quite fit into the space where I wanted to put it.

I still have to figure out the posting from cell phone thing, considering that I don't really "do" text messaging. But, I think I can make that happen if I can "Twitter-fy" this page.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"I just have to tell you..."

"I just have to tell you that you're absolutely crazy."

These were the first words I heard at work this morning. They came from a co-worker who saw me running last night as she was driving home. When I started running, the temperature was just under 40F and it was raining. No, it was pouring. And, it was windy.

I was planning 8 miles with 4 at marathon pace and I just had no interest in running on the treadmill. So, I put on my best rain gear and headed out to run. To be honest, it was pretty miserable. There were puddles everywhere and my feet were soaked within minutes of starting. I did two warm-up miles at about 9:20 pace and then picked up the pace. The course I'd chosen meant that the first and last of my four MP miles would contain some significant climbs, so my times would likely be slower. The weather didn't help my speed either. My 4 miles were as follows:


The two middle miles were rolling, but more down than up.

I was surprised at how hard this run felt, but I'm not really concerned by my (lack of) speed. Between lifting hard on Monday and the weather and the hills, it just wasn't a day for fast times.

One thing that I often think about when I run in miserable weather is competition. I think of my potential competitors for a race and I wonder what decisions they made that day in bad weather. I like to think of myself as making the right decision and being outside, getting stronger, while my competition is slacking off, and losing ground to me. That's the story I tell myself, anyway, to get my butt out the door on nasty days like yesterday.

Today, I'll do an easy 6 mile run home after work. We had some snow last night and it's going to snow off and on today, plus be windy. However, the run home will certainly be more pleasant than yesterday's run.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday weight workout

I started with squats and deadlifts last night. I alternated between them, including my warm-up lifts. The last few weeks, my main sets have been 2x6 of each lift, supersetted, with 165# for squats and 205# for deads. For real lifters, I know these numbers are a joke, but that's where I am. Because this was my last leg day in the gym for a while, and my last leg day ever at my current gym, I wanted to add some weight to these lifts.

(Friday is my current gym's last day in business, so I have to move from a serious "lifter's" gym to a shiny new college gym with TVs in the cardio gear, lots of machines, and not nearly enough space for free weight work. Plus, it's full of college students a lot of the time. As long as I keep lifting in the morning, when college students are still hung over, the crowds shouldn't be too bad.)

I did my warm-up sets, gradually adding weight, and decided to go to 185 for squats and 225 for deads. All four sets went well, which was encouraging, given that I'm only doing these lifts once a week right now.

From there, I moved on to Romanian deadlifts, core exercises, step-ups, kettlebell swings, push-ups and pull-ups. I was done in less than an hour and home cooking dinner before my wife got home from the "other" gym.

Today is the beginning of a few days of winter weather here in VT. It's going to start raining this afternoon and then turn to accumulating snow overnight. We aren't going to get as much snow as upstate NY, but the ski areas will get hit pretty hard. The mountain plans to start making snow as early as Saturday, so it will be nice if they have some natural snow on the ground when the guns get started. Tomorrow morning, we'll have snow on the roads and the storm will continue through Wednesday night. I'm getting my snow tires put on my car today, so the timing is perfect. I should be able to run outside after work today, but it will be wet.

Today's workout is 8 miles with 4 at marathon pace. Hopefully I will be able to run outside tomorrow as well. I'm just not ready to transition to treadmill running yet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yasso 800s and my marathon prediction


That's the total number of reps I've done in Yasso 800 workouts since the middle of July. I did the workout 10 times, starting at 6 reps and adding one rep every other workout. My fastest average was 3:17 for 10 reps on the road earlier this month.

My slowest workouts were also on the road, and I barely averaged under 3:30 for both of my 9-rep workouts. The road course I use is rolling and on the day I averaged 3:17, I managed to use the loop so that more reps were level or down and the worst ups were covered in my rest intervals. On the 3:29 days, the worst hills were hit during my hard reps. So, it's possible that none of those results are very useful as predictive values.

Saturday morning, I wasn't feeling great when I woke up. Both of my kids have been sick in the past week and I was concerned that I was catching something from them. But, it was important to me that I complete this workout and I didn't want to defer it so that it was any closer to my marathon. So, I headed to the track and hoped for the best.

I had double-checked that the track would be free. The school where I was running has lots of sports teams. But, their girls' soccer team and field hockey team were gone from state playoffs. Their boys' soccer team had taken out my son's team the day before, so they were off for the day. Their football team had played the day before, so they would be off. And, their cross-country team would be at the state championships in Thetford, VT, so they wouldn't be using the track.

So, imagine my surprise when I pulled into the parking lot and it was packed. I had forgotten about junior high football. Luckily, they were playing on a different field than the one inside the track, and the track was open.

I felt sluggish in my warm-up, but not too bad. The weather was cool and breezy, with some intermittent drizzle - nearly perfect unless the track became wet and slick. Luckily, that wouldn't be the case.

So, I started the workout and ran 3:23 for my first rep. Not bad, but not really where I wanted to be. But, I'm often slowest on my first rep, as I transition from my slow warm-up to the faster speeds. After each rep, I rest actively for as long as the rep took. Basically, I would walk for about 1:50 after each rep and then jog slowly back to the starting line. As I started the second rep, I could tell that I was running faster than the first. It felt much better and I ran 3:18. From there, I really got into a groove and I ran 3:19, 3:20, 3:20, 3:18, 3:18, and 3:18. On the 7th and 8th reps, I noticed that the wind seemed to be picking up. I could also feel that I was getting tired - most likely from my hard 24 miler the previous Saturday.

I figured that the last rep would take care of itself, so I really wanted to focus on #9, so my average would stay under 3:20. Regretfully, I got a bit too excited and I ran the first lap too fast - 1:35. As I hit the wind on the second lap, I really faded from my stupid first lap and I ended up with a 3:22 - a 1:47 second lap.

One to go and now there was no reason to save anything. Being less stupid, I ran a 1:40 first lap this time and then finished with a 1:37 for a 3:17 - my fastest rep of the day.

Done. Eighty of these repeats over 3+ months, along with all the rest of my training.

In 1995, when I ran my marathon PR, I averaged 2:57 the first time I did 10 reps and I did 2:53 the second time at ten reps. However, I was well rested for the second of those two workouts and considered the 2:57 to be a better marathon predictor. I did indeed run a 2:57 marathon that year.

This time, I've done fewer total miles. I'm older. I weigh more now than I did in 1995. But, I'm physically stronger now than I was then. And, even though my recent mileage numbers have not been as high as in past marathon training cycles, I have years of accumulated base training from ultras to draw upon. I've done a lot of quality workouts in this cycle.

In many ways, I'm curious to see how my training translates to the race. I stripped down my previous marathon training to get rid of the "junk" miles. I did all of my quality work - track work, marathon pace miles, long runs, tempo, etc., but I didn't do as many slow, easy, moderate distance runs during the week. Will that make a difference on race day?

So, my Yasso 800s predict about a 3:20 marathon. My half marathon predicted a race in the 3:25-3:28 range, depending on what formula is used. However, I ran 9 x 800 meters only 4 days before the half marathon and I didn't go all out in that race. My 5K from Labor Day weekend projects to a 3:14-3:19 race.

I want to run sub-3:30. That's almost exactly an 8 mpm pace. My plan in the race will be to do one or two miles at 8 pace and then drop to 7:50 or so for as long as I can hold that pace. If I can hold that pace the whole way, I'll run about 3:26. If I fade a bit late, I will hopefully still stay under 3:30. And, if I feel great with 10K to go, maybe I'll try to pick up the pace and bit and see if I can get under 3:25.

Despite some numbers that predict I can run in the 3:20 range or maybe better, I'm not going to risk my 3:30 goal by going after the faster time.

If I did that, it might work, or I might explode like I did in my last fast marathon attempt and I'd have a very slow time. The last time, I was racing with a "Boston or bust" mentality. This time, even if I fall off my qualifying pace, I should still be able to run a post-40 marathon PR, and I'm going to stick it out to the finish.

My prediction as of right now: 3:27:59

Friday, October 24, 2008

Morning weight workout

My recent weight workouts have been divided into two parts. The first part of the workout is for strength - lower reps, higher weights, while the second part has been more about moving rapidly through sets with more reps and lower weights.

For the first part of the workout, I do 3 sets. My goal is to build to 3x8. Once I can do 3x8 at a particular weight, I go up in weight and try to start at 3x6 at the higher weight.

Last Friday, I finally hit 3x8 on both of my strength lifts for my upper body day. The first lift is incline DB presses and the second is 3-point DB rows. I was using 50 pound DBs for the presses and 40s for the rows. So today, I went to 55 and 45. I can barely type right now because of the additional weight I lifted this morning.

On my third set of presses, the last rep almost didn't happen. I just barely lifted the weight and there is no way I could have done another rep. I was actually concerned about what direction the DB would go if I failed. I'm sure a 55 pound DB would cause some real damage if it landed on my head.

After those lifts, I moved on to Swiss ball push-ups/jackknife combos, lunges with DBs, cable rows, DB squat presses and close chin-up grip lat pulldowns. My shoulders are just fried right now.

Last night, I had a great run. At lunchtime yesterday, I went and bought new shoes and I felt the difference in the run. I ran between an 8:30 and 9:00 pace for 8 miles. Most of the run was on the bike path along the shore of Lake Champlain, as the sun was dropping low in the sky. It was getting very cool towards the end of the run.

Tomorrow is my last Yasso 800 workout before the marathon. A meeting I had planned for tomorrow morning was cancelled, so my day is a bit less busy right now, and I won't have to fight to squeeze the workout into the day.

In an hour, I'm off to see my chiropractor. It's definitely time for a visit. He and I will decide today if I need one more visit before the marathon or if I should be all set.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marathon Pace Miles

On Tuesday afternoon, when I was done working for the day, it was nasty outside. It was cold and it was raining hard. All day, I'd been feeling tired, either from the hard run on Saturday or my lifting and wood stacking on Monday or both. I opted out of running and went home and relaxed instead.

Last night, I was planning marathon pace miles - 4 of them as part of an 8-9 mile run. It was cool and drizzly outside, but way better than Tuesday afternoon. I decided that I wanted to run more by feel rather than looking at my Forerunner every couple of minutes. In my marathon, I want to get into a comfortably hard pace early and just run. I think that obsessively checking my Forerunner and adjusting my pace frequently, even if it is a minute adjustment, will be detrimental to my overall performance. Plus, I've noticed that if I want to be running 7:50 pace and I look at the Forerunner and see I'm running 8:10 pace, I tend to over-adjust, and the next time I look, I'll be doing 7:30 or even 7:15 pace.

So, after a 2.5 mile warm-up, I hit the lap button on the Forerunner and I sped up. I pushed my jacket sleeve over the watch so I couldn't glance at it easily. I did check at the mile splits, when the watch beeped at me, just to make sure I was close to marathon pace, but mostly I just ran.

Here are my mile splits:


The last mile was mostly into the wind and had two short but steep hills.

I was happy with the times for the miles, but I could tell that I still have some residual tiredness from Saturday. My legs just felt beat for the rest of the evening.

I also think I need new shoes. I have broken in the shoes for my marathon, wearing them in my 1/2 marathon and in a 22 and a 24 miler. I usually try to put 50-75 miles on my race shoes before race day, and then set them aside. I've been trying to squeeze extra miles out of some other older shoes recently, trying to save a little money. I always have lots of older pairs of shoes around that seem like they should be good for "just one more run". I've even been wearing some of my trail shoes, primarily Brooks Cascadias, on the roads recently. But, I think it's time to clear out the pile of old shoes and get some new shoes for training.

I'll run an easy 8 today after work and then lift tomorrow morning.

Saturday is a ridiculously busy day right now, but I need to find time to squeeze in 10 Yasso 800s. I have my first pre-season ski school meeting in the morning, I am going to a birthday party for my twin niece and nephew in the afternoon, I have a friend and his family coming over for dinner, and the friend and I need to do some electrical work in my basement before dinner. I think I have a short window from about 11:30-12:45 when I can squeeze in the workout. I'll have to run hard to finish in only 75 minutes or so.

Saturday evening, at 8:00, I'll be glued to the TV for the Penn State-Ohio State football game.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bonus weight training

As planned, I went home from work last night and started stacking firewood. It took almost 3 hours for 4 of us to get the wood stacked for the winter. Everyone in the house was sore this morning, including my 10 year old daughter. Her biggest complaint was that her fingers were sore. Picking up logs by their ends is an amazing workout for the hand and fingers. I spent the entire time filling up wheelbarrows full of wood and transporting them into the garage, where everyone else stacked what I delivered. Essentially, I picked up nearly every piece of wood that we stacked. I'm tired but not sore today.

My biggest concern is a hot spot in my left foot. It feels like I bruised it somehow, but I think it will be fine for my run home this evening.

By the time I start running after work today, we might be seeing some wet snowflakes falling from the sky. By tomorrow morning, there will be snow on the ground. The following two nights are supposed to be pretty cold, so any snow that falls will stick around, probably until Sunday or so, when it's going to warm up and be rainy.

I'm scheduled to get my new snow tires on Tuesday, so my car will be unusable tomorrow morning. Even though it's an all-wheel drive Subaru, in the summer, I drive with soft rubber tires that are designed for high performance in warm temperatures. In snow, those tires are worthless.

I've thought about coming into work late tomorrow, so I could hike the ski mountain and take a few early season turns. But, with the marathon getting close, I'm paranoid about doing anything different that could mess up all the work I've done recently.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rest and Strength Work

Yesterday was a rest day. My legs were tired, but not too beat up. Nonetheless, a rest day was in order.

This morning, I did a lower body lifting day at the gym - the same workout as last Monday, including squats and deadlifts. I will lift again this Friday, and then twice next week, and then I won't lift again until after the marathon.

Tonight, I'll get a second weight workout. We got four cords of dry firewood delivered on Saturday afternoon. The tarps that we use to keep firewood dry are all on our green wood that we plan to burn next year and it's supposed to rain overnight. So, we need to finish stacking the wood in our garage tonight. It's going to take a few hours to stack all that wood tonight and I'll probably be sore from that work. It's funny how lifting weights doesn't stop me from getting sore in "real world" activities. I guess it's that concept of "functional" lifting. I get stronger through lifting, but an activity like moving and stacking wood combines a number of movements that I rarely put together.

By tomorrow morning, we'll have rain after an extended period of beautiful weather. By Wednesday morning, we are supposed to have snow on the ground at lower elevations. The mountains may have enough snow that people will be able to hike to take a few turns.

My key workouts for this week are some marathon pace miles on Wednesday (probably 4-5 MP miles as part of a 9-miler) and 10 x 800 meters on Saturday.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Maine Track Club 50K - DNF Report

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that the last time I planned to DNF a race, I ended up finishing the thing. That was a marathon I was running in 2000, as my last long training run for the NYC marathon. Yesterday came very close a repeat, but for different reasons.

I stayed in a hotel only 10 minutes from the race start. I took a thermos of coffee with me, and I had hot coffee waiting when I got up at 5:00 a.m. for the race. When Congress moved the date when daylight savings time ends, it kind of messed with this race and the start time hasn't been changed. In the past, there was plenty of light at the 6:30 a.m. start, and you had to finish by 6:00 because it was pretty dark by then. Now, we start in near darkness, but the light arrives fairly quickly. There was a hard frost yesterday morning and I ran in tights, a jacket, and with gloves and a headband to keep my ears warm. I eventually changed the wind jacket to a vest, but otherwise, shed no clothing.

I ran into a number of friends in the cold, dark morning, as we waited for the start. I love this race because there aren't many like it. It's a long-established road ultra on a certified course. Yesterday was the 28th running of the race. In New England, perhaps the Lake Waramaug ultras would be the only road race that's been around as long as this one. I like to go to this race simply to support it. Even though it doesn't fit in with my plans every year, I don't want the race to go away for lack of interest.

In the pre-run darkness, I ran into Zeke from Vermont, my friend Melanie from NH, and speedster Ron Farkash from MA. This race is also used by lots of people as a first ultra and there were a lot of nervous first-timers milling about.

At 6:30, Eric gave us a few instructions and we were off. The course is on a certified 4-mile loop. We started by running 1 mile backwards on the loop and then turning around. So, we hit the start/finish line at mile 2. At this point, the 50 mile runners simply need to run 12 more loops. The 50K runners do 7 loops and then a short out and back for their last mile-plus. But, my plans were simple - 18 easy miles and then 6 hard miles.

I ran the first 1.5 miles with Ron, and they were a bit too fast for me - 8:40 for the first mile and then about that same pace until I told Ron I was going to drop back halfway through the second mile. I think he was glad, because this freed him to speed up without rudely ditching me to end our conversation.

A week ago, I ran 22 miles and my fastest mile was 9:05, and 12 of my 22 miles were 9:30 or slower. This week, I quickly found that I had to hold myself back early on. From the 1.5 mile point through the 7th mile, I worked hard to dial back the pace. I still had gone sub-9 for 3 of the first 7 miles. Finally, at mile 7, I decided to relax and just run by feel and monitor my pace, rather than trying to force myself to an artificially slow pace. I was worried that I might push too hard early and not be able to run the last six miles fast enough, but I simply felt good and wanted to run. This was a big change from Thursday evening, when I skipped my workout because I just plain didn't want to run.

Mile 7, at 9:35, turned out to be my slowest mile of the day. Miles 8 through 18 were done in 8:47-9:18 each, with an average of 9:05 per mile. I still felt great. It seemed like the loops were just flying by.

From miles 14-18, I was mulling something over in my mind. A pace close to 9 mpm felt pretty easy. Despite a marathon PR of 2:57, my 50K PR is a pathetic 4:58. I realized that I could run a 50K PR quite easily, unless I really fell apart. I was pretty sure I could run 4:40 or better if I pushed at all. But, that would certainly jeopardize my marathon in 3 weeks. I was torn. How many opportunities do I have for lifetime PRs these days? But, I've been thinking about qualifying for Boston for a while. And then I thought that the 50K PR would be essentially "guaranteed", while the Boston qualifier isn't.

Eventually, I decided to stick with the plan and just do the 24. If my marathon goes poorly in 3 weeks, I may regret that choice, but I needed to stick with the plan. At mile 18, I picked up the pace. In the first mile, I spent a few seconds at an aid station, which cost me a few seconds. Here are my mile splits for the last 6 miles:


My total time for 24 miles was 3:31:28 - an 8:45 pace. I ran these 24 miles faster than last week's 22 miler. Now, if I can just run 26.2 miles a bit faster than this 24 miler, I will qualify for Boston in 3 weeks.

It's taper time, although there are still a few tough workouts to be done. But, for the next 2 weeks, the intensity increases while the training volume drops. The last week before the marathon, the intensity will be tapered as well.

After the race, I spent some time cheering on the other runners and encouraging some friends. I got to talk to Laurel Valley, who was volunteering rather than running. Twice, she has almost won the 50 miler outright at this race, and she was the second or third woman (and first master's woman) at Massanutten this year.

I ate some food, rehydrated, and finally had to head for home. It was such a beautiful day, I was almost wishing I was in the 50 miler so I could stay and keep running.

Just before I got into my car, a friend noticed a bald eagle doing slow circles above our heads - just an amazing animal.

A few easy days

I haven't posted in a few days. I've been swamped by my jobs and my workouts recently. I needed a break for a few days. I ran easy on Wednesday, but cut the run short, and hit the trails rather than the roads. Thursday, I took a rest day, mostly because I didn't feel like running. When I'm not really in the mood to run, it's an early warning sign that I've been doing too much - either work or running or both, so I just skipped my planned run.

Friday morning, I did some upper body lifting. Then, I went to a work-related workshop for the day. Then, I drove home as fast as I could without getting a ticket, so I could see my son's last soccer game of the season. Then, I packed up my car and drove to Maine for my Saturday long run. My hotel room was kind of scary - a real "el cheapo hotel" special deal. Next time, maybe I won't sort by lowest price on Orbitz.

I finally got to sleep around 11:30 on Friday night. On Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 5:00. More about my long run later, after I download the splits to my computer...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yasso 800s - wow!

My last two rounds of Yasso 800s have been somewhat disappointing from a time perspective. I've felt relatively strong, but I've been slower than I'd hoped. My goal for the past few months has been to get to 10 x 800m, with an average of 3:20 or so for 10 repeats. I feel that if I can average 10 repeats at 3:20, which predicts a 3:20 marathon, I'll have enough of a margin to be able to run under 3:30, without having to run too aggressively early in the marathon.

Earlier today I said that I hoped to average 3:22 tonight. If I could do that on the roads tonight, I figured I could average 3:20 on the track a week from Saturday. Instead, I felt great on the roads tonight, and not a single repeat was as slow as 3:22. I started with a 1-mile warm-up and then started the repeats. Because I was using my Garmin on the road, I was doing 1/2 miles rather than 800 meters - close enough. I really believe in not just the predictive value of this workout, but also that performing it is essential to get me ready for the hard effort of the marathon. Yes, I believe the predictive part has worked well for me, but I think the training itself is more important than the predictive aspect. Anyway, here are tonight's splits:


The seventh repeat was slightly uphill and into a wind that seemed to be picking up (or I was getting tired). For the last repeat, I was working hard, but I just couldn't get under 3:20. My average was just under 3:17.

OK, so I just whined in my last post about being too fat, or at least too heavy. I may weigh more than I like, but I'm clearly in pretty decent shape.

Yesterday, I reserved hotel rooms for my marathon. My family is going to go along for the weekend, so it should be a fun trip.


I got home from work yesterday and all I wanted to do was take a nap. I put the Red Sox game on the TV and read Sunday's newspaper. Then, I cooked dinner. When my wife got back from the gym, we ate dinner. At that point, I went into the bedroom to listen to the Sox game on the radio. I turned out the lights and I was asleep before 7:30. I slept until 6:30 this morning.

I stepped on the scale this morning for the first time in a while. I'm still 10 pounds heavier than I was at Western States. I'm training hard and I feel like I'm eating well for 6.5 days each week. Every Saturday night, I'm having a meal where I eat and drink what I want, but otherwise, I feel like my diet has been good. I'm working hard in the gym and on the roads, doing lots of interval work, and not losing any weight.

I know that I can't out-train a bad diet, but I feel like I've been eating pretty well. Apparently, not well enough. In the past, I've found that the following 5factors seem to determine my fat loss or gain, in reducing order of importance:

1) Alcohol intake
2) Food intake - quantity and "quality"
3) Interval work
4) Weight training
5) Volume of training - total mileage

I find that if I drink alcohol on a regular basis, I won't lose weight, no matter how I train. If I'm eating too much food or the "wrong" foods, I won't lose weight. When it comes to training, hard training seems to matter more than long training. In some ways, high volume training seems to make it tougher to lose weight, because I'm starving after very long workouts.

I feel like I've been doing a decent job in all of these categories, but I'm not making any progress against the scale. I'm in good shape, but as always, fatter than I'd like.

Yasso 800s this afternoon - 10 of them. I feel rested and I'm looking forward to the workout. I'm going to run on the roads, but I'm going to do this workout in racing flats.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday workout

Weights this morning:

Squats: 2x6
Deadlifts: 2x6
DB Romanian deadlifts: 6x12
Various core exercises: 6x12
Step-ups: 4x12
Kettlebell swings: 4x12

I'm keeping the reps low for squats and deadlifts these days, trying to do just enough so that I don't lose any (or much) strength, but not enough to make me sore or leave me too tired for my running workouts. After my marathon and some recovery, I'll start working harder on those two lifts. I am trying to keep the weight fairly high (for me), since I'm doing so few reps.

Tomorrow afternoon is supposed to be beautiful and warm, so I'm going to do my Yasso 800s in the afternoon rather than the morning. The days are so short right now that I don't really have time for a long workout before work, and it's tough to run long after work. I think I'll come in early tomorrow and then leave early to do the workout. If I leave early enough, I might even have enough time to drive to a track for the workout, rather than doing it on the roads. I'll have to check the soccer schedule for the local high schools, to see which tracks might be open for use.

Tonight, I'm going to do an easy run or hike with the dogs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday 22 miler

I got an early start yesterday morning, running in a cool fog for the first 2.5 hours of my run. It was just above the freezing mark when I started, but by the time I'd finished running, it was warm and sunny and just beautiful outside. All in all, yesterday was one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen - clear, sunny, warm, and Vermont is bright with the colors of autumn. The state is full of tourists who are enjoying some amazing weather.

My run started off slowly, maybe because of the early start or the cool weather or maybe I was still tired from Thursday's run. About 7 miles into the run, I made a pit stop and filled my water bottle, and after the short break, my pace increased with no real change in my level of effort. I felt pretty good for the rest of the run, although I did fade a little bit in the last two miles.

I ran the last 11 miles only 24 seconds slower than the first 11, so my splits were pretty even. I was 2.5 minutes slower than my 22 miler two weeks ago, but I'm not too concerned about the time difference. In the 6 days before yesterday, I'd run 19 miles at sub-8 pace, so I'm sure I was a bit tired.

Today is a rest day, and tomorrow is a leg day at the gym. On Tuesday, I'll do 10 repeats of 800 meters. After that, I'll take a few slower days before next Saturday's 24 miler. That will be my last long run before my marathon, which is now only 4 weeks away.

I finished my run yesterday in time to see all of my son's soccer game. Regretfully, despite playing a solid game, they lost 3-0 to Montpelier. They have really struggled to score all year, and by late in the game yesterday, they were clearly frustrated. My son got called for a push, which he told me after the game he thought was a terrible call. I told him that I had to disagree; he'd clearly pushed the other boy. Two of his teammates got yellow cards in the final minutes of the game - one for a verbal infraction and one for a fairly violent push. They've clearly improved over the course of the season, but they're still a step behind most of the teams they play. Our school is in a division with mostly bigger schools (by our athletic director's choice), and losing most of the time gets old for boys who are working hard. I'd like to say there are some good life lessons in there somewhere, but I also understand the frustration of working hard and not achieving your goals, so I also empathize with the boys.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Marathon Pace Miles

I ended up skipping my second run on Wednesday. I was feeling tired from Sunday's race and my Thursday workout was more important than some slow miles on Wednesday evening.

Last night, I headed out for a 9-miler, with 6 miles at marathon pace. I wasn't quite sure how it would go, but I'd decided I'd start the MP miles and back off if I was still really feeling the effects from Sunday. My target in the marathon itself will be 7:50, but I wanted to run just a bit faster than that last night.

After a 1.5 mile warm-up, it was time to pick up the pace. I ended up feeling pretty good, although the miles were perhaps a bit harder than I'd like them to be. But, I was unrested, and I ran a bit faster than anticipated; the marathon will feel much easier in the early miles. Here are my mile splits:


I had no real intention of running the last mile as fast as I did. In MP miles 4 and 5, I'd been gradually gaining on a runner who was probably running right at an 8:00 pace. For some reason, as I got closer to him, he decided I wasn't going to pass him. Of course, that got my competitive juices flowing, and I started to push the pace. When I actually went past him, I could hear that he was working hard. I was running sub-7 pace when I passed him. He tried to hold on for a while, so I kept working. Finally, I heard him gasp and give up. I refused to look back, but I did back off my pace for the rest of that mile. At the end of the mile, I looked back and he was nowhere in sight. I hope he didn't drop dead. Even if he did, he started it.

This morning, I lifted, a mostly upper body workout, although I did some lunges and dumbbell squat presses as well.

Tonight, I'm going to see a Teton Gravity Research extreme skiing (and riding) movie. It's time to start getting excited about the upcoming ski season.

Tomorrow morning, I will run an early 22 miler. I want to finish by 11:00 so I can see all of my son's soccer game tomorrow. This is his next to last JV game of the year and their last real chance to win a game. Their opponent next Friday beat them 8-0 earlier in the year, so their last game probably won't be a win.

After the regular season concludes, the varsity team will advance to the state playoffs. They will be seeded in the lower half of their 16 team bracket, meaning they are likely to only play one game. A few of the JV team members will get promoted to varsity for the playoffs, and my son is hopeful that he'll be chosen. After getting over his injuries earlier in the season, his playing has really improved recently, so I'm hopeful that he'll get a taste of varsity experience yet this year. Next year, he will be a junior and unless he plays very poorly in summer practice, he'll be a member of the varsity for the next two seasons.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Easy runs

I ran an easy 5 after work last night. Another 5.5 this morning. I'm still feeling Sunday's race in my legs, but part of marathon training is running when you're tired so you're ready to do that on race day. I was probably even more tired this morning because I stayed up late to watch the debate last night, and then got up at 5:30 to get ready for work and my run.

It was cold when I ran this morning - sub-30F for the first time this year. We're starting to see frost on a more regular basis and we've had a few fires in the wood stove recently. We could see snow flurries at lower elevations any time now, although the forecast for the next week or so looks pretty nice.

In 10 days, I'll do my last long run before my marathon and then start my taper. I still have 4 key workouts remaining - two long runs and two iterations of 10 x 800 meters. In addition, I'll do a number of marathon pace workouts even after I start my taper.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weights this morning

I did a leg day this morning - well, mostly legs - in the gym.

Romanian Deadlifts
Kettlebell swings
Core work

I believe I said just last week that I wasn't going to work out twice a day any more until the marathon. To quote a Johnny Cash song, "I think I told a lie". I'm planning an easy run tonight and I might run twice tomorrow. The lack of daylight in the morning and in the evening is making it tough to do a longer midweek run, so I'll probably split my 12 miles tomorrow into two runs.

Overall, my legs felt pretty good this morning after the race on Sunday and a rest day yesterday. I also got to bed really early last night and getting up at 5:30 this morning was easier than it has been recently.

We had our first hard frost this morning, but the mountain where I teach skiing saw a preview of winter late last week.

I have my first meeting of the season to start getting ready for skiing on the 25th of this month. Winter's coming.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Race Results

The 1/2 marathon race results have been posted and I finished 89th out of 692 finishers. I was 25 of 103 in my age group.

My friend Tim beat me by 4 seconds. A co-worker's wife, who just beat me in a five miler in August, finished 50 seconds ahead of me, finishing 6th of 160 women in the 30-39 AG.

To crack the top 10 of my age group, I would have needed to run 1:31:50. In 2000, I ran 1:30:53 on this course, but I was only 38 years old then. To get into the top 3 in my age group, I would have needed to run 1:20:49, which is 81 seconds faster than my PR, which was set when I was 29 or 30. No chance there. My time would have had me 7th of 44 in the 50-59 division, if I was four years older and still as fast.

Overall, I'm pretty happy finishing that high in the field. It's probably my highest percentile finish in any race in quite a while.

Rest Day today and numbers geekiness

I'm a little beat up and tired, but not really sore from yesterday. Nonetheless, today will be a rest day.

My 46 miles last week was the most miles I've done in a week since my peak week of 74 miles while training for Western States at the end of May. My run yesterday put me over 1500 miles for the year as well.

I've only run under 1500 miles three times since 1990. In one of those years, 1996, I started the year in pretty poor shape and I had to build my base from scratch. I finally got into decent shape, and then burned myself out by racing too many ultras in the summer. I then moved to AK and my mileage dropped off for the rest of the year. I ended up with 1427 miles that year.

In 1998, I had my worst running year in the last 23 years. I was really struggling with my job, our second child was born, and that gave me an excuse to avoid running for a while, and I managed to let myself balloon to a lifetime high weight of 227 pounds. Late that year, I finally got my act back together somewhat and I finished two marathons, one in Fairbanks, AK and the Chicago marathon. Both races are memorable for how poorly I performed. I ran 967 miles in 1998, with almost half of those miles in November and December. I ran the two marathons on practically no training at all.

In March of 2002, I tore my ACL and lost most of a season. There were 6 or 7 weeks between my injury and my surgery, and I ran just a couple short runs in that time frame. Then, after my knee surgery, I couldn't run for 11 weeks. But, I worked hard the second half of the season and finished a 50K and a 50 miler. I finished with 1365 miles, with 2/3 of those miles in the last 5 months of the year.

I'm guessing I'll run 1800-1850 total miles this year, with most of the remaining 300-350 miles done in the next 5 weeks, followed by 6-8 low mileage weeks. If I reach 1850 miles, this will be my 8th highest total in 24 years of running.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

1/2 marathon report

Yesterday, I ran an easy 7.8 hilly miles, just cruise controlling the run. I was really happy when I realized about halfway through the run that I was moving almost effortlessly, not thinking about pace or effort or anything else - just moving and feeling good. These kind of runs are good indicators to me that I'm getting into decent shape - a good pace with almost no effort.

After my run, I took a look at the VDOT charts in Daniels' Book of Running. I realized that running 1:39:00 or so, as I hoped to do in today's 1/2 marathon, was not going to be quite the cruise-control effort I'd originally thought. My best race of the year so far, based on the VDOT chart, was my Labor Day weekend 5K, which was at level 47.5. To run a 1:39 today, I'd need to run at level 46, which is fairly close to my max from a month ago.

But, I thought I was capable of running at that level, even with a solid week of training behind me, and no taper at all. My goal was an 8:00 opening mile and then 7:30s for the rest of the way. I didn't do it exactly that way, but the end result came out pretty well.

We had a perfect day for racing here in VT - mostly cloudy, a slight breeze, and cool - 50F at most, I'd guess. There was a 5K that started 10 minutes before the 1/2 marathon, and then at 11:15 or so, we were off. I'd lined up pretty close to the front - maybe 15 rows behind the starting line on a narrow lane where we started. This turned out to be the perfect starting place to start, as I wasn't in the way, yet didn't find too much traffic in front to me.

There were 900 runners entered in today's race, which is the limit and the race filled weeks ago. I first ran this race in 1986, when there were probably fewer than 100 runners, maybe only 50 or so, we started on a dirt road outside of town, there was no 5K, and there was one porta-potty. Today, there were probably close to 2000 runners between the two races and this is the second biggest race in VT. Today's race set a "PR" of sorts for me, when I started a race 22 years after my first time running the race. I don't know if there are any other races where I have a gap of more than 10 years from first to latest running. My first attempt at 100 miles was at the VT100 in 1997 and I ran it again in 2007, so I have a 10 year gap there. Today was also the 25th anniversary of this race, so my run in 1986 was very early in the history of the race.

Oh yeah - the race itself.

I took it easy to start, trying to control my pace. I knew that in the crowd, it would be easy to start too fast. I simply wanted an 8 minute warm-up mile, and I was OK with the 7:50 that I ran. It felt truly easy, which made me feel very confident.

At the 1 mile mark, I deliberately sped up and started to pass people. I hit the second mile (by my Garmin - not the race markers) in 7:32. This race is run on a certified course, but my Garmin registered it as 13.27 miles. That's about 1/6 of a mile longer than the certified distance, and I worked hard to legally cut the tangents. I know the error from the Garmin is small, but it's usually very, very accurate. I'm kind of curious if the certification was done for the entire width of the road, while they forced us to run in the eastern lane on the out and back. Not a big deal, but this was the biggest difference I've seen on a certified course with the Garmin.

Just past the second mile marker, the rolling hills started. Mile 3 was the second hilliest mile of the course and it took me 7:42. The next three miles were still rolling, but less climbing overall, and I ran 7:34, 7:34, and 7:36. Around the 4 mile mark, a friend who I teach skiing with in the winter, passed me, but didn't recognize me. I caught back up to him and we started talking and running together. We were having fun, because we were passing people and no one was passing us. By the end of the race, my friend would be the only person to pass me in the last 10 miles.

Miles 6 through 10 are the hilliest part of the course, mile 2 excluded, but my friend Tim and I were working together and we were running well. As it turned out, he told me that I slowed him down early, which helped his pace over the length of the course, and he probably sped me up, forcing me to work hard enough to stay close to my goal pace. Our splits for miles 7 through 10 were 7:25, 7:13, 7:33 and 7:26. The 7:13 was for the hilliest mile of the course.

I took a gel just before the 8 mile mark, thinking the aid station was just around the corner. Regretfully, I was wrong, and I ran almost half a mile with a gel half-stuck in my mouth before I got some water. During this stretch, Tim pulled away from me, but I kept fighting to stay close.

I was trying to keep my level of effort constant, slowing down on the ups and working the downs and the flats. At times, I'd close the gap on Tim and then I'd back off on a hill and lose ground.

Mile 11 was a 7:20. In mile 12, I worked really hard to catch Tim. I got within 5 feet or so, just off his shoulder, and then we hit an uphill. I backed off a bit on the intensity again, and he increased the gap. After this hill, the course was relatively flat the rest of the way, and I was working hard. Regretfully, so was Tim. I ran 7:15 for mile 12 and didn't close the gap at all in the latter half of the mile. Mile 13 is mostly on trails, mostly flat, and I was sure I'd get Tim here. I pushed hard the entire mile. I ran 6:53. I didn't gain a step on Tim.

Because of the distance difference, it took me another 1:58 to get to the finish after my Garmin recorded the 13th mile, which the Garmin recorded as a 7:13 pace. I didn't catch Tim, but I ran 1:38:56 - 4 seconds faster than my goal.

In some ways this time reminded me of my days racing 5Ks, back when I actually had a little bit of speed. I'd work my butt off for the entire race, only to finish within 5-10 seconds of a predicted time. Today, I was within 4 seconds for almost 100 minutes.

Overall, I'm happy with the run. The second half was done pretty much all out, but I'd forgotten how tough this course is. I wasn't tapered, I ran speed work on Wednesday, and I ran a hilly almost-8-miler on Saturday.

I still have 2 long runs and 2 Yasso 800 sessions between now and my marathon in 5 weeks, but I believe I'm going to be capable of sub-3:30 on 11/9. I'm just going to have to want it enough.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Planned DNF

For only the second time in my life, I just entered a race that I have no intention of finishing.

Back in the old days - the year 2000 - I took a one year break from running ultras. I ran short stuff for that year, with a year-long goal of a sub-3:15 marathon, to qualify for Boston. My target marathon was NYC. My last long run was a planned 22 miler, with 16 easy miles and then 6 hard miles to finish. I decided to do the run as part of a marathon in NY - the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon. A good friend from college who had been chasing my marathon PR for years was running that day, and it was a chance for us to hang out for the weekend. (He did get my record, running 2:55 that day, and I don't think he's run a decent marathon since then.) I started out at a 9:00 pace, and I felt great. By mile 6 or so, I was picking up the pace. By mile 10, I was running sub-8. At mile 14, I dropped to a sub-7:30 pace and took that to the 22 mile mark. Then, I stopped and waited for my wife to pick me up. But, the aid station people told me she couldn't get to me right there. So, I started walking. Then, I got bored and started running easily. I ended up finishing the race in 4:02, I believe, with a 20 minute rest in there. So, my planned DNF didn't work.

As it turned out, I should have raced that day, as I believe I could have run 3:20 or better that day. At NYC, I had a cold and struggled to a 3:43.

My last long run in my current marathon training is scheduled for 10/18 - two weeks from tomorrow. That happens to be the day of the Maine Track Club 50K and 50 miler, a race that a number of my friends run on a regular basis. The race is done on a 4-mile loop. I want to run 24 miles - 18 easy and 6 hard - and I want a flat course with easy access to aid. This course is perfect for doing that.

The race starts with a one-mile out and back, so you hit the start-finish area at miles 2, 6, 10, etc. After my 4th full loop, I'll be at 18 miles. From there, I'll run a hard loop and then half of a hard loop. At that point, I'll have to walk back to the start/finish area. From there, I'll spend some time cheering on some fellow runners and just hanging out.

This time I'm really going to DNF. Honest.

Thursday night run, Friday morning lifting

I ran an easy 9 miler last night, the first 4 with my friend Tania at about a 9:05 pace, and then 5 more solo miles. The first 4 of those 5 solo miles were at about that same pace, and then the last mile was all uphill and a bit slower. Considering the speedwork I did on Wednesday, I felt pretty good. The previous week, on Thursday's run, I felt a lot more tired than I did yesterday.

I stayed up too late last night watching the VP debate, and got moving kind of late this morning. Normally, I could just do my scheduled workout and be a little late for work, but I needed to be on time today, so I could leave on time to see my son's soccer game. So, I did my lifting this morning, but skipped the stair climber intervals. This morning's lifting was primarily upper body - DB incline presses, 3 point DB rows, Swiss ball push-ups/jackknifes, static lunges, cable rows, DB squat presses, and close grip lat pulldowns.

Tomorrow morning, I'll do a very easy 8 miler on a course from my house. I've mostly been running less hilly courses recently, because my marathon will be on a flat course, but I'll run a hilly course tomorrow, at a very easy pace. The only goal tomorrow is to spend some time on my feet so I'll be a bit tired for Sunday's half marathon. I deliberately want to run the race a bit tired, so that pushing in that run will simulate the later miles of a marathon a bit.

Fitness-wise, I think I could run about 1:35 if I tapered and raced all out. But, my target time is 1:39. I want to start with an 8-minute mile, and then drop to 7:30s for the rest of the race. I'm curious if I can hold that pace the whole way.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Three Consecutive Days

When Kevin Setnes coached me for two seasons, the training week was broken into two parts. There was the Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday (TWR) portion of the week and then the weekend.

When getting ready for an ultra, the TWR portion of the week would start at 8-10-8, then go to 10-12-10, then 12-15-12, and finally peak at 15-18-15. As training progressed, the Tuesday and Thursday workouts would include tempo work as well.

I was looking through my training log for this season, and saw that I hadn't done even an 8-10-8 three day progression all year. When I look at every 3-day series from this entire calendar year, the best I've done for a minimum value over a 3-day period is 6.1 miles. That was in May, when I ran 6.1, 11.2, and 8.0 miles in 3 consecutive days.

Clearly, I did not train this year the way that Kevin trained me, and I had a lot of success working with Kevin, running a PR at AR50, finishing Laurel Highlands, Wasatch, and Hardrock over two seasons. And yet, I seem to have abandoned that style of training.

Tonight after work, I'm planning to run an easy 8 to 10 miler. Assuming I do that, my mileage for the past 3 days would be 8-7.8-8+. October is not the time to start putting together my first decent 3-day streaks of the year, but perhaps now is better than never.

I noticed last night in Ultrarunning magazne that the Maine Track Club 50K and 50 Miler is on 10/18. That's a race I've run multiple times (the 50K) and I even won my age group in the 50K when I was 39. OK, I was the only runner under 40 that day, but my plaque says "Open Division Winner". Another year, I was leading the 40+ division all day until my "alleged" friend Gilly dropped from the 50 miler to the 50K on short notice, and I couldn't quite catch him in the last mile.

Anyway, on 10/18, my training plan is a 24 miler on relatively easy terrain, where the first 18 miles will be done at a moderate pace, and the next 6 will be done hard. It seems kind of crazy to drive to Maine for a deliberate DNF, but a number of my friends will be there, and the course is perfect for my training. So, I think I'm going to enter this one. That means just one more solo long run, a 22 miler 9 days from now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crazy idiot drivers

This morning seemed to be a morning full of idiots on the road. Usually, I only have to worry about cars at one place on my running routes. When I'm running before work, and I run past the Dunkin' Donuts in town, I have to be careful about the idiots with a cell phone in one hand, a cigarette in the other, and they're in a hurry to get coffee and 10 dozen donuts. I don't know what they put down when they leave the donut shop. If they had four hands, they'd be in heaven with a cigarette, coffee, cell phone, and a donut. I've had some close calls as cars race each other to turn into the parking lot there, to get the one parking spot right by the door.

Anyway, before I even started running this morning, I had one incident that kind of freaked me out. It was just barely getting light, and as I entered our town, the speed limit drops from 40 to 25, and I always slow down accordingly. The police like to set speed traps right there, especially during the morning commute. So, just as I was entering town, some idiot decided I was driving way too slowly, and he passed me on a double-yellow line, with poor visibility, doing more than twice the speed limit. He got through town about 2 seconds faster than me, as he ended up stuck behind a number of other cars.

I dropped my clothes and lunch at the office and then drove back downtown. My wife was dropping her car off for some work at a local garage, so I left my car there for her, so she wouldn't have to walk to work in the rain. My workout was 9 x 1/2 mile, and I started with an easy 1 mile warm-up. I was less than a minute into my run when a car came through downtown going really fast. I realized just before it got to me that our paths were going to cross right at a giant puddle of water. There was no time to react and the car hit the puddle and completely soaked me. I said a bad word very loudly, but I'm sure the driver never heard me and had no idea that he'd just soaked me. Or maybe he did.

So, I finished my warm-up, did my first repeat (slow - uphill), took my rest interval, and started the second repeat. By this point in time, I was outside of downtown, but I was by the little shopping center outside of town where our only supermarket sits. I was running about a 6:30 pace as I approached the access road to the supermarket and a pickup truck was leaving the market by that road. I suddenly realized that the truck was turning right, towards me, and the driver had no intention of slowing down or looking to the right. I stopped to avoid getting killed and yelled another bad word - well, actually the same word I'd yelled previously. I was angry enough that my second repeat was my fastest of the day, despite the brief stop. Just as I finished the second repeat, I was at a point on the road where the shoulder narrows. Right at that spot, there was a large puddle on the road. As I was working hard on the last bit of the repeat, I happened to glance up and seen an 18-wheeler bearing down on me. At first, I thought about staying on the shoulder because I was already soaked. But then, I realized that an 18-wheeler might do more than soak me, so I stepped way, way off the road to avoid the truck and the splash.

After that, things settled down and the run went OK. I did write yesterday that I was sure I'd run faster today than I did last week for this workout. I was wrong. My times were nearly identical to last week. I felt steady and relatively strong, but just not fast today. My times still point to a sub-3:30 marathon, but I don't have much of a margin for error.

In the past, when I've used the Yasso 800 progression that I use, I have done the workout once per week when my rep count was 6, 7, or 8. As I got to 9 and 10, I would switch to doing it every other week because it's a tough workout. But, this time around, I did 9 reps on back to back weeks, which might explain why I didn't run any faster this week.

As I started my 8th repeat, a stupid collie decided to chase me down the road, teeth bared and growling. Normally, I would be a little freaked out by a dog chasing me, but after all the car and truck issues this morning, I basically told the little f*cker to go back home and leave me alone. My tone of voice must have been pretty good, because he listened to me and turned around.

Maybe this day started badly because I stepped on the scale this morning and didn't like the number I saw. I feel like I've been eating really well recently, yet I can't seem to drop any weight. If I'm not losing any weight right now eating the way that I've been eating, I wonder what would happen if I ate what I really wanted to eat.

Enough negativity. I had a good run, I'm healthy, and I'm still financially solvent, for now, at least.